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jmke 13th December 2005 17:20

Intel Sossaman – Slower Than Current Xeon Chips, Shows Supermicro.
Even though Intel Corp. is set to launch its next-generation dual-core low-power Yonah processor for mobile computers early next year, its brother, which is believed to have similar, or the same, micro-architecture is slated for release later in the second half of next year. While Intel’s partner Supermicro shows performance results of the chip, it does not demonstrate it up and running.

According to performance slides allegedly demonstrated by Supermicro at a Japanese event, dual-processor setup running two Intel Xeon DP processors code-named Sossaman at 2.0GHz was about 20% faster compared to a system featuring two Intel Xeon 3.60GHz processors with 1MB L2 cache, but was outperformed by about 27% by 2-way server with Intel dual-core Xeon 2.80GHz in Whetstone floating point unit (FPU) benchmark. Still, Sossaman chips seem to be slightly better performers when it comes to arithmetic logic unit (ALU) performance.

The main advantage low-power Xeon processors based on the Sossaman micro-architecture will provide will be low power consumption, which is crucial for thin blade servers.

According to web-sites which gather unofficial information about yet-to-be released products, the Sossaman is to be based on the dual-core Yonah micro-architecture and is expected to be compatible with current Intel Xeon DP chipsets, such as Intel E7520. Still due to different form-factor, the new Xeon DP chips will require separate infrastructure. The chip is expected to have power consumption of 31W when working at about 2.00GHz, whereas its low-voltage brother is likely to consume approximately 15W when operating at 1.67GHz. By contrast, current dual-core Xeon DP chips at 2.80GHz consume up to 135W in typical conditions.

Intel says that a lot of server deployments these days require low power consumption. In order to address that market, the company recently validated Intel Pentium M processors for its server platforms and also supplies Low-Voltage Intel Xeon chips with thermal design power (TDP) of 30W and 55W. Processors with 30W consumption based on the NetBurst architecture operate at relatively low clock-speed and may not offer performance, which would satisfy clients.

According to a report from Akiba PC Hotline web-site, Supermicro is developing at least two mainboards – X6DLP-4G2 and X6DLP-EG2 – designed for the next-generation Intel Xeon Sossaman processors and based on Intel E7520 memory controller hub (MCH) as well as Intel 6300ESB I/O controller hub (ICH). It is unclear, however, when the mainboards are expected to be available for purchase.

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