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Intel to play hi-lo in 2009

New Celerons, Core i7 on the way

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Rumor has it that Intel will beef up both the bottom and top of its desktop-processor lines in the second half of this year with the release of new Celeron and Core i7 processors.

According to a report by the market-watchers at Taiwan's DigiTimes, the Celeron E1000 series will be retired and replaced by in the third quarter of this year by a new series, the E3000.

The first two chips in this series, the Celeron E3200 and E3300, will retain the 800MHz frontside buses and 65-watt TDPs of the current E1000 series, which includes the 1.6GHz E1200, 2.0GHz E1400, 2.2GHz E1500 (for the embedded market), and 2.4GHz E1600.

According to DigiTime's loose-lipped "sources at motherboard makers," the E3200 and E3300 will clock in at 2.4GHz and 2.5GHz, respectively, and double the E1000 series' L2 cache to 1MB.

In addition, the sources report that the new Celerons will support Intel's VT virtualization technology - which, if true, would be a first at this low level of the processor spectrum.

We wouldn't expect prices of the new E3100-series chips to stray much from those of the E1000s, which hover in the mid-$100 range.

At the other end of the desktop-processor spectrum, according to those sources, will be a new Core i7 processor, the 3.2GHz i7-960, rumored to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

Presumably, this new part won't join the thousand-dollar-and-up Core i7 Extreme Edition family, which now includes the 3.2Ghz i7-965 and the recently released 3.33GHz i7-975, but will instead join the current i7-900 series, which currently includes the overclocker's favorite, the bargain-priced 2.66GHz i7-920, plus the 2.93GHz i7-940 and and 3.06GHz i7-950.

Rounding out today's rumors are a dual-core Atom D510, said to launch in the fourth quarter of this year and to be targeted at nettops, and a single-core Atom D410 to be released in the first quarter of next year.

We asked Intel for their opinion of these rumors, but - true to form - they graciously declined our request, saying only that the company doesn't comment on rumor and speculation. ®

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