Conroe PCs ready to launch

Conroe PCs ready to launch

PC makers announced new desktop and workstation PCs following

Intel's launch of its "Conroe" Core 2 Duo processor.

Intel plans an "extremely fast production ramp" of the new chip design, taking

just seven weeks to ship 1 million chips, Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul

Otellini told reporters during a press conference in Santa Clara, California.

Intel took one year to ship that many Pentium chips, he said. The quick launch

will allow vendors to ship desktops to stores by early August and notebooks by

late August. A few products are already available now.

"Today's a big day for us; it's like our birthday and wedding wrapped up in

one," he said, standing under a big white tent during a California heat wave.

"This is the best microprocessor we've ever designed. It's our first premium

brand since we introduced the Pentium 13 years ago."

America's three biggest PC makers: Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway -- announced they would replace Intel's Pentium D with the new chip.

The upgrade will allow users to handle digital photos and music 35 percent

faster and play games 47 percent faster on desktops like the XPS 410 and

Dimension 9200, according to Dell.

Dell will use the similar Core 2 Extreme chip in its Precision 390 workstation,

improving graphics performance by 88 percent for computer-aided design or

digital content creation.

The Precision 390 is on sale Thursday for US$1,050. The new XPS and Dimension

models will be available by late August for $1,595 and $1,674. Dell also plans

to use the mobile version of the Core 2 Duo, "Merom," in its Precision,

Latitude, Inspiron and XPS notebook lines by the end of August.

Likewise, HP announced it would use the Core 2 Duo to replace Pentium 4 and

Pentium D chips, as it upgrades its xw4300 line to the new xw4400 workstation.

"Power users" from engineers to video editors will see both a large jump in

performance and a drop in electricity needs, said Jim Zafarana, vice president

of HP's workstation global business unit. The xw4400 will be available in early

August for prices starting below $1,000.

Video gamers are one of the largest markets being targeting by vendors.

Gateway will use the Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Extreme in its FX510 desktop. The

computer is available now for prices ranging from $1,300 to $4,200.

Other vendors selling Core 2 Duo-based computers include high-end gaming system

makers Voodoo PC and Alienware, now owned by Dell.

Voodoo will sell its OMEN i:121 Extreme desktop PC, while Alienware offers the

Area-51 7500 and Area-51 ALX desktops. Alienware also plans to support the Core

2 Duo mobile chip in its Area-51 m5750 and Area-51 m5550 notebooks later in the

third quarter. Neither vendor has listed prices yet.

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