This week, Intel launched their latest server processors, the Xeon 5600 series. These processors are built on the technology code-named Westmere, which is uses a 32nm process and is the successor to Nehalem. In addition to faster processor speeds (up to 3.33 GHz) and more cores (six) the 5600 series adds new AES-NI instructions for native encryption/decryption. This allows you to use encryption without the performance capacity hit that you may have experienced with SSL hardware. AES-NI was first introduced with Intel's latest Core i5 and i7 processors, and make it less expensive and easier to implement encryption.
Another security enhancement in the 5600 processors is Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) that will be important for securing cloud platforms.
You can read more details about AES-NI here: