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Desktop Penryn Processors Today and Tomorrow

Although our today’s article is devoted only to the first representative of the new desktop processor family, Core 2 Extreme QX9650, we tried to make our review useful not only for the potential buyers of this pretty expensive solution, but also for those of you who will be waiting for more affordable Penryn models. That is why we decided to include some information on Intel’s plans regarding Yorkfield and Wolfdale introduction in all other market segments.

The table below offers some info on the full 45nm lineup of Yorkfield and Wolfdale processors as well as some data on their pricing and anticipated launch schedule.

As you can see from the data above, Core 2 Extreme QX9650 will remain Intel’s top solution for a very short period of time. In Q1 2008 a newer model, Core 2 Extreme QX9770, with 3.2GHz clock speed and 1600MHz bus will take the lead. Intel is preparing a special X48 chipset to support this particular CPU model that is scheduled to be announced at the same time with the processor. This promising processor will not only push the price of the top desktop CPUs to $1,399, but will also boast the highest heat dissipation of 136W.

Non-extreme quad-core 65nm Yorkfield processors will be available starting beginning of next year in three modifications with frequencies ranging from 2.5 to 2.83GHz. Unlike contemporary Core 2 Quad on Kentsfield core, all of them will work with 1333MHz system bus. More frequency values will be available because processors manufactured with 45nm process support fractional dividers. I would like to say that the new processors in the Core 2 Quad family with 45nm cores will not cause the price of the younger quad-core models to go down. The slowest Yorkfield processors with Q9300 model name will cost as much as Core 2 Quad Q6600. It is interesting that the cache memory of Core 2 Quad Q9300 due in January 2008 will be reduced to 6MB, which is even less than the contemporary Kentsfield processors have.

The dual-core processor line-up will also welcome some new members in the beginning of next year. New Wolfdale processors will little by little oust old Core 2 Duo CPUs from the market. While they will cost the same as Wolfdale, their lower clock speeds and smaller L2 cache will not help them retain the popularity. The launch of 45nm core will push the clock speed of the top dual-core processor to 3.16GHz. Besides, you will be able to buy a pretty fast CPU with 2.66GHz clock frequency for only $166.

Q2 2008 promises another very interesting addition to the Wolfdale processor lineup. Around that time Intel plans to launch a budget dual-core Penryn processor with 1066MHz bus and smaller 3MB L2 cache.

Note that the quad-core family lineup will not change in any way in Q2 2008. However, Q3 promises to be full of news. Right before the launch of the CPUs with new Nehalem micro-architecture, Intel will be increasing clock speeds of the top Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo processors one step higher.

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