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Intel Stepping Up to Combat AMD's 4x4 202

Posted by Zonk
from the chip-fight dept.
Grooves writes "Intel has said that the company is stepping up the pace of its Core 2 architecture rollout to compete with AMD's 4x4. Two "quad-core" parts originally slated for release in the first half of 2007, Kentsfield for the desktop and Clovertown for servers, will make their debut as early as the end of this year. The Ars article warns that per-core bandwidth problems could end up giving a performance advantage to AMD's 4x4 approach."
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Intel Stepping Up to Combat AMD's 4x4

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  • Haste (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MECC (8478) *
    Make waste...

  • And so it begins (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Linkiroth (952123) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:47PM (#15751237)
    The great hardware war heats up once again. Right now, the biggest advantage Intel has is that their chips are scheduled for an earlier release. If they wait on the Core 2s, they're screwed. They need to get the Core 2 Duos out before AMD gets out their 4x4s so that people have less of a reason to upgrade when AMD releases their chips.
    • by vancondo (986849) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:01PM (#15751335) Homepage
      They need to get the Core 2 Duos out before AMD gets out their 4x4s so that people have less of a reason to upgrade when AMD releases their chips.


      Do most chip sales happen at the release date, or do most people wait for the competitors product to come out spurring price drops to compete? I know I seldom buy anything at the alpha-expensive stage, usually preferring to wait a few months for the inevitable price drop.
      • Re:And so it begins (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The Core 2 Duos aren't "alpha expensive" -- they're significantly cheaper than AMD's prices as of right now.
        • Re:And so it begins (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jejones (115979) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:41PM (#15752040) Journal
          The Core 2 Duos aren't "alpha expensive" -- they're significantly cheaper than AMD's prices as of right now.

          Agreed, but... July 24th, the date when AMD is going to cut some CPU prices almost in half, is barely over a weekend away, and there is the question of supply and demand. Will demand be sufficient to drive the price up?
      • Re:And so it begins (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:27PM (#15751510) Homepage
        Do most chip sales happen at the release date, or do most people wait for the competitors product to come out spurring price drops to compete? I know I seldom buy anything at the alpha-expensive stage, usually preferring to wait a few months for the inevitable price drop.

        It is not a question of inital chipsales, it is more a question of marketing. Back when both companies were trying to hit the 1 Ghz mark, AMD got there first. That was a big win for them, as consumers could now say 1000 Mhz! WOW! Even though intel quickly came out with faster chips thereafter. It was a win for AMD because the name AMD got into the minds of customers. The same thing with the 64 bit. Now, most people here on slashdot know what a 64 bit chip is, and does, and does not do. But the public does not. And since AMD had the 64 bit chip out first, consumers wanted it, even if it had no real benifit for them initally.

        The same goes with this technology. Whomever gets it out of the gate first wins the "mindshare war" as we call it now. IIRC, the book "Predatory Marketing" covers how this works in detail - but they don't use the "mindshare" term in it.
        • It is not a question of inital chipsales, it is more a question of marketing. Back when both companies were trying to hit the 1 Ghz mark, AMD got there first. (...) And since AMD had the 64 bit chip out first...


          They might have got there before Intel, but they were hardly first. (1Ghz OR 64bit) ***cough***Alpha***cough*** (Where was the marketing at DEC?)

          • I remember an add in a PC magazine that was to the effect of "Now your using alpha power" or something, it was a jab at an Intel add campaign.

            It was for 500MHz when Intel was selling 300.
          • ok well for 1GHZ first with a standard PC processor running at its rated speed without having a freezer unit strapped on then.

            as for 64 bit both the alpha and the itanic suffered from not being PC processors more specifically:

            in the case of the alpha while there was code to make it run i386 apps and i belive it did perform rather well (at least in its later days) you were still forced to run a special version of NT that home users would have almost certainly found unacceptable.

            in the case of the itanic it c
            • True, they didn't mass produce the 1Ghz until about 2003. Basically, though, it wasn't a matter of not having the technology. It was a matter of not having the corporate will. They announced their 1Ghz processor in 1999. They were ready to ramp up production for mid-2000.

              The point (if there was one) of my post was that you can have the technology, but if you don't market it, it will fail. (Just having the technology first isn't "marketing")

              My first Alpha came with Windows NT installed. It was the curr
          • The Alpha had true 64 bit for a long time, but you had to be some level of a Unix user to use it, and you never found a DEC alpha on the store shelves at big box stores. The same goes for the intel Itanic. It is a 64 bit chip, but ran x86 instructions poorly.

