Intel said it will release quad-core microprocessors that work at an energy-efficient 50 watts per processor today.

Each of the four cores in its new Xeon L5320 and L5310 consume just 12.5W, according to Intel. The company claims the new Xeons use between 35 percent and nearly 60 percent less power than its existing 80W and 120W quad-core server products.

The L5320 operates at 1.86GHz and the L5310 at 1.60GHz. They both feature 8MB of on-die cache for faster memory data communication.

The new Xeons can be coupled with Intel's existing Bensley server platform, replacing existing dual-core or quad-core Intel processors.

Intel and AMD are locked in competition for dominance in the quad-core chip market, as enterprises demand more performance out of servers. Meanwhile, customers are demanding greater energy efficiency as data centre power costs rise.

AMD in February released details of its coming new quad-core chip, code-named Barcelona, at a technical conference in San Francisco.

Barcelona, due to be released midyear, improves performance and energy efficiency over the competition and over AMD's own dual-core processor, the Opteron, which it introduced in 2003, said Brent Kerby, product marketing manager for Opteron, in an earlier IDG News Service interview.

Servers based on the new Xeons are expected to be available worldwide over the next few months from such server manufacturers as Dell, HP, IBM and others.