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By | Ashlee Vance 24th July 2007 19:01

Intel's Core-fueled Xeon MP arrives at 2.93GHz

Meanwhile, lab grunts notch silicon photonics win

Intel finally looks set to carry its Core processor architecture to midrange and high-end servers with the release of a new Xeon code-named Tigerton. The chip maker revealed that the Tigerton chip will be sold as the Quad-Core Xeon 7300 series and will rely on the 7300 chipset – code-named Clarksboro.

The fresh Xeon should provide twice the performance of its NetBurst-based predecessor. The fastest version of the Xeon 7300 will arrive at 2.93GHz, and Intel will sell a low-voltage part that chews through 50W. (Add the chipset and chip together, and you get the "Caneland" platform - for what it's worth.)

Customers started receiving seed systems in June. Intel will ramp into whole-hog mode sometime during the third quarter.

Intel hopes the new MP or multi-processor flavor of Xeon will help it compete against AMD's Opteron chip, which has shown strong performance in large boxes. The MP chips typically run in four-socket and higher servers, which make up a small part of overall x86 system sales. That said, the four-socket gear does command higher selling prices, making it attractive to large server vendors.

The MP line is the last to move over to Intel's revamped Core architecture that places a much stronger emphasis on performance per watt. Intel may have revamped the MP chips a bit sooner were it not for the struggles of its Indian-based design team.

There's more on the Tigerton release here.

On a related noted, Intel researchers have managed to demonstrate "a laser modulator that encodes data at 40 billion bit per second." This device builds on Intel's silicon photonics work where it's trying to bring silicon to the optical networking field in the hopes of reducing component costs. The networking gear could be used to connect data centers, systems within a rack and eventually parts of processors.

As reported here, we spotted a pair of demo boards in Intel's lab that used the optical technology as an on-board interconnect. That same story includes a gripping interview with Intel's research director Mario Paniccia all about the silicon photonics work. (For more Meat Casts, travel here.)

Intel has been working for some time to up its current modulator from 10Gbps to 40Gbps – a speed which places Intel's technology on even footing with current, pricey optical gear based on so-called "exotic" – not like the dancers – material.

There's more on Intel's breakthrough here. ®

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