Intel hopes to put some added muscle behind web services with its new Xeon server processors.

Built to take advantage of the lag time in application processing, the new processor from the chip maker "allows an operating system to view a single physical processor as if it were two logical processors, significantly increasing server response time, transactions and workload performance," according to Intel.

"It's something where there's an awful lot of performance built into it," said Mike Fister, senior vice president and general manager at Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group.

The feature of Xeon that allows one processor to function like two is a process called hyper-threading. The processor threads, or parses, the application code to perform some functions while others wait for information to be retrieved from memory.

It's like doing the dishes while the clothes are in the washing machine, Fister said.

That ability increases the number of simultaneous web transactions and users that servers can handle at one time, according to Intel, and increases performance by 80 percent over previous Intel-based platforms.

IBM, HP, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens and NEC plan to release 'front-end' servers built on the new Xeon technology in the next few months. Dell has already released one server, the PowerEdge 4600, based on the new Xeon technology.

The Xeon technology will eventually filter down to desktop PCs and wireless devices, Fister said.

Fister also said the new version of Itanium, codenamed McKinley, will be released this summer.