Intel’s 45 nm dual-core desktop processor entering final testing phase

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – Intel apparently is well on track to ramp Penryn and its sister CPUs into volume production in the third quarter of this year. We recently learned that Wolfdale, the desktop variant of Penryn, has reached final pre-release status and in fact may be sent out to most system builders for testing purposes and early reviews next month.

Details about Wolfdale remain scarce, but there is every indication that Intel is pushing hard to get this processor out to system builders, analysts and journalists as quickly as possible. Timing will be critical for Intel, as AMD has its Agena quad-cores and Kuma dual-cores running and is expected to ramp the processor into volume production soon. AMD’s server quad-core Barcelona is still aimed at a mid-2007 release, which puts the launch of Agena/Kuma at a mid- to late-Q3 2007 release.  

If Intel wants to crash AMD’s Agena/Kuma launch party, the company will need capable pre-production processors in early Q3. Our sources indicate that Intel is busy taking its new dual-cores through what appears to be a final fine-tuning process and the usual array of benchmarks to get the remaining kinks out. The hardware, however appears to be finalized, as sources indicated that fully assembled, commercial-grade production units in LGA775 packaging are making the rounds within the company.

While Intel maintains that Penryn is still slated for a late Q4 or early Q1 2008 launch, our impression is that Intel could launch earlier, if necessary. Given the firm’s 45 nm production capacity of the D1D fab in Oregon and Fab 32 in Arizona, the apparent maturity of the products as well as a supply chain that will be running under full steam sometime in Q3, Penryn could launch in volume anytime in Q4 with Wolfdale and Wolfdale DP (volume server) following close on its heels.

As of now, everything looks like that the processor launches in 2007 should be at least as interesting as they were in 2006.