Intel has launched a new low-power, dual core Xeon processor - the first time a dual core chip's been released with low power features - as previewed last week.

Previous low power devices have been used primarily in blade servers where the physical space available to designers is small, so it's little surprise to see IBM bolstering Intel's product release with a new blade server.

As a result, IBM's BladeCenter product manager Doug Balog had this to say: “The low-voltage dual-core Intel Xeon processor’s combined enhancements in performance and energy efficiency, along with the efficient power and cooling design of IBM’s industry-leading BladeCenter, deliver a leadership integer performance-per-watt solution,” said Doug Balog, vice president and business line executive, IBM BladeCenter. “The new IBM BladeCenter Ultra Low Power HS20 blade is a solid example of the innovation being brought to market through Intel and IBM's blade collaboration.”

Cooling and power consumption are near the top of the agenda for data centre managers, so Intel reckoned the new part offers up to two to four times the performance-per-watt of previous Intel Xeon processors and platforms. The Santa Clara company claimed a total dissipated power of 31W.

As it has in the past, Intel is also launching example systems for third parties to build on or to use as the basis for further development. The first is a blade server, the Server Compute Blade SBXD62, that will allow third party hardware vendors to develop products for sale to small and medium-sized businesses.

The new Xeon is also suited to high density chassis applications, with users likely to be in the financial and/or high-performance computing businesses., so the second example is the NetStructure MPCBL0040 Single Board Computer, a twin-processor board designed for compute-intensive applications, to be offered on a similar basis.

The new Xeon processors, the LV 2.0GHz and 1.66GHz are available now. It's a fairly easy upgrade for most hardware vendors so, based on past experience, you can expect products housing the new chip to start feeding into the market within the next three to six months.