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Intel to preview new chips on December 17

Chipmaker will host an event next week in San Francisco where it will show off new processors coming in early 2010.

On December 17, Intel will preview new processors for laptops, among other chip technologies.

The preview is significant because it will be Intel's first chance to show off its ready-to-ship, commercially viable next-generation 32-nanometer technology. Almost all Intel processors are currently built on a 45-nanometer process. Generally, the smaller the geometry, the faster and more power efficient the processor is.

Intel's Core i series of processors will be the focus of the San Francisco event that will serve as a venue to preview and demonstrate products to be rolled out at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The "Nehalem" microarchitecture that powers the Core i chips was introduced in November of last year and is considered a major step up in performance over previous architectures. To date, Intel has shipped the high-end Core i7 for gaming machines and mid-range Core i5 processors.

Intel is expected to preview the first Core i3 processors--some, including the 2.93GHz i3 530, have appeared on retail sites already--as well as updates to the Core i5 series.

One of the most anticipated processor technologies is "Arrandale." This will be the first mainstream Intel laptop processor to put two processor cores and a graphics function together in one chip package, resulting in better overall power efficiency. And the new built-in graphics technology is expected to offer materially better graphics performance than current Intel graphics.

Arrandale will eventually come under the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 brands, though initial versions are expected to appear as the Core i3 and i5.

Intel is also expected to make a push to get its Turbo Boost technology into more Core i5 and i7 processors--including Arrandale i5 models. Turbo Boost speeds up and slows down individual cores to meet processing and power-efficiency needs, respectively.

Separately, Intel is also getting ready to roll out new Atom chip technology for Netbooks, commonly referred to as "Pine Trail." That is also happening later this month.