Multicore Processors
By Brian Caulfield

(Business 2.0) – Chip manufacturers have a problem, and it's a doozy: As chips get smaller and faster, they also run hotter. The trend can't continue, says IBM Systems and Technology Group VP Bernie Meyerson: "The point is to build microprocessors, not Mongolian barbecues."

Thankfully, the industry has begun eschewing faster chips in favor of etching several slower, cooler processors on a single silicon slab. In May, Intel publicly scrapped its new-product road map to fast-track so-called multicore designs. IBM will tap its existing multicore server processors for use in everything from game consoles to Apple computers. In August, AMD jumped ahead, demonstrating its first dual-core design. "With multicore going mainstream, this year marked the end of the gigahertz race," says Gordon Haff, a senior analyst with Illuminata. That's a good thing: Multicore chips are better equipped to handle the kind of multitasking that makes single processors sweat—like editing a home movie in one window while streaming tunes in another. — BRIAN CAULFIELD