The eight-core Nehalem-EX server processor has been labelled Intel’s fastest processor to date by the company's CEO, Paul Otellini.
Intel will be competing with AMD's 12-core Opteron microprocessor in the high-end server processor market. Code-named Magny-Cours, the AMD offering will also be available this quarter. The processor boasts 12 x86 processing engines, a quad-channel memory controller as well as a new high-speed chip-to-chip interconnection.
Intel’s Nehalem-EX, on the other hand, is based on the Nehalem microarchitecture, an innovation which cuts data bottlenecking. Intel has also focussed on delivering better performance specifically for servers by integrating error-correction technology and buffered memory chips to ensure faster and more reliable server performance.
Intel’s chip will include 24MB of cache shared between each of the individual cores, whereas AMD’s chip will include more physical cores, so performance differences are likely to be seen depending on the task given to each chip. Intel has focussed primarily on high-intensity data processing.
Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at semiconductor consulting firm Insight 64, said that AMD’s advantage will be in pricing, whereas Intel’s newer technologies could reach new markets.