Intel Unleashes Next-Gen Core 2 Duo Chips

Intel unveiled its Core 2 Duo computer processors Thursday, marking what some consider the chip giant’s biggest new product release in years. The new Intel Core 2 Duos, a family of 10 new processors that includes desktop and mobile versions of the chips, more closely connect the two processor cores on each chip, which results in increased performance along with more efficient power use.

The new chips are built on Intel’s new Core architecture and come at a time when Intel, still the dominant processor player, is trying to take back a technical lead grabbed by rival Advanced Micro Devices, which won market share by beating Intel to market with its dual-core Opteron chips last year.

“It’s probably the most important product launch Intel has had since the original Pentium 4 in 2001, and may be even more important,” Insight64 Principal Analyst Nathan Brookwood told TechNewsWorld. “Really, it’s the first mainstream desktop brand Intel has introduced that doesn’t have the Pentium name in almost 13 years.”

Regaining the Lead

In announcing the new Core 2 Duo chips, Intel indicated pricing of the desktop processors would range from US$183 to $530. Intel did not disclose pricing for the notebook versions of Core 2 Duos.

Performance of and demand for the Core 2 Duos should help Intel regain some of the ground it has lost to AMD, according to Brookwood.

“This time, [Intel] is definitely coming from behind, and it could put them in the lead,” he said.

Pricing and Positioning

Both Intel and AMD have been forced to cut their chip prices recently, Intel to maintain a market for its existing line of dual-core Pentium and other chips, and AMD to have its products remain compelling in the face of Intel’s new offerings.

AMD revealed more deals of its competitive strategy this week when it introduced a high-end “4×4” processor package that pairs two central processing unit sockets via AMD’s HyperTransport technology for gamers and other enthusiasts.

Brookwood said Intel will certainly be at an advantage comparing its new Core 2 Duos to AMD’s chips, but AMD’s two-socket design may be a match for a single Core 2 Duo chip, and may be priced competitively as well.

“I think it has the potential to work,” Brookwood said of the AMD move.

Pushing Upgrades

Intel is focused on regaining some or all of the market share it gave up to AMD and its aggressive, dual-core Opteron marks a huge step in this direction because Intel’s revenue losses were really starting to hurt the firm, according to Gartner Research Vice President Martin Reynolds.

“The big deal with this is Intel is going past AMD and proving their products are competitive in the market,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It means a range of products, and Intel will regain market share.”

As for users, who will benefit from the performance push and price reductions in chips, Reynolds said the new Core 2 Duos will make new PCs appealing to many.

“With these new machines, people are going to be thinking about upgrading,” he said.

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