Intel CEO: Quad Core Inside, Coming In November

operating systems

Speaking at the official launch of the industry's first desktop and server quad processors, Otellini said the need for speed is back, and Google Desktop, Apple iTunes, Windows Vista, Mac OS X and Adobe Photoshop are driving demand for increased computing power in the marketplace.

The initial quad-core desktop chip will be introduced in November as part of the Core 2 Extreme family and be called Core 2 Extreme QX6700. The mainstream Core 2 Quad processors will become available in the first quarter of 2007.

Also in November, Intel plans to launch its first quad-core Xeon server processor, the Xeon 5300, Otellini said. The chip marks the industry's first quad-core CPU for high-volume server shipments and will represent a more than 50 percent performance improvement vs. the current Xeon, at the same performance per watt, he said.

"Quad core inside, coming in November," Otellini said at IDF.

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With the launch of the "Woodcrest" Xeon 5100 dual-core chip and Core 2 Duo processors this summer and the launch of the quad-core processors today, Intel leapfrogs past rival AMD, he added.

"Much has been written about the Intel losing momentum, but with the new set of dual- and quad-core processors, we've regained our leadership," he said.

Otellini said it may take some time to convince naysayers that Intel is back on track, but he hinted that the market is showing results.

"Perception doesn't change overnight. It changes in bits and pieces," Otellini said at a press conference after his keynote. "What you see is Intel rebuilding, and the quad-core is extremely important in servers."

He pointed out, for example, that Intel has sold more than 1 million Xeon 5100s in the processor's first three months on the market, which represents the fastest server-chip ramp in Intel's history. The Xeon 5100 now represents half of all DP processors sold and accounts for more than 40 percent of server market share, he said. Otellini shot back at one reporter who asked whether the quad-core processor will be offered as a single processor or in a multichip package. "It is multichip, but who cares? It's in a lower power envelope," Otellini said. "You are misreading the market if you think people care about what's in the package."

Though the initial batch of Core 2 Extreme processors will be targeted at gamers, the Core 2 Quad and Xeon Quad processors stand to become mainstream in business use during the first half of 2007, according to Otellini.

The Core 2 Extreme QX6700 will offer 70 percent better performance than current Core 2 Extreme processor. The initial batch of the new quad-core chip will use 130 watts and 100 watts in early 2007.

The Xeon quad-core processor will be offered in the same thermal envelope as the Woodcrest chip, at 80 watts, but it will offer a 50 percent increase in performance, Otellini said.

Intel said that in the first part of 2007 it plans to release a single-socket Xeon quad-core processor at the same time as mainstream quad-core desktop processors.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chip giant will release multiple processor SKUs and price points. For example, the Xeon quad-core processor will be available in three power settings to meet the diverse needs of various data centers. The mainstream proessor will use 80 watts, but Intel also will offer a 50-watt server processor for power-sensitive customers and another chip for power users that uses more energy.

Next year, Intel plans to upgrade its two-way "Bensley" server platform with "Clovertown" quad-core processors and the four-way "Caneland" server platform with quad-core chips.

Also slated to launch in early 2007 is a new Centrino platform, code-named Santa Rosa, that's based on Core 2 Duo. It will support 802.11n wireless technology. In 2008, Intel plans to integrate WiMax on a single Centrino chip.