Intel plans to release the first dual core version of its Xeon processor earlier than expected, with an official launch in 2005 rather than the previously promised 2006.
The Xeon chip, codenamed Paxville, is the first dual core version of the Xeon family to be introduced. Two versions of the chip are scheduled to start shipping later this year, with the Paxville DP targeting servers containing two processors and the Paxville MP for systems with four CPUs.
Intel, however, expects that Paxville will attract mostly early adopters. The technology is expected to reach a broader audience with the introduction of the Xeon "Bensley" for servers and "Glidewell" workstation processors in the first quarter of 2006. These chips are expected to be less expensive.
Jim McGregor, senior analyst with In-Stat, was not surprised by the earlier unveiling.
He pointed out that Intel has been very conservative with its product roadmaps since the company had to delay several products last year. It is expected that the chip developer will move to unveil more chips ahead of schedule, including the next dual core mobile processor, codenamed Jonah, and the dual core desktop chip Pressler.
The dual core Xeon processors will use 65 nanometre technology. This requires new chip manufacturing facilities that Intel currently is building in Oregon and Ireland.
"They are at a point where they can start manufacturing," McGregor told vnunet.com.
The positioning of the chip as an early adopters model at the same time signals that the new manufacturing facilities are not ready for mass production, according to McGregor.
"Neither Intel nor AMD really want to push dual core processors until 65 nanometre," said McGregor. "If they are producing those on the same process as the single core, they have a much higher cost."
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