On the desktop front, quad-core processors continue to drop in price and it might not be long before dual-core chips get cast aside in the same manner single-core CPUs have been. But in the mobile world, it's another story. Dual-core computing is still where it's at and that doesn't appear to be changing in the next few months.
Citing un-named sources among mother makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch five low wattage processors intended for notebooks on December 28, and only one of them is a quad-core chip. Intel's Core 2 Duo T9800 (2.93GHz, 6MB, 35W) , P9600 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 25W), T9550 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 35W), and T8700 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 25W) are set to debut to at $530, $348, $316, and $241 respectively in thousand-unit trays. Intel will also release a Core 2 Quad Q9000 (2GHz, 6MB, 45W) for $348 (also in thousand-unit trays).
At least one other processor will see a price reduction as a result of the new chips. The P8600 - Intel's current flagship Core 2 Duo CPU - will drop from $241 to $209 in January of 2009.
Dell has infused fresh life into its swanky Studio 15 notebooks. It has begun shipping Studio 15 notebooks with Intel Centrino 2 technology. The Studio 15 notebooks will be slightly more power-efficient with the introduction of the Centrino 2 platform. The basic Studio 15 model features a 2.20 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of DDR2 memory, a 320 GB 5400 RPM HDD, a ATI Mobility Radeon 3450 graphics card, a DVD burner, 802.11a/n, finger print reader and Windows Vista Home Premium. The refreshed Studio 15 range begins at $999, which is reasonable considering the fact it occupies the middle ground between ultra-portables and high-end notebooks.
The wait is almost over for anyone who has been anticipating Intel's upcoming processor lineup based on the Nehalem architecture. Citing un-named "industry sources," TGDaily says the new processors will launch on November 17, a little over one month from now. That won't be a paper launch either, as Intel CEO Paul Otellini said during the company's Q3 quarter conference call that Core i7 processors have already begun shipping.
While nothing is yet official, rumors regarding the three desktop processors expected to make the initial Core i7 debut remain unchanged from earlier speculation. These include the Core i7-965XE clocked at 3.2GHz, Core i7-940 clocked at 2.93GHz, and Core i7-920 clocked at 2.66GHz. According to those same sources, pricing in thousand tray quantities will be set at $999, $562, and $284 for the 965XE, 940, and 920 respectively.
Also coinciding with the desktop parts, Intel is expected to release high-performance server chips codenamed Nehalem-EP.
By now it should be clear that the netbook craze isn't going away, at least not any time soon. Intel, who has a vested interest in the netbook market with its Atom processor line, has seen the writing on the wall and has picked up the netbook.com domain.
Right now the URL redirects visitors to Intel's product page for its Atom processor, but eventually it could morph into a fully fledged portal into the Atom-powered netbook world, particularly as more manufacturers continue to jump on the bandwagon.
For you budding entrepreneurs out there who are now kicking themselves for not picking up the domain name on the cheap, don't be too hard on yourself. Netbook.com wasn't available when Intel purchased it, and instead the chip maker bought it from the site's previous owner for an undisclosed sum, according to Notebooks.com.
AMD earlier this week announced plans to split into separate design and manufacturing companies. As part of the split, AMD will retain 44.4 percent ownership in the spinoff of its manufacturing plant - temporarily called The Foundry - with the Abu Dhabi government-formed Advanced Technology Investment Company owning the rest.
Just hours after the announcement was made, Intel said it was investigating whether or not the new company violates a chip licensing agreement it has with AMD. Under terms of the original agreement, AMD has been allowed to use Intel's x86 chip instruction set in exchange for paying Intel a royalty. According to AMD, nothing has changed that would invalidate the cross-licensing.
"We are completely confident the structure of this transaction takes into account our cross-license agreements," Phil Hughes, and AMD spokesman, wrote in an email. "Rest assured - we plan to continue respecting Intel's intellectual property rights, just as we expect them to respect ours."
Not all financial experts agree with AMD's assessment. Hans Mosesmann, a financial analyst with Raymond James, believes AMD probably is violating the cross-license agreement, but doesn't necessarily believe Intel would turn it into a legal matter. Instead, Mosesmann writes that Intel may choose to use it as leverage to "entice AMD to drop the anti-trust suits against Intel in return for this altruistic gesture."
