Intel launches "Sossaman" dual-core blade server processor

Santa Clara (CA) - Intel announced the third variant of its Yonah processor core. Next to Core Duo and Core Solo, the company now offers the blade server CPU Xeon LV, formerly code-named Sossaman. The chip is Intel's first low-voltage dual-core processor and promises at least twice the energy efficiency of preceding single-core Xeon processors.

The official announcement of Sossaman arrives a little over three months of the introduction of the Yonah core and about five weeks after first server vendors had spilled some facts on the new processor.

Besides being a dual-core chip, Sossaman's main feature is its power consumption. Compared to the current Xeon LV 2.8 GHz, which is based on the Nocona core and is rated at a thermal design power (TDP) of 55 watts, the new dual-core Xeon LV consumes a maximum of just 31 watts. The architecture is identical with the Core Duo, which includes a 667 MHz front side bus and 2 MB L2 cache. The Xeon LV is offered in only one version with a clock speed of 2 GHz.

The fact that the chip is based on Yonah also restricts the new Xeon to 32-bit application environments, while the preceding single-core Xeon LV included a 64-bit instruction set (EM64T). At least officially, Intel does not consider the 32-bit limitation as a disadvantage, as the firm claims that especially blade server applications typically do not require 64-bit capability. And while current 32-bit Core Duo notebooks will be upgradeable with upcoming 64-bit "Merom" processors, Sossaman will be incompatible with the next Xeon LV platform generation, which will be based on the "Woodcrest LV" processor: Sossaman is still integrated in the "Lindenhurst" platform; Woodcrest will be a part of the "Bensley" platform.

Intel said it is planning not only to offer just the Xeon LV processor, but also a blade server unit, which will hold up to two of the new CPUs. The "Server Compute Blade SBXD62" will be offered beginning in April for a price of $945 without processor, heat sink, memory and hard drive. The company will also introduce the MPCBL0040 single board computer with a price tag of $4500. The Xeon LV processor by itself is priced at $423 in 1000-unit quantities.

Intel's Server Compute Blade SBXD62

According to sources, Intel will expand its Xeon LV offering with a ULV version in the third quarter of this year. The Xeon ULV will run at 1.66 GHz, integrate Yonah's 2 MB L2 cache and will be rated at a TDP of 15 watts. The company may also introduce a "Value Sossaman" processor, based on a single-core Yonah processor.