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Intel offers four-core trip to Clovertown

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Proving its embrace of multicore technology, Intel today revealed the 'Clovertown' processor, which is a four-core dandy meant to ship in early 2007.

"We are well along in the validation process of this new design," Intel CTO, Justin Rattner said in an interview on Intel's website. "It has been showing robust performance."

'Clovertown' has been mentioned before on hardware sites, but this marks the first time Intel has confirmed the chip. It will slot into two-socket servers, giving low-end systems up to eight processor cores. Another chip with four cores called 'Tigerton' will fit into servers with four or more sockets.

Intel had been looking for 'Whitefield' to appear as its first four-core chip but cancelled this project after some rough going in the design process.

A series of chip delays and cancellations across Intel's product lines caused some to question whether the company would match rival AMD in the multicore race. Now, however, it looks like Intel will be right in step with AMD, which is also expected to roll out four-core processors in 2007.

Many still wonder when Intel's crucial CSI high-speed serial interconnect will appear. This technology is meant to match AMD's Hypertransport and ship with an integrated memory controller. Without such advances, Intel will likely struggle to beat AMD's Opteron chip in raw performance.

At present, Intel has only said that CSI will appear in a 2008 version of Itanium. The technology was once meant to be built into Whitefield, but Intel has not given a CSI release date for the Xeon line.

All that said, Intel does now appear to be ramping its multi-core server lineup at speed after being slow to adopt the design concept. Come 2007, things will be tougher on AMD. ®

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