Intel Hits 2.2 GHz with New High-End Xeon

Intel has cancelled plans to offer a 2GHz version of its high-end Xeon microprocessor and will instead ratchet up the chip's speed to 2.2GHz. The new Xeon is based on the Pentium 4 processor but will now use a smaller and faster 0.13-micron architecture instead of the old version's 0.18-micron process (this process measures the thickness of the chip core, where smaller sizes equate to cooler temperatures and faster speeds). The new chip--code-named Prestonia--will be available in single- and dual-processor workstations and servers later this month. The new chip also requires a new chipset, which is code-named Plumas.

In addition to sporting higher speeds, smaller sizes, and a new chipset, the Prestonia Xeon chips also include 512KB of internal secondary cache, up from 256KB in Foster, the previous 2GHz part.

Intel has been moving its entire processor product line to 0.13 microns for some time, but in some ways the new chipset represents a bigger leap for the company. Described by Intel executives as "ramping like a hose," the Plumas chipset's tiny new 130-nanometer process lets PC makers reduce power consumption, increase performance, and lower costs. PC makers released a few laptop designs incorporating Intel's 130-nanometer-process chipsets earlier this year, and later this year the company will release a Pentium 4 chipset with this technology that supports processors running at 2GHz and higher.

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