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Intel to detail next-gen MacBook Pro chip candidates at CES

Intel's "Arrandale" dual-core processors, expected by some industry watchers to be the chips Apple will adopt to further its MacBook Pro line, are said to be in production and shipping to vendors ahead of their planned introduction next month.

Intel announced this week that the new chips will debut at CES on Jan. 7, 2010. They will be a part of a "32-nanometer-minute" press conference and accompanying keynote by the company's chief executive, Paul Otellini.

Intel said the "major news event" will introduce the upcoming Intel Core processors that will bring Turbo Boost Technology to mainstream markets. The new chips include Core i3 and Core i5 mobile processors. In addition, new Core i7 chips are also expected.

At a press event held Thursday, Intel officials revealed that the company is releasing 17 new CPUs that will arrive in new machines set to debut in early 2010. The new 32nm chips offer improved speed, better graphics performance and lower power consumption. Specifics, such as prices and clock speeds, were not discussed.

The new processors are set to improve upon the previous line of Intel's Core 2 Duo chips, which have been utilized in versions of Apple's new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Apple uses the mobile variants of Intel's desktop chips for those systems, meaning machines with chips based on the Arrandale architecture could arrive in early 2010.

Unlike the Core 2 Duo CPUs, Arrandale processors will have the major northbridge chipset memory controller components built in. Currently, Apple uses Nvidia chipsets with its Mac lineup. But the architectural changes through Arrandale — along with an ongoing lawsuit that has forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets — would likely make it difficult for Apple to continue with Nvidia.

Arrandale 2

Apple last updated its MacBook Pro line in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Those systems included Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia graphics, along with cheaper prices, better displays and built-in batteries.

Arrandale 3

Earlier this week, details on Intel's forthcoming "Gulftown" 32nm, six-core processor leaked. The supposed Core i7-980X 3.33GHz could be a part of Mac Pro systems in early 2010.