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Quad-core duel: Caneland vs. Barcelona

Posted: 07 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Caneland quad-core processors? dual-core CPU? Xeon?

Intel Corp. officially rolled out the last and top-end member of its quad-core processor family. The Intel 7300, previously known as Caneland, is geared at four-way PC servers and debuts just days before archrival Advanced Micro Devices is expected to roll out its long-anticipated quad-core Barcelona.

"We believe we will sustain our leadership in quad-core processor performance, even after AMD rolls out Barcelona," said Diane Bryant, VP and general manager of Intel's server group.

Intel claims the 7300 scored 407,079 on the TPC-C benchmark run on a Hewlett-Packard server. That's as much as 70 percent better performance than on previous benchmarks of the system using Intel's dual-core CPU, Bryant claimed.

Before the 7300 was announced, AMD has said its Barcelona chip should outperform the quad-core Xeon by as much as 15 percent in integer performance and up to 50 percent in floating point performance. That's in part because AMD's design puts four cores on the same 65nm die that also includes a shared memory controller and high-speed HyperTransport interconnect.

"At 65nm the die would be too big to hold four [Intel] cores and it would be so expensive it would not make sense," said Bryant. "Our 45nm process technology will allow us to do a monolithic quad-core design," she added.

45nm muscle
Intel will roll out two-socket versions of its 45nm Penryn chips before year-end. Four-way versions will come sometime in 2008, she said.

The 7300 is the last member of Intel's 65nm quad-core family to be introduced. The company rolled out two-way quad-core parts in November.

The new chip uses two dual-core die in a multichip package. Each die has a direct link to a 4Mbyte L2 cache. They ride a common 1,066Mega-transfer/second interconnect to a 7300 chipset.

The 7300 chip set sports separate interconnects for four processors, compared to the previous chipset that used a single shared bus linking four CPUs. It supports up to 256Gbytes RAM, a four-fold increase over the previous four-way Intel chipset.

The improvements result in up to a 2.5 increase in virtualization performance for 7300-based systems compared to servers based on Intel's dual-core processors, Bryant said.

With the 7300, Intel has enhanced its I/O Acceleration Technology which helps handle high-speed Ethernet traffic. The new chip let's its associated chip set store key network traffic in the CPU cache to enhance network performance. It also reduces network latency by improved handling of network interrupts, Bryant said.

Intel announced more than 50 systems using the new processors, including several units using the Xeon chip for the first time in power-stingy server blade designs. Egenera, HP, NEC and Sun announced four-socket server blade cards using the 7300.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times




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