updated 05:20 pm EST, Mon February 2, 2009
Nehalem Xeon Late March
Intel will release its Nehalem-based Xeons at the very end of the quarter, a late leak reveals. The semiconductor firm is believed to be readying the new Xeons for an unusual late March release that would see the first wave of processors announced on the 29th and available a day later. Pricing has also been corroborated for some chips and tops out at $1,557 for a 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon W5580, with a 2.93GHz parallel costing $1,349.
In an unusual step, Intel is understood to be selling the cooling fan separately from the processors themselves in what may be a move to let home builders or PC manufacturers use their own at a lower price.
The processors will be the first workstation-class processors to use the same basic architecture as Core i7 and use a new peripheral interface that dramatically reduces the amount of latency while increasing the memory bandwidth, both of which are historic weaknesses of previous Xeons. Early tests of pre-production models have shown the parts to be roughly twice as fast as higher-clocked current Xeons in synthetic benchmarks.
New Xeon introductions normally see Intel offer the processors separately at retail as well as pre-installed in new servers and workstations, with Apple, Dell, HP and others often launching systems soon after the upgrades.