            What AMD did is get an x86 chip out with 64bit extensions, that, at the time of its release were usless to the public at large. However, consumers thought "OMG! 64 is better than 32! ZOMG!!!" I know, because I was selling computers for a short period wh
            • The Alpha had true 64 bit for a long time, but you had to be some level of a Unix user to use it,

              Not true. Windows NT 3.5 and 4.0 were fully supported on Alpha. MS even shipped a beta of Win2k before cancelling it. Granted, the first thing I did with my first Alpha was blow off NT and install Linux.

              and you never found a DEC alpha on the store shelves at big box stores. The same goes for the intel Itanic. It is a 64 bit chip, but ran x86 instructions poorly.

              True. I bought mine at the campus computer sto

              • Not true. Windows NT 3.5 and 4.0 were fully supported on Alpha. MS even shipped a beta of Win2k before cancelling it. Granted, the first thing I did with my first Alpha was blow off NT and install Linux.

                Oh yeah, good point, I totally forgot all about NT. Course, I never saw NT running on an Alpha, and my first experience with Unix was on an Alpha box... I can't even remember which *nix it was now... Something Sys V... So I forget all about 64 bit NT. :p

                (I don't think it was Slowaris, and it MIGHT have been
                • If it wasn't Linux, it would have been DEC Unix (aka OSF). Sun Unix/Solaris ran/runs on M68k (I believe, but don't quote me on that), Sparc, and x86. SCO has always primarily been x86, although Xenix also ran on PDP-11, Z8001 and M68k (Tandy 16B and 6000 and Apple Lisa) and they were involved in the Itanium port. (My first exposure to Unix was while working for Tandy.)

        • The same goes with this technology. Whomever gets it out of the gate first wins the "mindshare war" as we call it now. IIRC, the book "Predatory Marketing" covers how this works in detail - but they don't use the "mindshare" term in it.

          Well, I guess AMD won that too, by that logic. After all - their dual core offerings beat the Core Duo out the door by a significant margin.

          Honestly, when it really comes down to real tests of multi-threaded applications (mostly in the multi-media arena at the moment) AMD w

          • It really comes down to memory. Both AMD and Intel have decent dual-core designs now. AMD's has an integrated memory bus, which speeds accesses to main RAM, while Intel has a unified cache, which allows reallocation of the cache much more flexibly. I suspect it's the unified cache that lets the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo clean AMD's clock when it comes to single-threaded performance... the one thread gets almost all the cache. On AMD's design, it can't have more than 50%.

            As for multithreaded performance, t
      • ... usually preferring to wait a few months for the inevitable price drop.

        And bug fixes.
      • But the product cannot begin to mature until it is actually released. Then you can start to see the price drops, motherboard availability, bug workarounds, etc. A head start is a head start.
      • I think most people buy new computers when they need a new computer. School starts in September not Feb. so You buy the machine in Sept. I think most people go for what ever gives them the best bang for the buck with in their price range at the time. And I'm sure most don't wait they buy only when they need to. That said. I know Apple will be putting one of these upcomming Core 2 Dual CPUs in the new "Mac Pro" that will come out in August and possably they will use it in a new iMac too. I'll buy it in
    • 4x4 ... You mean a pair of 285s and a tyan mobo? Aside from the lack of dual SLI that's basically a 4x4 setup.

      If you actually need CPU power you can already buy Opteron gear today. Also while I wouldn't mind playing with a 4-core Intel kit I still love my 2x285 kit.

      Tom
    • AMD and Intel are slightly out of sync in their product lifecycles. If you remember way back when, the Athlon came out and beat the pants off anything Intel had. Then Intel came out with the P4 and managed to edge out AMD for a bit, but then AMD came out with the X2, etc, and they took the crown back. Now Intel is on a new architecture and is thus getting the reigns back again.

      With each architecture, there's a given life span for it. When it first releases it's a large jump ahead of the previous generat
      • In the end, I believe AMD has been slightly ahead of Intel overall, taking the speed lead and holding it for longer.

        Maybe if you're going to ignore anything that happened before 1999, and anything except the low-end marketplace.

