Intel’s successor to the Core micro-architecture, Nehalem, is expected to hit the market later this year. While the company began teasing the PC enthusiast crowd by showing a working system with two such processors at their Developer Forum last year and offered a further glimpse at this year’s Computex, the folks over at AnanTech have now managed to snag a pair of Nehalem processors to run some tests of their own.

While the test rig used by Anand didn’t exactly turn out to be the most reliable (memory latency was high and they ran into some problems with the PCI Express slot), it was good enough to run some early benchmarks on a 2.66GHz chip. All problems aside, Nehalem was able to post 20 to 50% performance gains over Penryn while driving up power consumption by a mere 10% which was enough to leave AnandTech very excited. As they put it, AMD better have something up their sleeves to even come close to achieving competition here. Check out the full preview here.