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Intel Core i7-930 Processor review

November 5th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Intel Core i7-930 is a quad core Processor with a nominal core frequency of 2.8 GHz. This is one of the high performance, moderate cost ($294 at the time of writing, according to Intel) processor intended for the desktop computers.

The core i7-930 processor supports Hyperthreading, which means that, with 2 threads running per core, there could be 8 threads running simultaneously at a time. This leads to very good performance in multi threaded environment. The support for the turbo boost gives further boost to the performance of the processor. The turbo frequency of this processor is 3.06 GHz.  The turbo boost temporarily increases the core frequency of the processor to cater for the increased demand in the processing power.

The core i7-930m has 8 MB of L3 cache that intel calls smart cache. Smart cache is a shared cache arrangement, in which all the four cores share a common pool of the 8 MB cache. The cache memory is dynamically allocated to the cores based upon the requirement. This arrangement is advantageous in certain circumstance, for example, a single threaded process needing a large, say 7 MB of cache. With dedicated cache designs it would not have been possible to allocated the whole 7MB of cache to one single core.

The Core i7-930 has integrated DDR3 memory controller. The designs based upon the integrated memory controller reduces the memory latency, improving the processor to memory communication speed and the overall performance of the processor. The maximum amount of the memory supported is 24 GB and the speed grades supported are DDR3-800 and DDR3-1066.

The communication with the chipset is using high speed differential QPI bus.  The QPI bus is able to achieve a bandwidth of 4.8 GT/s. The core i7-930 does support 64 bit instruction sets, so latest software based upon 64 bit instruction set can take advantage of it.

There is no integrated graphics in Intel Core i7-930 and the systems will require either a discrete component on the motherboard PCB or a graphics card for the graphics.

Built with 45 nm technology, the Core i7-930 has a TDP rating of 130 Watts, slightly on the higher end, requiring decent amount of heat sink and cooling arrangements. Obviously, this processor is not for the laptops.

If you are interested in the processor die data, the core i7-930 has a die size of 263 mm2, and has 731 million transistors. The i7-930 fits in FCLGA1366 package and has a package size of 42.5mm x 45.0mm.

There are very few benchmarking results available for the Core i7-930 processor. The passmark score posts a score of 5833. By comparison AMD Phenom II X6 1090T has a passmark score of 6,076.

The hex core Phenom ii processor present more cost effective alternative to the Intel core i7-930 processors. Besides lower cost and comparable performance, the hex core AMD Phenom ii processors fits in existing low cost motherboards ( as it uses existing motherboards with common sockets).

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