Intel's Clovertown may fall short, analyst warns

Intel's upcoming Clovertown processor may not offer the best performance possible with a quad-core design, an industry analyst said.

An upcoming Intel quad-core Xeon server processor, codenamed Clovertown, likely contains two dual-core chips in a single package, according to an industry analyst, who warned the processor may not offer a significant boost in performance.

"Intel hasn't said whether it architected Clovertown as a quad-core processor, or merely combined a pair of dual-core chips in a multi-chip package," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Insight64, in a research note. Clovertown is expected to hit the market in early 2007.

While Intel has yet to offer details of the Clovertown design, Brookwood believes the chip uses two Woodcrest dice, or pieces of silicon, housed in a single package. Woodcrest is the codename of an upcoming dual-core Xeon chip developed by Intel, he said.

Intel used a similar "ad hoc" design for its first generation of dual-core processors, which included either two cores on a single die or two single-core dice housed in one package, Brookwood said.

"We've seen this movie and it didn't have a happy ending then, either," he wrote.

The problem is performance. Intel's earlier dual-core chips contained two cores that shared a single front-side bus, which is housed outside the chip, Brookwood said. The front-side bus connects a computer's processor with main memory. While Intel's first dual-core chips outperformed a single-core chip, a better dual-core design would likely have meant even greater performance, he said.

The Blackford chipset designed to be used with the dual-core Woodcrest chip addresses the performance issue in earlier chips by offering two independent front-side buses, one for each core. However, those same performance issues return with the Clovertown design, which has two cores sharing each of Blackford's two front-side buses, Brookwood said.

As a result of this design choice, Clovertown's performance will only be "marginally better" than Woodcrest in most applications, Brookwood said. The performance would be better if Intel used a better processor architecture, he said.

"We are confident that eventually Intel will introduce quad-core Xeon processors with competitive performance, but we doubt that Clovertown will be the vehicle that meets this target," he wrote.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?