Dell will begin shipping its first servers and workstations running quad-core Intel processors in a two-socket configuration next week.
Dell will feature the Quad-Core Xeon 5300 processor from Intel on its PowerEdge rack and blade-style servers, and in Precision workstations, which a Dell executive said is a better performing configuration than a dual-core, four-socket setup.
"We actually see, with the introduction of our new quad-core systems, that this is the beginning of the end of the four-socket marketplace over the next three or four years," said Neil Hand, vice president of worldwide enterprise marketing for Dell.
A quad-core processor is built with four processors together on the same die. A socket is the place in a computer where the processor plugs in. By putting four cores in one processor, computer performance can be enhanced with only two sockets instead of four sockets. Multicore chips allow a computer to split up heavy workloads more easily for faster performance.
Dell claims quad cores in a dual-socket server configuration can deliver 63 percent better computing performance, and 40 percent better performance per watt, than dual-core processors in four sockets.
The performance can be further enhanced in virtualization environments. said Hand.
Dell is an OEM partner with VMware for virtualization software. Dell, in its own IT department, was able to consolidate 1,000 software applications onto 100 servers using VMware, Hand said.
"If we were to redo that with quad core, instead of dual core, we’d be doing that on 60 or 70 servers instead of 100, so there would be another 30 or 40 percent reduction in the number of servers," he said.
Dell is joining other vendors in bringing quad-core based servers to market.
IBM features quad-core Power processors on its System p line of servers.
Hewlett-Packard is set to launch Nov. 13 new workstations running the same Intel Xeon 5300 processor Dell is using.
The Taiwanese server maker Tyan Computer introduced new hardware systems on Oct. 16 targeted at small or home-based offices running the Xeon 5300.
Advanced Micro Devices, Intel's chief rival in the chip business, is scheduled to come out with a quad-core processor in mid-2007. When it does, Dell will be ready to offer the AMD processor along with its Intel-powered models, Hand said.
"I’ll be there the day that AMD ships," he said.