updated 12:55 pm EDT, Tue July 18, 2006
Core 2 Duo product update
Intel's next-generation laptop chip, code-named Merom, may be officially announced sooner than expected, according to a set of presentation slides obtained by the Chinese publication HKEPC. Intel may launch both the laptop and desktop variants of the Core 2 Duo processor simultaneously on July 23rd, and though Merom would still remain widely unavailable until August, Conroe will likely be rushed out on launch day. The widely-anticipated August launch would make Merom available approximately one month sooner than the September target originally set on Intel roadmaps, according to AppleInsider. Intel is planning to launch its Merom laptop chips, which could find their way into Mac laptops later this year, with clock speeds between 1.6GHz and 2.33GHz, matching the current generation Core Duos; however, the chips will sport many performance enhancements.
The 2.0GHz, 2.1GHz, and 2.33GHz variants of Intel's Merom will sport a larger L2 cache of 4MB versus the 2MB found in Intel's "Yonah" Core Duo chips. Merom will also feature performance gains of 20 percent over Yonah with the same power consumption, as the chip is entirely 64-bit, according to recent tests.
Intel may announce both the desktop and laptop version of its second-generation Core 2 chips on July 23, just before its annual WWDC developer conference in mid-August. Industry watchers believe that Apple will adopt Merom as the next processor in the MacBook Pro, which has not seen an update since March.
Apple hasn't updated its iMac since the systems introduction at Macworld Expo in San Francisco earlier this year; it is widely expected that the company will include a new "Conroe" Core 2 Duo chip as part of a revamped iMac offering before the holiday season. The iMac could, again, become the first to switch to the next generation Core 2 processor.
Along with the introduction of new chips, Intel is also expected to cut prices on its current-generation Yonah chips.