Can Intel Retain Lead with Woodcrest?

Intel on Monday rolled out its newest dual-core Xeon processor, known by its code-name "Woodcrest" and branded the 5100 series. The chip will serve to help battle increasing competition from rival AMD, which has made major strides in the server market with its Opteron processors.

Woodcrest is targeted at the server market with a design that focuses on power efficiency. The chip offers a 40 percent power reduction while providing performance improves of up to 135 percent, Intel claims. The 5100 is based on Intel's 65-nanometer process, and is compatible with the current "Bensley" Xeon platform already in use.

With speeds of up to 3.0 GHz and a 1333 MHz front-side bus, the 5100 is powered by Intel's Core 2 Duo microarchitecture and utilizes only 80 watts of power. A 2.33 GHz version is expected to arrive in the third quarter requiring just 40 watts. By using less power, more servers can be put in the same space, keeping costs down.

“Simply put, the Core microarchitecture is a technical marvel that is driving a new era of power efficiency without compromising on what can only be described as eye-popping dual-core 64-bit performance,” said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, in Monday's announcement.

Intel has a tough road ahead in order to retain dominance over the chip industry. AMD has seen increasing market share with its dual-core Opteron processors, which have long focused on reducing power usage. The company also recently inked a deal with Dell to integrate Opterons into the leading PC maker's servers by the end of the year.

The 5100 series Xeons will run between $209 to $851 USD in 1,000-unit quantities, depending on features, Intel says. Over 200 server and high-end workstations models are slated to include the new chips, coming from over 150 manufacturers.

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