SANTA CLARA, California Intel introduced on Thursday what it described as its most important product since the arrival of the Pentium processor 13 years ago.
With the line of 10 new chips, which are collectively called Core 2 Duo, Intel hopes to reclaim market share that it has lost over the last three years to a smaller rival, Advanced Micro Devices.
The chief executive of Intel, Paul Otellini, told an audience gathered at the company’s headquarters here that the new semiconductors represented the most significant advancement in computer chip design and performance since the Pentium processor in 1993. That product offered a significant leap in processing speed and helped solidify Intel’s dominance throughout the 1990s.
The new processors are the result of a costly development process that Intel started after disclosing several years ago that it had hit a technical wall with its former approach.
Rather than focusing on sheer processing speed, the new design shrinks the circuitry, putting two computing engines on a single piece of silicon, giving computer users faster and smoother performance.
The Core 2 Duo, Intel says, can deliver as much as 40 percent better performance while using as much as 40 percent less power and giving off less heat.
Otellini said Intel planned to ship at least 1 million of the processors within two months, giving computer makers the opportunity to sell PCs with the chips during the holiday shopping season.
Three companies, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway, announced that they would be among the first to sell systems based on the new processors, starting in a few weeks. Systems based on Intel’s Core 2 Extreme, aimed at video game enthusiasts, are already available, the company said.
For computer makers, the arrival of the chip comes as Microsoft has revealed that Vista, the next major release of Windows, will probably not arrive before the end of 2006, missing the holiday shopping season.
“This move by Intel represents a potential bright spot for the computer industry, which had been hoping for Vista to arrive,” Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a market research and consulting firm, said. “This could have a significant impact on the computer industry” during the fourth quarter.
The Core 2 Duo also arrives just as Intel is completing a review of its operations in hopes of becoming more efficient. Otellini declined to reveal whether the company, which earlier this month announced it would lay off 1,000 managers, would have additional job cuts.
Last week, Intel reported a sharp decline in sales and profit for the second quarter in the face of slowing computer sales and competition from Advanced Micro.
Intel has been losing market share to Advanced Micro, which is also delivering higher-performing chips that are more power-efficient.
While Intel remains the far larger chip supplier, Advanced Micro has picked up about five percentage points of market share in the last year, according to Mercury Research, a technology research company.
In a response to the Intel announcement, AMD said it “is now quite accustomed to Intel reacting and attempting to follow our lead.”
Fuente: International Herald Tribune, Laurie J. Flynn