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SMP version of "Conroe" takes flight, but availability seems scarce

This Monday, June 26, 2006, Intel will launch its new Woodcrest processor, a server processor based on Intel's Core architecture. The new processor family, dubbed Xeon DP, will use Socket LGA-771 and include support for multiple-CPUs -- which enables a system to support more than one Woodcrest processor, as opposed to being limited to just a single Core 2 processor per system. Despite the significant difference, every other aspect of Woodcrest is virtually identical to Core 2 Duo for the desktop.

Intel's new Woodcrest processor comes at us with the intention to compliment and ultimately replace Dempsey, Intel's latest dual-core Xeon processor based on the NetBurst microarchitecture. While both Dempsey and Woodcrest are based on 65nm processes, Woodcrest will focus a great deal on power consumption efficiency.  Both Dempsey and Woodcrest have a TDP envelope of 130W, but the performance is much higher on Woodcrest giving better performance-per-Watt. Being a NetBurst component, Dempsey scaled high in clockspeed, reaching up to 3.73GHz on a 1066MHz FSB. It also employed a 2x2MB L2 cache structure versus Woodcrest's shared 4MB L2 cache. Another detail to note is that Dempsey is capable of processing up to four threads simultaneously thanks to Hyper-Threading, versus Woodcrest's maximum of two -- Hyper-Threading is not enabled on the first Core 2 Duo nor Woodcrest Xeons.

During some demonstrations of Woodcrest
, Intel stated that when compared to AMD's Opteron processor, Woodcrest can be up to 33% more efficient in power consumption. Actual tests however indicated that Woodcrest is about 10% to 15% lower in some situations.  As for evolution, Intel says that the new Woodcrest is two to three times better in power efficiency over the previous Dempsey core.  AMD also recently published its opinion on server power consumption.

Unfortunately, here's the kicker.  Numerous channel vendors have contacted DailyTech claiming that availability of Woodcrest will not be for another two weeks.  Synnex and ASI will be the only US distributors with any quantity, and then general availability begins WW31. One vendor sent DailyTech a memo claiming "[the] second week of August is when we start to get box [processors] in volume." Several vendors will announce system builds with the processors immediately, but there will be no channel availability.  Motherboards are already widely available as every Socket 771 motherboard that supports Dempsey also supports Woodcrest.  Intel will ship Woodcrest Xeon DP in the following configurations:

Intel Xeon Processor
Processor
Brand
Processor
No.

Core /
FSB
L2 Cache
Price @
Launch
Xeon Processor DP
(Woodcrest Bin-0)
5160   3.0GHz /
1333MHz
4MB
$850
Xeon Processor DP
(Woodcrest Bin-1)
5150   2.66GHz /
1333MHz
4MB
$690
Xeon Processor DP
(Woodcrest Bin-2)
5140   2.33GHz /
1333MHz
4MB
$455
Xeon Processor DP
(Woodcrest Bin-3)
5130   2.0GHz /
1333MHz
4MB
$320
Xeon Processor DP
(Woodcrest Bin-4)
5120   1.86GHz /
1066MHz
4MB
$260
Xeon Processor DP
(Woodcrest Bin-5)
5110   1.60GHz /
1066MHz
4MB
$210

All Woodcrest processors will sport 4MB of L2 cache and are manufactured at 65nm. Prices will start at $210 and increase up to $850 in batches of 1000. With Woodcrest it's evident that most if not all of the world's top server companies will be shipping systems with the new processor. One of the most anticipated uses of Woodcrest will be Apple, which is expected to be releasing Woodcrest based systems later this year.

Woodcrest
will be accompanied by DDR2 memory, running at either DDR2-533 or DDR2-667. On Intel's Bensley platform, Xeon DP systems will be limited in the graphics department -- systems will only support a single-lane PCI Express setup. However, memory performance should see a nice boost thanks to the use of fully-buffered DIMMs (FB-DIMMs).

Looking further down the road, Intel's Clovertown will feature quad-cores -- two Woodcrest dice stamped onto a single package. This gives Clovertown systems the ability to scale up to eight CPU cores. Intel also says that Clovertown will deliver power consumption levels on par with Woodcrest. Later this year, Intel will also release Xeon MP Tulsa, the final processor based on the NetBurst architecture. Tulsa may be the last NetBurst processor from Intel, but it will be the company's first x86 processor to support shared L3 cache.  Intel's Itanium 2 Montecito processor will be the company's first shared-L3 processor.

Looking through into 2007, Intel is expected to introduce Tigerton, a new Xeon MP processor set to replace Tulsa. Tigerton is expected to contain at least four cores and have support for SMP configurations of four or more processors per system. With Tigerton, Intel is also expected to include a technology it currently calls "dedicated high-speed interconnect." The new technology gives each processor a direct pathway to the chipset. This will prove to be much faster than today's front-side bus technology. Actual launch dates for Tigerton are still unknown.

