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Tuesday, March 07, 2006, 01:15 pm PT (04:15 pm ET)

Intel offers new details on Power Mac-bound desktop processors

Speaking to developers at its semiannual developer forum on Tuesday, Intel Corp. shed a few new details on its next-generation multi-core desktop processors, which are destine to turn up inside Apple's first Intel-based Power Mac systems in the second half of the year.

During a keynote presentation, Pat Gelsinger, Intel's senior vice president and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group, showcased "Conroe," a dual-core desktop processor based on the company's new Core microarchitecture that can reduce power consumption by 40 percent while delivering greater than 40 percent improvements in computing performance.

The chip, which is on track to begin volume shipments in the third quarter of 2006, is the most likely candidate to turn up in Apple's Power Mac professional desktop systems late in the Summer.

Gelsinger revealed that Intel has decided to make Conroe part of its Professional Business Platform — codenamed Averill. He said the new platform will deliver world-class IT security and manageability capabilities for businesses through the Conroe dual-core processor along with a new chipset codenamed Broadwater, Intel Virtualization Technology and the second generation of Intel Active Management Technology.

Additionally, Intel also announced at the conference that it plans to ship a quad–core processor — codenamed "Kentsfield" — for high–end desktop PCs in early 2007. However, further details of the chip were not available.

Not coincidentally, Apple Computer also announced on Tuesday that it will hold its annual World Wide Developers Conference in the second half of the year, as opposed to late May or June as it has done in the past.

The conference, set to kick-off on August 7th, is expected to offer Mac OS X developers their first look at the company's next-generation operating system, Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard." It's also expected to yield the first public demonstrations of a Power Mac desktop computer utilizing Intel's Conroe chip.

With Apple's engineering team hard pressed to meet an accelerated Intel transition schedule enforced by chief executive officer Steve Jobs, Intel is reportedly aiding Apple in the development of the first Intel-based Power Mac.