CES - Intel debuts three quad-core processors

Intel launched three versions of its quad-core processor Monday, targeting low-end servers and high-end desktops.

Seeking to build on its lead over rival, AMD, in the race to sell quad-core processors, Intel has launched three quad-core processors.

One of the new chips, the Core 2 Quad, marks Intel's first attempt to spread the new technology to a wider market than large data centers and research grids. The other two, both versions of the Quad-Core Xeon 3200, are designed for low-end, single-socket servers.

To garner attention for its launch during the busy International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , Intel had draped much of the host city, Las Vegas, with advertising banners.

This launch gave desktop users the same performance that once required a supercomputer, Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, said in a press release.

The Core 2 Quad, designed for processing bottlenecks encountered with high-definition video entertainment and multimedia, is intended for Intel's Viiv package for digital home PCs, according to the vendor. The most likely buyers will be high-performance desktop and gaming PC users who run chip-intensive applications such as Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro 2.0, Windows Media Encoder, Snapstream and Win DVD.

AMD insists that Intel has merely glued two dual-core chips together, and that AMD's Barcelona four-core processor will perform much better when it launches later this year.

A strong impediment to the widespread adoption of quad-core chips is the scarcity of multi-threaded software than can take advantage of the four-way design. Indeed, Intel also pledged that it was actively working with software developers on enabling multi-threaded applications and next-generation games.

Intel is positioning the other new chips -- the Quad-Core Xeon 3200 series -- based on their power efficiency for entry-level server applications such as email, the Web and file-and-print. Intel is selling those chips as a 2.13GHz Quad-Core Xeon X3210 for $US690 and the 2.4GHz Quad-Core Xeon X3220 for $US851, both priced per unit in lots of 1000. The new 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600 is also selling for $US851.

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