2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Introduction Continued

Processor Feature Details
• Four or two execution cores
• A 32-KB instruction and 32-KB data first-level cache (L1) for each core
• A 256-KB shared instruction/data second-level cache (L2) for each core
• Up to 8-MB shared instruction/data third-level cache (L3), shared among all cores

Supported Technologies
• Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel® VT-d)
• Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT-x)
• Intel® Active Management Technology 7.0 (Intel® AMT 7.0)
• Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT)
• Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.1 (Intel® SSE4.1)
• Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.2 (Intel® SSE4.2)
• Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology
• Intel® 64 Architecture
• Execute Disable Bit
• Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
• Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX)
• Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI)
• PCLMULQDQ Instruction

Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX)
Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) is the latest expansion of the Intel instruction set. It extends the Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE) from 128-bit vectors into 256-bit vectors. Intel AVX addresses the continued need for vector floating-point performance in mainstream scientific and engineering numerical applications, visual processing, recognition, data-mining/synthesis, gaming, physics, cryptography and other areas of applications. The enhancement in Intel AVX allows for improved performance due to wider vectors, new extensible syntax, and rich functionality including the ability to better manage, rearrange, and sort data

Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI)
The processor supports Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI) that are a set of Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions that enable fast and secure data encryption and decryption based on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES-NI are valuable for a wide range of cryptographic applications; such as, applications that perform bulk encryption/decryption, authentication, random number generation, and authenticated encryption. AES is broadly accepted as the standard for both government and industry applications, and is widely deployed in various protocols.  AES-NI consists of six Intel® SSE instructions. Four instructions, AESENC, AESENCLAST, AESDEC, and AESDELAST facilitate high performance AES encryption and decryption. The other two, AESIMC and AESKEYGENASSIST, support the AES key expansion procedure. Together, these instructions provide a full hardware for supporting AES, offering security, high performance, and a great deal of flexibility.

Within these 18 months the dawning of time has changed the way gaming and workstations functioned. Intel’s i7 CPU and the X58 chipset most certainly had us in awe. This brought forward our articles on “The Need for Speed”. Whether a Single socket Nehalem/Westmere CPU or Dual socket Nehalem/Westmere CPU’s many have seen life changing opportunities to their gaming rigs, or as we fully focus upon the workstation environment. The changes have been huge and productivity has taken the biggest leaps forward in many years. Not withstanding the costs of SSD’s has dropped dramatically and improved substantially meaning some of the most fastest systems around are being build today being a primary example. To improve instruction level parallelism in Sandy Bridge a new Physical Register File was used instead of a centralized Retirement File that keeps a single copy of every piece of data and doesn’t require movement or shuffling after calculation. This actually allows the processor to have an increase in buffer size of about 33% and is a key enabler of the Intel Advanced Vector Extensions instruction set. Intel’s Advanced Vector Extensions extend the SSE floating point instructions set to 256-bit and includes new operations to enhance the vectorisation of data. This allows the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family to potentially double floating point operations per second without an increase in power consumption and in a non-destructive way to previous instruction set implementations. Intel Advanced Vector Extensions will allow for a simultaneous 256-bit multiply, ADD and load per clock – a great improvement for applications that take advantage of it.

Once more we now see a significant change in areas with Intel’s new offerings from the Nehalem family and enter the Sandy Bridge variant. This variant though once more brings with it some very clever technological major changes to the CPU and mainboard and these will be covered briefly as we delve into the workings of both.

In terms of media processing, the processor graphics solution integrated within Sandy Bridge it has a dramatically improved performance over its previous generations. Providing a combination of both programmable and fixed architecture choices including execution units that are optimised for media workloads. Within Sandy Bridge there is native support of many popular mainstream codec’s and the parallel engines provide enough bandwidth for high throughput video rendering.

The first Sandy Bridge chips to be unveiled last week are as listed below

EFI the Next Generation Bios for Sandy Bridge
Most LGA1155 mainboards will use the new system to allow its owner to control of its hardware at the most elementary level. The EFI (which we have covered in previous articles), or Extensible Firmware Interface, is an update to the current BIOS technology. The new system still carries out the core functions of a BIOS, regulating your PC, setting frequencies and managing the pre-boot data flow between the operating system and hardware peripherals much more supple than the current Bios programs.

EFI supports network connections and theoretically one will be able to update an EFI BIOS direct from the Internet. This will make remote system administrators lives so much easier.

Yes you have read the Turbo Boost settings correctly.   On firing up for the first time the mainboard with the CPU we bounced straight into the bios we were readily surprised at the greeting of seeing 3.8GHz in the Turbo Boost.   Pretty overwhelming to say the least


With the CPU covered we next move onwards to the new range of Intel Mainboards over the page

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