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July 15, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:50pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The workgroup server market is set to heat up considerably with the delivery of new versions of Intel Corp’s Pentium II processor that include ECC Error Correction Code on the Level 2 cache which provides the type of data integrity and reliability guarantees that customers in this space require. Previously ECC had only been available for main memory. There should be a slew of vendors including Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and IBM selling low- end, one- and two-way Pentium II workgroup servers by year-end. They’ll be competing with the likes of Sun Microsystems Inc’s forthcoming Tazmo UltraSparc RISC servers as well as each other (CI No 3,142). Intel, which is expected to offer its own Pentium II servers for OEM customers, says prices for complete systems should start at $2,500-up. The ECC-enhanced chips are priced at a $30 premium over the vanilla Pentium II parts, which are effectively Pentium Pro devices with MMX multimedia extensions. The 233MHz device is $666 and the 266MHz is $805 for 1,000-up. The $1,980 300MHz Pentium II, designed for use in higher-end workstations, has already been fitted with ECC support. The anticipated growth of the low-end server market is why Intel is making so much noise about its ECC products, and its next logical step is to enable the part for four-way processing like it’s done for Pentium Pro and the commodity SHV boards it is peddling for building high-end server configurations. That requires the addition of Slot-2 supporting technologies plus new core logic chip sets. The Slot-1 Pentium II currently runs from a 66MHz system bus and only scale to two CPUs; Slot-2 will enable Pentium II to scale to four processors and run from a 100MHz system bus. It’ll also enable Pentium II to access Level 2 cache at the internal speed of the CPU instead of the half-speed it currently allows. Intel says Pentium II’s existing packaging can support that requirement. It comes with 512Kb L2 cache.

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