Intel is previewing a new 3.2GHz model of its successful Core 2 quad-core processor. The new chip looks an awful lot like a spoiler for AMD's multi-pronged product launch today - it won't actually be available until early 2008.

Known as the Core 2 Extreme QX9770, it lifts Intel to a new 3.2GHz high for its quad-core CPU clock frequencies. It also introduces a 1,600MHz bus interface for the first time on an Intel desktop processor.

4GHz (if air-cooled)

In most other regards, the new processor is much the same as the 3.0GHz QX9650 model Intel unveiled in October. Notably, it shares the same impressive 45nm process technology that allowed the QX9650 to post such astonishing power consumption figures.

However, with the QX9770, Intel has shifted the emphasis towards pure performance. By increasing the chip's core voltage by approximately 0.15v, it has enabled the QX9770 to hit even higher clockspeeds when overclocked using standard voltages.

You can read our full review of the QX9770 later today. For now, try this tasty morsel: the QX9770 runs at over 4GHz on air cooling and stock voltages. As they used to say in Quake III, Impressive!