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Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Intel showcases super-charged Xeon

Intel has added performance-enhancing cache memory to its server-focused Xeon processor range, and outlined plans for its next-generation server platforms including dual-core processors.

The new 64-bit Intel Xeon processor, codenamed Irwindale, includes a beefed-up L2 cache that Intel claims delivers up to 18 per cent greater performance compared to the previous version. Intel reckons the scalability of the platform is demonstrated by a new one terabyte TPC-H cluster benchmark result published by IBM showing a 52 per cent improvement over previously published results. Benchmarks used included SPEC and TPC-H.

The new Intel Xeon processor, which is drop-in compatible with the previous Intel Xeon processor, continues to offer power-saving features such as demand based switching which matches processor speed to requirements, and flexibility with support for DDR2-400 memory and PCI Express.

Intel has also introduced the IOP333 I/O storage processor based on Intel XScale technology, which it said offers enhanced RAID 6 storage capabilities that protect against dual-disk failures with greater reliability than current methods.

Intel will also shortly introduce the Pentium 4 Processor 6xx products supporting 64-bit computing and hyper-threading for desktop PCs. These processors and Intel chipsets include entertainment and office features for both consumers and business.

Within 90 days, Intel plans to introduce its Xeon multi-processor platform with up to 8MB of L3 cache, codenamed Potomac. In addition, Intel will launch an entry-level, four-way server platform. Codenamed Cranford, it will be like Potomac apart form the inclusion of only 1MB of L2 cache.

The dual-core platforms will include a 64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP, a faster system bus, support for PCI Express and DDR2-400 Memory and demand-based switching with enhanced Intel Speedstep technology. The platform will also include the Intel E8500 chipset, codenamed Twin Castle, which is designed to support dual core processors with a dual bus technology that handles incoming data faster.

Later this year, Intel said it will deliver thousands of seed systems based on dual core Intel Xeon processors to end-users and software developers for evaluation. Intel is also providing a complete set of software development tools and industry-enabling programs to help developers and end-users take advantage of the increased performance and throughput that dual core and subsequent multi-core products will offer.

Pricing and availability
64-bit Intel Xeon processors with 2MB of L2 cache are available now at speeds ranging from 3.0 to 3.60 GHz. Intel's list prices in quantities of 1,000 are: 3.60 GHz - $851; 3.40 GHz - $690; 3.20 GHz - $455; 3.0 GHz - $316.

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