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Intel Core i7 Processor | Acoustic PC
The Intel Core i7 Processors: Nehalem and X58 Have Arrived!
Over the past few weeks, a number of ram memory and CPU cooling manufacturers have announced products for the Core i7 / X58 Express Chipset
in anticipation of the platforms arrival.

Corsair and Qimonda Triple-Channel DDR3 Memory Kits
To date, we have already received a triple-channel DDR3-1600 memory kit from Corsair, that features an updated heatsink assembly, reminiscent of
the company's Dominator DHX line of products. These Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D DIMMs feature 8-8-8-20 timings, a 1.65v voltage, and a 2GB
capacity each, for a total of 6GB in a triple channel configuration. We also received a set of Qimonda DDR-1066 modules that operate at 1.65v as
well. The Qimonda triple channel kit consists of three 1GB modules, for a total of 3GB, with 7-7-7-20 timings.

For those seeking high performance CPU Cooling as well as quiet solutions. " Here is the fun Stuff."

Stock Intel Core i7 and Core 3 Coolers, Side by Side
We figured this would also be a good time to show you the size difference of the stock Core i7 cooler as it relates to a Core 2 cooler, and a new high-
end air-cooler from Thermalright named
Thermalright ULTRA-120 eXtreme 1366 RT & Noctua named Noctua NH-U12P SE.

If your looking for the absolute best performance for the socket 1366 i7 core processor and extreme edition Thermalright as well as the the Noctua
Special Edition will not only provide you the absolute best performance but will also achieve it quietly.  

Amazing enough Thermalright Reigning king of cool ULTRA-120 out performed all other coolers available. If your looking to CPU Cooler your (HTPC)
Home Theater PC we also would like to take this time to recommend
Thermalrights AXP-140 HTPC 1366 RT Low Profile edition with 6 Heat Pipes.  
The low profile design makes it compatible with most (SFF) small four factor PC case, cube cases & slim case HTPC computer cases.

Thermalright ULTRA-120 eXtreme 1366 RT Tower Versus The Thermalright AXP-140 1366 RT HTPC
The two Tower type Extreme is a better performance heatsink sine the tower design does not recycle warm air. The extreme also allows dual fan
push pull set up's for extra overclocking performance. However the there may be some worth while advantages besides a wider case comparability.
With the downward fan cooler as it will help cool down your motherboard Chipset and Ram memory.

Thermalright 1366 RT CPU Cooler is an excellent cooling solution for the absolute best CPU cooling results but when compared to the
Thermalright AXP-140 HTPC &  the Noctua there is no comparison the decision is clear. Thermalright prevails when using a single or dual fan set
up, thanks two extra heatpipes and tower design. The Noctua brings a good bundle to the table with dual fans include and premium Tim and is a bit
smaller in size and works with in a degree. The Thermalright Cooler is Bulkier with six heat pipes, heavier and simply performed better when
compared apples with apples, but not by a long shot.  Amazing but true Noctua has reinvented the wheel so to speak here with a cooler that is lighter
and less bulky yet with two less heat pipes is a top performance cooler and extremely quiet at that the Noctua will not disappoint.

Socket retention size difference 1366 versus 775
The the new stock Core i7 LGA 1366 cooler has a significantly larger diameter than the Core 2 LGA 775 cooler. There use a similar plastic push-pin
locking mechanism, but the pins are spread further out on the Core i7 cooler. Current LGA 775 coolers will not fit the new LGA 1366 socket.

Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 Versus Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme RT for Core i7
PC Enthusiasts need not worry though, as Thermalright, ULTRA-120 eXteme 1366 RT and others, are
either new high-end heatsinks or new mounting hardware for existing heatsinks to support Intel's new
socket. The Noctua was used to overclock the Core i7 Extreme 965 to over 4.1GHz, and it did so with no
problem however the
Thermalright, ULTRA-120 eXteme 1366 RT surpassed the 4.1GHZ and did so with minimal noise output thanks
to its dense array of heatsink fins, 6 heatpipes, and a optional dual 120mm cooling fans.  While the Noctua did well it was no match for the
reigning king.

