Rumour: Three new Intel six-core CPUs this year

The rumour factory has some potentially good news for anyone wanting to get a slice of six-core Core i7 silicon without auctioning off their internal organs.

Intel has reportedly not only brought forward the release of its next top-end six-core Core i7 Extreme chip, but it's also planning two cheaper hexacore CPUs.

Tech site Xbit Labs claims to have spoken to sources with knowledge of Intel's plans, who say that Intel is planning to release a cheaper hexacore chip called the Core i7 970 in the third quarter of this year.

The site says that the LGA1366 chip will be clocked at 3.2GHz, but it also claims that there's another version of the CPU in the works, which is currently referred to as the "≥i7-970."

It's not known exactly what that symbol stands for, but it's quite possible that it means an unlocked multiplier. Intel introduced unlocked multipliers to some of its mainstream LGA1156 chips last month with the Core i7 875K and Core i5 655K.

Of course, an unlocked Core i7 970 would pose a threat to Intel's costly Extreme chips, which also have unlocked multipliers. However, it would also be a very appealing chip to overclockers who don't have money to burn, in much the same way as AMD's affordable Phenom II Black Edition CPUs.

In addition to the two Core i7 970 chips, the site also says that Intel has brought forward the launch of its top-end Core i7 990X CPU. The successor to the Core i7 980X will run at a higher clock speed, although the exact clock speed isn't known yet. We'd hazard a guess at 3.46GHz.

A previous leaked roadmap said that the launch of the new Core i7 Extreme chip wouldn't happen until 2011, but Xbit Labs claim that its new information puts the launch in the fourth quarter of this year.