AMD Challenges Intel to a Dual

AMD has challenged Intel to a dual … as in
dual-core processor.

The No. 2 chipmaker drew first blood earlier this week at the
company’s Sunnyvale, Calif., facilities with a demonstration of a new dual-core
AMD Athlon 64 processor, manufactured on 90-nanometer technology. The
presentation follows last week’s display of AMD’s multi-core Opteron
server and workstation chips at LinuxWorld.

Intel’s chance to shine won’t come till next
week’s Intel Developers Forum, where it is expected to demonstrate
its dual-core Pentium 4, code-named Smithfield, and its Pentium M
dual-core mobile processor, code-named Yonah. Both chips are on tap for
launch before summer.

AMD demonstrated its first x86 dual-core processor in August 2004, showing an HP ProLiant DL585 server powered by four dual-core AMD
Opteron chips. Intel first demonstrated its IA64 dual-core Itanium
Montecito in September 2004.

Dual-core processors, which consist of two cores on one chip, are
widely seen as a promising way to boost computing power, allowing
servers, workstations and PCs to perform more functions simultaneously.
AMD and Intel say they expect massive volume shipments of the
dual-core chips in 2006.

Software vendors like Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat and Sun are very
supportive of dual-core technologies. Each of the companies support
Intel and AMD’s recommendation to the ISV community to license their
software applications by processor.

“The shift to dual-core comes from the problems it encountered
increasing performance on a single core,” IDC analyst Roger Kay told “Essentially, power consumption and heat
generation were unacceptable at higher clock rates. So, now these
companies are pursuing a distributed computing strategy. Of course, AMD
and Intel are engaged in a bragging-rights contest on all fronts — highest clock rate, register size, bus speed, and anything else that can
be measured — but I think competitive concerns are not the principle
drivers of their architectural considerations.”

AMD said it has been shipping production samples of dual-core AMD
Opteron processors to partners since January. The company plans to introduce a
dual-core processor line-up for the one- to eight-socket server and
workstation markets in mid-2005 based on the existing 940-pin socket.
AMD64 dual-core processors for the client market are expected to follow
in the second half of 2005.

“Dual-core technology is advancing the levels of performance and
multi-tasking that can benefit businesses and consumers as soon as those
processors become available,” Kevin Krewell, an industry analyst with
In-Stat said. “Multi-core technology is the next frontier in
microprocessor design, and AMD is clearly positioned as a company that
will enable it to become pervasive.”

In addition, AMD said it plans to continue to improve
single-core AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Athlon 64 FX processors.

Intel is not giving up on single-core architectures, either. The
company said it has been encouraged by the number of “*T family” of
technologies like HyperThreading and EM64T enhancements. Intel is also
expected to introduce chips base on 65nm technology by the end
of the year.

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