Cor! Intel Core 2 screams, be a versatilist (and graphs as art)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's IT Blogwatch, in which Intel's Core 2 Duo desktop CPUs benchmark v. fast, and we discover that the IT worker of 2010 won't be a technology guru. Not to mention artistic visualizations of a web page's structure...

The embargo's over. Anyone who's anyone has an opinion on Intel's new, AMD-killing desktop CPUs. For example, PC World's Eric Dahl:

Desktop computers built around Intel Corp.'s new Core 2 Duo processors, due to be launched July 27, set new high marks for desktop performance ... With this chip line, formerly code-named Conroe, Intel decisively reclaims the power desktop crown ... Both of the Intel setups bested the AMD-based system on every test in our WorldBench 5 suite ... The improvement on WorldBench 5's multitasking tests, which involve running a Web browsing session in Mozilla while encoding a file with Windows Media Encoder, was particularly dramatic ... Intel developed its Core microarchitecture from the ground up, focusing on multiple CPU cores, high performance and low power consumption -- there's a lot of technology packed onto its 65nm die. Using lessons learned in building its successful Pentium M mobile CPUs, Intel first improved its mobile line and released the Core Duo CPUs. Then the company set out to strengthen the performance of its desktop chips, while dramatically reducing their power consumption.
Engadget's Paul Miller waxes lyrical:

The reign of Core Duo has dominated 2006, but now is the time for a line of desktop processors to take the stand for justice. Or something like that. Announced in June, Intel's Core 2 Duo is officially "out" today -- though you can't buy 'em just yet ... it's clear that the Intel's Core architecture has the makings of a champ. While sharing a misleadingly similar name, Intel's Core Duo mobile line isn't actually built on Intel's "Core" chip design, notably lacking 64 bit compatibility. However, the breakthroughs made in the "Yonah" Core Duo chips really shine through in the Core Duo 2, and the chip thoroughly trounced AMD's offerings ... even faster chips are on the way, and AMD and Intel are charging into a price war that should give us some of the best valued chips we've seen in a while.
Scoble, R. does the math:

I’m staying at a place across the street from AMD’s headquarters ... I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the engineer’s offices. But, that competition is great for us. New machines ahead! ... Looks like [Intel] found a way to beat back heat generation and use less electricity. Why is that important? Well, look at what Google/Yahoo/Microsoft are building in Washington State: huge datacenters. If you can reduce power consumption and heat generation by even a little bit that’ll make a big difference over the lifetime of that PC.
Bit-Tech Brit, Tim "don't call me smelly" Smalley has a comprehensive analysis:

Intel is releasing a total of five different processors today, the first in a breed of new desktop processors based on the Core architecture - we will talk about what makes Core tick in due course. Rather than raw speed, Intel has changed its stance on processor design with clear roots shining through from the excellent Pentium M architecture, and the even more impressive Yonah architecture that we looked at in May ... based on five key elements that collectively help the Core 2 Duo processors reach some new performance heights. These are known as Intel Wide Dynamic Execution, Intel Intelligent Power Capability, Intel Advanced Smart Cache, Intel Smart Memory Access and Intel Advanced Digital Media Boost ... Arguably though, the more intriguing processors are the lower-end ... E6600 is hot on the heels of the Athlon 64 FX-62, and in many cases Intel's slowest 4MB L2 cache Core 2 Duo outperforms AMD's flagship chip for roughly 1/3 of the price ... Despite there being some performance improvements as a result of having 4MB of L2 cache, we don't think that the performance deficit is as big as some have made out. Out of the four processors we've looked at today, the E6400 looks to be a steal at £182 [$335], while the E6600 also represents good value for money ... Of course, AMD is set to reduce its prices on July 24th - that could make things very interesting.
Kevin C. Tofel looks at what this means for lower-end prices:

We mentioned earlier that Intel was going to battle losing market share to AMD by slashing chip prices and the details are now available. Needless to say, AMD is going to have to find some way to battle back as Intel is putting a tremendous amount of performance and pricing pressure on their competitors. According to ZDNet, a 3.4 GHz dual core Pentium D 945 is priced at $163, in quantity of course. This price is not only less than current and slower Intel processors, but the fastest clocking and comparable processor AMD offers is nearly a grand, or just more than five times this price. Although AMD has made huge market share gains, they're fighting against the momentum and economies of scale that Intel enjoys. My only hope now is that the lower end and mobile chipsets follow suit so we can start to see additional price decreases in the UMPC market.
Meanwhile, there's Stacy Collett's article about 2010's IT skills market, which got Slashdigged:

The most sought-after corporate IT workers in 2010 may be those with no deep-seated technical skills at all. The nuts-and-bolts programming and easy-to-document support jobs will have all gone to third-party providers in the U.S. or abroad. Instead, IT departments will be populated with "versatilists" -- those with a technology background who also know the business sector inside and out, can architect and carry out IT plans that will add business value, and can cultivate relationships both inside and outside the company.
From Slashdot:

rohan972: I think the point being made is that business/sales skills are more important for your career not for the business. As long as the technical skills are available to keep the tech going, sales etc. will put you at a higher level in the business than tech skills. I agree though, I would hate to be a good businessman trying to sell broken products, or products made on a broken production line.

mgkimsal2: there's no simple answer to the issue of corporate software development. I can tell you that I've worked in some places where the existing software was put together so poorly that it was little more than a deck of cards waiting to fall. "But it addresses the business needs!" is a valid point, to be sure, but when small enhancement requests which should take a day start taking >1 week solely because the original software was put together so poorly, you've got bigger problems than whether someone understands the unique business needs or not ... The best middle ground is to have hybrid people.

jours: Anyone who's worked with offshore resources knows this is exaclty true. A couple of years ago I was contracted at a large 401k company when they brought in massive amounts of Indian labor. They were bright, spoke English well, and did passable work...but they didn't know a thing about retirement accounts or any other American financial practices. I was far, far more valuable working with them as a business analyst then I was as a coder.

gweihir: I am sick and tired of this [bovine excrement] I keep hearing for over a decade now. Ths most sought after people will still be those that understand what they are doing. I am really fed up with management types trying to convince the world, that IT people are actually sort-of failed managers. The real reason is that the managers have an inferiority comples, since they do know that they can never, ever, under any circumstances replace an IT specialist. Too much air, greed and selfishness in their heads. On the other hand many managers are so bad at their job, that most IT people would do at least as well.

khasim: Translation: 2010 management will demand IT staff who can understand the business and technology sufficiently to manage the out-sourced projects. Said out-sourced projects will be the actual writing of the software that supports the company and the end-user support of the remaining company employees who use the software that was written by other people outside the company. Welcome to the "Titanic" business model.

From Digg:

WorldBuilder: Hey, today there's a skill more in demand than ANY of that: being able to speak in English, being able to relay technical info in a non-technical manner, and knowing when technology will actually help you instead of getting in the way...

twinklyJesus: Truly, guys, the business world is rapidly tiring of the Bench tech who, while extremely good a fixing things has the interpersonal skills of a roll of toilet paper. I don't think this article is 100% on-target, but I think it has a valid point. We need to be able to do our jobs and function accordingly in a business environment. Those with adequate tech skills AND business savvy will be the successful employee in the future. Smart enough to know that just because you don't NEED to wear a tie, you do because you SHOULD, etc.

SanTe: Excellent. This means we can finally just ditch the useless management altogether. After all, if we know the technology and we know the business inside and out, why exactly do we need the grossly overpaid doofuses making moronic decisions, sucking up our resources, and taking up space?

Buffer overflow:

    Around the Net

    Around Computerworld

And finally... All Things Distributed: Graphs as Art

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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