INTRODUCTION TO INTEL® i7 EXTREME PROCESSORSWhat makes these processors fastest, dynamic, intelligent ??• 64-bit Quad- core processor• Implements the NEHALEM architecture which implements: - Intel® QuickPath Architecture - 8MB Intel® Smart Cache Technology - Intel® HT Technology - Intel® Turbo-Boost Technology - Second Generation Intel® Virtualization Technology - Support for SSE4.2 and SSE4.1 instruction sets
Fig-1: Diagram showing technicalimprovements in the all new Intel® i7 Processors
INTEL® QUICKPATH ARCHITECTURE• Earlier, when a Memory Action is performed; control signals followed the following path: Memory Controllers Processor Memory Controllers Main Memory• Small Architectural change which realized significant increase in Memory Accessing Time, i.e. Memory Controller + Processor Intel® QuickPath Architecture features an Integrated Memory Controller and High-Speed Interconnect Bus linking processors and other components to deliver: Dynamically scalable interconnect bandwidth Outstanding memory performance and flexibility Tightly integrated interconnect reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) Optimal balance of price, performance, and energy efficiency.
Fig-2: Block Diagram showing the Intel® Quick Path Architecture
8MB INTEL® SMART CACHE TECHNOLOGY (3-LEVEL CACHE HIERARCHY)• Shared L2 cache is not suited to a native quad-core architecture as different cores can too frequently flush data needed by another core.• Therefore in this NEHALAM architecture, each core is provided with a Level 2 cache of its own. Since it’s dedicated to a single core and relatively small (256 KB), enabled it to endow with very high performance; latency.• Then comes the enormous 8MB L3 cache for managing communications between cores.• ADVANTAGE OF CACHE HIERARCHY: If a core tries to access a data item and it’s not present in the Level 3 cache, there’s no need to look in the other cores’ private caches—the data item won’t be there either.• DISADVANTAGE OF CACHE HIERARCHY: Wasting part of the cache memory with data that is already in other cache levels.
Fig-3: Diagram representing Three Level Cache Hierarchy
Fig-4: Diagram showing Three-Level Cache Hierarchy in a Quad-Core Processor
INTEL® HT TECHNOLOGY (HYPER THREADING TECHNOLOGY)• In Hyper-Threading Technology the computer has one physical processor , but OS will see two logical processors and treat the system as if there were actually two processors.• Improves the performance under multi-tasking environments.• Intel HT Technology provides hardware multi-threading capability with a single physical package by using shared execution resources in a processor core.• Architecturally, a processor that supports Intel HT Technology consists of two or more logical processors, each of which has its own architectural state.• Each logical processor consists of a full set of data registers, segment registers, control registers, debug registers, and most of the MSRs. Each also has its own Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller
Fig-5: Comparison of a Processor SupportingHyper-Threading Technology and a Traditional Dual Processor System
Fig-6: Diagrammatic Demonstration of a Two Threaded Task with and without Hyper- Threading Technology
Fig-7: Diagram Showing Resource Allocationand Throughput in case of with and without HT Technology
INTEL® TURBO BOOST TECHNOLOGY• Activated when OS demands highest performance from the processor by scaling the operating frequency of the processor if its operating below power, current, and temperature specification limits.• It’s design concept in referred to as Dynamic Clocking.• When just one or two cores are being actively used; whatever power the other two or three cores would have been consumed is redirected to the active cores.• Turbo Boost can increase the frequency of all four cores until theyre running as fast as they can for the current workload.• The upper limit of Intel Turbo Boost Technology on a given workload is set by: (i) Number of active cores (ii) Estimated current consumption (iii) Estimated power consumption (iv)Processor temperature
Fig-8: Diagram showing the functionality of Turbo Boost Technology
Fig-9: Frequency scaling in different cases using Turbo Boost Technology
CONCLUSIONTodays processor are expected to providehigher performance. That’s what is exactlyprovided by the INTEL® i7 processors. Beingthe first of its kind, the INTEL® i7 processorhas continuously got good rating from all kindof users. All the new technologiesimplemented in INTEL® i7 processors willsurely lead to a great computing experience.