IDF Day 3: AMD and Intel's Dual Core Demonstrations; The Race to Dual Coreby Kristopher Kubicki on September 10, 2004 7:22 PM EST
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AMD or Intel, the better solution?
The largest question on everyone's mind was Intel's future plans for desktop and mobility dual core processors. A large amount of evidence suggests each processor family will continue its development cycle on existing architecture - i.e. Smithfield is a third generation 90nm Pentium 4 architecture (NetBurst), Yonah is a third generation 90nm Pentium M architecture (P6). Of course, the dual core Montecito processor demonstrated on Day 1 of the show coverage is a 90nm IA-64 processor. Smithfield, the desktop dual core Pentium 4, will remain electric and pin compatible with Socket 775.
Even with similarities cropping up between the two CPU manufacturers, there are some architectural differences that will force the entire industry to reconsider how performance should be handled. Obviously, AMD is advantaged in a dual-socket, dual-core scenario when compared to an Intel dual-socket, dual core configuration. Whereas 8 logical CPUs need to share one memory controller on an Intel server, 4 physical CPUs share two memory controllers. Intel may be countering this issue with independent memory controllers on future chipsets such as Twin Castle. Then again, on the other hand Intel is capable of producing processors that can emulate twice as many threads.
Today things between AMD and Intel look extremely competitive. They both have first generation strained silicon 90nm dual core processors demonstrations, both utilize a "security" module and a "virtualization" module and both are capable of 64-bit addressing. To sum things up; both AMD and Intel expect to ship dual core Server, Desktop and Mobility processors by 2006. AMD's release schedule anticipates a release of dual core server processors, followed by desktop processors and finally DTR and mobility CPUs - with each family of processors releasing a few months apart from each other. Intel's strategy also includes server processors as the most prevalent CPU product SKU, but actually weights higher priority on mobility P6 (Pentium M) Yonah processors.
As if the last two years have not been exciting enough in the AMD versus Intel arena, do not be surprised if the next several months show similarities between the "Race to 1GHz" competition several years ago. And of course, as the "Race to Dual Core" picks up, AnandTech will be there with all the details.