updated 08:00 am EST, Fri February 24, 2012
Intel Xeon E5 gets tentative launch window
Intel's long-expected Xeon E5 processor may have a narrower launch window. A rumor floated by Digitimes' industry contacts had the E5-2600 series and their matching C600 mainboard chipsets arriving in March. About 15 processors would start the line, beginning with the quad-core, 1.8GHz Xeon E5-2603 at a $202 bulk price and scaling up to the range-leading eight-core, 2.9GHz Xeon E5-2690 at $2,057.
The first wave would stick to single- and dual-socket systems based on the Romley-EP platform, the insiders said. A four-socket version and the Romley-EN would be coming later. In the nearer term, updated Itanium processors and their 7500 chipsets would arrive relatively soon after.
Spring would see the budget E5-2400 series arrive. Details weren't specified, but they would cost between $192 and $1,440 each.
The E5-2600 should catch up Intel's mid-range Xeon for workstations and servers, bringing it to the 32 nanometer Sandy Bridge architecture and increasing cache sizes to as much as 20MB for eight core versions. Most companies making Intel-based pro systems have had to either keep using 2010-era chips as well as consider using the slower E3 or server-focused E7 instead. A March timeframe would be supported by slipping Mac Pro ship times that may be the sign of a refresh using the E5.