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Intel Lifts Curtain On Six-Core Server Chips

Chip giant emphasizes the virtualization readiness of new Xeon 7400 processors at San Francisco launch event, promises nearly 50 percent performance boost over 7300 Series.

virtualization server

Although a good deal of industry interest in the 7400 Series has focused on the six-core processor, at Monday morning's San Francisco launch event, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel said surprisingly little about the $2,729, 2.13GHz chip listed as Xeon L7455. Instead, Intel focused almost entirely on pitching the virtualization advantages of its newest Xeon processors.

Describing the current transition in server virtualization from largely testing and development installations to full-on production deployments, Intel's Tom Kilroy argued that enterprise data centers are entering what he called the "Virtualization 2.0" phase, and the Xeon 7400 Series, formerly code named Dunnington, will be a key to getting there.

"With new features such as additional cores, large shared caches and advanced virtualization technologies, the Xeon 7400 series delivers record-breaking performance that will lead enterprises into the next wave of virtualization deployments," said Kilroy, VP and GM of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.

The new Xeon series chips have up to 16MB of shared L3 cache, come in both quad-core and six-core flavors, feature 45nm process technology, include a low-voltage 50W version for blade configurations, and feature Intel's VT FlexMigration technology, which eases backwards and forwards VM migration across previous Core-based hardware platforms through to the upcoming Nehalem-based MP server products set to be released in 2009.

Intel describes the six-core product as an "x86-compatible 65-watt version which translates to just under 11 watts per core." The fastest chip in the 45nm Xeon 7400 Series is a quad-core 2.66GHz version, listed at the same $2,729 price as the six-core product.

The specs and prices for Xeon 7400 MP Series processors listed by Intel Sunday are:

- X7460 (16MB L3 cache, 2.66GHz, 130W, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm): $2,729

- E7450 (12MB L3 cache, 2.40GHz, 90W, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm): $2,301

- E7440 (16MB L3 cache, 2.40GHz, 90W, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm): $1,980

- E7430 (12MB L3 cache, 2.13GHz, 90W, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm): $1,391

- E7420 (8MB L3 cache, 2.13GHz, 90W, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm): $1,177

- L7455 (12MB L3 cache, 2.13GHz, 65W, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm): $2,729

- L7445 (12MB L3 cache, 2.13GHz, 50W, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm): $1,980

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