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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Intel Rolls Out New Xeon 5500 Server Processors

Intel introduced 17 enterprise-class processors today, led by the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, the company's most powerful family of microprocessors for servers.

The largest chipmaker officially announced its Xeon chip for servers and workstations on Monday, based on its "Nehalem" design. The Nehalem competes with AMD's Opteron, first released in 2003.

Nehalem design employs circuitry 45 nanometers wide, 30 percent smaller than previous chips using a 65-nanometer process. This means it can operate more quickly on the same amount of power.

The new chips can automatically adjust to specified energy usage levels, and speed data center transactions and customer database queries.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, previously codenamed "Nehalem-EP," offers several technologies that improve system speed and versatility. Technologies such as Intel Turbo Boost Technology, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, integrated power gates, and Next-Generation Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) improved through extended page tables, allow the system to adapt to a broad range of workloads.

"The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series is the foundation for the next decade of innovation," said Patrick Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group. "These chips showcase groundbreaking advances in performance, virtualization and workload management, which will create opportunities to solve the world's most complex challenges and push the limits of science and technology."

Equipped with triple the memory bandwidth of previous server processors, Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based platforms manage a variety of workloads and conditions. A new feature, Intel Turbo Boost Technology, increases system performance based on the user's workload and environment, dynamically boosting the clock speed of one or more of the individual processing cores.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series also offers automated energy efficiency enhancements. This includes a processor idle power level of only 10 watts, enabling a 50 percent reduction in system idle power compared to the previous generation. New integrated power gates, based on Intel's unique high-k metal gate technology, allow idle cores to power down independently.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series also takes intelligent power to a new level with up to 15 automated operating states. These create improvements in chip power management by adjusting system power consumption based on real-time throughput and without sacrificing performance.

New Embedded Processors Unveiled

The L5518 and L5508 are versions of Intel Xeon processors that were tailored specifically for communications market segments. These processors include options ideal for applications in thermally constrained environments, such as blades and appliances for communication infrastructure, security, storage, medical applications, router modules and even submarine technology. The L5518 offers 2.13 GHz and a power level of 60 watts. The L5508 offers 2.00 GHz and a power level of 38 watts. New communications and embedded processors feature 7-year extended lifecycle support; these new chips will enable the technology of the future, such as WiMAX, video-on-demand and holographic communications.

Intel also announced new server boards. In addition, the company is announcing the Intel 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller, featuring advanced virtualization technology and unified networking support, which improves network I/O performance in virtualized datacenters. It is optimized to support the increased bandwidth provided by platforms based on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, which provides more than 250 percent the I/O throughput of previous-generation servers.

Also available today is the Intel Data Center Manager software development kit that enables management console vendors to extend platform power control and set rack and datacenter level power policies dynamically, responding to changing server workloads to ensure that racks do not exceed those power levels.

For server applications, processor frequencies peak at 2.93 GHz with DDR3 memory speeds up to 1333 MHz and power levels of from 60 to 95 watts. Under certain conditions, Intel Turbo Boost Technology can provide operating frequencies up to 3.33 GHz, depending on the processor and system configuration. Workstation frequencies go up to 3.20 GHz with power levels of 130 watts, and up to 3.46GHz using Intel Turbo Boost Technology depending on the workload and environment. Each processor contains up to 8MB of level 3 cache.

Starting today, more than 230 systems based on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series are expected to be announced by more than 70 system manufacturers around the world including a new Intel customer, Cisco, along with Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Sun Microsystems and others.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series ranges in price from $188 to $1,600 in quantities of 1,000. The single-socket Intel Xeon processor 3500 series ranges from $284 to $999 in quantities of 1,000. The L5518 and L5508 embedded processors for communications market segments are priced at $530 and $423, respectively, in quantities of 1,000.

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