When the going gets tough in the enterprise server sector you need big processing power. Larger and more complex database systems, scientific computation and web servers demand more and more power every other day.
More power usually ends up meaning more physical hardware taking up more space. This is something that Intel is working hard towards minimizing – increase the processing power and reducing the footprint.
The last of the Penryn class enterprise processors is on the way. Boasting a huge 16MB L3 cache. This is Intel’s first step beyond four cores. The new Xeon 7400 (Dunnington) will have six cores and be the first using the new monolithic design - multiple cores on a single die. The Xeon 7400 will be socket compatible with Xeon 7300 boards which will allow for simple upgrades with little downtime.
The Xeon 7300 series were high-wattage as well, some pushing 130 watts. The new 7400 series is targeting a much lower wattage, however no solid data has been available – upon its actual release we should start to see what kind of numbers are out there in real world application.
Previous 7300 series Xeon processors weighed in at four cores and a hefty 8 MB cache and a very large price tag that ranges between $2,200 to $2,600. As no solid pricing information has been released regarding the new 7400 series, one could expect the 7400 come in little more than current 7300 pricing while 7300 series take a price slash. It would be logical to expect pricing around $2,600 to $2,800.
Enterprise processor markets have never had consistent pricing like the consumer processor market, so finding the right deal can be a lot of work for smaller businesses that wish to save a few bucks. Larger entities tend to worry more about what it can do for them as opposed to the sticker price.
Since this will be the last of this server era from Intel, it may not see much daylight as large entities are already planning their road map towards Nehalem, especially due to the architecture’s scalability. On a side note - if rumors continue to hold true, we should be seeing the Core i7 (Nehalem) line rolling out by the end of this year.