Intel's Pentium Extreme Edition 840 processor


Dual dual core core action action!
— 3:09 AM on May 5, 2005

ABOUT ONE YEAR AGO, Intel went public with the first news of its near-religious conversion to the gospel of multicore processors. Prior to that fateful day, Intel had been talking optimistically about hitting 4GHz clock speeds by the end of 2004 and eventually reaching 10GHz with the Pentium 4 "Netburst" architecture. Such achievements were, in fact, business as usual at the world's largest chipmaker before news of its conversion. But everything changed last May when the company ripped up its roadmaps and started over again, deemphasizing clock speed as a measure of performance and reworking its CPU development efforts top to bottom to favor multiple processor cores per chip.

The move was a radical conversion and a stunning act of agility from a company so large and so invested in long-range planning. Judging by the results, however, it seems to have worked. The Pentium Extreme Edition 840 has arrived roughly one year after news broke of Intel's big shift in direction, the first fruits of the new era of parallelism.

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