If this story turns out to be correct, it looks like AMD isn’t the only one planning a 6-core processor for this fall.  According to Bit-tech’s sources, Intel not only has plans to release a 6-core derivative of their Nehalem architecture (codenamed Westmere) in a few months but that it will be aimed at the desktop market and will work in existing LGA1366 X58 motherboards with a simple BIOS update.

This would indeed make for a VERY powerful desktop processor and since I will assume that HyperThreading will remain enabled, allows for 12 threads of processing in a single socket system.  Obviously frequencies and speeds on these chips are still going to be up in the air but with just under 33% additional power required for the additional set of cores (giving the UNcore features an equal power draw on existing quad-core designs) we should assume clock speeds would be lower than that top end Core i7 parts.

I tend to believe that Intel will not release a 6-core version of Nehalem at 45nm and would likely wait for the 32nm transition to Westmere start before offering up such a massive amount of transistors to the desktop consumer. 

Intel planning a 6-core Nehalem part for desktops this fall - Processors 2
Architectures for 2, 4, 6 and 8-core Intel Nehalem CPUs – Click for much larger version

Speaking of Core i7, it also appears that the upcoming Westmere part will NOT share the Core i7 branding but will instead take on something new.  We are fine with that here at PC Perspective – as long as they work in existing motherboards I think this is a win for enthusiast consumers that want the most options available to them.
Our sources said that the new chip will drop into existing X58/LGA1366 motherboards with a BIOS update. We’re told that most board manufacturers have already added support, so unless you’re running an outdated BIOS release, there’s no need to worry about whether your board will work with the new chip or not.

It will sit alongside the Core i7 975 on this platform as Intel plans to discontinue every other Core i7 CPU later this year. What was interesting though was that the new chip apparently won’t fit under the Core i7 moniker. When probed, the sources said that Intel hadn’t finalised the name for this chip but were fairly certain that it wouldn’t fall under the i7 brand.