Intel officially releases its first 45nm processors


— 5:02 PM on November 11, 2007

In somewhat ironic fashion, Intel has selected Armistice Day as the date for a bloody and merciless offensive against AMD. As part of this attack, Intel has unveiled no fewer than 16 new processors based on its 45nm process technology.

Only one of the chips—the new Core 2 Extreme QX9650—is a desktop part, while the rest are dual- and quad-core Xeons aimed at squashing the emerging competition from AMD's quad-core "Barcelona" Opteron chips. The Core 2 Extreme and ten of the new Xeons are scheduled to be available immediately, while the remaining five Xeons will roll out over the next month and a half:

Processor Cores Speed (GHz) Cache (MB) FSB (MHz) TDP (w) Price ETA
Core 2 Extreme QX9650 4 3.00 12 1333 130 $999 Now
Xeon X5482 4 3.20 12 1600 150 $1279 Now-45 days
Xeon E5472 4 3.00 12 1600 80 $1022 Now-45 days
Xeon X5472 4 3.00 12 1600 120 $958 Now
Xeon E5462 4 2.80 12 1600 80 $797 Now
Xeon X5460 4 3.16 12 1333 120 $1172 Now
Xeon E5450 4 3.00 12 1333 80 $915 Now
Xeon X5450 4 3.00 12 1333 120 $851 Now
Xeon E5440 4 2.83 12 1333 80 $690 Now
Xeon E5430 4 2.66 12 1333 80 $455 Now
Xeon E5420 4 2.50 12 1333 80 $316 Now
Xeon E5410 4 2.33 12 1333 80 $256 Now
Xeon E5405 4 2.00 12 1333 80 $209 Now
Xeon X5272 2 3.40 6 1600 80 $1172 30-45 days
Xeon X5260 2 3.33 6 1333 80 $851 30-45 days
Xeon E5205 2 1.86 6 1066 65 $177 30-45 days

All of the above processors are based on Intel's new "Penryn" 45nm core, the architectural details of which we've already explored in our reviews of Intel's Stoakley platform and 45nm Xeons and Core 2 Extreme QX9650. In short, Penryn brings a smaller process (45nm instead of 65nm), more and smarter cache, SSE4 instructions, a faster divider, speedier hardware virtualization, and other tweaks. The Stoakley server/workstation  platform for the new Xeons, meanwhile, introduces higher performance as well as support for 1600MHz front-side bus speeds, 800MHz DDR2 FB-DIMMs, and greater amounts of memory.

Based on what we've seen in our reviews, 45nm Xeons whoop both their 65nm predecessors and AMD's quad-core Opterons in terms of overall performance, although the Opterons do have lower idle power thanks to their use of registered DDR2 DIMMs. As for the Core 2 Extreme QX9650, it secures Intel's lead on the desktop, although AMD hasn't yet introduced its quad-core desktop Phenom processors.

   
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