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Intel Takes Quad Core To the Desktop 191 191

Rob writes to mention a Computer Business Review Online article about Intel's official launch of the Kentsfield chipset. Their Quad Core offering, Intel is claiming, is up to 80% faster than the dual-core Conroe released this past July. From the article: "Kentsfield, a 2.66GHz chip with a 1066MHz front-side bus, is more for computational-heavy usage, including digital content creation, engineering analysis, such as CAD, and actuarial and other financial applications. Steve Smith, director of operations for Intel digital enterprise group, claimed rendering is 58% faster for users building digital content creation systems, for video, photo editing or digital audio. In other words, Kentsfield is for high-end desktops or workstations only. For the average office worker who uses their PC for general productivity apps, such as communications and garden-variety computing, Smith recommended the Core 2 Duo from 'a price point and performance perspective.'"
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Intel Takes Quad Core To the Desktop

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  • Why downplay it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Salvance (1014001) * on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:48AM (#16836886) Homepage Journal
    "Core 2 Extreme quad-core QX6700" - There's a mouthful. It's funny that Intel is continually trying to downplay the importance of this chip for the average user. They say it's best for "more for computational-heavy usage, including digital content creation, engineering analysis, such as CAD" ... sounds like gamers would flock to this. Maybe they realize it's a rushed product (to beat AMD to the punch), and it will be in short supply?
  • Re:whats next (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:54AM (#16836942) Journal
    quadrupoles chipset?
    Well, you were probably joking, but I'll open up a discussion to "whats next?" because this is something I feel the chip makers have kind of lost their way on.

    First off, I'm not criticizing only AMD or Intel, I think they're both guilty of concentrating on perceived performance on desktop CPUs. They don't care how much power the chip consumes or how much heat it dissipates, they only care about what the average consumer sees as immediate performance. To me, performance can be multiple things and considering that you could fry an egg on my P4 no matter how big the heat sink is ... I don't think I'm going to get many years of use out of it. So heat & power consumption are steadily growing concerns of mine. I had an Athlon XP 2800 break after one year of use--last time I use the heat sink that comes with the processor!

    What's next is simply that which is cheapest to research and develop while giving the user a higher number in some category that Dell or the sales people are sporting as bigger/better/faster/stronger. This is alright but I don't think the average consumer ever stops and asks themselves what the power consumption will be for such a CPU or what its expected time to failure is. I really hope that at some point, the chips are fast enough to run your basic operating system and the manufacturers split into two lines where one is aimed for longevity and power consumption (like some laptop model processors) instead of just speed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:55AM (#16836948)
    Or it may be that most games are not optimized for multiple cores. If they target gamers, only for gamers to discover that there is little improvement over their previous processor, then Intel's image with gamers would be damaged. However, some game companies such as Valve have recently started to embrace multi-core processors, but it will be awhile before new games are published that take advantage of those extra cores.
  • by AppreticeGuru (1024775) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:55AM (#16836952)
    4 cores is great and all, but I know they are still working on support for games such as many Steam offerings with only 2 cores in terms of multi-threading, so I'd have to imagine that game support to really take advantage of a 4-core system would be a long way away. I was still psyched about the low voltage powerhouses for laptops, and I'm wondering how much extra heat 4 cores are going to put out as well. How many apps are really geared to take advantage of 4 cores atm, really?
  • Re:whats next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Divebus (860563) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:59AM (#16836980)
    After Effects Rendering. Final Cut Pro HD Rendering. Maya Rendering. Video Compression [Rendering}. If you've ever done what they target this processor for, you'll COMPLETELY appreciate any time NOT spent watching the growbar work. Bring it on, I've been waiting to replace several G5s doing this all day, every day.
  • by k_187 (61692) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:17AM (#16837134) Journal
    yes, but communication between the 2 cores in each of the sets will be faster than any of AMD's cores. My guess is that it'll be a wash. The other (in my opinion more important) thing, is that INtel is shipping now, while AMD is about a year away. By then I believe that INtel will have a quad-core on die chip out. Either way, more FPS!
  • by mgblst (80109) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:19AM (#16837152) Homepage
    You know, it doesn't take being a computer journalist to realise that any chip released in the last 3 years is a waste of money for most people. Most people mainly use the computer for broswing the net, and despity Intels previous claims, a faster processor won't make any difference. And despite adverts on UK tv reporting that with the new dual cores, you can read email and listen to music, you don't need a 4 core or 2 core to do any of that.

    The whole thing is a joke, for most people. Like cars that go 1000 mph, what is the point!
  • by GauteL (29207) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:20AM (#16837160)
    Currently the quad-core is pretty useless for gamers unless you like to run video encoding apps at the same time as you play your game.

    The reason is of course, that most games are barely optimised for dual cores, let alone four cores. It is not simple either as balancing several cores to get the most out of them requires a redesign of the game engine.

    It will be significant for future games, but you are better off buying a high-end dual core now and replacing it with quad-core later on.
  • Soon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mateorabi (108522) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:24AM (#16837192) Homepage
    Soon the number of cores in my desktop machine will surpass the number of blades in my shaving razor.


    But seriously, as it gets harder and harder to make larger CPUs run faster the trend is going to be more, smaller processors per die. Each core is by itself slower than a huge monolithic one, but the sum is greater thanks to non-linear scaling. The trick is getting software to efficiently utilize them all.

