Intel Foster secrets revealed

Pop goes the weasel

An Intel presentation that was up on its Web site before the firm realised it was there reveals the firms plans on its server technology well into next year.

As well as confirming that Foster will come in a 603 pin out, the document, which we saw just before Intel pulled it ut of public view, also discusses Jackson software which the firm thinks will make the server microprocessor sing.

The 21 slide presentation says that Jackson multi-threading software will roll out after silicon ships in the first quarter of next year. This software is intended for data warehousing, cache servers, ERP and databases, one slide shows.

"Foster is the next generation IA-32 processor. New 603-PGA (socket) form factor Based on 0.18µ process. Leading IA-32 product, with launch speed of 1.4 GHz. Substantially improved performance over P6 family/ Fast quad-pumped (400MHz) system bus," bullet points on another slide say.

Over 20 software applications employing Jackson technology will be rolled out at the launch of the processor, another slide reveals.

The presentation also seems to suggest that Intel may have caught up on its Foster plans in some respects. Dual processing Foster will roll out in Q4, while multiprocessing Foster systems using 512K, and 1Mb caches will appear in Q1.

This is what a Foster FAQ slide says:
Q. Why is Willamette not on the server roadmap?
A: Willamette is UP only. The server roadmap in this time-frame will be DP or greater. Plus, DP CuMine FCPGA and DP Foster servers offer better price/performance and raw performance

".Q: How far down into the 2-way space will Foster go?
A: DP Foster will be for the general purpose and 2u+ front-end server systems. DP CuMine FCPGA will be targeted for the highest density, lowest profile (ie 1u) front-end servers. There is projected to be a substantial performance delta between Foster/CuMine FCPGA (unlike Cascades/CuMine today).

"Q: How will the DP Foster SKU be priced?
A: The pricing model for Foster/Willamette will be similar to the one used for Cascades/256k and CuMine.

"Q: Why Colusa for 2-way Foster servers?
A: Colusa is the only chipset that is TTM with DP Foster in Q4’00. In addition, it is the only Intel validation vehicle. With the performance leap offered by Foster-based servers, OEMs will want to be TTM with DP Foster (and not risk losing segment share). "

TTM is an Intel acronym which means time to market, and suggests that it is going to roll out Foster a little earlier but with slightly less functionality.

And where will Foster be positioned. Later slides in the presentation show that it will be used in two way, four way and eight way system.

A summary of the feature set of the two way microprocessor reads: "Juniper/Hudson II POR –Targeting product launch TTM with DP Foster - Q4’00 –Will use Colusa –Final POR set in March, following DIA (Design Investment Approval)"

The four way slide reads: •Shasta/Cabrillo III POR –Targeting product launch TTM with MP Foster - Q1’01 –Will use RCC* chipset (Grand Champion) –POR set in February, following DIA.

"Feature Set Summary 4-way Foster-based server •RCC chipset Quad peer PCI busses –3 64/66, 1 64/33 peer hot-plug PCI busses, 8 total PCI slots (6x64 66MHz, 2x64/33MHz) •2 x Ultra-160 LVDS SCSI and 1 x Ultra Legacy SCSI •Advanced Server Management (Sisters/Mazama) IPMI, APCI, WFM, Server ‘00 Compliant (HDG 3.0)"And the last slide in the series reads: " Use Intel premium branding to maximize server business –Continue successful 8-way ramp with Foster in 1H’01 Focus on server consolidation, e-Business data base and DSS solutions

"Enhanced 8-way Pentium® Xeon™ processor promotion campaign and IIP incentives –Ramp existing and new 4-way Foster processor-based designs 4-way Foster servers will provide a substantial performance boost over Cascades servers –Grow 2-way Pentium® XeonTM processor segment with DP Foster For corporate customers requiring long lived, stable platforms at 2-way general purpose server price points Foster pricing encourages broad adoption of 2-way Pentium® III Xeon™ processor-based systems."

So that's that then. ®

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