Server and Workstation Roadmap

Beyond the Stable Image Platform, the main areas of interest for corporate and enterprise customers are going to be the server and workstation parts. Many roadmaps come and go with few changes to these areas. A few new parts might be announced, but generally the business/enterprise roadmaps are far less volatile than the consumer sector. This is one of the rare occasions where we get a large number of new parts showing up all at once, and in some ways it's a reflection of the recent IDF announcements. In other areas, though, we're simply seeing the Xeon equivalents and enhancements of the desktop world. There have been some updates to the Xeon platforms, so we'll look at those before moving onto the processors.

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Among the conglomeration of acronyms, code names, and features, Intel has announced the names of the next generation chipsets. 5000X, 5000P, and 5000V coincide with the Greencreek, Blackford, and Blackford-VS code names that we had up until now. The chief difference between 5000X (Greencreek) and 5000P (Blackford) is in the configuration of the PCI Express lanes. Greencreek combines two X8 lanes into an X16 slot, while Blackford has three separate X8 connections. It's difficult to think of many uses for the 4000 MBps of bi-directional bandwidth that X16 offers that don't require server functionality, so the chipset breakdown seems to make some sense. 5000V is listed as the "Value DP" chipset, and it comes with some limitations. It only supports one X8 PCIe connection and has a maximum capacity of 16GB of RAM using 8 DIMMs. In contrast, 5000X/P both support up to 64GB of RAM over 16 DIMMs. All of the 5000 series of chipsets also support PCI-X, SATA, I/OAT, and AMT.

Another interesting aspect of the chipsets is the supported bus speeds. Xeon MP will get a bump up to 800FSB with the next chipset, providing for either 667 or 800FSB speeds. Meanwhile, on the Xeon DP chipsets, 800FSB is actually missing. Instead, we have both 667FSB and 1066FSB parts - these are for the upcoming 65nm processors; the current generation 90nm parts will run on current chipsets at 800FSB. The Xeon MP 800FSB is for a few select, high-end parts, with the majority of Xeon MP chips continuing to use 667FSB. Xeon DP is already at 800FSB for most of the parts, so 667FSB is actually a step backwards. Sossaman is the exception, as that chip is the Xeon version of Yonah, but several of the 65nm Dempsey chips will also use 667FSB. Two steps forward, one step back it seems.

Besides the above server platforms, there are also workstation platforms that more or less echo what's listed. Glidewell is the workstation version of Bensley, and Wyloway matches up with Kaylo. There are a few differences, though, like the use of the 975X chipset for Wyloway. No memory type was listed for Truland, but we would assume that it will also be FBD like Bensley and the other 5000 series chipsets. We found the use of the same chipsets for the upcoming NetBurst-based processors as well as the Conroe/Woodcrest parts to be a refreshing change - we won't be forced to upgrade for the new parts, unlike the 915/925 to 945/955 launch. Of course, these are all future chipsets, so no current motherboard or chipset will support the next generation architecture.

That takes care of the platforms, so let's move to the upcoming Xeon processors that will be used in these platforms.

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Many of the entries simply copy the desktop offerings, although the package/socket for the DP and MP systems differs from that of the desktop offerings. We omitted the UP chips, as they are nothing more the Pentium 4 and Pentium D and we've already covered those. We've also left out the majority of the already shipping processors, like the Irwindale and Nocona Xeon DP parts. We did include all of the current Xeon MP parts, mostly because the large cache sizes are impressive. If the 4MB and 8MB Potomac L3 cache sizes aren't big enough, hopefully the 16MB L3 cache of Tulsa will be sufficient! Tulsa takes advantage of the 65nm process shrink to reach its large cache size, while the other Xeon MP parts all make due with 90nm technology. Such large cache sizes make for big - and expensive - chips, needless to say. Tulsa is also the only Xeon chip to get the Pellston technology, which we'll discuss more when we get to Itanium.

Where AMD launched Opteron dual core parts first and followed up with the Athlon 64 X2, Intel has gone the other route and launched Pentium D first, with the Xeon DP/MP parts only now nearing completion. The model numbers of Pentium 4/D/M have spread to the Xeon line as well, with all of the newest parts receiving names in the thousands. 7xxx is for Xeon MP parts and 5xxx is for Xeon DP parts. The 7020 through 7041 will use the older Paxville MP core - the Xeon variant of Pentium D and Smithfield. The 5xxx parts will use the Dempsey core instead, making them Xeon flavors of the Presler core. The Tulsa core is also dual-core, so it will likely get a 7xxx model number as well in the future. There is also one Paxville DP part scheduled for launch, the 2.80GHz chip. Unlike the MP dual core chips, this part doesn't earn the right for a model number. It is also the only 90nm dual core DP part - perhaps 7040 chips that didn't make the cut will be binned as Xeon DP 2.80 chips? We've already talked about the various bus speeds that will be available for the Xeon platform, and you can find the specifics in the table. VT is also targeted to launch with the Xeon MP 7xxx series, although Intel may choose to cut that feature between now and launch, so it is still "To Be Determined" (TBD).

