Intel has launched two new Xeon processors that run at 12.5 watts per core and with up to 2.5 GHz clock speed, which it claims benefit companies with power-constrained, high compute-density environments.
The quad-core L5400 series is as much as 25 percent faster and has a 50 percent larger cache size than its predecessor. The L5420 and L5410 CPUs run at 2.50 GHz and 2.33 GHz, respectively, and feature 12MB of on-die cache and dedicated 1333 MHz FSB.
‘Using Intel's hafnium-infused high-k metal gate transistors has allowed our quad-core 45nm low-voltage server chips to attain new heights in power-efficient performance,’ said Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's Server Platforms Group.
High-k refers to a property of the substrate material of the processor that makes it highly resistant to electrical leakage. As the diameter (in this case 45nm) of each of the zillions of transistors that comprise a processor gets smaller, electrical leakage becomes a bigger issue. More leakage means lower power efficiency.
Hafnium is the key new high-k material, which replaces the transistor's silicon dioxide gate dielectric. It is a heavy metal (not to be confused with this - warning, loudness and probable profanity) that resides just short of tungsten, platinum, gold and mercury on the periodic table. Here's a photo of a 45nm transistor.
Intel also announced that it will be shipping a dual core processor that runs at 20 watts per core and has a clock speed of 3 GHz.
The L5420 is expected to cost $380 per unit and the L5410 will come in at $320. These prices both depend on 1,000-unit quantities being bought.