Moving to 64-bit could introduce big performance gains in some apps
Intel has a lot of catching up to do in the mobile space. The big dog on campus in mobile is ARM, which powers many of the smartphones and tablets currently available. One thing Intel is looking at to change the tide is 64-bit computing in mobile, which it demonstrated during an investor meeting. The demonstration consisted of an Android tablet with a 64-bit Atom processor inside based on Silvermont.
It's no secret that Intel fell behind in the mobile race. Even though Intel is the largest semiconductor company in the world, most smartphones and tablets run on ARM hardware. Intel chief Brian Krzanich told analysts and investors at a meeting this week that he's "a little embarrassed" at how he and his company "seemed to have lost our way" in terms of its mobile portfolio.
Since the beginning of time (or thereabouts), Intel has dominated the x86 scene, even when AMD blazed a trail into 1GHz territory (Athlon) and 64-bit computing (Athlon 64) on the consumer side several years ago. Both of those architectures represent design wins for AMD, and if we fast forward to today, AMD has done well to get its hardware inside all three major game consoles, especially the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, both of which feature x86 foundations.
Following up last week's unveiling of AMD's A10 6790K APU, the Sunnyvale chip designer has settled on a suggested price point for the new part. In addition, AMD added prices for its FX-9370 and FX-9590 processors for the AM3+ platform, plus shaved in the neighborhood of 13 percent off the price of three existing A6 and A8 Series APUs, bringing each one down to below $100.
The transition from 22nm to 14nm isn't as smooth as Intel hoped
Intel this week told investors that the road to 14nm won't be without its bumps. Specifically, Intel has decided to delay its next generation processor architecture, codenamed Broadwell, until the first quarter of 2014, pushing the launch back by a quarter. Broadwell is based on a 14nm manufacturing process, which is quite a bit smaller than Haswell's 22nm process, and getting there has proven difficult.
There's no shame in rocking integrated graphics, especially if you only occasionally play games or don't typically gravitate towards demanding titles that push the envelope. If that's the category of gamer (or non-gamer, as it were) that you fall into, be advised that Intel recently released new graphics drivers for its family of 3rd and 4th Generation of Core processors, otherwise known as Ivy Bridge and Haswell, respectively.
AMD originally hoped to launch its 3rd Generation A-Series APUs known as "Kaveri" sometime this year with at least one roadmap indicating an early fourth quarter release. Technically, Kaveri may still launch in 2013, though reportedly it will only end up in the hands of OEMs late this year, followed by a retail launch in 2014. In the meantime, it looks like AMD will flesh out its Richland desktop line with a couple of new processors.
It took some time for consumers to warm to the idea of Chromebooks, probably because netbooks hadn't completely died out when they first emerged. Today, however, Samsung's Chromebook is the best selling laptop on Amazon with a 4/5 star rating from over 3,000 user reviews. It's fair to say that Chromebooks have grown on a segment of PC shoppers, and in the coming months, these cloud-oriented devices will become a bit more powerful.
Rumored x86-based processor will be super tiny and power efficient
Intel showed off what it claims is the smallest system on chip with a new line of Quark chips that are 1/5th the size of Atom SOCs and will use 1/10 the power.
The company didn’t reveal too many details of the new SOC, but said it would be open architecture, offer industry standard software support and be fully synthesizeable. The chip is presumably x86-based but because it is fully synthesizable customers would be able to customize the design with their own intellectual property.
A bridge too far: Is the big boy version of Ivy Bridge too little and too late for enthusiasts? (Ivy Bridge-E review)
The release of Intel’s Ivy Bridge E series of chips is about as anti-climactic as you can get. It’s a chip that’s essentially based on a CPU microarchitecture already going out of style. Haswell, for the most part, has stolen its thunder.
If you’ve ready any reviews of when Ivy Bridge processors came out 16 months ago you already know the story: 3D transistors, newer 22nm process and amazing improvements in performance! Well, amazing if you only count the graphics performance. On the x86 side, what we got was a decent, evolutionary upgrade. It instantly replaced the Sandy Bridge parts as our recommended part but it certainly wasn’t the 20 percent performance or more jump people have been chasing ever since the Core 2 and Nehalem Core i7 parts were introduced.