Intel's 3.4GHz 'Nocona' Xeon
Look around the web for pre-Nocona Xeon vs Opteron articles and you'll generally find just one style of conclusion; the Opteron is great, the Xeon less so. Therefore testing the Nocona Xeon, based as it is on the desktop Prescott core which affords it a faster system bus, new cache layout, SSE3, tweaked HyperThreading and access to DDR400 memory officially for the first time, was a means to see if the update was worth Intel's time and effort.
And my opinion is yes, very much so. While it doesn't overtake and outrun the Opteron at any point in our benchmarks, there's seemingly a lot of improvement to be had from bumping up the new entry-level Xeon's basic specs to 800MHz bus with 1MB L2. 3400MHz doesn't do it any harm either.