We don't expect to see any more Blue Man Group commercials, but making a comeback is the near-dead Pentium brand name. This time around, Intel plans to use the Pentium nomenclature for its ultra-thin notebooks, which will help separate the higher powered portables from netbooks.
The fear has always been that the highly popular netbook segment would ultimately cut into sales of higher priced notebooks. By bringing back the Pentium name, Intel will attempt to protect the sales of netbooks -- and it's Atom line -- while at the same time push customers into pricier notebooks with higher profit margins.
"We think that the ultra-thin laptos augurs in an era where more and more people will be taking their laptop out on the go without compromising performance," said Uday Marty, director of product marketing for Intel's mobile platforms group.
Meanwhile, AMD has kept the Athlon brand going with the recent announcement of Athlon II. However, unlike Intel, AMD has thus far avoided using the netbook term altogether.
And so it begins. AVADirect announced the upcoming availability of its Clevo D900F laptop, and what makes this special is it's the first one to incorporate Intel's Core i7 processor, company claims.
"By using a desktop Core i7 processor, the notebook is able to enjoy all the benefits that accompany this hardware platform," AVADirect said in a statement. "Some of the benefits include triple-channel memory, a first ever in a notebook design."
Everything about the Clevo D900F screams desktop replacement, and does so in a big way. The tri-channel memory (up to 12GB of it) comes clocked at 1333MHz "with 1600MHz on the horizon." And if a Core i7 wasn't enough, AVADirect also crams Nvidia's GTX 280M graphics into the mix.
So what does Intel think about a Core i7-based notebook?
"While Intel does not encourage manufacturers to use desktop processors for notebook designs, manufacturers are going to use our processor in many different and innovative ways," an Intel spokesperson said.
You an pre-order the Clevo D900F now starting at $2,500. Shipping will begin next month.
According to Intel, there are now more than 1 billion Intel processor-based desktop PC motherboards worldwide, a milestone the chip maker says is indicative of a thriving PC business.
"Intel congratulates the Taiwan tech industry on reaching ths historic milestone," said Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. "This milestone is another signal that the desktop PC is not dead and that computer users continue to crave the processing power, graphics, and storage capabilities that desktop PCs provide."
This in addition to the exploding netbook market, which is so far dominated by Intel silicon and presumably not included as part of the "desktop PC" shipment milestone. At last count, worldwide PC shipments had reached 80.6 million units in Q3 of 2008, spurred in large part by netbooks.
Maloney is expected to further discuss the milestone tomorrow during his Computex keynote.
For a minute there, we were worried that the 4,382 (number pulled out of a hat) times we used the term 'netbook' would come back and bite us in the rump. That is, if Psion got its way. Back in December 2008, a UK law firm representing Psion had begun sending out cease & desist letters to various websites demanding that the sites stop using the term, which Psion claims to have owned based on a pair of old notebooks it used to sell.
Then in March 2009, Psion filed a $1.2 billion countersuit against Intel over the alleged trademark, a move which probably earned the company a bit of jingle. Not anywhere near the full $1.2 billion, mind you, but Psion did announce today that it and Intel "have settled the trademark cancellation and infringement litigation brought in the Northen District of California relating to the 'netbook' trademark registration."
Psion said an "amicable agreement" had been reached in which the company has voluntarily agreed to withdraw all of its trademark registrations for the term 'netbook.' Furthermore, the company agreed to waive its rights against third parties for past, current, or future use of the term.
Exactly what that "amicable agreement" amounted to is anyone's guess.
PC makers have been decrying the impact of low margin netbooks on their bottom line for over a year now, but Intel is trying to calm their fears by making new predictions for the future of mobile computing. Numbers posted at the end of March peg netbook sales at around 16 per cent of all portable computer purchases, but Intel claims the steadily decreasing cost of ultra-thin laptops will help to keep that number from growing. The ultra-thin category is traditionally dominated by new ultra low voltage CPU’s, which offer better performance than both Celeron, and Atom processors, with an increasingly more reasonable price premium. According to Intel’s marketing chief, Sean Maloney, "Atom is eating into Celeron. And we're quite fine with this".
