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Intel Xeons approach 4GHz milestone

We haven't seen stock clock speeds advancing towards the 4GHz milestone since the sizzling days of Intel's NetBurst architecture, but this looks set to change with Intel's new 5000-series Xeon chips next year.

ChannelWeb News (opens in new tab) claims that it's landed its mitts on a leaked Intel roadmap, detailing three new 5000-series Xeon chips which Intel has in the works for February 2011. Based on Intel's 32nm Westmere core, the Xeon 5000-series chips are targeted at servers and workstations with either one or two CPU sockets.

The roadmap reveals plans for a quad-core chip called the Xeon X5687, which is clocked at 3.6GHz and has a thermal design power (TDP) of 130W. However, the clock speed will be pushed even further with the chip's support for Intel's Turbo Boost technology.

The roadmap doesn't reveal the clock frequency when Turbo Boost kicks in, but previous quad-core 130W Xeon chips such as the X5677 have added an extra 266MHz with Turbo Boost. As such, we expect the X5687 to hit 3.86GHz when Turbo Boost works its magic. As a point of comparison, the Xeon series hasn't gone past 3.8GHz since the 90nm NetBurst era.

In addition to the X5687, the roadmap also details two other quad-core Xeon 5000-series chips. The Xeon X5672 has a 3.2GHz clock speed, and a TDP of 95W, while the Xeon X5647is clocked at 2.93GHz with a bizarrely higher TDP of 130W.

According to the leaked roadmap, all of the new chips will support both Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading, enabling the chips to handle eight simultaneous threads with the four cores. All the new CPUs also reportedly feature 12MB of Level 3 cache, and support the usual DDR3 memory in 800MHz, 1,066MHz and 1,333MHz flavours.

The site says that the new Xeons will be ready for launch in February 2011. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.