Intel to Put Westmere Desktop Chips in Servers

Intel has tweaked its chip road map, with plans to extend its upcoming Westmere mainstream desktop dual-core chips with integrated graphics processors to entry-level servers.

The chips, code-named Clarkdale and built on the Westmere architecture, will come under the Core i3 and Core i5 brands, and integrate a graphics processor and a CPU in one chip package. The updated road map was offered earlier this week during a discussion of Intel's collaboration with Microsoft on the Windows 7 OS.

While the Clarkdale chips will be mainly for mainstream PCs, there are plans for versions that could go into single-socket servers, said George Alfs, an Intel spokesman. "It is true that we do single-socket server and embedded derivatives on our client parts, but [there is] no announcement at this time," he said.

Intel currently offers Core 2 Duo chips for mainstream desktops and laptops. Clarkdale chips will provide a significant performance advantage over Core 2 chips while drawing less power, Intel has said in the past. Integrated chips will boost graphics performance while using less power than Core 2 processors. Servers may experience faster application performance because of Clarkdale's ability to run two threads per core, an improvement over the capability of Core 2 chips to run one thread per core.

The performance and power benefits will be realized from an advanced manufacturing process Intel is using to make the chips. Clarkdale processors will be manufactured using the 32-nanometer process, an upgrade over the existing 45-nanometer process used by Intel to make chips today. The chips will go into production in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Westmere architecture is a process shrink of Intel's current Nehalem microarchitecture. Nehalem forms the basis of Intel's existing Core i7 high-end desktop and Xeon 5500 server chips. Nehalem is Intel's first microarchitecture that integrates a memory controller with the CPU and provides a fast pipeline for processors and system components to communicate.

Intel offers dual-core, quad-core and six-core Xeon chips for servers, with plans to announce an eight-core chip code-named Nehalem-EX, which is due early next year. The company also plans to introduce other Westmere-based server chips in the future, though no announcement has been made.

Along with Clarkdale, Intel is developing dual-core laptop chips code-named Arrandale using the 32-nanometer process. The chips could reach laptops early next year.

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