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Intel steals march on AMD’s Barcelona

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Just days before AMD's much-publicised launch of its Barcelona processors, Intel has stolen a march on its rival by unveiling what it is calling the industry’s first quad-core processors specifically designed for multi-processor (MP) servers running applications requiring performance, reliability and scalability. 

The six new Quad-Core Xeon 7300 series processors can deliver more than twice the performance and more than three times the performance per watt over the company’s previous generation dual-core products.
They complete the company’s speedy transition to its innovative and energy-efficient Core microarchitecture in less than 15 months.
The energy-efficient 7300 series includes frequencies up to 2,93GHz at 130 watts, several 80-watt processors and a 50-watt version optimised for four socket blades and high-density rack form factors with a frequency of 1,86GHz. The Intel 7300 chipset with Data Traffic Optimizations provides a balanced platform design with several new technologies that enhance data movement between the processors, memory and I/O connections.
HP delivered a new blade record for SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) Benchmark with a result of 3 500 SD users on a HP ProLiant BL680c G5 blade server with four Quad-core Intel Xeon processor model E7340s running at 2,4GHz.
“Intel Xeon-based multi-processor servers are the backbone of the enterprise,” says Tom Kilroy, Intel vice-president and co-GM of the Digital Enterprise Group. “With the Xeon 7300 series, Intel is delivering new levels of performance and performance per watt, and driving the Intel Core microarchitecture into such innovative systems as four-socket, 16-core blades that use less energy than our older models."
By delivering the benefits of the Intel Core Microarchitecture with quad-core performance and Intel Virtualization Technology to these high-end servers, Intel is providing customers with a platform for virtualisation and server consolidation.
In addition to twice the cores, the 7300 series and Intel 7300 chipset offer up to four times the memory capacity of Intel’s previous MP platforms, enabling large consolidation ratios that can reduce space, power and operation costs.
With the introduction of the Xeon 7300, users will be able to pool all of their Intel Core microarchitecture based server resources, whether they are single-, dual- or multi-processor based, into a dynamic virtual server infrastructure that allows live virtual machine migration that can improve usage models like failover, load balancing, disaster recovery, or server maintenance.
The previously-announced Intel VT FlexMigration will assist the addition of Intel’s next generation 45nm Core microarchitecture-based platforms to such resource pools.
“VMware and Intel have worked together to optimise VMware ESX Server on the Xeon 7300, resulting in new levels of performance for our combined solution,” says Brian Byun, VMware’s vice-president: global partners and solutions.
“With the introduction of the Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processor 7300 Series, our partners and customers benefit from increased platform choice and increased performance headroom from the new quad-core four-socket server systems. These advances in the Intel platform, combined with our joint work on enhancing VMware VMotion compatibility, means increased customer ROI and investment protection for building out their VMware virtual infrastructure.
The Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processor 7300 Series-based servers deliver up to 167% performance improvement compared to the previous generation. This result was achieved with Virtual Iron 4.0 Software running the vConsolidate benchmark.
A simultaneous release of a 50-watt processor, or 12.5-watt per core, will drive the production of energy-efficient ultra-dense deployments such as four-socket blade servers and dense rack form factors. Intel is also improving business productivity by offering configurations with large memory footprints and up to 32-way scalability.
Starting today, servers based on the Xeon 7300 series processors are expected to be announced by more than 50 system manufacturers, including Dell, Egenera, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hitachi, HP, IBM, NEC, Sun, Supermicro and Unisys.
Many software vendors are also supporting Xeon 7300 based platforms with solutions enabling virtualisation and scalable performance. These include BEA, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and VMware. In addition, the Solaris Operating System and thousands of applications that operate on it can immediately take advantage of Intel Xeon 7300-based platforms.