Intel Core i5 661, Core i5 750 and Intel H55TC review
Author: Vedran Dakic
Date: 10 Jan 2010

For about three months now, we have been talking about the next step in Intel's tick-tock strategy of introducing products. All of the new i series CPUs were made using Nehalem architecture, so the new 32 nm CPUs represent only a die shrink, in case of i5 661, a die shrink of the Lynnfield processor. Die shrinks are the tick part of the strategy, while the introduction of the Nehalem microarchitecture was a tock. To even talk about its accompanying motherboard, we must first see what the new CPU is all about.

As with other Nehalem based CPUs, the new Clarksdale CPUs all use large amounts of L3 cache, with relatively small L2 and L1 caches. They also utilize Hyper-Threading, or executing two parallel threads on a single core, effectively utilizing otherwise idle stages of the pipeline. The processor fits to the LGA 1156 socket, which makes 1156 the new standard for all except the most expensive solutions still using LGA 1366. i5 661 can be used in any such motherboard, but to get the full functionality of the new processor, you will need one of the new motherboards.

As we can see, there are two dies in the i5 661 package. One is the CPU itself, and the other one is the GPU. The GPU itself is a next generation of Intel’s GMA. When compared to the GMA X4500 from the G45 chipset, the new one has only 2 shaders more, which clearly means there will be no competition to even the cheapest discrete graphics cards.

As we can see, the CPU and GPU are not part of the same die. The CPU with its cache is located on one, 32 nm die.


 
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