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Intel plans low-voltage 'Woodcrest' server chip

The low voltage version of the next-generation server processor consumes only 40 watts.

SAN FRANCISCO--When Intel releases its next-generation "Woodcrest" server processor in the third quarter, it also will release a low-voltage version that consumes only 40 watts.

The processor will run at 2.33Ghz, Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's Server Platforms Group, said in an interview here at the Intel Developer Forum.

IDF Spring 2006

The low-voltage chip is a successor to the new Xeon LV, code-named Sossaman, that Intel will begin shipping next week. Unlike Sossaman, however, Woodcrest LV is a 64-bit design.

"Sossaman was more of a stopgap solution for Intel," said Sarang Ghatpande, an analyst at Ideas International. "Woodcrest LV is a real solution for performance per watt."

Although the 40-watt consumption is a notch worse than the 31-watt Sossaman, it's still a big improvement over today's regular Xeons, which consume anywhere from 110 watts for single-core models to 165 watts for higher-end dual-core parts.

Excessive power consumption and resulting waste heat is a major problem in the computing industry. Improving performance per watt gives Intel a new sales pitch at a time when it faces market share losses to rival Advanced Micro Devices compounded by financial troubles.

IBM is selling Sossaman chips in its blade servers, but Hewlett-Packard decided against doing so because it's only a 32-bit design and uses last-generation memory and other components.