Intel Corporation introduced its new Pentium II Xeon processor, ushering in a new era of performance and scalability for the PC. Because of its high price, the Xeon will initially be targeted at the workstations and servers that can take advantage of its unique features. The Pentium II Xeon features more L2 cache than normal PIIs--1 or 2 MB, compared to 512K for the PII--and that cache runs at twice the speed of the cache on a comparable Pentium II. To fit the larger cache onto the microprocessor card, Intel had to create a new card design, called the Slot 2. The Slot 2 is approximately twice the size of a Pentium II Slot 1 card, requiring a new type of case to house the beast. Initial Pentium II Xeon processors will run at 400 MHz, while a 450 MHz version is expected later this year.
"The pure performance of the Pentium II Xeon processors will extend the Intel architecture into the highest reaches of the enterprise, as well as address the most demanding workstation computing tasks," said Paul Otellini, executive vice president of Intel's Architecture Business Group. "Systems based on Pentium II Xeon processors will deliver the performance and features of comparable proprietary systems but at nearly half the price."
The Pentium II Xeon was designed with multiprocessing systems in mind, but initial PC shipments based on the Xeon will be limited to two processors: Embarrassingly for Intel, the company discovered a bug in its chip set for four processor systems, delaying such systems until the end of July. When the chipset is fixed, systems with up to eight processors will be possible