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Intel's cunning server plans

Cashcades, Foster, Itanium, Colusa. Oh god, you figure it out

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PC customers and companies attempting to plan their server strategy over the next 18 months had better get their thinking caps on, judging from an Intel roadmap we viewed earlier on this week.

IA-32 based Foster is the elder brother of Willamette, and earlier this year we were led to believe that it would arrive not long after the intro of the desktop processor.

According to the Intel roadmap, Foster dual processing systems have now been "moved" from the end of this year to Q1 2001, while multiprocessing systems have been "moved" to late Q1, 2001.

There are other "movements" too, on the Cashcades (Xeons with large cache) front. The 9xx/2MB part has now moved to Q1 of next year, while the 800MHz/2MB chip finds itself moved to Q3 of this year.

In the second half of next year, Intel will add Tualatin dual processor support. This is also a slippage - earlier this year we reported that it was due to arrive in the first half of next year. That's also true for the Gallatin dual processing chipset which moves to the second half of next year.

And here's a very interesting snippet we saw on this roadmap. Colusa, which is a chipset to support Foster, and supporting SDRAM, has been dropped as a server chipset, and SDRAM support has been removed. What can this mean?

These are the type of Foster processors you can expect to see in eight-way, four-way and dual processing servers. Intel at some point in the first half of next year will debut a Foster 1.4GHz chip with one megabyte of level three cache - aimed at the lucrative eight way market and no doubt with a price tag to boot.

There will also be Fosters at 1.3GHz and 1.4GHz aimed at the four way SMP market with 512K of integrated level three cache. And, for the dual processing market, there will be Foster 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz chips with 256KB of integrated level two cache. The Gallatin chipset supports these last.

Intel will also introduce Pentium IIIs at greater than 1GHz aimed at the dual processing market, and supported by the Tualatin dual processing chipset.

The 870 Intel chipset is an important part of its symmetric multiprocessor platform. For the 733/4MB and 800/4MB Itaniums, the 870 will be "460GX enabled". Chipsets from ServerWorks (Reliance) will support four way and dual processing platforms.

Intel will announce eight processor Itanium enabled chipsets in 2001, and the roadmap seems to suggest that the 870, a versatile little number, may even support both IA-32 and IA-64 processors. How can this be, we ask ourselves? Anyone got any idea?

Towards the end of next year, Intel also has plans to intro an eight way McKinley chipset, and also a four way McKinley chipset, again based on the 870. There will also be a four processor Foster flavour of the 870 at the end of next year.

Until these emerge, it appears that ServerWorks chipsets (P3XP) will support quite a few of the various MP solutions.

We'd talk about the Zion and Verde IO processors Intel has planned, but our brain is beginning to hurt so maybe we'll leave that for later. We will also be posting a separate Willamette story a little later... ®

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