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Gallatin Debuts at 2 GHz

Intel this week made available faster and more powerful Xeon MP processors, the high-end 32-bit processors that power four-way and larger industry-standard servers.

Previously referred to by the code-name "Gallatin," the chips are available several months earlier than Intel's roadmaps had called for.

The new speeds are 2 GHz, 1.9 GHz and 1.5 GHz. The previous maximum speed was 1.6 GHz. However, Intel officials point to the larger integrated cache size as a better indicator of performance in this level of processor. The top-of-the-line Xeon MP has 2 MB of integrated L3 cache.

The Xeon MPs remain Intel's priciest processor, aside from the Itanium family of 64-bit processors. The 2-GHz Xeon MP with 2 MB of L3 cache costs $3,692 in 1,000-unit quantities. The 1.9 GHz Xeon MP with 1 MB of RAM costs $1,980, while a new 1.5-GHz Xeon MP with 1 MB of L3 cache is $1,177.

The existing lineup of Xeon MPs were the 1.6-GHz Xeon MP with 1 MB of L3 cache, a 1.5-GHz Xeon MP with 512 KB of L3 cache and a 1.4 GHz-Xeon MP with 512 KB of L3 cache.

The largest market opportunity for the Xeon MP processors is in four-way servers running Windows 2000 Server. According to IDC figures cited by Intel, Intel-based servers accounted for 73 percent of all four-way server shipments in the second quarter of 2002.

Intel officials claim up to a 38 percent increase in the performance of supply chain management workloads on four-way servers running Windows .NET Server 2003 when upgrading to the 2.0-GHz/2-MB Xeon MPs from the 1.6-GHz/1-MB Xeon MPs.

The Xeon MP processors also power a much more limited number of eight-processor to 32-processor Windows servers. IBM Corp. has an eight-processor server based on the Xeon MP processors. The other high-volume, industry-standard server vendors, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Computer Corp., still only offer Pentium III Xeon processors on their eight-processor systems. Unisys Corp. also sells its ES7000 servers with eight Xeon MPs, although the Unisys server scales to support as many as 32 of the processors. It is currently the only Intel-based server on the market supporting more than eight Xeon processors in an SMP configuration.

Intel plans to increase the clock frequency of the Gallatin chips in 2003.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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