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As expected, Intel Corp. on Monday formally unveiled its central processing units with six cores aimed at high-end multiprocessor (MP) servers. The new Intel Xeon 7400-series chips – previously known under code-name Dunnington – are projected to significantly strengthen Intel’s positions on the lucrative market of servers oriented at large enterprises.

“The arrival of these processors extends Intel’s lead in the high-end server segment. This new processor series helps IT manage increasingly complex enterprise server environments, providing a great opportunity to boost the scalable performance of multi-threaded applications within a stable platform infrastructure. With new features such as additional cores, large shared caches and advanced virtualization technologies, the Xeon 7400 series delivers record-breaking performance that will lead enterprises into the next wave of virtualization deployments,” said Tom Kilroy, Intel vice president and general manager of the digital enterprise group.

Initially, Intel’s product family will include two six-core microprocessors with 16MB of L3 cache – Intel Xeon X7460 and Intel Xeon E7440 – which operate at 2.66Hz and 2.40GHz, respectively and have thermal design power of 130W and 90W. Both microprocessors utilize 1066MHz processor system bus. Besides, Intel has four six-core chips with 12MB of shared L3 cache with TDP of down to 50W. Since the new CPUs are based on the Penryn micro-architecture, they also boast additional performance improvements compared to previous-gen Xeon MP processors.

The Xeon 7400 processor series is compatible with Intel's existing Xeon 7300-series platforms and the Intel 7300 chipset with memory capacity up to 256GB. Platforms based on the new Intel Xeon 7400-series processors can scale up to 16 processor sockets to deliver servers with up to 96 processing cores inside, offering scalability, ample computing threads, extensive memory resources and reliability for enterprise data centers.

Starting today, servers based on the Intel Xeon 7400 processor series are expected to be announced by more than 50 system manufacturers around the world, including four-socket rack servers from Dell, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hitachi, HP, IBM, NEC, Sun, Supermicro and Unisys; four-socket blade servers from Egenera, HP, Sun and NEC; and servers that scale up to 16-sockets from IBM, NEC and Unisys.

Given that Advanced Micro Devices will be unable to build its own 6-core processor code-named Istanbul until the second half of 2009, Intel will have a very comfortable lead on the market of high-end enterprise servers due to lack of competition. Nevertheless, an advantage that AMD still has is integrated memory controller as well as more advanced bus for its AMD Opteron processors which may translate in better performance scalability of AMD-based MP servers.

Pricing for the six-core Xeon 7400 processors in quantities of 1000 ranges from $1391 to $2729.

Tags: Intel, Dunnington

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