Intel Unveils New Brand While AMD Energy Clock Ticks

Intel will call its new processor line for desktop and laptop computers the Core 2 Duo, while AMD talks about more than $1 billion wasted in energy costs by businesses using Intel-based servers.

Darrell Dunn, Contributor

May 5, 2006

3 Min Read

Intel on Monday will continue its "branding" push, unveiling a new name for its upcoming and more energy-efficient processors for desktop and laptop PCs. At the same time, rival Advanced Micro Devices has launched a campaign to highlight what it calls more than $1 billion wasted in energy costs by businesses using Intel-based servers.

Intel will call its new processor line for desktop and laptop computers the Core 2 Duo. Formerly code-named Conroe for the desktop and Merom for the laptop, the new brand name includes a "2" to indicate it's the second generation of dual-core technology and "Duo" to signify the number of processing cores in the device.

The Core 2 Duo processors will be built using a 65 nanometer manufacturing process and will provide a common architecture for the consumer, gaming, notebook, and business desktop segments. Intel will brand its best performing processor, which is targeted at enthusiasts and the gaming market, the Core 2 Extreme. The first PCs using the Core 2 Duo processors are expected this summer.

The Core architecture was introduced at the Spring Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco last month. Customers and businesses will be able to purchase systems using the desktop and laptop versions of the architecture later this year as part of Intel's expanded platform branding effort, which includes the Centrino Duo for laptop PCs, Viiv for consumer PCs and related equipment, and the recently named vPro for the commercial PC market.

The third new Core architecture-based processor on the Intel road map is code-named Woodcrest. Targeted for the server market, Woodcrest is expected to show up in systems in the third quarter.

According to Intel, Woodcrest will provide an 80% performance increase over existing Xeon processors while reducing power consumption by 35%; the Core 2 Duo for desktop PCs will provide a 40% increase over existing Pentium processors while reducing power demands by 40%; and the Core 2 Duo for laptop PCs will provide a 20% performance boost over the existing Core Duo while maintaining the same power level.

Woodcrest cannot come too soon for Intel. Intel has seen its server market share attacked by AMD over the past year, as more energy-efficient Opteron-based systems have gained market share. According to Mercury Research, AMD's share of the x86 processor market for servers grew to 22.1% in the first quarter of 2006, up from 16.4% in the fourth quarter of 2005.

AMD has been hammering hard on the power equation over the past year and seems to have found a receptive audience among IT professionals and data center managers, who are finding it increasingly difficult to manage large installations of power-hungry servers.

Last week AMD posted a running electronic tote board in Times Square in New York and on Highway 101 between Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The boards have a running ticker on the "estimated cost of energy spent" by using Intel-based servers instead of AMD servers. The running ticker can also be found on AMD's Web site.

The tally boards were put up last week after AMD said the energy losses from the use of Intel-based servers exceeded $1 billion over the past three years. As of Friday, the board showed a total loss of $1.07 billion, with the ticker increasing by an average of $24 per second.

"That figure could slow as AMD gains more market share," an AMD spokesman said. The company is expected to keep the tally boards running through the end of the year.

AMD has been pushing IT industry environmental consciousness on several fronts, including being a founder of the recently announced The Green Grid consortium. That group, which includes AMD, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems, is working in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency to create an industry-wide effort to improve server and data center power efficiencies. On Tuesday at the World Congress on Information Technology in Austin, Tex., Intel-only computer supplier Dell also joined the group.

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