Chipzilla chops Xeon pricing in half

Readying the world for Itanium?

With today's launch of Cashcades, the Xeon with 1MB or 2MB of on-die L2 cache, Intel has slashed prices for its high-end server/ workstation processors.

Until today, the fastest 2MB cache part was rated at 550MHz and priced at a whopping $3692 in 1000 unit quantities. Now you can order a 700MHz part with 2MB on-die L2 for a mere $1980. An Intel spokesman was unable to confirm new pricing on the old 550MHz part, but it will either have to fall dramatically, or – more likely – get end of lifed as its manufacturing cost, with separate on cartridge L2, is considerably higher than the Coppermine/Cascades chips.

The new 2MB cache chips cram no fewer than 140 million transistors on a single microprocessor die.

Intel has traditionally introduced new Xeon parts at the same price as the previous top of the range chips and the new low pricing would seem to be aimed at leaving a suitable price band for the introduction of Merced/Itanium in the not-too-distant future.

The new 700MHz, 100MHz FSB chips are available now in limited quantities at $1177 for the 1Mb of L2 cache and $1980 for the 2MB cache version. Volume will begin ramping up over the next few months, says Intel. Overall system performance should be up by 13-46 per cent, depending on the applications and system configurations.

The fastest 133MHz FSB Xeon is still the 866MHz part with the relatively puny 256K L2 cache and inability to run in more than two-way SMP configurations. Only the 100MHz FSB Xeons support four-way (using the GX chipset) and eight-way (Profusion) SMP. ®

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