Quad-core Chip Leads Dell Product Blitz

Dell is ready to ride Intel’s new quad-core chip push with the first servers based on Intel’s new Xeon 5300 processor, code-named Clovertown.

The Round Rock, Texas, computer company also updated its desktop and notebook line with new systems that use both AMD  and Intel  processors.

Clovertown consummates Intel’s promise to beat rival AMD to the punch on quad-core chips; AMD officials said the company doesn’t plan to ship its first quad-core processors until next year.

Intel’s official roll-out is next week, but a Dell  executive told internetnews.com the computer maker will start taking orders today, with availability set for next week.

The Xeon 5300, packs four cores, or computing engines, in a two socket configuration, doubling what Intel’s earlier Woodcrest 5100 chip offered for servers and workstations.

Dell said its new Xeon 5300-based PowerEdge servers and Dell Precision workstations deliver up to 63 percent greater performance and up to 40 percent enhanced performance per watt than its four-socket systems based on Intel’s dual-core processors.

On the increasingly important virtualization front, Dell’s own benchmark tests showed performance boosts as high as 47 percent for running VMware virtualization on its new Xeon 5300-based PowerEdge systems versus its current dual-core servers, along with the ability to create 33 percent more virtual machines.

Neil Hand, Dell’s vice president of enterprise marketing, described the arrival of two socket, quad-core systems as “a significant inflection point. Going forward, four socket systems are going to be less and less relevant.”

“You can get everything you need with two sockets that runs everything and is an ideal platform for virtualization,” Hand said in a briefing. “I’m not saying four socket is dead tomorrow: it’s where things are headed.”

The last major holdout among computer suppliers, Dell started selling its first AMD-based systems earlier this year.

On the personal computing side, Dell also unveiled its first commercial desktop based on AMD processors, the Optiplex 740, which is based on AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 dual processors.

While Dell now offers both AMD- and Intel-based desktops in its Optiplex line, one unique aspect of the AMD models is Dell’s promise to offer corporations an 18-month stable image; typically computer companies commit to 12 to 15 months.

The stable image, which includes all the graphics and network components, is important to enterprise customers because it means they can buy and support new systems without having to test them for compatibility with what they already have.

“The extended stable image is an industry leading commitment of support,” Bob Brewer, AMD’s Vice President of Desktop Marketing, told internetnews.com. “We’re very happy to be expanding our relationship with Dell.”

The entry level price on the Optiplex 740 is priced at $725. Dell also introduced an Intel Pentium D 820 processor-based Optiplex 320 desktop that starts at $585.

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