Testing 2nd generation Intel® Core™ microarchitecture (aka Sandy Bridge)

Some of you may have noticed Intel’s announcement this past week at CES of the new generation of desktop/mobile processors, the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ family. These processors are based upon a new microarchitecture at a 32nm process node. This increased level of density and functionality requires new board testing strategies…

A good landing page for the new processors on Intel’s site is here: http://newsroom.intel.com/docs/DOC-1641.

Intel already has a slew of design wins with 2nd Generation Core, including Emerson and Congatec: http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4212026/Support-for-2nd-generation-Intel-Core-starts-rolling-out.

A good Intel blog with video can be seen here: http://blogs.intel.com/technology/2011/01/visibly_smart_features_inside.php. The new processors sport some great new features, including Intel Quick Sync Video, InTru™ 3D, Clear Video HD and Wireless Display.

These new CPUs and the board designs that support them will to a great extent preclude legacy nails-based testing (i.e. ICT) methodologies because more and more of the board is high-speed I/O. Examples include QPI, DMI, and PCI Express Gen3. These buses run up to 8 GT/s and cannot have a test pad placed upon them. The only way to test these portions of the board is with non-intrusive technologies, such as boundary scan, processor-controlled test, and Intel HSIO.

ASSET is first out of the gate with testing support for these new processors, thanks to our relationship with Intel. Additional boundary scan support will be available on the 2nd Generation Intel Core family. And our processor-controlled test (PCT) solution is available now for Sandy Bridge. All of these applications are software-based, with minimal access requirements to the unit-under-test. This makes them very flexible and inexpensive compared with legacy testers. The new software-based solutions result in higher test coverage, better diagnostics, faster test times and superior return on your investment.

Alan Sguigna