Latest version of Linux kernel does support the Intel Core i7 (Nehalem) processors. Nehalem (microarchitecture), developed by Intel Corporation, successor to the Intel Core microarchitecture. Nehalem is the largest change in Intel’s system architecture since the introduction of the Pentium Pro. Nehalem is highly scalable with different components for different tasks.
Intel Core i7 is a family of three Intel desktop x86-64 processors, the first processors released using the Intel Nehalem microarchitecture and the successor to the Intel Core 2 family. All three models are quad-core processors.
I’ve tested this CPU with CentOS Linux version 4.7 / 5.2 and RHEL 5.2, Ubuntu Linux 10.4 without a problem.
- The front side bus is replaced by QuickPath interface. Motherboards must use a chipset that supports QuickPath. As of 24 November 2008 (2008 -11-24)[update], Intel, EVGA, ASUS, MSI, Foxconn, and Gigabyte have all released X58 motherboards, all supporting the i7’s LGA1366 Socket interface.
- On-die memory controller: the memory is directly connected to the processor.
- Three channel memory: each channel can support one or two DDR3 DIMMs. Motherboards for Core i7 have four (3+1) or six DIMM slots instead of two or four, and DIMMs should be installed in sets of three, not two.
- Support for DDR3 only.
- Single-die device: all four cores, the memory controller, and all cache are on a single die.
- “Turbo Boost” technology allows all active cores to intelligently clock themselves up in steps of 133 MHz over the design clock rate as long as the CPU’s predetermined thermal and electrical requirements are still met. This mode isn’t enabled when the CPU is manually over-clocked by the user.
- Re-implemented Hyper-threading. Each of the four cores can process two threads simultaneously, so the processor appears to the OS as eight CPUs. This feature was present in the older NetBurst architecture but was dropped in Core.
- On-die, shared, inclusive 8MB L3 cache.
- Only one QuickPath interface: not intended for multi-processor motherboards.
- 45nm process technology.
- 731M transistors.
- Sophisticated power management can place an unused core in a zero-power mode.