Intel has launched its first processor range capable of handling both 32-bit and 64-bit software.
The five new 90nm Xeon processors, running at 2.8, 3, 3.2, 3.4 and 3.6GHz, are claimed to be 30 per cent faster than their predecessors.
They come with a new chipset, the E7525, that has dual processor ports, 800MHz system bus, a PCI Express connector and fast Double Data Rate (DDR2) memory.
The chips cost $209, $316, $455, $690 and $851 respectively in units of a thousand, with the chipset costing $100 in the same quantity. Intel confirmed that it will be releasing more processors and chipsets in the next 60 days.
Formerly known as Nocona, the new processors use EM64 memory extensions, similar to AMD's Opteron chip, to ensure 64-bit compatibility, and are aimed at the workstation and small-server market.
"The server and workstation market is incredibly diverse. EM64 tech will be in all server products by the end of the year," said Abhi Talwalkar, vice president and general manager of Intel's enterprise platforms group.
"As the market and applications used in the client [PC] sphere require 64-bit processing, Intel will be there with products,"
The Xeons are designed with Demand Based Switching, derived from Intel's laptop SpeedStep technology, which regulates processor speed and power use to reduce power consumption by up to 30 per cent.
Media handling and gaming have also been improved, with Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 Instructions that process multiple data strings, and enhancements in Intel's HyperThreading Technology
"Our customers will see an immediate impact with the new platform," said Joe Bentivegna, vice president of video development and operations for media creation company Avid.
"We are expecting render times to be reduced quite dramatically."
Asus, Compusys, Dell, IBM, Egenera, Foxconn, FSC, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HCL, Iwill, Kraftway, Maxdata, MPC, NEC, Optimus and Tyan will all be building systems around the chipset.
HP has already unveiled two new workstations featuring the chips for release next week.
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