Merom crashing Intel's Core 2 Duo launch event

In addition to talking up its desktop chip on Thursday, the company will offer new details on its next laptop processor.

With all the hubbub surrounding its Core 2 Duo processor, Intel isn't going to waste any time just focusing on desktops at its launch event next week.

Merom, a notebook processor and the third leg of Intel's Core architecture triumvirate, will also get a thorough airing at a launch party planned at the chipmaker's headquarters next Thursday, CNET has learned. Intel plans to announce details about the branding strategy and systems that will appear with Merom processors, although the chips themselves won't be available until later, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.

The three chips form the basis of Intel's most competitive product lineup in years, and all are based on a new chipmaking architecture. The company has already launched the Woodcrest server chip, and released several details about the Conroe desktop chip, both of which address markets where Intel had lagged the performance of Advanced Micro Devices' processors.

Intel has maintained more of an advantage in notebooks with its Pentium M and Core Duo processors, but Merom will represent additional improvements in performance and power consumption. Like Conroe, it also will use the Core 2 Duo brand, with model numbers in the 5000 and 7000 range that will indicate performance.

Intel has already begun to ship Merom processors to its PC customers, Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini said Wednesday during the company's second-quarter earnings conference call. Systems with Merom should begin to appear around the end of August, according to sources.

CNET's Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.

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