Vendors Prep Boards For New Xeons

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Motherboard vendors are readying products to take advantage of Intel's latest Xeon processors, which were introduced last month and feature a 533MHz front-side bus.

Last week, Intel introduced five new motherboards for the new processors, said Phil Brace, director of marketing for Intel's Enterprise Platform and Services Division.

These include a single-processor model designed for 1U or 2U chassis with on-board dual Gbit and dual Ultra320 SCSI or ATA RAID controllers, a motherboard for dual-processor servers or workstation with AGP 8X graphics and Serial ATA on board, and three dual-processor motherboards for standard servers: a performance board with dual Gbit and dual Ultra320 SCSI controllers, a volume server board with dual Gbit and a single Ultra 320 SCSI controller, and a value board with dual Gbit and one ATA connector that's aimed at the SMB space.

Tyan Computer is adding its own twist: dual Xeon motherboards in an ATX form factor.

Motherboard rival Tyan Computer said it expects in January to start shipping several motherboards for the new Xeons. However, Tyan is adding its own twist: dual Xeon motherboards in an ATX form factor, said Don Clegg, vice president of sales and marketing at the Fremont, Calif.-based vendor.

Starting last quarter, Tyan started offering its most advanced motherboards in the ATX form factor instead of the extended-ATX size, resulting in a motherboard that fits the most common size of chassis.

While designing such a complex motherboard into the smaller size was a challenge, the result is the ability to mount two-way Xeon boards in the standard two-way Pentium III form-factor chassis, Clegg said. "This is what Intel needed to replace its Pentium III," he said. "It's great for the white-box market because it offers a significant cost savings."

Tyan also will offer two extended-ATX versions of the dual Xeon motherboard, Clegg said.

Later this quarter, the company also plans to unveil to white-box builders four-way Xeon motherboards for 4U and 8U rack-mount chassis. However, these will be for the prior-generation 400MHz front-side bus processors, he said.

Dan Nester, president of Build To Order Manufacturing, a white-box builder in Atlanta, said the Hyper-Threading technology used in the Xeon processors is key to building high-end server platforms. "The boost in performance from Hyper-Threading in servers using dual Xeon or other processors is noticeable," he said. "Servers look and act like they have four processors."

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