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Intel and Dell update server gear with promises and rhetoric bump

Single-core brotherhood still looking ahead

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Intel and Dell - aka the Brotherhood of Single-Core Chips - continue to flail about, issuing statements that promise they will eventually ship systems with dual-core server processors. The statements appear to be InDell's best attempt at calming customers' nerves, while competitors and their customers turn to rival gear based on AMD's dual-core Opteron processor.

Intel today, for example, put out a press release talking up a new, speedier Xeon chip and a number of low voltage Xeons. Covering the facts first, the new 64-bit Xeon runs at 3.80GHz (up from 3.60GHz) with 2MB of L2 cache and will slip into current servers. In addition, customers will now find the Xeon LV 3 GHz1 that eats up a max of 55W and the Xeon MV 3.20GHz that consumes up to 90W. Intel was particularly proud of these lower voltage parts and dedicated an entire paragraph in its statement to the processors.

Typically, new processors would warrant far more than just one paragraph in Intel's marketing material. But in these case, the chip giant wants you looking forward to its dual-core chips and not backward at its single-core shame.

These new chips are the last single-core Xeons Intel plans to ship - ever. For that reason, it spent much more time hawking the dual-core Xeon chips that it doesn't even sell yet. Think future, friends.

"In the coming weeks, Intel will introduce its first dual-core Intel Xeon processor, codenamed 'Paxville,'" Intel said.

Quick! Explain how you're not behind AMD as much as you were.

"Originally scheduled in 2006, Paxville will deliver improved performance for both dual-processor (DP) and multi-processor (MP)-based servers," Intel continued.

Phew.

The company then went on to tout the dual-core "Dempsey" chip coming in 2006 for servers and workstations.

Dell today also patted itself on the back for not selling servers with dual-core Xeons yet, although the hardware maker didn't phrase its plans in quite that way.

"Dell has added multi-core technology to its portfolio of award-winning dual-socket servers and workstations, delivering up to 52 percent greater performance while maintaining a common system image for both single- and multi-core systems. The updated servers and workstations also provide the investment protection and flexibility of the industry's most widely used and scalable architecture."

But by "added" and "updated" Dell really meant "conceptualized."

The PowerEdge 1850, 1855, 2800 and 2850 systems that will run on the dual-core Paxville version of Xeon won't actually ship until next month. Customers, however, do have the opportunity of ordering the systems now, if they'll sign an NDA. It's not the most romantic counter to buying a dual-core Opteron-based server, but it will have to do.

Dell also plans to ship its Precision 470 and 670 workstations with dual-core Xeons.

"Dual-core technology combines two processing units into a single processor chip," Dell reminds us in its press release. "The result can be dramatic increases in performance and power efficiency compared to single-core processors, especially when running multiple applications."

That's something rivals IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems have been pointing out for months with their Opteron gear. For some reason, first-to-market king Dell didn't mind being last-to-market on the dual-core server chip front.

In return for its Intel loyalty, Dell apparently received permission to issue its Paxville-based server press release ahead of IBM and HP. Intel typically has all the OEMs put out statements on the same day, hoping to prove the health of its ecosystem and keep everyone happy.

Was shunning AMD worth such a feeble press release - not to mention lost sales? Dell seems to think so. ®

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