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Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

Intel introduces Mac Pro-bound quad-core chips

Intel Corp. on Tuesday officially introduced its Quad-Core Xeon 5300 and Core 2 Extreme microprocessors, each of which deliver four computing 'brains' inside a single chip.

Quad-Core Xeon 5300

The world's largest chipmaker said the new server-oriented Quad-Core Xeon 5300 offers up to 50 percent faster performance within the same thermal envelope as the previous generation Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor 5100 series, which launched less than 5 months ago at identical price points.

The new Xeon 5300 series is available at clock speeds ranging from 1.60GHz to 2.66GHz, with front side bus (FSB) speeds ranging from 1066MHz to 1333MHz, and thermal design power (TDP) of either 80 watts or a performance-optimized 120 watt option.

In the first quarter next year, Intel said it will launch two more quad-core Xeon processors — a low-voltage version for ultra-dense deployments with a TDP of only 50 watts and one designed for single-socket workstations and servers.

Core 2 Extreme

Meanwhile, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker said its new quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6700 desktop chip is up to 80 percent faster than its previous Intel Core 2 Extreme Processor X6800. It's available at 2.66GHz with a 1066MHz FSB and runs on Intel's existing 975X Express chipset family.

The company plans to offer a mainstream quad-core processor starting in the first quarter next year under the Intel Core 2 Quad processor brand name.

A new era of performance

"Today's announcement ushers in another new era in computing," said Intel chief executive and company president Paul Otellini. "The capabilities of quad-core microprocessors will bring new possibilities for science, entertainment and business. I'm incredibly proud of what Intel's employees have achieved with these new products."

Intel, which began the transition to multi-core technology 4 years ago, followed with the introduction of the industry's first dual-core PC processors in April last year. It recently refreshed its entire product line by introducing over 40 new processors, including those based on its new Core microarchitecture, a more powerful and energy-efficient design.

Record breaking performance

The company said systems running its latest Xeon chips achieved several new world records for performance, including a SPECjbb2005 score of 210,065, a SPECint_rate_base2000 mark of 200, and a TPC-C benchmark score of 240,737 tpmC at $1.85/tpmC.

Of the two new processors introduced on Tuesday, Apple Computer in the near feature is expected to adopt the Quad-Core Xeon 5300 series to power its most brawny professional workstation thus far: a dual quad-core Mac Pro system, featuring a combined 8 cores of processing power.