IBM has produced its first two 64-bit servers based on Intel's dual-core Xeon chip, formerly Paxville. The servers will be formally launched alongside the new chip on Monday.

Under a promotional deal, IBM will sell one of the servers for the same price as the single-core model it replaces, providing an incentive for users to adopt dual-core computing sooner rather than later.

Dual-core chips possess two CPUs on a single piece of silicon, cutting costs and thermal emissions. Since processor-intensive tasks can be handled separately, dual-core chips can also help improve the performance of multi-threaded applications.

"Dual-core is the future," Alex Yost, director of xSeries and IntelliStation products with IBM's systems and technology group, said. "It offers the best performance per dollar and per watt. We believe customers will switch over where dual-core is available." By the end of next year, he estimates that two-way and four-way dual-core technologies will power almost 100 percent of the servers in the market.

The dual-core two-way xSeries 346 is a 2U rack server and will have a starting price of $2,969, the same price as the previous single-core xSeries 346. Its Xeon chip will run at 2.8GHz and will come with 2GB of DDR II memory. It will also feature eight memory sockets supporting a maximum of 16GB of memory and four PCI slots, in addition to the server's RAID and systems management cards.

The dual-core xSeries 336 is a 1U rack server and will also be powered by 2.8GHz Xeon. IBM expects to ship the server in November, when it will release more specs and pricing details.

HP is also expected to announce dual-core Xeon powered ProLiant servers on Monday. Dell has already announced that it intends to ship a mix of servers, blades and workstations based on dual-core Xeon processors in the first half of this month.