Let Microsoft and Apple fight over who has the better platform and OS. Meanwhile, Intel has unleashed a new ad campaign that should appeal to viewers of either camp, assuming those viewers have a funny bone. The new ads showcase Intel as a different kind of rock star -- a geek uprising, if you will -- and if you're not amused, well, you just might not have a sense of humor.
The first of a series of ads stars Ajay Bhatt (portrayed by an actor), co-inventor of the USB, walking down an office aisle filled with giddy fans and signing autographs. A graphic appears at end proclaiming, "Our rock stars aren't like your rocks stars." While tongue-in-cheek, there's a bigger message Intel is trying to send, one which focuses on the brand and not the product.
"The fact that we're an ingredient, it's easy to get lost," said Deborah Conrad, VP and GM of Intel's corporate marketing group. "We really needed to put some meaning into Intel, so 'Intel inside' means something again."
If nothing else, it means a few chuckles, but Intel hopes it leads to better sales as well. No laughing matter, Intel's first quarter revenue slid 26 percent to $7.1 billion, while profit is down 55 percent. True to Intel form, the company will look to spend its way out of a recession, and that includes the new ad campaign.
Check it out here, then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Well that was fast. Less than six months after launch, Intel has decided to start phasing out both the Core i7 940 and Core i7 965 Extreme. That leaves only the 920 as the last i7 standing out of the current trio of desktop Nehalem chips. So what gives?
We're not entirely sure. Some are speculating that the current crop of Nehalems were more about meeting a promised launch date than representing Nehalem for the long haul. Intel, however, maintains that demand for these chips "has shifted to other Intel processors." Regardless of the reason, you can probably expect Intel to release other i7 processors in the not too distant future to take the place of the ones being axed.
Customers will have to place final orders for the Corei7 940 by July 10, 2009, with the last boxed 940 to ship on December 4 and last tray of the chip on November 5, 2010. Final order date for the Core i7 965 has been set to September 4, 2009, with final shipments to take place on May 7, 2010.
Just this week Renesas Technology Corp. announced their SH7370, a SH-Mobile HD1 application processor for mobile phones. The tiny processor is the first to support full 1080p (1920 x 1080) video playback and recording potential, and can support H.264/MPEG-4 video compression at 30 frames per second.
This processor also has two 24-bit dedicated audio digital signal processors that help lower the CPU’s load, while lowering power consumption. This allows for audio to stream at up to 5.1-channel Dolby Digital quality.
The whole thing is currently shipping with 512Mbits of synchronous DRAM, integrated onto a single package. Said package measures in at a compact, 10nm x 11mm.
Not even Intel could have predicted how wildly popular its Atom processor would be, because if it did, it might have scaled back production from the get-go. Instead, the No. 1 chip maker is reportedly keeping its eye on the Chinese market to make sure it doesn't sell too many Atoms, going so far as to reject orders from some China-based white-box vendors, says DigiTimes.
Intel did offer up a response, calling the story unfounded and saying it doesn't comment on industry rumors, but DigiTimes' un-cited sources insist that they're being watched very closely to prevent a surge of Atom chips in China. The sources added that Taiwan-based Intel CPU distributors have had to stop accepting orders from China-based white-box makers.
It might seem strange that Intel would look to sell less product, however fierce competition in China among white-box players has started to cut into traditional notebook sales where there exists a greater profit margin. It's easy to see why, at least in this case, Intel would want to scale back Atom sales, if in fact the chip maker is doing that.
Taiwan IC distributors expect that the supply of Atom processors will fall short of demand by 500,000 units this month in China.
Even if they won't say it publicly (and they aren't), Apple appears pretty juiced at the prospect of developing its own chips. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal Online, Apple has been hand-picking people from all over the semiconductor industry, which also includes engineers for creating multifunction chips for use in cellphones.
One such hire includes Raja Koduri, the former chief technology officer of the graphics group at AMD. Koduri started his new position this week, while other online job postings include a call for several chip-related positions, some of which are described as "verifying functionality correctness of a high performance chip design."
While Apple is keeping silent on the subject, the company's tight-lipped approach might be one of the reasons they're looking to develop their own chips. Citing people familiar with the situation, WSJO says Apple not only wants to beat its rivals to market with new features, but also wants to keep a lid on its technology plans with external chip suppliers.
Two new nettops based on Nvidia's Ion platform have been unveiled in Taipei this week, one by ASRock and the other by Pegatron Technology. ASRock's Ion 330 trades in the oft-used single-core Atom processor for a dual-core variant, the Atom 330 CPU (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus). Not much else is known about the PC, other than it comes with an integrated DVD optical drive.
