Intel Powers Up Xeon MP

UPDATED: An upgraded Intel Gallatin chip will double the amount of Level 3 cache and boost performance.

Intel Corp. on Tuesday will unveil an upgraded Gallatin chip, a Xeon MP for systems with four or more chips that will double the amount of Level 3 cache and boost the speed.

The announcement will come at an event in New York with financial services company Thomson Financial, which uses systems running both Xeon and 64-bit Itanium chips from Intel. The major OEMs are expected to announce support for the upgraded chip with refreshed servers.

The new Xeon MP will feature 4MB of Level 3 cache and a maximum frequency of 3GHz, a source said. The current version offers 2MB with a top speed of 2.8GHz. Larger caches can store more data closer to the processor for faster retrieval.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will refresh its four-way Intel-based eServer xSeries systems with the upgraded Gallatin chip, including the x255 tower server, the x365 and x445 rack-optimized systems and the HS40 BladeCenter blade server, a spokesman said.

Hewlett-Packard Co., of Palo Alto, Calif., will put the new chip in the four-way ProLiant DL560, DL580 and ML570 systems, and the eight-way DL740 and DL760 servers, according to an HP spokesman.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company has been making headlines with its Xeon chips in recent weeks after announcing last month at its Intel Developer Forum that it will begin offering the 32-bit Xeon chips with 64-bit extensions. The move will enable such extended servers to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications equally well, similar to what rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. already offers in its AMD 64 line of processors—both the Opteron for servers and workstations and Athlon64 for desktops and notebooks.

Most of the top systems makers have confirmed that they will offer such extended systems as the processors become available. In addition, IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc. have announced support for AMDs Opteron chips.

The first of the Xeons with 64-bit extensions, Nocona, will come out in the second quarter. Nocona will be used in systems with up to two processors. Potomac, a version of Xeon MP that will include the extensions, will be released next year.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include company provided information on forthcoming IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. products.

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