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The scoop on Pentium III Xeon

Intel recently introduced the latest addition to their Pentium III range of processors, the Pentium III Xeon. Running at a speed of 500 megahertz (a 550 megahertz version will be released next month), Intel expects Xeon to make a prominent presence in high-end workstation solutions. But more interestingly, Intel is pitching Xeon as "the new chip [that] is intended to bolster its presence in e-commerce." Xeon contains a security feature that makes buying goods over the Internet much safer. Each Xeon chip has a unique serial number which identifies the system, much to the disapproval of privacy groups who say that this infringes on consumer privacy. Intel has responded by commenting that the security feature can be disabled.

Controversy aside, Xeon has received endorsements from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Graphics, and Compaq to name a few. Silicon Graphics recently announced their Silicon Graphics 540 visual workstations which will support Xeon, along with all other new company platforms. Raghu Murthi, director of marketing, for Intel's workstation products division commented that, "Silicon Graphics' innovative products take advantage of the Pentium III Xeon processor and the SGI graphics subsystem to deliver high-end visual computing to the workstation user."

And it's not just hardware vendors who are rushing to support Xeon. Discreet Logic recently announced that paint*, effect* and 3D Studio MAX had been optimized to run under Intels new speedster. Discreet tested the performance of Xeon against a 450 MHz Pentium II Xeon using paint*; the results showed that the new Pentium III Xeon chip could render 2.5 times faster than the Pentium II.

Is Xeon really that big a deal? Remember all the fuss Intel made about MMX? The truth is, right now Xeon is a big deal. It's bigger and faster than Pentium II, and in the world of high-end computing, speed increases productivity. If you want to learn more about Xeon, check out For more on Silicon Graphics 540 visual workstations and SGI's support for Xeon visit To find out about Discreet Logic support for Xeon take a look at