Other than the NetBurst chips, we have a few other parts coming out. Sossaman is the server variant of Yonah. While Intel didn't list TDP for all of the parts - and TDP is itself a misleading number - we do get the 31W TDP of Sossaman at 2.0GHz. That's about one third of the TDP of the Xeon chips, and Intel's talk about performance per Watt is realized in such designs. The other part that shows up for the first time on the corporate roadmaps is Woodcrest. Woodcrest is the server/workstation version of Conroe - at least, one of the versions. While we know that Conroe will have both 2MB and 4MB versions, for now the server edition will be 4MB of cache only. That makes sense, as servers and workstations run application loads that benefit more from additional cache than desktop applications. Other than the amount of cache and the features that will be enabled on the initial Woodcrest parts, we don't have any specific core speeds. Even the "less than 80W TDP" is pretty vague - we'd imagine Woodcrest and Conroe will be targeting more like 50W TDP, judging by Yonah, but that's more of a guess than anything. Sossaman will also get the Xeon monicer, as far as we can tell, while Woodcrest is still TBD.
Stable Image Platform Program Enterprise Server Roadmap
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  • ShizNet - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    ...25 such systems will cost around $35000, which is on the low end of the salary scale for an IT worker. ... you to cut at least one IT position per 25 computers

    NICE advise!!! that's must be the BRIGHTEST idea u came up with

    who do you think reads your webSite?
  • Doormat - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Cutting 1 IT worker is a LOT of money. $35,000 doesnt do anything, when you start to consider any health benefits, pensions, etc. Usually, you have to double the salary to find out what any one employee really costs the company, from overhead of cubicle space, electricity used, benefits, etc, PLUS salary.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    As I said, the low (VERY low) end of the IT salary range. How much would Joe Computers charge to build and assemble 25 systems? How long would it take? How long will Joe stay in business? 3 year warranty and 17" LCD plus the rest of the computer for $1400 (including XP Professional) is a very good price for a corporation. I'm positive that the Wal-Marts of the world don't really care about whether or not Intel and Dell make the fastest PCs.

    Let's say a business formerly had 10 IT workers supporting 150 users and PCs (not unheard of in the business), and they switch to Dell and eliminate six of those IT people. They may end up with $300,000+ a year in additional budget for computer costs. That would buy them brand new PCs every other year, or else they could upgrade over time - just replace older PCs with a new model when necessary - and end up saving on $200K+ in IT costs yearly. That's a small amount for a large corporation, but everything adds up over time.
  • ShizNet - Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - link

    it's all good as of - Coulda, Shoulda, Musta been...
    but in real world - some ppl r SO stupid they can't even create folders on their PC.. and don't even start me on CEO level - those ppl need PERSONAL tech 24/7 - ppl who's been around the block know what i'm talking about.
    so PC worth crap in 2 yrs. and tech jobs don't get easier w/every ServicePack and patch. who do u think will service those dinos in 5-6 yrs. if u trade them for tech with your BRIGHT solution????

    next time find better analogy
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    Some ppl r so stoopid that they cant spell and complain about others that r smarter than they r....

    Four IT techs can support 150 people quite easily. I did that at college, where it was actually one supervisor and two techs supporting the entire HR department. For a university of 30,000+ students, the HR staff gets quite large. We had at least 150 PCs at the time, although we used Micron instead of Dell. We would typically order about 10 to 20 new PCs a year, they would be installed at the locations that needed the additional processing power the most, and everything else would shift down. We'd then retire a similar number of PCs to the grave yard (i.e. recycling center).

    The "bright solution" Jarred mentions is pretty much how most corporations run things. So, who has the better grasp on the way the market works: a person describing how corporations actually work, or someone whining because they don't like reality? Try to broaden your perspective on the world a bit, ShizNet. To much shiz in your head right now, I guess?
  • Questar - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    You may not like it, but it's true. The fewer people needed to support a system the better.

    Really what value to a business does a tech provide? Does he increase revenue? Reduce costs of products or services? Increase shareholder value?
    No. A tech is nothing more than additional overhead.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    FYI, I work as a tech at a large corporation. There's a reason we can have 4 technicians supporting phone, network, 150+ PCs, etc. We still have a lot of down time, but there is job security in not having 20 IT workers at a location. Of course, HQ has a ton of computer people running most of the server stuff, but you still need a few onsite technicians.

    If I were offered a job as a computer tech supporting a company with only 10 to 20 PCs, I'd be concerned about what would happen long-term. Setup a place properly, and there's not much to do other than sit around waiting for something to go wrong. You either get people trying to expand your job functions (to "better utilize resources"), or else they start having you "train a backup" who functions as a regular employee.

    Anyway, I'm simply reporting how big business usually functions (in regards to IT). Is it good, bad, right, wrong? That's not the point; this is - as far as I can see - how corporations view the PC market. They want it to work, and they want to spend as little as possible getting it to work.
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Jarred, are u sure about the intro date of Q2 2006 on the later Montecitos??
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    That's what shows up in the PDF I have. It could be June 30th for all I know, or April 1st. Delays are also possible, as there is some question of 667 FSB support with Itanium. They show stuff like "667 Enabled FSB", but in the past FSB speed ramps for Itanium have been slow in coming. I also don't see any mention of RAM type for the Montecito update. I'm guessing it's still DDR, but DDR-200 is listed under Q3/Q4'05 and nothing shows up under the later quarters. Heh... odd. Maybe we'll get FBD on Itanium as well, sooner rather than later? (Don't quote me on that!)
  • IntelUser2000 - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    Intel won't make faster chipsets until 2007, when Tukwila is out. They cancelled the original 667MHz FSB chipset for Itanium. I dunno why, I guess its the validation time, or something else, but cancelling that chipset was one of the most stupidest thing to do, as Intel wouldn't rely OEM companies for performance. Intel will rely on companies like SGI, HP, Hitachi for 667MHz FSB enabled chipsets.

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