Intel Corp formally launched its newest high-end Xeon server chip on Tuesday, seeking to capitalize on an explosion of Internet traffic sparked by Web-based cloud computing, social networking and expanding use of smartphones and tablet computers.

The company's Xeon E5-2600 family of processors delivers up to 80 percent better performance than previous platforms, while consuming less energy, Diane Bryant, in charge of Intel's data center business, told reporters.

It is designed to support the servers and workstations that handle what Intel estimates will be 33 percent annual growth of data traffic through to 2015.

Intel has already shipped its new platform to a host of server manufacturers. It said several - including Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell Inc, IBM, Oracle Corp and Cisco Systems Inc - are expected to announce Xeon-based server platforms on Tuesday.

While Intel lags Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics in selling processors for smartphones and tablets, Intel executives have pointed to their server business as key to capitalizing on fast growth in the mobile market.

The popularity of smartphones and other mobile gadgets has increased the need for massive computer centers that store data and feed email, videos and other information to those devices.

UBS expects spending on data centers to surge 49 percent this year, driven by the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google.

German automaker BMW is using Xeon-based servers to keep its luxury cars linked to the Internet.

Soon we will have more than 10 million vehicles connected and that will lead us to 1 terabyte of data volume per day, said Mario Muller, BMW's Vice President of IT Infrastructure.

(Reporting By Noel Randewich; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Tim Dobbyn)