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Intel ready to announce six-core chip

Chipmaker is expected later this month to announce the "Dunnington" processor--the first six-core processor and last of its Penryn-class chips.

Intel is expected to announce the "Dunnington" processor later this month, the first six-core processor and last of its Penryn-class chips.

Intel on September 15 is expected to roll out the Intel Xeon 7400 series Dunnington processor targeted at the server market, the final member of the "Penryn" family of processors, according to sources at server vendors. Penryn will be followed by the Nehalem microarchitecture, due to appear initially as the Core i7 processor in the fourth quarter.

Server vendors announcing products will include Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell, according to Intel senior vice presiden Pat Gelsinger, speaking at the Intel Developer Forum last month. Other server makers such as IBM and Unisys are also expected to have systems.

The Xeon 7400 boasts significantly better performance due to its large 16MB cache memory and half a dozen cores.

Intel "Dunnington" Xeon 7400 is the first six-core processor
Intel "Dunnington" Xeon 7400 is the first 6-core processor Brooke Crothers

Dunnington is also one of the first Intel chips to have a monolithic design (Nehalem will too). In other words, all six cores will be on one piece of silicon. To date, for any processor having more than two cores, Intel has put two separate pieces of silicon--referred to as die--inside of one chip package.

Intel has described the processor as follows: "Dunnington is the first IA (Intel Architecture) processor with six cores, is based on the 45nm high-k process technology, and has large shared caches."