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What's In A Name?

I've covered the IT business long enough to be continually amused when companies decide to junk a technology that, a mere few years before, promised to save the world.
Microsoft is always good for this: It's currently running as fast as it can away from anything to do with Windows 98, and the same ignominious fate befell Windows 95 and the earlier versions before this. Bill, Ballmer and the boys (and girls) would certainly prefer that you forget all the money they spent on that Win95 launch, and upgrade all those computers that may be using such embarrassing technology, no matter how serviceable they may be for some of your business tasks. (Hey, at least we get back "Start Me Up" as a mere Rolling Stones song and not a corporate jingle. Always good to see that process get reversed.)

Intel is doing pretty much the same thing now; the Pentium, in any form, shall be consigned to the junkyard of history as fast as is humanly possible. And to make sure that the changeover takes place in the small-business server room, it's going to bestow on us all a Xeon that's not really a Xeon, just a rebranded Core 2 Duo. The new "Xeon" is a marketing ploy and not much more than that as far as the name goes; try to remember that as the business press plays along with the game.

Snark aside, though, the new one-socket chipset will be a pretty decent deal for entry-level servers, if initial reports from system builders are accurate. Among the improvements that come with the new processors are hyperthreading, Intel's SpeedStep technology for power management, support for PCI Express and PCI-X, and Intel's Active Management technology -- all nice developments for small business server managers who will get plenty of zip for their money. One system builder notes that the processors should even be good for some lower-cost, basic high-performance tasks. If you don't want any of that, though, it should be noted that the motherboards that will accompany the new chipsets will apparently also handle select Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors. But maybe I wasn't supposed to tell you that.