AMD launches 12-core Opteron server chips, Intel counters with the 8-core Xeon 7500

You thought six cores were nifty? This week, AMD and Intel have begun the multithreaded battle in earnest -- if only on the IT front -- with chips that have up to double that core density. First up, AMD has officially brought us that Opteron 6000 series leaked last week, a set of 8- and 12-core processors aimed at dual- and quad-CPU servers that it claims have both higher performance and lower cost than Intel's recent hex-core offerings. Not to be outdone, Intel has just introduced a 8-core processor series of its own, the Xeon 7500, that it envisions deployed in mammoth 256-processor configurations. In bulk orders of 1,000, a single 12-core Opteron costs nearly $1,200, while the cheapest single 8-core Xeon will set you back a cool $2,461 in the same quantity. We don't doubt they're powerful, and we'd kill for a pair of either in our gaming rig. At those prices though, we'll stick to building our supercomputer out of PS3s -- oh, wait.