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Intel Enters 32/64-bit Market

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.

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