Intel unwraps dual-core Xeon server processors

Intel's Xeon product line entered the dual-core era Monday with the Paxville launch.

Intel's first dual-core Xeon server processor is around 50 percent more powerful than its single-core predecessor, but it will cost around 40 percent more than that chip, company executives said Monday.

At an event Monday in San Francisco, Intel unveiled its first dual-core Xeon chips for two-processor and four-processor servers, previously known by the Paxville code name. The version for two-chip servers is available immediately at 2.8GHz, said Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's server platforms group. The Dual-Core Xeon 2.8GHz for two-chip servers costs US$1,043 in quantities of 1,000 units, as compared to the US$690 Intel is charging for its 3.8GHz single-core Xeon processors.

Pricing details will be released about the Dual-Core Xeon 7000 processor -- a version for multichip servers -- within the next 60 days. This chip will run at up to 3GHz and use advanced reliability features such as Intel's Pellston technology, which repairs data errors in cache memory.

The Dual-Core Xeon 2.8GHz uses 2M bytes of Level 2 cache memory per core. From an architectural standpoint, it is very similar to the dual-core Pentium D processor unveiled earlier this year for desktop PCs. However, the Dual-Core Xeon comes with a power-management feature called demand-based switching, which turns off portions of the chip when not in use, Skaugen said. It also comes with Intel's hyperthreading technology, allowing each core to process two independent software threads at the same time.

Intel had originally planned to introduce its first dual-core Xeon server processor in the first quarter of next year. However, the company has been faced this year with increased competition from Advanced Micro Devices's (AMD's) Opteron processor, which has been available in a dual-core version since May. Intel announced plans in August to accelerate the launch of Paxville and build two versions, one for two-way servers and one for four-way servers.

Even though it is Intel's first dual-core processor for two-chip servers -- the largest segment of the server market -- the company does not expect the Dual-Core Xeon to ship in heavy volumes, said Boyd Davis, general manager of server platforms group marketing at Intel. The Dempsey processor will carry the dual-core load for Intel starting in the first quarter of next year when it makes its debut as part of the Bensley platform, the umbrella code name for a system with the Dempsey processor and the Blackford chipset.

Bensley will introduce several new technologies to Intel's server customers. It will have hardware support for virtualization technologies delivered by companies like VMware and XenSource, and will speed up the transfer of data from the network into the processor with Intel's I/O Acceleration Technology. The processor and chipset will also make use of a faster 1066MHz dual-independent bus that has individual connections to the processor core, rather than forcing the two cores to share a single connection to the memory.

Bensley will account for the vast majority of its dual-core server processor shipments next year, Skaugen said. It will also cost the same amount as Intel's current single-core Xeon chips, unlike the US$353 premium Intel is charging for the Dual-Core Xeon 2.8GHz.

"If you absolutely, positively need a dual-core Xeon today, they'll sell it to you. But it won't be cheap," said Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of The Microprocessor Report in California. Most server customers will wait for Bensley-based products, but delivering a product ahead of schedule is always a good move for a chip vendor, he said.

Intel needed a dual-core response to the momentum generated by AMD's dual-core Opteron, Krewell said. "It's clearly recognition that they are under pressure and that the dual-core Opteron had them under the gun," he said.

Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM have all announced support for the new Dual-Core Xeon, and customers interested in the product can order systems from all three vendors as of Monday.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?