Intel announced in January that four 45nm desktop Core 2 Duo processors would pop into stores later that month, and that three 45nm desktop Core 2 Quads would follow later in the quarter. Almost three months have passed, and 45nm Core 2 Duos are still pretty much impossible to find in stock anywhere. Just as Intel was looking like it'd miss its launch target for 45nm Core 2 Quads, the Q9300 model has finally become available on Newegg.
Don't get your hopes up too high, though. The Core 2 Quad Q9300 Newegg has in stock is an OEM model, so it doesn't come with a heatsink or warranty coverage from Intel. The e-tailer is also pricing the Q9300 at $299.99 with free shipping, which is a good $34 more than the official launch price. Still, the new chip is in stock, and it definitely seems to be Intel's fastest quad-core offering in that price range: it runs at 2.5GHz with 6MB of L2 cache and a 1333MHz front-side bus, and its Penryn cores have architectural improvements that make them faster clock-for-clock than Intel's previous-generation offerings. For the record, the cheapest Core 2 Quad right now is the 65nm Q6600 model, which is clocked at 2.4GHz and can be had for around $260.
There may be light at the end of the tunnel for folks seeking 45nm Core 2 Duos, too. Newegg quotes an ETA of March 28 for the Core 2 Duo E8400, which runs at 3GHz with 6MB of cache and a 1333MHz FSB. Here again, though, you'll have to pay significantly more than the chip's official launch price—$259.99 at Newegg instead of $183.