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5/26/2009
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Intel Offers Details On Xeon Nehalem-EX

The server chip's refresh takes x86 technology into computers where RISC-designed CPUs dominate, such as high-performance computing and mainframes.

Intel on Tuesday disclosed details of its upcoming eight-core server processor that the chipmaker hopes will coax large companies from servers using the competing RISC design.

Intel plans to begin production on the new chip, code-named Nehalem-EX, in the second half of the year. Computer systems leveraging the technology are expected early next year.

Nehalem-EX will be added to Intel's Xeon line. Built on the chipmaker's current 45-nanometer manufacturing process, Nehalem-Ex will have eight processor cores on a single piece of silicon that will support 16 threads and 24 Mb of cache.

The processor will be offered in two- to eight-socket servers using Intel's Quick Path interconnect. Larger systems are expected from computer makers using third-party node controllers.

The performance boost from Nehalem-EX is significant, according to Intel. The new chip offers as much as nine times the memory bandwidth of Intel's current high-end processor line, the Xeon 7400. In addition, Nehalem-EX doubles the memory capacity with up to 16 memory slots per processor socket.

Intel also offers its Itanium architecture for high-end systems, but Itanium has never garnered the popularity of the company's x86 platform, which is the foundation of Nehalem-EX. Itanium is mostly used in Hewlett-Packard systems, although other computer makers also have developed computers with the technology.

Nehalem-EX takes x86 into computers where RISC-designed CPUs dominate. Such processors are made by IBM, Sun Microsystems, and others.

Such high-end systems are used in powering the largest data-demanding corporate applications, as well as in technical computing environments and in server consolidation. While the majority of servers shipping today have x86 processors, RISC systems sell for substantially more.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on increasing application performance. Download the report here (registration required).

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