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Intel and server pals welcome beefy 64-bit Xeon

Ready for four-way battle

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Intel and friends today did their standard dance to welcome a new Xeon processor meant for largish servers to the market.

The Intel collective held an event in San Francisco to unveil the "Truland" platform. Intel has started to use the "platform" label for describing a family of chips and complementary chipsets. In this case, Truland includes the new 64-bit Xeon MP chip - code-named Potomac - designed for four-processor servers and the E8500 chipset - code-named Twin Castle. Partners Dell, IBM and HP announced new servers for the chip at Intel's San Francisco shindig.

The new Xeon shows that Intel has caught up to rival AMD by delivering a 64-bit part ready for the four-way market. It supports PCI Express, DDR2 memory and Intel's Demand Based Switching with Enhanced SpeedStep technology. The chipset has a 667MHz front side bus "and is designed with 10.6 GBs of system bandwidth, more than three times the bandwidth of the previous generation," Intel said. The chipset will also work with the dual-core "Paxville" MP chips due in the first quarter of 2006. AMD plans to roll out a dual-core Opteron processor by the middle of this year.

Executives from the large server makers all tried to outdo each other by expressing their Intel love at the event. Dell said it's the most efficient Xeon server vendor, HP said it's the four-way Xeon server king, and IBM said it has made the largest Xeon investment of all the vendors by designing its own high-end chipset.

IBM and Dell also pointed to their release today of new four-way Xeon servers. HP matched its rivals by revealing two new systems - the ProLiant DL580 G3 and ProLiant ML570 G3.

Intel released a number of different Xeon MP flavors for its customers. On the high-end is a 3.33GHz chip with an 8MB Level 3 cache. It costs $3,692 in 1,000 unit quantities. The price drops to $1,980 for a 3.0GHz/8MB chip and $1,177 for a 2.83GHz/4MB chip. Intel's "value" line includes a 3.66GHz/1MB chip for $963 and a 3.16GHz/1MB chip for $722. ®

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