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Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of x86 central processing units, will reportedly release a quad-core microprocessor with more or less moderate pricing in the first quarter of next year, which will compliment the company’s quad-core chip for extreme desktops due to be launched in November, 2006.

Intel’s first quad-core microprocessor for desktops – Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 – is projected to operate at 2.66GHz, use 1066MHz processor system bus and come equipped with 8MB level two cache (4MB unified L2 per physical die). The new chip code-named Kentsfield will cost $999 in 1000-unit quantities and will and be positioned as Intel’s top-of-the-range offering for gamers and enthusiasts, for whom the pricing of their PC components is not important.

While the quad-core chip for extreme fans of performance will be available this year already, there will be another one made for those, who demand higher speed in multi-threading applications than the Intel Core 2 Duo processor E6700 (2.66MHz, 4MB cache, 1066MHz processor system bus) can offer, but unwilling to spend over $999 on a processor. The Intel Core 2 Quadro Q6600 chip, according to HKEPC web-site, will run at 2.40GHz, come with 8MB L2 cache and use 1066MHz processor system bus.

The price of the Core 2 Quadro Q6600 is likely to be higher than that of the premier Core 2 Duo, $530, but lower than that of the Core 2 Extreme, $999. The chips should be drop-in compatible with applications that support quad-core microprocessors, e.g., mainboards based on the Intel 975X chipsets that can work with Core 2 Duo.

Broadening of multi-core processor lineup emphasizes Intel’s strong 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 and 2.40GHz quad-core microprocessors may offer lower performance in certain applications compared to the 2.93GHz dual-core Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 products.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

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