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Slots the problem with Intel Xeons

The secret of a Xeon is in the VRM, folks

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Those puzzled about the exact difference between a Coppermine 800MHz Pentium III and a Coppermine 800MHz Pentium III Xeon need scratch their heads no more. Intel yesterday announced its 800MHz Pentium III Xeon part but there is no motherboard support for the part yet, it confirmed today. As we reported, the Xeon processor requires the use of a Slot 2 cartridge, and, as yet, there is no third party support for this. The difference between Slot One and Slot Two cartridges is this, according to Intel. "The 'slot 2' form factor brings with it the benefit of on-cartridge VRM, thermal sensing, enhanced management options, longer product life, and scalability". The VRM is a voltage regulator, and, as we have reported before, Intel also maintains there is other technology somewhere in the Slot Two cartridge which makes the Xeon a very different beast from Slot One. Slot One will be dead by the end of the second quarter, with Intel replacing the whole shebang with its flip chip Socket 370 socket, but Slot Two, so far, lives on. On the subject of current support for the 800MHz Xeon, Intel said this morning: " OEMs will support as their product schedule/refreshes turn, bearing in mind that servers/workstations do not refresh as frequently as desktops, they require longer validation and testing cycles." In Q2, AMD is set to introduce Athlons with 2MB of on die caches and that means Intel is close to releasing its own large on-die cache Xeons shortly. The upgraded chips will use Slot Two because server customers are far less fickle than those buying desktop processors. Meanwhile, we understand that one of the first third parties to support the Slot Two 800MHz Xeons will be Supermicro. By the end of the month, the company will introduce mobos using the 840 chipset, and supporting dual PIII Xeons with either a 100MHz or a 133MHz front side bus. The boards will support 4GB of synchronous memory, with two 64-bit PCI slots, four by 32 bit and 1X AGP and AGP-Pro sockets. There will be SCSI and non-SCSI versions of the boards, and they will support 800MHz Xeons and the future, larger-cache Xeons. ®

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