Intel Plans Quad-Core Nehalem Chips For High-End Desktops

The Core i7 for desktops is scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter, along with a server version for two-socket machines.
Intel on Monday said the first processor based on the new Nehalem microarchitecture would be quad-core chips for high-end desktops and two-socket servers. In addition, the company cut prices on a couple of its older processors.

Nehalem-based processors, which will be discussed in detail next week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, will carry the familiar "Core" brand, but will also have a unique identifier to distinguish the new architecture from the old, Intel said.

The first Nehalem chip for desktops will be called the Core i7 and will be aimed at gamers and creative professionals. "The i7 doesn't have an integral meaning in itself," an Intel spokesman told InformationWeek. "This is just the first one that signifies high-end desktops."

Core i7s that have the Black logo will be the fastest of company's highest-end chips, which Intel calls its "Extreme Edition." Blue-branded Extreme chips will be a step down.

Core chips that do not have a unique identifier will be based on Intel's older architecture, which had been code-named Penryn. The chips carry the "Core 2" brand.

Intel declined to discuss the Core i7 in detail until IDF. The chip, however, will feature a new integrated memory controller and a "new breakthrough feature" that delivers high performance and energy efficiency, according to Intel.

The Core i7 is scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter, along with a server version for two-socket machines. Nehalem-based mobile and mainstream desktop chips, along with chips for servers with more than two sockets, are set to ship next year.

Nehalem, based on Intel's 45-nanometer manufacturing process, is able to scale from two cores to as many as eight. Each core will have two software threads.

Intel also has cut prices on a couple of its chips. As of Sunday, the price of the Core 2 Q9550 quad-core desktop processor and the Xeon X3360 quad-core server chip were each slashed 40% to $316.