February 10, 2006 2:30 PM PST

Intel shows off its quad core

Just as the bragging rights for dual-core chip supremacy are dying down, Intel gave the first glimpse of a quad-core chip coming next year.

Clovertown, a four-core processor, will start shipping to computer manufacturers late this year and hit the market in early 2007. Clovertown will be made for dual-processor servers, which means that these servers will essentially be eight-processor servers (two processors x four cores each).

The company will also come out with a previously announced version called Tigerton around the same time for servers with four or more processors.

Core expansion will be a dominant theme for Intel over the next few years, said Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner. By the end of the decade, chips with tens of cores will be possible, while in 10 years, it's theoretically possible that chips with hundreds of cores will come out, he added.

Rattner showed off a computer running two Clovertown processors.

Multiplying the number of cores brings distinct advantages. First, it cuts down overall energy consumption for equivalent levels of performance. If the recent Core Duo chips released for notebooks from Intel had only one core, the chips would consume far more power, he said.

Integrating processor cores into the same piece of silicon or same processor package also increases performance by reducing the data pathways

"To go from core to core can be a matter of nanoseconds," Rattner said. "As soon as you move cores together you get an automatic improvement in available bandwidth."

Advanced Micro Devices will also come out with chips with four cores in 2007.

Nonetheless, adding cores requires careful planning. Energy efficiency, data input/output and memory latency (the time it takes data to go from memory and the processor and vice versa) will be major issues with each level of core expansion.

To get around some of these issues, Intel is conducting research into circuit design and chip architecture as it has in the past. In addition, the company is working with application developers to determine how the architecture of its chips can be optimized.

By working with one server application developer, Intel determined that it needed to make three small changes to the architecture of one of its future server chips. Before the changes, the application only ran well in simulations on chips with 16 cores. After that, performance began to decline, Rattner said.

After the changes, performance continued to climb. "We got it to scale well past 32" cores, he said.

Another pending change to chip design to accommodate problems that arise with core multiplication are Through Silicon Vias, or TSVs. With TSVs, processors and memory chips are stacked up and connected through tiny wires; the top of one chip wires directly into the bottom of another. Currently, chips connect through buses, long data paths that have become as crowded as rush-hour freeways in some computers.

Clovertown and Tigerton are members of a new chip architecture coming from Intel at the end of the year. A notebook chip called Merom and a desktop chip called Conroe coming out around the same time will be based on the same architecture. Intel will give the architecture a name at the Intel Developer Forum taking place in March.

Rattner indicated that Merom and Conroe will only be dual-core chips, as many analysts expect.

"The core growth on the client side will be slower than on the server side," he said. The new chip architecture "is intended for dual and multiple core architectures," he added.

Rattner would not state whether Tigerton and Clovertown contained a single piece of silicon, or two pieces of silicon in a single package. A processor is made of silicon and the package that surrounds it, so either definition could fit.

Two pieces of silicon in a single package seems more likely. At around the same time, after all, Intel will release Woodcrest, a dual core server chip based around the same Merom-Conroe-Tigerton-Clovertown architecture. It will contain only two cores and consume 80 watts of power, less than the 165-watt server chips Intel sells now.

A large financial institution is currently running servers on an experimental basis with Woodcrest chips, Rattner said.

Intel has already released one dual core processor that contained two pieces of silicon. While using two pieces of silicon can be cheaper to design and manufacture, some have said dual silicon chips don't provide the same level of performance.

See more CNET content tagged:
architecture, silicon, multi-core, quad-core, Intel

65 comments

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Can you say POWERMAC?
I think you can...
Posted by (461 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How about "TowerMac"?
They'll probably decide to drop the "P" word.

I also like "Big Mac". ;-)
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Can you say
Power Dell? Or Power HP? Or Power Levento? or Gateway, or any other of the hundreds of players that use Intel chips.
Apple is nothing more then a single (and small) part of the heard now. Enjoy
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
re: Mac Quad is different
The difference between this new processor and the processing in the Power Mac G5 Quad is that the Intel processor will do all of that work with ONE processor. When you put two of those processors in one computer, it would be like having a Mac G5 Oct or something....
Posted by darrius3365 (98 comments )
Link Flag
Power Mac??
pffttt ok whatever, can you say cant render a 1 hour show in under 75 mins??

can you say OSX running on Intel, off the shelf intel procs??

