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Paul Otellini, chief executive of the world’s largest x86 microprocessor maker Intel Corp. said that his company was on track to ship one million of central processing units with four cores by mid-2007. The company did not reveal how many of quad-core chips will be shipped throughout the year, but earlier it was estimated that there will be millions supplied.

“We continued to advance our technology in Q4 by launching the industry’s first quad-core processors for volume servers and PCs. We launched nine different versions, including the first Core 2 Quad processors for mainstream PCs, and we are well on track to deliver 1 million quad-core processors by the middle of 2007,” Paul Otellini said during a conference call with financial analysts.

Currently the world’s largest maker of chips offers Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 and Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 for desktops, which are priced at $851 and $999, respectively. In addition, the company ships five dual-core Intel Xeon X5355, E5345, E5335, E5320 and E5310 microprocessors for dual-socket server and workstation systems as well as two Intel Xeon chips X3220 and X3210 for single-processor systems.

Earlier it was reported that quad-core microprocessors’ share among Intel’s desktop shipments will be only 3% in 2007, which is a very significant number, in fact.

While it may seem that 3% of Intel’s desktop shipments is not a substantial amount of chips, this is not completely correct. Even if the market of personal computers in 2007 remains on the level of 2006, then, about 230 million systems will be sold (data by IDC), the vast majority employing one chip. Intel commands roughly 75% of x86 microprocessor market, which is about 172.5 million of processors. Even if desktop processors account for only 60% of all shipments, then 3% of desktop shipments equals to 3.105 million of units, a large amount of microprocessors. If the amount of systems to be supplied in 2007 reaches 257 million, then Intel’s total shipments will be nearly 192 million and 3% of its desktop shipments will equal to about 3.456 million. Intel has never confirmed such numbers or shares, which were released unofficially.

More affordable pricing of quad-core chips is expected in the second half of 2007, when Intel releases its second-generation quad-core microprocessors made using 45nm process technology and support SSE4 instructions. The microprocessor code-named Yorkfield will feature single-die design as well as unified level-two (L2) cache, which should boost its efficiency when compared to Intel’s first-generation quad-core offerings that have two-dice design and have to cooperate using processor system bus (PSB). Yorkfield is expected to feature 1333MHz PSB and be compatible with chipsets code-named Bearlake, which also support DDR3 memory.

“We also completed the development of our 45nm technology, which is scheduled for production in the second-half of this year. I am pleased to announce that we have working samples of Penryn – our first 45nm microprocessor – and have booted four different operating systems on this first silicon,” Intel’s chief told the conference, describing the company’s success with dual-core Penryn chip.

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