Intel Ships 900 MHz Xeons

Intel last week issued a faster version of its Xeon-class of Pentium III processors for SMP servers. The 900 MHz Pentium III Xeon is the end of the line for the group of processors, according to Intel’s processor roadmap.

The 900 MHz Xeon that shipped on March 21 is a 29 percent speed improvement over the 700 MHz Xeons that were previously the top of the line for four- and eight-way Intel architecture servers.

It will be the last and fastest processor to work with Intel’s Profusion chipset, which helped break Microsoft’s Windows NT-based operating systems into the enterprise.

Intel doesn’t plan to produce any more PIII Xeons, and has no plans to create a Xeon group of Pentium IV chips. Instead, Intel will brand its forthcoming Foster group of processors as Xeon processors.

Like the Pentium IV, the Intel Xeon processors will be based on the NetBurst micro-architecture, not the six-year-old P6, and they won’t work with the Profusion chipset. No public roadmaps exist for eight-way boards that accommodate Foster, although some of the bigger hardware systems are expected to accommodate Foster chips.

Benchmarking on the latest PIII Xeons has already begun. IBM published a Transaction Processing Performance Council benchmark running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server on 32 servers with a combined 256 of the 900 MHz chips. (See related story).

Intel is pricing the chips with 2 MB cache at $3,692 in 1,000-unit quantities. That’s almost double the $1,980 Intel initially charged for its 700 MHz PIII Xeon with similar cache back in May 2000. –

Contact: Intel Corp.,

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.