Say Quad AMD, renders 1 hour in 52 mins, THATS horsepower, no friggin Mac can come close

Mac is dying a slow death, hope they fizzle out in the next few years, took a while but i am glad non-propetary hardware is hitting the trashcan
Posted by 206538395198018178908092208948 (141 comments )
Link Flag
AMD showed true quad-core last October
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=29550" target="_newWindow">http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=29550</a>

"Intel has been hell-bent on not losing out to AMD on any more milestone releases, and it is going to be the first to demo a four core CPU, even if it is a hack. AMD has shown four ways as early as last October behind very closed doors"

AMD is 5 generations ahead, true multi-core is one of 5:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/amd64-is-five-generations-ahead-of.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/amd64-is-five-generations-ahead-of.html</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nope
Hell, if AMD didn't show it to the public, what's the point?

You might as well have said AMD showed a 12-core processor 5 years ago.
Posted by JackPack (8 comments )
Link Flag
By your own metric
AMD isn't ahead since the article here already said that Intel tested 16 and 32 cores in an internal design and performance test.

Bear in mind that what's running in the labs may never see the light of day in a mass produced form simply because it's too complex to mass produce even though it can be built in small quantities for purposes of design validation.

It's when they start showing things to the public that they've figured out how they're going to be able to mass produce them.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
INTEL quad-core is multi-die, fake multi-core
see this page:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/04/top_secret_intel_processor_plans_uncovered/page5.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/04/top_secret_intel_processor_plans_uncovered/page5.html</a>

This is obvious, if Cloverton was single die as AMD's true mulit-core, INTEl would have bragged all day. INTEL is multi-die and Microsoft counts each die as a CPU when computing license fee.
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nope.
Here comes the cluebat.

MS charges on per-processor basis, not per-core.
Posted by JackPack (8 comments )
Link Flag
Then why...
Then why does MS charge us for 4-proc license when some of our servers have dual Xeons? Each Xeon has HyperThreading, but are not dual core. Yet, the Task Manager shows 4 processing nodes and we pay 4-proc license.

It can't be tied to just die. I know MS will find any way to charge huge fees, but still. It's not tied to just die.
Posted by Richard G. (137 comments )
Link Flag
.
"Microsoft counts each die as a CPU when computing license fee."

LOL. Here comes the cluebat.

MS charges on per-processor basis, not per-core.
Posted by JackPack (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Article edits?
Why were the lines:

"Rattner showed off a computer running two Clovertown processors. So far, only four have been produced. The company will spend energy this year tweaking the chip for mass manufacturing."

changed to

"Rattner showed off a computer running two Clovertown processors."?

Where did the original information come from, and why was it removed? Which was it, false or embarassing?

fpg
Posted by fastpathguru (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
let me take a stab at it...
I'm assuming the following quote, from the end of the article, contradicts with the line they removed:

"Two pieces of silicon in a single package seems more likely. At around the same time, after all, Intel will release Woodcrest, a dual core server chip based around the same Merom-Conroe-Tigerton-Clovertown architecture. It will contain only two cores and consume 80 watts of power, less than the 165-watt server chips Intel sells now.

A large financial institution is currently running servers on an experimental basis with Woodcrest chips, Rattner said."
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
Link Flag
Embarrassing?
If it were embarrassing, Intel wouldn't have told the media about it.

Clearly, it's something else.
Posted by JackPack (8 comments )
Link Flag
Why did the writer write this?
"Just as the bragging rights for dual-core chip supremacy are dying down, Intel"

Since when has Intel held bragging rights for dual core? If I recall, AMD CHALLENGED Intel to an open compition, and Intel refused. Intel's chips, especially duel core, preform much worse then AMD in benchmarks, not to mention they are slower, check the benchmarks people, Intel never held "bragging rights", just because you throw out a duel core chip before it works at halfway capacity doesn't mean you releaced it first.
Posted by jzsaxpc (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i don't think you understand
The author never specified which side held bragging rights, merely that they weren't being touted anymore. I know, and obviously you know too, that AMD holds those rights, so where's the confusion?
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
Link Flag
how many made
I can answer that. I thought I heard rattner say only four were produced. someone later told me I misheard. trying to get to bottom of it. haven't got completely clear answer yet so removed till further clarification. But can tell you that there are only a few of the quads in the world.

Actually, having four produced is somewhat meaningless. Usually, mass production follows first samples by 9 to 12 months, so it's entirely on track.
Posted by michael kanellos (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is INTEL at 64 bit yet?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/amd64-is-five-generations-ahead-of.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/amd64-is-five-generations-ahead-of.html</a>

Alst time I checked, INTEL folks blind copied AMD design and 64 bit Windows and Linux failed to boot. INTEL is claiming two 32 bit cores better than one 64 bit, so two 286 is better than one 486, so now four 32 bit better than 128 bit is the logic?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-2-x-32-64.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-2-x-32-64.html</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Goodbye banana truck...
I think you left one behind.

I'm not going to say your wrong, but you are all over the page. I assume you are linking to your own blog. Are we suppose to take a blog as a reference for truth?

To answer your question about dual 32-bit processors vs a single 64-bit processor. Well, this simple answer is that if both processors are of equal speed (or cores) and the program is written to take advantage of multithreading, then yes the dual core 32-bit processors will show a much better performance than a single 64-bit processor. Although 64-bit processors have shown to be faster than the old 32-bit processors at a simular mhz it's not because 64-bit is making them faster it's because the cores are tweeked to perform better.

I think you really need to learn about 64-bit and how it improves x86 processors.

I can also say that Intel did copy AMD 64-bit extention except for two things. AMD and Intel have an agreement that allows them to copy each other without the threat of a lawsuit. This doesn't include the Itanium.

Oh, one last thing. 64-bit processors are the same thing (in simple terms) as 32-bit processors. The only difference is they have 64-bit extentions. It's not a total redesign of 32-bit processors. If they were we would call them Itanium.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Sun allready has 8 core cpu
Why is this a news? Sun allready has come out with its 8 core niagra cpu's in january ....
Posted by alahiri001 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And Mac's were the heart of a 128 CPU cluster....
... Now what?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Whats the point if each of the 8 cores is slow?
You may want to update your information a bit. For one thing, Niagara name was scrapped 2 years ago in favor of CoolThreads. Secondly, each of these supposed 8 cores have been found to be abysmally slow in comparison to existing chips from both AMD and Intel. Here's some fun info for you: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://*******.com/17wud" target="_newWindow">http://*******.com/17wud</a> [http://hp.com|http://hp.com]
Posted by shanx24 (17 comments )
Link Flag
www.thebignoticeboard.com
that would be awesome inside a PowerMac
Posted by thebignoticeboard.com (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Windows on a Mac.
This is actually in reply to another comment about running Windows on a Mac.

Why would someone want to run Windows on a Mac? For me it's because I would love to own a Mac, but I just can't justify buying one. However, if I could run Windows XP on one of the new Mactels then I could learn about and maybe fully transistion to a Mac. At worst case scenario I could at least have the best of both worlds on a good computer system.

I know it's an unpopular idea with the Mac guys, but for those of us who have investment in Windows only software it's not just as easy as dropping Windows and jumping on the Mac train. For us techies it's just nice to have a system that can run Windows, Linux, BSD, and MacOS.

In my opinion it's really kind of a win-win situation for Apple. If I buy a new Mactel and load Windows on it Apple still made a sell (one they don't really have to support that much either). It may also help trasistion long time Windows/Linux users over to MacOS as well. I just don't see a downside to running Windows on a Mac (well outside of the fact that you are using Windows :) ).
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't mess up the Mactel with Windows....
IF you already have a PC, us it for your Windows. If it;s an old PC
and needs updating, buy a new PC. They are very cheap and
come with a fresh XP load. No need to tweak the MS code.

And then, if you want OS X too, get a Mac or MacTel.

And a Mac/MAcTel and a PC coonect very easily on a LAN (the
Mac easier than the PC). I run multiple Mac's and multiple PC's
that way now.

Windows is a lousy reason to buy a MacTel.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Win on Mac OK, But...
I agree with your points. I also have a coupla questions...
If Apple released OSX for PC, would you buy it?
There are 30 PC's out there for every Mac. If Apple sold OSX for PC, would people still buy Macs?
Posted by chinajon (1 comment )
Link Flag
Cheap Intel Quad Core Gaming System
Intel Quad Core Systems for £679 inc VAT and delivery. Check it out at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.mocustoms.co.uk" target="_newWindow">http://www.mocustoms.co.uk</a>
Posted by divalado (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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