updated 07:45 am EDT, Tue April 21, 2009
Intel Calpella Early CPUs
A leak hints Intel's first use of its Nehalem architecture in a notebook processor, on the Calpella platform, may only include three processors all targeted at the high end of the market. Where most notebook processor launches often cover most of the range, DigiTimes hears the earliest chips will only be quad-core models (codenamed Clarksfield) and should include the Core 2 Quad P1, Core 2 Quad P2 and the Core 2 Extreme XE. Bulk prices would start at $364 for the P1 and scale up to $546 and $1,054 for the P2 and XE respectively.
Part of the decision revolves around clearing out stock of the older-generation processors and the Montevina platform before rolling out inexpensive chips.
The actual specifications of the processors aren't known, though their clock speeds won't necessarily need to be as high as for Intel's current mobile architecture, Penryn. Nehalem is more efficient at similar speeds and includes techniques to improve performance depending on the number of cores needed for a given app, including Turbo Boost to speed up one core while shutting down others as well as Hyperthreading to run as many as 8 program threads at once on a quad-core chip. The P1 and P2 are likely to use about 35W of power, in line with existing notebook chips, while the XE is likely to use 45W and remain limited to large, desktop replacement notebooks.
The chipset itself may omit integrated graphics on launch and will need either a third-party integrated core or a dedicated graphics chipset to work properly, also driving up the price.
Calpella and the processors are reportedly still on track for summer. Arrandale, a 32nm version of Intel's notebook processors, isn't anticipated until 2010.