Vendors Ramp Up for Dual-Core

Systems makers are preparing to roll out a host of servers to coincide with the launch this month by Intel Corp. of its first dual-core Xeon chips.

Systems makers are preparing to roll out a host of servers to coincide with the launch this month by Intel Corp. of its first dual-core Xeon chips.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker is moving up the release of its "Paxville" processor for two-way systems, which originally was scheduled to launch early next year, in part to offset the time-to-market advantage enjoyed by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., rolled out its first dual-core Opteron chips in April and late last month unveiled new Opteron models that run at higher frequencies.

For its part, Intel last week announced the last of its single-core Xeons. It already offers dual-core Pentium D processors for small servers, workstations and desktops, and it is set to launch a dual-core Itanium 2 chip, code-named Montecito, later this year.

Most OEMs said they will come out with servers based on Paxville. Dell Inc., of Round Rock, Texas, last week began taking orders for four single- and dual-socket servers—including its PowerEdge 1855 blade server—and two workstations with the dual-core Xeons. They will ship later this month.

IBM in August announced the xSeries 260 system, which is dual-core-capable. A spokesperson said the Armonk, N.Y., company will unveil more dual-core systems later this month. In addition, officials with Gateway Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and MPC Computers all say they, too, will launch servers with the dual-core Xeons this month, and Supermicro Inc. has begun shipping several servers and motherboards that will be ready for Paxville once its released.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about how server makers reacted to Intel shifting its Xeon plans.

Intels release of the dual-core Xeons promises to ramp up an increasingly contentious competition with AMD. AMD in June filed suit against Intel claiming the giant chip maker used its monopoly power to unfairly stifle competition.

Though Intel still controls the majority of the x86 chip market, AMDs ability to beat Intel to the punch with both 64-bit processing and dual-core capabilities is helping it gain some traction in the highly desirable enterprise space.

Crossmark Holdings Inc., a business services company in Plano, Texas, is a longtime user of Intel-based ProLiant servers from HP. However, when AMD released the dual-core Opterons, Crossmark bought several dual-core Opteron systems from HP to run such applications as Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server database, said Charles Orndorff, Crossmarks vice president of infrastructure services.

Orndorff said that the company will evaluate the dual-core Xeons but that hes pleased with the performance of the Opteron-based systems. AMDs ability to bring dual-core out first was a key factor in Crossmarks decision to go with the systems. "There was no other option until [the release of the Opteron] happened," he said.

Some other systems makers also are considering the Opteron. Officials with MPC, in Nampa, Idaho, are in early talks with AMD and may come out with Opteron-based servers next year, including rack systems and blade servers, they said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.