This is a long and fairly complex article at InformationWeek comparing quad processors. In the final analysis, however, the piece has a fairly simple theme: Competition is heating up in the sector and reduced pricing will be the result. This is an important issue for convergence, since dual and quad processors can make multimedia and other advanced applications run more quickly.
Despite all the newness of the technology, the price reductions, which were slated to start July 22 with some cuts by Intel, get back to old-fashioned sales and marketing hardball. The next step will be the release of the AMD Barcelona server quad core next month and Phenom desktop processors by the end of 2007.
Dual and quad processors feature the placement of more than one processor in a chip. The competition in this sector also is an element of this blog posting at eFluxMedia, which says that AMD is planning another new dual-core CPU, the last in what the writer calls the "successful" Athlon series. The Athlon 6400+ will compete with Intel's Core 2 E6850. The performance of the AMD chip is said in the post to trail Intel's at release. It is expected to be on the market shortly.
This story at the eWeek Channel Insider does a good job of describing the competitive dynamic between Intel and AMD, which is attempting to rebound from troubled times. Early benchmarks at AMD's Web site about Barcelona, which is the quad-core version of its Opteron line, met with negative responses by analysts. The story says HP reacted positively to Barcelona.
The problem with the information on the company's Web site, however, wasn't necessarily that it showed substandard performance. Rather, the posted benchmarks that compared performance in certain categories between a Barcelona and Inel Xeon quad-core chip were bogus, according to this CRN Australia story. The Xeon metrics were outdated, while the Barcelona data was based on estimated speeds that are far faster than the 2GHz model set to ship next month, the story says.
The competition is set to continue into the future. Next year, this posting says, Intel will release new quad-core mobile chips. Though no details were given, this MacNN post references IDG News Service in saying that the mobile quad cores will differ from the company's desktop and server quad cores. The posting says that chips aren't aimed at the mainstream because the high-performance processing will cut battery life. That doesn't mean that future versions of the processor won't be attractive to non-specialized users, however.