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Intel Cranks Up Xeon Clocks, Caches.



By Timothy Prickett Morgan

Several weeks ago, when Intel Corp announced its 64-bit extensions to the Xeon family of processors, the company said that it had delivered a boosted Xeon DP processor and two more variations on the "Presontia" theme.

These announcements got lost in the shuffle, so Intel will be talking about these processors today as it delivers a new "Gallatin" Xeon MP processor for high-end servers with a larger 4MB L3 cache (Level 3 cache) A memory bank built onto the motherboard or within the CPU module. The L3 cache feeds the L2 cache, and its memory is typically slower than the L2 memory, but faster than main memory.  memory and a 3GHz clock speed. This is the end of the line for Gallatin, which will be followed by the "Potomac" 64-bit Xeons in early 2005.

These peppier Gallatins will plug right into any machine that currently uses this family of Xeon MP processors. This includes four-way machines made by the big tier one suppliers - Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell Inc, IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries)  Corp, and Fujitsu Siemens (Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Inc. (USA), Milpitas, CA, www.fujitsu-siemens.com) Fujitsu Siemens Computers USA is a wholly owned research and development subsidiary of Fujitsu Siemens Computers.  - as well as white box vendors who compete vigorously for business in the midrange midrange Epidemiology The halfway point or midpoint in a set of observations; for most data, MR is calculated as the sum of the smallest observation and the largest observation, divided by 2; for age data, one is added to the numerator; a midrange is usually  X86 server market. These Xeon MP are also used in machines that couple 8, 16, or 32 processors together in a giant SMP (Symmetric MultiProcessing) A multiprocessing architecture in which multiple CPUs, residing in one cabinet, share the same memory. SMP systems provide scalability. As business increases, additional CPUs can be added to absorb the increased transaction volume.  cluster. They are not used in smaller two-way or uniprocessor machines, which have their own Xeon DP and Pentium 4 variants that run faster and offer better bang for the buck.

According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 Alan Priestly priest·ly  
adj. priest·li·er, priest·li·est
1. Of or relating to a priest or the priesthood.

2. Characteristic of or suitable for a priest.
, strategic marketing manager for Intel in the UK, Intel does not have any plans to add new Gallatin processors to the Xeon line in 2004 beyond the three processors that are being announced today. This is because it takes a long time to ramp up Ramp Up

To increase a company's operations in anticipation of increased demand.

Notes:
A company might 'ramp up' operations if they just signed a contract creating substantially more demand for their product.
See also: Demand, Economies of Scale
 production processes on the Xeon MP chips, which are among the largest chips that Intel makes, and because the qualification processes that vendors go through take a long time because of the complexity of the midrange and enterprise machines that use them compared to entry servers that use Xeon DPs. That is why, says Priestly, the Xeon MP product launches tend to be on a six-to-nine month cycle. And knowing that Gallatin is the last of its line and that cycle time on launches, we now know that Intel is shooting for the Potomac kicker Kicker

A right, warrant, or some other feature added to a debt instrument to make it more desirable to potential investors.

Notes:
The ability to trade a bond or other debt instrument in for stock may entice investors, if they feel the stock will appreciate.
 to Gallatin in early 2005. It looks like Intel is stretching the Gallatins for a bit longer than it might otherwise like. But Potomac is not going to do anyone much good until 64-bit versions of Windows and Linux are available anyway, so there is not much point in hurrying.

In any event, there are three new Gallatins, which all have 400MHz (MegaHertZ) One million cycles per second. It is used to measure the transmission speed of electronic devices, including channels, buses and the computer's internal clock. A one-megahertz clock (1 MHz) means some number of bits (16, 32, 64, etc.  front side buses like the other Gallatin and "Foster" Xeon MPs. (Foster was the original Pentium 4 Xeon chip for high end servers.) The new 3GHz/4MB L3 cache Gallatin replaces the 2.8GHz/2MB cache Gallatin, and has the same list price at $3,692 each in 1,000-unit quantities. Intel is also announcing a 2.7GHz/2MB part, which at $1,980 each in 1,000-unit quantities is half the price of the 2.8GHz/2MB part. A new 2.2GHz/2MB part costs $1,177, less than a third the price of the 2.0GHz/2MB Xeon MP that was the top-end machine 18 months ago. While the performance boost is always a welcome thing at the high end of the Xeon MP range, the price/performance increases for slower chips is what makes Xeon MP processors affordable for a growing number of companies. At these prices, four-way computing with powerful machines is an option for companies who could not even have pondered it a few years ago.

Priestly says that customers moving from 2.8GHz/2MB Gallatin parts up to 3GHz/4MB Gallatins should see about a 15% performance boost on Java and other threaded applications, and about a 25% performance on ERP-style workloads that are sensitive to cache memory. In general, the other two Gallatins offer about 10% to 15% more performance than the other Gallatins they replace at the same price point but with lower clock speeds and 1MB L3 caches.

According to benchmark results shown by Intel, the larger cache on the new Gallatins can increase the effectiveness of HyperThreading (HT) by a few percent because the cache decreases latencies in gathering data. HT boosted the performance of the TPC-C A benchmark that measures overall transaction processing performance. See TPC.  transaction processing Updating the appropriate database records as soon as a transaction (order, payment, etc.) is entered into the computer. It may also imply that confirmations are sent at the same time.

Transaction processing systems are the backbone of an organization because they update constantly.
 benchmark by 10% on a four-way Foster Xeon MP running at 1.6GHz and with a 1MB L3 cache. On the 3GHz/4MB Gallatin, HT boosted performance on this box by 13%. On the SAP R/3 S&D benchmark, that same Foster machine saw only a 5% performance boost with HT activated, but the Gallatin 2.8GHz/2MB machine saw a 14% increase. Presumably pre·sum·a·ble  
adj.
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster.
 a 3GHz/4MB part might even see an HT increase that is even larger. On the SPECjbb2000 Java benchmark, the Foster chips saw a 19% increase in performance, while the Gallatin 3GHz/4MB with nearly twice the clocks and four times the L3 cache only saw a 16% gain from HT.

The new Gallatin chips will be available today, and have been validated by Intel's OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) The rebranding of equipment and selling it. The term initially referred to the company that made the products (the "original" manufacturer), but eventually became widely used to refer to the organization that buys the products and  partners, according to Priestly.

On the Xeon DP front, Intel has three new parts: a 2.4GHz/1MB chip, a 2.8GHz/1MB chip, and a 3.2GHz/2MB chip. Like the other past generations of Prestonia chips, these have a 533MHz front side bus. The top-end 3.2GHz/2MB Prestonia has about a 10% performance benefit compared to the 3.06GHz/1MB Prestonia, according to Priestly, and at $1,043 each per 1,000-unit quantities, it carries a hefty 51% premium compared to that slower Prestonia, which costs $690. The new 2.8GHz/1MB Prestonia costs $455, the same as its 3.06GHz/512KB predecessor, while the new 2.4GHz/1MB Prestonia costs $316, the same as a 2.8GHz/512KB part.

This is the last in the line for the Prestonia chips, too, by the way. The next stop on the Xeon DP train is the "Nocona" Xeon chip, which is due in the second quarter and which will be the first Xeon chip to implement 64-bit extensions.
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Author:Morgan, Timothy Prickett
Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 2, 2004
Words:1003
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