Another factor was the Thermalright FDB fluid dynamic bearing cooling fan has a bit more punch slightly higher in Dba over the Noctua.  More
performance = lower temps yet the Noctua in silent mode achieves good performance and is virtually silent at 12 Dba, the cooling fans can also run
at a faster speed and still be very quiet @ only 17 Dba and OVER CLOCK mode witch is what we used to overclock to 4.1 ghz...and the fans only
produce 19 Dba at 1300 Rpm's witch in an open environment were quiet inside a computer case it would be virtually sub-audioable getting In-
audioable noise-less.There are only a select few events in the PC hardware world that get hardcore enthusiasts truly excited. For example, when
popular trade shows like Computex, IDF, and CES take place, there is a fair amount of buzz.  Also, anytime the major players in graphics release
next-generation GPUs, things definitely heat up; or likewise when a hot new game hits.  Finally, when either of the processor big guns, Intel or AMD
unleash new CPU micro-architectures on the world, you can almost bet on the community to come alive with enthusiasm. We're sure we've missed
a few other momentous occasions as well, but you get the gist. It takes something new and exciting to get a PC Enthusiast's pulse racing.

Thankfully, today is one of those times. Although Intel won't be officially launching their Core i7 processors, formerly codenamed Nehalem, and the
X58 Express Chipset until sometime later in the month, we've had them in house for a while now and can finally show you all the goods. We've
tested every Core i7 speed grade that will be available at launch, along with at trio of X58 Express based motherboards. We've even thrown in some
high-resolution multi-GPU SLI and CrossFireX testing for good measure as well.

There's a lot to cover, so we'll keep the introduction short and dive right in. Below are some Core i7 features and specifications to whet your appetite--
the main course is available as we go along. The new spotlight kid i7 of all this new Intel technology can be found here.

When the new Core i7 processors arrive sometime later this month, pricing for the flagship Core i7
Extreme 965 will be set at $999, the Core i7 940 at $562, and the Core i7 920 at $284.  Expect enthusiast-
class X58 based motherboards to sell for around $300 give or take a few dollars depending on the number
of features.  Ultimately, we can't help but be impressed by the new Core i7 processors. The performance,
power profile, and overclockability are all very good even at this early stage.  Intel clearly has another
exceptionally strong product in their line-up that will undoubtedly appeal to PC enthusiasts and
multimedia professionals alike.

intel Core i7 Processors Specifications & Features

* Core Frequencies - 3.2GHz (965), 2.93GHz (940), 2.66 (920)
* QPI Speed - 6.4GT/s (965), 4.8GT/s (940, 920)
* TDP (Thermal Design Power) - 130W
* Stepping - 4
* Number of CPU Cores - 4
* Shared L3 Cache - 8MB
* L2 Cache - 1MB (256K x 4)
* Processor input voltage (VID) - 1.160v
* .045-micron manufacturing process
* Shared Smart Cache Technology
* PECI Enabled
* Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST)
* Extended HALT State (C1E) Enabled
* Execute Disable Bit (XD) Enabled
* Intel 64 Technology
* Intel Virtualization Technology (VT)

* Packaging -  Flip Chip LGA1366
* Total Die Size: Approximately 263mm2
* Approximately 731M Transistors
* MSRP - $999 (965), $562 (940), $284 (920)

45nm Nehalem Quad-Core Die

We're going to summarize many of the main details again here, but if you'd like to check out our complete coverage of the Core i7 (Nehalem)
and the X58 Express chipset, the list of articles above covers just about all there is to know.

ntel has said that that Nehalem represents the biggest platform architecture change in the company's history to date. While there are some big
changes ushered in by this new platform, the Core i7 processors are not entirely new and do borrow heavily from Penryn.

Monolithic Quad-Core:
The Core i7 does differ from its predecessors in a number of ways, however. For one, Core i7 processors feature a monolithic die that house
all four execution cores. If you remember, all of Intel's previous quad-core offerings were built by linking two dual-core dies on a single
package. Intel's 45nm high-k metal gate manufacturing process will be use to produce all initial Core i7 processors.

