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Technologies Included with Intel® Mobile and Desktop Processors

Last Reviewed: 09-Jan-2017
Article ID: 000006513

This article describes several technologies of Intel® Mobile and Desktop Processors and provides explanations and demos to view on Intel® technologies to help you better understand the hardware and software Intel develops. 

Be aware that this is meant to be comprehensive list and not all processor families contain all technologies. To see if your product contains a particular technology, go to Intel® product information.

Click on the topics to expand the content:

Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

Intel® Turbo Boost Technology is one of the many exciting new features that Intel has built into latest-generation Intel microarchitecture. It automatically allows processor cores to run faster than the base operating frequency if it's operating below power, current, and temperature specification limits.

The maximum frequency of Intel Turbo Boost Technology is dependent on the number of active cores. The amount of time the processor spends in the Intel Turbo Boost Technology state depends on the workload and operating environment, providing the performance you need, when and where you need it.

Any of the following can set the upper limit of Intel Turbo Boost Technology on a given workload:

  • Number of active cores
  • Estimated current consumption
  • Estimated power consumption
  • Processor temperature

When the processor is operating below these limits and the user's workload demands additional performance, the processor frequency will dynamically increase by 133 MHz on short and regular intervals until the upper limit is met or the maximum possible upside for the number of active cores is reached.

Intel® Hyper-Threading TechnologyIntel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT Technology) enables the processor to execute multiple threads (a part of a program) in parallel, so your highly-threaded software can run more efficiently and you can multitask more effectively than ever before.
Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x)Intel® Virtualization Technology is a set of hardware enhancements to Intel server and client platforms that can improve virtualization solutions. Virtualization enhanced by Intel Virtualization Technology will allow a platform to run multiple operating systems and applications in independent partitions.
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel® VT-d) provides hardware assists for virtualization solution. Intel® VT-d continues from the existing support for IA-32 (VT-x) and Intel® Itanium® Processor (VT-i) virtualization adding new support for I/O-device virtualization. Intel VT-d can help end users improve security and reliability of the systems and also improve performance of I/O devices in virtualized environment. These inherently help IT managers reduce the overall total cost of ownership by reducing potential downtime and increasing productive throughput by better utilization of the data center resources.
Intel® Trusted Execution TechnologyIntel® Trusted Execution Technology for safer computing is a versatile set of hardware extensions to Intel® Processors and chipsets that enhance the digital office platform with security capabilities such as measured launch and protected execution. Intel Trusted Execution Technology provides hardware-based mechanisms that help protect against software-based attacks and protects the confidentiality and integrity of data stored or created on the client PC. It does this by enabling an environment where applications can run within their own space - protected from all other software on the system. These capabilities provide the protection mechanisms, rooted in hardware, that are necessary to provide trust in the application's execution environment. In turn, this can help to protect vital data and processes from being compromised by malicious software running on the platform.
Intel® AES new instructions

Intel® AES instructions are a new set of instructions available beginning with the 2010 Intel® Core™ Processor Family based on the 32nm Intel® microarchitecture. These instructions enable fast and secure data encryption and decryption, using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which is defined by FIPS Publication number 197. Since AES is currently the dominant block cipher, it is used in various protocols. The new instructions are valuable for a wide range of applications.

The architecture consists of six instructions that offer full hardware support for AES. Four instructions support the AES encryption and decryption, and the other two instructions support the AES key expansion.

The AES instructions have the flexibility to support all usages of AES, including all standard key lengths, standard modes of operation, and even some nonstandard or future variants. They offer a significant increase in performance compared to the current pure-software implementations.

Beyond improving performance, the AES instructions provide important security benefits. By running in data-independent time and not using tables, they help in eliminating the major timing and cache-based attacks that threaten table-based software implementations of AES. In addition, they make AES simple to implement, with reduced code size, which helps reducing the risk of inadvertent introduction of security flaws, such as difficult-to-detect side channel leaks.

Intel® 64 Architecture

Intel® 64 Architecture is an enhancement to the Intel IA-32 architecture. The enhancement allows the processor to run 64-bit code and access larger amounts of memory.

Intel 64 Architecture delivers 64-bit computing on server, workstation, desktop and mobile platforms when combined with supporting software. Intel 64 Architecture improves performance by allowing systems to address more than 4 GB of both virtual and physical memory.

Intel 64 provides support for the following:

  • 64-bit flat virtual address space
  • 64-bit pointers
  • 64-bit wide general purpose registers
  • 64-bit integer support
  • Up to one terabyte (TB) of platform address space
Idle states

A "C-state" is an idle state. Modern processors have several different C-states representing increasing amounts of "stuff" to shut down. C0 is the operational state, meaning that the CPU is doing useful work. C1 is the first idle state. The clock running to the processor is gated, i.e. the clock is prevented from reaching the core, effectively shutting it down in an operational sense. C2 is the 2nd idle state. The external I/O Controller Hub blocks interrupts to the processor. And so on with C3, C4, etc.

