Intel is known for making some excellent server chipsets with their Xeon line. The Xeon line goes back to 1998 with Intel's single-core Pentium II Xeon Chip. Over the past 13 years Intel has increased the number of cores, and there by increasing capacity and capabilities, up to eight-cores with their 65XX and 75XX lines. Intel has now one-upped themselves by introducing Xeon-E7 chips which have 10-cores in a single die.
Intel is using this increase in number of cores to emphasize savings since companies can effectively replace 18 dual-core servers with a single 10-core server. This type of replacement would be extremely useful in virtualization environment and data centers where physical space is at a premium and any way to increase server density is lauded.
According to Dell, their new PowerEdge servers running Intel's Xeon-E7 processor provide a 49% improvement in performance per-watt over Intel's eight-core chips.
As of late many have speculated on the future of Intel's other chip platform, Itanium. Intel has reiterated that it has plans to introduce new Itanium processors on their roadmap but they did not indicate a time frame for when these new chips would be introduced.
In addition to introducing the Xeon-E7 chips, Intel has also introduced their E3-1200 series chips. Intel believes these chips are meant for entry-level server market. Each chip in the series is a quad-core processor, with 8MB of L3 cache. The speed ranges from 3.10 GHz for the E3-1220 to 3.50 GHz for the E3-1280. There are also two low-voltage chips that have been introduced, the E3-1220L and the E3-1260L. The E3-1220L is a dual-core chip, has 3MB of L3 Cache, runs at 2.20 GHz and only consumes 20 watts of power. THe E3-1260L is a quad-core chip running at 2.40 GHz and is rated at 45 watts of power.
This new offering from Intel is going to make it more difficult for AMD to keep up and introduce competitive chips. AMD has been known to come back and we will await what the future holds. Regardless of what AMD releases, competition for Intel is a good thing.