OEMs Welcome Change in Xeon Schedule

Intel's plan to accelerate the delivery of dual-core processors is good news for IBM and others.

Systems makers are embracing Intel Corp.s plans to accelerate the delivery of dual-core Xeon processors, saying they will have servers ready to go when the chips are available.

Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday announced that it was bringing its dual-core Xeons for dual- and multi-processor systems to the market later this year, ahead of the initial timeframe of early 2006. Officials credited the work of Intel engineers for the accelerated timetable.

OEMs said they were pleased with the announcement, saying it will mean getting Intel-based dual-core systems into the hands of their customers more quickly.

"IBM anxiously awaits the arrival of Intels first generation 64-bit Xeon MP, dual-core processors," said Jay Bretzmann, director of IBMs xSeries high-performance division. "X3 Architecture servers were designed from a chip set, power and thermal capacity to support these processors."

IBMs X3 architecture, introduced in February, is the next generation of its Intel-based xSeries servers. Included in the rollout was a chip set code-named Hurricane, designed to bring mainframe technologies to the volume systems space.

Intel initially had scheduled of its dual-core "Paxville" Xeon MP chip—for multiprocessor systems—and "Paxville DP" for dual-chip servers for early 2006.

However, officials said the company now will be bringing these chips to market later this year, and will follow them with the next family of dual-core Xeon platforms, code-named "Bensley" for servers and "Glidewell" for workstations, in the first quarter of next year. They said they expect the Paxville chips to be attractive to early adopters and businesses looking to evaluate the dual-core technology.

/zimages/6/28571.gifIntel targets low-voltage Xeons at blade systems. Click here to read more.

The chips will offer performance boosts of 50 to 60 percent, and will come with such features as Demand Based Switching for power management and Execute Disable Bit for enhanced security.

Officials with both Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. said they intend to quickly roll out new systems armed with the Paxville chips once they are available. Intels accelerated schedule is particularly good news to Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, which unlike IBM and HP has no line of systems based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s dual-core Opteron chip to fall back on while awaiting Intels technology.

Tim Golden, director for marketing for Dells PowerEdge servers, aid that the company has been working closely with Intel to help move up the launch date, including ensuring that the components of their PowerEdge systems, such as the motherboards, were ready for the new dual-core processors. Dell already offers single-chip systems with Intels Pentium D dual-core processor.

"These are the [chips] that are really going to compete with Opteron," Golden said. "A large number of our customers have seen the performance benefits that [dual-core] Opterons could offer and they want it on their Intel systems."

He said Dell is expecting a quick ramp in the sales of PowerEdge systems running dual-core Xeons. It not only will give current Dell customers a boost in price/performance but also will attract businesses running RISC-based systems who will now see similar performance in Intel systems at a much lower price, he said.

Colin Lacey, director of platform marketing for industry standard servers in HPs Technology Solutions Group, said there is some pent-up demand among the companys ProLiant users for dual-core capabilities in their Intel systems. HP already offers the feature in its Opteron-based servers.

Intel said the faster Xeon schedule is part of an aggressive plan by the chip maker to bring dual-core capabilities to it processors. AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., earlier this year launched dual-core versions of its Opteron and Athlon 64 PC chips.

Intel officials say they currently have 17 dual-core projects under way, and expect that by the end of next year more than 85 percent of their server chips shipped will be dual-core.

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