When we say Arrandale, we mean the notebook processors designated by Core i3-xxx, i5-xxx, i7-xxx and some of the Pentium and Celeron Brands that were successors to the Intel’s Penryn Based processors. Later on, Sandy Bridge superseded Arrandale.
Let us take a look at the Arrandale Architecture on a Broad level. It does not hurt to familiarize with some of the terns that are used in used in processor community.
Arrandale’s desktop equivalent is the Clarkdale. An Arrandale processor has two dies. The first die has the processor core which is essentially a 32 nm Westmere die shrink of Nehalem microarchitecture. Notice that we silently introduced two more terms – Nehalem ( Pronounced as Nu hay lem by folks at Intel). Nehalem refers only to the core die and is based upon 45 nm Lithography process. Westmere refers to the 32 nm die shrink of the Nehalem. Take the Westmere cores on one die, the memory controller, graphics processing unit on another die and combine them on a package and we call it Arrandale.
The block diagram shown the important departure from the Penryn.
A platform based upon Penryn typically uses a north bridge and a south bridge in addition. Arrandale on the other hand contains the major north bridge components, including the memory controller, Integrated Graphics PCI Express for external graphics, and DMI interconnect. This reduces the system complexity and makes the design of a more compact system possible.
In the next few posts we will walk through the key features of the Arrandale, starting with the Integrated graphics in the next post.