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Intel Unveils Details of 'Core' Chip Design

Hoping to leap ahead of smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel Corp. unveiled details of a next-generation chip design that it claims will perform better -- and consume less power -- than today's Pentium 4.

The technology, dubbed the "Core" microarchitecture, will start shipping in the second half of 2006 in chips for notebook, desktop, entertainment and server computers.

"We're going to ramp it like crazy and deliver it in volume," Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, said Tuesday. "As a result, it's a better product, and people buy better products."

Intel's troubles have mounted over the past year as the Santa Clara-based company has shuffled product plans, managed inventory build ups and supply shortages and competed against AMD products that some analysts say deliver performance that's superior to Intel chips.

Between the fourth quarter of 2005 and the same period of 2004, Intel lost 5.3 points of market share to AMD, according to Mercury Research. It remains -- by far -- the world's largest microprocessor company with 76.9 percent of the worldwide market at the end of 2005.

On Friday, Intel lowered its revenue forecast for the current quarter after seeing weaker-than-expected demand and a "slight" share loss to rivals.

During the semiannual Intel Developer Forum, Gelsinger demonstrated a desktop chip based on the new microarchitecture. The processor, code-named Conroe, delivers 40 percent better performance while consuming 40 percent less power, he said.

"That's enough that you have a chance of beating the competition," said David Wu, an analyst with Global Crown Capital, said. "If it had been a 20 percent improvement, you don't have enough to write home about."

Investors appeared to shrug off the announcement. Shares of Intel lost 29 cents, to $20.01, in Tuesday afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. AMD shares were down 92 cents, to $38.47, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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