Taking up a slimmer form factor, Pegatron's Cape 7 comes encased in white plastic and has four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, and a power connector for an external power brick. It doesn't come with an optical drive, nor are there any details regarding the processor.
While these are some of the first dual-core Atom 330 based nettops to be spotted in the wild, they won't be the last. According to web rumblings, Nvidia expects around 40 Ion platforms to show up on the markt by the end of the year, some of which are bound to come with dual-core Atoms.
Most parts of the country aren't expected to see any more snowfall until next winter, but the relationship between Nvidia and Intel couldn't be any more chilly. At odds with each other over Nehalem licensing, netbook platforms, and other tech related spats, the two sides seem all to happy to take digs at one another when the opportunity arises. For Nvidia, that means calling to question Intel's claim that its Core i7 processor can improve game performance by up to 80 percent.
"I have a copy of Intel’s latest deck that they share with press and customers, and on there they have a slide that is called The Intel Core i7 920 Processor, where they claim that gaming performance goes up by 80 percent when you use a Core i7, said Tom Peterson, Nvidia's technical marketing director. "Now, I was impressed by that claim, and I was trying to figure out how they could possibly say such a thing, and it turns out that Intel is basing that claim on only 3DMark Vantage’s CPU test."
Peterson went on to point out that the synthetic benchmark's CPU test doesn't actually measure game performance, and to say otherwise would be disingenuous. To drive his point home, Peterson showed Nvidia's own benchmarks of a Core 2 Duo E8400 machine outfitted with a GeForce GTS 250 videocard. The PC averaged 41.6 FPS in Nvidia's testing, and only increased to 42.4 FPS after upgrading to a Core i7 965. But after upgrading to a pair of GeForce GTX 260 videocards, that number jumped to 59.4 FPS.
"In real gaming, there's no difference between a Core i7 and a Core 2 Duo," Peterson concluded.
In a press release issued yesterday, AMD laid out a few surprises in its server platform roadmap that the company says are "game-changing," and perhaps indicative of a new-look AMD focused on design without the burden of manufacturing. We have to admit we like what we're seeing, starting with the announcement that the new monolithic six-core Opteron, code named Istanbul, will be released this June months ahead of schedule. But that's only the beginning.
AMD also announced a new integrated memory controller technology, Direct Connect Architecture 2.0, which it says will support up to 12 cores initially, offer improved memory and I/O capabilities, near native virtualization performance, and a range of full-featured power bands that place a priority on low power consumption.
But wait, there's more! In 2010, AMD says it will ship the Opteron 6000 series for 2P and 4P servers. The Magny-Cours processors will come in 8-core and 12-core flavors debuting on the G34 socket and the Maranello platform. And then in 2011, AMD will introduce the Interlagos 12- and 16-core processor based on the Bulldozer core and built on a 32nm manufacturing process.
Here's hoping AMD will show this same aggressiveness on the desktop.
AMD faithful and bargain hunters alike have a pair of new toys to play with starting today, as AMD launches two new processors for its socket AM3 platform, the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition and 945. Both parts boast compatibility with AM2+ (DDR2) and AM3 (DDR3) motherboards, while the Phenom II X4 955 BE supplants the AM2-based 940 as AMD's new flagship entry in its Phenom line.
Coinciding with the launch, AMD has also overhauled its Dragon Platform Technology, saying "every aspect of the platform has been improved and the overall value is impressive." And we'd have to agree, considering both new chips are being priced below $250.
Hit the jump to get all the nitty-gritty details on AMD's new AM3 processors and Dragon Platform refresh.
Intel this week slashed prices on several Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors by up to 20 percent. The chip maker also introduced a pair of new processors, the Core 2 Quad Q8400S and Q8400 for $245 and $183, respectively. This month's price cuts break down as follows:
Core 2 Quad Q9300: $213 down from $266
Core 2 Quad Q9550S: $320 down from $369
Core 2 Quad Q9400S: $277 down from $320
Core 2 Quad Q8200S: $213 down from $245
Core 2 Duo SP9400: $284 down from $316
Core 2 Duo SU9400: $262 down from $289
Intel's latest round of price cuts come well timed, as AMD today launched its AM3-based Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition processor. While the 955BE serves as AMD's new flagship part, the company is aggressively pushing the chip as the best quad-core in the market within its $245ish price range.