Next week Intel is going to release it first EM64T chips, which combine full 32bit performance with 64bit compatibility. This chip is codenamed Nocona, and ment for dual-CPU workstation and later for server configurations.
This chip will be branded unter the Xeon name, and will initially be launched at 3.6GHz.
Although the new chip will gain attention, delays are expected before software vendors make 64bit applications for it. Perhaps more importantly, Nocona will also use new chipsets, previously known as Tumwater and Lindenhurst, which provide a platform for the PCI Express expansion bus. This will raise the speed at which storage, graphics and other peripherals communicate with chips.
Intel described PCI Express as the most important architectural change for a decade. It offers almost four times the bandwidth of PCI-X. Anil Vasudeva of analyst firm Imex Research said, "PCI Express has the backing of Intel and you would expect it to catch on."
"For a customer with 1,000 blades, the power saved would be significant," said Marco Biermann, European product engineer for memory-module maker Kingston Technology. "Together with motherboard support for technologies like Wi-Fi, PCI Express, Serial ATA and BTX [a case designed to run cooler], the changes represent a technology breakthrough."
Separately, Intel said PCI Express and DDR2 are also being introduced for the desktop in the Grantsdale and Alderwood chipsets, and the firm has begun using a new numbering scheme for desktop chips.
AMD last week said that it had completed the design cycle for its first dual-core 32/64bit processors and will have products available in mid-2005. Dual-core processors combine two processors in a single piece of silicon for greater efficiency.