Friday, February 29, 2008

tel Plans to Launch Six-Core Microprocessors Later This Year

Intel Corp. may release six-core microprocessors as early as in the second half of this year, according to a number of media reports. However, if those claims are correct, then it may mean not only another powerful central processing unit for Intel and a threat to chips from Advanced Micro Devices, but also a further delay in unification of Intel Itanium and Intel Xeon platforms.

Intel needs a chip to update its multi-processor (MP) enterprise server platform this year as no Nehalem-based microprocessor for the MP market segment is planned for 2008, whereas quad-core AMD Opteron microprocessors for multi-chip servers are on the offensive, perhaps, without a lot of success so far. However, it seems like unified Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) platform that supports both Intel Itanium and Intel Xeon processors is not due in 2008, at least, based on reports about the processor code-named Dunnington

According to reports from PC Watch and Virtualization Journal web-sites, Intel intends to released six-core Intel Xeon MP microprocessors in the second half of this year in order to offer processing power not achievable by rivaling products. Different web-sites report different details about the new product: some claim that Intel Xeon MP “Dunnington” is a chip with three dual-core dice on a single-piece of substrate, whereas some other indicate that the forthcoming code-named Dunnington CPU is a monolith six-core product with 16MB of unified L2 cache.

It is interesting to note that code-named Dunnington chip emerged in Intel’s roadmap back in 2005 along with code-named Whitefield processor, however, both were shortly replaced with code-named Tigerton chip for MP servers. Both Dunnington and Whitefield were believed to feature Intel’s QPI bus. It is widely believed that QPI is the bus to be used for many of Intel’s incoming processors, including desktop- and server-oriented chips based on code-named Nehalem micro-architecture. In addition, servers powered by future Intel Itanium and Intel Xeon CPUs are officially set to utilize the same platform architecture as well as QPI bus.

Theoretically, Intel Corp. may released six-core CPUs for desktop enthusiast segment as well, however, probability of this situation may not be very high as Intel’s plans towards Nehalem desktop ramp-up remain unclear.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

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