In this paper the we will talk about multi-core processors, specifically the Intel Core i7 processor. We will discuss what a processor is, what it’s used for in computer architectures, look at some different types of intel i7 processors and see how the cache component is implemented within intel i7 processors.
First let’s discuss what a multi-core processor is and discuss its job in a computer. A multi-core processor is a computer architecture with multiple cores that read and execute program instructions. Since the single processor has multiple cores, it can run multiple instructions on each core at the same time which allows for enhanced performance, reduced power consumption and concurrent processing of multiple tasks.
In November 2008, Intel released the first generation of the Core i7 family. The first generation of included the very popular Nehalem processor and the Westmere (both 1st generation).
Since then Intel has developed 7 more generations of Core i7 processors to the i7 family. The Core i7 8700K revealed in September of 2017 belongs to the Coffee Lake (8th generation) family and has been discussed to be the best gaming processor intel has ever produced. TechRadar, on online publication that focuses of technology has also voted the Intel Core i7-7820X which belongs to the Skylake (6th generation) family to be the best video editing processor on the market in 2018.
The most significant difference brought with the Core i7 was the elimination of the north bridge or memory controller hub. They accomplished this by developing onboard memory and PCI-e controllers. The purpose of a memory controller was to perform DRAM refreshing as well as reading and writing to memory, while the PCI-e controller interfaces with the GPU. In all previous processors intel has developed, the memory and graphics controllers were left up to the motherboard manufacturer to implement. With this change, memory and graphics latency have been both reduced and standardized.
Hyper-Threading Technology is a way of simultaneously multithreading technology introduced by Intel. This technology creates two virtual processing cores for each physical core in the processor. The physical core then powers the virtual cores which allows for the virtual cores to share the processing tasks. Hyper-Threaded processors have the same advantages as a multi-core processor but the multi-core hyper-threaded processor has better performance because of the fact that each core has its own virtual cores, and both virtual cores together exceed the processing power of a single physical core.
Core I7 (Nehalem) Cache and Memory System
Nehalem features a 3-Level cache hierarchy. There is a 64KB Level 1 cache, a 256 Level 2 cache (1 for each core, not shared) and an 8MB Level 2 cache (shared between cores).
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