Intel Raises Processor Capacity But Not Price

New processor to further Intel's vision of cheaper four-way and eight-way servers.
In a move to boost the performance of four-way and eight-way servers without raising cost, Intel last week introduced a new version of its Xeon processor MP that features a faster processing speed and larger cache size. Intel's major hardware partners--Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM--are offering servers that use the new chip.

The new chip raises the speed of Intel's Xeon processor MP line from 1.6 GHz to 2 GHz and its integrated Level 3 cache memory from 1 Mbyte to 2 Mbytes. Customers were concerned with the ability of the previous version of Xeon processor MP, introduced in February, to scale enough to effectively run four-way and eight-way servers. "The larger cache memory should lay those concerns to rest," says Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff.

Xeon MP

Servers from Dell, HP, and IBM use the new Xeon MP.
These larger, more reliable Intel-based servers will play a key role in many companies' plans to save money through server consolidation. Before this new Xeon MP, such a move was unrealistic because the chip's small cache size didn't support large traffic loads. New servers introduced last week from Dell, HP, and IBM use the new Xeon MP and are better candidates for virtual partitioning, which is a way of putting the work of several servers on a single box.

"I'm very excited about the new technology," says Rod Carney, assistant VP of Huntington National Bank's enterprise infrastructure group, which manages 600 Hewlett-Packard ProLiant servers. The bank has plans to consolidate low-end ProLiant servers onto four-way and eight-way ProLiants. Carney says Intel's processor improvements make four-way and eight-way Intel-based servers feasible candidates for partitioning, a technology that's crucial to successful server consolidation.

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