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Intel readying Xeons with on-die L3

Been on the roadmap for ages

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Intel's demonstration of a 2GHz Xeon processor at SIGGRAPH this week seems to have surprised a number of observers.

It shouldn't have done. The 2GHz Xeon, codenamed Foster, has been on Intel's server roadmap for a Q3 release since late last year. Its launch follows the arrival of 1.4, 1.5 and 1.7GHz Xeons last quarter, all aimed at the mid-range to top-end of the workstation arena.

The 2GHz part will also reach out into what Intel calls the Front-end Dual-processor and General-purpose Dual-processor server markets.

What is interesting is c't magazine's comment that a version of the 2GHz part with on-die L3 cache will ship in the autumn. It's important to note that this isn't a workstation-oriented CPU - a conclusion some observers have leapt to - but is aimed at four- and eight-way back-end servers.

This Xeon has been on the roadmap for as long as the regular 'Pentium 4 by any other name' Xeon, but all the documentation we've seen lists it as a ">1.6GHz". It's due to replace the delayed 900MHz Pentium III Xeon in Q4, which is why we're not surprised that some server OEMs believe the 900MHz PIII Xeon will ever ship at all.

The four- and eight-way Xeon is expected to ship in two versions, with 512KB and 1MB of on-die L3, respectively. ®

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