COMPUTING

Intel unveils new processor series

Intel Corp. has introduced 17 enterprise-class processors, led by the Xeon processor 5500 series.

The new chips can automatically adjust to specified energy use levels and speed data center transactions and users’ database queries, said Patrick Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group. He spoke at an event in Santa Clara, Calif., March 30, which was also available via a Webcast.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, which was code named Nehalem-EP, offers several new technologies that improve system speed and flexibility, Gelsinger said.

Intel Turbo Boost Technology, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, integrated power gates and next-generation Intel Virtualization Technology allow the system to adapt to a broad range of workloads, he added.

“The Xeon 5500 processor series is as significant and transformational as the [introduction] of the Pentium Pro processor 15 years ago,” Gelsinger said.

The processors will play a key role in high-performance computing by supporting scientists who use supercomputers as the foundation for research and for military and government applications, Gelsinger said.

Intel Turbo Boost Technology increases system performance based on the user’s workload and environment, dynamically boosting the clock speed of one or more of the individual processing cores.

Automated energy-efficiency enhancements include a processor idle power level of only 10 watts, which enables a 50 percent reduction in system idle power compared to the previous generation of processors. Additionally, new integrated power gates, based on Intel’s high-k metal gate technology, allow idle cores to power down independently, company officials said.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series also offers as many as 15 automated operating states, which improve chip power management by adjusting system power consumption based on real-time throughput — without sacrificing performance, officials said.

Intel also introduced new embedded processors — the Xeon L5518 and L5508 — tailored to communications market segments. The processors include options suited to applications in thermally constrained environments, such as blade PCs; appliances for communication infrastructures, security, storage and medical applications; carrier-grade rackmount servers; router modules; and even submarine-based systems, Intel officials said.

Additionally, the company unveiled new server boards that offer a higher degree of integrated components and the Intel 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller, which features advanced virtualization technology and unified networking support.

More than 70 system manufacturers are expected to release more than 230 systems based on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series. Vendors include Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems and a new Intel customer — Cisco Systems.

Software vendors that support Xeon processor 5500 series platforms include Citrix Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP AG, Sun and VMware.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series ranges in price from $188 to $1,600 in quantities of 1,000. The single-socket Intel Xeon processor 3500 series ranges from $284 to $999 in quantities of 1,000. The L5518 and L5508 embedded processors are priced at $530 and $423, respectively, in quantities of 1,000.

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