updated 05:00 pm EST, Thu December 17, 2009
Intel to expand Nehalem at CES 2010
Intel this afternoon revealed that it has already started shipping the processors it plans to unveil at CES. Highlighted in the pack are its mobile Core i3 and i5 processors: the first notebook chips based on its year-old Nehalem architecture, the dual-core parts are not only faster than the outgoing Core 2 Duo at a given clock speed but are also the first Intel chips of any kind to integrate the graphics into the main processor. The single change improves both performance, by speeding up communication with the CPU, as well as battery life.
Unlike on the desktop, where Core i5's Hyperthreading is disabled, mobile Core i5 will have full access to the feature and can handle as many as four threads at once. It will also have Turbo Boost to dynamically overclock one or both cores when the workload either only needs one core or doesn't push the processor past its power limits. Core i3 will skip both features to lower the cost.
Desktops will receive similar treatment with dual-core i3 and i5 models that both have on-processor graphics, although here the i5 parts won't share Hyperthreading.
All of the lineup will be based on Intel's 32 nanometer Westmere process and consequently shouldn't consume more power than existing designs. Intel hasn't divulged clock speeds, but detailed leaks have revealed Core i5 clock speeds between 2.26GHz and 2.4GHz (possibly 2.53GHz) with Turbo Boost pushing these to 2.53GHz and 2.93GHz; mobile Core i3 will include 2.13GHz and 2.26GHz parts. Desktop chips will start at 2.93GHz for Core i3 and finish at 3.46GHz (3.73GHz boosted) for a Core i5.
Systems using either the desktop or notebook designs are due to ship early next year and will likely include a large number of introductions at CES and the weeks afterwards. Apple is likely to adopt some if not most of the line for all but the Xeon-based Mac Pro, though one rumor suggests the company has turned down stock processors as it wants to bypass Intel's integrated graphics for faster alternatives.
Dual-core desktop Core i3 and i5
32nm Westmere wafer