Intel has already started sweeping the path for the entrance of its new six-core Xeon X5690 chips, as sample CPUs have just started surfacing.
In particular, an engineering sample has already found its way it into the hands of overclocker Fitseries3 at TechPowerUp, who's kindly decided to share all the gory details. Designed for Intel's dual-socket LGA1366 Westmere-EP platform, the 32nm chip is clocked at 3.46GHz at stock speed, and this goes up to 3.6GHz when TurboBoost kicks in.
This makes it ever so slightly quicker than the current Xeon X5600-series flagship chip, the X5680, which is clocked at 3.33GHz. Otherwise, the specs of the two chips are identical, with 12MB of shared Level 3 cache, 256KB of Level 2 cache per core and support for SSE 4.2. The chip can also process up to 12 simultaneous threads using Intel's Hyper-Threading technology.
Perhaps more interesting, however, is the fact this chip appears to be an awesome overclocker. The Xeon X5600-series isn't just for servers and workstations; EVGA has also given enthusiasts a ticket to overclock the CPUs and put them in a gaming rig with its Classified SR-2 motherboard.
Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what Fitseries3 decided to do when he get hold of the chip. With a 27x multiplier and a 185.5MHz bus speed, he managed to get the CPU to happily clock in at just over 5GHz.
If you don't believe us, then you're more than welcome to peruse the evidence via his CPU-Z validation. Ignore the misdetected Xeon X5677 processor name in the title; that's an old quad-core Xeon chip, and the CPU is correctly detected as a six-core Xeon X5690 in the other fields.