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Thursday, June 29, 2006
Intel Dual-core Itanium Due in July

Intel has begun shipping Montecito, the first dual-core implementation of its high-end Itanium 2 processor, to key customers, sources at the company confirmed.

According to an articla at EETImes, the formal announcement of the chip is set for July. The release of Montecito, following on the heels of Monday's unveiling of Intel's Woodcrest CPU, should give the chip giant an additional boost in its bid capture the high ground in the server market.

"This is the summer of servers," Intel senior vice president Pat Gelsinger said Monday in New York at the Woodcrest announcement. "We have Woodcrest. We'll have Tulsa and Montecito. We have quad-cores coming."

Tulsa is a dual-core version of Intel's Xeon server chip designed for use in multiprocessing systems fitted with from four to eight processors. It's expected to be unveiled in the third quarter. Woodcrest -- formally known as the Xeon 5100 family -- is aimed at mainstream business servers, where it competes with AMD's Opteron.

The Montecito chips will be formally known as the Itanium 2 9000 family. They will deliver roughly twice the performance of the existing, single-core Itanium 2 processors. They'll also boast heavily beefed-up caches, improved multi-threading capability, and support for Intel's hardware-based virtualization technology. Versions are expected to be available with power envelopes of 100 W and 130 W.

Beyond Montecito, Intel's roadmap shows a successor chip, code-named Montvale, due sometime in 2007. Further down the road, a new Itanium platform is planned. It's code-named 'Richford,' and will feature next-generation processors code-named Tukwila and Poulson.

On the Xeon front, Woodcrest will be succeeded by the Clovertown processor in 2007.

It's unclear whether Intel's previously disclosed plan to move Xeon and Itanium to a common socket is still operative. In 2004, the chip giant indicated it intended to bring the two lines together by creating a unified 64-bit motherboard with a new, one-size-fits-all socket. Intel's current roadmaps show separate Xeon and Itanium 2 families far into the future, with no mention of the single-socket issue.

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