Intel President Paul Otellini announced three second-generation dual-core processors on
Thursday and said first-generation prototypes are faring well.
In February, Intel said it was working on 15 dual-core chip designs, which combine two
processing engines on a single slice of silicon, and on Thursday Otellini disclosed three new
Code names for those second-generation dual-core chips are Conroe, for desktop machines;
Merom, for laptops; and Woodcrest, for lower-end servers with two processor sockets,
Otellini said. They will succeed Presler, Yonah and Dempsey, respectively.
Otellini said Merom is scheduled to arrive "late next year," but didn't share other scheduling
details. His presentation indicated that Conroe could arrive about the same time as Merom,
but that Woodcrest will arrive after 2006.
Dual-core processors, which already have become commonplace in higher-end servers from
IBM, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard, now are arriving in mainstream computers
using x86 processors such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron. The
dual-core design philosophy is the chip industry's answer to the question of how to make
chips more useful without making them consume too much power and throw off too much
Although Intel has released dual-core desktop processors and plans to release Yonah by the
end of 2005, rival AMD has the edge right now in the server market, where software is
better adapted to take advantage of dual-core chips. AMD introduced dual-core Opteron
processors in April and plans dual-core desktop chips in June.
But Intel said several of its dual-core prototypes are coming along well. "We are very
comfortable we can bring them out in high volume," Otellini said of Presler for desktop PCs,
Dempsey for two-socket and dual-core servers, and Paxville for higher-end four-socket
That's significant, given the company's manufacturing power and market share. For example,
even though Intel introduced 64-bit x86 chips midway through 2005--more than a year after
AMD--it outpaced AMD in server shipments in 2004.
In addition, some dual-core test servers will arrive this year. Intel will distribute those
machines this year using the Bensley "platform," which combines the Dempsey chip and an
"We are planning to ship thousands of seed systems to the marketplace over the second half
of 2005 to enable end users, as well as the hardware and software ecosystem, to get ready
for these technologies," Otellini said.
He also said Intel plans to ship a "large quantity" of higher-end four-socket servers with the
Paxville chip this year for the same purpose.
Also issuing bullish forecasts Thursday was Sean Maloney, executive vice president of Intel's
Mobility Group. Intel has done well with its processors and chipsets for laptops, and now
believes some of that success will carry over to processors for mobile phones as more
companies build designs with Intel chips.
"A year ago we said we were disappointed with the pick-up rate. That is now starting to
change," Maloney said. The company expects to ship application processors for mobile
phones at the rate of 7.5 million per quarter by the fourth quarter of 2005, he said. In
addition, Intel is working on an accompanying base-band processor--the one that handles
radio communication tasks--for release in the second half of 2005.
Intel is working with Nokia and other partners to improve the software connection between
PCs and mobile phones, allowing for the smoother transfer of digital photos and
synchronization of contact lists, Maloney said. The company plans to unveil details of this
effort at its Intel Developer Forum in the first quarter of 2006, he said.
Maloney added that Intel is unifying manufacturing operations for its mobile PC and
mobile-phone handset work. "Up until now, we used separate manufacturing and design
flows. Increasingly we will drive toward commonality," he said.