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Monday, March 17, 2008, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Intel to launch first quad-core notebook chip by Fall

Intel is readying its first quad-core mobile processor for a release during the third quarter of 2008, though elevated pricing and power requirements make it seem unlikely that the chip will immediately find its way in Apple's notebook systems.

Citing sources at motherboard makers, DigiTimes claims the chip — dubbed the Core 2 Extreme QX9300 — will set a new high for pricing at $1,038 a piece in thousand-unit allotments when it makes its debut sometime between the months of July and September.

The 45-nanometer design will sport a core frequency of 2.53GHz, support for up to a 1066MHz front-side bus, and include 12MB of Level 2 cache. But with demand for high-end notebook systems reportedly below average, "Intel expects the quad-core notebook CPUs will not become standard in the performance/mainstream notebook market until the second half of 2009."

Also working against immediate widespread adoption is the chip's thermal design power (TDP) of 45-watts, compared to the 35-watt range of today's mainstream mobile Core 2 Duo processors.

While providing the first hints at CPU last April, Intel mobile chief Mooly Eden noted that this specification would limit usage to high-level gaming and mobile workstations, where users are willing to trade battery life for more performance.

"You'll see it at the high-end, but I don't see it running so fast into the mainstream because I don't believe there will be enough threaded applications that will justify the tradeoffs," he said.