    • Winners will the consumer be.
  • by ntxb229 (542609) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:48PM (#15751242)
    Consumers really come out on top. Better processors at cheaper prices.
  • by October_30th (531777) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:49PM (#15751250) Homepage Journal
    Cores - the more the merrier.
    • by DeathKoil (413307)
      I'm not entirely sure that throwing more cores at the problem is neccessarily a great solution for combatting Intel's Core 2 Duo chips. Wouldn't this make AMD systems cost more money (2 FX chips on one motherboard) than an Intel gaming box would?

      Don't get me wrong, I am a huge AMD fan but I'm not conviced that, "let's just put more cores into the box" is a great response to Intel's Core 2 Duo. The announcement of a new core from AMD would have been more exciting. I guess I'll have to wait for that.
      • by vhogemann (797994)
        And also consider that many softwares over there are not prepared to take advantage of these extra core... Sure, you'll be able to run more applications at the same time without degradation.

        This makes me wonder, will the developers adapt to this new reality. I mean, Intel and AMD can't give us more performance by raising the clock of their processors... so they started to put more cores on them. At one point developers will have to paralelize their code to be able to gain performance.
        • With the advent of cheap dual (soon quad) core setups these days, developers will be holding back progress if they don't adapt to the new reality. Parallel algorithms are well researched. It's just a matter of taking what's available and building from there.
        • And also consider that many softwares over there are not prepared to take advantage of these extra core

          I keep hearing this, but I don't think I've seen a piece of CPU-bound software for quite some time that hasn't been SMP-aware. Mind you, I haven't seen very much CPU-bound software for the last few years...

        • Intel has deffinitely given us better performance per core with Core 2. There probably isn't that much room left for per-core improvements, but there's deffinitely some.
        • Everyone interested in high performance software is moving to data parallel many threaded designs right now. Within a couple of years, it should be fairly unusual for CPU sensitive apps not to have at least 4 threads.


      • This isn't about gamers

        The low-heat low-power low-price market for servers is dying for 4-core chips. Multi-core doesn't make sense under the desktop, but it sure makes a lot of sense in a 19" rack.

        intel is about to eat market share back in the cheap multicore server market, where amd is traditionally strong.
        • by chez69 (135760)
          hell yeah it makes sense under the desktop. windows desktop for testing , linux desktop for development, linux dev server, linux DB server all on the same desktop.

          it'll be great for developers
      • by fimbulvetr (598306)
        Which came first, the SMP or the SMP apps?

        Personally, I think this is the best way to go about solving the chicken and the egg problem. Just doing it. Just start releasing the cores. I have absolutely no doubt that many, many applications will catch the drift and hop on board. It will take some time, indeed, but so did other software with hardware advancements (MMX, SSE, Graphics solutions, etc). Historically, the hardware has become before the software.
      • by Andy Dodd (701)
        It isn't. The original linked article pointed out that while Intel's quad-core approach may suffer performance penalties compared to 4x4, BUT will likely provide more "bang for the buck".

        AMD (sadly) seems to have forgotten that x86 SMP was around for at least a decade before the Athlon 64 X2, and due to cost issues, it was always a niche technology.

        Dual-core-in-a-single package chips have managed to change that in the span of 2-3 years... SMP has gone from a a niche technology installed in probably less t
      • AMD's 4x4 approach isn't a mere reaction to Core 2 Duo. AMD has been planning this for a long time.

        AMD systems don't suffer from bandwidth problems with additional cores, unlike Intel's Kentsfield [theinquirer.net] (quad core).

        AMD is opening up hypertransport for 3rd party co-processors. [geek.com] This will totally change the industry with the ability to drop in specialized processors onto boards. These kind of possibilities are going to give EEs a new meaning in life.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:49PM (#15751252) Homepage Journal

    So I'm pricing a new mobo+CPU combo for a friend. I bought an AMD64 about 14 months ago for $350. Now I see I can't even get that model anymore unless I buy the parts separately as "replacements" A few steps up from what I run is now $150. It's a good thing.

    Maybe in a couple years I'll consider a Conroe or AMD 4x4 type system if I need any heavy rendering done, but for now It's astounding the bang for buck we get.

  • by rivaldufus (634820) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:53PM (#15751272)
    in consulting. One of our clients wants to have at least 4-way SMP on each new box. With virtualization becoming so popular, those additional cores are going to help.

    I wonder if AMD is going to focus on 4+ cores to maximize its hypertransport bus - and focus less on 2 core and less systems.

