There aren't many arguments that Intel has a winner -- however temporary -- with their new Conroe Core 2 Duo chips, but they aren't relaxing just yet. With the oncoming threat of AMD's 4x4 chips in the performance/gamer space, Intel is getting a bit of quad-core action of their own with the new Kentsfield and Clovertown setups for consumer and server use respectively. Originally due in the first half of 2007, near when AMD's "Conroe killer" K8L was set to drop, both have been bumped up to fourth quarter '06 status, which sure has Intel looking smug. There are differences, however, in approach: Intel's Kentsfield architecture squeezes four cores into one socket, as compared to the dual sockets used by AMD's 4x4. This means the Intel chips will have less memory and frontside bus bandwidth available to each core, which will hurt them some in the performance race, but it also means cost savings that could give them an edge in the bang for buck arena. If anything, this is an indication of the intense competition going on for our chip dollars, and even if the quad-core war is a bit of a semantic one, we'll accept all the Photoshop crunching and AI processing power these guys want to push our way.

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