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Intel to boost Xeon chips next week

The chipmaker is expected to launch new Xeon chips Monday, running at clock speeds of 3GHz and 3.06GHz and featuring faster data-shuttling components.

Intel will offer a performance boost for workstations and servers next week, with a pair of new Xeon chips.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker is expected to launch the new chips, running at clock speeds of 3GHz and 3.06GHz, on Monday.

Though they've yet to be officially unveiled, the new Xeon chips first appeared in workstations in early February.

Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard, for example, have been selling 3.06GHz Xeon workstations since about Feb. 3. But a number of brand-name computer manufacturers are expected to announce on Monday plans to offer the chips in their server lines.

The Xeon line, which is similar to Intel's Pentium 4 line, is designed for single- and dual-processor workstations--powerful desktop computers created for jobs such as the computer-aided design of automobiles. It's also geared toward servers--heavy-duty computers used to conduct transactions or store files on computer networks. Collectively, these machines represent a fairly small, but often profitable, segment of the business PC market.

The main difference between the new Xeon chips, aside from their clock speed, will be their bus speeds. The bus, a bridge that carries data between the chip and components such as the chipset and memory inside a computer, will run at 400MHz on the 3GHz Xeon, and at 533MHz on the 3.06GHz chip, lending a slight performance boost to the 3.06GHz chip.

The new chips, which are expected to cost about $700 each, follow the release of Intel's 2.6GHz, 2.66GHz and 2.8GHz Xeon chips in September.

Intel also markets the Xeon MP, a line of chips designed for servers with four or more processors.

The company declined to comment for this story.