Intel Introduces Faster, More Powerful Xeon Processor MP

New chip is faster and has twice as much Level 3 cache, boosting performance by 38%.
In a move to boost the performance of four-way or greater servers without necessarily boosting their cost, Intel on Monday introduced the latest iteration of its Xeon Processor MP. The new chip is faster than its predecessor, features twice the integrated Level 3 cache memory, and is the first Xeon Processor MP manufactured on the company's 0.13-micron process.

Intel's three largest equipment-making partners--Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM--all launched servers Monday that use the new processor, code-named Gallatin. Dell is using the processor in its PowerEdge 6600 and 6650 four-way servers, with an entry-level server priced at $5,999, roughly the same price as with the previous version of the Xeon Processor MP. HP is upgrading its ProLiant ML570 server with the new processor while keeping its starting price at $6,599. IBM introduced new four-way versions of its xSeries 255, 360, and 440 servers, all using the new Intel processor. Starting prices for IBM's new models are comparable with earlier Xeon Processor MP iterations; the 255 starts at $6,169, the 360 at $7,299, and the 440 at $18,099.

The Xeon Processor MP is optimized for four-way servers that typically run customer-relationship management, middleware, and business-intelligence applications. To accommodate the growing demands placed on servers running these applications, Intel doubled the processor's Level 3 cache memory from 1 Mbyte to 2 Mbytes and increased processor speed from 1.6 GHz to 2 GHz, creating an overall 38% improvement in performance.

Intel is the leading provider of four-way server platforms, which comprise 74% of the market, according to a September study by research firm IDC. The remainder of the market is comprised of RISC-based servers, primarily from Sun Microsystems.

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