AMD aims chips at ‘extreme gamers’

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The processor battle between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices will move to the next level of computing power Thursday with AMD launching its first quad-core product.

Intel introduced quad-core products for servers, workstations and gaming enthusiasts earlier this month and AMD is now responding and taking Intel on in the “extreme gamer” segment of the PC market.

However, no games have yet been released that take advantage of processors with four “brains” or cores. Furthermore, both sides can argue that their competitor has not produced a true quad-core chip.

AMD’s Quad FX product is two dual-core processors placed in two separate sockets on a computer motherboard. Its first quad-core chips, with the brains on a single die, will not be ready until the middle of next year.

Intel’s Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor is two dual-core processors in a single socket.

Jon Peddie, a multimedia semiconductor analyst with Jon Peddie Research, said AMD’s Quad FX was probably the better performer.

“You can stack up AMD processors more effectively for programs that can do multi-tasking,” he said.

AMD has traditionally led Intel in the gaming enthusiasts market, which constitutes around 5 per cent of desktop PC customers.

The processor manufacturers pay particular attention to gamers as pointing the way to the future needs of mainstream consumers.

Randy Stude, director of Intel’s gaming programme office, said that, while there were no games able to take advantage of quad-core yet, the new products would allow greater multi-tasking by gamers. This could give them the ability to play a game while encoding video and burning DVDs, without any drag on performance.

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