Intel formally unveiled its much anticipated "Caneland" platform for multiprocessor systems Sept. 5, in a move that seems to be aimed at taking away some of the thunder from Advanced Micro Devices soon-to-be-released quad-core Opteron processor.
The new Intel platform will include several new processors, formerly code-named Tigerton, which will now be known as Intels 7300 series processors. In addition, the chip set formerly code-named Clarksboro will now simply be called the Intel 7300 chip set. The new platform promises to scale from four-way systems to 32-way configurations, according to company executives.
The Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker has been talking about the new MP platform for several months and a third-quarter announcement had been expected. In July, Intel disclosed that it had been shipping the processor and chips sets to partners for months.
The Sept. 5 announcement allows Intel to offer a new quad-core processor and chip set ahead of AMDs quad-core Opteron, or "Barcelona," processor, which is scheduled for release soon. AMD has scheduled a press conference for Sept. 10, and several publications have indicated that the company will use that time to detail its quad-core processor.
The Intel and AMD processors are expected to compete within the MP server space, a much smaller market compared with the demand for single- and dual-socket x86 systems, but one where the margins are much greater. For AMD, success in this space with its quad-core Opteron could help it regain some of its financial footing.
Several of the top-tier OEMs will offer support for the new Intel platform, including Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Dell and IBM. Just before the official Intel launch, Big Blue announced that it will use the 7300 series processors with its own X4 Architecture for a new, four-way System x server.
The release of the platform Sept. 5 also completes Intels conversion of its processor products to the Core Microarchitecture.
The new processors, according to a statement from Intel, offer twice the performance of the older, dual-core Xeon processors. The new platform also offers four times the amount of memory capability compared with older platforms and 2.5 times the amount of virtual machine performance of older products.
On the high end, the quad-core Intel X7350 runs at a clock speed of 2.93GHz, and the four cores share 8MB of L2 cache. The TDP, an internal Intel term that determines the how much heat a chip has to dissipate, is 130 watts. The price for this processor is $2,301 per 1,000 units shipped.
There are also four different quad-core models in the 80-watt range, which include the E7340, E7330, E7320 and the E7310, with clock speeds ranging from 2.4GHz to 1.60GHz and a shared cache of between 4MB and 8MB.
The prices for these processors range from $856 per 1,000 units shipped to $1,980 per 1,000 units. In addition, Intel is offering two dual-core processors—the E7220 and the E7210—within the 80-watt range.
Finally, there is a 50-watt model, the X7345, with a lower clock speed, 1.86GHz, but with 8MB of shared L2 cache. With a price of $2,301 per 1,000 units, this particular processor is designed for blades and ultra-dense 1U (1.75-inch) and 2U (3.5-inch) rack-mounted systems.
All the processors are built on Intels 65-nanometer manufacturing process.
Some additional improvements to the platform include four dedicated high-speed interconnects that Intel executives said will connect each processor to the 7300 chip set, which will double the bandwidth. Intel has also included a 64MB snoop filter for improving system traffic, full-buffered DIMM (dual in-line memory module) technology for increased memory capacity and Intels I/O Acceleration Technology 2, which provides for faster data flow between server applications and the network.
The release of Caneland is expected to be Intels last major announcement until its 45-nanometer "Penryn" family of processors is released later this year, possibly in November or December. All Caneland-based platforms will be compatible with 45-nanometer Intel Core-based processors starting in 2008.