Game Over For Intel Single Core Development

Intel is giving game developers new weapons as it fleshes out its multi-core and multi-threaded strategy.

Following the message by Intel executives that, “the transition is underway,” the company expanded seeding of its dual-core-based software development platforms this week as part of the Intel Software and Solutions Group’s Early Access Program. Game developers Epic Games and Ubisoft are already on board.

The tools are focused primarily on the dual-core Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition with Hyper-Threading technology and the Intel 955X Express Chipset, formerly codenamed “Glenwood.” Intel is also offering a separate dual-core desktop-based development platform for its Pentium D processor. Both are expected to be released in the next three months.

The platforms will also come with development tools such as the Intel C++ Compiler, Intel VTune Performance Analyzer, Intel Performance Primitives and Intel Threading Tools.

“The game is over for software that is written only for a single processor,” Robert Crooke, vice president of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, said in a statement. “Intel is providing the platform and tools to help out the game developers as they start the transition to a multi-core and multi-thread environment.”

This is not to say that the single-core processor is dead. Intel said it would continue to support the architecture while it rolls out some 15 multi-core Pentium, Xeon and Itanium processors in the next year and a half. But Intel’s main problem at this point is that the gaming world is rife with single-core Pentiums with massive support ecosystems in place. Intel’s saving grace however, is that the single-core processors can only run so fast under normal heat conditions.

“The shift to dual-core comes from the problems it encountered increasing performance on a single core,” IDC analyst Roger Kay recently told “Essentially, power consumption and heat generation were unacceptable at higher clock rates. So, now these companies are pursuing a distributed computing strategy.”

Kay said AMD and Intel are competing for bragging-rights 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,” Kay said.

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. Intel and its rival AMD have been wooing developers with their dual-core architectures. Both companies are shipping silicon this year with massive volume shipments of the dual-core chips expected in 2006.

Intel said it will seed other client and server platforms over the coming months.

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