Intel Xeon takes aim at blade market

Chip giant Intel is making a concerted effort to win back market share in the lucrative blade server market with the introduction of a new energy efficient dual core Xeon processor.

The new chip, known as the Xeon LV, is claimed to be have two- to four-times the performance-per-watt of previous generations of Xeon processors and platforms with a total dissipated power (TDP) of just 31 watts.

Intel says the low heat generated makes the new dual core Xeon ideal for a range of high density server configurations including single-height (1U) chassis and blade servers, SAN and NAS solutions and other network infrastructure equipment.

In today’s high density computing back offices, the emphasis is on packing as much hardware into as little space as possible. The ultra thin ‘blade’ servers have taken off in a big way in the past few years as IT managers have been able to pack large numbers into server racks. However, power consumption and the resulting excess heat generated is a major problem with blade servers, with the processors at the heart of the machines being the prime culprit.

In a bid to provide the widest possible opportunity for the new Xeons, the company will not only be selling the chip on its own but also preinstalled on an Intel motherboard. Intel will also be selling its own blade server.

Aimed at OEMs who want to get product to market quickly, Intel is offering what it calls the AdvancedTCA-compliant Intel NetStructure MPCBL0040 Single Board Computer (SBC). This motherboard features two of the new low-voltage Intel Xeon processors, which equates to four cores per SBC. The company is also marketing its own blade server, the Server Compute Blade SBXD62, aimed at small and medium-sized business through OEM and reseller channels.

Prices for the Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor LV 2.0 GHz and 1.66 GHz are $423 and $209 per unit, respectively, based on 1,000-unit quantities. The Intel NetStructure MPCBL0040 Single Board Computer is expected to become available in the second quarter with an initial price from Intel of $4,495 per unit. The Intel Server Compute Blade SBXD62 is expected to arrive in April with prices around $945. No UK prices are currently available.

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