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Thursday, July 20, 2006
Intel Quad-core Chips Arriving in 2006

Intel quad-core server and desktop processors will arrive this year instead of next, Chief Executive Paul Otellini said Wednesday, in an effort to improve the company's financial results and further increase pressure on rival AMD.

"We notified customers we're pulling in both the desktop and server (launch) of the first quad-core processors into the fourth quarter of this year from the first half of 2007," Otellini said. Intel's quad-core Xeon server processor is code-named Clovertown, and its desktop processor Kentsfield.

Intel has been bruised financially in recent quarters, but is fighting to reverse market share losses. Both Intel and AMD now sell dual-core chips--those with two processing engines on a single slice of silicon--and are racing to bring multicore successors to market.

Chips with more cores can juggle multiple jobs simultaneously than single-core models. However, while server software typically is able to use multiple cores, most desktop computer software hasn't been adapted for the designs.

Intel's quad-core chips actually are packages consisting of two dual-core chips, but each package plugs into a single processor socket. AMD, whose quad-core chips are due in mid-2007, uses a more refined design with all the cores on a single slice of silicon.

Kentsfield will possibly feature two Conroe chips on the same piece of substrate. The chip will have four cores, 4MB or 8MB L2 cache and 1066MHz processor.

The desktop version of the chip - code-names Clovertown - is designed for dual-socket servers it is produced using 65nm process technology. The processor consists of two Woodcrest cores on a single piece of substrate, will have 8MB of L2 cache and is likely to use 1333MHz processor system bus.

Intel has advanced several schedules recently. Its "Woodcrest" Xeon chip for dual-processor servers went on sale in the second quarter instead of the fourth, and its "Tulsa" Xeon for four-processor servers also is arriving sooner. Intel is also working on Tigerton, quad-core processor for multi-processor servers.

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