Integrated Memory Controller:
In perhaps the biggest change to the CPU's design, Core i7 processors feature an on-die, triple channel, DDR3 memory controller that support
three channels of DDR3 memory per socket, with up to the three DIMMs per channel. The memory controller for Intel's previous desktop
processors was always integrated into the Northbridge chip, which is part of the core logic chipset. By moving the memory controller on die,
and increasing the number of channels, Core i7 processors offer significantly more bandwidth than their predecessors and lower latency as

Quick Path Interconnect:
Moving the memory controller on-die, also allowed Intel to design a new serial interconnect that resides between the CPU and chipset, dubbed
QPI (Quick Path Interconnect). And with the memory controller on-die, that also means there is no more traditional front side bus. QPI is a
serial point-to-point interconnect that offers up to 25.6GB/s of bandwidth per port over 40 data lanes--20 in each direction.

Deeper Buffers, New Cache Structure:
Something else coming with Intel's Core i7 processors is a new cache structure. Core i7 processors
feature L1, L2, and shared L3 caches, as
opposed to Core 2 processors that have only L1 and L2 cache. There is a 64K L1 cache
(32K Instruction, 32K Data) per core, 1MB of total L2 cache (256K per core), and a shared 8MB of L3 cache. We should note, however, that the
L3 cache size may vary in future version of the CPU.

Although we don't have the specific details, Intel has also stated that Core i7 processors have "deeper buffers" than their Penryn-based
counterparts, but the stages in the pipeline are largely unchanged.

Hyper-Threading Returns:
Intel is also bringing back Hyper-Threading with the new Core i7 processors. Hyper-Threading was first
introduced in the Pentium 4 days and allows the Core i7's four cores to be recognized as eight virtual
cores by the system's OS. While Hyper-Threading 1.0 was criticized for being energy inefficient, Intel
claims this latest iteration is much more power friendly and performance should be better too.

Power Management and Turbo Mode:
Intel is also introducing new "Power Gates" with the Nehalem micro-architecture. In addition to reducing
leakage power, Power Gates allow idle cores to enter a deep sleep state (C6) while other cores may be
under load. Core i7 processors also feature integrated power sensors and an integrated Power Control
Unit that allows the processor to perform real-time monitoring of each core's current, power, and voltage
states. One of the reasons why having onboard power controllers and an integrated Power Control Unit is
integral to the Core i7 is that it enables the CPU to divert power from idle cores to active cores in what Intel
calls "Turbo Mode." If a particular core is being heavily taxed, it can tap into some of the power that would
ordinarily be used to for one of the other cores if it is not currently in use.  Turbo Mode typically increases
performance of a single core, or the entire CPU by one speed bin; a 3.2GHz Core i7 processor with a stock
multiplier of 24, for example, will operate with a multiplier of 25 when in Turbo Mode.  Through
overclocking, however, these parameters can be changed, and Turbo Mode could result in further speed

Above we have a die shot of Nehalem with each of its major sections labeled. As you can see, the memory
controller resides along the top edge of the die, with miscellaneous I/O and QPI links along either edge.
The four executions cores are lined up through the middle, with a instruction queue in between, and the
shared L3 cache below.

With the new Core i7 processors, Intel is also introducing a new 1366 pin socket. The new LGA 1366
socket looks and functions much like the current LGA 775 socket for Core 2 processors, but it is slightly
larger. Pictured above is an LGA 1366 socket open without a CPU, and closed with a Core i7 CPU installed.
Also note, the mounting holes for the CPU cooler are further apart than an LGA 775 socket. More on that

Vital Sighns & Overclocking
On the surface, Intel's new Core i7 processors look much like their predecessors, but the new architecture
and socket obviously results in some major differences between the two. What you see pictured here is a
Core i7 920 processor...

The new Core i7 processors are similar to Core 2 processors in that they have a similar looking heat-
spreader and packaging material, but the similarities end there. Core i7 processors are physically larger
than Core 2 processors, they have significantly more pads and surface mounted components on their
underside, and there are pads on the top edge as well. Whether or not those pads on the top side of the
chips can be used for some interesting mods remains to be seen.

