Intel to refresh Core i7 mobile family in Q4 2011

It's been quite a while since the introduction of the first Sandy Bridge mobile processors from Core i7 family in January of this year. Since then Intel launched Sandy Bridge CPUs from other families: Core i3s and i5s were introduced in February, the first mobile Celeron was available in March, and the first mobile Pentiums in June. Seeing that all mobile families already switched to the new micro-architecture, we can expect faster Sandy Bridge CPUs to launch in the second half of the year and in the 1st quarter 2012. One of the first families, that will be refreshed in the 4th quarter, is Core i7. There will be 4 new models for this family, Core i7-2640M, i7-2760QM, i7-2860QM, and i7-2960XM.

Core i7-2640M has two CPU cores, capable of executing four threads at once. The processor operates at 2.8 GHz, and can be boosted as high as 3.5 GHz when the second core is idle. These frequencies are only 100 MHz higher than the current fastest dual-core i7-2620M. The CPU has 4 MB L3 cache, 35 Watt TDP, and supports DDR3-1333 memory. This model will be produced in micro-BGA and micro-PGA packages.

Core i7-2760QM and i7-2860QM are quad-core chips with locked clock multiplier. They will operate 200 MHz higher than their predecessors, Core i7-2720QM and i7-2820QM. The 2760QM and 2860QM CPUs have 2.4 GHz and 2.5 GHz clock speed, boostable in single-core tasks to 3.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz respectively. The i7-2760QM has 6 MB L3 cache, and the i7-2860QM has 8 MB L3 cache. Both parts support DDR3-1600 memory, and have higher (45 Watt) power requirements than Core i7 dual-cores. Like the i7-2640M, these SKUs will also be manufactured in two different package types, micro-BGA and socket G2-compatible micro-PGA.

Core i7-2960XM Extreme Edition is the only upcoming Core i7 model with unlocked multiplier. This chip runs at 2.7 GHz, and it can go as high as 3.7 GHz in turbo mode. The processor has 8 MB L3 cache and 55 Watt Thermal Design Power. The i7-2960XM will support DDR3-1600 memory, and will be produced in micro-PGA package only.

New Core i7 microprocessors will incorporate all Sandy Bridge features, including AES, AVX and Trusted Execution technology. The chips will integrate HD 3000 graphics controller with 650 MHz stock frequency and 1.3 GHz turbo frequency. The CPUs will be available in the 4th quarter 2011, which often means that the processors could be launched as early as the second half of September.

Brief specification of 4 new models are provided in the table below:

ModelCoresThreadsFrequencyTurbo FrequencyL3 cacheGraphicsTDP
Core i7-2640M242.8 GHz3.5 GHz4 MB650 / 1300 MHz35 Watt
Core i7-2760QM482.4 GHz3.5 GHz6 MB650 / 1300 MHz45 Watt
Core i7-2860QM482.5 GHz3.6 GHz8 MB650 / 1300 MHz45 Watt
Core i7-2960XM482.7 GHz3.7 GHz8 MB650 / 1300 MHz55 Watt

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