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Intel Nehalem-EX: Xeon made bigger and badder

by Parm Mann on 27 May 2009, 17:37

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Taking a look at Intel's ultra high-end server parts - or AMD's, for that matter - is somewhat similar to taking a look at an adult entertainment star. They're mighty tasty to geeks the world over, but they're unlikely to end up in our homes - still, we can't help but look on and salivate.

Today, we'll do a spot of drooling over Intel's latest-greatest, the Nehalem-EX. As readers will no doubt be aware, the octo-core part has been doing the rounds since early in 2009 and is still some way from shipping. Intel states that Nehalem-EX is on track for production in the second half of 2009, but we wouldn't expect the first Nehalem-EX-based systems to ship until early 2010.

In the meantime, the semiconductor giant has opted to divulge just enough information to keep everyone interested. First up, a customary die shot.

As we know, Nehalem-EX essentially takes all the goodness of Intel's Nehalem architecture and multiplies it wherever possible. A single Nehalem-EX part, as pictured above, is built on Intel's 45nm high-k metal gate fab and squeezes eight hyper-threading-enabled cores onto a single piece of silicon. That's 16 threads in total (eight physical and eight virtual), from a monolithic chip consisting of 2.3 billion transistors.