updated 03:40 pm EDT, Fri September 28, 2007
Intel Penryn Nov. 11
Intel has narrowed down the clock speed for the first Core 2 processor based on its 45-nanometer Penryn architecture, claim Taiwan-area mainboard manufacturers. The semiconductor firm would reportedly launch a lone 3GHz quad-core processor, the QX9650, on November 11th and ship the following day. The design would run on the same 1,333MHz bus as today's desktop processors but carry 12MB of shared L3 cache. As a Core 2 Extreme model, the chip would likely be multiplier-unlocked and allow enthusiasts with the right cooling equipment and experience to overclock the design past its rated speed. Like most top-end Extreme CPUs, it would be priced at $999 in batches of 1,000 for system vendors but would cost more for the end user.
The update also contradicts previous reports and explains that all other desktop Core 2 processors built on the smaller, cooler process would be delayed until January. Three Core 2 Quad models at 2.5GHz (Q9300), 2.66GHz (Q9450), and 2.83GHz (Q9550) would be available at prices of $266, $316, and $530 respectively and with similar 12MB caches, save for the 2.5GHz model with 6MB. A similar number of Core 2 Duo models would follow with 2.66GHz (E8200), 3GHz (E8400), and 3.16GHz (E8500) speed grades and 6MB of L2 cache for all three to reflect their reduced number of cores. Prices would similarly dip to $163, $183, and $266 respectively, according to the report.
While no evidence has surfaced of pre-assembled systems that would use Penryn chips on launch, the release date and specifications provide a rough timeframe for when multiple PC manufacturers are most likely to update their systems and when Intel's workstation-class Xeon processors will receive their own update. The Xeon in recent months has often received a performance increase ahead of mainstream chips, such as the 3GHz quad-core model that appeared in Apple's Mac Pro this spring. Mobile Core 2 processors based on Penryn, which will use the Montevina platform and form the backbone of most of Apple's lineup, are not scheduled to ship until 2008.