Here's a question for all of the Computer Engineers out there. Why do PCs become slow almost to the point of unusable when the PC's drive buses are in heavy use?
What am I talking about? Copy a CD to a CD or perform a disk intensive process like copying a lot of data from one PC to another and see what happens to your nice 3.2Ghz P4 with 512MB of DDR RAM. It slows to a crawl! At least it does in Windows.
Why is that? You'd think that with all of the myriad of changes that Intel has made to it's motherboard designs that they would have found a way to separate the drive bus from the memory bus. It's like we have all of these nice highways leading to a two lane residential street, under construction. Oops sorry, we are only letting brown cars through right now. You're car is blue, so you'll have to wait.
Servers (also built on Intel's architecture) do not have this same problem. You can be totally hammering a RAID array on a server and still log in to the console and everything works just fine.
What's my point? That it's virtually meaningless to have CPUs, memory, graphics cards and hard drives that are as fast as they are if you can't effectively perform multiple dissimilar tasks on your PC...at the SAME time. I'd say that if Intel or AMD want to make improvements for workplace PCs, that bus systems are the place to look at. CPUs are well above the speed that they need to be to effectively use most desktop applications. Memory is the same.
You want to really increase the effectiveness of new computers to the point that IT Managers like me can make a good case for upgrading every three years, well then you had better show me something. Show me that a user can be working on a Word document while burning a CD while listening to an MP3 while printing a PDF while browsing the web while talking on MSN, Yahoo IM, AOL IM, while their RSS reader is culling feeds in the background, while their administrator is connected to their PC remotely showing them how to do something.
Yeah, that might be an extreme example, but you get my point. Making the PC work faster is no longer going to help the average worker. Making the PC do more things at once will. And no they aren't the same thing. Speed does not equal efficiency. Efficiency is getting the most out of all parts of a system. Synergy. Maximizing throughput, etc.
Besides, since both Intel and AMD seem to be hitting a big brickwall on speed, going sideways and increasing what a PC can do with all of it's parts seems to be the most logical place to make improvements.