The Nocona architecture offers increased performance and could have a profound impact on the development of datacentres.
The server chip offers extended memory support, allowing users to access up to 1Tbyte of Ram on a machine, said Alan Priestley, strategic marketing manager at Intel. The current maximum is 4Gbytes.
When Nocona is combined with a new chipset called Lindenhurst, servers should use 30% less power, said Priestley. This will ease problems with heat dissipation and will affect the layout, design and density of servers within datacentres.
Under operating system control, technology on the processor allows the chip speed and voltage to be reduced, which reduces power consumption and the running temperature.
Red Hat and SuSE Linux are supporting the new processor from day one; Microsoft users will have to wait until the first half of 2005, when Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 is expected.
Meta analyst Rakesh Kumar noted that in some datacentres, server racks need two metres of space behind to allow heat dissipation. With the new Nocona design, he said, users could install another server rack in that space.