    • With AMD's HyperTransport bus, I'm of the firm belief that Intel may not be able to keep up. Having seen Intel's HTT vs AMD's HT 2.0, I'm far more impressed with AMD. Imagine if you could have Hyper-Transport bus graphics cards, sound cards, hell, you could probably put everything onto one large die using the HyperTransport bus, and make ultimately smaller BTX motherboards, hell, you could theoretically (If we went to mini-cd/dvd instead of discs we use now,) make a far more poerful computer than the Mac Mi
  • by Trigun (685027) <evil.evilempire@ath@cx> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:55PM (#15751283)
    If the war is for who can make up the worst name. What stupid names, and not just AMD or Intel, Microsoft, Ubuntu, etc. Some execs with 8 year old daughters are naming these things. Why can't we get good names, like Project:Doom, or Omega Solution?
  • ...which was cancelled for non-technical but not-so-mysterious reasons [broadbandforum.in]?
  • Who is paying? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ahnteis (746045) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:56PM (#15751295)
    I can't even afford a high-clocked AMD X2. How am I (as a fairly high-spending gamer who builds his own computers) supposed to afford TWO of them? And if *I* can't, who exactly are they targetting with this 4 core nonsense?

    I may still buy AMD on principal (yes, some of us do that still) but I really think Intel has AMD beat for the next year or two.
    • Re:Who is paying? (Score:3, Informative)

      by hawkbug (94280)
      Good news for you then - people are just speculating, but at the end of this month AMD is very strongly rumored to be dropping prices on the X2 line, almost in half. So, currently a $300 3800 X2 will soon cost $167 or around there. Just wait a few weeks and check back.
    • These dual core things are less than I paid for my PII 400 years back. A X2 3800+ is $150, a X2 5000+ CPU is $290 today [monarchcomputer.com] in lots of 1. I spend almost the same for a video card.... amazing cheap for what you get these days.
    • Re:Who is paying? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Massacrifice (249974) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:12PM (#15751418)
      You know, not only gamers use high end computers. Some of us use them as tools to actually work and earn money. in which case, we (or our employer) accumulates enough money to buy such things as quad-cores CPU, and eventually make them profitable, that is, use them to earn more money than they cost!

      What's even better is that these machines, once work is over, can still be used to play games!

      Fantastic isn't it? Work - maybe you should try it sometime.

      • Re:Who is paying? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:15PM (#15751432) Homepage
        People who use computers for work and who want four cores already bought Opteron workstations. That's why 4x4 and Kentsfield are targeted at the enthusiast (aka more money than sense) market.
        • Yep, I've got a four-core Opteron rig (2x275) for work. But now I want an 8-core rig, containing two 4-core CPUs. While I understand that 4x4 will be the desktop part, designed for single-socket systems, I expect it will arrive with similar Opteron-2xx series processors that have 4 cores. *That's* what I'm interested in.
          • Re:Who is paying? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Wesley Felter (138342)
            While I understand that 4x4 will be the desktop part, designed for single-socket systems, I expect it will arrive with similar Opteron-2xx series processors that have 4 cores.

            No, 4x4 is two sockets with dual-core processors in them. Since you already have that, 4x4 won't benefit you. Basically 4x4 is a way to trick gamers into buying quad Opteron systems under a different name.
        • The hobbiest and the artist would love to get their hands on quad-core processors for things like 3D rendering, video transcoding, and so forth.
  • by CyberBill (526285) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:57PM (#15751305)
    AMD apparantly cannot multiply. 4x4 = 16. The 4x4 architecture is two dual-core CPUs on a single motherboard (2x2=4 cores). This is pretty damn annoying and I wish they would rename it to something a little more accurate to whats going on... If you have a Dual 7950's (which are each just two 7900's), you wouldnt call it 4x4.
  • Latencies and more (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cnettel (836611) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @01:58PM (#15751315)
    The fact that the two dies (with two cores on each) will communicate over the FSB is of course limiting, but we also have to remember that each of those dies will have 4 MB of L2, 8 MB in total. We've already seen what the Core 2 prefetching can do in hiding the memory controller latency, so if things are good it will work equally well in prefetching data from the L2 on the other die. Then, the memory bandwidth is irrelevant, while the FSB bandwidth is still relevant. I seem to remember reading that either Kentsfield or Clovertown would carry some kind of dual-bus solution (with support in chipset), but maybe that was further ahead.

    Let's also not forget that the NUMA properties of the AMD solution, with less advanced prefetching, can actually be a more significant latency problem in latency-sensitive applications. The bandwidth, on the other hand, will absolutely be there.

