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Two of the world’s well-known developers of central processing units makers, Advanced Micro Devices and Freescale, a subsidiary of Motorola, are expected to detail their dual-core AMD64 and PowerPC processors at Fall Processor Forum in early October.

AMD, Freescale Talk Multi-Core

Fall Processor Forum, former Microprocessor Forum hosted by In-Stat/MDR, will take place in San Jose, California, from 4th to 6th of October 2004. Among the presenters will be Kevin McGrath, Fellow, California Processor Division, AMD with his “Multicore Processors Go Mainstream with AMD64 Technology” presentation as well as Toby Foster, System Architect, Freescale Semiconductor with his lection titled “Freescale’s First Dual-Core PowerPC Processor”.

Public discussion may mean that dual-core technology and strategy for both companies is finalized and is on-track for production. Furthermore, give in-depth orientation of the event, both chip developers are likely to reveal some general information about organization and architecture of dual-core processors.

Other companies, such as AMCC, ARM, Broadcom, Faraday, Fujitsu Limited, IBM, PMC-Sierra, Renesas, Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments, Transmeta Corp., VIA Technologies, Xilinx and some others will also make presentations covering their latest or upcoming products.

Multi-Core Chips Coming from Everywhere

Traditional microprocessors and personal computers have always had only one processing engine, or core. While single-core central processing units packed with advanced capabilities and operating at high speed delivers enough performance to the vast majority of today’s applications in desktop segment, servers and powerful workstations, which have to handle many operations at once need more than one processing engine to execute two or more threads simultaneously.

With applications for desktops becoming more complex, require more processing power and execution of multiple treads of code instantly, the number of computing engines per personal computer is needed to be increased. While in servers and workstations manufacturers bump the number of chips per computer, desktops are far more cost-sensitive and the majority of PCs are shipped with only one central processing unit inside. While there are some technologies, such as Intel Hyper-Threading, that emulate two processing engines within one microprocessor, they are hardly as efficient as a real system with 2 processors.

A more or less cost-effective way to improve performance of central processing units and personal computers without serious boosting clock-speeds of the chips or increasing the number of CPUs within the system is to pack two processing engines into a single package.

Nowadays all leading makers of processors have announced plans to supply, or already deliver processors with more than one core. IBM has been supplying its Power4 and Power5 products with two cores for a while and targets to produce chips with two processing engines for Apple’s future workstation and also chips for Microsoft’s Xbox 2 console with three cores. Besides, IBM is working with Sony on the Cell processors that are also expected to feature more than one core. Sun Microsystems is on-track to release its multi-core, multi-threaded server products code-named Niagara and Rock in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Intel said earlier this year that in 2005 it would release dual-core chips for high-end and mainstream servers, workstations, desktops and portables, while 2006/2007 would be a right time for multi-core central processing units for servers to emerge from the world’s largest chipmaker. AMD has already finalized the design of its dual-core product for servers and said it would supply desktop market with dual-core chips as well by late 2005.

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