In these side by side comparisons of a Core i7 and Core 2 processors, the differences between the two
can clearly be seen. The Core 2 processor is noticeably smaller, and the density and number of pads on its
underside is obviously reduced.

Overclocking The Core i7 Pedal To The Metal

Intel Core i7 Extreme 965 CPU-Z Details
We fired up the latest version of CPU-Z to give you all a glimpse into the Core i7 platform’s inner workings, with a Core i7 Extreme 965 installed
in an Intel X58SO motherboard. In its stock configuration the Core i7 Extreme 965 processor powering the platform is clocked at 3.2GHz (24 x
133MHz, 6.3GT/s QPI link speed) with a 1.16v core voltage. The process technology is correctly identified as 45nm and the processor uses Intel’
s new Socket 1366 LGA packaging. The processor cache configuration information and QPI link speed are listed as well.

Intel Core i7 Extreme 965 Processor Overclocked beyond 4.1GHz
We also did some overclocking to see how much headroom these early Core i7 processors have left untapped under their hoods. Because the
Core i7 Extreme 965 has its overspeed protection removed--i.e. its multipliers are unlocked--we overclocked the processor by raising its
multiplier to 25 and also experimented with an increased QPI speed. With the core voltage raised to 1.4v and the memory voltage tapped at 1.65
v, we were able to take our particular processor up to a stable 4.15GHz with air-cooling.

As you may have heard in the weeks leading up to today's announcement, the Core i7 processor, and in particular its integrated memory
controller, are sensitive to increased voltages. Memory voltages higher than 1.65v are not recommended and could damage the CPU. In light of
this, memory manufacturers have begun shipping triple-channel DDR3 memory kits capable of relatively high frequencies with voltages no
higher than 1.65v.As they typically do when launching a line of processors based on a new micro-architecture, Intel will also be releasing the
X58 Express chipset to support Core i7 processors. Due to the fact that Core i7 processors have their memory controllers integrated into the
CPU die, however, the X58 isn't so much a brand new chipset as it is an adaptation of existing technologies to support the Core i7.

As you can see, the X58 Express chipset consists of the X58 I/O hub and the ICH10 - ICH10R Southbridge, which was first introduced with the
P45 chipset for the LGA775 platform. The X58 is equipped with up to 36 lanes of PCI Express 2.0 connectivity, that with flexible lane
configurations possible to support multiple graphics cards. The X58 has native support for ATI's CrossFireX technology, and NVIDIA has
opened SLI up to the X58 platform as well, but motherboard manufacturers have to submit their boards for evaluation to NVIDIA and in order to
enable SLI, the board's BIOS must be outfitted with the necessary hooks. We've got more information regarding SLI support on the X58
available here.

Notice the three channels of DDR3 memory hang directly off the processor in the diagram above, and that the CPU is linked to the IOH over a
QPI link capable of offering up to 25.6GB/s of bandwidth. This kind bandwidth is possible per QPI port because the link is comprised of 40
dedicated data lanes (20 in each direction).

The ICH10 Southbridge supports 6 SATA ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, HD audio, 6 PCI Express x1 lanes and Intel 82567 Gigabit LAN. Many X58
Express based motherboards, however, will feature the ICH10R, which also adds support for Intel Matrix RAID storage technology. Notice,
there is no legacy PATA or LPT support here.

For the purposes of this article, we got our hands on a number of X58 Express-based motherboards. We've got a trio of them pictured below,
and we'll be showing you a couple more in a video spotlight that will accompany this article.

Intel DX58SO Smackover Motherboard
First up, we have the Intel "Smackover" DX58SO. This will be Intel's premiere desktop motherboard for
Core i7 processors. It features 4 DIMM slots, a 6-phase power array, and obviously an LGA1366 socket.
The expansion slots on the board consist of dual PCI Express x16 PEG slots, dual PCI Express x1 slots, a
single PCI slot, and a notched PCI Express x4 slot that features a retention clip to accommodate a
standard graphics card. As of this time, the DX58SO supports ATI's CrossFire multi-GPU technology, but it
does not support SLI.

