Intel upped the speed of its workstation chips today, launching the 2GHz Foster Xeon for dual-processor servers.

The new processor should bring greater than a 10 percent performance improvement over the previous version, a 1.7GHz offering, said Shannon Poulin, Intel's enterprise marketing manager. The Xeon for workstations is also available in speeds of 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz.

"This is a drop-in replacement for all existing products available for the Xeon," Poulin said. The drop-in capability means vendors can begin making workstations with the new processor immediately without modifying the design of their workstations, Poulin said. "The majority of vendors will have products to go from today."

Vendors shipping workstations based on the new chip include Compaq, Dell, IBM, Hewlett Packard, NEC and Fujitsu Siemens, Poulin said.

The 2GHz Xeon for dual-processor workstations is priced at $615 in 1,000-unit quantities — a standard measurement for chip sales.