Intel Rolls out New Core i7, Server Chips

Intel is bringing its "Nehalem" architecture into mainstream PCs through its new Core i5-570 processor, which is aimed at multimedia-intense applications. The new chip is aimed at systems that run around $1,000, a drop from the high-end Core i7 processors unveiled a year ago that were targeted at high-end systems that cost as much as $1,700 or more. Intel also launched its Xeon 3400 Series chips, which are Nehalem-based processors aimed at the SMB market. And Lenovo announced two new ThinkServer systems powered by the new Xeon 3400 chips.

Intel is bringing its "Nehalem" chip architecture to the mainstream PC and low-end server spaces.

Intel Sept. 8 unveiled its "Lynnfield" chips, including the first Core i5 processor. The new chips come almost a year after the chip maker rolled out the first of its Core i7 processors, which were aimed at the high-end PC enthusiasts and gamers.

They also come two weeks before Intel hosts its annual three-day developers' forum in San Francisco, which kicks off Sept. 22.

The Core i5-570 and two new Core i7 processors, built using Intel's 45-nanometer manufacturing process, come with such Nehalem features as an integrated memory controller and Turbo Boost, which dynamically scales the processors' power depending on demand. The integrated memory controller speeds up the transfer of data from memory, which leads to greater performance. While rival Advanced Micro Devices has offered the feature in its server and PC chips for several years, previous Intel offerings had the memory controller on the chip set.

One area in which the Core i5-570 breaks off from other Nehalem chips is that while it can run two instruction threads at the same time, the chip only has one thread enabled.

It runs at frequencies of up to 2.66GHz and offers 8MB of cache.

Intel officials said the quad-core Core i5-570 is aimed at applications that call for high-end multimedia capabilities. While the chips launched in November 2008 were aimed at high-end systems that cost $1,700 or more, the new Core i5-750, priced at $196 per 1,000 units shipped, is targeting PCs in the price range of $1,000 or less.

Intel also is introducing its Xeon 3400 Series processors for servers aimed at SMBs. Intel officials said the new chips offer greater performance-up to 64 percent more transactions and up to 56 percent faster business response-with better energy efficiency.

Intel already has rolled out its quad-core Xeon 5500 Series "Nehalem EP" processors for mainstream servers with up to two sockets, and is expected to soon launch the eight-core Nehalem EX for systems with four sockets. One key area for the Nehalem EX processors is the Unix market now being served by such vendors as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

Among the new server chips is the low-power Xeon L3426, which offers a 188 percent improvement in energy efficiency per dollar than the previous Xeon X3380.

Lenovo on Sept. 8 unveiled two new ThinkServer systems aimed at SMBs that run the Xeon 3400 Series processors. Lenovo officials said the TS200 and RS210 offer less complexity, greater efficiency and higher performance than rival systems.

They also stressed the remote management features and enhanced virtualization capabilities, with some models coming with VMware's vSphere 4 virtualization platform and with an onboard connecter for an embedded hypervisor.

The single-socket systems, which meet the specifications for the federal government's Energy Star program, support virtualization technology from VMware, Microsoft, Novell and Red Hat.

The remote management capabilities come from the IMM (Integrated Management Module), which enables IT administrators to manage the systems through a Web interface.