Intel Core 2 Duo to Star in Long Hello

The chip maker is expected to allow more information on its forthcoming Core 2 Duo chips to be published soon, but don't expect to buy one just yet.

Intel is planning a lengthy introduction for its Core 2 Duo processors.

The chip giant is expected to officially roll out its Core 2 Duo for desktop PCs, otherwise known as "Conroe," on July 27 at an event at its headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif.

At the same event, it will offer more detail on the arrival of "Merom," its Core 2 Duo notebook chip, currently due in August, sources familiar with the plan said.

The event, expected to be attended by top executives from Intel as well as representatives from major PC manufacturers, will cap off a tumultuous period for the chip maker, which is now counting on the two new chips to help revitalize its image as provider of performance chips—while at the same time conducting an internal review in an effort to become more nimble—and turn around its recent market share losses to rival Advanced Micro Devices.

But the Core 2 Duo desktop chips official launch will be preceded by a waterfall of information, set to begin arriving on July 13, when numerous third-party reviews featuring either Intel-built or brand-name desktops are expected to be published for the first time.

/zimages/7/28571.gifRead more here about Intels business review.

Those reviews are expected to shed light on various desktops that incorporate the chip, thus giving readers more information on the chips themselves—details like performance, clock speeds and even system pricing are expected to be disclosed—even though the systems wont go on sale immediately.

Despite the fact that the reviews will reveal information about the new chips, PC makers arent expected to begin taking orders on the machines that contain them before the July 27 event. Also, specific details, including exact chip pricing, may be held close by Intel until the July 27 event.

Intel appears to be following the same formula it used with "Woodcrest," its dual-core Xeon 5100 server chip, which arrived on June 26. Prior to that date, the company released performance data, power consumption information and several other details about the chip. Servers containing it, however, did not go on sale before that date.

Intels two dual-core Core 2 Duo chips and its Xeon 5100 series, which are all based on the same circuitry, were collectively designed to use the same or less power as their predecessors, while offering greater performance. Thus far, analysts have said, Intel has been able to deliver on that claim for servers, making the company more competitive in the space. Intel will look to do the same in desktops and notebooks, where it says Merom offers more performance for the same power consumption.

/zimages/7/28571.gifRead more here about Intels Woodcrest dual-core server chip.

Thus, Intel has boasted that its Core 2 Duo desktop chip will achieve a double-digit gain in performance over its current Pentium D chip, while cutting power consumption by a similar figure and still being available in relatively inexpensive desktops.

Although new processors are often restricted to more expensive machines at first, the range of /zimages/7/180309.jpgdesktops containing Core 2 Duo chips will include machines priced under $1,000—perhaps allowing Intel to pursue more opportunities in consumer PCs and mainstream business desktops.

Intel is expected to issue the Core 2 Duo desktop chips with 6000 series model numbers. A handful of standard models will range in speeds, up to 2.66GHz. A 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme chip, designed for gaming and applications such as corporate workstations, will also arrive as part of the launch. Intel said it plans to deliver a 3.2GHz version of the extreme chip by the end of 2006.

The launch caps a busy month for Intel, which plans to unveil its dual-core Itanium 2 server chip, "Montecito," on July 18.The company will report second quarter earnings on July 19.

Wall Street will be watching the earnings announcement closely for news of Intels ongoing business review, which has so far yielded results such as the company tweaking its Flash Memory Group and selling off some of its XScale processors.

Meanwhile, Core 2 Desktop chips will be part of Intels vPro business platform, expected to debut in August. The platform offers either enhanced security or more advanced manageability features made possible by adding a virtualization-driven partition that runs alongside Windows. Security or manageability software can then run inside the partition.

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