Intel claims its plans to develop a standard four processor PC technology will guarantee a ?Wintel? future and seriously threaten the Risc platform in the server and workstation market.
The company has just started work alongside hardware and software designers, including Intergraph, H-P, IBM, Compaq, Dell and Microsoft, to develop the low cost quad-processor standard, which will be based on the forthcoming Deschutes processor card architecture.
The technology is initially expected, according to Intel, to be suitable for high end science and engineering users, although as technologies such as the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), which is capable of supporting graphics throughput of 1Gbps, become available, Deschutes costs are expected to fall. This will make quad processor technology for the desktop a realistic desktop opportunity for Intel.
Chris Parr, Intel server product marketing manager said that the market was more dependent on the software developers than what Intel was developing, although he admitted that the quad standard was more than a shot in the arm in the fight against Risc. ?Quad processor development is currently focussed on the server market,? said Parr. ?I would be interested to see how many desktop users would need four processors though.?
However, Parr admitted that he accepted that it was difficult to judge the need for processing power ahead of any software development for the platform.
?SMP Intel workstations always have the ability to out perform Risc due mainly to software support,? claimed Brian Green, product manager at ALR. ?We?ve sold Intel graphics workstations to people like Stephen Spielberg, mainly because applications from companies like Microsoft SoftImage are bringing graphics costs down on the NT platform.?
It?s a view supported by Nacho Mazzini, director of digital media business development at Intergraph. ?High end software firms will end up porting to either NT or SGI,? he said, ?but in about two years, Intel machines will control the market because they will be able to offer power and functionality at an aggressive price. Then who will buy SGI??
With Microsoft withdrawing NT support for Mips and PowerPC platforms, NT?s remaining options are Intel and Alpha. ?If software developers looking to make ends meet have to weigh-up which platform to port to, they are going to go with NT and that means Intel,? added Parr.
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