Yikes. Microprocessor giant Intel Corporation today rolled out its 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 processor, further widening the performance gap between the company and its rivals. But Intel's latest chip isn't just using raw megahertz to beat back AMD, Motorola and IBM. Instead, Intel has infused the new processor with its Hyper-Threading Technology, which further boosts performance by allowing the chips to perform more simultaneous instructions concurrently. The effect, Intel says, is similar to that of a dual-processor set-up.
"Just as people multitask to get more done, we expect our PCs to do the same," said Louis Burns, the vice president and general manager of Intel's Desktop Platforms Group. "Hyper-Threading Technology is a breakthrough computing innovation that helps consumers and business people accomplish more in less time." Hyper-Threading Technology lets the Pentium 4 work on two different applications at the same time or, in properly-written applications, two different parts of the same application at the same time. This will increase performance for users that want to multitask heavily; for example, those people that will burn an audio CD in the background while playing a game. The technology is also very useful for heavy resource uses, such as video editing.
Hyper-Threading Technology won't double the performance of a system, Intel says, but it does provide measurable advantages. The company notes that multimedia tasks, such as DVD and CD burning, background tasks such as Outlook folder compression or anti-virus scans, and other typical PC activities are 20 to 35 percent faster on a Hyper-Threading Technology system, when compared to an otherwise identical system without the technology. Modern operating systems such as Windows XP Home Edition and XP Professional already support Hyper-Threading Technology.
Major PC makers such as Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and several others released new computers based on the 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 today as well.