Intel has speeded up the delivery of two new Xeon processors. Originally due in 2006, Intel plans to introduce both dual-core, dual-processor and dual-core multi-processor Xeons, codenamed Paxville, in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Paxville DP will use the E7520 chipset, while the multi-processor Paxville MP will use Intel's E8500 chipset that Intel launched earlier this year. Paxville runs at 2.8GHz, and includes 2MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz front-side bus.

Intel's server marketing manager Cengiz Oztelcan attributed the move to "excellent execution of engineering, testing and validation efforts", adding that "the silicon is very healthy".

Intel said that Paxville DP is "targeted at early adopters and evaluators", while the next generation of dual-core server processors, codenamed Dempsey, which, together with a chipset codenamed Blackford, will constitute the platform codenamed Bensley. Bensley uses 65nm technology compared to Paxville's 90nm, and includes improved memory-addressing technology, plus faster processor and bus speeds. That and the workstation equivalent codenamed Glidewell, remain on target for the first quarter of 2006, said Oztelcan.

At this point, the company's entire server and workstation line-up will be dual-core. Most, including the Xeons, will also include Virtualisation Technology (VT).

It's therefore arguable that, if Intel had not brought forward the Paxville launch, Dempsey would be so close behind it would have run the risk of being subsumed, with very few hardware vendors wanting to build products around it.

It's also true that AMD released a range of dual-core Opteron processors earlier this year for the first time. It included four and two-processor server chips. And since Intel has become accustomed to being first with a new technology and is presumably not enjoying the sensation of having been second to market for a year or two, its reaction has been to bring the launch of the dual-core chips forward. One analyst said that the move was "for chest-thumping purposes."