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The Intel Core i7 processor officially debuted on Monday afternoon, and PC makers including Dell and Gateway, quickly followed suit with announcements about products using the new chip.

The Intel Core i7 processor speeds processor-intensive applications like video editing and immersive games "by up to 40 percent without increasing power consumption," Intel said in a statement.

The Intel Core i7 announcement comes a week after rival AMD released Shanghai, a a 45-nanometer, quad-core processor designed for energy efficiency and optimized for virtualization. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sun Microsystems have all announced plans to use the chip in their servers.

The Intel Core i7 includes what Intel calls ‘Turbo Boost,’ a technology that matches performance to a user’s individual needs and workloads. Through an on-chip power control unit, Turbo Boost automatically adjusts the clock speed of one or more of the four individual processing cores without increasing power consumption, Intel said.

Combining the i7 with super-fast solid state drives will lead to significant jumps in performance, according to Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group. "When you couple what is Intel’s biggest leap in chip design with other incredible innovations like Intel’s solid state drives, the Core i7 processor has redefined the computer of tomorrow," he said in a statement.

The new processor also has the latest Intel power-saving technologies, including the ability for desktops to achieve sleep states formerly reserved for Intel-based notebooks.

The launch of the Intel Core i7 processor also represents Intel’s first model to use monolithic die, which rival AMD has been using for more than a year in its chip production processes. Monolithic die refers to the placement of four cores on a single piece of silicon. Previous Intel quad-core chips cobbled together two dual-core die.

Other features include QuickPath, which doubles the memory bandwidth of previous Intel "Extreme" platforms, and Hyper-Threading Technology, which allows multiple computing threads to run simultaneously, effectively enabling the chip to do two things at once.

Each Core i7 processor features an 8 MB level 3 cache and three channels of DDR3 1066 memory.

Dell, Gateway, and Alienware, which is a subsidiary of Dell, have all announced systems using the new chip.