Intel's Nehalem or Core i7 chip was mooted for release this year, and it has yet to appear, but the excitement is still building.

So why should we be bothered about it? Well, Nehalem will mean faster computers.

It is to be the company's second and last 45nm architecture refresh before it launches Westmere and Sandy Bridge, both of which will be built on a 32nm process, explains Ars Technica.

Online reports are calling it a successor to the Penryn chip, but the big development for Nehalem is the integrated memory controller.

Intel has been using the GTL+ bus specification since the Pentium Pro. But now it is taking the game to the likes of AMD (with Opteron) by debuting both a triple-channel integrated memory controller and a point-to-point protocol called QuickPath Interconnect (QPI).

Again so what? Well Intel's QPI offers up to twice the 12.8GBps of bandwidth of the X48 chipset, so your data will process quicker.

In fact, says Ars Technica, which has been testing the chip: "We're not quite ready to release a full set of test results, but trust me when I say this thing is fast .... I've a feeling that the numerous processor enhancements Intel built into Nehalem would make the chip potent in its own right, but combined with the platform upgrades, it's the rarest of rare gems - a $1,000 CPU that might be worth buying".