Friday, November 17, 2006

Quad core from Intel

Just read this announcement: Intel proudly released two day ago its first quad core architecture, specially designed for servers, high-end gaming machines , and workstations. They boasted that this new architecture offering 50% faster performance than the current dual core architecture and four times than its single core Xeon. The quad core Xeon 5300 server processor series, which was codenamed Clovertown - has speeds in range of 1.6 GHz and 2.66 GHz, power consumption between 80 and 120 watts, and it is priced US$ 455 for 1,000 units order. The other one is designed for high-end client Core 2 Extreme QX 6700 costs US$ 999 and has speed up to 2.66 GHz with power consumption up to 130 watts, which is also approximately the same amount as single and dual core's needs in a chip. Dell, IBM , and HP are among the server makers who are ready with the new Intel release.
Intel has done restructuring last September with layoff of some 10,500 employees worldwide, aimed to save US$ 3 billions a year by 2008. This enables Intel to make a "great leapfrog" from single-core, dual-core, to quad-core architecture in a year.
Critics from AMD say that Intel's architecture with two dual-core chips onto a single piece of silicon "is less elegant" than AMD's "native" four-core design. That should have some impacts with performance and power efficiency. But as Intel is now ahead with the architecture, it has a better chance in the market as it is not likely that the user would wait until 2007 when AMD will release its quad-core chip.
Both designs from Intel and AMD are reported to be made up from 65 nm technology. Both also have a plan to move from 65 nm to 45 nm manufacturing process in the next one or two years. Smaller technology node promises more transistors in the same area of chips which means more functionalities can be built. The problems with smaller node are mainly power dissipation per unit area, signal integrity, and lithography limit.

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