San Francisco (CA) - Intel currently rallies hardware and software developers to support 64-bit and its dual-core processors at IDF and spills an enormous amount of data also on information-hungry journalists. While IDF has grown to one of the most important tech conferences over the past years, its also almost a tradition that AMD usually takes advantage of the journalist crowd to provide some updates on its roadmap and present its side of the story.
This year's AMD news is less than we would have expected - given the fact that Intel announced more than a dozen dual- and multi-core projects with platform details in some cases. However, the desktop dual-core Athlon 64 architecture however was just a few days out of the cage and AMD obviously came to San Francisco somewhat empty-handed. The news it brought is the firm intends to catch up with Intel's dual-core mobile chip.
The processor however will be limited to the desktop replacement segment - in contrast to Intel's broader reach of virtually all notebook markets. The dual-core mobile Athlon 64 will hit the market together with the desktop dual core in the second half of this year. Company representatives said AMD was not ready to provide more information beyond this point.
While Intel promotes a radical transition to dual-core and quickly ramp its dual-core procesor output across all product lines, AMD believes in providing users a choice of single- and dual-cores, since there - at least for now - not many applications that in fact require dual-core capability. In that respect, the firm decided to keep the single-core FX processor as the top-end of its processor line and continue to offer it as its fastest and highest-priced desktop processor. "We have still room to sclae the chip through 2005 and 2006 and expect the chip to be the best performing enthusiast and gaming processor," said Teresa de Onis, Manager of Desktop Branding at AMD.
Intel generally agrees with a statement that a high-end single-core processor will be faster especially in applications at the time of the dual-core introduction. The company however described a dual-core gaming system system such as the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 as an "investment" that will pay off as enthusiast system once dual-core-capable games will be available. There was not much to see at IDF to illustrate this position besides an announcement that Ubisoft partners with Intel in his space and a game demo. That demo however promises a solution for a problem game developers have been working on for years: Dual-core processor will be able to simulate much more AI game characters on one screen than a single-core chip can. The result is an increase in animated units and a gaming environment that is even more influenced by the player's actions.
AMD follows a completely different strategy than Intel, but it is too early too judge which of the two firms has the successful approach to dual-core. Both firms claim the way to dual-core is not a race of the two different platforms - and we would agree at least partially. But there is no doubt that the dual-core game has become a fierce race of rallying support from developers behind each approach.