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Intel’s first Xeon processor designed in its India’s lab in Bangalore will arrive in 2008 or 2007, The Register web-site reports. The chip will succeed the processors code-named Potomac and Tulsa and is likely to feature another micro-architecture.

Whitefield – The Architecture to Replace NetBurst in x86 MP Servers?

Whitefield is a code-name for Intel’s Xeon processor intended for multi-processor servers or workstations. The chip and its internal architecture are reported to be designed in India and have nothing common with the predecessors – processors internally called Potomac and Tulsa. In case the information about the micro-architecture is correct, the Whitefield processor is something that replaces NetBurst architecture in the MP server space.

Intel’s Potomac processor is the company’s first x86 chip for MP servers that will incorporate Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T) and some other advantages over currently available Xeon MP products. Potomac will have 1MB of L2 cache and 2MB or larger L3 cache. Tulsa processor will emerge in late 2005 and is likely to be a dual-core version of Potomac processor with some innovations. Both Tulsa and Potomac will feature revamped NetBurst architecture – the same as used in the current Intel Xeon MP products.

Intel’s Indian Development Centre Gaining Momentum

Intel India consists of one of the company’s most dynamic software engineering hubs and a diverse set of other activities. Current work force is more than 1500 people, most of them concentrated in the southern India city of Bangalore where a new Intel campus is under development. Other offices are located in Mumbai and Delhi with sales and marketing offices in six other cities.

In Bangalore, the Intel India Development Center (IIDC) supports Intel’s Internet strategy by providing software solutions. Among the larger Intel organizations represented are the Intel Communications Group, the Desktop Products Group, the Microprocessor Products Group, the Technology and Manufacturing Group, Finance and Enterprise Services, the Corporate Technology Group and Intel Capital.

Focus areas of IIDC are: eBusiness applications, networking and communication, very large scale integration (VLSI) design, factory automation, system software, digital signal processing and device drivers.

The fact that Intel may release a processor for mission-critical enterprise servers designed from the ground-up in India confirms that there are very high-skilled engineers in the country that are able to compete with those in the USA, Israel and some other places in the world.

Whitefield Architecture: Revamped IA32 or Redone IA64?

Precise details about Intel’s Whitefield chip are absent at the moment, just like any details of the architecture. But keeping in mind that Intel tends to use the same micro-architecture for its processors in the course of 4 to 6 years from the initial release, it is pretty clear that the Whitefield may be a father for a lineup of microprocessors designed for servers and workstations and coming out in 2008 – 2013 years.

Nowadays Intel offers IA32 and IA64 chips for different class of servers and workstations. The IA32 architecture is conventional x86 architecture with various performance tweaks and compatible with the vast majority of existing applications. IA64 family of processors called Itanium have some advantages over the IA32 bit chips in terms of performance, but in order to unleash that speed, special software should be developed. Pricing, pretty narrow set of software and very low performance in applications developed for x86 are two major factors that limit the market acceptance of Itanium-based machines.

Intel may consider two possibilities for its future server strategy – to develop Itanium processor that delivers high performance in today’s x86 software, or to develop a processor that boasts with architecture that is compatible with existing applications and delivers performance higher compared to that Itanium is capable of in specially created environments. But when talking about the differences in IA32 found in Xeon CPUs and EPIC arhitecture used in Itaniums, we should keep in mind that Xeon and Itanium chips will be compatible on the socket level at some point.

Intel’s officials did not comment on the report.


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