IntroductionIntel's recent press launch of a dual-core consumer x86 processor has polarised minds, press time and thinking from technologists, as everyone beings to come to terms with the way processor development is going, at least for the short to mid-term future. It's made me spend a lot of time thinking about the ramifications of a product with two fully functioning cores on one physical processor package - and it's important to cement that packaging concept in your mind as you think about the next wave of CPUs that you might want to put into your PC - and what it's going to bring to the PC space, consumer computing and future processor development. I'll come back to some of those concepts at the end of this article.
HEXUS Reviews Editor, Tarinder Sandhu looked at the new Pentium processor for us, and I'm glad he did. It's allowed me sit back at a safe distance and ponder it without having to immerse myself in the particular implementation as I'd have had to for a review, which has let me to prepare properly for my own recent adventures with dual-core.
I've been able to absorb not only his opinions, but those of other publications that covered it, and pair those with what I already know, to see if it matches up with the messaging being pushed out by the vendors relying on dual-core for their next round of processor products.
And it's AMD's take on dual-core x86 processing that's intrigued me the most, since they've had the lead in the single-core race for such a long time. With the Athlon 64 dominating for the majority of enthusiasts, Athlon FX whipping the arse of the Pentium Extreme Edition for the well-heeled gamer, Sempron now selling very strongly into the mainstream and corporate spaces and Turion seemingly about to do similar things in the mobile space, building on the technologies and performance of the ranges already mentioned, that's some fall from grace if they get dual-core wrong.
AMD have talked about dual-core already with Opteron, but with our breaking of the desktop product's official naming in recent days, it's time for them to turn their public attentions to the product they want the average HEXUS reader to be interested in. And when you discover the full-blown marketing name for new technology, you know it's never far away.
So when AMD's press kit for the Athlon X2 arrived recently (handily, only a couple of days before I moved house, hence a slight miss on NDA expiry, for which I apologise), a product name we exclusively broke weeks before today's launch, I was able to spend a fair bit of time with it, exploring how AMD have approached dual-core on the desktop.
There's a fair bit to cover as far as AMD's desktop dual-core is concerned, so enough introductory waffle from me and onto some of the specifics involved in their implementation.