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New Xeon unearthed as Intel's first all-India chip

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Exclusive A future Xeon processor from Intel has popped up on the company's roadmap with a first-of-its-kind name and birthplace. The chip dubbed "Whitefield" has its roots in India and not the Pacific Northwest, The Register has learned.

A confidential roadmap obtained by El Reg has revealed "Whitefield" to be a Xeon processor aimed at multiprocessor servers that will arrive in 2008. The chip follows "Potomac" due out next year, and its dual-core older brother "Tulsa." But unlike its predecessors, "Whitefield" will be 100 percent designed in India with its name coming from an industrial township on the edge of Bangalore.

Multiple sources, outside of Intel but familiar with the company's plans, have also confirmed knowledge of the Whitefield chip.

At first, we were thrown off by the Whitefield name, searching maps of Oregon and Washington to locate the city. After all, that's where almost all of Intel's code-names originate - Yamhill and Tukwila being two examples. But a search pointed us toward Bangalore where Intel recently laid down $41m to build a new processor design center.

Gravy!

When the India design center was first announced, Intel India's President Ketan Sampat bragged that his workers would be taking on a future Xeon design.

"We are in a three year development phase. So a 'Made in India' chip is likely to be released in the year 2005-’06," he said at the time.

It appears, however, that Sampat was a bit optimistic. Our best information indicates that both Potomac and Tulsa were designed here.

At present, there is very little information available about Whitefield. It will arrive shortly after the Tukwila version of Itanium appears in 2007, but no speeds or design specs are provided on the confidential roadmap. Calls, however, have been placed, and we hope to bring you more in the very near future.

As with any processor four years out, there is a risk that Whitefield might not arrive exactly as planned. But our roadmap shows that as of this month, Intel's intentions for the processor were all systems go.

In a larger context, the success of Intel's India crew highlights some fears workers here have had about sending jobs overseas. Processor design work does not fit in the call center/low-level programming category that tends to dominate US companies offshoring plans. These are highly skilled workers going head-to-head against their US counterparts.

So, if retraining is your best bet for keeping the paycheck coming, you'd better "skill up" fast. Sigh. ®

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