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Intel core i7 quad core processor review – faq

New notebooks as well as most of the desktops available today are coming up with the core i7 processors. This faq should help you learn about this processor.

Q. Will the Core i7 processor will be a drop in replacement for the motherboard with core 2 processor.
A. No. The Core i7 processor is not pin compatible with the Intel Core 2 processors . The Core i7 processor will require a new motherboard. This in unlike the Core Pentium 4/ Pentium D processor Vs Core 2 processor, in which case the same motherboard could be used for both the processors.

Q. What does integrated memory controller means and what are its advantages.

A. The earlier Intel architectures used to have a processor connected to another chip called North Bridge. The North bridge then used to connect to the memory. When a processor needed to communicate to the memory, it first communicated to the North Bridge, which in turn communicated to the Memory. This lead to the overhead and slower memory performance. Core i7 processors connect to memory directly. This leads to lower overheads and faster performance. The core i7 processors, therefore have integrated memory controller and this leads to faster performance.

Q. How does the core i7 socket differs from the core 2 sockets.

A. The integrated memory controller and other requirements led to higher pin counts for the core i7 processors. The processor now has 1366 pics as compared to 775 pins in core 2 processor. The new socket is named as LGA1366. This socket is larger in size.

Q. How many processors are  there in Core i7 processors. Are they all in the same die ?

A. There are 4 processors in the Core i7.  All the 4 processors reside in the same die. This is unlike other quad core designs that had two dual core processors in one die residing on a single package.

Q. How does the die size and the processor count in core i7 compares with the core 2 processors.

A. The core i7 has one single die of  size 263 mm².  Comparitively, core 2 had two dies of size 107 mm². So the total size of t he core i7 (  263 mm²) is bigger than that of the core 2 processors ( 214  mm² total).  You will notice that the core i7 occupies greater area on the die compared to core 2. Core i7 has 710 million transistors as compared to 810 million transistors in core 2 ( 2 x 410 million ) according to tomshardware.

Q. What is quick path interconnect. Its advantages ?

A. In the earlier designs the processor used to connect to the north bridge, which in turn used to connect to the memory controller and the south bridge. In the core i7 the memory is connected directly to the processor. A new interconnect technology QPI  ( Quick path interconnect) has been introduced. One advantage is potentially  higher data through put rate.  The biggest advantage of QPI is its ability to connect to another processor. Processors can communicate to each other directly using QPI. This opens up several possibilty. For example, a motherboard can have two core i7 processors boosting performance required by gaming desktops.

AMD was leader in this technology in its Opteron processors using it Hypertransport Bus. Intel is following AMD’s footsteps by using QPI tech

Q. How does the cache memory of core i7 differs from the core 2 processors.

A. The L1 cache of the core i7 is same as that of the core 2 processors – 64 KB of the L1 cache divided into 32 KB of data and 32 KB of instruction part. The Core 2 processora had shared cache up to 6 MB for its two cores. In the core i7 this structure stands changed. The core i7 has L2 cache and the L3 cache. Each of the four cores of the Core i7 has 256 KB L2 cache. In addition to the L2 cache the core i7 processor has a total of 8 MB of L3 cache shared by all four cores. Q. What is that advantage of the three level Cache system of the core i7 as compared to two level core 2 structure. A. The biggest disadvantage of the core 2 architecture was that, if a single application required, for e 6 MB of memory this was not possibleThe advantage of this configuration is that a single-threaded application has access to the full 8 MB of L3 cache. This was not possible on the Core 2 quad processors since their 12 MB L2 cache consisted of two halves, each located on one of the dual-core dies that made up the quad-core package.

Q. How does the memory performance benchmark of core i7 improves over that of the core 2 processors.

A. The architecture of t he core i7 has shown visible improvements over the core i2 processors. When compared to  Core 2  processor at  the same CPU and memory speeds, in dual-channel configuration, the Core i7 has  a bandwidth that is about twice that of the Core 2. This has been made possible by the use of the  integrated memory controller.

Q. So what the hell is this Core i7 LGA 1366 Vs LGA 1156

A. Very good question. Core i7 LGA 1366 has 1366 pins while and  LGA1156 has 1156 pins.
The LGA1366 has most PCI Express 2.0, connectivity via Intel’s X58 Express chipset, three channels of DDR3 memory support,

The Core i7  LGA 1156 integrates the PCI Express connectivity with 16 lanes in place of 36, has only 2 memory channels in place of 3,  and maintains Hyper-Threading support.

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  1. reviewer
    July 21st, 2010 at 04:39 | #1