SAN FRANCISCO: Intel Corp, seeking to increase the speed of server computers for hosting websites and storing files, said customers will begin selling machines with six processors built into one piece of silicon. Dell Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, International Business Machines Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc will begin selling computers that use the Xeon 7400 chips this week, platform director Shannon Poulin said in an interview.

Intel, world's largest semiconductor maker, is speeding up product development to increase pressure on Advanced Micro Devices Inc in the server market, the most profitable segment of the chip industry. The new Xeon chip was to go on sale in the fourth quarter and debuted earlier than planned, Poulin said. “The performance is heads and tails above our previous products and where the competition is,” Poulin said.

The chip uses less electricity and is as much as 48 per cent faster than previous models, he said. Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, fell 80 cents to $19.36 at 4 pm New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have dropped 27 per cent this year. Chips for server machines can cost more than $1,000, 10 times the average price of PC processors. The more cores, the greater number of tasks processors can perform simultaneously.

The majority of chips today have two cores and more expensive models employ four. AMD doesn't have six-core chip. AMD, based in Sunnyvale, California, made its biggest gains against Intel in the server market with its Opteron chip, introduced in 2003. AMD's share in some parts of the market rose to as much as 50 per cent in 2007, before Intel fought back by speeding up product introductions.