Intel has been dropping hints about the future of multi-core processors, especially at the last IDF, and now with roadmaps, and now there is some very interesting information regarding the impending release of CPUs with more than two cores. Based upon Conroe, the “Kentsfield” design will have a full 4MB of L2 cache across 4 CPU cores total, and an eventual migration in the future to an upgraded design that has 8MB of L2 cache available. Coupled with Intel's move to unified cache and more development in the area of multithreading, a quad-core chip, assuming it is power-feasible, will definitely be a workhorse like no other available in a desktop platform. Intel is optimistic, and is slated for a release as soon as Q1 of 2007, though we all know that setbacks can occur.
The question now on many people's minds is “Will my current 9x5 board work with a quad core chip?”. Sadly, the answer is most likely no. We saw a very large amount of unhappy people when it was revealed that dual-core P4s would not operate on 915/925 boards, and instead would require a newer board, despite many people having purchased 915/925 already. We may get lucky and have a very worthy upgrade path for a 945/955, but I wouldn't count on it.