Intel to deliver quad-core chips for notebooks

Intel on Friday confirmed it will ship quad-core chips designed specifically for notebooks, most likely for desktop replacement laptops, later this year.

The quad-core chips will be based on the Core 2 Duo microarchitecture and will ship in the third quarter, Intel officials said.

Intel declined comment on chip details, though enthusiast Web sites reported the chip is Intel’s Core 2 Extreme QX9300. The chips will be manufactured using the new 45-nanometer process.

The chip will be released after Intel’s Centrino 2 platform, code-named Montevina, is launched in the second quarter. Montevina is an upgrade to the current Centrino mobile platform that puts WiMax and Wi-Fi networking capabilities on a single chip. Montevina will include processors based on the Core 2 microarchitecture and the quad-core notebook processor could be included in the platform.

The initial quad-core laptops will be desktop replacements, weighty laptops that will appeal to gamers and office workers requiring processing power, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64. The chips won’t reach smaller notebooks like the MacBook Air anytime soon, Brookwood said.

A quad-core laptop with a separate graphics card could be a powerful desktop alternative, and it will be portable, he said.

Notebooks are still being driven by battery life, and the number of people who need huge performance is still small, he said. The quad-core CPU (central processing unit) is going to require more power than a dual-core CPU even if the CPU clock is slowed down, he said.

Intel officials in the past have said that users expecting quad-core mobile processors may have to wait until issues surrounding power consumption are resolved.

The initial quad-core processors will strain battery life and may first make their way to the high-end gaming and workstation notebooks that require heavy processing power, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager, Intel Mobile Platforms Group, earlier this year.

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