Intel previews advanced Nehalem processor, eyes demise of RISC-based platforms

Chicago (IL) – Intel has previewed a new Xeon processor codenamed “Nehalem-EX.” The advanced processor will reportedly feature up to 8 cores inside a single chip that is capable of supporting 16 threads and a 24Mb cache.

According to Intel, the chip is likely to accelerate the adoption of Intel-based platforms over RISC-based systems.

“(Nehalem-EX offers) lower total cost of ownership, higher performance, lower electricity bills and the ability to standardize on a flexible IT environment,” the company explained in a statement.

The souped-up Nehalem is reportedly ideal for server consolidation, virtualized applications, enterprise scenarios and technical computing environments. Indeed, Nehalem-EX will offer up to nine times the memory bandwidth of the previous-generation Intel Xeon 7400 platform. Nehalem-EX is also expected to double memory capacity by providing up to 16 slots per processor socket along with four high-bandwidth QuickPath Interconnect links.

In addition, the new chip will include several features found in the long-awaited Itanium processor, such as Machine Check Architecture (MCA) Recovery.

“Nehalem-EX will provide tremendous scalability, from large-memory two-socket systems through eight-socket systems capable of processing 128 threads simultaneously without the need for third-party chips to ‘glue’ the platform together,” the company added.

Nehalem-EX is currently slated for production during the second quarter of 2009. Meanwhile, Itanium’s launch date has been delayed – yet again – to the first quarter of 2010. The latest postponement was officially blamed on a last minute “opportunity to further enhance application scalability” during “final system-level testing.”

Intel adds: “NHM-EX is second half of 2009 – not Q2. Production in H2, 2009. Launch is likely in 2010.”