    • by Khyber (864651)
      Available bandwidth translates into less latency, FYI, always has for networking, data storage/retrieval, and graphics applications like 3d Rendering and generation. So, AMD, with it's superior bandwidth, may not need to prefetch simply because it can have that much more data crammed down it's pipeline on the fly, whereas Intel has to pre-cache it. HyperTransport doesn't go over the FSB as far as I'm aware. (But I'm not that aware, so please correct me)
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:00PM (#15751331)
    In other words, the Kentsfield is two Core 2 Duo dice sandwiched into a single package, and likewise with the Xeon-based Clovertown part.

    How long before we have a Core 2 duo meltdown and Core 2 core breach??
    One Kentsfield sandwich please, extra hot! I'll take that to go in my 4x4.
  • by Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:04PM (#15751364) Homepage
    Are you a gamer? Are you someone who does intense multimedia work? If not, then a single-core chip is fine, much less a 4-core chip. For the vast majority of home and business desktops, chips that are considered old right now offer plenty of computing power. The Apartment Hunters across the street from the UF campus still use G3 iMacs at the front desk. These 4-core beasts will be niche things for a while, I think, unless a lot of weasely salesmen can (continue to?) convince people to buy more computer than they need.
    • Dude, even a dual core chip is pretty useless for a gamer already, there's almost no game using the second core right now (the only use it has is that it runs all your malware and the Steam client [well one could say that Steam is a malware in its own right though] so that the actual running of the games can be done on their own core).

      Games making use of 4 cores? You've got the time to see it coming.

      • a) Quake 3 uses multiple cores, IIRC
        b) You're telling me gamers won't benefit if all the other system processes are constrained to core 1, while the game runs on core 2? Seems the game will get a slightly larger chunk of processing time to me, without having to deal with context switching
    • actually for the most part right now dual cores don't speed up any single application. (Yes there are plenty of rendering/scientific applications which it does speed up, but I said for the most part.) Where it really shines is in speeding up the user experience.

      Run a compile, a virus scan, and still have your email app or browser pop up immediately when you click it.

      The neat thing about the way multi-core programming works is that for alot of things once they make it support two, it'll automatically suppo
  • by acomj (20611) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:07PM (#15751380) Homepage
    Now that intel is finally throwing research and marketing on 64 bit x86 to compete with AMD, is its intel's other 64 bit chip itanium officially dead?
    • No, it's just pining for the Fjords.....

      Seriously, this comment is trotted out every time Intel or AMD sneezes and some 64-bit multicore goodness leaks out.

      The Itanic plays in the mainframe server space -ie. up to 64 CPU machines such as the HP Superdome.

      Its competitors are the Power64 chip and Sun's latest and greatest -not some $300 chip you buy at Fry's.

      Itanium has just released a dualcore version with up to 24MB of cache! I think you have to move up to Opteron or Xeon to get more than a couple MB of cac
      • Weeeellll... you don't *NEED* to move to those platforms to get higher cache - just do what always been available - buy a motherboard with a side L2/L3 cache expansion slot. (And people always wondered why my 233 MHz Cyrix with 512KB of L2 cache stomped their 333 MHz Pentium 2 machine with it's measly 128KB of L2. Winbond and expansion slots FTW!)
      • Its competitors are the Power64 chip and Sun's latest and greatest -not some $300 chip you buy at Fry's.

        That's what Intel wants you to think. In the real world X64 clusters are eating the lunch of big iron UNIX.

        The Itanium is a marginal competitor in a space that is losing market share. Waste of corporate resources IMHO.

  • by default luser (529332) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:09PM (#15751396) Journal
    Intel knows this very well, they've been having trouble with bandwidth for years while stuck at 800 MHz FSB. The only dual-core Pentium 4 processors to show efficient use of the second core are the EE-series, with 1066 MHz bus.

    Even if Intel can successfuly crank the FSB up to 1333 MHz bus, that's still significantly less than they need to feed twice as many processors as Conroe. If this were AMD, they'd just add more memory controllers and more HT links...but for Intel this is not an option.

