Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) these days are all about combining CPU and GPU functions onto single slices of silicon, but is there still a market for GPU-less processors? Sure there is. After all, peanut butter without jelly is still a tasty snack, as any canine will attest, and if you're rocking discrete graphics or have an IGP motherboard, all you're really interested in is the CPU portion of a processor anyway. To serve those customers, Intel is said to be readying the release of its Core i5 3350P processor, which is an Ivy Bridge chip without graphics.
It's not always easy to say goodbye, but in some cases, well, it just plain feels good. Intel's discontinuation of its Atom D2700 processor is one of those moments. With the third quarter now well underway, Intel killing off its fastest Atom processor, as the D2700 is has been tagged with an End of Life (EOL) label. So, why does it feel good to say goodbye in this case?
Jim Keller, now 53 years old, was a chip designer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) over a decade ago. His roots in the industry go back much further than that, all the way back to his DEC days where he cut his teeth on Alpha processors, but most recently he served as Director of Platform Architecture at Apple where he had a hand in designing the A4 and A5 processors employed in millions of iPads, iPhones, iPod touch devices, and Apple TV boxes. In a refreshing change of pace for AMD, which has lost some top level talent in recent months and years, Keller is back in Sunnyvale where he'll serve as the company's corporate vice president and chief architect of microprocessor cores.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) didn't give investors much reason to celebrate yesterday when announcing its second quarter financial results. The Sunnyvale chip designer reported revenue of $1.41 billion in Q2, which is representative of an 11 percent drop sequentially and a 10 percent decline year-over year. AMD pointed to a weak market as the reason why the numbers dropped the way they did.
All good things come to an end, and for AMD fans, the end is nigh for the Sunnyvale chip designer's 45nm SOI (Silicon On Insulator) processors, which will have reached end of life (EOL) status by December 2012. Among the list of soon-to-be deceased chips are five Phenom II processors, including two quad-core X4 CPUs and half a dozen dual-core X2 parts. A moment of silence is in order.
From desktops and all-in-one systems to notebooks and Ultraportable/ultrathin laptops, Intel's Ivy Bridge platform is leaving its mark everywhere you look. Is it time to say 'So long!' to Sandy Bridge? Not quite. Intel isn't gung-ho to send its Sandy Bridge platform to the CPU stockyard, and instead is planning to launch at least two new mobile chips based on last generation's architecture.
Coming up with new CPU designs isn't quite as easy as coming up with new flavors of ice cream. First, you need to figure out exactly what you want the core to accomplish, along with what critical components are needed to meet that goal. Then, after that's sorted, the process moves to a second stage called "design implementation" -- basically, figuring out how to actually make the CPU the architectural engineers dreamed up. It's a long, laborious procedure, but now North Carolina State University researchers claim they've developed a tool to quickly automate the design implementation process.
For processors, smaller is super, but bigger is better for the wafers the processors are made from. Earlier this week, the Taiwan government gave TSMC -- which manufactures chips for virtually everybody -- permission to build a new $10 billion facility dedicated to creating 450mm-wide wafers, up from the 300mm-wide wafers being developed today. Intel also has plans to move to 450mm wafers. Larger diameter wafers yield more processors, which lowers production costs and makes everybody happy. Just don't expect them to come easy.
Intel and AMD took two completely different approaches when it came to launching their latest and greatest chips: Intel kicked off Ivy Bridge by launching its most powerful desktop units first, while AMD's Trinity APUs first popped up on notebooks. In fact, you still can't find a desktop Trinity chip -- but the company recently confirmed with HardwareCanucks that Trinity is on schedule to ship to component channels some time later this year and a full listing of the desktop APUs are up on the AMD website.
Dell on Tuesday announced the launch of the first Ivy Bridge-powered Vostro business notebooks: the 13-inch Vostro 3360, 14-inch Vostro 3460, and 15-inch Vostro 3560. While the Vostro 3560 is available now on Dell.com, its smaller siblings will be available starting June 21.