A core C-state is a hardware C-state. There are several core idle states, e.g. CC1 and CC3. As we know, a modern state-of-the-art processor has multiple cores. What we used to think of as a CPU / processor actually has multiple general purpose CPUs inside of it. The Intel® Core™ Duo Processor has two cores in the processor chip. The Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor has four such cores per processor chip. Each of these cores has its own idle state. This makes sense as one core might be idle while another is hard at work on a thread. So a core C-state is the idle state of one of those cores.

A processor C-state is related to a core C-state. At some point, cores share resources, e.g. the L2 cache or the clock generators. When one idle core, say core 0, is ready to enter CC3 but the other, say core 1, is still in C0, we do not want the fact that core 0 is ready to descend into CC3 to prevent core 1 from executing because we just happened to shut down the clock generators. Thus we have the processor / package C-state, or PC-state. The processor can only enter a PC-state, say PC3, if both cores are ready to enter that CC-state, e.g. both cores are ready to step into CC3.

A logical C-state: The last C-state is the OS's view of the processors' C-states. In Windows, a processor's C-state is pretty much equivalent to a core C-state. In fact, the OS's lower level power management software determines when and if a given core enters a given CC-state using the MWAIT instruction. There is one important difference. When an application, such as Intel® Power Informer, thinks it's interrogating a processor core CC-state, what is returned is the C-state of what is called a "logical core". (A logical core is technically not the same as a physical core. Logical cores don't have to worry about little things such as the hardware the OS is running on. For example, the C-state of a logical core doesn't worry about the barriers imposed by shared resources, such as the clock generators discussed earlier. Logical Core 0 can be in C3 while Logical Core 1 is in C0.

For a deeper explanation of C states, please refer to the following article: (update) C-states, C-states and even more C-states.

Enhanced Intel Speedstep® Technology

Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology is an advanced technology which significantly reduces the processor voltage (and temperature), hence leakage power, when processor activity is low. Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology has revolutionized thermal and power management by giving application software greater control over the processor's operating frequency and input voltage. Systems can easily manage power consumption dynamically.

Separation between Voltage and Frequency Changes
By stepping voltage up and down in small increments separately from frequency changes, the processor is able to reduce periods of system unavailability (which occur during frequency change). Thus, the system is able to transition between voltage and frequency states more often, providing improved power/performance balance.

Clock Partitioning and Recovery
The bus clock continues running during state transition, even when the core clock and Phase-Locked Loop are stopped, which allows logic to remain active. The core clock is also able to restart far more quickly under Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology than under previous architectures.

Intel demand-based switchingDemand-based switching is a power management technology developed by Intel in which the applied voltage and clock speed for a microprocessor are kept to the minimum necessary to allow optimum performance of required operations. A microprocessor equipped with DBS operates at reduced voltage and clock speed until more processing power is actually required.
(Source: Searchenterpriselinux demand based switching*)
Thermal monitoring technologiesLaptops using mobile Intel® Processors require thermal management. The term "thermal management" refers to two major elements: a cooling solution properly mounted to the processor, and effective airflow through a part of that cooling solution to evacuate heat out of the system. The ultimate goal of thermal management is to keep the processor at or below its maximum operating temperature (Case).
Execute Disable BitThe Execute Disable Bit capability is a processor feature that can help prevent buffer overflow virus attacks.
Cache informationCache is very high-speed memory that stores frequently used instructions and data. Cache information reported by the utility may include level 3, level 2, and level 1 data and instruction cache sizes, depending on what types of cache are present and enabled in the processor. In processors with multiple cores, the cache blocks may be separate for each core (e.g. 2 x 1 MB) or shared across cores (e.g. 2 MB). The Frequency Test section of the utility reports the cache size that the tested processor core has access to for the highest-level cache in the processor. The CPUID Data section of the utility reports the total number of cache blocks available in the processor package.
Chipset IDThe Chipset ID field is used to provide information related to the Intel® Upgrade Service. For more information, please visit Intel® Upgrade Service.
Enhanced halt stateThe enhanced halt state processor feature is designed to improve acoustics by lowering the power requirements of the processor.
Expected frequencyExpected frequency is the frequency at which Intel intended the processor and the system bus to run. This should be the speed physically marked on the processor’s packaging.
Gigatransfers per second (GT/s)Gigatransfers per second (GT/s) refers to the effective rate of data transfers on the Intel® QuickPath Interconnect, measured in billions of transfers per second.
Integrated memory controllerThe integrated memory controller is a key feature in Intel® QuickPath Architecture. Integrating the memory controller into the Intel® Processor silicon die improves memory access latency and enables available memory bandwidth to scale with the number of processors added.
Intel® QuickPath InterconnectIntel QuickPath Interconnect provides high-speed point-to-point connections between processors and other components in platforms designed with Intel® QuickPath Architecture.

Operation of a processor above the manufacturer’s specified frequency (e.g. operating at 3.2 GHz with a processor that Intel manufactured to run at 2.8 GHz).

A processor being operated above its frequency specification (overclocked) may become unstable, or produce unpredictable or erroneous results. These conditions might not be readily apparent, and the life of the processor may also be shortened. Intel’s warranty does not cover processors that have been overclocked.

