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PC makers gear up for Intel Core i5 chip

Lynnfield processor on show at Computex

Intel's upcoming Lynnfield processor will be in the spotlight at the Computex exhibition in Taipei next week, as hardware makers and computer vendors gear up for the release of the chip later this year.

Lynnfield is a successor to Intel's current line of Core i7 chips. The chips and motherboards that support them are ready to be released as soon as July, but Intel has told hardware makers to hold off on sales of the products until late August, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The release of Lynnfield will be followed by the release of another chip, called Clarkdale, at the start of 2010. Both chips use the same processor socket type, and will be supported by the upcoming P55 and P57 chipsets, called Ibex Peak, the source said.

The P57 chipset, which is scheduled to become available with Clarkdale at the start of 2010, will support Braidwood, an updated version of Intel's Turbo Memory.

Further out on Intel's roadmap is a 32-nanometre chip called Gulftown, which is marked as a successor to the current line of Core i7 Extreme Edition processors. That chip is scheduled for release during the second quarter of 2010, the source said.

Pictures of one Lynnfield motherboard, manufactured by Giga-Byte Technology, appeared on enthusiast website OC Workbench, which said it was scheduled for release during Computex.

Nearly everyone except Intel has started referring to Lynnfield as the Core i5 processor, but there's no indication that brand name is official, the source said. More likely, the chips will be called Core i7 but use a different series number than Intel's current offerings.

Pictures and benchmarks of a prototype Lynnfield processor appeared online earlier this week, giving hardware enthusiasts a peak into the level of performance the chips may offer when they hit the market later this year.

The pictures, posted on Chinese-language hardware site XFastest, showed an Intel processor marked 'Confidential' installed on an Intel motherboard. Screenshots that accompanied the photos of the processor and motherboard described the chip as a 2.67GHz Core i5 processor called Lynnfield.

An Intel spokeswoman declined to comment on the pictures of Lynnfield.


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