AMD and Intel unveiled their upcoming server processor plans at the International Solid State Circuits Conference.
Intel will launch its dual-core Xeon Tulsa chip in the second half of this year. This processor will focus on performance, with a clockspeed of 3.4GHz and 16MB unified cache. Current dual-core processor from AMD and Intel feature segregated caches and Intel claims a unified cache will increase performance in some applications by up to 10 percent.
Tulsa will also be Intel's first processor with Pellston, a virtualization technology to run multiple operating systems.
Another interesting aspect of the Tulsa Xeon is its energy conservation technology. The cache memory can switch to sleep and deep sleep modes, saving up to 6W of power consumption.
Still, Tulsa sports a thermal design power (or thermal ceiling) of 150 watts. That's lower than Paxville, which comes with a 165-watt TDP. Chips usually don't hit their thermal ceilings, but server manufacturers have to compensate for it in their designs. A high thermal ceiling can also translate to a high average power consumption.
By contrast, the Pacifica chip coming from AMD has a 95-watt thermal ceiling and will come with AMD's own virtualization technology, according to the company.
The AMD Pacifica processor still has two L2 caches, it will take until 2007 before AMD will launch dual-core processors with a unified cache.