Intel will ship quad-core chips designed specifically for notebooks later this year, but they are most likely to end up on desktop replacement laptops where battery life isn't such an issue.
The quad-core chips will be based on the Core 2 Duo micro-architecture and will ship in the third quarter.
Intel declined to give more details, though enthusiast websites reported the chip is Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX9300. The chips will be manufactured using the new 45-nanometre process.
The chip will be released after Intel's Centrino 2 platform, code-named Montevina, is launched in the second quarter. Montevina is an upgrade to the current Centrino mobile platform that puts WiMax and Wi-Fi networking capabilities on a single chip.
Montevina will include processors based on the Core 2 micro-architecture and the quad-core notebook processor could be included in the platform.
The quad-core processors will strain battery life, and the vice president and general manager of Intel Mobile Platforms Group, Mooly Eden, has previously said the chips are most likely to first make their way to power-hungry high-end gaming and workstation notebooks.
Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64, agrees. The chips won't reach smaller notebooks like the MacBook Air anytime soon, he said.
A quad-core laptop with a separate graphics card could be a powerful desktop alternative, and it will be portable, Brookwood believed.
Notebooks are still being driven by battery life, and the number of people who need huge performance is still small, he said. The quad-core CPU (central processing unit) is going to require more power than a dual-core CPU even if the CPU clock is slowed down, he said.