As well as lifting the lid on a new six-core processor, a leaked document (since withdrawn) has revealed the first official performance claims for Intel's upcoming Nehalem CPU architecture.

The new chips could be as much as 100 per cent faster than Intel's current PC processors.

The benchmarks in the leaked Sun Microsystems / Intel document are not exactly comprehensive, comprising of just two SPEC tests. But they're intriguing none the less.

Extrapolating from published SPEC benchmarks, it looks like a pair of quad-core Nehalems will deliver around twice the floating point performance of Intel's existing quad-core Xeon chips. Integer performance is claimed to be up approximately 40 per cent.

Single-socket scorcher?

Will Nehalem deliver similar gains in desktop trim? That's not currently known. However, many of the enhancements Intel has developed for Nehalem are designed to improve performance in multi-socket configurations.

Intel's desktop platforms are typically single socket, with the conspicuous exception of the uber expensive Skulltrail eight-core enthusiast solution.

Intel reckons Nehalem represents a revolutionary new integrated processor architecture. Both system I/O and memory controller functionality will be integrated onto the CPU package. That, of course, is precisely the layout that AMD's processors have boasted since the launch of the Athlon 64 in 2003. Not that it has done AMD much good recently.

Nehalem will form the basis of all Intel's x86 desktop and server processors starting in late 2008. The new chip will be available in dual, quad and eight core configurations. Models with integrated graphics will also be offered.