The tit-for-tat world of computer processors rumbles along predictably this week with AMD announcing plans to ship dual core Athlons by the second half of the year and Intel making noises about 64bit enabled Celerons released along the same timelines.
To be frank, the two announcements are hardly surprising given Intel’s revelations about its own plans for dual core processors last month and AMDs long association with 64 bit technology (although admittedly not on its Sempron budget range). In this race one is always chasing the other, with the only unifying fact between them being they both believe they are winning (which almost sounds like some kind of riddle).
So who really has the upper hand? Well, AMD has shown off its determination to be first to market with dual core by demonstrating a working version of the technology based on an Athlon 64 desktop processor (see its dual core die plot pictured above). The demo model ran at a clock speed of 2.4GHz and is fabricated using the 90 nanometre (nm) process, which is also what Intel intends to fab its dual core chips at.
Did AMD release pricing details? Nope. Details of on-board memory? Nope. Still, it did tell us that the beauty of multicore processors (essentially two processor cores on a single piece of silicon) is that it will revolutionise multitasking by splitting the workload. For example, you can burn DVDs using the resources of one core while watching DVDs or playing high end video games on the other which is pretty neat if you ask me, at least in theory.
As for Intel, it made the logical progression of transferring 64bit capability to its budget range of Celeron CPUs after announcing it for its Pentium 4 range (pictured above) last week. A roadmap reveals Q2 as the likely arrival time for the jazzed up chips with the model numbers 326, 331, 336, 341, 346 and 351 clocked at 2.53, 2.66, 2.8, 2.93, 3.06 and 3.2GHz respectively.
Interestingly (and taking a wider view of this development for a moment) AMD has been shipping 64bit enabled chips since the end of 2003 but it has yet to incorporate the technology into its value orientated Sempron line. Could Intel, having been so late to the party, now be taking the lead? Surely not, we expect news from AMD proclaiming 64bit Semprons before too long. Just call us cynical!