Power users have been chomping at the bit in anticipation of Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform, and some sites have already begun cashing in through pre-order sales. But as is often the case, being first means you'll likely pay the most.
Most of the pre-order parts are being found overseas, such as the MSI X58 Platinum motherbaord that was recently listed for over $300, or the MSI Eclipse spotted selling for as much as $413.
And it's not just MSI. As Fudzilla discovered, the Asus P6T Deluxe (the same board spotted with a warning label cautioning against running RAM voltage higher than 1.65V or risk damaging the CPU) was seen selling for $444. That's still cheaper than the Asus P6T Deluxe "OC Palm Edition," which at least one vendor had on pre-order for a staggering $492.
On the processor front, Canadian e-tailer PCVOnline is taking pre-orders on the Core i7 920 (2.66GHz), 940 (2.93GHz) and 965 Extreme Edition (3.2GHz) for $340, $650, and $1100 respectively. These aren't quite as overpriced as the above motherboards, as official bulk pricing is expected to set at $284, $562, and $999 respectively.
Anyone out there willing to pay pre-order pricing for day 1 bragging rights?
Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform may throw a curveball to anyone swinging sticks of high performance DDR memory. According to news and rumor site The Inquirer, running memory voltage any higher than a modest 1.65V on an X58-based motherboard outfitted with a Core i7 processor could damage the CPU.
The limitation came to light thanks to an admin on the XFastest forums who posted pictures of the unreleased Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard in retail trim. A closeup of the DIMM slots reveals a warning label which states "According to Intel CPU SPEC, DIMMs with voltage setting over 1.65V may damage the CPU permanently. We recommend you install the DIMMs with the voltage setting below 1.65V.
If true (and The Inq claims Asus has confirmed the limitation), it would mean that several of today's high end DDR3 memory could potentially be rendered useless on the new platform. It's not uncommon for RAM manufacturers to require higher voltages at stock settings, and even many DDR3-1333 kits call for more than 1.65V. Apparently the problem lies with having the CPU and memory voltages on the Core i7 platform run synchronously. That's a major bummer for anyone who may have tried to future-proof their current build, but if you haven't jumped on the DDR3 bandwagon yet, expect to see appropriately spec'd kits start to surface with the Core i7 platform in mind. In the meantime, buyer beware.
SSD’s are hot, but how do you mount your new 2.5-inch solid state drive in a 3.5-inch bay without it looking ghettolicious?
The answer: Use a VelociRaptor’s extruded aluminum shell with Intel’s wicked fast SSD. The result is one a combination even better than peanut butter and chocolate if we may so say our selves.
Does it make sense to do this with a live VelociRaptor? Probably not, but we just happened to have a dead unit and rather than toss it in the garbage, we shucked out the dead drive by removing the four Torqx screws and mounted the Intel X25-M in its place. You can actually do this with a live VelociRaptor but you’ll immediately void the warranty on the drive. Does an SSD need all that aluminum to keep it cool? The answer is no, but it sure looks cool, right?
“We've always had the attitude that you have to make that investment in good times and bad,” Barrett said. He compared Intel to a blind greyhound that “just continues to race down the track.” Barrett feels that one has to invest out of recession. According to him, Intel has always had a contingency plan in place. The company is also not averse to making strategic acquisitions in the coming future.
Whatever you do, don't blame the bad economy on Intel. Engineers working for the chip maker claim today's processors have netted a savings of 20 Terawatt hours over that of earlier generations if used in the same time period. In monetary terms, that equates to saving the world economy $2 billion in energy costs since the Core architecture's launch two years ago. Of course, the inefficient and hot-running Prescotts of yesteryear didn't exactly set the bar very high for green improvements, but $2 billion (if correct) is impressive no matter how you slice it.
"This is no small figure - it’s a significant amount of energy savings, and an example of what technology innovation by the ICT industry can do to improve energy efficiency on a large scale," writes Lorie Wiggle, GM of Intel's Eco-Technology Program.
Meanwhile, while Intel's Atom series doesn't have nearly the global energy impact as its desktop and business CPUs do, it's interesting to note that the recently released dual-core Atom 330 processor doubles up its power consumption over the Atom 230 processor.