Ars: At an event today in San Francisco, Intel formally launched its new six-core Xeon 7400 processor, codenamed "Dunnington." The new chip is basically three dual-core Penryn processors packed onto a single processor die, along with a large pool of shared L3 cache and interconnect logic. With six cores and three levels of cache on one die, Dunnington is a 1.9-billion-transistor monster. This is almost as big as the company's latest 2-billion-transistor Itanium chip (launched in February), and it's quite a milestone for the x86 instruction set. In four- and eight-socket configurations, a supercomputer based on the new Xeon can now execute 48 or 96 simultaneous threads per node, a reality that's bound to help the architecture advance further in the high performance computing space. And at the very top end, there's also a 16-socket configuration on offer.