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Intel launches powerful new processor chips

April 6, 2009

by Mark Ollig

The innovative folks at Integrated Electronics Corporation – better known to you and me as “Intel Corporation” – just announced the release of a series of new microprocessor chips.

One of these new chip series was originally called the “Nehalem EP quad-core;” today, it is known as the Xeon 5500.

“More than 230 unique systems based on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series are expected to be announced by more than 70 system manufacturers around the world – including a new Intel customer, Cisco, along with Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard (HP), IBM, Sun Microsystems and others,” Intel reported in a press release.

The Xeon W5580 processor chip has a clock speed of 3.20GHz (billion hertz or “cycle” operations per second). The “quad-core” of the chip contains four separate load-sharing processors.

This clock speed considerably outperforms Intel’s first processing chip called the “4004,” which had a clock speed of 740 kHz (thousand hertz or “cycle” operations per second).

The Intel 4004 processor was used from 1971 until 1981, and had 2,300 transistors inside of its processor chip.

Looking at the technical information on the series 5500 from Intel, I found the chips are created using “45-nanometer (nm) High-k metal gate silicon technology.”

These transistor materials also contain combinations of “hafnium-based high-k (Hi-k) gate dielectrics.”

Hafnium is a metal and also happens to be the 72nd element in the periodic table.

“High-k” stands for “high dielectric constant,” which is a measure of how much of an electrical charge a material can hold.

These new material types allow Intel to build the hundreds of millions of microscopic 45nm transistors inside the processor chip – in the case of the Xeon 5500, there are 730 million transistors inside a single chip.

In January of 2007, Intel gave a demonstration of the world’s first 45nm Hi-k processor.

According to Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, “The implementation of high-k and metal materials marks the biggest change in transistor technology since the introduction of polysilicon gate MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor) transistors in the late 1960s.”

Gordon Moore is the person who came up with what is commonly known as “Moore’s Law.” Moore’s Law states the number of transistors on a microchip will increase exponentially, typically doubling every two years.

“The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series is the foundation for the next decade of innovation,” said Patrick Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group. “These chips showcase groundbreaking advances in performance, virtualization, and workload management, which will create opportunities to solve the world’s most complex challenges and push the limits of science and technology.”

These new chips can even automatically adjust to specific energy usage levels based upon data through-put demand . . . which I suppose qualifies them as “green” and “eco-friendly” processors. Intel points out in their literature these new processor chips uses less energy, which can save money.

Intel foresees 15 billion computing devices which will be connected to the Internet’s infrastructure.

Intel’s new processor chips will also help improve the efficiencies of the computing servers, routers, and gateways interconnecting the Internet network, as it moves into its next stage of evolution.

It seems to me the tech industry is rallying around the common objective of migrating business and personal computing towards using the variety of new software applications developing via cloud computing – instead of installing, storing, and upgrading the applications ourselves as we do now with software programs installed on our hard drives.

These new Xeon Processor 5500 processing chips will – in this humble columnist’s opinion – bring the cloud computing environment much closer to becoming the norm in the near future as the Internet continues to grow not only in size – but in its “intelligent” and “efficient” processing capabilities.

Luigi Fusco, senior advisor of Earth Observation Applications at the European Space Agency (ESA) said, “The European Space Agency has recently been testing brand new systems based on the innovative new Intel Xeon processor 5500 series. Its unrivalled performance enables ESRIN, the ESA establishment in Frascati, Italy, to analyze and share large volumes of data collected by its satellites more quickly and efficiently via its grid computing infrastructure.”

For those on Facebook, you can keep up with the latest info on the Xeon 5500 by performing a search on “Intel Xeon 5500 “Nehalem”” and becoming a “fan” of its Face Book profile.

If you have a Twitter account, you can follow “Nehalem” or go to “search.twitter.com” and enter “#nehalem” in the search box.

For more on Intel’s Xeon 5500 or Nehalem, go to http://tinyurl.com/c9spe6.

This week’s “Web Site of the Week” will have additional information and some YouTube videos the Bits_blogger uploaded from Intel Corporation. There will also be some history about Intel, so be sure to stop in and check it out.