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Intel rolls out Xeon chips with NetBurst

Intel has rolled out its first post-Pentium III Xeon chips. The dual-processor chips, called Xeon processors, now ship with...

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Intel has rolled out its first post-Pentium III Xeon chips. The dual-processor chips, called Xeon processors, now ship with Intel's NetBurst architecture, which originally debuted in Intel's Pentium 4 chip.

Targeted at high-end workstations and servers, the Xeon chips are available in speeds of 1.4GHz, 1.5GHz, and 1.7GHz. Supported by Intel's 860 chip set, each of the new Xeon processors has a 256Kbyte Level 2 Advanced Transfer Cache and dual-channel RDRAM (Rambus DRAM).

The new Intel products are the first dual-processor chips to incorporate the NetBurst architecture, technology that improves throughput, video streaming, and other performance issues related to a rich Internet experience, according to Intel.

Both Dell and Hewlett-Packard have introduced workstations built around the new Xeon chips.

The Dell Precision Workstation 530 now offers the Xeon chips in dual-processor configurations with up to 4Gbytes of RDRAM, 292Gbytes of internal SCSI storage, and extensive graphics options.

HP's Workstation x4000 offers the Intel Xeon chips with a speedy 400MHz front-side bus that provides three times the bandwidth of previous HP dual-processor workstations based on Intel's Pentium III chips, according to the company.

In quantities of 1,000 units, the Xeon chips cost $268 (£188) for 1.4GHz, $309 for 1.5GHz, and $406 for 1.7GHz speeds, according to Intel.

Last March, Intel retired its Pentium III Xeon line of server chips with the introduction of the last and fastest of the lot, a 900MHz Pentium III Xeon processor.

"We are differentiating more between our server and PC chips," said Intel. It plans to push its Pentium 4 chips for single-processor devices such as PCs, while the dual-processing needs of servers will be met by the Xeon chips.

"What Intel is trying to do is put some distance between multiprocessor configurations, which will be Xeon-based, and Pentium 4 chips for the desktop and low-end workstation environments," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64.

"There were a lot of people using dual-processor PIIIs where Intel would have wanted them to use dual-processor PIII Xeons. This combination of the branding exercise and taking away the multiprocessor capabilities from the Pentium 4 line will let Intel drive the Xeon price point a little higher than a Pentium 4," Brookwood said.

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