All of the DX58SO's major components (IOH, SB, VRM) are adorned with aluminum heatsinks, and all of the
board's expansion headers and connectors are clearly labeled and situated around the edges of the PCB.
The I/O backplane houses two eSATA ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, a single Firewire port, a LAN jack, and
analog and digital audio outputs. No legacy connectors are to be found here.

Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme Motherboard
Next up we have the elaborate Gigabyte GA-EX58 Extreme. Of the three motherboards featured here, this one has the most outrageous cooling
apparatus, which includes an optional bolt-on, slot mounted array of heat-pipes and heatsink fins and an integrated water-block. The GA-EX58
Extreme is a member of Gigabyte's new Ultra Durable 3 family of products, and as such it supports the company's Dynamic Energy Saver (DES)
technology and sports all solid capacitors. The board's slot configuration consists of three PCI Express x16 PEG slots, a single x1, a notched
x4 slot, and dual PCI slots. We should note, the GA-EX58 Extreme supports both CrossFireX and SLI.

There are eight internal SATA ports, six DIMM slots, a POST code error reporter, a 12-phase power array, and integrated power and clear-
CMOS switches on the board. As you can see, everything is color coded and clearly labeled as well, and overall the layout is good. The I/O
backplane is loaded up with PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, coax and optical audio outputs, a Firewire port, clear-CMOS switch, eight USB 2.0
ports, dual LAN jacks, and six other analog audio outputs/inputs. The BIOS on this board is also very feature-rich and should please even the
most hardcore tweakers out there.

Asus P6T Deluxe with OC Palm Motherboard
Finally, we present to you the ASUS P6T Deluxe. Like the Gigabyte board, the P6T features an elaborate cooling apparatus, but without
provisions for water-cooling. We don't think this is an issue, however, as the X58 chipset generates relatively little heat due to the fact that Intel
brought the memory controller onto the Core i7 CPU itself minimizing complexity of the NB. The P6T Deluxe features 6 DIMM slots, integrated
power and reset switches, 16-phase power, six SATA ports, dual SAS ports, and all of its headers and various connectors are clearly labeled
and mounted around the edges of the PCB.

The ASUS P6T Deluxe features three PCI Express x16 PEG slots, dual PCI slots, and a single PCI Express x1 slot. While the board does support
SLI and CrossFire, the slots are positioned in such a way that 3-Way SLI is not possible. The P6T Deluxe's I/O backplane is home to a combo
keyboard / mouse PS2 port, coax and optical audio outputs, a Firewire port, an eSATA port, eight USB 2.0 ports, dual LAN jacks, and six other
analog audio outputs/inputs.  The P6T also features a very complete and tweaker friendly BIOS, but perhaps most interesting to overclockers is
the included "OC Palm" device. ASUS' OC Palm looks like the Vista slide-show compatible Screen Duo bundled with the company's Vista
Edition motherboards last year. While it may look like the Screen Duo, the OC Palm is quite different. With the OC Palm device, user's can alter
voltages, multipliers, and the QPI base clock from within Windows, to overclock on the fly.
Here you will find a great source of information on Intel's new Monsta Socket 1366 i7 Core Processor CPU.  From witch CPU heatsinks
Processor fan coolers perform best as well as quiet to Motherboards and ram access memory.
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Why not spare your hearing with Acoustic PC’s Quiet Computer Cooling and Soundproofing
Solutions. Acoustic PC Stocks Quiet Computer Parts. Quiet PC Fans, Quiet CPU Coolers, Quiet
Power Supply, Quiet Computer Cases, PC Sound Dampening insulation, Ant-vibration Noise
Reduction materials such as Silicone Fan Mounts, Sorbothane Feet for Ultra Low noise PC's. We
also sell Silent PC Hardware components and Gaming products such as Fanless Silent Video
cards, SSD Drives, Professional Gaming peripherals for serious Gamers. Audio products & more.
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