    Intel does offer a Dual-Independent Bus architecture, but this is designed for Woodcrest, and is extremely expensive to implement. DIP does allow Woodcreast to scale effortlessly to 4 cores, and that is why we've seen Intel encourage reviews of their 4-core (2 processor) Woodcrest platforms. Unfortunately, even this DIB architecture will not scale well into 8 cores (4 cores per bus), and Intel's cheaper-to-implement quad-core processors will really feel the squeeze.
    • Does anyone remember the Dual Independent Bus on the Pentium Pro? I think the second was for a look-aside cache but it appears to be a re-use of terminology.
  • by Morky (577776)
    I love this. It reminds me of the race to 1 Ghz back in 2000. When AMD and Intel are neck and neck the inovation speeds way up.
    • It reminds me of the race to 1 Ghz back in 2000.

      Ironically, around that same time someone ``predicted'' that the clock speed would stop increasing after 6Ghz (or possibly half that). And strangely, it has.
  • Reminds me (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kr5is (990004)
    This reminds me of the time I wanted to try the Gillette Mach 100 razor and then had to have a skin graft to fix my face. More isn't always better, but in this case I think there may be an exception.
    • This reminds me of the time I wanted to try the Gillette Mach 100 razor and then had to have a skin graft to fix my face.

      Gillette is already up to 6. 100 may seem a long way off, but I really couldn't see the reason for more than 2. They've already far exceeded my expectations, (and far exceeded my judgement of usefulness...although its ironic that 5 is so cumbersome for fine details that they had to add another 1 on the flip side to fix it.)

      More isn't always better, but in this case I think there may be an
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:42PM (#15751635)
    All this talk about bridges and cores makes my head hurt. What I really want to know is if there finally is a processor that can handle Vista. [ducks]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Name just one really killer, gosh I just can't live without it, my life depends on this etc etc application at *HOME* that an average person whose hobby is *not* computers actually needs this kind of computing power for RIGHT NOW!

    I did a head count - it's ZERO! Worse still - that's the core market right there - ZERO!

    Sure, we can all see a day when our computers are able to intelligently discuss life issues at length with a voice interface (Hello, Dave) but we're not there yet. And there are the enthusiasts
    • Hobby != computers

      Hobby = Audio and Graphics applications.

      There, your zero head count went from zero to one, across the entire question you just asked. Would you like to be so immature and presumptious to claim you know the rest of the fucking human population so personally, hrm? Remember this - the majority of computer users ARE NOT GEEKS - they're people who have to use them and learn how to use them so they can survive. Regardless of multiple processors or one processor, the need for power is still
      • And to make it a little more clear - as for programs that would need such power - ask any telecommuter that needs to run four or five programs that need internet access to some central database, and all of them must be running or you can't access things you need to get your work done. (We had plenty of people that had dual-core machines just because they needed that much power to process all that incoming info at once, and they worked FROM HOME, for Ingram Micro.)
    • Video editing. Parents and young grandparents are all over that.
    • Easy! Think of serious graphic artists or heavy duty CAD with computer modeling, like car design.
  • by buddyglass (925859) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:51PM (#15751699)
    The Ars article warns that per-core bandwidth problems could end up giving a performance advantage to AMD's 4x4 approach.

    I see two problems with this. First, most cpu-intensive tasks are single-threaded, and Conroe beats AMD on those. Second, even if it turns out that two Athlon64 X2s scale better than a single quad-core Conroe, the Conroe is a single-chip solution in a single-socket motherboard. AMD will have to price its X2s at less than half the cost of a quad-core Conroe. "Less than half" since they'll also need to absorb the extra cost of the dual-socket motherboard 4x4 requires. I suspect they won't be able to achieve that price point. So, given an AMD 4x4 system and a comparably-performing Intel quad-core Conroe system, the AMD system will cost more and be less attractive to consumers.

    • It sounds like Intel may release a quad-core P4 before they have a Conroe. Maybe AMD will have their quad-core ready by the time Intel has Conroe based quad-core chips.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:10PM (#15752237)
    I'm not sure that a 4-core Intel processor, at least in the first iteration, is going to be all that wonderful. Intel still has the front-side bus problem that Dell used as justification to go to Opterons for 4way servers. Additionally, the Kentsfield approach of simply joining 2 Conroe dies in the same package may not prove much better than when they created the first dual core Pentiums by joining 2 Netburst cores in a single package. It is inherently not a well integrated design.

    That being said, undoubtedly Kentsfield will be at least incrementally faster than Conroe, so that helps with bragging rights. And small, cache-based code (think Cell processor SPEs) could run well on it. But unless it is priced exceptionally close to Conroe prices, would not be my first choice.

    AMD is likely to do 4-cores the right way the first time around, rather than ship a Marketing Solution.

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