Intel's Opteron competitor, the Nocona, is going to be launched on Monday. It will be Intel's first 32/64-bit chip for workstations and servers. The Nocona is expected to be launched at 3.6GHz and lower speeds, with an 800MHz FSB.
Some manufacturers are expected to release workstations based on the Nocona on Monday, with mot releasing servers at a later date. Though some smaller manufacturers are expected to release Nocona servers next week.
Last year, AMD released Opteron, the first 32/64-bit chip based on the popular x86 architecture. It has been adopted by IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems. Before Opteron, few large computer makers had ever incorporated AMD chips into their corporate machines.
Until it announced in February that Nocona would run both types of software, Intel downplayed the need for 32/64-bit chips and promoted its Itanium chip for the 64-bit market.
The 32/64-bit functionality in Nocona and Opteron is similar, but the chips have their differences. Opteron connects to the rest of the computer through HyperTransport links, while Nocona will rely on PCI Express. Nocona also runs at a higher speed, but Opteron gets more work done per clock cycle. Opteron comes with an integrated memory controller, which speeds up processing, while Nocona's controller comes on a separate chip.
Although the 64-bitness of these chips gets the most coverage, the software choices are limited. Versions of Linux that can run in 64-bit mode are out, but Microsoft won't have its 32/64-bit version of Windows to manufacturers until December. Few 32-bit applications have been enhanced to run in 64-bit mode.
More details and reviews comparing the Nocona to AMD's Opteron can be expected on Monday on most big hardware sites.