Intel cancels 2GHz Xeon, opts for 2.2GHz

Intel Corp. has decided not to launch the expected 2GHz version of its Xeon processor for dual-processor servers this year, opting to instead launch a 2.2GHz version early in the first quarter of next year, the company said today.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel originally expected to launch the next Xeon for dual-processor servers in the fourth quarter of this year. The 2GHz processors were to be built using 0.18-micron technology, and have 256K bytes of on-die cache, Intel spokesman Otto Pipjker said. However, when Intel realized it could accelerate the delivery of the 2.2GHz Xeon, it decided to skip the 2GHz version.

"We'll deliver a triple shot of performance boosts," Pipjker said. Indeed, in addition to the 2.2GHz speed, the new dual-processor chips and chip sets, codenamed "Prestonia" and "Plumas" respectively, will features 512K bytes of on-die cache and will be manufactured using the smaller 0.13-micron process, he said.

"We decided to forgo the introduction of Foster Xeon for dual-processor servers this year because we saw it running into late (fourth quarter)," Pipjker said. "We knew Prestonia was doing well, and we didn't think it made much sense to ask our customers to validate two (processors) that quickly."

And the customers, including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co., agreed with Intel's decision. "The customers were all behind us," Pipjker said.

Additionally, vendors will now be shipping dual-processor Xeon systems in the first quarter of next year as well, Pipjker said.

None of Intel's other offerings will be effected by the change, Pipjker said. The Foster Xeon for workstations, which is currently available in speeds up to 1.7GHz, will continue to ship, with an additional frequency to be released this quarter, he said. The 4-way and 8-way Foster Xeons are also on track to be released in the first half of next year as well, he said.

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Douglas F. Gray

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