Enterprises should prepare for Intel quad-core

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Enterprises should prepare for Intel quad-core

Gartner urges firms to evaluate the new processors.

Enterprise buyers should seriously consider Intel's newly developed quad-core chips in their short-term IT plans, but should also take software licensing costs and application suitability into account, Gartner has advised.

The analyst firm's comments come after Intel chief executive Paul Otellini announced in September that the firm has accelerated its plans to introduce microprocessors that have four computing engines on a single chip.

The first quad-core microprocessors, the Intel Core 2 Extreme which Intel states will deliver performance improvements of up to 70 percent over its latest two-core chips, will be available for servers and computing-enthusiast systems in November.

According to a newly published Gartner advisory by managing vice president and Gartner Fellow Martin Reynolds, Otellini's announcement stressed the proposition that processor performance is once again an important market factor.

"This is a return to a familiar message for Intel, and a departure from the 'platformisation' strategy that Intel has maintained through years of market share gains by AMD," he said.

"This move by Intel also highlights the continuing relevance of Moore's Law and suggests that 16-core or even 32-core devices will be available by 2010."

Intel's quad-core design centres on two matched Core 2 Duo processors in a single package.

The processor operates at a slightly reduced clock speed to avoid overheating, but offers a significant performance increase over the fastest Core 2 Duo in multithreaded applications, Reynolds explained.

"Intel clearly hopes that a strong introduction of quad-core processors in 2007 will enable it to recover server and desktop market share from AMD and drive upgrades," he said.

"Intel's new products have taken the performance lead from AMD, but Gartner believes that AMD-based products will remain compelling for four-way servers.

"Moreover, Intel faces a market where growth is coming largely from price reductions, not from performance boosts. The battle for market share will therefore also be fought on the basis of price."

Enterprises are advised by Gartner to re-evaluate their Q107 purchasing plans to take into account the "substantial performance improvements" of quad-core processors over existing installed systems.

However, firms should also examine software licensing agreements closely to ensure that quad-core systems are price-competitive, and confirm that the applications being used will actually benefit from quad-core architecture.
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