January 5, 2007 11:55 AM PST

Three Intel quad-cores coming Monday

Intel plans to launch three quad-core processors on Monday, covering two Xeons for lower-end servers and one mainstream model for desktop computers, sources familiar with the plan said.

As expected, the desktop chip is called the Core 2 Quad 6600 and will join the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 model Intel already ships. The new processor will run at 2.4GHz, and the front-side bus that links the chip to the rest of the system will run at 1066MHz, the company is expected to announce at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.

Also set to arrive are two low-end Xeons, the 2.13GHz 3210 and 2.4GHz 3220. Both are designed for single-processor servers. The chips have 8MB cache and a 1066MHz front-side bus.

Intel declined to comment for this story.

The chipmaker began its quad-core product launch in November but now is fleshing out the lineup. It often launches desktop products with extreme models geared for demanding video game systems, then adds more moderately priced mainstream models later.

"I expect, with respect to the desktop quad-core, it's mostly a matter of maintaining a certain cadence, even if, practically speaking, there won't be a whole lot of near-term buyers," Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff said.

Intel's quad-core processors combine two dual-core chips into a single package. Rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices has a quad-core processor code-named Barcelona under development that puts all four cores on a single slice of silicon. However, that chip won't arrive until midway through this year.

Servers, which often juggle multiple independent tasks, are well-suited to taking advantage of multiple processing cores. With desktop machines, however, the benefits aren't as clear because software often isn't able to use all the cores effectively.

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