Intel says it has rushed introduction of a new quad-core chip, originally scheduled for next year, to Monday to meet demand from server manufacturers for the processor.

Intel is shipping the Xeon 5335 processor two months ahead of schedule as an addition to its 5300 series of quad core processors.

Quad cores, which allow the microprocessor package to perform up to four functions simultaneously, were first introduced by Intel in November. Intel has been pushed by rival AMD, which plans to launch a quad-core chip in 2007.

The 5335 is a 2GHz processor with a 1.333GHz front-side bus and 8MB of L2 memory cache. The front side bus is the connection between the central processing unit and the memory cache. The 5335's list price is $690 when purchased in quantities of 1,000 or more.

It is positioned above the 5320 model, which features a 1.86GHz processor, a 1.066GHz front-side bus, also selling for $690, and below the 5345, with a 2.33GHz processor and a 1.333GHz front-side bus for $851.

All three operate at 80 watts, compared to higher-end 5300s, which operate at 120 and 130 watts.

"The OEMs wanted these new processors. They said if there's anything you could do so we could get the products early, it'd help," said Jason Waxman, director of Xeon server platforms marketing for Intel.

Waxman declined to be specific about which Intel fabrication facilities globally were used to make the 5335, but said Intel has the capacity to gear up production ahead of schedule.

The 5335 will be installed in server and/or workstations from companies such as Dell, HP, Silicon Graphics and IBM.

"It helps deliver that improved performance and allows people to get more out of a quad-core on a dual-socket server," said David Lord, a spokesman for Dell, who added that the 5335 is available as of Monday for order in a Dell PowerEdge server.

Intel still has two other quad-core processors to introduce in the first quarter, including a low volt 50-watt version, said Erica Fields, an Intel spokesperson.