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Intel chipset marks start of offensive

Aims to take back lost market share

Intel launched a chipset for desktop computers today and vowed to take back market share lost to its main rival AMD by the end of this year.

The P965 Express chipset, formerly code-named Broadwater, will work with Intel's Core 2 Duo desktop processor, also known as Conroe, which is due to go on sale next month. The chipset has started shipping in volume to PC makers already, Intel said.

Chipsets are collections of chips that surround the main processor and connect it to other parts of the motherboard. Together, the new desktop chips will offer a big boost in PC performance, including better graphics, while also using less power, said Anand Chandrasekher, an Intel senior vice-president, in a speech at the start of Computex trade show in Taipei.

They are among several upcoming products designed to help Intel claw back market share lost to AMD. Other upcoming launches include the Woodcrest server chip, due later this month, and the Merom laptop chip, due in August. Like Conroe, Merom and Woodcrest are based on Intel's Core processor design, which replaces the Netburst architecture it uses today.

Intel has discussed the processors before, but Chandrasekher also offered performance figures to show how much they will improve on its current offerings.

Conroe will be 40 percent faster than Intel's best desktop chip today, but consume 40 percent less power, he said. The Merom notebook chip will offer 20 percent better performance and about the same battery life. Woodcrest, the server chip, will offer an 80 percent lift in performance but use 35 percent less power, according to Chandrasekher.

The boost comes partly from the Core architecture, but also from a move to more advanced manufacturing techniques. The figures are unofficial, based on Intel estimates using a benchmark called the SPECint_rate_base2000, the company noted.


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