Intel Preps Westmere-Flavored Xeon Refresh

It's only been two weeks since Intel debuted its 32nm, Nehalem-based Clarkdale processor, but the CPU manufacturer is already planning to introduce Westmere-derived Xeon processors in the first quarter of 2010. Intel revealed its plans during its quarterly conference call last week and hinted that Nehalem-EX processors will soon see the light of day as well, but neglected to mention exactly when it'll launch the new series of parts.

Intel's new CPU+GPU technology; dies shown to scale.

The two refreshes, when they drop, will significantly overhaul Intel's current series of server chips. At present, Intel's offerings are a mixture of 45nm Nehalem and Penryn-based parts; the new 32nm Westmere chips will offer power savings and integrated graphics, while the Nehalem-EX series redefines what "fast" means at the upper end of the spectrum. Intel generally expects the server and corporate markets to improve in 2010 after a weak 2009, but the new Xeon parts don't necessarily need a fast ramp in order to be profitable. One tidbit the company revealed during its financial call is that the ROI (return on investment) on Westmere is in the neighborhood of 15-20:1, as opposed to 9:1 for Penryn.