CES: Intel debuts three quad-core processors

LAS VEGAS -- Seeking to build on its lead over Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in the race to sell quad-core processors, Intel Corp. launched three quad-core processors on Monday.

2007 International CES

2007 International CES: January 8-11, Las Vegas

One of the new chips, the Core 2 Quad, marks Intel's first attempt to spread the new technology to a wider market that encompasses more 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) this week in Las Vegas, Intel had draped much of the city with advertising banners that hung from hotels, parking garages and airport baggage carousels.

This launch gives desktop users the a level of performance that once was available only with a supercomputer, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said in a statement.

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 like Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro 2.0, Windows Media Encoder, Snapstream and Win DVD.

Rival chip maker AMD insists that Intel has merely glued two dual-core chips together, and that AMD's "Barcelona" four-core processor, will perform much better. Barcelona is slated to launch later this year.

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

Intel is positioning the other new chips -- the Quad-Core Xeon 3200 series -- for entry-level server functions such as e-mail, the Web and file-and-print applications. Intel is selling the 2.13-GHz Quad-Core Xeon X3210 for $690 and the 2.4-GHz Quad-Core Xeon X3220 for $851, both priced per unit in lots of 1,000. The new 2.4-GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600 is also selling for $851.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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