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Exclusive: Intel “Skulltrail 2” is based upon 8-Core Nehalem-EX




During Computex, we sat down with Intel and discussed various high-end platforms. There is a possibility of a product akin to a possible successor to the current Skulltrail, that would incorporate dual Nehalem-EX CPU. In our discussions with Intel’s execs and gurus on the both desktop and commercial side, we learned of yet another possible Skulltrail successor. Sean Malone’s statement “Desktop is not Dead” is more than just words, with a true V16 being considered.

Also, the possibility is still there for a 32nm Westmere-based follow up to the Nehalem-EP product in the same timeframe, providing for a 12-core normal DP product as an answer to Fiorano platform by Intel’s direct competitor.

How about 32-threads in Task Manager?

Two of these babies make up for a total of 16 core, 32 thread platform with a 512-bit memory controller and potentially up to 102 GB/s of system memory bandwidth.

Those octal-core 24 MB L3 cache Nehalem-EX “Beckton” processors won’t be just powering those gigantic enterprise servers with 1 TB RAM per box. Possible Skulltrail successor could bring a dual-CPU monster with 16-core, 32-threads machine is what we mean. A humongous 48 MB L3 cache fed by eight channels of micro-buffered DDR3 memory, up to 256 GB of it even on a desktop?

Many OS and apps code paths would now nicely fit in that huge cache, but high speed memory would still be useful for streaming and HPC apps. Every Nehalem-EX Beckton processor has a quad-memory controller, e.g. 256-bit interface. With DDR3-1333, you will get 85.3 GB/s. But with DDR3-1600 you would get 102.4GB/s e.g. CPUs would have more than 100GB/s of system bandwidth for the first time in history!

As a bonus, you would still be inside JEDEC specifications, thus OEMs could qualify the parts with no problems. If micro-buffered controllers improve enough to hold up the 1333 and 1600 clock, seeing 100GB/s in Sandra 2009-2010 could be just a matter of time.

Today, the top desktop gaming machine you can get is still Skulltrail with eight cores total, not more than 16GB of hot and slow FB-DIMM memory and either ATI Radeon 4870X2 in Crossfire-X or nVidia GeForce GTX295 in QuadSLI mode. Tomorrow just might bring another monster to the frame.

Original Author: Nebojsa Novakovic

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