Intel on Monday made a full-scale move into the multicore server market with the introduction of its first dual-core Xeon processors. Hewlett-Packard and IBM join previously announced Dell as suppliers of systems based on the new processors.
"We are here to deliver on the multicore promise. Today is just the beginning," said Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's server platforms group, at a news conference on Monday. "The world's proven technology leader is now delivering dual-core processors to the server market."
Skaugen announced the immediate availability of a 2.8-GHz dual-core Xeon processor for the dual-processor server market. The processor is priced at $1,043 each in quantities of 1,000. The new processor will provide up to 50% performance gain over existing single-core systems, he said.
A 3-GHz dual-core Xeon processor for multiprocessor servers is expected within 60 days. The processor will provide up to 60% performance gain over existing processors, Skaugen said.
Intel believes that 85% of all Xeons shipped for servers will be dual core by the end of next year, and 100% by the end of 2007. For the desktop and mobile markets, 70% of all processors shipped will be dual core by the end of next year, and 90% by end the end of 2007.
Skaugen said the dual-core Xeons will particularly help IT departments expanding virtualization or seeking to consolidate. The performance-per-watt of power improvement of the dual-core systems will let data centers save as much as $100,000 year in electrical costs per 500 servers deployed.
"We are real excited to be adding some more dual-core products to our lines," says Paul Miller, VP or marketing for HP's ProLiant business. "I think for the first couple of weeks you'll see people kicking the tires and measuring the price-performance of these systems versus the single-core counterparts, and later this year, and into next year, there will be a big push to dual core."
The new dual-core Xeon servers will provide about a 44% performance boost compared to single-core systems, and the new systems should be particularly appealing to customers looking to develop virtualized datacenters, he says.
"The big push is going to be using these systems where they make price-performance sense and the performance improvement versus price can very easily be demonstrated when our customers are looking to create virtualized environments," Miller says.
HP is introducing the two-processor ProLiant DL380 and four-processor ProLiant ML570 and DL580 servers, with pricing starting at $4,200 for the DL380.
IBM is introducing the xSeries 346 using a single dual-core Xeon, priced starting at $2,969, and will introduce a second xSeries server based on dual-core Xeon later this year.
Dell earlier this month announced it will be offering four servers and two workstations based on the new dual-core Xeon systems.
HP, IBM, and Sun Microsystems have already been offering dual-core servers based on Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron.
Pat Patla, director of the server and workstation business at AMD, says he believes the availability of the new dual-core Xeon-based systems will provide a boost for AMD.
"I think there are those that have been waiting to do a side-by-side comparison and see for themselves what is the better dual-core solution, and they'll figure out real quickly AMD is the real choice," he says.