Intel set to take on AMD's Barcelona

Intel is set to release a version of its Xeon chip designed for high-end servers with multiple processors. The product has been designed to compete head-to-head with AMD's upcoming quad-core Barcelona processor.

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Intel will initially offer six versions of Tigerton. At the top of the range is the X7350, a 2.93GHz chip designed with 8Mb of shared on-chip cache and a thermal design power (TDP) of 130 watts. TDP is the highest sustainable level of power for applications that Intel expects to be run on the chip, and the number describes how much heat a system must be able to dissipate from the chip.

Intel is also offering several Xeon 7300 chips with a TDP of 80 watts. The E7340 runs at 2.4GHz and offers 8Mb of shared on-chip cache. The E7330 also runs at 2.4GHz, but has 6MB of cache. The E7320 and E7310 both have 4MB of shared cache and run at clock speeds of 2.13GHz and 1.6GHz, respectively.

Intel will also release a 50-watt version that runs at 1.86GHz. The L7345 has 8MB of shared on-chip cache and is designed for blade servers and high-density rack servers.

Two dual-core versions of the Tigerton chip, the E7220 and E7210, will also be available, running at speeds of 2.93GHz and 2.4GHz with a TDP of 80 watts. Both chips have a shared on-chip cache of 8MB and are designed for high-performance computing applications.

Tigerton's improved performance doesn't come cheap. The processors are priced from $856 (£428) to $2,301 (£1,150) per chip in 1,000-unit quantities, a standard measure of processor pricing.

The 7300 will also be the last server chip announced by Intel, before its upcoming Penryn chips are made available later this year. Made using a 45-nanometer process that will allow more cache to be put on each chip, the first Penryn server chips are expected to be released in November.

Those chips are intended for use in single-processor and two-way servers. The Penryn server chip for multiple-processor servers is called Dunnington and will not be available until late 2008, Gupta said.

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