Here's something that will strike some people as a bit odd. Coming out of the rumor mill recently is chatter that Intel is considering some cost cutting measures, including putting the brakes on plans to upgrade to a 22nm manufacturing process at its Fab 24 facility, and delaying the launch of its Ivy Bridge platform. What's going on here?
Tablets will be the death of the computer! Just ask the armchair pundits spouting their visions of PC doom over the Web on a daily basis. Here at Maximum PC, we're a little skeptical of that view – how do you shove a 12-inch long XFX Radeon HD 6990 into a tablet? – but the rise of mobile devices has made the future of laptops a little iffy. Intel, along with manufacturers like Asus, are fighting back with thin, powerful notebooks called Ultrabooks. Intel's not fooling around, either. Today, the company announced the creation of a $300 million Ultrabook fund.
It's impossible to outrun technology, though updated drivers, software, and firmware can keep your gear current for as long as possible. That typically means you have to rely on hardware manufacturers to play ball, and Gigabyte 6 Series motherboard owners will be happy to know Gigabyte is keeping them in the game with significant BIOS updates for its entire 6 Series mobo line.
Waiting for Intel to launch Sandy Bridge-E before overhauling your system? According to the latest online chatter, you'll have to hang tight until November as Intel works ferociously to tweak its Waimea Bay platform at least one more. It appears Intel is a bit concerned about AMD's FX processor refresh coming in early 2012, VR-Zone says, but at the same time will make cuts to its X79 chipset in order to get a shipping product out the door in 2011. More on this and Ivy Bridge overclocking woes after the break.
The x86 market isn’t in jeopardy by any stretch of the imagination, but Intel has seen the future, and mobile is where the moneys at. As tablets based on the arm architecture slowly evolve into convertible PC’s, Intel knows it will need to make laptops that are even more compelling if it’s going to survive the long haul. We know the Ultrabook is one of Intel’s most important strategies going forward, however in a blog post on Thursday they finally detailed the three year roadmap for what they believe is a completely new product segment, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Intel believes devices based on its Ultrabook concept will eventually be able to capture 40 percent of the consumer laptop market. Aimed at checking the rampant growth of media tablets, ultrabooks will offer both the performance of mainstream laptops and tablet-like features in a thin and light form factor (that’s the plan, at least). To boot, ultrabooks will offer all this for less than $1,000. So the sub-$1,000 question is: How much longer before ultrabooks begin inundating the market?
Power users were hoping to get their hands on Intel's Ivy Bridge silicon by the end of the year, the time frame the Santa Clara chip maker originally gave for the successor to its existing Sandy Bridge CPUs. Now we're hearing that users will have to wait until March 2012 in order to give notebook vendors more time to sell their existing Sandy Bridge systems.
The world’s leading chip maker Intel has yet to add native USB 3.0 support to its chipsets, but that isn’t stopping PC vendors from offering USB 3.0 support using third-party controllers. As a result, the technology is becoming increasingly commonplace. According to market research firm In-Stat’s estimates, shipments of USB 3.0-enabled devices could touch 80 million this year. Hit the jump for more.
With one market research study after the other pointing towards the cannibalization of netbooks and other PCs by the iPad and other media tablets, Intel has a reason to be alarmed. After all, it has yet to gain any traction in the tablet market.
But Intel is trying to turn things around. Even as it makes a play for a foothold in the tablet market with its Oak Trail chips, the company has decided to do something on the PC front too. The chip maker is now counting on a new class of laptops called “Ultrabooks” to turn things around for portable PCs.
Congratulations to any of you who picked "Ivy Bridge" in the office pool trying to guess which chipset Intel would finally implement native USB 3.0 support in. At the Intel Developer's Forum (IDF) in Beijing, Intel's Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, confirmed that at long last, USB 3.0 would be in the chip maker's cards, putting to rest conspiracy theories that the suits in Santa Clara would shun the spec in an attempt to promote Thunderbolt (Light Peak).