Chip maker Intel is set to launch new, more efficient quad-core Xeon processors on Monday, working to gain additional leverage in a marketplace that has been hungry for greater performance but averse to lots of electricity consumption.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company will take the wraps off two 50-watt server processors that it says provide between 35 percent and 60 percent decreases in power consumption over Intel's current 80-watt and 120-watt quad-core server processors.
The two processors are the Quad-core Intel Xeon L5320 and L5310, running at 1.86 GHz and 1.60 GHz, respectively. In 1,000-unit quantities, the L5320 will be priced at $519 and the L5310 at $455.
As data centers from small to large enterprises have swelled with new applications in recent years, Intel and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD have been battling to produce processors with ever-lower rates of power consumption.
"I think it's definitely the right direction," said Chad Schultz, owner of Premier Technologies, a Beloit, Wis.-based system builder. "When there is a high draw of power in the data center, there's so much more equipment needed for cooling and management. Less electricity is definitely the right move."
However, Schultz said he believes Intel has been trailing AMD on the efficiency front, largely because of the differences in architecture between the two chip makers.
"AMD puts the memory controller on the processor itself," Schultz said. "When you compare processors, if an AMD processor consumes the same amount of electricity, AMD is still more efficient" because of the placement of the memory controller, he said.
Schultz said customers who are only now entering a typical, three-year upgrade cycle can look to systems with the new Intel processors and realize a significant jump in efficiency and performance.
Intel said its list of expected Tier 1 server vendors for the new processors "in the coming months" include Acer, Dell, Digital Henge, Fujitsu Siemens, HP, HCL, IBM, Rackable Systems, Samsung, Verari and Wipro.