2008 CPU forecast: Quad-cores for everyone!

What's in store for desktop processors this year? Computerworld makes its annual CPU prognostications

AMD's mobile CPU highlights

-- In the first half of 2008, AMD will focus on improving the power-performance ratio of its new mobile CPU. Code-named Griffin, this next-gen processor will represent the debut of an interesting new power management scheme. Griffin chips will feature a split power plane, which grants each core on a dual- or quad-core processor its own power source and should allow for some substantially increased energy efficiencies, as well as improved automated control and management over the various cores on Puma-platform CPUs.

-- Griffin CPUs will be paired with a brand new AMD mobile platform code-named Puma, which will mark the debut of a hybrid form of integrated graphics named Power Xpress. Also scheduled for release in the first half of 2008, this new platform will feature both a motherboard-level integrated graphics processor (GPU) and a separate, more powerful 3-D GPU. Theoretically, this new scheme will allow for increased power savings and fairly high-powered graphics capabilities. Puma will also mandate support for the finally approved 802.11n wireless networking standard, as well as Microsoft's DirectX 10 graphics technology.

-- As noted above, AMD is strongly looking ahead to 2009 when it plans to launch its new Fusion processors, which integrate the CPU and GPU cores. The first dual-core Fusion CPUs for notebooks should begin rolling out in the second half of 2009, followed by quad-core CPUs for notebooks at an undisclosed time.

Regardless of the company's success this year, AMD's novel approach to chip design will certainly intrigue CPU enthusiasts. At the very least it gives the company some much-needed differentiation from Intel as it attempts to recapture the price-performance magic that allowed it to make huge inroads earlier this decade.

George Jones is senior vice president of creative services and editorial director for IDG Entertainment.

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George Jones

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