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5/27/2005
04:10 PM
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Intel Pushes Dual-Core Chips For Home Users

Businesses should first test the designs with their software and other equipment

Intel last week recommended that PC makers use its new dual-core chips in home computers this year but not in business PCs, as the world's No. 1 chip vendor refines its dual-core design.

Home PC users are consuming more digital photos, music, and videos, and many have broadband connections, Intel VP Gerald Holzhammer said at a press conference in San Francisco. Dual-core chips, which can boost PC performance without increasing clock speed, can give home PCs the power to serve music, video streams, and games to multiple users at the same time. "The PC is becoming like a server for the home," he said. "It's the first time dual core will make a real impact on the marketplace."

But in businesses, IT departments are holding off on using dual-core chips until they test the designs with their other hardware and software, Intel says. "Mainstream business customers are interested in a platform that's stable even though it may not have some of the latest technology," Intel general manager Gregory Bryant says.

Intel's home PC platform will include its dual-core Pentium D processor and 945 Express Chipset with support for consumer-electronics features such as surround-sound audio. The chipset also contains technology designed to work with 3-D graphics capabilities Microsoft is developing for its Longhorn version of Windows, expected late next year. Intel's business platform will include the single-core Pentium 4 CPU and the 945 chipset.

By packaging components, Intel gets "more power over the whole selling process, which they need today with increased competition from AMD," says Mark Edelstone, an analyst at Morgan Stanley. But dual-core chips won't post significant sales until Intel shifts to a new manufacturing process, which it expects to do late this year. Meanwhile, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. this week plans to ship its AthlonX2 dual-core processors for PCs.

Intel says it expects to ship hundreds of thousands of dual-core chips this quarter, and millions this year. By the end of next year, the company predicts 70% of its server chips and 85% of its desktop and notebook chips will use multiple processing cores.

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