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In the first quarter next year Intel will add a number of new Xeon microprocessors for DP and MP platforms into its product family to push the performance up. The chips will be made using mature 0.13 micron process and will add some extra cache into the processors, sources close to Intel Corporation reported. The move is presumably planned in an attempt to solidify the Xeon positions in early 2004 and throughout the year before Nocona and Potomac processors show up in Q2 and early 2005 respectively.

Intel’s Potomac processor and supporting Twin Castle platform for 4P/8P systems are only projected to emerge in the first quarter of 2005, as a result, next year Intel will have to bump up the speed of its existing Xeon MP “Gallatin” processors to keep on performance improvements of its IA32 chips for 4/8-way platforms.

In the first quarter next year the Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor manufacturer will roll-out the Xeon MP processor with 4MB of L3 cache clocked at 3.0GHz. Moreover, in order to strengthen the overall family, the company is rumored to add 2.70GHz and 2.20GHz Xeon MP chips into the lineup. The Xeon MP 3.0GHz 4M part – presumably based on the Gallatin 4M core – will be Intel’s top IA32 offering for 4P/8P platforms quoted at $3692. The 2.20GHz and 2.70GHz models will complement existing Xeon MP processors at 2.80GHz and 2.0GHz with 2MB L3 caches. The new parts will be priced at $1177 and $1980 respectively.

All new Xeon MP processors are drop-in compatible with existing 4P/8P IA32 infrastructure, such as applications based on ServerWorks GC-HE, GC-LE chipsets, using 400MHz Quad Pumped Bus.

As a result of Intel Xeon 3.0GHz 4M, Intel Xeon 2.70GHz 2M and Intel Xeon 2.20GHz 2M processors introduction, expect a refresh in the pricing of Intel Xeon processors MP family.

The new processors for 4P/8P applications will mean extra competition for rivaling solutions, such as AMD Opteron platform, next year.

Following the Extreme Edition of Intel Pentium 4 processor, the Xeon CPUs for DP platforms will get 2MB of L3 cache in the Q1 2004 to address performance-demanding applications early in 2004. The chip will be made using 0.13 micron fabrication process and will be probably based on the Gallatin core originally developed for MP servers. The launch of the new processor is not set to affect pricing of other models in the family, as the Intel Xeon DP processor 2M at 3.20GHz will be launched at $1043 price-point, a significant increase from $851 price-point of existing Intel Xeon DP processor 1M at 3.20GHz.

The new DP chip will also fit into the current IA32 DP platforms that support 533MHz Quad Pumped Bus.

The Nocona processor for the Lindenhurst and Tumwater platforms will start in the second quarter 2004 at speeds of 2.80GHz, 3.00GHz, 3.20GHz, 3.40GHz and also 3.60GHz. The chips will contain 1MB of L2 cache and implement support for 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus. The Lindenhurst and Tumwater core-logic for 2-way server and workstation applications respectively will sport not only Nocona, but also Jayhawk processor with 2MB of L2 in the first quarter 2005.

Among other important changes in Intel’s server roadmap sources mentioned the Prescott and E7210 platform launch timeframe moved into the first quarter next year from the last quarter this year, as well as Tejas chip introduction timeframe change from the Q4 2004 for the Q1 2005.


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