Intel reveals awesome Turbo Mode for Core i7 CPU

IDF Summer 2008: Multi-core killer will deliver incredible single-threaded performance

Core i7 Pat Gelsinger

The latest revelation is Turbo Mode. According to IDF stalwart and all round Intel evangelist, Pat Gelsinger, Turbo Mode allows individual cores in its upcoming Core i7 desktop CPU to be entirely switched off.

That in turn allows additional power to be channelled to the remaining cores. The idea is to boost performance in applications that do not make use of all four of Core i7's processor cores.

Intel says that for single threaded applications, the technique allows the speed of a single core to be boosted by two "bins". In layman's terms, a bin translates into around 200-300MHz.

Speedy core

Given that Core i7 is expected to launch around the 3.2GHz mark that should mean a single-core operating mode of 3.6-3.8GHz. Running in dual-core mode, Gelsinger said one additional speed bin is possible.

Despite the rise of multi-core PC processors, many applications remain single or dual-threaded at best. So, it's great to see that Core i7 will be not just focus on multi-threading.

Intel says Turbo mode represents a totally different approach to power management compared with previous "clock gating" techniques. Clock gating is used to reduce the operating frequency of segments of a CPU, but does not involve total power down. Consequently, power leakage remains a problem.

As well as revealing Turbo Mode, Intel will be giving TechRadar its first official hands-on with the new Core i7. Check back later for our initial impressions of this new wonder chip.