The launch of the Intel Core i7 processors, which will require new motherboard designs and new PCs to support them, comes at a tough time for the entire IT industry. A number of research companies have slashed their IT spending forecasts for 2009, enterprise IT has slowed down, and the financial crisis has also taken a toll on consumer spending. Intel and its partners are aiming for the consumer market with the Core i7 line.
A further sign of trouble for the entire industry happened Nov. 12 when Intel cut its revenue forecast for the fourth quarter of 2008, citing less demand from PC vendors for its processors.
While the overall economy might not be favorable to a new launch right now, McCarron said Intel has to go forward with new products to keep it viable in the PC market. What Intel might do is bring out other Nehalem-based processors more slowly to get more use out of older chips such as the Core 2 Duo.
Still, anticipation is high for what Intel and its PC partners will offer now and in the coming year. Enterprise buyers and businesses can expect Nehalem-based processors for servers and workstation either in December or January, with chips for corporate clients and notebooks to follow later in 2009.
At the San Francisco show, Intel Senior Vice President Pat Gelsinger said that the company has shipped about 100,000 Core i7 processors so far. Gelsinger also said Intel is expecting about 500 different systems that will offer the Core i7 chips and the company already has 35 different motherboard design wins.
The new Dell XPS Studio desktop is close to what some businesses can expect when other Intel-based PCs come to market in 2009 that use Nehalem-based processors.
The XPS Studio, which goes on sale Nov. 17, offers either the Core i7-940 or Core i7-920 processor along with the newer Intel X58 chip set. The desktop can also support an ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card and up to 12GB of DDR3 memory with six DIMM (dual in-line memory module) slots. The XPS also supports up to 1TB of data storage with a RAID 0 configuration.
Dell will sell the XPS Studio for a starting price of $949 without a display or $1,099 with a 19-inch monitor.
While the XPS studio is close to a mainstream desktop, Dell is also preparing to sell two new Alienware PCs and an XPS desktop that are geared toward gamers and PC enthusiasts.
Gateway, which is owned by Acer, is also launching new gaming systems based on the Intel Core i7 processor. These include the FX6800-01e, which starts at $1,250, and the high-end FX6800-05, which starts at $2,999.
Editor's Note: This article was updated to include comments from Intel's Pat Gelsinger.