Intel revealed more details about its plans for the Xeon server platform.
One of the things they are working is dual-socket, dual-FSB workstations based on the new Stoakley platform, which uses the 1600MHz FSB Seaberg chipset.
The systems (two Intel white / black boxen and two HP xw8600 workstations) ran various apps including 3-D CAD on dual-screen HP setups. I checked one of the machines, and the Properties in My Computer tab gave me this (see photo): 3.2 GHz Pentium III Xeon. Interesting, how it identifies the true roots of Core 2 design, some would say...
There is a massive improvement in PCI-E bandwidth here. The machine demoed had 2 x 16 PCI-E slots, capable of supporting 5 Gbit/s PCI-E v 2 protocol. Good enough for any kind of SLI or Crossfire shot at them, at least this year.
However, looks like FB-DIMMs are still the feature, or burden, of the new chipset. I don't know if that's smart, knowing that besides the latency and power consumption questions, FB-DIMMs don't even have an 800 MHz version suitable for in-sync matching with the FSBs and lower overall latency.
Sources say the chipset latency was nevertheless substantially improved by Intel, so let's see how much real problem is with FB-DIMMs then - if it was me, I'd have four DDR2-800 low-latency channels, with ECC optional. Yes, FB-DIMMs can theoretically give you 128 GB capacity, but I guess, for most workstation users, 16 GB in eight pieces of fast CL3 DDR2 DIMMs would be just the right deal for 2007.