Intel packs the Paxville into Xeon MPs

Last month Intel promised it would deliver the dual- core dual processor models of the Xeon, codenamed ‘Paxville’ ‘within 60 days’. Intel now says that the dual-core Xeon processor 7000, until now known by its codename ‘Paxville MP’ is shipping. The new design offers speeds of up to 3.0 GHz with a 667 MHz dual, independent system bus.

The new processors will fit into existing platforms based around Intel’s E8500 chipset. The chipset, which became available earlier this year, was designed for use with dual-core machines.

The sense of urgency around the Xeon follows the success of the dual core Opteron from arch rival AMD, which has slowly been eating into the lucrative x86 server market that Intel called its own. According to figures from Mercury Research this summer, AMD’s share of the x86 server processor market grew 51 per cent in the second quarter of this year from 7.4 per cent to 11.2 per cent – the first time AMD had broken through the 10 per cent barrier in the server market.

Intel is now promising that it will ship new versions of the chipset and processor that will support an 800 MHz dual, independent system bus in early 2006. Looking further ahead, the second half of 2006 will see the ‘Tulsa’ version of the dual core Xeon, which is said to be built around a 65nm process with a larger 16MB shared L3 cache for servers with four or more processors. Intel claims that Tulsa will be plug and play compatible with systems built for the dual-core Intel Xeon processor 7000.

The dual core Xeon processor 7040 running at 3.0 GHz, with each core fitted with a 2Mb L2 cache and a 667 MHz FSB costs $3,157 in quantities of 1000. At the other end of the scale, the Xeon 7020 running at 2.66 GHz, 2 x 1Mb L2 cache and a 667 MHz FSB costs $1,177 a piece for orders of 1,000 units.

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