Intel to sample Conroe processor in Q1 2006

Chicago (IL) - With Yonah and Presler almost out the door, Intel's development focus in the consumer and business segment begins to shift to the next generation desktop processor architecture. The company already operates bootable systems based on Conroe processors and will initiate the sampling phase in early 2006, Tom's Hardware Guide has learned.

About one week before Intel plans to reveal more details about the future of its desktop products, news reached our offices that Intel may be much further along in the development process of its next generation desktop architecture than commonly believed. According to sources, Conroe is up and running with multiple operating systems in Intel's validation labs and has entered the debugging process. Assuming that Conroe will run in a similar 9-month validation time frame as the current Pentium D 800 (Smithfield), Intel may target a September/October 2006 introduction date.

While the official word on the Conroe introduction remains "2H 2006," Intel recently confirmed to partners that the new architecture will sample in the first quarter of 2006. The sampling process is expected to last into the third quarter of the year. Intel currently plans to announce a firm launch quarter time frame by Q4 of this year, sources said. The initial product lineup will include the dual-core Conroe-processor as well as a single-core variant code-named "Allendale."

Intel also revealed first details about the Broadwater chipset, which will be launched along the new desktop processor architecture. Key features include HDMI-support, Active Management Technology as standard component, a more sophisticated fan speed control element, and support for dual-channel DDR2-800 memory. The 4th generation graphics will receive DirectX9 capability, integrate up to 256 MByte of GDDR3 memory and promises enough performance to allow access to all new graphics features in Windows Vista. Interestingly, the platform does not integrate dual x16 graphics ports - a feature that originally was indicated to arrive with the current 945/955X chipset generation.

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