Intel roadmap confirms 2.67 GHz quad-core Core 2 Extreme

Chicago (IL) - A new version of a roadmap distributed by Intel to its closest partners lists the upcoming quad-core "Kentsfield" as the new flagship of the firm's desktop processor portfolio. The new Core 2 Extreme will arrive with a clock speed of 2.67 GHz, more L2 cache and substantially higher power consumption.

If it is only the fastest processor that matters to you, then your 1P dual-core processor system will be outdated by the end of this year. AMD will soon be introducing a 2P platform, called 4x4, with two dual-core processors that transition the company's high-end offering to the first native quad-core processor scheduled to launch in Q2 or Q3 of next year; Intel's Kentsfield, which is promised to be available in time for the holiday season, will not be a "native" quad-core since it will combine two dual-core Conroe cores in one package, but it will be the first quad-core processor available on the market.

The roadmaps currently distributed confirm an earlier report on TG Daily, which stated that the quad-cores Kentsfield (desktop) and Clovertown (1P and 2P server and workstation, due in Q1 2007) will run at 2.67 GHz, slightly down from today's 2.93 GHz and 3.0 GHz for the dual-core versions. According to sources, the processors will grow significantly in size and double the L2 cache from 4 to 8 MB per processor. Positioned on the very high end of each segment, Intel pushes once again the power envelope to an expected 110 watt (up from 75 watts of the 2.93 GHz dual-core Core 2 Extreme and 80 watts of the 3.0 GHz dual-core Xeon 5160), which is still below the 125 watt of the Athlon 64 FX family and should provide some room for overclockers. Sources told TG Daily that the Core architecture will be good for at least 4 GHz in commercial systems down the road.

Kentsfield will continue to be running on FSB1066 and use the 975X chipset.

It is unclear at this time what will happen to the current Core 2 Extreme, which was confirmed by Intel to be available as a 3.2 GHz version by the end of this year. The roadmap does not list such a chip and in fact shows the dual-core Core 2 Extreme to be phasing out by Q1/Q2 of next year. What we do know, however, is that the upcoming Core 2 Extreme will be the only option at Intel if you want to get your hands on a quad-core processor. Senior vice president David Perlmutter said in a recent interview with TG Daily that we "will start seeing four cores on the high-end and they will be going into the mainstream, but it will take a while. I think that it will be two or three years until you are going to see four cores entering the mainstream."

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