Intel Preps for Core 2 Duo Launch

By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2006-07-21

Intel Preps for Core 2 Duo Launch

Intel plans to keep rolling out the chips.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company will introduce both the desktop and notebook versions of its new Core 2 Duo processor at an event at its Silicon Valley headquarters on July 27, people familiar with its plans told eWEEK.

The arrival of the new chips will continue a recent effort under which Intel has been rolling out its newest processors as quickly as possible.

The chip maker said on July 19 that it had begun shipping five new dual-core chips in the prior 30 days, several of which got under way early.

Intel also pledged to introduce its first quad-core processors this year, months earlier than previously planned. It aims to use the bevy of new chips to increase its competitiveness and perhaps motivate PC demand following a string of lackluster quarterly financial performances.

Indeed, the Core 2 Duo chips unveiling completes a major refresh of Intels processor lineup for notebooks, desktops and servers.

Click here to read more about Intels plans to market both Core 2 Duo and Pentium chips.

The new Core 2 Duo chips—Core 2 Duo "Conroe" chips are for desktops and Core 2 Duo "Merom" chips are for notebooks—are designed to offer energy efficiency, while still delivering greater performance than their predecessors.

Intel intends to use Core 2 to drive back the market-share inroads that rival Advanced Micro Devices has made of late.

Intel will tout the Core 2 Duo desktop chips 40 percent increase in performance and a 40 percent reduction in power consumption versus its Pentium D processor.

Intel will also woo PC makers by offering the Core 2 desktop chips for aggressive prices.

Of the Core 2 Duo twins, the desktop chips are expected to be available in systems first.

Intel has indicated Core 2 Duo Desktop chip will be available in systems and in the reseller channel on July 27.

Core 2 Duo notebook chips, however, are expected to begin arriving in systems by the end of August, people familiar with Intels plans said.

The bulk of those systems, expected to be upgraded versions of existing notebooks, will be aimed at consumers. Getting Core 2 Duo notebooks to retailers by the end of August ensures PC makers will have them in place for the holiday season, the people said.

The Core 2 Duo will likely come in some business notebook models this year. But it isnt expected to appear broadly in business machines until the first half of 2007, during which time Intel will add a new chip platform for notebooks, the people said.

Santa Rosa will offer Core 2 Duo notebooks a new enabling chip set—a group of chips that handles input/output and which, in this case, will include an option for a built-in graphics processor—and a new wireless module.

Next Page: Staying ahead of schedule.

Staying Ahead of Schedule

It will also come with Robson Technology, which uses flash memory to cache files and thus can extend battery life by spinning down a notebooks hard drive.

Intel says it also cuts the time it takes a notebook to boot up its OS.

For its part, Intel has put a great deal of emphasis on its ability to ship its Core Architecture processors—which provides the circuitry that underlies chips like Core 2 Duo—ahead of schedule.

Intel aims to continue the trend during the fourth quarter, during which it now plans to deliver its first quad-core chips for desktops and servers.

The chip makers CEO, Paul Otellini, told analysts on July 19 that Intel would ship the two quad-core chips—Kentsfield for desktops and Clovertown for servers—in the fourth quarter of 2006, well ahead of its original shipment target of the first half of 2007.

Intel has not yet clarified whether the quads will be available for purchase in PCs and servers before the end of the quarter, however.

Intel has, at times, shipped processors late in the fourth quarter of one year so that PC makers could begin selling them in new PCs early in the first quarter of the following year.

Click here to read more about Intels plans to deliver chips with tens of cores in the future.

However, "I dont think Paul would have made that kind of announcement if that was the plan," an Intel spokesman told eWEEK.

Intel has offered few details on its two quad-core chips. It has only confirmed that the quads will be made by joining two dual-core chips using special packaging.

The technique, which Intel has also used to offer dual-core Pentium chips, has been criticized by some observers, including its rival AMD.

AMD said on July 20 that it would demonstrate its first quad-core processors, a chip thats due in mid-2007, before the end of this year.

The chip, which is based on new circuitry, was designed to accommodate four processor cores inside it.

However, Intel executives have said they see their initial approach to delivering a quad-core chip as a design trade-off, aimed at shortening the time it takes to bring the chip to market.

The Intel spokesman declined to say whether or not Intel was also planning to move up its successive future quad-core designs—chips such as Tigerton for multiprocessor servers.

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