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Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of microprocessors, will release its server-oriented processors code-named Woodcrest as early as in the third quarter of the year, much earlier than expected. The new processor will offer increased performance amid lower power consumption and can put a lot of pressure on AMD Opteron processors.

Intel Woodcrest processors will feature 1066MHz or 1333MHz processor system bus (PSB) depending on the model and will also have thermal design power (TDP) of 80W. The new chips will have two execution cores and will be made using 65nm process technology. As some sources indicated, Intel will commercially release the Woodcrest processors in the third quarter of the year as Intel Xeon 5000-series processors for two way systems.

The lineup that will ship in Q3 2006, will include models 5110, 5120, 5130, 5140, 5150 and 5160 that will operate at 1.60GHz, 1.86GHz, 2.00GHz, 2.33GHz, 2.67GHz and 3.00GHz, respectively. The chips will feature 4MB unified L2 cache, 1333MHz PSB and will have TDP of 80W or below.

Intel Woodcrest processors promise to feature enhanced performance and moderate power consumption, two peculiarities that are expected to increase demand for the new Xeon central processing units and put a lot of pressure onto AMD Opteron processors, which have been gaining popularity in the most recent quarters. Besides, Woodcrest chips will feature rather aggressive pricing: the top-of-the-range model 5160 will be priced at $850, while the 5110 will cost $230 in 1000-unit quantities. The remaining 5120, 5130, 5140, 5150 models will be quoted at $700, $470, $330 and 270, respectively.

Intel’s processors code-named Conroe, Merom and Woodcrest will feature new micro-architecture with shorter pipeline and high performance per clock ratio. The new processors will trait 14-stages pipeline, down from 31 or more stages found in current Intel Pentium (Prescott) designs, 4-issue out-of-order execution engine as well as improved performance of the floating-point unit (FPU). This greatly showcases the substantial difference from the current NetBurst chips that have very deep pipeline and cannot boast with really high-performance FPUs. Furthermore, 14-stages pipeline is deeper compared to AMD Athlon 64’s 12-stages pipeline, which, on the one hand, allows slightly higher clock-speeds compared to the AMD64 architecture, but, on the other hand, may mean a bit lower efficiency. Additionally, the new chips and platforms on their base will also feature capabilities like virtualization, LaGrande technology, x86-64 in addition to EDB, EIST and iAMT2.

Intel Corp. did not comment on the news-story.

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