Nehalem is a beautiful town on the Oregon coast a couple of hours from Portland, the city where I live. Think oyster beds, Pacific waters and fishing boats. A couple of months ago I was driving through Nehalem on the way to a crabbing trip and was pulled over for speeding, nothing unfortunately significantly unique for me, but something very ironic given my organization’s focus over the past year. Intel often codenames its products based on towns, rivers and other geographical features, and my group has been working on a smoking fast server processor codenamed Nehalem. To call this chip a major step forward in datacenter performance capability is almost not doing justice to the processor…I’ve worked for Intel for a dozen years and can’t recall this kind of microarchitecture innovation represented in a single product. That’s why I was excited to talk to the folks shepherding Nehalem to market. This week Nehalem experiences its birthday and becomes the Intel Xeon 5500 series processor. To celebrate its delivery I’m kicking off a series of Chip Chats with technologists responsible for many of its breakthrough technologies. This interview is with Steve Thorne and focuses on how the 5500 series drives like Andretti. That speed makes me jealous…take a listen.