AMD also has a big server release around the corner on August 1, 2006. The new Opteron "Revision F" -- based on LGA 1207-pin Socket F -- will mark a significant evolution in multi-core CPUs for AMD.

Update 06/26/2006: The Intel press relese for Woodcrest was released today.


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Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By caboosemoose on 6/23/2006 8:16:56 PM , Rating: 3
Personally, I reckon the stories of tight supply on NGMA chips is probably FUD. For starters, the world is absolutely drowning in leaked engineering samples and the press are currently being buried in samples, too. When chips are in short supply, it's almost always reflected in these areas, too.

Thing is, the sort of channel companies that talk to Daily Tech are at the bottom of the food chain. Intel could frankly give a shit if some crappy middle man online retailer has boxed processors or not. The big money is with the system integrators - especially for servers and especially for this chip - I mea it's not as is Woodcrest is going to be a drop upgrade for any company's warehouse full of servers is it? So, if Dell launches Woodcrest servers with short deliveries times, I for one will judge that Woodcrest supply to be just fine - especially for a brnad new architecture.




RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 6/23/2006 9:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Thing is, the sort of channel companies that talk to Daily Tech are at the bottom of the food chain

What makes you say that?


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By caboosemoose on 6/24/2006 9:38:28 AM , Rating: 2
It's not a slight on Dailytech in particular. But on the whole, the big, serious players like Dell, HP or whoever don't talk to news websites about such things. There's nothing in it for them so there's no reason to take any risks by doing so. Broadly speaking, the people who really know about the state of NGMA chip suply won't be talking about it.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Shadowmage on 6/24/2006 9:49:24 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but you're completely wrong. Although the companies themselves won't officially speak to review websites as regards to unreleased products, nothing stops the engineers or other people from leaking.

I should know, from first hand experience ;)


By caboosemoose on 6/24/2006 12:28:40 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah - I know from firsthand experience too - and the people at the top with the real info largely don't leak. The wage slaves nearer the bottom who have but a partial view of the whole story occasionally do, in the right circumstances. But the big players at the big companies don't get involved most of the time. If you think you're privvy to all kinds of super secret yield info, then good for you. My opinion is that the FUD surrounding NGMA yields is just that - FUD.

Another reason why I say that is that whenever I am, say, under NDA I am then in a position to judge the veracity of the ruomour mill. And for stories like this, the hit rate is pretty low on the whole.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By hstewarth on 6/24/2006 12:47:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yep and probably started from the # tech fud site below...

http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/05/intel-woodcre...

Woodcrest demand is probably going the strongest server chip yet. Over at 2cpu.com, there is one desirng over clocking and such with them. So some are not just thinking of highend workstations or server for this chip. Also discussion of using SLI on these beast.

But its very possible there maybe a shortage of chip, not because of supply but because of demand!


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/25/2006 12:21:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Personally, I reckon the stories of tight supply on NGMA chips is probably FUD. For starters, the world is absolutely drowning in leaked engineering samples and the press are currently being buried in samples, too


Some problems with this assessment...
1. Intel's total 65nm production capacity has only just crossed the 50% mark according to Paul Otellini. This includes all 65nm chips (Yonah, Pressler, Cedar Mill, etc...)

http://www.technologynewsdaily.com/node/3453

2. Only 2 Fabs (large ones, D1D and F12) are currently running and ramping 65nm, with 2 smaller Fabs just now coming online (F24 and D1C). However D1D is already cutting back on 65nm in order to get ready for 45nm at the end of next year.

3. Producing Engineering Samples says nothing about yields. They can produce amazing chips that are low yield and still come up with 10k+ just from their attempts to tweak the yield process. However, for production that isn't cost effective...

4. Merom has a HUGE die size (almost twice that of Yonah) because it's going from 2MB to 4MB of cache. This means that they can only produce half the number with the same wafer space.

So, tight supply should be expected...and remember that it takes ~3 months to complete a wafer.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By caboosemoose on 6/25/2006 9:21:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, all fair points, although my experience in the past is that sample availability has in past definitely reflected general availability. When yields and are very low, the sample number do tend to go down and it's the press that feel it first - as you would expect, customers / system integrators are first priority for samples.

I also don't think that Intel having only 50% 65nm capacity is a major impediment. there are plenty of netburst chips being made on 65nm that I presume are being dropped to make way for NGMA chips.

In short, I'm fairly sure that as these things go (ie the launch of a brand new CPU architecture) NGMA chips will have perfectly good availability. I'm sure that anyone who really cares about these things will be able to get hold of one. And givne the great pricing Intel is they'll be getting them for surprisingly little money. From an end user perspective NGMA is all good, plain and simple.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/25/2006 10:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
my experience in the past is that sample availability has in past definitely reflected general availability


You are forgetting that these are unique times...

