Intel boosts virtualization with quad-core Xeons

Two new quad-core Xeon processors from Intel, the X5365 and the L5335, will include improved virtualization technology.
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor

Intel on Monday launched two quad-core Xeon processors with improved virtualization capabilities.

The X5365 and L5335 are designed for companies running high-performance server and workstation applications, with a particular focus on the financial sector.

The X5365 is a 3GHz quad-core processor that fits inside a standard 120-watt power envelope. It features a front-side bus speed of 1333MHz. The L5335 quad-core processor is designed for servers that require optimal space and power utilization. Clock speed is 2GHz with 1333MHz front-side bus within a 50-watt power envelope.

The new processors are supported by Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, HP and IBM, among others.

Virtualization technology built into both processors enables third-party software--from suppliers such as VMware and XenSource--to more efficiently manage multiple virtual machines, potentially improving hardware utilization.

The technique has become increasingly popular of late, and Intel has invested in three virtualization suppliers: VMware, SWsoft and Virtual Iron.

VMware--the market leader in virtualization--has witnessed considerable success and undertakes its initial public offering (IPO) today.

Intel's latest improvements include processor extensions which give improved interrupt handling, an area where previous chips suffered performance hits.

Intel in July cut the prices of many of its quad-core processors, some to below the levels of dual-core processors, ramping up its price war with rival AMD.

The latest cuts follow reductions made in 2006, which appear to be paying dividends for Intel. In its latest results, released in July, quarterly revenue was up eight percent. Meanwhile, AMD posted a net loss.

"Moore's Law, Intel's silicon design and process technology and the Core microarchitecture are allowing us to deliver even greater levels of end-user value by essentially enabling price parity between dual- and quad-core Intel Xeon processors at a given clock frequency," said Kirk Skaugen, vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.

Intel is currently facing an antitrust case brought by the European Commission, which is investigating whether the chipmaker acted unfairly to preserve its dominance over AMD.

AMD says it will unveil a faster version of its Barcelona quad-core chip later this year. It also says it is ready to extend its CPU instruction set to make it easier for application developers to exploit opportunities brought by quad-core processors.

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