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The world’s top maker of processors, Intel Corp., is set to introduce its new Intel Xeon 5100-series chips on Monday, which is likely to help the company to close the gap with rival Advanced Micro Devices in terms of performance of processors for dual-chip servers. Over 150 system makers will offer servers and workstations featuring chips code-named Woodcrest.

The new Xeon 5100-series processors offer increased performance amid very moderate power consumption, according to Intel Corp. Besides, the new chips are compatible with the recently introduced server and workstations platforms by the company, which will allow end-users to take advantage of the latest technologies, some of which are not available on competing AMD Opteron-based severs.

“The performance and system-level power consumption we’re seeing from our platforms built around the new Core micro-architecture has exceeded even our expectations. At the same time, customers demand more than just energy-efficient performance. We’ve developed a superior platform that delivers the latest server technologies including faster and more reliable memory, Intel virtualization technology (Intel VT), Intel active server manager and Intel I/O acceleration technology. (Intel I/OAT),” said Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel’s server platforms group.

Earlier Intel had published results on “20 key dual-processor (DP) server and workstation benchmarks”. According to the firm, the dual-core Intel Xeon processor 5160 processor (3.00GHz, 4MB unified level-two cache, 1333MHz processor system bus), previously codenamed “Woodcrest” delivers up to 125% performance improvement over previous generation dual-core Intel Xeon processors and up to 60% performance improvement over AMD Opteron products. The Woodcrest is also expected to consume less power when compared to the Opteron.

Intel has lost significant portion of server market share to AMD Opteron, which outperformed the company’s previous-generation server processors powered by NetBurst micro-architecture while consuming less energy. To win the share back from AMD, Intel will need to ramp up the volumes of the Woodcrest really quick. However, the company will still be behind the smaller rival when it comes to lucrative four-processor servers, as the Woodcrest chips was designed for the two-way systems.

Intel will ramp up Woodcrest chips very rapidly. Apparently, its yet-to-be-introduced code-named Dempsey processors, which is based on the NetBurst micro-architecture, will acquire only a little more than 10% of Intel Xeon DP platform sales in Q2 2006. Already in Q3 2006 the Bensley platform that supports Dempsey and Woodcrest will acquire over 60% of shipments as the code-named Woodcrest chips will be featured in little less than 50% of DP server platforms supplied by Intel (which means that Dempsey chips will be used in 10-15% of Xeon DP-based servers only). In Q4 2006 shipments of Intel dual-processor will consist of slightly less than 70% of Woodcrest chips and a little more than 30% of NetBurst-based processors. In Q1 2007 70% of the Intel Xeon DP market will belong to the Woodcrest, 10% will be owned by quad-core Clovertown and 20% will go to the NetBurst micro-architecture-based chips.

Intel is reported to have indicated that over 150 companies, including Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Lenovo and others are intending to released over 200 servers and workstations featuring the new Xeon 5100 family of chips.


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