44 quad-core CPUs = 9000 Pentium Pro processors, says Intel

Santa Clara (CA) - Ahead of the Super Computing 2006 (SC06) conference, which will open its doors on November 11, Intel announced new server cluster software tools and provided more information about its Clovertown quad-core processor, which industry sources expect to debut on November 12.

According to Intel 44 quad-core Xeon 5300 series processor will deliver a performance of about 1.8 TFlops, which equals about the floating point of 9000 Pentium Pro processors that were in production about ten years ago. The 1996 platform consumed about 1500 square feet of floor space and consumed about 800,000 watts. The quad-core chips fit in servers with a floor space of about 16 square feet and consume less than 10,000 watts, Intel said.

Clovertown processors combine two Xeon 5100 (Woodcrest) cores into one package. According to industry sources, Intel will launch three "regular" Clovertown processors as well as one "extreme" version this Sunday. The E5310 (1.6 GHz, FSB1066, 8 MB L2 cache) will be priced at $455, the E5320 (1.86 GHz, FSB1066, 8 MB) will have a tray price of $690 and the E5345 (2.33 GHz, FSB1333, 8 MB) will cost $851. The X5355 will mark the top end of the family with 2.66 GHz, FSB1333 and 8 MB L2 cache for $1172.

The X5355 is rated at a thermal design power (TDP) of 120 watts, while all other Clovertown quad-cores carry an 80 watt TDP rating. Intel plans to add a low-power quad-core chip, the L5310 with a TDP of 50 watts and a clock speed of 1.60 GHz in early 2007, sources told TG Daily. The processor will complement Intel's offering in the ultra-dense volume server segment, which is currently limited to the 40 watt LV5148 processor with Woodcrest core as well as the a 2 GHz Xeon LV CPU that is based on the Core Duo processor (Sossaman core.)

Intel's pre-SC06 announcement also included the Cluster Toolkit 3.0 and Intel Cluster OpenMP for Intel compilers, which, according to the company, will make it easier for software developers to take advantage of multi-core processor server clusters. The new Cluster Toolkit includes new releases of the firm's MPI Library, the Math Kernel Library Cluster Edition, and Intel's Trace Analyzer and Collector. Cluster OpenMP extends OpenMP to distributed memory clusters and position OpenMP as a programming method "that works well for dual-core and quad-core processors as well as clusters," Intel said.

On the hardware side, Intel also announced its S3000PT small form factor server board for 3000-series Xeon as well as quad-core Core 2 Duo QX6700 and Core 2 Quad Q6600 processors (Kentsfield core) processors. Intel said that Ciara Technologies is using the S3000PT in its $12,000 Nexxus 4000 personal cluster, which delivers a performance of up to 340 GFlops.