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Intel Releases Xeon MP

At CeBIT 2002 on Tuesday, Intel unveiled Xeon MP, the multiprocessor version of the 2-way Xeon chip it announced two weeks ago.

Previously known by the codename "Foster," Xeon MP was developed for servers with 4-way processors and up. While the Xeon DP was designed for servers addressing front-end and general-purpose needs, Xeon MP is aimed at midtier and back-end servers.

Xeon MP is available in three speeds: 1.4 GHz, 1.5 GHz, and 1.6 GHz.

Like the Xeon DP, the Xeon MP uses the newly developed NetBurst architecture. It also places the much talked about Hyper-Threading technology on the actual chip. Hyper-Threading Technology enables an operating system to view a single physical processor as if it were two logical processors, thus increasing the number of simultaneous Web transactions and users that the server can handle.

Unlike the its DP sibling, Xeon MP features an integrated three-level cache of 1 MB or 512 KB of Level 3 Cache and 256 KB of Level 2 Advanced Transfer Cache. In addition, the Xeon MP offers DDR 200 Memory and PCI-X support. This is the first time the two have been available on a multiprocessor system, Lisa Hambrick, Director of Enterprise Processor Marketing for Intel, told ServerWatch.

When benchmarked using mySAP Supply Chain Management and performing online transaction processing, the Xeon MP chips supported 36 percent more users and 40 percent more database transactions than did Pentium III chips. Servers running the Xeon MP were also found to perform 30 percent faster than those with a Pentium III processor.

Intel has already inked partnerships with the major OEMS, several of which have products that are ready to ship. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell, Compaq, and Fujitsu, among others, plan to release servers that have the Xeon MP chip.

Intel currently owns 90 percent of the 2-way and below market, and 67 percent of the 4-way and above market, Hambrick said. This leaves the vendor with plenty of space in the multiprocessor market to grow its market share, she added. She also noted that sales of Intel's Itanium chips have increased faster than the overall growth rate of the processor market.

The Intel Xeon processor MP at 1.6 GHz with 1 MB of Level 3 cache is priced at $3,692; the Intel Xeon processor MP at 1.5 GHz with 512 KB of Level 3 cache is priced at $1,980; and the Intel Xeon processor MP at 1.4 GHz with 512 KB of Level 3 cache is priced at $1,177. All three come in 1,000-unit quantities.

Amy Newman is managing editor of sister site ServerWatch.