Beyond dual core: 2007 desktop CPU road map


As Intel shifts to multicore processing, the bus speed becomes a more pressing concern because of the increased volume of data traffic generated by separate CPU cores. The front-side bus (FSB) is the primary channel of data communication between the CPU and other devices on the system, such as RAM and hard drives. It's essentially a single-lane highway with limited bandwidth. As CPU manufacturers stack more processing cores onto a single processor, the risk that this data channel will become full increases, hence the need for faster FSB speeds.

Thus, one of the most significant releases Intel will make in 2007 is a brand-new chip set foundation code-named "Bearlake." This chip set is the successor to the 975X chip set and will feature a number of upgrades and improvements. The P35 Express will be released first in the second quarter of 2007 and will feature two key upgrades: an all-new 1,333-MHz FSB and support for DDR2-800 and DDR3-1066 memory.

Intel recently announced official names for the first wave of Bearlake chip sets. The G35 and G33 monikers will be attached to mainstream consumer desktop chip sets. The G35 chip set will feature an integrated DirectX 10-compatible graphics processor.

The P35 Express and X38 Express will be Intel's performance-oriented, high-end versions of Bearlake. The X38 will feature the same 1,333-MHz FSB and DDR2-800/DDR3-1066 memory support found in the P35 Express, and it will also feature two PCI-Express x16 slots and PCI Express 2.0, which is twice as fast as PCI-Express 1.0 (5 GHz, compared with 2.5 GHz).

1,333-MHz front-side bus CPUs by midyear