  • by oojah (113006) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:28AM (#16837234) Homepage
    you are better off buying a high-end dual core now and replacing it with quad-core later on.

    Right. The best bit about quad core for the moment is that it should drive the dual core prices down.

    Cheers,

    Roger

  • Re:whats next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:41AM (#16837430) Homepage
    You want to know what consumers want?? cheaper.

    They are happy with their new Dell 1.8ghz pentium M laptops and that horribly oudated and incredibly slow P4-1.8ghz processor they bought 3 years ago.

    Consumers are happy now. computers have stagnated hard for the past 3-4 years and the performance gains offered by this new stuff is only marginal for them.

    On video editing, I can see the advances IF your app can take advantage of it, problem is current apps cant take full advantage of that processor until a new build or version is made to take advantages of it.

    The consumer yawns and happily uses their old 3 year old PC or that cheapie from dell that cost them $299 with flat panel and is as slow. They dont care about 64 bit, dual or quad core.

    at least until they buy a new OS and discover that the added bloat requires more processing power to display menus and movethe mouse cursor.
  • Re:whats next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by archen (447353) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:48AM (#16837536)
    They don't care how much power the chip consumes or how much heat it dissipates,

    Oh really? Now I can't say as far as Intel, but AMD has been very focused on power consumption for a very long time now. All of their literature is filled with benchmarks of power-per-watt and total power savings in the data center, etc. If AMD doesn't care about power consumption, then why would they specifically go to pains to offer CPU versions that are even MORE aggressive in their power saving if you pay a bit more for them? And with all of their power saving innovation and dedication what do they get? Intel now outperforms them and everyone jumps the ship and goes over to the Intel side (despite the fact that the lower power versions of AMD's CPU still use less power when the final weight with the chipset is done).

    You know why they care about what performance the average consumer sees? Because that's all consumers care about. If it were otherwise you wouldn't be seeing your lights dim when your graphics card goes into high gear. Where are the "power conscious" versions of these graphics cores?

    I've got a lot of Athons, and Athlon XP's running where I work. Some burn out but that's often because of their environment and due to the fact that the fan that comes with the heatsink for the OEM version is garbage almost guaranteed to burn out after a year in high dust environments. The Pentium 4 is history, even Intel admits it was on the wrong track. If you want more longevity, then get a robust heatsink fan (undervolted) and underclock your CPU. You DO underclock your CPU right?
  • Re:Is that true? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dfghjk (711126) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:26AM (#16837992)
    When comparing quadcore approaches, aggragate memory performance of multisocket, multi-memory controller designs is irrelevant. No doubt the AMD approach scales better but that's not important to the argument. When AMD announces a single die processor with multiple integrated memory controllers then it matters. Offsetting AMD's memory throughput advantages are Intel's much larger caches. It's a complicated subject.

    Intel's approach gets quadcore to market far faster, and once AMD can deliver quadcore on a single die Intel will be able to do the same. Meanwhile, there is no evidence that Intel MCM approach is substancially inferior performance-wise. AMD's shortterm response, 4x4, is quite a joke by comparison. Anyone worrying about power consumption with Intel's solution isn't concerned with AMD's 4x4 design? I would much prefer a single processor, single memory controller system with 90% of the performance of the AMD dual proc beast. Of course, I pulled that number out of my ass...
  • Yeah, Right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @12:13PM (#16838676)
    Their Quad Core offering, Intel is claiming, is up to 80% faster than the dual-core Conroe released this past July.

    Yeah, that much faster on carefully selected software. And slower on some single thread applications that rely most of all on clock-speed and uncontested memory bus access.

    Would be nice for once to have headlines read something more honest like:

    Speed improvements range from -20% for 50% of your software, up to +80% for 10% of your software.

    There could even be a nice graph of how much software is improved (or degraded) at each 5% bin of performance. Otherwise it's no more honest than saying that your new Ferrari is capable of speeds up to 220mph, without mentioning that this can only be utilized during .01% of your driving.

  • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @01:17PM (#16839806) Homepage Journal
    It never ceases to amaze me how many people don't realize that the average long-running PC has a lot of background processes with sporadic activity levels that ruin the performance of your desktop. Having something like BitTorrent running in its own core makes all the difference in the world too.

    MSN, BitTorrent, an MP3 player and a web browser all running at once (on top of background services) on a single-core system leads to a lot of task switching that is entirely unnecessary in a multi-core environment. And while throughput may not increase 4x, responsiveness will be very much improved.
  • Compilation (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:28PM (#16844278)
    _OR FOR COMPILING_

    Why can't anyone ever, EVER? remember that somebody out there somewhere actually creates software?
    Cannot they comprehend that somebody does something besides Media Encoding?
    Who do you think wrote the media encoder, and had to sit there waiting for it to compile?
    They can't even post a single make -j8 benchmark, ever? Is it really so far-fetched that someone might be a programmer?

    These reviewers keep sitting around and trying to figure out what Intel's new Quad-Core chip is good for:
    "well, it's a good chip, but it might not be useful to you unless you're spending a lot of time doing media encoding."
    HOW ABOUT FOR PROGRAMMERS DOING COMPILATION, AND DOING IT IN A BUNCH OF THREADS, IDIOTS?

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