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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
New Intel Xeon Processor Pushes Mission Critical into the Mainstream

Intel today culminated the transition to the company's "Nehalem" chip design with the launch of the Intel Xeon 7500 processor series.

Expandable to include from two to 256 chips per server, the new Intel Xeon processors have an average performance three times that of Intel's existing Xeon 7400 series on common, leading enterprise benchmarks, and come equipped with more than 20 new features.

The combined scalable performance, reliability and total cost of ownership advantages of the Xeon 7500 series will further accelerate the shift from proprietary systems to Intel processor-based servers. These new capabilities enable IT managers to consolidate up to 20 older single-core, 4-chip servers onto a single server using Intel Xeon 7500 series processors while maintaining the same level of performance. In doing so, they could also see up to a 92 percent estimated reduction in energy costs and a return on their investment estimated within 1 year due to reductions in power, cooling and licensing costs.

This is the first Xeon processor to possess Machine Check Architecture (MCA) Recovery, a feature that allows the silicon to work with the operating system and virtual machine manager to recover from otherwise fatal system errors, a mechanism until now found only in the Intel Itanium processor family and RISC processors.

The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series offers scalability through modular building blocks enabled by Intel QuickPath Technology (QPI) interconnect. With QPI, cost-effective and highly scalable eight-processor servers that don't require specialized third-party node controller chips to "glue" the system together can be built. Intel is also working with system vendors to deliver "ultra-scale" systems with 16 processors for the enterprise, and up to 256 processors and support for 16 terabytes (one terabyte is equal to 1,000 gigabytes) of memory for high- performance computing "super nodes" running bandwidth-demanding applications such as financial analysis, numerical weather predictions and genome sequencing.

With up to eight times the memory bandwidth of the Intel Xeon processor 7400 series and four times the memory capacity with 16 memory slots per processor, the Xeon 7500 series can support one terabyte (or 1,000 gigabytes) of memory in a four-socket platform. Intel Virtualization Technologies, which include new I/O virtualization capabilities and Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) FlexMigration, enables live VM migration across all Intel Core microarchitecture-based platforms to ensure investment protection for administrators seeking to use pools of virtualized systems to facilitate failover, disaster recovery, load balancing and optimal server maintenance and downtime.

The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series is available in quad, six and eight core versions with twice the number of threads thanks to Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. The Intel Xeon processor 6500 series provides a lower cost solution for 2-chip servers with large memory requirements.

The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series supports up to eight integrated cores and 16 threads, and can scale up to 32 cores and 64 threads per 4-chip platform or 64 cores and 128 threads per 8-chip platform, and is available with frequencies up to 2.66 GHz, and 24 MB of Intel Smart Cache memory, four Intel QPI links and Intel Turbo Boost technology. Thermal Design Point (TDP) power levels range from 95 watts to 130 watts.

The Intel Xeon processor X7560, with eight cores and 24MB cache size, is built for highly parallel, data demanding and mission-critical workloads, whereas the Intel Xeon processor X7542 is a frequency-optimized 6-core option at 2.66 GHz targeted for super node high-performance computing applications in science and financial services.

The modular scaling of the Xeon 7500 processor works with the Intel 7500 Chipset and Intel 7500 Scalable Memory Buffers to enable new OEM system designs and brings a wide range of socket, memory and I/O, form factor, and reliability feature sets never before available to the mainstream server market. Enterprise software vendors expected to support the high-end features of Intel Xeon processor 7500-based platforms, include Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP AG and VMware.

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