SSDs give overclocked Nehalem extra oomph

Intel showed off an overclocked Nehalem system equipped with two solid-state disk drives.

Intel showed off a PC running an overclocked version of its upcoming quad-core Nehalem processor at the Computex exhibition in Taipei, but the system seemed to get its biggest performance boost from solid-state drives (SSDs).

Nehalem, which is due later this year, is a family of 45-nanometer processors that combine processor cores and the memory controller — formerly part of the chipset — on a single piece of silicon. Nehalem will be the first Intel x86 processors to have this feature, which is already used on Advanced Micro Devices' chips.

"Nehalem is very healthy," said Francois Piednoel, a senior performance analyst at Intel.

Piednoel used the Nehalem-based PC to smoothly navigate a 16G-byte library of images, zooming in and out of various pictures. He then loaded a 1G-byte high-definition video clip almost instantaneously into a video editing application.

"Why did it load so fast? Because I had two of those babies," Piednoel said, pointing to an SSD.

He wouldn't reveal how fast the chip was running, except to say it was "massively overclocked" and running at a much higher clock speed than the chips will when they hit the market.

Other specifications of the system included 3G bytes of RAM and two SSDs, each with a capacity of 80G bytes and arranged in a RAID0 configuration.

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