Intel’s 32nm CPUs – full technical details

Intel is gearing up to launch its first ever 32nm CPUs, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Intel’s 32nm CPUs - full technical details

Read our complete review of Intel’s 32nm Core i3-530 processor here

A total of 17 new processors, including both desktop and mobile parts, will fill out the Core i5 and Core i7 series and introduce the first lightweight Core i3-branded models.

The 32nm “Westmere” architecture is essentially a die-shrink of the 45nm Nehalem design, bringing reduced power consumption and potentially reduced costs, though launch prices are expected to be similar to existing Core 2-branded chips.

It also brings one major change: a GPU is now integrated directly into the processor package. The new graphics chip, dubbed Intel HD Graphics, won’t satisfy hardcore gamers, but it offers HD decoding in hardware and Intel promises it will be powerful enough for “casual gaming fun”.

As a bonus for businesses, the chips also bring new instructions to accelerate AES encryption operations.

According to Intel’s roadmap, the new Westmere processors, along with the Core i5 and Core i7 parts already launched, are set to fully replace the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad brands in early 2010.

The 32nm range in detail

The new parts are all dual-core models, with Hyper-Threading enabling them to appear to the OS as quad-core processors. Core i5 and Core i7 models use Intel’s “Turbo Boost” technology to dynamically overclock individual cores to suit the workload, though this ability is disabled in Core i3 chips.

The desktop models, known as Clarkdale, all offer 512KB of L2 cache and a 4MB shared L3 cache. They use the LGA 1156 socket introduced last September, though the onboard IGP requires a motherboard using the new H55 or H57 chipset.

The range starts with the i3-530 and i3-540, with clock speeds of 2.93GHz and 3.06GHz respectively. Above sit the Core i5-650, 660 and 670, with core clock speeds ranging from 3.2GHz up to 3.4GHz – though Turbo Boost lets individual cores rise as high as 3.7GHz in the most powerful model.

No Westmere Core i7s have been announced for the desktop, but there is a misfit Core i5-661, identical to the i5-660 but with the graphics core boosted from the standard 733MHz to 900MHz. This raises TDP from 73W to 87W, though typical power consumption in everyday use should be less than half that.

The remainder of the new parts are mobile designs, codenamed Arrandale. Eleven new mobile chips will cover a wide spread of clock speeds and cache configurations, and include Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 designations.

Model numbers are to be suffixed “M”, “LM” or “UM” to differentiate between mobile, low-voltage and ultra-low-voltage parts, with TDPs of 35W, 25W and 18W respectively.

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