IDG News Service - Intel Corp. is set to start production of its next-generation Xeon quad-core server chips ahead of schedule, which could then appear in systems as early as the first quarter of next year, a company official said Tuesday.
"We're on track for production in the first quarter," said Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's server platforms group in an interview at the Intel Developer Forum. The chips will ship to system makers, and servers based on those chips could appear just "around that same time frame," Skaugen said.
The chips will be manufactured using the 32-nanometer process and will be part of the Xeon 5000 line of processors. The chips will be based on the Westmere microarchitecture and will carry numerous upgrades over Xeon server chips, which are made using the 45-nm process.
"It's ahead of our expectations from a production, qualification and a ramp perspective. That's good news," Skaugen said. The chip could go into two- and four-socket servers.
Westmere is a process shrink of the Nehalem microarchitecture, which forms the basis of existing Xeon 5500 server chips. Nehalem brings numerous performance improvements by integrating a memory controller, which provides the CPU a faster access path to memory. The microarchitecture also provides a faster pipe for the CPU to communicate with system components like a graphics card.
Westmere will bring improved performance and power benefits realized from new technology applied to the advanced manufacturing process, Skaugen said. The Westmere chip reduces power leakage by up to 30 times compared to the 45-nm manufacturing process, Intel said.
Westmere adds a new instruction set for faster encryption and decryption of data called Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Skaugen said. That could help secure data residing in servers and the cloud, he said. The chip also includes features that could secure data in virtualized environments.
The server chips will be able to run two threads per core, meaning a quad-core chip can run eight threads simultaneously. This feature carries on from existing Nehalem chips.
Intel will start manufacturing 32-nanometer chips in the fourth quarter of 2009, though initial chips are expected to go into laptops and desktops. Intel said production of chips for mainstream systems code-named Arrandale and Clarkdale will start in the fourth quarter this year.
However, Clarkdale chips for desktops could also go into entry-level servers that start at prices under US$500, Skaugen said. Clarkdale will integrate graphics processors alongside the CPU in a two-chip package.
Skaugen also said the company will maintain a two-year chip development cycle for its Itanium line of server chips, which are typically used in enterprise servers requiring high uptime. After multiple delays, Intel is set to release its latest Itanium chip codenamed Tukwila in the first quarter of next year, while its successor, codenamed Poulson, could make an appearance two years later, Skaugen said. The Poulson chip will be manufactured using the 32-nm process.
The company also showed its first 22-nm wafer at the show. The 22-nm wafer includes 364 million bits of SRAM memory and more than 2.9 billion transistors in an area the size of a fingernail and was displayed by Intel CEO Paul Otellini during a morning keynote.
The 22-nm process will be used to make chips based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, which will be the successor to the Nehalem microarchitecture. Sandy Bridge will feature a new graphics core and new instruction sets that could improve system performance, Otellini said.
The company is expected to shift to the 22-nm manufacturing process in the fourth quarter of 2011 and to the 15-nm manufacturing process in 2013.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 4 Customers who never have to refresh their PCs again This paper illustrates a common theme: the combination of desktop virtualization and thin client computing helps organizations deliver an up-to-date user experience more...
- Mobile Devices: The New Thin Clients Get essential guidance for understanding the role thin clients plus virtual desktops play in the enterprise today.
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- PaaS - Powering a New Era of Business IT Why PaaS has suddenly become relevant and irresistible to many organizations. Dive into the opportunities and considerations associated with using PaaS from an...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have. All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts