Strolling Through Lynnfield: Intel's New SuperFast SuperAffordable CPU! Part 5
Let's face it. I'm very biased towards the Core i7 920 as the darn thing is a rocketship. I've had it since the beginning of this year and I can certainly state with absolutely no reservations that 2009 was the year of lighting speed on my desktop. Finally I didn't have to go out to Starbucks and get a Venti Coffee Frappucino, come back, and still find Photoshop applying a filter onto a humongous file. Now Photoshop CS4 opens in a couple of seconds, and I have yet to throw anything at that huge infamous Adobe branded CPU and RAM hog that it doesn't just jump at and complete in the wink of an eye!
However, if I was putting together a system right now, I'd opt for the Core i7 870. Even though the Core i7 9xx series benefits from a bus speed of 4.8 GT/s QPI while the smaller Socket LGA 1156 tops out at a paltry 2.5 GT/s DMI, it sure as heck doesn't seem to have affected the SYSMark 2007 Overall scores for the Core i7 870!
The extra performance is only partly due to the Core i7 870 clock per clock advantage over the trusty Core i7 920. The new Socket LGA 1156 chip runs at 2.93 GHz out of the box, leaving the 2.66 GHz Core i7 920 a full 270 MHz in the dust.
The 9% advantage in the SYSMark 2007 Overall scores are almost exactly matched to the 10% increase in clock speed, all of which goes to disprove the old adage that bus speed is critical to the overall performance of a computer system. Here we have the 2.93 GHz Core i7 870 beating 2.66 GHz Core i7 920 on an almost exact clock to clock basis although the bus speed on the 2.93 GHz Core i7 870 is half that of the 2.66 GHz Core i7 920.
The face to face comparison between the older 2.66 GHz Core i7 920 and the newer 2.93 GHz Core i7 870 is most definitely an eye opener as it seems that the Socket LGA 1156 may not seem to be as handicapped in comparison to the Socket LGA 1366 as may have first been believed.
Let's get onto a comprehensive look at the new Intel processors, which are carrying the Lynnfield moniker to differentiate them from the earlier Bloomfield processors.
Bloomfield is a 45nm process CPU with a die size of 263 mm2, a transistor count of 731M and of course based on the Socket LGA 1366. Lynnfield is a 45nm process CPU with a die size of 296 mm2, a transistor count of 774M and is on the new Socket LGA 1156.
It's very interesting to note that although the Lynnfield processor is based on a Socket LGA 1156 which has fewer pins or "contact points" than the older Socket LGA 1366, the newer CPU is actually larger. The main reason for the size discrepancy is the fact that the Lynnfield has an on die PCIe controller which is left off of the die of the earlier Bloomfield CPUs.