Intel Promises Enhanced Capabilities Of Xeon Series


Woodcrest, officially the Intel Xeon Processor 5100 series, is based on Intel's Core microarchitecture, which promises improved power management capabilities, more intelligent caching and memory options, and an increase in the number of tasks that can be run in parallel.

At the launch, one point underscored repeatedly by Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, is the technology's reduced heat profile. The 3GHz edition will ship with a Thermal Design Point of 80 watts, while the other offerings will operate at 65 watts.

Gelsinger said Intel's fundamental processor enhancements, combined with its new virtualization hardware, a smart shared cache and its Fully Buffered DIMM (FBDIMM) technology, promise a threefold increase in performance along with a 40 percent decrease in power consumption compared with Intel Xeon single-core offerings.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel also plans to release a quad-core version, codenamed Clovertown, early next year, he said.

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"We're going to be delivering our quad core before they even have a chance to respond to Woodcrest," Gelsinger said in response to a question about the competitive dynamic with Advanced Micro Devices.

The pricing for the Intel Xeon 5100 series will range from $209 to $851 per processor in 1,000-unit quantities, and was set in keeping with traditional Intel pricing strategies, Gelsinger said. Pricing for the Xeon 5000 lineup ranges from $177 to $851.

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 2.8GHz 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), Gelsinger said the latter 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 centers.

"I see us throwing a lot of our weight behind Woodcrest over 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."

KRISTEN KENEDY contributed to this story.