Update: Intel Uncorks 'Merom' Mobile Chip At Core 2 Duo Launch; vPro A No-Show

Merom is the last processor category to ship using Intel's new Core microarchitecture. Intel's "Woodcrest" Xeon server chips shipped last month, and Intel officials said the Core 2 Duo desktop processor has been shipping for weeks.

The dual-core mobile processors are actually shipping to some customers now and should start showing up in notebooks next month in five configurations, an Intel spokesman said. Each will have a 667MHz bus speed and 4 Mbytes of cache. Clock speeds range from 1.66GHz to 2.33GHz. The spokesman said Intel will release pricing when the notebooks begin shipping.

Todd Garrigues, Intel's North American channel products marketing manager, said that distribution will be stocked for mobile in August but that "the real numbers" will ramp at the end of the third quarter.

On the other hand, Intel will have shipped "tens of thousands" of desktop CPUs and motherboards by the Aug. 7 Core 2 Duo sell date, Garrigues said.

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He noted that Intel has sent out more than 1,000 seed units--a combination of CPU, chipset and motherboard--worldwide and more than 200 in the United States. Core 2 Duo, he said, is one of Intel's "largest channel-seeding efforts."

Missing, however, is the second piece to Core 2 Duo: Intel's vPro platform, which is slated to bring additional management and security features. Garrigues said some components and third-party software for vPro still aren't available but should be ready in the third quarter.

Intel has been dribbling information about the Core 2 Duo for months, including allowing reviewers to release benchmark numbers earlier this month.

The launch gives Intel an opportunity to catch up with rival Advanced Micro Devices, which has won kudos in the industry for its processors' performance. The system builder channel is a particularly important space for Intel's desktop efforts, since many systems builders are still doing the bulk of their business in desktop clients.

This story was updated on July 28 with CPU ship date clarifcations from an Intel spokesman.