Intel duly unveiled its Xeon processor in London today and claimed what it described as unprecedented support from 18 PC and midrange vendors for its Slot Two solution.
But the company said the Pentium Pro still has a life, as corporate users move from the old design to the new.
Rob Eckelmann, MD of Intel's EMEA group, said that the introduction of the Xeon marked a change from its previous architectural designs.
"We're moving into areas which are real hardcore enterprise computing," he said. "What has been a vertical market has become much more homogeneous. This is very much a solution product, including software support and manageability features."
He claimed most of the server growth in the world is now on the Intel IA-32 platforms, which showed 53 per cent growth in the UK in 1996-1997, compared to negative growth of 11 per cent for non Intel platforms, according to Dataquest.
Vendors present at the UK launch included Compaq, IBM, NCR, Sequent, Unisys and Data General, with many announcing four-way SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) systems.
Alan Priestley, product marketing manager at the Intel architecture group, said: "Towards the end of this year, we'll see eight-way systems. If you are running four-way systems, with, for example, SAP software, you can support 200 users."
He said that Intel customers were still rolling out Pentium Pro based systems. "Servers have a long roll out period and so their life will continue," he said. "It won't be an instant switch." The Pentium Pro 200Mhz, at $1035, is cheaper than the Xeon 400Mhz at $1124.
He said the erratum cum bug in the Xeon architecture will be swiftly resolved. "We'll see manufacturers throughout the summer rolling out systems and volumes will ramp heavily in Q4." Intel will produce 450MHz Xeon systems towards the end of the year.
"The key difference between the Xeon and the Pro is scaleability of cache and management features, which are important to servers but not to desktops. At the moment, we can supply processors with two megabytes of cache."
Intel also announced its 450NX chipset for the server market, as well as the 440GX chipset for workstations. The 440GX chipset supports AGP graphics.
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