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Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. are revving up for what they see as the next big step in the evolution of x86 processors—the introduction of dual processing cores.

Both companies are demonstrating technology that puts two processing cores on a single chip, providing users with almost double the processing power in the same amount of space.

Intel’s shift toward enhancing the internal transistors within a single chip will be the focus of the Intel Developer Forum this week in San Francisco. The Santa Clara, Calif., company has already said it will combine two Itanium cores into a single chip, a practice the company will imitate in the desktop, server and, eventually, mobile microprocessor space as well. The forum will feature a demonstration of a dual-core processor, Intel executives said. Intel is expected to demonstrate its 64-bit Itanium chip, code-named Montecito, that is due in mid-2005.

“If you think about the value vector for Intel, over the last few decades we’ve been delivering performance,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s chief technology officer. “Moving forward, multicore will be the way that will be delivered in the future. … But we’re also expanding the value proposition in meaningful ways.”

AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., got a jump on Intel with the demonstration last week of four dual-core Opteron chips running in a Hewlett-Packard Co. ProLiant DL585 server. The processors, due commercially in mid-2005, will power servers and workstations.

Each of the two processing cores in the Intel and AMD chips has its own cache.

At the developer forum, Intel will not only stress the dual-core nature of its upcoming chips but will also play up those other “meaningful ways” in which it is enhancing its technologies, according to Intel President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini. Otellini will kick off the show by outlining more details of Intel’s “Ts,” the technologies that will enhance the company’s silicon in ways other than mere speed.

Click here to find out how Intel is planning to redefine performance at IDF.

Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology is used in virtually all its processors today, but Otellini at the event will talk more about Intel’s LaGrande security technology, Silvervale and Vanderpool processor virtualization and partitioning technology, respectively, as well as the 64-bit Extended Memory 64 technology, also known as EM64T.

Mark Hachman is a senior writer at; additional reporting by John S. McCright.

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