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In a bid to offer higher performance to low-power small form-factor desktop computers, Intel Corp. plans to release low-power quad-core desktop processors for desktops in the first quarter of next year. The new chips will be strong competitors for energy-efficient quad-core chips by Advanced Micro Devices, which have been available for about half a year now.

The new Intel Core 2 Quad processors with reduced power consumption will have thermal design power (TDP) of 65W, whereas previously such chips had 95W or even higher thermal envelope, which kept them away from quiet small form-factor systems. The low-power quad-core central processing units from Intel will be launched on the 18th of January, 2009, according to documents seen by X-bit labs.

The Core 2 Quad chips – models Q9550s, Q9400s and Q8200s – with reduced TDP will operate in 2.33GHz – 2.83GHz clock-speed range and will feature different cache sizes. Still, they will all use 1333MHz processor system bus (PSB) and will be compatible with existing LGA775 mainboards. The new chips will be made using 45nm process technology.

The novelties will not be inexpensive: computer makers will have to pay 16%, 20% or even 33% price premium for energy efficiency of the new chips compared to quad-core processors with similar specs, but with higher power consumption.

Three new low-power quad-core processors from Intel will compete against AMD’s energy efficient Phenom X4 chips for the place in low-power systems. But the competition will not be direct: AMD Phenom X4 models 9350e (2.0GHz) and 9150e (1.80GHz) are sold for $174 and $175, respectively, and offer much lower performance compared to Intel Core 2 Quad at 2.33GHz and beyond. Even the Phenom X4 9450e (2.10GHz) will hardly match even the lowest-performing Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200s.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: , Intel, Core, 45nm, AMD, Phenom

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