Intel used an event in San Francisco yesterday to launch their new server chip code-named "Woodcrest." (The official name "Dual Core Xeon" is not nearly as cool, but I digress.) According to Intel the new chips are optimized for low power consumption and provide more performance in key benchmarks - 35 percent less power consumption while providing 80 percent more performance than prior chips.
The new server chips were released to combat the frontal assault on Intel by rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) which recently announced their Opteron server chips.
Since Intel is in bad with Apple you can expect Woodcrest chips to arrive in Apple's Xserve in the coming months. The Xserve is currently limping along with G5 processors running at 2.3GHz and can only be found by doing a search at the Apple store. G5 Xserves were announced in January 2004 and speed-bumped to dual 2.3GHz G5s in January 2005 and are in dire need of the Intel treatment for Apple to stay relevant in the server space.
Apple has undoubtedly been waiting for the release of the Woodcrest chips and upgraded Xserves won't be too far behind.
Other interesting chips in Intel's pipeline:
Conroe is Intel's first Core processor for desktop machines. Based on Merom, Conroe is expected to be released at the end of July at 1.86, 2.13 and 2.40 GHz after which it will arrive in the new "MacPro" desktop computer which will replace the PowerMac G5.
Merom is Intel's next-generation notebook chip. A 64-bit processor with multiple cores and 2-4 MB of cache, Merom is the successor to the Yonah (Core Duo) chip found in the current MacBook and MacBook Pro. Merom will run at clock speeds of 1.83 - 2.33 GHz with bus speeds of 667 - 800MHz. Since Conroe is based on Merom both chips may be marketed under the "Core 2 Duo" brand name. Merom could arrive in a speed-bumped MacBook Pro as soon as August and then in MacBooks after that.