Electronics shops in Taipei's Guang Hua computer market are perhaps the first retail outlets in thw world to offer Intel's latest Lynnfield microprocessors.

Lynnfield chips are desktop microprocessors based on Intel's Nehalem chip architecture. They carry four processing cores each and have been branded Core i5 and Core i7 for world markets.

The processors were supposed to be released around the end of August or in early September, but some Taiwanese shops have apparently jumped the gun on sales, complete with Intel P55 chipsets and accompanying motherboards.

"We put these on sale last week," said one shop owner at Guang Hua. His store carried four different motherboards for the processors, which fit into a new socket, LGA 1156, and require a new Intel P55 chipset as well as DDR3 (double data rate, third generation) DRAM chips.

The Core i5-750 was available at most stores in the Guang Hua market area, where dozens of shops compete against each other for customers. The Core i7-860 was on sale at some shops but not others, and the Core i7-870, was available at just a few shops for NT$19,600 (US$595).

Intel Lynnfield microprocessors have been spotted elsewhere as well. Several blogs pointed the way to this listing on the website of Fry's Electronics. The US store chain is offering Core-i5-750 processors for US$205(£125) and the website said the processors were available for same day shipping.

Intel usually takes great care in controlling the release of its latest microprocessors so that they go on sale around the world at about the same time. Their appearance in Taipei indicates the chips are ready for market. The company reportedly had planned to release Lynnfield processors in July but opted to delay the release until new chipsets were ready.

Intel declined to comment for this report but said it is investigating reports of information leaks and pre-sales.

Lynnfield processors did not appear on Intel's latest price list, which was published 9 August.

The Taiwanese may be among the best placed people in the world to buy the latest computer components such as microprocessors due to the large number of contract electronics manufacturers and computer assemblers on the island. These companies require these components several months in advance so they can be fitted into computer systems destined for world markets.