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The new generation of Intel Nehalem microa-rchitecture-based processors aimed at dual-processor servers have begun to show up in price-lists of certain online stores, signaling the inevitable launch of a broad family of Intel Xeon 3500- and 5500-series microprocessors. While the availability is scarce at the moment, based on previously published information it may be expected that there will be loads of new chips available at launch.

Keenzo and TechMicro online stores have started selling the new flagship Intel Xeon W5580 processor aimed at 2P systems. The chip functions at 3.20GHz, has 8MB of cache, two 6.40GT/s Quick-Path Interconnect (QPI) links, triple-channel DDR3 memory controller, simultaneous multi-threading technology as well as Turbo-Boost automatic overclocking technology activated. IDG News Service further notes that other members of the new Xeon family are emerging for sale as well.

The family of Intel Xeon processors on Nehalem micro-architecture will be pretty broad – 15 different models – and aimed at different markets. Pricing of the new chips will vary from $188 to $1600, depending on aim, performance, power consumption and other qualities of the chip. All the chips in the initial lineup will contain four processing engines, except one, which will be a dual-core offering. Besides, the majority will have simultaneous multi-threading technology enabled.

It is interesting to note that Intel will not aggressively introduce new Intel Xeon DP models on Nehalem micro-architecture next year. In fact, the lineup in Q1 2009 and Q4 2009 will be very similar, if not the same, according to documents seen by X-bit labs.

Nevertheless, the ramp up of Nehalem into 2P server space will be rather rapid: if in Q1 the share of the new chips among all Xeon DP shipments will be 20%, then in Q2 it will increase to nearly 50%, whereas in Q3 2009 the share of Nehalem-based chips among Intel Xeon supplies will be around 75%, the documents claim.

The new server and workstation platforms based on Intel Xeon 3500- and 5500-series processors require new chipsets, cooling systems and other components. Therefore, the aggressive ramp of Nehalem-powered chips may put substantial pressure not only onto computer makers, but also on Intel’s main rival Advanced Micro Devices, who will have to withstand not only to expansion of Nehalem, but also dropping prices on previous-generation platforms.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Intel, Nehalem, 45nm

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