Intel looks to cover bases with new server chips

Intel announced three major expansions of its Xeon server processor line this week, adding lower-priced Sandy Bridge options for the two- and four-socket market and the Ivy Bridge architecture to workstation-class devices.

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Two of the three new lines are designed as socket-doubling replacements for single- and dual-socket systems -- using twice the number of slightly scaled-back processors to provide higher performance at a comparable cost, and potentially reducing the amount of hardware needed to accomplish a given task.

The company's E5-2400 line of dual-socket products is designed to replace single-socket systems, while the E5-4600 accomplishes the same end for the transition from dual- to quad-socket servers.

Intel also noted that the popularity of higher socket density in rapidly growing markets like China, as well as the need for such systems in important verticals like telecommunications, could help spur the popularity of its new products.

Additionally, Intel debuted a line of small server and workstation Xeons incorporating its recently released 22 nanometer Ivy Bridge architecture. The E3-1200 v2 family can deliver nearly 40% better performance per watt than the previous generation of comparable processors, the company stated.

In a statement, Boyd Davis, vice president and general manager of Intel's Datacenter Infrastructure Group, said that the growing diversity of business workloads prompted the company's release of the new product lines.

Even before the announcement, however, major OEMs had already begun rolling out servers incorporating Intel's new technology. News of Dell's latest hardware broke fully a week ago, and that company was quickly followed by IBM and HP.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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