AMD and Intel begin battle for dual-core chip market

Chip rivals Intel and AMD entered yet another battle for market dominance when both companies unveiled their dual-core processors last month.

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  May 1, 2005

Chip rivals Intel and AMD entered yet another battle for market dominance when both companies unveiled their dual-core processors last month. On April 21, at the second anniversary of AMD’s Opteron processor, the company introduced its portfolio of dual-core solutions, which range from servers and workstations for corporate users to desktop and desktop-replacement notebooks for consumers and business users. AMD also announced the immediate availability of Dual-Core AMD Opteron 800 series processors — the first chips created using the multicore technology — which is being targeted for use in four- to eight-way servers. The vendor will follow this up with three more server chips and a desktop line, which it plans to roll out during the next two months. In an effort to beat AMD in the multi-core race, Intel pre-emptively launched its dual-core chips three days earlier than AMD’s offering and is initially targeting the processors for desktop use. Server versions won’t be available until early 2006, the vendor said. Due to its high cost, Intel is dedicating its Extreme Edition processors (codenamed Smithfield) to gamers and PC enthusiasts. Dell and a few others have started selling PCs containing the Smithfield chips. According to Ferhad Patel, market development manager, Intel Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Intel also plans to launch dual-core Pentium D for mainstream PC use in May. “Intel is on track to deliver its mainstream, high-volume dual-core Intel Pentium D processor-based platform this quarter, with systems to become available from leading computer makers shortly after,” he said. Dual-core processors consist of two cores on a single piece of silicon. It is seen as a promising way to improve computing power, enabling servers, workstations and PCs to perform more functions at the same time. The manufacture of dual-core chips was partly driven by the fact that single-core silicon can no longer accommodate faster processing cycles because it has already reached its limitations when it comes to heat dissipation and power consumption. According to Tarek Heiba, AMD general manager for Middle East & Africa, dual-core technology will enhance current technologies used by enterprises today. “Dual-core processing will allow the industry to drive important advancements in virtualisation and security technologies,” Heiba said. “Consolidation of servers will become much more feasible,” he added. For desktop users, multi-core computing will enable them to do more in less time, according to Heiba, giving them more control over the time they spend on their PCs. “The new systems will help people save time and use computing resources more efficiently for design and analysis or when creating or enjoying digital content,” added Patel. As expected, AMD’s key OEM customers, such as Sun, HP and IBM, have expressed their intention to launch dual-core servers based on AMD’s chips. HP launched its ProLiant BL45p server blade and the dual-core HP ProLiant DL585, on the same day AMD made its dual-core announcement.

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