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Intel Winds Up One-Two Server Punch

Intel plans to aggressively price its older "Dempsey" processor to make it appealing to customers not grappling with heat management problems. Meanwhile, AMD readies a server-chip counterstrike for late summer.
The high-end of the 5100 line boasts a 3GHz CPU with 4 Mbytes of L2 cache, while the 5000 series tops out with a 3.73GHz offering. A channel-only SKU for the 5000 series processor, packaged using the 2.8 Ghz chip, is priced at around $180.

When it comes to differentiating the new Intel Xeon 5100 line (aka Woodcrest) from the Xeon 5000 series (aka Dempsey), which launched in May, Gelsinger said Intel will be more aggressive than usual in adjusting pricing for Dempsey.

He said Dempsey will become Intel's "street fighter" product for system builders and in emerging markets that are not yet grappling with the power-management challenges associated with high-density data center.

"I see us throwing a lot of our weight behind the Woodcrest over the Dempsey in the long term, obviously," said Chuck Orcutt, Nexlink server business development manager at Seneca Data, an Intel Premier Provider in North Syracuse, N.Y. "Especially for us, having the lower wattage will be the value."

Steve Dallman, director of N.A. Distribution & Channel Marketing at Intel, downplayed questions regarding the pricing differential between the two newest Xeon server lines, emphasizing instead the fact that systems configured around either chip will be "drop-in" compatible. That is, they can accommodate either CPU as well as the Clovertown quad-cored edition planned for early next year.

Dallman said Intel plans to use its traditional fall road show series to train approximately 9,000 channel partners about the Core 2 Duo architecture, and it has obtained 1,200 seed units specifically for the channel. VARs and sytem builders can also expect distributor-specific promotions and rebates.

In addition, the company is working with software companies to provide better support for server stacks it has deemed critical for adoption of the Woodcrest technology, including Vmware, LANDdesk, Syam Software and Asterisk.

"We're going to try to win every server design in the country," Dallman said.

KRISTEN KENEDY contributed to this story.