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AMD, Intel Speed 64-Bit And Dual-Core Efforts

Processors with 64-bit capabilities, followed quickly by dual-core performance, are the two trends that will dominate x86-based computing this year, according to Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel.

The battle for x86 market leadership has been heating up since 2003, when AMD released Opteron, which can run 32-bit and 64-bit instructions. Intel responded last year with 64-bit extensions for Xeon. More recently, the two have jockeyed for position in the emerging dual-core market.

AMD this week unveils two new Opteron chips that were manufactured using a process that lets AMD squeeze more transistors onto a piece of silicon. That will let AMD increase on-chip memory, improve power management, and offer dual-processor core designs beginning in the next two quarters.

"The most logical way to get to the next level of performance is by having two cores directly connected, which will also enhance multithreaded and multitasked environments," says Pat La, director of server and workstation marketing for AMD.

The new 852 and 252 Opteron chips also include PowerNow, a power-optimization technology that AMD says can reduce power consumption by as much as 75%.

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