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Computex Preview: Itanium 2, 965 Chipset, Dual-GPU GeForce Cards

Intel will have a few interesting announcements at Computex including the rollout of the next generation Itanium server CPU and the introduction of the 965 chipset. The Itanium 2 chip, code named "Montecito", will contain an immense 1.7 billion transistors and have two cores. Each core will have its own 12 MB of on-die cache.

Server CPUs generally run full-bore, but Intel has built in adjustable clock speeds, similar to SpeedStep, in the Itanium 2. In early tests, Intel claimed a two processor Itanium 2 server (total of four cores) beat out the previous floating point record holder which used four-way RISC chips.

The launch of the 965 chipset comes in two flavors each for the consumer and enterprise markets. The P965 and G965 will be for the consumer market, while the Q963 and Q965 will be for the enterprise.

P965 will support 533, 800 and 1066 MHZ front-side buss along with dual channel DDR2 800 memory. G965 is the same except that it adds Intel integrated graphics to the motherboard.

Q963 will have similar front-side bus speeds, but will have a lower DDR2 ceiling of 667. It will have integrated video along with Intel's Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP). Corporations have often thrown out old computer Ghost or computer images when upgrading chipsets and motherboards. With SIPP, Intel promises the drivers and hardware won't change for about 12 months and existing images will still work.

Intel's Q965 will support 800 MHz DDR2 memory and have Active Management Technology (AMT). AMT allows management consoles to discover and fix problems directly through the processor and not through the operating system. In addition virus outbreaks can be contained by shunting network traffic through a virtual network interface.

Nvidia will also be launching their 7950 GX2 cards which are basically two Nvidia cards in SLI-mode on a single card. You can think of the 7950 GX2 cards as retail versions of the two cards in quad-SLI systems. The PCI-E cards will cost around $650 dollars and come in a smaller form factor, capable of being fit in smaller cases and even some small-form factor computers.

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Computex Impressions, Sunday June 4, 2006

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