Intel Penryn set to arrive early

Intel plans to ship its 45-nanometer Penryn processor in November

San Francisco—It’s official. Intel will launch its 45-nanometer Penryn processors late this fall.

Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini, said today in his keynote address at Intel’s Developer Forum that the chipmaker will launch 20 of the 45nm processors on Nov. 12. The chips will be for servers and high-end desktops. Intel will follow up with additional Penryn chips, including new processors for notebooks, in early 2008.

With the admission, Otellini confirmed what has been long expected: That Intel would roll out the first of its Penryn processors ahead of schedule. The introduction will provide Intel with a quick answer to Advanced Micro Devices’ quad core Opteron, otherwise known as Barcelona on the server side and likely arrive at the same time or even before AMD’s quad-core Phenom chip.

Intel’s Penryn-based Xeon chips, such as its quad-core Harpertown processor, boast double-digit gains in performance when measured against its current quad-core Xeons. Harpertown will arrive at speeds ranging up to 3.2GHz, include 12MB of cache and feature a 1600MHz front side bus. Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, also said that Harpertown will best AMD’s 2.5GHz Barcelona processor on floating point, when comparing AMD's recently published performance numbers with Intel's own SPECfp benchmark testing. Gelsinger thus called the Harpertown chips the “fastest machines on the planet.”

Meanwhile, Penryn-based Core Extreme chips will be out in time for desktop enthusiasts to order one in time for the holiday season.

Until both Harpertown and 2.5GHz Barcelona products are available later this year and third parties can benchmark them, most Intel watchers are likely to take Gelsinger’s claim with a grain of salt. But the big picture, here, is that Intel continues to deliver its new products on or ahead of time.

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