Intel To Launch Low-End Xeon At Developer Forum

Expected to be branded Xeon 3000, system builders said the CPU effectively will replace the Pentium D that some system manufacturersincluding top-tier vendors such as Dell and IBMhave been using to power entry-level servers for small businesses.

System builders said they believe the Xeon 3000 series will be made up of the top-performing Core 2 Duo chips and is designed for one socketor what Intel calls uniprocessorservers.

One system builder said Xeon 3000 processors will be paired with the Mukilteo-2 chipset, which he believed will offer some entry-level reliability and manageability features unavailable in the desktop chipsets.

The announcement, expected during the fall conference, marks the first time Intel will brand all processors aimed at servers under Xeon. Pentium Ds currently powering some servers and their companion chipsets have been branded under the desktop line. An Intel spokeswoman declined to comment.

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But an executive at system builder and motherboard maker SuperMicro, San Jose, Calif., said Intel has already released the Mukilteo-2 line, now called the 3000 and 3010, and SuperMicro has developed a line of boards to support Xeon 3000 and Core 2 Duo processors.

Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., currently is promoting the 3000 and 3010 on its Web site. Among the features touted are hyperthreading, Intel's SpeedStep technology for power management, PCI Express and PCI-X support, Matrix Storage technology that boosts performance with RAID and Active Management technology.

The chip maker also recently shipped two new processors, Xeon 5100 Woodcrest, which is based on Intel's new Core microarchitecture, and Xeon 5000 Dempsey, a low-cost server CPU based on Intel's older architecture. Both are aimed at two-socket servers and offer better price/performance per watt than previous Xeon offerings.

Tau Leng, SuperMicro's director of marketing, said the Xeon 3000 will fill several niches: entry level-servers, low-cost server appliances, and low-cost high-performance computing models. "You will see entry-level servers using the single-socket option, and customers building appliances, such as firewall appliances, will be relying on this type of server."