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Intel upgraded its Xeon processor to speed up access to on-chip cache memory, in order to improve performance for intensive applications such as streaming media, modelling and search engines.

The new chip, called Prestonia, will probably be the last iteration of Xeon this year. It runs at 3.20GHz, up from 3.06GHz, and contains 1Mb of cache and a 533MHz system bus.

The increase in on-die cache is designed to create a fast memory reservoir. The new chip is drop-in compatible with servers designed with the Intel E7501 chipset, or workstations with E7505. IBM, Dell and HP will start shipping systems with the new processor from this week.

Going forward, Intel will migrate Xeon to the more compact 90nm format next year, with the launch of the Nocona chip in the first half of 2004. This will run in three new server and workstation chipsets primarily aimed at the small and medium enterprise market, and codenamed Lindenhurst, Lindenhurst VS and Tumwater.

© Copyright Rethink Research Associates 2003

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