Anyone who follows computer tech news (ok, admittedly not a huge percentage of the general U.S. population), and who caught any of the recent news regarding Intel’s recent processor announcement, will agree with me when I say that AMD has even harder times ahead.
If you don’t feel like reading the linked article – despite its quality of writing and wealth of information – then here’s the jist: Intel is releasing a new CPU that will put its own current generation Core 2 products to shame; AMD never really caught up to Core 2. Perhaps Anand himself put it best:
Once more, Nehalem at today’s artificially limited, modest clock speed is already faster than any Penryn out today. What Intel did to AMD in 2006, it is doing to itself in 2008. Amazing.
There are numerous reasons I’m excited by the Nehalem announcement. First, though let’s admit to the likely bias of it simply being “shiny and new.” Taking that geeky fanboyism into account, however, there are several aspects of Nehalem that make it a very impressive technological achievement.
Perhaps the biggest move Intel made with Nehalem was the integration of the memory controller onto the CPU itself, as opposed to as a separate chip (the MCC – Memory Controller Chip). There are several advantages to this, but most of them are too technical for me to explain without doing some additional research myself. To avoid looking lazy, though, I’ll use the excuse “no one would want to read all those details.” 😛
Suffice it to say, this is not a small achievement (it requires a complete re-engineering of the processor layout to accommodate the memory controller. AMD already achieved this feat back when they released their K8 core (and it was a significant advantage over Intel at the time), but Intel’s achievement of the same technology has chipped away one of AMD’s few remaining technological edges over Intel.
Another engineering achievement that Intel has accomplished is building a brand new architecture that is (and this is a gross generalization over many, many kinds of benchmarks) clock-for-clock 20%-30% faster than Intel’s already impressive Core 2 line. What is even more significant is that the processor that Anadtech demo-ed was likely a limited version of what will be officially launched in the last quarter of 2008. A full-fledged Nehalem line-up will simply blow AMD’s Phenom line out of the water.
Which is why I’m going to wait until then to buy either a new Macbook Pro (or whatever else gets announced today at Apple’s WWDC), or build a server onto which I will finally be able to install and setup my copy of Windows Server 2008. It’s going to be an exciting time in computer technology when Nehalem gets rolling . . . 🙂