Intel Enters 32/64-bit Market

Intel has introduced its low-end entry into the 64-bit processor market with its Xeon-based Nocona processor.

June 29, 2004

2 Min Read
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Intel introduced its low-end entry into the 64-bit processor market Monday with its Xeon-based Nocona processor. The new device will be appearing in end-user workstations from a brace of manufacturers.

While the Intel entry features some unique features, the long-awaited combo 32/64-bit capability is something of a watershed for Intel because it followed rival Advanced Micro Devices, which had introduced its combination 32/64 bit Opteron processor a year ago.

"Intel could have done something that was solidly different," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst of Insight 64. "This is the first time in recorded processor history that Intel is doing something that is compatible with AMD." For two decades AMD has produced processors that were compatible with Intel processors.

Also announced Monday along with the new 64-bit extended memory Xeon processor is the new E7525chipset, formerly code-named Tumwater.

During a webcast, Abhi Talwalker, Intel vice president and general manager, emphasized that the new package has a strong "balanced" approach in improving performance by 30 percent over previous Intel processor generations. He noted new features in the announcement including DDR2 memory, which delivers a 50 percent improvement in memory bandwidth as well as a 40 percent savings in power consumption. PCI Express capability combined with a fast new 800MHz system bus improves bus performance by a factor of four.The new machines will be initially targeted at workstations, although Intel indicated server models will appear later this summer. Speeds of the new processor models range from 2.80 to 3.60GHz.

With a year's head start in 32/64-bit arena, AMD has jumped out ahead of Intel with workstation makers targeting CAD/CAM, electronic design and gaming applications using Linux operating systems. Brookwood said the AMD 64-bit machines have seen use also in databases with Oracle and IBM DB2 applications. He expects the new Xeon-based workstations to move quickly into those same application areas as shipments to users get underway in earnest.

The market is still awaiting an operating system from Microsoft for 32/64-bit machines with the software firm expected to include the capability in its forthcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2 later. In the meantime, users will have to be content with one or another of the various Linux versions on the market.

Intel has had 64-bit processor capability with its Itanium line, which has been aimed primarily at server and higher end markets.

Intel said board and system makers who are expected to offer platforms based on the new 32/64 Xeon processor include Asus, Compusys, Dell, IBM, HP, Engenera, Foxconn, FSC, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HCL, Iwill, Kraftway, Maxdata, MPC, NEC, Optimus, and Tyan.0

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