Semiconductor titan Intel is set to launch a new range of processors based on its latest 32nm manufacturing process at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this coming Thursday.
Based on the 32nm "Westmere" architecture - which is a major improvement over the 45nm "Nehalem" process - all the new processors will be dual core models and will be categorised either as Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3.
To make things slightly more complicated, Intel further divided each categories as standard voltage, low votage and ultra low voltage to suit particular niche markets.
17 new processors will be released in all with the desktop models named as Clarkdale and the mobile parts, 11 in all, christened Arrandale. Desktop processors have clock speeds ranging from 2.93GHz to 3.46GHz, with four threads in all, 4MB L3 cache and a TDP going up to 73w.
Furthermore, Intel has brought the video module - commonly known as Graphics Media Accelerator - directly on the processor package and implemented a Turbo-mode setting, which mildly overclocks the processor.
And first reviews show that Intel's new HD Graphics offloads the process of decoding full 1080p Blu-ray content from the processor, a significant improvement over the previous generations.
This will be particularly useful for HTPC-based computers and laptops. The Core iX series is expected to replace the Core 2 branding, arguably one of Intel's most successful product ranges ever, in 2010.
The new desktop processors will be priced competitively against AMD parts with the i3-530 costing $113 and the i5-670, $284, prices being per thousand parts.
Unfortunately for those looking forward to upgrade their computer soon, the price of the motherboard could be a major disincentive. You will need a new motherboard based either on the H55 or the H57 chipset to make full use of the capacity of the new processor range.