Comdex: Intel unveils Xeon chips for low-end servers

Intel has upgraded its server processor line with the introduction of Xeon chips and chipsets to stay ahead of competitors IBM,...

Intel has upgraded its server processor line with the introduction of Xeon chips and chipsets to stay ahead of competitors IBM, Sun and Hewlett-Packard.

Intel has started to ship four new Xeon chips that are designed to power two-processor servers and workstations. The chips were built with their latest .13 micron fabrication process, which has allowed Intel to push speeds on the Xeons up to 2.8GHz.

Intel also released three chipsets and five server designs for the Xeons to spur adoption of the chip.

The Xeon family is one of Intel's key weapons in the server market. It helps the company compete in the lower end of the market against IBM, Sun and HP. While its rivals' 64-bit reduced instruction set computing (RISC) chips have some higher-end features than the Xeons, Intel is able to use its manufacturing know-how and industry support to keep down the cost of servers based on the chip.

Intel-based servers are expected to beat RISC-based servers in revenue for the first time in 2003, according to a recent report from Dataquest.

The new Xeons will ship at speeds of 2.8GHz, 2.6GHz, 2.4GHz and 2.0GHz with a 533MHz front-side bus. Prices range from $455 (£287) for the fastest chip to $198 for the lowest model in 1,000 unit quantities.

Intel has also released the E7501 chipset for two-processor servers, the E7505 chipset for two-processor workstations and the E7205 chipset for single-processor workstations. Both workstation chipsets support Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 and Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) 8x, which boosts graphics-heavy applications.

In addition, Intel released five server designs for channel partners and smaller manufacturers that should help them deploy Xeon-based servers quickly. A pair of the server designs will be shipped in the next two weeks. The others are scheduled for release early next year.

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