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Intel India Unleashes Xeon 7400 Processor (Dunnington Processor)

Posted by Sunny

Intel has rolled out its first chip with six brains, unveiling a "multi-core" microprocessor that boosts computing muscle while cutting back on electricity use. The new Xeon 7400 series microprocessor has been designed by none other than Intel engineers at Bangalore from scratch.

The Bangalore design centre is the first Intel team outside the US to complete the design of a 45-nanometer processor.

Post its inception in 2001, the Xeon 7400 series is the first chip to come out of Intel's Bangalore design centre. The centre had previously worked on another Xeon server chip called Whitefield.

But that chip never made it to market. It was cancelled in 2005, when Intel revised its product road maps to better compete with Advanced Micro Devices, and the Indian design team soon put its focus on Dunnington.

The Dunnington chip design marks a technical milestone for Intel, as it uses a monolithic die, the term engineers use to describe putting all of the cores on a single piece of silicon.

Intel's existing quad-core processor lines use two pieces of silicon, each with two cores, packaged together. That approach made the older quad-core chips easier to produce and avoided the manufacturing difficulties that hampered the release of AMD's Barcelona chip, an x86 server chip with four cores on a single piece of silicon. Those difficulties were compounded by AMD's transition to a new 65-nanometer manufacturing process.

The giant chipmaker has clarified that they have no intention to create virtual bridge between Intel and AMD by introducing the first of it’s kind 6-core x86 microprocessor Xeon 7400 from it’s India’s off-shore unit. The newly introduced Intel microprocessor is powered with six processing cores with each of it’s chip. Designed by 1.9 billion transistors, the Xeon 7400 will support shared cache memory in the tune of 16 MB.

Dell, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Unisys and Fujitsu are among the computer
makers building the new Xeon 7400 chips into servers designed for
business networks, according to Intel.

With the introduction of Dunnington, and the upcoming Nehalem line of quad-core processors that also uses a monolithic design, Intel waited until its 45-nanometer process was in mass production, with any technical difficulties presumably ironed out, before making this transition.

After successful launching of the new chip, India has entered in the list of exclusive countries that have high expertise and infrastructure to design and fabricate such a complex microprocessor. Entire design operation of the chip, including it’s front-end and back-end design, pre-silicon logic validation etc., has been performed by about 300 people at the Bangalore unit of Intel. “The quality of available talent, technology ecosystem and business potential are factors which make India a strategic business site for Intel,” says Intel India president Mr. Praveen Vishakantaiah.

The new Intel processor, Xeon 7400 series, is highly compatible with the Intel Xeon 7300 series and the Intel 7300 chipset.

With availability of the new Intel Xeon 7400 processors, VMware customers will now be able to move freely between two servers running on different Intel chips. Earlier, people had to use same type of Intel chips on two servers to allow vMotion to work, but now no such limitation exists.

The Xeon 7400 series is priced between $856 (Rs39,279) and $2729 (about Rs1.09 lakh), the company said

Intel executives say the Xeon 7400 is part of an "incremental migration" toward chips with limitless numbers of "cores" that seamlessly and efficiently share demanding computer processing tasks.

Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices have two-core and four-core chips on the market. The six-core chip delivers 50 per cent more performance than its quad-core predecessor while using 10 per cent less electric power, according to Intel enterprise group vice president Tom Kilroy.

Electricity and cooling expenses can account for nearly half the cost of running company computer servers.

"It isn't just performance and energy efficiency but the use models," Kilroy said of the boon promised by increasingly powerful chips. "One of the major ones is virtualisation."

Multi-core chips are boons to computing trends including high-definition video viewing online; businesses offering services applications on the Internet; and single servers running many "virtual" machines.

Product brief: Intel® Xeon® processor 7400 series (PDF 478KB)


Intel executive VP, Pat Gelsinger announcing world record performance results for XEON 7400-series processors. Industry first 1.2 million database tranactions per minute on 8 slot IBM server.

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