The previous fastest Xeon processor, unveiled in February, runs at 2.4GHz. Intel's faster Xeon chips, codenamed Prestonia, represent "an indication of the pace of how we're able to increase performance on the architecture," said Lisa Hambrick, Intel 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 512 Kbytes of level two cache and are built using Intel's .13-micron process technology.
Users are deploying dual Xeon processors in applications such as Web page serving, Hambrick said. "The faster the processor, the more input/outputs, 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.