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Intel to reveal 2GHz Xeon chip

Intel plans to show off its fastest processor to date for workstations and servers at the Siggraph 2001 computer graphics trade show in Los Angeles next week.

The chip maker will demonstrate a workstation powered by its forthcoming 2GHz Xeon processor in an attempt to lure some of Hollywood's digital media customers away from companies that have traditionally held the market, such as Silicon Graphics (SGI), said Intel spokesman Seth Walker.

"Typically, SGI has had a strong hold on Hollywood," Walker said. "Also, a lot of studios have used their own proprietary systems."

Intel hopes to persuade movie studios to opt for workstations based on its chips because it provides them with a greater choice of vendors. Workstations using Intel processors are available from Dell, IBM, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and others.

The 2GHz Xeon will be available in one- and two-way workstations later in the third quarter, with servers based on the new chip to follow soon after, Walker said.

One of Intel's recent Hollywood wins was Square USA which, according to Intel, did the graphics rendering for the recent animated feature film Final Fantasy. "They just confirmed that 1,000 one-way and two-way Pentium III-based servers were used in a major rendering farm to render that movie," Walker said. "Several years ago, Square was using SGI and proprietary systems."

Intel will also be hawking its early access program at the show, offering developers the chance to experiment with the next-generation Pentium 4 processor, code-named "Northwood", Walker said. Northwood - which will be the first Pentium 4 to use smaller, 0.13-micron circuits - is expected to be available in the first quarter of next year.

Intel will also show applications from Adobe Systems that have been optimised to take advantage of Intel's NetBurst architecture, which is designed to improve throughput, video streaming and other performance issues.

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