1. Intel has never been so far behind for so long before
2. Intel has never waged a preview campaign so early and with so much marketing before.
3. Intel has never lost so much revenue share (as opposed to market share) before, let alone in such a short period of time.

quote:
I also don't think that Intel having only 50% 65nm capacity is a major impediment. there are plenty of netburst chips being made on 65nm that I presume are being dropped to make way for NGMA chips

Actually, the Netburst chips won't be dropped this year...in fact Intel just released another new stepping for them.

According to Intel's own numbers, NGMA will certainly be in tight supply...but this should not come as a surprise to anyone considering that they have pushed it's release ahead so much from it's initially planned launch (Q1 07). Rembember that the equipment and everything else has to be designed and ordered years in advance...


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By zsdersw on 6/25/2006 5:19:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You are forgetting that these are unique times...

1. Intel has never been so far behind for so long before
2. Intel has never waged a preview campaign so early and with so much marketing before.
3. Intel has never lost so much revenue share (as opposed to market share) before, let alone in such a short period of time.


And what specific relevance to availability do those three things have?


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/26/2006 2:41:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And what specific relevance to availability do those three things have?

They aren't relevant to supply, they are relevant to cabooses observations on the supply of Engineering Samples (read the previous few posts...).


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By zsdersw on 6/26/2006 6:38:56 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, you responded to his assertion that availability of engineering samples correlates to general availability, which means that your 3-item list was attempting to disprove that assertion (that the relative wide availability of engineering samples does not, in this case, indicate wide availability of the chips when they ship). In effect, you are talking about the general availability.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/26/2006 6:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
you responded to his assertion that availability of engineering samples correlates to general availability, which means that your 3-item list was attempting to disprove that assertion

Because he based that assertion on past experience...
My point was that times have changed as have Intel's marketing strategies (shipping of Engineering Samples in this case is a Marketing Division responsibility).


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By zsdersw on 6/26/2006 8:46:35 AM , Rating: 2
The marketing division cannot ship what isn't available. A change in marketing strategy doesn't necessarily have anything to do with actual available supply.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/26/2006 9:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The marketing division cannot ship what isn't available. A change in marketing strategy doesn't necessarily have anything to do with actual available supply

Uh-huh...but I don't get your point. caboose wasn't saying that they didn't ship ESs because they couldn't produce them, he just made the point that Intel has previously tended not to ship many ES chips when the production run was in low volume...
Producing all of the ES chips to date is like 20-30 wafers worth (out of 100s-1000s), even if the yields are terrible. Supply has nothing to do with it.

Marketing is the division that decides how many ES chips to ship and who to ship them to. Even with an absolutely horribly yielding chip, manufacturing would be able to supply whatever they need for that...


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By zsdersw on 6/26/2006 9:49:47 AM , Rating: 2
I don't get yours either. You said that these were different times.. but everything you listed has nothing to do with available supply or is relevant to your point.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/26/2006 1:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't get yours either

OK, let me see if I can help you...

1. Caboose said that he figures that supplies will be higher than expected on Conroe because Intel has so many Engineering samples out there. His reasoning is that the only time Intel has sent out numerous Engineering Samples in the past, they have had a large volume of production chips stockpiled.

2. I pointed out that the decision of how many ES chips to ship is a marketing decision, and it has nothing to do with what kind of inventory is available.

3. I also pointed out that even though the marketing people have always followed the pattern he suggest in the past, the situation Intel has found itself in over the last few years is probably responsible for them changing this strategy.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By zsdersw on 6/26/2006 5:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
The three things you listed, that I quoted above in my first comment, don't seem relevant to any of that.. which is why I originally asked of you what I did.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/26/2006 7:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
Their relevance is only to part 3 above...


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By zsdersw on 6/26/2006 7:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My point was that times have changed as have Intel's marketing ...


But then what's this about? You're apparently referring to something other than Intel's marketing strategies.


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By hstewarth on 6/25/2006 6:57:56 PM , Rating: 2
I would expect that Woodcrest shortage is already fud, there is already an article stated that supple of Core 2 DUO will be great supply.. I would assume that Woodcrest would also be.

http://www.neoseeker.com/news/story/5889/


RE: Supply shortgage probbaly FUD
By Viditor on 6/26/2006 2:44:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
there is already an article stated that supple of Core 2 DUO will be great supply

Ummm... the article you linked states that:

"Taiwan-based motherboard makers doubt Intel's ability to supply a sufficient quantity of Core 2 Duo processors. Sales of the Core 2 Duo line may account for less than 10% of Intel's total CPU sales and that the first batch of the Core 2 Duo processors may be limited and will be delivered mainly to international vendors"


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