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Intel unveils chip launch offensive

Most important release since the Pentium

Intel is gearing up for its most important product launch since the introduction of the original Pentium processor, a top executive said today.

Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing group, will introduce a series of dual-core chips tomorrow, including models tailored for desktop PCs, notebooks and servers, that offer significant performance gains.

"I'll showcase the benchmarks on some of these products, and they look stunning," Chandrasekher said.

For example, the Merom mobile processor, which will be unveiled tomorrow, offers a 20 percent increase in performance over Intel's Core Duo mobile processors when they are run at the same clock speed, Chandrasekher said. At the same time, Merom consumes the same amount of power as the Core Duo chips, he said.

"The places where you will see a bigger jump in terms of performance and reductions in power consumption are desktops and servers," Chandrasekher said, referring to the Conroe desktop chip and the Woodcrest server chip. Both chips will also be announced tomorrow.

Intel needs the new chips, particularly Woodcrest, to fend off competition from rival AMD. Over the past year, AMD's dual-core Opteron processor, which outperforms Intel's current Xeon chips, has made significant gains in the server space. But Intel's new chips will put pressure on AMD.

"Intel's Woodcrest processor is really showing dramatic improvements in both performance [and] power consumption," said Steve Felice, president of Dell's Asia-Pacific operations, during a recent conference call.

The chip will put Intel ahead of AMD in the server space, Chandrasekher said. "It's not even in the same game," he said, noting that Woodcrest offers an 80 percent increase in performance and a 40 percent decrease in power consumption over existing Xeon chips.

The jump in performance offered by the chips is an important milestone. "It's probably as big as the Pentium was. The move from the 486 to the Pentium was a big move," Chandrasekher said. "This is probably in that same league."

Computex opens tomorrow and runs until 10 June.


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