This morning Intel has introduced their new mainstream desktop chipset, the Intel P55, and has brought forth the Core i5 processor family along with new Core i7 processors for use with this new chipset and socket. Intel sent us out a review kit of this new hardware so we are already able to comment on its Linux compatibility. In this article we are talking specifically about the Intel P55 and its Linux compatibility with regard to the Intel DP55KG motherboard while in the next article we have Ubuntu Linux benchmarks using an Intel Core i5 750 and Core i7 870.
The P55 is Intel's replacement for the P45 Chipset that brings compatibility for Lynnfield processors, which are the new LGA-1156 socket Core i5/i7 CPUs based upon the Nehalem architecture. The P55 is also compatible with the yet to be released Havendale processors. Unlike Intel's earlier Core processors and chipsets, the same CPUs are not compatible across Intel's spectrum of motherboards and chipsets with Nehalem and Lynnfield. Intel Core i5 processors are compatible with the P55 as with the Core i7 800 series. However, the Core i7 900 series that have been around since last year, they are only compatible with the X58 and not the P55. The P55 is using Socket LGA-1156 where as the X58 has Socket LGA-1366.
Intel's Lynnfield processors support Intel Turbo Boost Technology, Intel Smart Cache (8MB), Hyper-Threading Technology (only with the Core i7 models), and many of the other features found on the original Nehalem processors. The integrated memory controller on the Lynnfield processors support two DDR3-1333MHz channels, it's not a triple memory controller like found on the Core i7 900 series. The Intel Core i5 750 is a quad-core processor clocked at 2.66GHz but with Intel's Turbo Boost Technology supports an operating frequency up to 3.2GHz. The other processor we are looking at, the Intel Core i7 870 has a base clock of 2.93GHz but can scale up to 3.6GHz for its turbo frequency. The Core i7 870 also has Hyper Threading, which makes up for eight logical cores. Intel has also launched the Core i7 860, which has a base clock of 2.8GHz and turbo frequency up to 3.46GHz. The TDP for these three Lynnfield processors is 95 Watts. The pricing on these processors is $199 USD for the Core i5 750, $285 for the Core i7 860, and $555 for the Core i7 870.
Motherboard manufacturers deploying the P55 (formerly codenamed the "Ibex Peak") can choose to either provide a single PCI Express x16 slot with full PCI-E x16 bandwidth or to provide two PCI Express x16 slots but with only half the number of lanes. The P55 also provides eight PCI Express x1 lanes for other expansion capabilities along with 14 USB 2.0 ports, Intel Gigabit LAN, Intel Extreme Tuning Support, Intel High Definition Audio, six Serial ATA 2.0 ports, eSATA, and Intel Matrix Storage Technology.