Quad Core Intel Notebook

I found this article on wired.com about an Intel quad-core notebook chip. It will be on our ‘intel’ page as well. Don’t forget you can always see the latest on intel stuff by clicking ‘intel’ at the top of your page.

Intel Prepares a Quad-Core Notebook Chip

By Bryan Gardiner Email 03.17.08 | 7:30 PM

Intel’s widely expected to release new quad-core laptop processors this fall, but even the chipmaker admits it could be years before the chips really go mainstream.
Courtesy Alienware

Stanford president John Hennessy calls parallel programming for multicore processors the biggest challenge computer science has faced in more than 50 years. But that’s not stopping Intel from moving ahead with plans to bring even greater core counts to your laptop.

According to trade-media reports, Intel is readying a new breed of quad-core mobile processors for release this fall, marking what could be the first concerted effort by the chip giant to aim its high-end multicore processors at the general mobile market.

Just don’t expect quad-core laptops to become an industry standard anytime soon. As DigiTimes notes, these chips won’t come cheap, and will also suck down significantly more power than today’s mainstream mobile Core 2 Duo processors — a big no-no in the mobile space.

Intel has previously stated its intention to release quad-core notebook processors, but the company would not confirm the details reported by DigiTimes.

“I’ve always used the adage, the hardware is ahead of the software is ahead of the user,” says Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, who says that quad-core processors in notebooks will not be suitable for mainstream consumers for quite some time.

“I can imagine a small niche [of adopters] on the notebook side, but I still think it’s going to be three to four years before [quad-core laptops] become mainstream,” he says.

In addition to high prices and power constraints, there’s still a dearth of software (and programmers) that can properly take advantage of four processing cores, a fact that will make selling multicore laptops an even harder prospect for Intel in the near term.

Nevertheless, IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell says the decision to relocate quad-core from the desktop to the laptop may actually make sense when you look at future industry trends.

“If you look at where the market is going, we have notebooks sales surpassing desktops on a worldwide scale in 2009,” says O’Donnell. “Notebooks are clearly the platform of the future; hence all the movement by Intel and others into the mobile space recently.”

In the not-too-distant future, O’Donnell also says that notebooks may even become the platform of choice for which chipmakers will develop new technologies, platforms and, yes, even new multicore processors.

For its own part, Intel seems to be well aware of the challenges it and the rest of the industry face in creating software that can take full advantage of multicore chip technology.

Intel and Microsoft are expected to announce a partnership on Tuesday with the University of California-Berkeley and other universities. The venture will see both companies funding new research into parallel programming techniques.

“Given the many attempts at salting parallel computing in the industry over 40 years, there have only been relatively modest successes to date,” says David Patterson, a professor of computer science at Berkeley.

Because the entire industry is now betting on multicore processors, it’s also realizing that unless the software community catches up, there remains no compelling reason for consumers to buy 4-, 8- or any other multicore processor.

As Jerry Bautista, director of technology management for Intel’s Microprocessor Technology Lab, puts it: “It’s not the hardware that’s really compelling. It’s what you can do with the hardware that really is the interesting stuff.”

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