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Intel to boost Xeon processors

Intel to boost Xeon processors

Intel plans to introduce 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz versions of its Xeon server chip, for dual and single-processor applications such as Web hosting, security and streaming media, the chip maker announced at the Intel Development Forum this week.

The current Xeon processor, unveiled in February, tops out at 2.4GHz. Intel's faster Xeon chips, code-named Prestonia, represent "an indication of the pace of how we're able to increase performance on the architecture", said Lisa Hambrick, Intel's director of enterprise processor marketing.

Having two new chips with different speeds provides systems manufacturers with flexibility in price and performance, according to Intel. The new chips feature 512KB of Level 2 cache and are built on Intel's 0.13-micron processor technology.

Users are deploying dual Xeon processors in applications such as Web page serving, Hambrick said. "The faster the processor, the more input/output, the more Web pages you can serve," she said.

Intel-based hardware makers such as IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway and Super Micro are expected to ship systems using the new chips, Hambrick said. Some systems will ship immediately.

Intel also announced its plans to release details on changes to its chipset technology. In the fourth quarter of this year it will move to a 533MHz front bus for servers and workstations. A 533MHz bus is also planned. The current speed is 400MHz.

"The bus speed enables the processor to get data in and out of it more quickly," Hambrick noted.

New chipsets for workstations are code-named Placer, for dual processors, and Granite Bay, for uni-processors, and are set to ship in the fourth quarter.

Intel plans to upgrade from AGP4X (accelerated graphics port) to AGP8X to enable higher-performance graphics. The company is also upgrading to DDR (double data rate) memory in its dual-processor workstation chipset in the fourth quarter.

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