Packaging information

The "Micro-FCBGA"(FCBGA rBGA or BGA) and The "Micro-FCPGA" (FCPGA, rPGA, PGA)

The "Micro-FCBGA" (Flip Chip Ball Grid Array) is Intel's current BGA mounting method for mobile processors that use a flip chip binding technology. It was introduced with the Mobile Intel® Celeron® Processor. This is thinner than a pin grid array socket arrangement, but is not removable. (Solider to the board)

A flip chip pin grid array (FC-PGA or FCPGA) is a form of pin grid array in which the die faces downwards on the top of the substrate with the back of the die exposed. This allows the die to have more direct contact with the heatsink or other cooling mechanism.

The FC-PGA was introduced by Intel with the Intel® Pentium® III and Celeron® Processors based on Socket 370, and was later used for Socket 478-based Intel® Pentium® 4 and Celeron® Processors. FC-PGA processors fit into zero insertion force (ZIF) Socket.

  • uPGA/BGA - a Micro Pin Grid Array or Ball Grid Array package.
  • OOI - an OLGA (Organic Land Grid Array) On Interposer package translates the fine pitch pads of the OLGA package to a pin field, which connects into the socket on the system main board.
  • uFCPGA or uFCPGA2 - a Micro Flip Chip Pin Grid Array package.
  • uFCBGA or uFCBGA2 - a Micro Flip Chip Ball Grid Array package.
  • FCPGA(Pin Count) 946/946B, uses a Socket G3/rPGA946B/rPGA947.
  • FCBGA(Pin Count) 1168/1364, BGA does not use a socket, directly connected to the board.
  • LGA1366 - a 1366 pin Land Grid Array package.
  • LGA1156 - a 1156 pin Land Grid Array package.
  • LGA775 - a 775 pin Land Grid Array package.
  • LGA771 - a 771 pin Land Grid Array package.

For more information, see the Intel® Desktop Processors package type guide.

Platform compatibility guidePlatform Compatibility Guide (PCG) encompasses all of the platform power requirements necessary for the proper functionality of the processor as it relates to the motherboard. PCG also provides an easier method of identifying which processor works with which motherboard.
Processor brand nameBranded name assigned by Intel Corporation to a specific processor, e.g. Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor.
Processor family

This classification indicates the Intel® Microprocessor generation and brand. For example, Intel® Pentium® 4 Processors have a Family value of "F".

This information can be useful for validating information from the "Quick Reference Guide" that is available for the specific family of your processor.

Processor modelThe "model" number identifies the Intel Microprocessor’s manufacturing technology and design generation (e.g. Model 4). Model number is used along with family to determine which specific processor in a family of processors that your computer contains. This information is occasionally needed when communicating with Intel to identify the particular processor.
Processor numberIntel uses processor numbers to enable consumers to quickly differentiate among comparable processors and to analyze or take into account more than one processor feature during the selection process. Processor numbers should be used to differentiate between the relative overall features within a certain processor family (e.g. within the Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor family) and within a numbering sequence (e.g. 550 vs. 540). Processor numbers are not a measurement of performance. For more information, visit the About Intel® Processor Numbers Web site.
Processor revisionThe "revision" number indicates version information for Intel® Processors within a stepping. The revision information may be useful when communicating with Intel to determine the processor’s internal characteristics.
Processor steppingThe "stepping" number indicates the design or manufacturing revision data for the production Intel microprocessors (e.g. Stepping 4). Unique stepping numbers indicate versions of processors to facilitate change control and tracking. Stepping also allows an end user to identify more specifically which version of the processor their system contains. This classification data may be needed by Intel when trying to determine the microprocessor’s internal design or manufacturing characteristics.
Processor type"Type" indicates whether the Intel® Microprocessor was designed for installation by a consumer (end user) or by a professional PC system integrator, service company, or manufacturer. Type 1 indicates that the microprocessor was intended for installation by a consumer (e.g. upgrade such as an Intel® OverDrive® Processor). Type 0 indicates that the microprocessor was intended for installation by a professional PC system integrator, service company or manufacturer. The processor type depends on whether the processor is a single processor, dual processor, or an Intel® OverDrive® Processor.
Reported frequencyThis is the actual operating frequency of the processor and system bus as measured by the Intel® Processor Identification Utility. The utility may report a current operating frequency that is slightly higher or lower than the expected frequency for your processor. Frequency differences within 1% are due to slight variations in the manufacturing of system components, and are considered to be operating within specifications.
Intel® Streaming SIMD ExtensionsStreaming SIMD Extensions (SSE) are new instructions designed to reduce the overall number of instructions required to execute a particular program task, which can result in an overall performance increase. The Intel® Processor Identification Utility reports the presence of SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and SSE4 instruction sets.
System bus overclockingOperation of the system bus above the processor’s specified system bus frequency (e.g. operating the system bus at 533 MHz with a processor intended for operation on a 400 MHz system bus) - This will typically force the processor to run at a frequency above its intended specification. Refer to the overclock definition for more information.

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