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IT takes notice of Intel, AMD chip moves

With Intel and AMD mapping out their competing strategies to move from single- to dual-core processors -- and eventually to multi-core -- IT executives are sizing up what all that extra processing power will mean to them.

With the introduction of a new dual-core architecture from Intel Corp. this week, and that of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. earlier this year, IT administrators are making plans to check out the new chips to see what type of value they can bring to the enterprise.

At its Developer Forum in San Francisco this week, Intel discussed its micro-architecture, multi-core foundation, and showed the first public demonstration of dual-core processors for notebooks, desktops and server platforms called Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest, respectively.

The new architecture will be available in the second half of 2006, Intel executives said. The chips will deliver faster clock cycles by burning far less power. AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., started bringing out its Opteron dual-core line in April.

Dual-core and 64-bit Windows

Some IT customers are already excited about the prospect of using the dual-core technology, which essentially places two processors on a single die.

If we are on the border of buying a single versus a dual, we will err on the side of a dual so we don't have a bottleneck.

Alan Thomas, technical consultant,

National Gypsum


"We will definitely check these out," said Alan Thomas, a senior technical consultant at National Gypsum Properties LLC, a Charlotte, N.C., construction products manufacturer. "If we are on the border of buying a single versus a dual, we will err on the side of a dual so we don't have a bottleneck."

"We are already looking at 64-bit Windows, and the new service pack for [Microsoft] Virtual Server will support 64-bit Windows," he added. "We will see what we might get by combining that service pack and dual core. We will probably scale back on the number of servers."

The hardware vendor watch is on

Though AMD has its chips out earlier than IBM and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, purchases by enterprise customers will largely depend on what a customer's preferred vendor is doing.

Related links

Chip advances blowing up software price assumptions


Tech topic: Processors

National Gypsum is a Dell Computer Inc. customer and Dell currently uses chips made by Intel, not AMD. MAHLE Industries Inc., a Morristown,Tenn., supplier to the automotive industry, is also a Dell and IBM customer. "We use IBM [Lenovo] for high-end applications and Dell on the low end," said Ernie Coldwell, a network analyst for MAHLE. "And it will also depend on how well it all works with VMware's virtual server products."

Pricing will be a big factor as well. If customers have to pay a premium for dual-core technology, they may want to just buy older technology for now, said Rich Partridge, vice president of enterprise servers at DH Brown Associates Inc., a Port Chester, N.Y., consulting firm. "But if you're not paying a premium, then it's a no-brainer. It will be single- and dual-core for a while. Then it will be dual- and multi-core."

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