updated 02:50 pm EDT, Tue August 4, 2009
Intel Xeon W5590 and More
Intel on Tuesday afternoon upped the performance of its Xeon line by adding a new flagship model as well as three new models for simpler workstations and servers. The 3.33GHz Xeon W5590 boosts the speed of the quad-core, dual-socket Xeon beyond its previous 3.2GHz ceiling. It has the same 6.4 gigatransfer per second (GTps), point-to-point interface bus as Intel's best processors as well as 8MB of Level 2 cache. At a peak thermal power of 130W, it's intended for full-size systems.
The company is also adding a new low-power quad-core Xeon, the 2.4GHz L5530. While it has a slower 5.9GTps interface, it consumes less than half the power at 60W and is particularly well-suited to tight rackmount servers and other small systems.
Two single-socket but quad-core processors complete the range. Aside from its socket limitation, the 3.33GHz W3580 has the same cache, power usage and transfer rate as the W5590. The 3.06GHz W3550 clocks at 3.06GHz and also scales the bandwidth down to 4.8GTps but is otherwise similar.
Intel hasn't said how soon the processors will ship or what their bulk pricing will be for companies like Dell and HP, which are often the quickest to adopt new Xeons. Apple currently uses a handful of Xeon 5500 series processors in the Mac Pro, but it's unknown if it will add the faster processor as an upgrade option at all this year. Historically, Mac Pro updates have occurred once per year.