Maloney predicts that ultra-thin laptops will start offering stiff competition for high end netbooks priced above $400, primarily because the price difference has shrunk in some cases to as little as a $200. Intel’s internal projections released during the May 12th presentation shows sales increasing exponentially near the end of the year, and clearly, this is where they expect to see the bulk of their growth in the portable PC market.
Intel predicts that future growth markets for netbooks will be children and cellphone providers who bundle 3G service with the computer to further subsidize the price to consumers. Do you think people only buy netbooks because they are cheap? Or are some people just looking for a good ultra-portable?
Former IBM mergers and acquisitions chief David Johnson finds himself on the potentially wrong end of a lawsuit seeking to prevent him from accepting employment with Dell. According to IBM, the new job would allegedly run afoul an agreement Johnson signed preventing him from working with rival companies.
"Mr. Johnson has possession of valuable confidential information and cannot undertake a senior strategy position at Dell without violating his obligations to IBM," said Edward Barbini, a spokesman for IBM. "Mr. Johnson repeatedly received significant compensation in exchange for agreeing to noncompete provisions."
For the last nine years, Johnson oversaw mergers and acquisitions and was privy to other strategic deals, according to the lawsuit. However, it remains unclear exactly what position Johnson was offered with Dell.
"Characterizations by others of his role are speculative," said David Frink, a spokesman for Dell. "Without exception, Dell respects the trade secrets and intellectual property of others."
According to reports, AMD’s six-core Istanbul server processor is set to be unveiled this upcoming Tuesday.
The chip is slated for its official unveiling at the Computex conference on June 2nd. It is meant to rival Intel’s Dunnington processor, and will sport 6MB of L3 cache to share amongst the cores. Each core will also have 512 KB of L2 cache per, and will presumably feature DDR3 support (depending on the socket).
According to the chip’s lead architect, Hans de Vries, AMD will be pitting two of these against one of Intel’s offering, thanks to the size of the chip. The Istanbul chip is reported to only take up 300 square millimeters, while the Dunnington is expected to take up 700 square millimeters.
Early looks at Intel’s new Core i7 chips have surfaced on retail sites, allowing all of us to see just what Intel has in store for the future.
The new chips are scheduled to launch on May 31, according to the web retailer PCs for Everyone. According to several sites, the new chips will consist of the Core i7 Extreme 975 (which will have a clock speed of 3.33GHz) and the Core i7 950 (which will run at 3.06GHz). These two will reportedly sell at $1,129 and $649 respectively.
Intel's ultra-low-powered CULV family of processors are becoming popular choices for many forthcoming ultrathin notebook computers in the $700-$900 range, like MSI's new X-Slim series we told you about in April.
However, you can also use CULV processors in standard-thickness notebook computers, and according to Digitimes, that's exactly what Hewlett-Packard plans to do. It will roll out ultra-thin models with CULV processors in the fourth quarter, but its first CULV-based products will use standard chassis and will thus be available earlier.
CULV processors are designed to fit between Intel's Atom and its faster Core 2 Duo processors in performance. Will the market put up with a full-sized notebook with a battery-sipping, but slower processor, or should prospective HP CULV buyers wait until late in the year for the new ultraslim chassis? Join us after the jump and sound off.
Intel this week said its Nehalem-EX processor, an 8-core beast of a chip, will go into production sometime later this year and start shipping in server systems by early 2010. Even better, each chip supports 16 threads, says Boy Davis, Intel's GM of the Server Platforms Marketing Group.
Already on-board is IBM, who is already developing a server based around Nehalem-EX. The server will hold eight processors, making use of 64 Nehalem-EX cores capable of handling 128 threads.
"We're very excited today to be the first to demonstrate Nehalem-EX," said Alex Yost, VP IBM BladeCenter.
In addition to more cores and threads, Nehalem-EX also ups the memory ante, doubling the capacity with up to 16 memory slots per processor socket.