Dell workstations available with 3.06GHz Xeon

Dell Computer Corp. is offering an unannounced 3.06GHz Xeon processor from Intel Corp. for Precision workstations on its Web site.

The chip features a 533MHz front-side bus and Intel's hyperthreading technology, which allows a user to execute background tasks on software written in multiple threads more quickly than conventional processors. However, hyperthreading is only supported by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP, and Dell allows the buyer to build a system with hyperthreading turned off.

The Precisions can be configured with two processors, and do not include a monitor. So far, Intel has only announced Xeon processors up to 2.8GHz.

A configuration of the Precision 450 workstation with the 3.06GHz Xeon processor, 256M bytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 40G-byte hard drive, a Radeon VE graphics card with 32M bytes of video memory from ATI Technologies Inc., and a CD-ROM drive costs US$2,412 through Dell's site. A US$200 discount is available for small business customers, as well as next-day shipping.

The unannounced chip is available on the Dell Precision 450, Precision 450n, Precision 650 and Precision 650n.

Intel has begun shipping the 3.06GHz Xeons to system manufacturers, and expects to reach full production volume on this chip later this quarter when it's formally announced, said Scott McLaughlin, an Intel spokesman. The new Xeon will also be used in one-way and two-way servers, he said.

McLaughlin confirmed reports that Intel would introduce a 3GHz Xeon with a 400MHz front-side bus at the same time it launches the 3.06GHz version. Intel is not releasing pricing information on either processor prior to the launch date, he said.

New workstations from Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) are also available with the 3.06GHz processor as of Wednesday, according to HP's Web site. Prices for the HP xw6000 start at $1,304, and base configurations of the xw8000 start at US$1,546.

A quick look on the Dell Australia site however, reveals that the fastest Xeon chip for the Precision line is still the 2.8GHz model.

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