Intel released its dual-core Xeon processor for high-end servers with some extra benefits for high-performance computing.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based microprocessor maker started shipping the parts, formerly code-named Paxville MP, last week to system builders. Developed for servers that use four or more sockets, the processors use a dual 667MHz independent front-side bus for more throughput to the system’s chipset, a gateway to memory and I/O functions.
In Intel platform design for multiprocessors, two dual-core processors share the dual front-side bus. Intel’s dual-core offerings for one- and two-socket systems, released in October, rely on a single front-side bus.
The new processors also incorporate hardware-based virtualization capabilities. Those features will not be enabled until Intel releases a BIOS update early next year.
Intel’s entry into dual-core designs trails Advanced Micro Devices, which shipped its first products in April. Intel delivered all of its dual-core offerings several months early in an effort to catch its rival.
Many system builders believe AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., stole Intel’s thunder in dual-core systems. Intel’s job now, they say, is to continually improve performance and lower price points. Prices currently range from $1,980 to $3,157.
“When pricing gets closer to the single cores and the single cores start to go away, we will see a bigger impact,” said Doug Phillips, vice president of products and solutions at Seneca Data, a North Syracuse, N.Y., system builder.
Intel plans to refresh this line of processors in the second half of 2006. Those 65-nanometer CPUs, code-named Tulsa, will include 16 Mbytes of shared L3 cache to help improve memory performance. Earlier in the year, Intel plans to update its one- and two-socket dual-core platform with an 800MHz dual front-side bus and updated memory technology called FB DIMM, or Fully-Buffered Dual In-Line Memory Module.