Intel Quietly Ships Faster Xeon 3500 Series Processors
Without much fanfare, Intel has begun shipping new and faster Xeon 3500 Series processors. The new W3580 and W3550 CPUs run at 3.33 and 3.06 GHz, marginally faster than the 3.2/2.93 GHz W3570 and W3540 chips introduced earlier this year. So far, Lenovo is the only major workstation manufacturer listing these chips as options and they are priced exactly the older and slower parts.
Intel has also been releasing more details on the forthcoming “Lynnfield” processors, which will be the Nehalem architecture for mainstream and consumer markets. The consumer versions of the processors will be dubbed the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 and will require different (and much less expensive) motherboards from the current Core i7 and Xeon 3500 Series. The Core i5 and new Core i7 look particularly interesting. They will have only dual channel memory, which will reduce bandwidth somewhat, but will make up for it with faster turbo modes (important for SolidWorks performance) and lower power consumption. It’s unknown whether Intel will come out with Xeon-branded versions with ECC memory support, but I hope they do. This would be the optimal platform for entry and mainstream SolidWorks users.