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Intel Corp. early this week indicated that it would release its Intel Xeon MP processor for multi-processor servers earlier than expected, in the third quarter of the year. Probably the last chip to be released that features Intel’s NetBurst architecture, the code-named Tulsa product boasts giant level-three cache and compatibility with current MP platforms.

Intel has always said that Xeon MP processor code-named Tulsa would be released in the second half of 2006, leaving itself some flexibility in terms of delivering the chip. Recently Kirk Skaugen, Intel’s server chief, said the chip would be released in the Q3 2006, but did not unveil when exactly.

Tulsa is based on the company’s current-generation NetBurst architecture, thus, cannot boast with really low power consumption. Nevertheless, considering that it features two processing engines with 1MB level-two cache per core, unified level-three 16MB cache as well as loads of Intel’s technologies, such as Hyper-Threading, virtualization, Intel cache safe technology and so on, thermal envelopes of 150W and 95W do not seem truly excessive: thanks to 65nm process technology, the 95W thermal design power (TDP) is inline with TDP of competing AMD Opteron processors.

The new multi-processor server chip will operate at 3.0GHz or beyond clock-speed, according to Intel. The chips will exist for both 667MHz processor system bus (compatible with E8500 chipsets) and 800MHz PSB (compatible with 8501 core-logic sets). Being compatible with already shipping server platforms will allow the new Intel Xeon processor MP to quickly gain market acceptance.

While the bulk of server market consists of dual-processor machines, the four-way and other multi-processor systems are sold for considerably higher average selling prices compared to DP servers.

Intel Corp.’s Mr. Skaugen also indicated that the code-named Woodcrest processors, which will be based on the company’s new Core 2 micro-architecture, will be released on June 26, 2006, not on the 19th of June, as expected previously.

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