Intel Bests AMD With Core Duo - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure
10:40 AM
Darrell Dunn
Darrell Dunn

Intel Bests AMD With Core Duo

Chipmaker touts quick ramp-up of dual-core mobile platform and makes move into home entertainment

Intel used the recent Consumer Electronics Show to get a leg up on smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which for the past two years has outpaced Intel in product rollouts.

Intel made sure everyone knew it was first to market with a dual-core chip for mobile PCs. This comes after AMD's firsts with 64-bit x86 processors and dual-core x86 processors for server applications. Intel also used CES to position itself at the center of the emerging digital-home market.

This month Intel officials say the company will ship more than 1 million units of the new Core Duo, the official name for the dual-core mobile processor that previously was code-named Yonah. It took 12 months for Intel to ship its first million Pentium processors when they were launched in 1993.

The quick ramp-up reflects laptop makers' pent-up demand for the dual-core designs that will be marketed under the Centrino Duo platform brand. Intel says it already has commitments for 230 laptop models to use the new chip and platform, including more than 130 expected to ship this quarter.

One of those is expected to be a new Apple Computer laptop, the company's first to use Intel-based chips (see story, p. 26). Many Apple customers have been frustrated the past year as the company continued shipping laptops that used older-generation G4 PowerPC processors made by Freescale Semiconductor Inc.

The Core Duo chip "is the closest thing in my life I've seen to defying the law of gravity," says Mooly Eden, VP and general manager of Intel's mobile platforms group. It will provide a 78% performance boost with a simultaneous 28% power reduction, he says.

AMD plans to ship a dual-core version of its Turion platform for mobile computing in the first half of the year, says Bahr Mahony, director of AMD's mobile division. The Intel Duo Core is based on the 32-bit Pentium M processor architecture, Mahony notes, while AMD's offering provides 64-bit capabilities that will be able to take greater advantage of the upcoming Microsoft Vista operating system.

Heading Home

Intel also created buzz around its latest initiative that targets the digital home-entertainment market. As part of a new branding strategy that Paul Otellini, Intel's president and chief executive, unveiled in a keynote at CES, the company is putting greater emphasis on consumer products and less on its microprocessor roots. Intel has dropped its "Intel Inside" branding effort in favor of "Leap Ahead" and is putting its Viiv home-entertainment platform logo on many components for consumer electronics.

First Stops
Look for Centrino Duo in these laptops

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In addition to on-site demonstrations of Viiv-enabled electronics components, including standalone PCs and wide- screen televisions with built-in Intel processor-based PCs, Intel revealed commitments from leading equipment and content providers to work within the Viiv platform. Participants include AOL Music On Demand, DirecTV, ESPN, MTV, NBC Universal, and Turner Broadcasting.

AMD says it plans to extend its professional AMD Live! brand to consumer multimedia desktop and notebook PCs, but the systems aren't expected until mid-2006 and weren't at CES. AMD also says it will collaborate with STMicroelectronics, the leading supplier of processors used in set-top boxes, to ensure that its next-generation devices are interoperable with the AMD Live! systems.

The company wants AMD-based PCs to enable better digital home entertainment within the existing community of equipment and vendors already in the market, says Hal Speed, AMD's marketing architect, unlike Intel's move to get an even larger share of silicon real estate in a variety of home platforms as envisioned.

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