Intel releases Woodcrest to inch closer to AMD Opteron's performance

* Woodcrest claims 135% performance improvement and 40% reduced energy consumption

Intel last week launched a line of Xeon chips that are expected to close the performance gap between AMD Opteron and Intel-based machines.

The Xeon Processor 5100 Series, codenamed Woodcrest, is a dual-core processor for servers. They use Intel's new Core MicroArchitecture and according to Intel's claims, give a 135% performance improvement over previous models and as much as 40% reduction in energy consumption. More than 150 manufacturers are expected to announce server and workstation models that use the chip set.

The Intel Core Micro-architecture is a power-sensitive design that uses several innovations to improve performance.

The 5100 series is drop-in compatible with Intel's Bensley servers. It uses Fully-Buffered Dual In-Line Memory Module (FB-DIMM), Intel's Virtualization Technology, Intel Active Server Manager and I/O Acceleration Technology.

The 5100 Series processors will ship at frequencies of as much as 3.0 GHz with 1333 MHz front side buses and 4MB of L2 cache memory that is shared by the cores. The 3-GHz version will ship with 80 watts of power consumption; other processors in the family will ship with 65 watts. In the third quarter, Intel is expected to introduce a 40-watt version.

HP, Dell and IBM all introduced servers based on Woodcrest last week.

For more about Woodcrest and Woodcrest launches by server vendors, see these articles:

"Intel rolls out 'Woodcrest' chip"

"Intel hopes to stem AMD tide"

"SGI adds x86 servers in bid to emerge from bankruptcy"

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.