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Intel Corp. may unveil its innovative quad-core microprocessor for desktops in just two months from now, a bit earlier than originally anticipated, according to a media report. Early launch may indicate that the company has sufficient product yield and will be able to supply the new chip in volumes to solidify its positions in the markets of high-end desktops and workstations.

Intel is planning to introduce its quad-core code-named Kentsfield microprocessor for desktops in early November, a news-story at eWeek claims. This means that moving the launch from the Q1 2007 to Q4 2006 was not conducted just in order to formally launch the chip in the second half of December ’06, like Intel did with its extreme version of code-named Presler (Pentium D 900-series) product, but really bring the quad-core processing to desktops this year.

Intel’s first quad-core microprocessor for desktops is projected to operate at 2.66GHz, use 1066MHz processor system bus and be positioned as Intel’s top-of-the-range offering for gamers and enthusiasts. The new processor will cost $999 in 1000-unit quantities and is likely to substitute the already announced officially 3.20GHz Core 2 Extreme chip with two processing engines.

Even though the reasons behind such move are unclear, the transition of “extreme” processor to a multi-core design should emphasize the company’s plan to shift the attention of end-users to the number of cores, not clock-speed. Nevertheless, given that not all applications can benefit from more than two threads processed at once, the 2.66GHz quad-core microprocessor may offer lower performance in certain applications compared to the 2.93GHz dual-core Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 product.

It is highly likely that Kentsfield features two Conroe chips on the same piece of substrate. Provided that every Conroe chip features two processing engines, the Kentsfield will have four cores, 4MB or 8MB level-two (L2) cache, 1066MHz processor system bus and other characteristics similar to Conroe. While putting two pieces of silicon onto a substrate is relatively easy from manufacturing point of view, Intel’s arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices, who is likely to be behind Intel with its quad-core processors by several quarters, claims that such way of building multi-core central processing units is not efficient from performance point of view.


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