Intel has launched a new Nocona Xeon-based server platform - what it normally does following a major new processor launch.

However, according to some reports, the new chips will not include Intel's no-execute (NX) security enhancement, designed to prevent code being run in areas of memory assigned to data only.

As with its previously announced workstation platform, European marketing manager Alan Priestley confirmed that the 3.6GHz dual-processor system will use the E7520 or E7320 chipsets (formerly codenamed Lindenhurst). The chipsets will allow vendors to build server systems with a higher-throughput 800MHz system bus, and that can address up to 16GB of DDR2 RAM, offering around ten per cent greater throughput and 40 per cent lower power consumption.

Other features include PCI Express, which delivers a three-fold performance improvement over PCI-X, and an on-board SCSI-320 RAID controller. Priestley said Intel sees SCSI remaining the preferred storage interface for servers rather than the up-and-coming Serial ATA because "customers are moving larger storage arrays to external, so the internal disk is usually only a boot disk. That means data is external, so that's where the SCSI environment is important because it supports lots of disks."

Both chipsets are targeted at "applications ranging from the high-performance, dual-CPU pedestal servers to high density, cost-effective rack-mount systems." They differ only in that the E7520 supports three PCI Express slots and is aimed at "the highest-performance dual-processor enterprise solutions for systems that have numerous I/O requirements for storage, networking and other applications", according to Intel. The E7320 supports just the one slot and, said Intel, "offers a lower price for purchases direct from Intel for applications requiring fewer I/O ports".

The Xeon Nocona chip delivers Intel's Extended Memory 64 Technology, which allows it to address over 4GB of RAM, as well as demand based switching with an enhanced version of SpeedStep which Intel said adjusts the processor's power usage on the fly by up to 31 per cent.

Priestley claimed benchmarks showed performance increases of up to 22 per cent, and that systems would be shipping from today.