The performance gain of 80% and the integration of the I/O straight into the new Xeon E5-2600 CPUs enabled something that was previously impossible.
Intel took advantage of the latency reductions and the overall performance boost to implement the Intel Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction (Intel AES-NI).
Long story short, this technology encrypts and decrypts data in real time.
That means that the encryption is so fast that a video stream can be encrypted and broadcasted at the same time, without any performance drawbacks.
Doing this on previous-generation chips wasn't impossible per se, but a frame rate of 1 frame every two seconds (or more) didn't impress many people.
What's more, the encryption is done at hardware-level, greatly reducing vulnerability to malicious software.
Furthermore, the Intel Trusted Execution Technology (Intel TXT) can check to see if a software is trusted before launching it.
All in all, Intel is living up to its promise to make the cloud safe enough for customers who worry about their data.
If you want to put things in perspective, a single dual-socket Xeon E5-2600 machine can encrypt a DVD in 0.9 seconds and the whole Library of Congress in 13.4 hours.