The server and PC markets will get glitzy and awful hot in a couple of weeks when Intel pushes out its four-core chips. Both Kentsfield for high-end PCs and Clovertown for servers should officially arrive on 14 November, although review sites will be freed from their NDAs on 3 November, sources tell us.
The Kentsfield chip will pair two Conroe processors together and ship as the Core 2 Extreme Qx6700. Meanwhile, the Clovertown part marries two dual-core Woodcrest versions of Xeon and will ship as the Xeon 5300.
On the PC front, you're looking at a hell of a chip with limited uses. Gaming enthusiasts will certainly gobble up Kentsfield, since the chip is expected to deliver up to a 70 per cent performance boost over current Core 2 Extreme products. Beyond the games, however, there's not much multi-threaded desktop software available.
Of course, you'll have to pay a lot for the chip as well, and at 130-watts, Kentsfield runs as hot as the single core beasts of yesteryear.
That said, Intel gets to deliver a four-core uppercut to AMD and keeps pushing forward on the overall performance front.
Intel is especially pleased to get Clovertown out before AMD can prepare its own four-core server play.
HP, and other OEMs, should have Clovertown gear ready on the 14th. Our sources inside HP say the chip is eating between 140 watts and 150 watts, so please wear your protective gloves when making component changes. Clovertown chips should pop right into Woodcrest sockets.
Best of all, there's plenty of server software that can make use of the four-core chips.
Intel hopes to deliver less power hungry parts in short order. CEO Paul Otellini has talked about 50W and 80W Clovertown parts set for the early part of 2007.
Overall, this first iteration of quad-core gear gives Intel the marketing upper hand over AMD once again. The products should also satisfy the rich and power-hungry users out there. So, we give you Intel's "Footballers' Wives" line of chips. ®