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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.
  • pbrigido
    I have to agree with Intel on this. Forcing software companies to get up to speed is a good thing for all of us.
    Reply
  • maigo
    cool beans
    Reply
  • Emperus
    This makes sense.. Playing catch up or even waiting for the software to catch up would also allow competition to catch up to them.. Besides staying ahead will always help system builders to build a literally future proof setup.. There exists only a spot of bother wherein the hardware might reach a saturation point beyond which the technology might mostly under perform due the lack of resources to utilize it efficiently..
    Reply
  • shin0bi272
    Why cant nvidia have this mindset? cause we all want gpgpus dont we? oh wait I forgot... NO WE DONT! Good call Intel
    Reply
  • mlopinto2k1
    Totally makes sense. Especially when everyone thinks this company or that company is holding down progression. They won't look like corporate monopolizers trying to make money by holding back technology. It will force software companies to compete to utilize the hardware they are being given.
    Reply
  • chess
    can you still believe the i7 is years old? way to rock intel :)
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    If only AMD could compete on the same level. I'll keep on hoping
    Reply
  • tpi2007
    emperusThis makes sense.. Playing catch up or even waiting for the software to catch up would also allow competition to catch up to them.. Besides staying ahead will always help system builders to build a literally future proof setup.. There exists only a spot of bother wherein the hardware might reach a saturation point beyond which the technology might mostly under perform due the lack of resources to utilize it efficiently..
    I was also thinking that with such fast processors and graphics cards we have today, to really make use of them to the fullest, we really need to start having decently priced SSD's, not only to store the OS, but everything else too. It's probably the major bottleneck in any given system. Even an old Pentium III at 1GHz benefits immensely if you give it a modern 7200rpm Hard drive with more data density per platter, so modern systems defintely need SSD's to bring the best in them. Storage systems have always lagged behind.
    Reply
  • Parsian
    NOW that is an attitude i like to see more especially when it comes to Gaming... I hope developers are developing new stuff rather than sell the same old thing over and over and over and over again and again and again...

    Reply
  • spoofedpacket
    otacon72Intel learned their lesson...so did ATI... Nvidia is learning it now.
    Oh god. Can you think about anything other than video cards?
    Reply