Intel's Core 2 Duo processor family bearing the new Core microarchitecture broke new grounds when it was launched a scant four months ago, catapulting Intel back into the driver's seat of the microprocessor industry, a 'show hand' that arch-rival AMD has yet to deliver a response till date. Despite the rave journalistic buzz however, the Core 2 Duo is still a dual-core processor and dual-core processors themselves aren't anything new (Intel's Pentium D and AMD's Athlon 64 X2 have been around since early 2005), not to mention that three and a half months is hardly enough time for the Core 2 Duo to really penetrate the retail channels.
The news that have been most anticipated within tech circles however, has been the talk of Intel's upcoming quad-core part, codenamed Kentsfield. During the recent IDF Fall 2006, Intel confirmed the launch and we were even given the opportunity for a hands-on performance preview, which you can check out here . Today, Kentsfield becomes official. Quad-core processing has indeed arrived in the consumer space as Intel increases its leadership position even more.
The official name of the Kentsfield series will be Core 2 Quad in the mainstream segment and the Core 2 Extreme in the enthusiast segment. The first Kentsfield processor to be available at launch will start with the top-end 2.66GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6700 priced at US$999, which is the same as the 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 during its launch. The QX6700 will be followed by the mainstream 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600, tentatively set to be released first quarter of 2007 and rumored to be priced around US$851. Whether the corresponding Core 2 Duo processors will receive price cuts remain to be seen as nothing has been announced yet.
This naming convention is based on the fact that the Kentsfield processors are in the same generation as the dual-core Conroe and Allendale - hence, 'Core 2' designates the processor series and the 'Duo' or 'Quad' suffix designating the number of cores. What may be initially confusing however is that both Conroe and Kentsfield enthusiast parts will be named Core 2 Extreme. For these processors, the CPU model numbers give away its pedigree. Those with a 'Q' prefix are quad-core models, eg. Core 2 Extreme QX6700.