It’s nice to have someone echo your sentiment about how there wasn’t any rush to switch to a dual core processor, a month after the fact. Excuse me as I gloat a bit while I reread the comments of Rob Enderle, an analyst at San Jose-based Enderle Group.
“Users who recently bought a machine don't need rush into replacing it with a dual-core model. However, he said, users just now replacing their hardware might consider the dual-code chip, especially given the typical three-year life span for a desktop PC.”
Thanks to Computer World for procuring that quote.
Providing an 80% performance boost over the single core Athlon processor, the Athlon 64 X2 dual core processor is best utilized with a 64 bit operating system with the proper drivers for peripherals—an OS reality that Microsoft won’t offer on a wide easy to obtain scale until the launch of Longhorn, 14 months from now and counting.
"If you want a machine that's ready for Longhorn, that's when it comes into play," Enderle said.
The Athlon 64 X2 is available as the 4800+, 4600+, 4400+, and 4200+, priced at $1,001, $803, $581, and $537, respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities.
The chips are aimed at high-end “prosumer” markets who have a need for more sophisticated processing. That mainly involves multitasking or hypertasking, especially useful for those using diverse media applications simultaneously.
"There are certain environments where you are running applications on multiple threads where dual-core processors will shine, like with video and video encoding," says Dean McCarron, an analyst with Mercury Research. "Other applications that aren't as yet multithreaded won't show much improvement on a dual-core system."
The beauty and utility of multi-core processing is that running more than one complicated application becomes easily accomplished, preventing the “digital ice cream headache” computers can become afflicted with. Though clock speeds are slower, two processor cores are doing more than one task at once, eventually resulting in twice the output.
Eventually (probably next year or so), this will especially help the average computer user in the realms of virus and spyware utilities that can be a resource hog on current single core processors.
AMD’s processors are a bit pricier than Intel’s version, released last week. Henri Richard, AMD executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing said that Intel’s chips required additional cooling, an add-on that justifies the price difference.
Existing AMD single core based motherboards will require a BIOS upgrade and the first to supply PCs with the Athlon 64 X2’s will be Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Acer, and Alienware.