OEMs Adopt Intel's 'Tulsa' Chip

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2006-08-29 Print this article Print

The new high-end Xeon processor offers massive 16MB cache and twice the performance of the current "Paxville MP" model, according to the chip maker.

A host of OEMs are lining up to offer servers running on Intel's latest processor, the dual-core Xeon MP 7100 series for systems running four or more chips.

Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM highlight the list of server makers looking to take advantage of the massive 16MB Level 3 cache and other features rolling out Aug. 29 in the processor, formerly code-named "Tulsa."

The series is the latest in a slew of new chips introduced by Intel over the past few months as it works to slow the momentum gained by rival Advanced Micro Devices and its Opteron processor.

Tulsa takes aim at the high-end of the x86 space, a segment that has been especially kind to Opteron. Intel officials say the new processor not only offers greater performance but also performance-per-watt than the current "Paxville" Xeon MP chip and AMD's technology, a key metric at a time when businesses are becoming more aware of rising power and cooling costs in their data centers.

"The performance and performance-per-watt improvements [in the 7100 series] are key and continue our drive to lead the industry in those categories," said Jay Parker, director of PowerEdge servers for Dell.

Not all industry observers are sold on the chip, but there is enough promise to entice users to take a look.

Jevin Jensen, director of IS at Mohawk Industries, in Dalton, Ga., said he wants to do a side-by-side comparison between a Tulsa-based server and one running AMD's newest "Rev F" Opterons. Of particular interest is how the chips—which both offer hardware-based virtualization technology—perform with VMware virtualization software.

"I have contacted both vendors about getting four-way demo units of each," Jensen said. "On paper, it appears AMD may still have a slight advantage, especially since Tulsa is based on the old NetBurst architecture, but I will let our real-world tests decide the outcome."

Intel is phasing out its NetBurst architecture in favor of its new Core platform, which not only offers better performance but is more energy-efficient. Tulsa is the last of the NetBurst chips that Intel will make.

Click here to read more about Intel's competition with AMD as the companies brace for a third-quarter showdown.

Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, is putting the Tulsa chips into its four-socket PowerEdge 6800 and 6850 servers, which will be available immediately. Dell officials expect the new chips to give their systems a 123 percent performance boost, and a 129 percent jump in performance per watt.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: OEMs Adopt Intel's 'Tulsa' Chip


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