PC Makers Add New Intel Chips to Desktops

PC makers on Tuesday announced desktops with Intel's new Core processors, which includes the Core i5 chip for budget systems that were launched on Monday.

New desktops from Dell and Falcon Northwest are targeted at budget buyers looking to run demanding multimedia applications. The desktops offer Intel's Core i5 chip as an option, which boasts improvements that could make the processor faster and more power efficient than its predecessors.

Intel introduced one Core i5 and two Core i7 quad-core processors on Monday. The Core i5-750 is the first product in a new lineup of chips for budget systems, while the Core i7-870 and Core i7-860 are targeted at midrange to high-end desktops. The first chips in the Core i7 lineup were originally announced last November.

Dell announced a pair of desktops -- the Studio XPS 8000 and 9000 -- which start at US$799 and feature the new chips. The Studio XPS 8000 lineup includes four minitowers targeted at buyers looking to run "demanding multitasking" operations to high-definition PC games, according to Dell's Web site.

"The Studio XPS 8000 is a great option for the kind of user who needs performance and power without a massive full-size minitower," wrote Lionel Mechaca, a spokesman for Dell in a blog entry. No information about the new XPS 9000 desktop was immediately available.

The systems come with the Windows Vista 64-bit OS and are bundled with graphics cards from ATI and Nvidia to enhance the multimedia experience. The systems are capable of tapping into the combined processing power of CPUs and graphics processing units for faster video decoding to portable devices like the Sony PSP or Apple's iPhone. The capability is enabled by CyberLink's MediaShow Espresso, which is available as an option from Dell for $20.

Falcon Northwest is moving its entire an Talon line of budget gaming systems to the new Nehalem-based chips, said Kelt Reeves, the company's CEO in an e-mail.

"The new CPUs and chipset are a mid-range price and performance play from Intel, so we're converting our budget-conscious 'Talon' line over to them," Reeves said.

The company was finalizing pricing and details of the systems, though barebones Talon PCs could be available for under $1,000, Reeves said. But fully configured PCs could carry a price tag of over $1,000.

Hewlett-Packard, the world's top PC maker, didn't immediately respond to request for comment on new PCs based on the chips.

The Core i5-750 runs at 2.66GHz, while the Core i7-870 and the Core i7-860 run at 2.93GHz and 2.8GHz, respectively. All the chips include 8MB of cache.

Nehalem was a significant architectural upgrade for Intel with Core i7 chips being the first chips based on the microarchitecture. Nehalem integrates a memory controller on the chip, which provides faster access path to memory. The architecture also provides a faster pipe for the CPU to communicate with system components like a graphics card.

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