According to Daily Tech, the latest roadmap from Intel (which isn't on the official site yet) reveals that a new range of Xeon processors running on a 1,600MHz front-side bus will be with us as soon as Q4 this year, into which we enter imminently.
While usually a new range of server processors probably wouldn't interest us, dealing with consumer PCs as we do, the new FSB speed-hike is of note, meaning as it does that we can expect the change to hit the desktop Penryn parts when they finally arrive next year.
What it will mean is that a lot users hoping for a drop-in replacement will find themselves disappointed as most current chipsets will struggle to run at this speed. To that effect the Seaburg chipset will be launched along-side the new Xeons and we have a sneaking suspicion that the desktop X38 parts will also be 1,600MHz capable in preparation for processors there.
Of course this is a direct counter to AMD's Barcelona processors, which are to launch at around the same time. On paper, the Barcelonas are offering some quite astounding statistics in terms of memory bandwidth, and of course have the advantage of not needing to communicate between cores via the FSB. Moreover, with the inevitable conversion to DDR3 over the next few months the extra FSB speed will prove useful in enabling ever-faster memory to be used - always a good thing (notwithstanding the current prices).
The actual models coming are the E5472 and E5462, which are clocked at 3.00GHz and 2.8GHz respectively and have 80W TDPs. 1,000 unit bundles will put the chips at $958 and $797 respectively, which is pretty much in line with the current retail prices for quad-core Xeons. Whether you want a Xeon-based server or not, its nice to know that 45nm processors are ready and shipping. Which is more than we can say for Barcelona thus far.