Faster Chips Power Faster Workstations

Dell rolls out systems based on Intel's Xeon processors, chip sets.

New Intel Corp. processors and new Dell Computer Corp. systems built on them will provide higher performance for users of workstations and entry-level servers, according to officials from the two companies.

Intel last week rolled out a host of Xeon processors and chip sets in what the company said was its largest launch of enterprise products to date.

For its part, Dell joined other OEMs last week by re- leasing workstations based on the Intel technology.

The Intel chips and chip sets feature the companys hyperthreading technology, which officials said can boost system performance by enabling a single chip to work as two virtual chips. Among the rollouts were four Xeon processors for two-way servers and workstations at speeds of 2GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz, all with a 533MHz front-side bus. The chips are priced from $198 to $455.

Intel, in Santa Clara, Calif., also launched three chip sets, including the E7501 for two-way servers, the E7505 for two-way workstations and the E7205 for single-processor, entry-level workstations. The first two have Xeon chips, while the last is based on Intels Pentium 4 chip.

The workstation chip sets support USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 connectivity and include an AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 8x graphics interface built into their memory hubs, which Intel said reduces latency. All three chip sets use dual-channel dynamic data rate memory, while the E7501 and E7505 support 64-bit PCI-X I/O connectivity.

Intel also introduced five server platforms based on the new technology, which OEMs can use when developing Intel-based servers and workstations.

Jim Richmann, vice president and chief technology architect for Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., said his company uses more than 1,100 Intel-based servers—mostly from Dell but also from Unisys Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.—to process the trading of 1.8 billion shares a day. Intel made its announcement at the stock markets New York headquarters.

"This technology announcement [from Intel] will substantially improve Nasdaqs ability to serve its customers in a cost-effective manner," Richmann said.

The faster chips will help Nasdaq as it spends $107 million over the next three years building its SuperMontage securities trading platform, Richmann said. They will also play a key role in improving the performance of its Web operations and as the market moves into a Microsoft Corp. .Net operating environment.

Meanwhile, Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, last week rolled out workstations based partly on the Intel chip sets. HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., also unveiled a workstation using the E7205 and E7505 chip sets.

Dell announced the Precision 450 and 650 workstations, which use the E7505. The desktop 450 is aimed at users with smaller work spaces—such as financial trading services companies—while the 650 minitower is targeted at users needing the ability to expand graphics and storage abilities, the company said.

Both include dual Xeon processors and integrated 64-bit Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 capabilities. The 650 comes with Ultra 320 SCSI, which is optional on the 450. The 450 starts at $1,599; the 650 starts at $1,899.

Dell last week also launched its entry-level Precision 350 workstation, powered by Intels 3.06GHz Pentium 4 chip, which also features hyperthreading.