Intel is set to strengthen its Core 2 Duo lineup in the first half of next year
with three new entry level parts, before refreshing its high end Core 2 Duo products with 1333MHz FSB parts.
The new entry level processors will form the Core 2 Duo E4000-series, with the E4200 being the slowest chip clocked at 1.60GHz. Originally, the Core 2 Duo E4200 was scheduled for launch in the final quarter of 2006, but Intel has pushed it back to the second quarter of 2007.
Intel's first addition to the lineup will be the E4300, which will come clocked at 1.80GHz and is set to launch in the first quarter of 2007.
The final addition in the first half of next year will be the E4400 - that will come clocked at 2.0GHz. It is scheduled for launch in the same time frame as the Core 2 Duo E4200 processor.
All of the entry-level Core 2 Duo processors will use an 800MHz front side bus, as opposed to the higher 1066MHz bus speed used on all of Intel's current Core 2 Duo processors.
One thing that is unclear at the moment is the amount of L2 cache the new chips will have. Our best guess is that they'll be Allendale-based, meaning that they will come with a 2MB shared L2 cache. However, there is a possibility that Intel will shrink the L2 cache further on the E4000 series - that seems unlikely, though. One thing that is fairly certain though is that there won't be a 4MB L2 cache on the entry level parts, as it's quite possible that the lower-clocked E4300 would outperform an E6300 in many benchmarks.
In the second half of next year, Intel will also refresh its high-end Core 2 Duo E6600, E6700 and X6800 parts
with the E6650, E6750 and E6850 - these all come with a 1333MHz front side bus and are clocked at 2.33GHz, 2.67GHz and 3.0GHz. It could be that the Core 2 Duo E6650 is actually a slower chip than the product it's replacing, despite having a higher front side bus speed - this obviously down to the lower overall clock speed.
There is one final chip planned that we've not covered thus far, but the details are incredibly scarce. The Core 2 Duo E6390 is clocked at the same speed as the Core 2 Duo E6400 (2.13GHz), and both chips use the same 1066MHz front side bus. We're assuming that the lower model number will mean that one or more features will be disabled inside the chip in order to drop the retail price. However, the specifics have not been detailed thus far.