When I write articles for bit-tech I occasionally happen upon a topic that a full-time staffer is writing about. When this happens, one of the stories gets put on the long spike – usually mine. Below is one such story, which I figured I’d reclaim from the archives and post here – despite it being somewhat outdated.

dunnington (8k image)If a leaked slide from a presentation authored by Sun Microsystems is to be believed, Intel is planning on launching a six-core processor aimed at the server market.

Although the Intel Dunnington has been rumoured for quite some time, the slide is the first evidence that Intel is planning to ditch its usual ‘cheat’ of putting multiple chips in a single package and is instead aiming for a true six-core single-chip processor.

The slide shows a six-core chip with each core paired up with a buddy to share a 3M chunk of level 2 cache for a total of 9M of L2 cache along with a whopping 16MB L3 cache shared between all three pairs. If the figures are right, that’s one heck of a lot of cache RAM and will certainly help to alleviate any nasty bottlenecks lurking around the yet-to-be-finalised Dunnington front-side bus.

The cores themselves are based on the Penryn architecture and will be built around a 45nm process to keep heat production to a minimum. The thermal profile is a fairly respectable 130W, which might seem a lot from a desktop perspective – after all, the ‘energy efficient’ models of Core 2 Quads come in at under 100W – but is pretty impressive for something that can replace six discreet processors.

The slide features an Intel Xeon logo, suggesting that the chip will be marketed under the same moniker as Intel’s existing server chip products. The launch date is given as some time in the second half of 2008, so we don’t have too long to wait to see if the rumours are true.

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