Dual Is So Last Week: Get Hyped for Quad-Core


The buzz has just barely died down from the impressive showing of Intel's new dual-core architecture, but chip and server vendors are already lined up behind quad-core processing as the next big performance advance in the data center.


AMD announced what it's calling a breakthrough in its quad-core architecture, which it is positioning as "native" as opposed to rival Intel's bundling of two dual-core systems.


Both chip vendors have powerful allies in the fight. IBM and HP announced in May that they were launching new server models based on Intel's dual-core architecture that offered an upgrade path to quad-core when they hit the market next year. Sun is reportedly designing an AMD-based dual-core blade line that will offer automatic upgrades to quad.


So what's the big deal with quad-core, other than the fact that four is more than two? Not surprisingly, virtualization is a key issue; both AMD and Intel are building virtualization accelerators into their latest dual-core offerings, with increased emphasis coming down the road. Quad-core also promises to transform the architecture of memory access, making a single box with terabytes of advanced RAM a reality for data-intensive needs.

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