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Tuesday, February 21, 2006, 09:45 am PT (12:45 pm ET)

Intel to cut Core Duo pricing ahead of 2.33GHz model

Intel is expected to cut the prices on the Core Duo mobile microprocessors used in Apple Computer's latest Macintosh systems by the end of May.

According to a report in the Tuesday edition of the Chinese-language Commercial Times, the world's largest chip makers plans to reduce the costs of 65-nanometer dual-core chips by as much as 33 percent.

The price of the 2.16GHz Core Duo will reportedly drop from $632 to $423, a reduction of about 33 percent. Meanwhile, the 2.0GHz model will drop in cost from $423 to $294 (30.5 percent), and the 1.83GHz model from $294 to $241 (18 percent).

The price cuts may make way for Intel's 2.33GHz Core Duo processor, dubbed the T2700, to take over the $632 price-point. The chip is expected to debut in the third calendar quarter of the year, about a month or so following the price cuts to the existing Core Duo chips.

The 2.33GHz Core Duo is also believed to be a possible candidate to ship inside Apple's yet-to-be-announced flagship 17-inch MacBook Pro. Sources have said the high-end professional notebook will run at speeds of at least 2.16GHz Core Duo.

Depending on when Apple plans to push the 17-inch MacBook Pro to market, and Intel's availability of the T2700 at that time, the notebook may be one of the first on the market to sport the 2.33GHz chip.