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Sat 7 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Intel’s quad squad steals march on archrival AMD

Intel will begin shipping its first quad-core microprocessors for PCs and high-volume servers this November, stealing the lead on rival chipmaker AMD.

Intel will begin shipping its first quad-core microprocessors for PCs and high-volume servers this November, stealing the lead on rival chipmaker AMD who will not have its quad-core offering available till the middle of next year.

Paul Otellini, company CEO, broke the news to delegates at Intel’s annual developer forum in San Francisco last month, and claimed the new line of dual and quad-core processors had, once and for all, reclaimed the technology edge from AMD.

“Much has been written in the last year about Intel losing its momentum, losing its leadership in the server market space,” Otellini said at the

conference. “I believe very much that with this new set of dual and quad core microprocessors we’ve now regained our leadership.”

The chipmaker’s first quad-core processors will be called Intel Core 2 Extreme on the desktop, aimed at computer game enthusiasts, and branded under the Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 series in the server space.

The chipmaker’s mainstream quad-core offering, called Intel Core 2 Quad, will ship in the first quarter of next year.

Intel claimed the Core 2 Extreme would improve performance over the previous generation of Extreme chips by 67%, while the quad core Xeon series would increase performance by 50% over the dual-core Xeon chips released less than six months ago.

The chips are based on Intel’s new approach to processor design called Core microarchitecture. The first processors to

be based on this were the dual-core Core 2 Duo chips released this summer.

The new technology is a shift away from simply going after clock speed as the pinnacle of performance and looks more towards making processors do more work per clock cycle.

The chip giant claims it has developed a more intelligent cache memory design and altered the way instructions more around the processor, improving its performance and eliminating inefficiencies in the link between the processor and the main memory.

With Intel’s quad-core setup there are two cores on one die and another two cores on another die, essentially combining two dual-core Core 2 Duo processors together as one.

AMD, which is working on a quad-core microprocessor that has four cores on a single die, claimed Intel’s approach increased latency.

Intel’s rival claimed the core on one die took longer to go through an off-chip memory controller in order to talk to a core on the other die.

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