Wednesday, January 27th 2010

Core i7 Dual-Socket Operation Possible?

Intel's Core i7 processor in the LGA1366 package is currently leading in the performance front, some of the fastest processors for the desktop platform fall in this league. Despite lacking a directly competitive processor, the platform had its share of competition thanks to motherboard manufacturers competing within themselves. EVGA for one, is set to unveil a bleeding-edge motherboard later this year, which supports two LGA1366 processors. So far, enthusiasts working for EVGA have only disclosed that the motherboard would work with Intel's DP Xeon 5000 series LGA1366 processors, which are officially capable of working on dual-socket server and workstation motherboards.

However, a plausible rumor doing rounds has it that EVGA may attempt to make its motherboard work with Core i7 series processors - which are incapable to operate in pairs, at least from what we're led to believe. EVGA is attempting to do this by modifying the reference Intel design for the platform.

To begin with, Intel with use the 5500 series IO hub instead of X58 Express. A BIOS modification on the QuickPath Interconnect routing table will connect Processor1 to Processor2 via the IO hub, in absence of a physical QPI link between the two CPU sockets (enabled on the Xeon DP processors). This approach, while making the setup possible, also increases system interconnect latencies almost two-fold.

The approach could cut platform costs at a theoretical performance penalty, letting you use Core i7 or the cheaper Xeon UP processors. Use of Xeon DP processors could then still make for a good buy, if performance at any cost matters. Much like Intel's previous attempt at a dual-socket capable processor from the Core family (Core 2 Extreme QX9775), a real DP capable Core processor cannot be written off.

There is no comment yet from EVGA, in this regard.With inputs from Semi-Accurate.
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21 Comments on Core i7 Dual-Socket Operation Possible?

#1
ToTTenTranz
Ah reminds me of the Abit BP6 more than 10 years ago (wow, it's been that long!)



I had one. It was quite cheap (same as any other 440BX board) and buying two Celeron would cost less than a same speed Pentium 2 by then.

Unfortunately, having 2 CPUs by then wasn't useful at all, during the board's lifetime.
But hey, I was happy with it :P





Of course, this LGA1366 board will never be marketed towards budget systems..
Posted on Reply
#2
Morgoth
so in other words desktop i7s will work in dual socket lga1366 mainboards just as its xeon version?
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#4
douglatins
I would say great news, but that is actually something people should totally be expecting, since why make a Classified board that only real enthusiasts with 3K for spending in processors would get, I think that like only 10% of classified owners have a 975 instead of a 920.
Now spending 400+800 in a dual socket processing monster would be a lot more appealing to potential customers like myself
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#5
TheLostSwede
Hehe, had a BP6 with a pair of Celeron's in it. That was a fun rig, shame there were so few applications that took advantage of the second CPU back then...
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#6
Imsochobo
by: TheLostSwede
Hehe, had a BP6 with a pair of Celeron's in it. That was a fun rig, shame there were so few applications that took advantage of the second CPU back then...
I had a cant remember the name.

440BX dual Pentium III 550 mhz ;D
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#7
kid41212003
I thought they gonna put 2 i7 on a same package to make an 8 cores cpu.
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#8
W1zzard
by: EnJoY
Guys,

This was actually first reported by me from CES an hour after being the first person to see the board hands-on, here: http://www.techreaction.net/2010/01/07/exclusive-new-evga-classified-dual-proc-board-270-gt-w555/

You guys definitely extrapolated on this, but S|A shouldn't be acting like they got the scoop.
uh yes, the board is old news, what is new (even though i think shamino hinted at it during the meeting) is that core i7 UP cpus might work on a dual socket motherboard using the IOH as bridge for the second missing QPI link on either processor
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#9
ariff_tech
lucid hydra can make ati and nvidia gpu working together,
now evga try to make corei7 working with another core i7
i believe it possible.

hopefully someone try to make intel cpu working with amd cpu,:):):)
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#10
Fitseries3
Eleet Hardware Junkie
before anyone gets all huffy puffy about this i think it needs a bit of explaining.

