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Quad-core machines arrive in force

Arif Mohamed

More powerful workstations based on Intel’s quad-core processor are expected to be shipping in volume this month from the likes of Dell. First to be targeted will be power gamers, who demand high-performance graphics, but quad-cores will eventually replace single- and dual-core machines in enterprises.

The Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 – codenamed Kentsfield – will be the first quad-core chip, followed in January by the Core 2 Quad 6600.

Rival AMD is expected to release its own quad-core chip next year.

The processors are expensive to make and therefore buy, and software must be rewritten to take advantage of their new design. Rewriting for multi-threading will allow portions of an application to run independently of each other to make use of the additional cores.

Martin Hingley, chief research officer EMEA at analyst firm IDC, said, “The technical enhancements of quad-core are not going to be realised unless you optimise the code for multi-threading.”

Hingley added that developers should plan for two- and four-way symmetric multiprocessing architectures – ensuring, for example, that the chip memory gets flushed at the same time as multiple cores process the application code.

“The complexity is only going to increase as you go to eight- and 16-core,” Hingley said.

Intel steals march on AMD >>


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