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Intel confirms 'Conroe'

Names chip but refuses to spill beans

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Intel has confirmed its 'Conroe' microprocessor, believed to be a desktop version of its upcoming 'Merom' mobile chip, will ship as part of the chip giant's 'Averill' desktop platform due next year.

Averill's existence was revealed last February at Intel Developer Forum as the basis of NetBurst processors 'Presler' and 'Cedar Mill'. Last week at the Forum's Japanese outing, the company added Conroe to the list. Averill comprises these three processors, the 'Broadwater G' integrated chipset - itself incorporating the ICH8 South Bridge - and 'Nineveh', Intel's next-generation Ethernet chip.

Both Nineveh and Broadwater will support the second version of Intel's Active Management Technology. Averill will also feature 'La Grande', the chip company's upcoming Trusted Computing sub-system, along with SpeedStep, Virtualisation Technology, 64-bit addressing and no-execute anti-virus technology.

The 65nm Conroe and Merom are expected to ship in Q3 2006, two quarters after Yonah's debut with 'Napa', the third incarnation of Intel's Centrino platform. Conroe is expected to contain 4MB of L2 cache, 2MB associated with each core.

Last week's mention of Conroe is the first time Intel has publicly stated it is working on a processor with that codename. No details of the chip were given beyond what it's being called during its development.

Merom, the chip on which it's based, is believed to be the part that may introduce HyperThreading to the Pentium M family, though the mobile chip's architecture is currently unsuitable for multi-threading techniques, we understand. Merom will form part of 'Santa Rosa', Intel's fourth generation of Centrino, which also incorporates the 'Gaston 2' wireless chipset and 'Crestine' motherboard system logic. ®

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