Intel Corp. is expected to announce a new, faster Xeon MP processor later on Tuesday with double the cache of its predecessor.

The Xeon MP chip, also known by its Gallatin product code name, is designed for servers with four processors or more. The most powerful chip in the product line will now run at 3GHz and come with 4MB of Level 3 cache, according to advertisements on various Web sites.

The new chip is a fairly significant improvement for the Xeon MP line, said Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, N.H. The doubling of the on-chip cache works particularly well to increase the performance of multiprocessor servers running commercial applications such as transaction processing, he said.

Because multiprocessor servers put a larger strain on the memory subsystem, increased amounts of on-chip cache can help alleviate that load, Haff said. Cache stores frequently used data in a repository close to the chip’s execution units so that it can be processed faster than data stored in memory.

But the improvements to the new chip are still overshadowed by Intel’s recent decision to bring 64-bit extensions technology to its Xeon DP processors for one and two-processor servers. The new Xeon MP chip announced Tuesday is not expected to feature that technology, since it is based on the same Gallatin core that was introduced in 2002, Haff said.

The next scheduled release on Intel’s Xeon MP road map is codenamed Potomac, and will probably support 64-bit extensions technology when it is released later this year or early next year, Haff said.



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