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Intel Not Going to Wait for Software to Catch Up

Just this year alone (and we've only cleared three months of it), Intel has unleashed an entirely new generation of desktop and mobile mainstream processors, as well as bumped up its enthusiast desktop offering to a hexacore, 12 thread Gulftown CPU. Earlier this week Intel bumped the core count for Nehalem-EX server chips to eight with the ability to process 16 threads.

With this rapid pace of rollout, is there any worry that Intel's hardware performance growth is outpacing the speed of software progression? Intel says it's not worried at all. In fact, it prefers staying ahead of the software demand curve.

"We learned our lesson in waiting for software. We did this 64-bit thing that was perceived to be a little bit late relative to the market. So we will get the hardware out there as soon as it's ready," Kirk Skaugen of Intel's Architecture Group said at the Nehalem-EX launch, according to the Register.

"What drives things mainstream," Skaugen said, "is this 'software spiral' that's been talked about since the early days of Andy Grove. The fact that when we announce new hardware, it creates a software set of innovations that put more pressure on the hardware to create new hardware innovations - and the cycle goes on and on."

Basically, if you build it, they will come.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.