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Intel To Detail Low-Watt, High-Performance Plan

Intel is reducing the heat on system builders with a new processor road map that includes cooler, low-watt chips aimed at providing data-center energy savings and longer battery life to notebook systems.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini this week at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) will take the wraps off the 31-watt Xeon dual-core server processor, code-named Sossaman, which brings Intel&'s notebook CPU technology into the data center, sources said. Sossaman is slated to be widely available in servers in the first half of next year.

Current Intel server processors can run as high as 200 watts, with some low-voltage chips, built with Intel Netburst Architecture, running as low as 55 watts. The new architecture will ratchet down the voltage throughout the product line without sacrificing performance. In the past, Intel has faced criticism from a number of system builders for the high heat dissipation from some of its processors.

Otellini, who is presiding over his first IDF since taking the helm in May, is also expected to spill more details on Yonah, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant&'s dual-core Pentium mobile processor that is to double notebook battery life to 8 hours from 4 hours, sources said. Yonah is slated to be widely available in the first quarter.

System builders said the cost savings that come with the deployment of the new low-watt Sossaman servers will help them sell data center upgrades. Furthermore, they said, the extended battery life also will spark upgrades from road warriors frustrated by current battery limits.

“These new low-watt processors and the added battery life is going to give the whole industry a shot in the arm,” said Tom Derosier, co-owner of system builder CPU Guys, Hanson, Mass. “This is what we need to bring to the industry to the next level.” He predicted the new processors will spark a “noticeable” sales increase across the board for system builders in 2006.

Jennifer Shine, vice president of marketing and business development at eMazzanti Technologies, a system builder in Hoboken, N.J., said she expects a significant sales uptick as a result of the new Intel processors. She said even small businesses will be attracted to the energy efficiency savings and longer battery life.

Intel declined to comment on the new processor road map. But sources said it marks the advent of a converged core architecture that utilizes the same processor technology for notebooks, desktops and server systems. The new technology rapidly accelerates Intel&'s dual-core push.

“Intel is taking the dual-core strategy mainstream in terms of price points,” said a source close to Intel familiar with the new processor pricing plans, estimating that 85 percent of Intel-based servers and 70 percent of desktops and mobile CPUs will be dual core by the end of 2006. “The transition is beginning now, and it accelerates rapidly in the first quarter next year when the next generation Xeon and mobile products come out.”

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