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Intel Corp. is expected to commercially launch its new Intel Xeon MP processor along with appropriate supporting core-logic in a week time, according to some sources. The move will enable Intel’s products to compete feature-wise with rival Advanced Micro Devices, who has been offering x86 64-bit processors for multiprocessor servers for little bit less than two years now.

As expected, Intel’s new multiprocessor platform, which is referred as Trueland, will be commercially available in the second quarter of 2005. The introduction is expected for the 29th of March, Techworld.com web-site reported citing sources close to the company.

According to earlier released details of the roadmap, Santa Clara, California-based Intel Corp. plans to introduce its first 64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP processor-based platform with up to 8 MB of a third-level “L3” cache memory reservoir, codenamed “Potomac”. In addition, Intel will enable a category of entry-level four-way server platforms utilizing the new Intel Xeon processor MP with 1MB of L2 cache, codenamed “Cranford.” Also, the company plans to introduce its E8500 chipset to support the new family of chips.

Intel Corp. is projected to release its highly-anticipated Intel Xeon multiprocessing unit (MPU) code-named Potomac that is positioned as a high-end offering for MP servers in the second quarter. Potomac chips are now expected to operate at speeds of 3.33GHz or higher and contain up to 8MB of level-three cache in addition to 1MB of L2 cache, whereas earlier sources familiar with the matter indicated 3.50GHz clock-speed for the chip. Potomac will be produced using 90nm process technology.

The platforms and chipsets that will support the new 64-bit Intel Xeon processors MP, previously known as Twin Castle, are architected for dual-core chips and feature several enhancements, including a faster 667MHz system bus, support for PCI Express and PC2-3200 (DDR2 400MHz) memory as well as Demand-Based Switching with Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology. Intel said Twin Castle supports a so-called “dual bus technology” that “handles incoming data faster”

A slide from Intel Corp.’s roadmap that was accidentally leaked by the company itself on its web-site indicated that Intel’s Xeon processor family for multiprocessor (MP) applications would be updated already in Q1 2005 with chips code-named Cranford that contain 1MB of L2 cache, but operate at 3.66GHz, much higher than today’s 3.0GHz. It is now said that Cranford will be launched on the same day as Potomac. In server environments clock-speed does not necessarily mean performance crown, as server software is seriously dependant on cache size and from that perspective Intel’s Xeon MP 3.0GHz with 4MB L3 cache may be a better choice for certain types of server deployments. Still, the processors code-named Cranford are to be made using 90nm process technology, which may allow Intel Corp. to set a bit lower prices on such products compared to previously released Intel Xeon MP processors at launch.

Representatives for Intel Corp. did not comment on the story.

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