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Intel Corp. is getting ready to expand its 64-bit chip capabilities into new areas: the enterprise desktop and high-end Xeon-based servers.

During a press briefing Tuesday, officials with the Santa Clara, Calif., company said Intel later this month will roll out the 600 Series of desktop Pentium 4 processors that will offer the EM64T technology, which will enable the chips to run both 32- and 64-bit applications.

In the second half of the year, the high-end Pentium 4 chips—aimed at customers looking for the highest performance—also will feature dual-core capabilities, with two processors sitting on a single die.

Click here to read more about Intel’s dual-core processors.

In addition, Intel later this quarter will introduce Xeon MP processors sporting the EM64T technology, according to Phil Brace, director of marketing for the Digital Enterprise Group. Intel late last summer rolled out Xeon DP—for single- and dual-processor systems—with the 32- and 64-bit capabilities. Now the company will offer it in chips aimed at servers with four or more chips.

Intel has been criticized for being too slow in responding to Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which introduced the x86 64-bit capabilities in its Opteron server chips in April 2003 and Athlon 64 PC processors the following September.

However, officials said that with the EM64T technology in Intel’s line of Pentium and Xeon processors, and the 64-bit Itanium 2 chips aimed at the high-end RISC space, the company is in good shape to address demand for 64-bit computing.

“2005 is the year of 64-bit server computing,” Brace said.

In both the Pentium and Xeon lines, the 64-bit capabilities also come with other enhancements in performance and security. In the Pentium chips, upgrades include a larger Level 2 cache of 2MB, which will give the chips higher performance than the current Pentium 4s while reducing thermal issues, said Rob Crooke, vice president of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group. In addition, Intel’s SpeedStep power management technology, currently found in its mobile processors, will be available in the 600 Series, Crooke said.

What’s behind Intel’s latest reorg? Click here to read David Coursey’s view.

With the Xeon MPs, power savings will come via SpeedStep and demand-based switching technology, which can throttle-down the processor depending on the demand from the application. It also will offer 8MB Level 3 cache, a faster front-side bus and memory mirroring capabilities, Crooke said.

Demand for the Xeon DP processors with the 64-bit capabilities has grown rapidly, he said. Intel shipped the first million units in six months, and will ship the second million by the end of February—about a three-month time frame. In addition, Intel expects that 80 percent of Xeon processors shipped in the first quarter will be 64-bit enabled.

Along with the 64-bit enabled Xeon MPs—code-named Cranford—will be the 8500 chip set, code-named Twin Castle, which will support DDR2 memory and PCI Express I/O.

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