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Multi-core chips for the digital home

At the launch of new line of Pentium 4 processors, Intel discussed the role dual-and multi-core processors will play in the digital home.

At the launch of five new Pentium 4 processors in Sydney yesterday, Intel discussed the role dual- and multi-core processors will play in the digital home.

The buzz topic coming out of Intel was dual- and multi-core technologies. A dual-core processor is two CPUs combined in one single package, designed to enhance performance and execute multiple tasks more efficiently. Multi-core processing is when two or more chips are used in this manner to achieve significant performance gains.

According to Intel, the ability to run multiple processor-intensive applications simultaneously around the digital home will be a driver for dual-core processing in the digital home.

"You could have a DMA player streaming to multiple output devices, a PVR application recording TV in the background, and also be playing a game or DVD movie," Intel's technical manager for Australia and New Zealand, Graham Tucker said.

"This really lends itself to not only dual-core, but multi-core environments where you do need duplicated resources to cater for these hungry applications," he added.

Both AMD and Intel have announced that they will market dual core processors in 2005.

After unveiling the latest line of Pentium 4 chips, Tucker said Intel is planning for a Pentium range that will be 70 percent dual-core by the end of 2006.

According to Tucker, by 2008 Intel will be able to offer consumers ten times the performance using multi-core technology than it would have been able to if it had continued along the single-core development track.

Tucker added that Intel's range of Pentium Extreme Edition CPUs will get dual-core technology first, with the other products to follow. For notebook computers, Intel is working on a dual-core chip codenamed Yonah.

ZDNet Australia's Renai Lemay contributed to this report.