updated 11:45 am EDT, Wed September 5, 2007
Intel Xeon 7300
Intel today began shipping its Xeon 7300 series processors, a new class of workstation and server processor designed to cut down on memory lag and improve performance for large tasks, especially with systems that use four or more discrete CPUs. The core design bundles as much as 8MB of L2 cache as the Xeon 5300 series but includes four separate 1,066MHz connections four every complete processor; the change helps each processor communicate quickly between each other and to the main system RAM. Changing this feature dramatically improves performance in the right conditions: managing a database runs 92 percent faster than on a similar Xeon 5300, Intel says.
Two quad-core models, the E7340 and X7350, will top the line with the full 8MB of cache and clock speeds of 2.4GHz and 2.93GHz respectively, with power draw peaking at 130 watts for the faster model and lowering to 80 watts for most other models. Mid-range models will ship with 6MB of cache and clock speeds ranging between 1.6GHz and 2.4GHz. A pair of low-end quad models will clock at 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz with 4MB of cache. Only two dual-core versions will be available but should have the same clock speeds as the top quad-core chips and an identical 8MB of cache.
Pricing is expected to be high with volume prices ranging from $856 to $2,301. However, the current 7300 models are expected to be the last high-end chips released before the "Penryn" architecture becomes available this fall, which brings cooler and faster 45-nanometer processors across both the high-end space of the 7300 as well as more desktop-oriented Xeons and ultimately mainstream Core designs.