Two chips, two gambles

The New York Times and the Associated Press take long looks at flip sides of the coming Intel-Advanced Micro Devices war over 64-bit processors. In “Intel’s Huge Bet Turns Iffy,” The Times examines the company’s enormous investment of time and money — 10 years and $5 billion — into the chip, which it co-developed with Hewlett-Packard. The Infineon, or more precisely the Infineon 2 (an earlier version 1 was largely considered a flop) handles enormous quantities of data, but also uses lots of electricity. While the former is nice, the Times says, companies that run big server farms are increasingly mindful about all the juice needed to keep them running and cooled. AMD’s own 64-bit entry, the Hammer, uses less electricity, the Times notes ominously. But as the AP reports, there are no guarantees for AMD either. One of Hammer’s big selling points is that it is backward compatible with current x86 software, meaning anything you’re running now on a Windows box and more. That could make it an appealing crossover product, tempting for use in corporate servers and consumer desktops alike. But with a soft economy and many people happy with the speed they’ve already got, anything short of a groundswell adoption could be a major bummer for the perennial no. 2.

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