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Intel and AMD are preparing to release new multi-core microprocessors in the second half of 2007.
While high-performance system builders are excited about potential performance gains, those serving broader markets are wondering when operating systems and applications will catch up.
While Intel is set to release four additions to its Core 2 Duo Processor line on July 22, it's the debut much later in the year of the product codenamed Penryn that has specialized system builders abuzz. Penryn, the successor to the Merom core now used for the chip giant's Core 2 Duo T5000/T7000 series mobile processors, will mark the debut of Intel's version of the 45 nanometer process, the latest milestone in semiconductor fabrication.
No release date has been set, but Penryn will ship in "the latter half of the second half" of 2007, said Steve Dallman, general manager of Intel's Worldwide Reseller Channel Organization. Desktop and quad core versions of the processor are codenamed Wolfdale and Yorkfield and are scheduled for release in 2008.
The release of Penryn has been timed to ensure that motherboards and Intel's 3 Series chipsets are in place to support the new processors, Dallman said.
"The good news for the channel is that when the 45 nanometer processors come out, the boards and chip sets are already going to be compatible. That means there'll be big opportunities for the channel, because they can take the lead on this technology," he said.
AMD's quad-core Opteron chip, code-named Barcelona, will start to ship towards the end of summer with full systems coming out shortly after that, said John Fruehe, AMD's worldwide market development manager for server/workstation products.
Fruehe said Barcelona would be would be easy to install after removing dual cores and would offer a "significant level of performance improvements" over Intel's quad-core Xeon 5300 processor for servers.
"The opportunity for the channel is great. We will add shared level-3 cache for all four cores. Each core has its own dedicated level-2 cache. We're talking the same power and thermal ranges as the current dual cores," he said. "And you'll also get new enhancements for virtualization, which is a big deal for the channel because 80 percent of their customers are running virtualization or considering it."
Fruehe would not give specifics on pricing.
"What I can say is that we'll have a very aggressively priced processor, but more importantly, the price for performance is going to be outstanding," he said.
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