April 30, 2005
 



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Posted: 04.25.05

Two Cores are Better than One

Both Intel and AMD released dual core processors last week—Intel’s Extreme Edition 840 desktop processor and AMD’s dual-core Opteron server system. Both chip makers claimed to have won the dual-core race, though Intel did release its PC chips a week before AMDs servers, the industry seems split on which market dual-core processors will most impact. Intel is touting dual-core technology as the biggest thing to hit PC technology in the last ten years. While AMD claims to have released dual-core where it “really counts”—the server market.
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By Teresa von Fuchs




A dual-core processor effectively bundles two processors onto a single chip, allowing for better performance with only a limited increase in power consumption. In PCs this means the two cores can operate independently of another, for example one can process a video file while the other scans for viruses. For heavy multimedia applications, dual core technology will eventually show major processing gains. While the server industry is more equipped to take immediate advantage of multiprocessor systems, the PC market will have to wait for operating systems and applications optimized for dual core processors.

HP, Sun Microsystems and IBM all showed off new servers based on AMD's dual-core Opteron chip last week at an AMD event in New York. HP plans to upgrade its four-processor ProLiant DL585 server with the new dual-core Opterons, which should start shipping in May. IBM is expected to wow customers with a new Opteron-based blade that will be sold alongside its current two-processor Opteron server.

At the event, AMD also announced the availability of dual-core chips aimed at desktops and notebooks. In June AMD will rollout the Athlon 64 X2 chip for desktops and large “desktop-replacement” notebooks.

PC makers including Dell, Alienware and Velocity Micro have already begun selling computers equipped with Intel’s newly developed Pentium Extreme Edition 840 chips. The launch of the Intel chips coincided with the 40th anniversary of Moore's Law. And Intel plans to release a dual-core version of its Itanium server chip, code-named Montecito, later this year. Both AMD and Intel are expected to add dual-core technology to their mobile chip lines by next year.






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