It's only been a couple of months since Intel released its first six-core desktop chip, the Core i7-980X "Gulftown" processor that is the fastest on the market, but X-bit labs is reporting that the company is readying a faster successor for release by the end of this year.
X-bit surmises that the new CPU will be dubbed the i7-990X and boost clock speed beyond the 3.33GHz the i7-980X offers. If the site's sources are correct, this new six-core chip is coming a little earlier than Intel's roadmap showing an upgrade to its Extreme series in the first quarter of 2011. As with its Extreme predecessors, you can expect the new processor to cost around $1,000 for deep-pocketed enthusiasts.
Those looking for a cheaper Intel six-core chip (AMD already has some on the market) will soon have the Core i7-970, and X-bit also mentions an Intel processor that's only known as "greater than or equal to i7-970" -- presumably meaning that it will sit between the i7-970 and the i7-980X in price and performance. Additions to the Gulftown lineup will help spread the six-core trend to more mainstream desktops and DIY builders, even as people are still buying dual-core computers.