Intel Gives Xeon a Cache Boost

Intel's newest Xeon for two-way servers offers 1MB of Level 3 cache; prices of existing Xeons get slashed by up to 34 percent.

Intel Corp. on Monday rolled out a new Xeon processor for two-way servers and workstations that features a larger on-die cache designed to increase system performance by more than 15 percent.

At the same time, the Santa Clara, Calif., company slashed prices on its existing Xeons by up to 34 percent.

The new chip still features a speed of 3.06GHz and a 533MHz front-side bus, but now offers 1MB of Level 3 cache, up from the 512KB on the previous chips.

Larger caches mean more memory stored on the chip, which in turn means faster access and retrieval of data stored there than information held on the hard drive or in other memory areas within the system.

These chips run in servers used primarily for such jobs as Web hosting, data caching, security and searching. For workstations, the tasks include 3-D modeling and financial analysis.

Intel officials said a key aspect of the new chip is that it can be dropped into systems running other Xeon chips and supporting the E7501 and E7505 chip sets.

The new chip, available immediately, is priced at $690 per 1,000-unit quantity.

At the same time, Intel dropped the prices of several other Xeon chips in the two-way system category. Pricing for the previous top two two-way Xeons was cut by 34 percent, from $690 to $455 for the 3.06GHz chip and $658 to $433 for the 3GHz processor. Other chips dropped from 10 percent to 32 percent.