to keep manufacturing costs down intel produces a single wafer of CPU cores and IOH cores, as they have for many years.

these cores are then divided and placed into their respectable packages.

xeons and i7s are all the same die.

what sets them apart is the xeon 5XXX series has 2 QPIs while the i7's and 3XXX series xeons get 1 QPI disabled.

this is also true with the intel 5520 server chipset which is used on the evga dual socket motherboard. it has 2 QPI links while the desktop counterpart x58 chipset is a neutered 5520 IOH chip that lacks the 2nd QPI link.

by disabling the 2nd QPI on both the CPU and IOH you also loose features that require the use of the 2nd QPI such as Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O which wouldnt make a huge difference on x58.

Posted on Reply
#11
ToTTenTranz
by: ariff_tech
hopefully someone try to make intel cpu working with amd cpu,:):):)
Back in the days of Socket 7, that would be possible.
Right now it would be a complete destruction of R&D resources.
Posted on Reply
#12
EnJoY
by: W1zzard
uh yes, the board is old news, what is new (even though i think shamino hinted at it during the meeting) is that core i7 UP cpus might work on a dual socket motherboard using the IOH as bridge for the second missing QPI link on either processor
Right, clearly I misunderstand what S|A was reporting, but it was never meant to be a slight at your post. I just don't have an account at S|A.
Posted on Reply
#13
W1zzard
by: Fitseries3
before anyone gets all huffy puffy about this i think it needs a bit of explaining.

to keep manufacturing costs down intel produces a single wafer of CPU cores and IOH cores, as they have for many years.

these cores are then divided and placed into their respectable packages.

xeons and i7s are all the same die.

what sets them apart is the xeon 5XXX series has 2 QPIs while the i7's and 3XXX series xeons get 1 QPI disabled.

this is also true with the intel 5520 server chipset which is used on the evga dual socket motherboard. it has 2 QPI links while the desktop counterpart x58 chipset is a neutered 5520 IOH chip that lacks the 2nd QPI link.

by disabling the 2nd QPI on both the CPU and IOH you also loose features that require the use of the 2nd QPI such as Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O which wouldnt make a huge difference on x58.

http://ark.intel.com/inc/images/diagrams/diagram-17.gif http://ark.intel.com/inc/images/diagrams/diagram-16.gif
and the news post suggests that even with 1 qpi on each cpu you can magically make SMP work by using the IOH as bridge. we're not talking about enabling the 2nd qpi link here
Posted on Reply
#14
Fitseries3
Eleet Hardware Junkie
oh i know... just wanting everyone to have some background on how things work so they can fully understand whats trying to be accomplished by EVGA here.
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#15
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Very interesting, considering the outragous costs of 1366 xeons compared to the i7s.

I wonder how much of a performance hit we are talking about though, it can't be that bad compared to the drastic savings.

Though I also have to ask myself how many people buying this board will actually be worried about the cost savings...:laugh:
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#17
fatguy1992
Yay I really want this to happen, then I can run 2x W3570's (even though they are xeon they still only have 1 QPI), or my W3570 and W3540.
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#18
DanTheBanjoman
SeƱor Moderator
I'm very skeptical. Intel has made it impossible to run desktop chips in DP configurations since the P3 (first FCPGA Celerons, later desktop Tualatins). After i875 they even removed such features from desktop chipsets as well, so no DP boards could be made using cheap chipsets. It would be odd if they suddenly don't block these things anymore.
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#19
EnJoY
by: Wshlist
Haha, you think CES is some private get-together between you and manufacturers?
Nope, I just know I was the first one to get to their suite. :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#20
Jizzler
by: Imsochobo
I had a cant remember the name.

440BX dual Pentium III 550 mhz ;D
Might have been Tyan Tiger, Thunder 100, or an Asus P2B? Some popular dualie boards back then.

I had dreams about the Thunder 100 and Thunder X...

Posted on Reply
#21
MGrant1957
DP boards...

were so much fun back in the day, I had a Tyan Tomcat with dual P166MMX processors. Woot
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