Intel And AMD Keep Punching - InformationWeek

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1/27/2006
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Intel And AMD Keep Punching

Both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices were bragging last week. The world's largest chipmaker showed off its technical chops when it unveiled a working chip that uses 45-nanometer technology, which promises computing with less power and heat. Rival AMD, meanwhile, heralded a new market-share report that showed the company had surpassed 21% in the overall x86 market in the fourth quarter, its best quarter ever.

chartAMD beat Intel to market last year with 64-bit x86 chips and with dual-core chips. That paid off, according to Mercury Research. The chipmaker's share of the overall x86 market grew to 21.4% in the fourth quarter of 2005, up from 17.7% in the third quarter. For the entire year, AMD's share was 18.2%, compared with 15.8% in 2004.

Yet Intel will be the first to roll out 45-nanometer technology, which promises to use less power and generate less heat while delivering greater performance. The smaller processors also will help usher in quad-core processing. New chips can have twice the transistor density possible in Intel's current 65-nanometer technology, as well as provide a 20% increase in transistor switching speed.

AMD dismissed Intel's accomplishment, noting that critics had said that earlier Intel advancements in 90-nanometer chip design would hurt AMD sales, but its market share instead has grown.

A tech race in which the two top chipmakers feel the need to constantly one-up each other can only be good news for customers.

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