Year 2006 was perhaps one of the most fantastic years for hardware. We saw Quad cores CPU, DirectX 10 Graphics cards, DDR II becoming a common standard and close to terabyte hard disk drives.
Year 2007 will be equally innovative or even more. We managed to gather few bits of information for upcoming hardware for year 2007. It is really an exciting time to live in.
Intel finally regained the performance crown back from AMD. The Athlon 64 was really a superior architecture when compared to Intel Net-burst based Pentium 4s. It was just a matter of time; Intel fought back with a new line of CPUs. The Core 2 was exactly what Intel needed to reply to AMD's Athlon 64 giving huge margins in performance. Initially released as Dual-Core processors, Intel also released a Quad Core processor in November 2006 and further extended the performance gap. AMD will have a difficult time ahead.
Even though, Intel has taken the performance crown back in mid-high PCs, the low end is still ruled by AMD with their cheap Athlon 64s and Semprons. Currently Intel has only Celeron and Pentium Ds to compete against them.
Intel now plans to release the new processor competitively priced in the low end market with the release of Intel Core 2. The E4300 is expected to feature a 1.8GHz clock speed with 2MB L2 cache and run on an 800 MHz FSB. Initial tests have already shown that this processor is one hell of an over-clocker and many enthusiasts will be looking forward to get hold of this.
Intel also plans to release C2Q6600, which is a Quad Core CPU aimed towards mid end market. The C2Q6600 features 2.4 GHz and has 8 MB L2 Cache.
There has been speculation floating around that the current Core 2 Duo processors will get a small upgrade to support 1333 MHz FSB instead of the current 1066 MHz and it will be codenamed E6x50. For e.g., E6300 with 1333 MHz FSB will be known as E6350, E6600 with 1333MHz FSB will be known as E6650 and so on.
Intel also expects to release the first processor based on 45nm fabrication process which will enable them to reach 4 GHz barrier and above. We will also see chips supporting DDR III towards the end of this year, but DDR III will probably not gain mass acceptance for quite sometime.
AMD has planned something long-term ever since they merged with ATI. They are talking about products planned for 2008-2009. So, the current year will be dull from AMD's side. But, that won't stop AMD from trying to regain their performance lead. They are planning to jump back into the game with a tweaked architecture of the current K8 series and codenamed as K8L. Another thing to note down is that they plan to fight back on Quad Core CPU grounds. Multiple Core CPUs are the future and the decision to fight in that field seems sensible.
They recently jumped on 65 nm fabrication process bandwagon with their Brisbane processor. As the manufacturing process matures, they plan to release the Quad Core scheduled in the pipeline codenamed Barcelona/Agena or some people prefer to call it Athlon 64 X4. Barceona/Agena will be the first true Quad Core CPU, since the Core 2 Quad is nothing more than two Core 2 Duo fused together on a single chip and it is more like a native quad core chip. A proper Quad Core CPU will be able to give out more performance as they can access lots of shared resource between them such as Cache. Barcelona/Agena plans to put L3 cache which will be accessible to all the four cores. Barcelona is the codename for server processors, where as Agena will be the desktop equivalent of Barcelona.
Also, they are planning to release the Quad Core chips (Agena-FX) for their Athlon FX series on the Socket 1207. This may create a possibility to have an Eight Core system on the current Nvidia 680a chipset based motherboard. I wonder what it will be called. 8x8-something?