Not to be outdone (and in no doubt designed to try and steal some of the thunder from the Cell processor release) Intel has announced that it is also ready to begin construction of its own multicore processors.
The chip giant plans to deliver two separate dual core processors and dual enabled chipsets for its Pentium series in the second quarter and was quick to point out on that its Extreme Edition will include Hyper-Threading Technology which will be able to process four separate instructions simultaneously.
This creates an interesting situation because while Cell is promoting its ability to process 10 separate instructions simultaneously, its consumer end products are still more than a year away, possibly even further in the competitive home PC arena.
Speaking to TrustedReviews, Intel UK representative Nick Knupffer was quick to make this point and explained that, “Until actual products come to market we can only speculate on the possible uses of the Cell technology, but it is a large leap of faith to assume that its designers will be able to engage the world-wide community of software developers to create a role in the general marketplace that is similar to the vast impact of the PC.”
He continued, “We’ve seen similar claims in the past and only time will tell whether they come to fruition. Developing software for radically new architectures with new instruction sets is extremely hard, requiring considerable time and often leading to delays in market availability. Intel has a track record of integrating appropriate innovations at the micro-architecture level into the IA platform to deliver performance with compatibility.”
Knupffer’s cautious reaction to the Cell chip is certainly understandable and yet multicore processors do appear to be the immediate future for the chip industry as Intel itself has proved with this announcement. How developers react to a new player in a traditionally two horse race remains to be seen, but surely more competition can only lead to greater performance and savings for all of us.