Intel reveals new 64-bit server chip

Intel will come out with a server chip next quarter that adds 64-bit power to its current x86 line of processors, the company's chief executive said Tuesday.

In a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum here, CEO Craig Barrett called the arrival of Nocona "one of the worst-kept secrets in San Francisco." Intel had been widely expected to show off such a chip. Nocona processors for two-processor servers will arrive in the second quarter, Barrett said, followed quickly by Prescott processors with 32/64-bit capability for single-processor servers and workstations. Prescott and Nocona are functionally the same processor but differ in cache size and bus speed. The 32/64-bit technology will then come to chips for servers with four or more processors in 2005, Barrett added. (Technically, the chips are code-named Nocona and Prescott, and the 32/64-bit capability goes by the code name Clackamas.)

Although this means that Intel could bring a 32/64-bit chip to PCs soon, Barrett said the company has no plans do so in the near future. There are a few good reasons for this, PC executives and analysts have said for some time. Very little desktop software exists for 64-bit desktops, and the amount of memory that would go into a 64-bit desktop would greatly escalate the price. While Intel was expected to reveal its 32/64-bit plans at the conference, the chips are set to come out far earlier than most predicted. Most analysts thought that Intel's first 32/64-bit chip would be Tejas, due late in 2004 or early 2005. In December, one analyst, Rick Whittington of American Technology Research, predicted that Intel would release a 32/64-bit chip this year but admitted at the time that he had no solid evidence to back up the theory.

News source: C|Net News.com

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