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Intel To Winnow Pentium D Dual-Core Lineup

The chipmaker is taking an axe to four older Pentium D processors in the wake of the recent launch of its Core 2 Duo family.
Intel is paring its burgeoning dual-core product line, taking an axe to four older processors. Production of the Pentium D models 830, 840, 930, and 940 will be discontinued by Dec. 15 of this year, the chip giant said in two "Product Change Notification" documents issued to its resellers.

"Market demand for the[se] desktop Intel Pentium D processors has shifted to other Intel processors," the Intel documents said. Non-cancellable orders for the devices will be accepted until Oct. 6.

The winnowing of the four older Pentium D models comes in the wake of the recent launch of Intel's new desktop Core 2 Duo processors, also known as "Conroe." The new chips use Intel's new Core microarchitecture, widely seen as its cleanest dual-core design to date.

In contrast, the older Pentium D 8XX and 9XX devices use Intel's first-generation dual-core design. That architecture applies two distinct cores, which communicate with each other over a front-side bus. Core 2 Duo has its two cores on the same silicon die, enabling faster inter-processor communication and a shared L2 cache.

However, Intel's product change notice will still leave many of its older dual-core chips in place. When the 3.0-GHz Pentium D 830 and 3.2-GHz Pentium D 840 are discontinued, the 8XX line will still have its two lower-end, bargain options: the 2.66-GHz 805, which widely retails for about $110, and the 2.8-GHz 820, which sells for $120.

Intel's 9XX line, which sits below the Core 2 Duos on Intel's product hierarchy, is currently in widespread deployment, while the newly introduced Core 2 Duos continue to ramp up in production and availablity. The to-be-discontinued 3.0-GHz Pentium D 930 and 3.2-GHz 940 sit squarely in the middle of that product family. Five other 9XX processors " the 915, 920, 945, 950, and 960 -- will continue to be produced. The Pentium Extreme Edition 955 and 965 will also remain. The 9XX processors range in street price from about $140 for a 915 to about $300 for a 960.

There are five Core 2 Duo desktop offerings: The E6300, E6400, E6600, E6700, and Extreme X6800. Because of still-limited retail availability, all tend to currently command somewhat more than Intel's list price. A spot check of prices on Monday showed them ranging around $210 for an E6300 to $600 for an E6700. An Xtreme 6800 lists for $999, in terms of the OEM pricing quoted to major PC makers. On the retail market where individuals buy boxed processors, it currently commands as much as $1,200.

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