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Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Intel says Cisco, Dell and IBM using server chip design

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Intel Corp, the world’s largest semiconductor maker, said Cisco Systems Inc, Dell Inc and IBM Corp are among 70 firms that have begun selling machines based on its new server chip design.

The processors represent the biggest jump in performance for Intel’s Xeon product line since it began making chips for servers about 15 years ago, a statement from the Santa Clara, California-based company on Monday said.

Chips based on the design, called Nehalem, are also debuting in workstations and storage computers this week.

Nehalem is Intel’s first design to combine memory and processing functions in one chip instead of two — a feature that speeds up computers. Servers, which run corporate networks and Internet sites, are often required to process large chunks of data.

The absence of an integrated memory controller in Intel’s chips hampered them in the same way a poor transmission would slow a car even if it had a powerful engine, Patrick Gelsinger, head of Intel’s business-computer chip unit, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters.

“Now we’ve taken that world-class engine and given it the best transmission,” he said. “We’ve just moved out of city driving and onto the race track.”

Demand for servers is “healthier” than for other computers as companies invest in data centers and government economic stimulus packages provide cash for computer spending, Gelsinger said.

The introduction puts more pressure on AMD Inc, the first company to combine memory and processing. AMD used that advantage to steal sales from Intel’s Xeon server line in 2006.

While Intel may “leapfrog” AMD chips’ performance with its new product, AMD has its new chip coming later this year and a complete redesign next year, said spokesman Phil Hughes.

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