Intel claims dual-core launch beats Opteron

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Intel claims dual-core launch beats Opteron

Xeon Processor 5100 series marks manufacturer’s first major fight-back in
server war with AMD.

After 18 months of AMD eating away at its server market share, Intel has fought back in the battle of the chip manufacturers with its Woodcrest series of dual-core Xeon processors.

The Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processor 5100 series of chips is Intel’s first major retaliation in the server war that has seen AMD gain 20 per cent market share. AMD has predicted that this will increase to 30 per cent in the short term. But Intel hopes the 5100 will give the firm a boost. There are 200 servers and workstations on the way from 150 manufacturers.

The 5100 series is targeted at the high-volume server, workstation, storage, communications and embedded market segments. These are the first to use Intel’s new Core microarchitecture and manufacturing processes.

The series boasts up to 135 per cent performance improvements and up to 40 per cent reduction in energy consumption, compared with previous Intel server products. Even more bullish are statements from Intel that the new chips outperform similar AMD Opteron offerings by up to 60 per cent using industry benchmarks.

“The Core microarchitecture is a technical marvel that is driving a new era of power efficiency, without compromising on an eye-popping, dual-core 64bit performance,” claimed Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group.

Intel will ship the 5100 series at frequencies up to 3GHz, with a faster 1.3GHz front side bus and 4MB of shared Layer 2 cache. The 3GHz version has a thermal design point of 80W, with others rated at 65W. Intel has announced that a lower voltage version will ship in the third quarter.

Hewlett-Packard (HP), IBM and Dell have been the quickest to announce new servers based on the 5100 series, with the first systems due to arrive in mid-July. HP unveiled its BladeSystem c-Class server, the first to support 4X DDR InfiniBand, the industry’s fastest blade server.

“Blade server adoption will accelerate, fuelled by higher performance and greater flexibility at lower costs,” said Winston Prather, general manager high-performance computing division at HP. “These blade server capabilities will give high-performance computing customers substantial performance for the future.”

The Xeon 5100 costs between £110 and £445 for 1,000 units.
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