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The world’s top maker of servers running x86 processors said it would not launch new machines with 8 chips inside as modern 4-way servers powered by single core central processing units and forthcoming servers based on dual-core chips will offer enough speed for customers seeking for high-end x86 server. For those looking for ultra high performance HP will continue to supply 8-way machines on Intel Itanium 2 microprocessor.

“We are not refreshing our eight-socket platforms. We have determined, based on the performance we anticipate delivering in the x86 space in 2005, that the position of the eight-way will be somewhat marginalized by these next-generation four-way platforms,” Colin Lacey, director of platform marketing for the company's industry standard server group, CNET News.com reports.

The claims follows announcement of Intel’s new Xeon MP processors and supporting logic as well as unveiling of servers that utilize the new chips and the E8500 chipset.

A 4-way server based on the top-of-the-range Xeon MP chips clocked at 3.33GHz and with 8MB of cache delivers 62%, 57%, 30% and 21% performance improvement in SPECfp*_rate_base2000, Linpack, SAP R/3* SD 2-Tier and SPECint*_rate_base2000 benchmarks respectively over previous generation 4-way servers powered by Intel Xeon MP processors 3.0GHz with 4MB cache, according to Intel Corp.

Intel’s Xeon MP processors with two processing engines are likely to emerge in Q1 2006 at the earliest, hence, those clients who require performance of 8-way systems throughout the next 8 or 9 months will have options to buy outdated HP servers, get two 4-way machines and form a cluster, get an Itanium 2-based system which will be far more expensive compared to Xeon-based servers, or choose another supplier, IBM, for example. It is unclear, how 2-way systems featuring Xeon DP processors affect sales of 4-way systems with single-core chips.

Intel’s new E8500 chipset only supports up to four processors. As a consequence, server makers who wish to continue supplying 8-way Xeon servers either have to develop their own core-logic, or acquire chipsets from companies like ServerWorks. Previously HP developed its core-logic F8 for MP servers running Intel Xeon processors, but looks like the new policy of the company scraps the further development of the chipset.

Other leading server maker Dell also scrapped plans for 8P servers years ago claiming that two 4P machines in a cluster are more affordable. IBM is capable of creating up to 32-way Intel Xeon MP servers, whereas Sun Microsystems is looking forward 8-way machines based on AMD Opteron processor. Stance of other server makers on 8P systems is unclear.

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