Intel rounds out its range with 64-bit Xeons

Intel has brought Xeon, its mid range server processor, into line with its other offerings with the launch of the 64-bit ‘Truland’ version of the chip. However, these are the first 64-bit offerings from Intel designed for multiprocessor machines using four or more CPUs.

In keeping with its new ‘platform’ strategy of offering solutions rather than just silicon, Intel has launched a new E8500 chip set along with five versions of the 64-bit Xeon . This allows the company to claim a first by combining its Extended Memory 64 Technology, PCI Express, DDR2-400 memory support and demand based switching along with Enhanced SpeedStep Technology, which has become crucially important when MP Xeons are tightly packed in server racks.

Along with the 64-bit extensions, the new processor is available with up to 8 MB of Level 3 (L3) cache, which should offer a sizable performance boost. Intel is saying that its application tests show that the 64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP platform is up to 70 percent faster than the earlier Xeon processor MP 2.

The Intel E8500 chipset has a 667MHz dual, independent front side bus to offer up to 10.6GB/sec of bandwidth, triple the previous version. These and other features provide the infrastructure to support the forthcoming dual-core Intel Xeon processors MP, including ‘Paxville,’ currently planned for the first quarter of 2006.

The chipset will also support virtualisation, which allows one machine to run several virtual servers and cuts down on hardware and management costs.

Prices range from $1177 for the 64-bit Xeon processor MP 2.83 GHz with 4 MB L3 cache up to $3692 for the 3.33 GHz version with 8 MB L3 cache.

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