CNet.com and PCMag.com feature two great articles "CPU Road Map: 2007 and beyond" and "CPU Road Map 2008: Maxing Out Moore's Law" mapping the future that Intel and AMD have in store for us.
AMD's Phenoms have hit the market with less than a bang. However it appears as though AMD might have a few CPU's on the horizon to keep an eye on. AMD is expected to move from the 65-nm process to the 45-nm as well, with the Leo platform in dual- and quad-core flavors. We will see Eight-core CPU's coming from AMD sometime in2009, still in 45 nm, with the Python platform. Python is also expected to be on the market when AMD moves from DDR2 to DDR3 memory.
Intel and their new "Core 3" Nehalem processors, which are scheduled for release in late 2008, should be the next big thing on the market. Nehalem will have integrated memory controllers, thus eliminating the FSB entirely (something AMD has done for years). This means that the CPU will talk to the system memory natively at DDR3 speeds. Nehalem will be offered in one- to eight-core versions for the desktop and likely for laptops.
As little as a few years ago the biggest question on the market was which single core cpu was best, which manufacturer could reach the highest Ghz rating and where will they amaze us next. Now the question on everyones mind is dual core or quad core. In a couple years it will be quad core or octo-core!
For me this raises the question of how much computing power does the average user really need? I've always head fast to the idea that "most" users don't need dual core machines. And can in fact get by with single core PCs. However now the view is that most users can benefit from a mid-range dual core setup but don't need quad core. In a couple years we'll have to change that view.
If you are curious how your CPU stacks up against the latest greatest offering from Intel and AMD checkout Tom's Hardware Cpu Charts and the PassMark CPU Benchmark Charts.