Intel's forthcoming Pentium D, the company's first dual-core processor for desktop PCs, was already on display in a small electronics shop in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Computer Plaza Zoa, in the city's Akihabara electronics district, had been demonstrating the Pentium D working on a motherboard with an i945 chip set, but on Tuesday the hardware was sitting idle on the shop's second floor.
A shop assistant, who declined to be named, refused to say when the processor would go on sale or for how much.
"I can't say anything. Intel told us so," the salesman said.
Dual-core processors are gaining widespread attention because of their expected performance gains over single-core processors. With two processor cores on a single piece of silicon, it's possible to more speedily perform two jobs simultaneously, such as video editing and burning optical disks, because the cores can handle the tasks independently.
Intel has told the store not to divulge any information about the processor and motherboard, but it has allowed the chip and motherboard to remain on display, says Masatoshi Mizuno, a spokesperson for Intel KK, the Japanese unit of the chip company.
"Shops like Zoa can show the Pentium D and motherboard, but we asked them not to display any other unannounced information. This is normal practice," he says.
Intel is scheduled to launch the processor before the end of this month. It will promote the chip at Taiwan's Computex trade show, which runs from May 31 to June 4.
Arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices will launch the first dual-core version of its Athlon 64 desktop processor, called the AMD Athlon 64 X2, at the show.
The Pentium D is Intel's second dual-core processor. The first, the Pentium Extreme Edition 840, also called the Pentium EE, has been shipping in volume since April.