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550-MHz Xeon processors ship

The latest version of Intel's fastest server chip ships today, and sources say a new, faster Pentium III will come out next month.

The latest version of the Xeon processor shipped today, and sources said a new, faster Pentium III will come out next month.

Intel's 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon chip arrived on schedule, according to the company and server vendors. Intel announced the chip last month, but only started shipping it today.

Micron Electronics became the first server vendor to announce systems based around the processor.

Intel's fastest processor for server computers contains 512K of cache memory and can be used in servers with one or two processors.

Xeons running at 550 MHz with 1MB and 2MB of cache memory and the ability to be used in four- and eight-processor systems will follow in the third quarter. The chip will exceed 600 MHz before the end of the year, Paul Otellini, general manager of the Intel Architecture Business Group, has previously said.

Micron's NetFrame 5200 and 5201 can be configured with up to two 550-MHz Pentium III Xeons. A 5200 with one 550-MHz Xeon, 128MB of memory, and a 9GB hard drive sells for $6,248 while a second processor boosts the price to $7,998. A single processor 5201 goes for $5,048 while the two-processor model sells for $6,798.

Meanwhile, on the desktop, Intel will release a 550-MHz Pentium III in May, said sources.