Core i7 Processor Family
The Core i7 represents the pinnacle of Intel's current (early 2010) processor lineup, as it includes the largest memory caches, fastest clock speeds and real-world performance benchmarks, and the most advanced processor technologies, including hardware virtualization, 64-bit support, automatic overclocking on demand, and others.
Core i7 and Core i7 Extreme Edition 900 Series
These processors represent the fastest of the group and include the following features:
- Four processor coresProvides outstanding support for multitasking.
- Intel HT Technology (hyperthreading)When enabled, hyperthreading enables the processor to handle twice the process threads possible with physical processor cores only. In other words, a four-core processor can handle up to eight threads, while a two-core processor can handle up to four threads.
- 8MB intelligent cache memoryAny location in unified cache memory can be used by any processor core.
- Integrated memory controller supporting three channels of DDR3 memoryBy integrating the memory controller in the processor core, system performance improves.
- Intel HD Boost (SSE4.2 instructions) support for faster digital media throughput.
- Intel Quick Path Interconnect (PDF link) between processor and chipsetQuick Path Interconnect provides much faster throughput between processor, memory, and chipset than the older front side bus architecture can. QPI runs at 4.8 gigatransfers per second (GT/s) in Core i7 900 series; 6.4GT/s in Extreme Edition 900 series.
- Intel Turbo BoostTurbo Boost switches processor speed in 133MHz increments from base to maximum clock speed as needed, essentially providing a manufacturer-sanctioned automatic overclocking capability.
- Intel VT-x (hardware virtualization support)Hardware virtualization support is required by Microsoft's new Windows Virtual PC virtualization program for Windows 7, and enables faster virtual machine (VM) performance with any virtualization program that supports hardware virtualization.
- Support for 64-bit operating systems and applications (Intel 64 architecture).
- Based on "Bloomfield" architecture.
Core i7 800 Series
These processors provide lower performance than the 900 series by virtue of using a dual-channel memory controller and the older (and slower) slower DMI interconnect between processor and chipset. Here are the major features of this series:
- Four processor cores
- Intel HT Technology (hyperthreading)
- 8MB intelligent cache memory
- Integrated memory controller supporting two channels of DDR3 memory
- Intel HD Boost (SSE4.2 instructions) support
- Intel Direct Media Interface (DMI) interconnect between processor and chipset2.5GT/s
- Intel Turbo Boost overclocking
- Intel VT-x hardware virtualization
- Intel 64 architecture
- Based on "Lynnfield" architecture
To learn more, see Intel's ARK website: Core i7 Desktop Processor.