Do you subscribe to Maximum PC magazine? If so, turn to page 11 in the recently released October issue (everyone else scroll down to the 2-free trial issuesl order form, or jump straight to the subscription page). In the sidebar, Tom Halfhill discusses how AMD isn't too big to fail, and should they fall, it would leave Intel as the sole provider of x86 chips to the high end consumer market. Even staunch Intel fans can recognize this to be a bad thing, and as Halfhill points out, "AMD's demise would [overnight] create a monopoly that's almost impossible for another company to break." Or would it?
According to one of the hotter rumors making the rounds on the web, Nvidia might be doing more than just looking to get into the x86 market, they might already be working on it. Preposterous? Maybe not. Few would consider Intel's and Nvidia's relationship to be a warm and fuzzy one, and as the divide between GPUs and CPUs look to close, it's at least within the realm of possibility that Nvidia could be hashing out a x86 chip.
Intel adds a few processors and drops a few prices this month in it’s CPU line up. There doesn’t appear to be any shakeups from Intel’s expected plans.
Intel's Core 2 Extreme Quad Core line remains unchanged, but in the standard line, the Q9650 joins the line up at the top, while the Q9550 drops 40% from $530 to the Q9450 previous level of $316. The Q9400 is also new, and enters at the same price as the Q9300 and Q6700 (a 65nm process CPU) at $266.
The only other prices changes were in the Xeon line, with the new X3370 coming out and the X3360 dropping 40% to $316.
All prices are in 1000 tray units.
We will certainly see more changes when Intel ships Bloomfield sometime in Q4.
The ultraportable craze has been nothing short of ultra popular, and it might get even better next month. While Intel senior VP Pat Gelsinger was delivering his keynote during IDF on Monday, Cnet claims an Intel employee spilled the beans on the company's plans to offer up a dual-core Atom in September, a move that would make the Nettop market even more popular than it already is. Specifics weren't disclosed, but if earlier reports hold true, look for the new hyperthreading-capable chip to come clocked at 1.6GHz per core on a 533MHz front-side bus with 1MB of L2 cache.
Dunnington and Nehalem
On a more official note, Intel revealed plans to also offer its six-core Dunnington server processor in September, which will be the last member of Intel's 45nm Penryn family. And while on the topic of cores, Intel also showed the first eight-core Nehalem chip. Gelsinger said the new chip will be a monolithic design with all eight cores crammed onto a single piece of silicon. Tasty!
All eyes continue to be glued to Intel and its upcoming Core i7 (Nehalem), but AMD has a product release in the wings too, this one for the server market. The struggling chip maker said it's planning to release a new server platform in the second half of 2009 currently code named Fiorano. Built to take advantage of AMD's upcoming 45nm Shanghai processor, Fiorano represents the company's first foray into the server chipset market instead of using chipsets from Nvidia and Broadcom.
The Fiorno platform will fully support the company's chip-to-chip technolgy called HyperTransport 3 while also offering a new virtualization technology called IOMMU, which allows for the virtualization of the system's I/O traffic. Support for the second generation PCI-Express will also be included, but the same can't be said for DDR3 because of cost concerns.
"it will hit once the price of DDR3 comes down," said John Fruehe, who handles worldwide channel market development for AMD's Server and Workstation Division. "The back half of next year is about the time the process changes in DDR3 will happen that will allow the prices to come down."
The first AMD platform to use DDR3 memory will be called Maranello (previously known as Piranha).
It won't be long before single-core processors will seem as antiquated as single-speed CD-ROM drives, and the case could be made that we're already there. Dual- and quad-core processors rule the landscape, and while Intel's upcoming Core i7 has enthusiasts frothing at the mouth, the chip maker may have something even more mouth watering in the very near future.
If the latest rumor turns out to be true, expect a replacement architecture for Nehalem in 2010 which will double the number of cores per die to eight. Codenamed Sandy Bridge, alleged leaked slides suggest the new architecture will also support hyperthreading, giving the eight-core chip a generous 16 threads to work with. Also look for 16MB of L3 cache to find its way onto the chip.
But for all the hardware goodness, it's the software that may end up playing the biggest role in performance improvements. Intel will reportedly introduce a new instruction set called Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) that will eventually supersede SSE. AVX will double the size of instructions to 256 bits and will be capable of performing up to four calculations in a single instruction.
With over a year to go before the supposed new architecture makes a debut, will developers be ready by then to take advantage of the additional cores and new instruction set?
Forget any talk of shortages or competitive pressure from VIA, Intel's Atom processors are thriving amid the recent Netbook and Mobile Internet Device (MID) movement. "Atom is off to a very, very rapid start, far exceeding our expectations when we started the year," CFO Stacy Smith said in an interview Tuesday. "It's the perfect recession product to have in the marketplace."
The success of its Atom processor has helped Intel achieve a 25 percent rise in quarterly profit despite a weak global economy, with Smith maintaining an overall revenue forecast in the third quarter between $10.0 and $10.6 billion.
Yields are good too. According to Smith, Intel gets about 2,500 Atom processors per silicon wafer, and while that's not quite as good as on a Core or Xeon chip, it's enough to ensure strong profitability on Atom CPUs. Still, Intel remains cautiously optimistic.
"We'll know kind of in six months how much of this demand (for Atom) is real and how much is customers thinking they're going to win in the market place and double-ordering," Smith said. "It seems to be growing the market rather than cannibalizing existing PC sales."
Will Intel's Atom chips continue to exceed expectations now that Centrino 2 platforms are starting to trickle out?
Intel's Core processor lineup (the parts formerly known as Nehalem) are a stone's throw away from release, and in preparation of the launch, Intel is cutting prices on a pair of existing chips and adding a few more to its lineup.
The price cuts affect two of Intel's higher end offerings, with the Core 2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz) and Xeon X3360 both dropping a generous 40 percent from $530 to $316. The new price points represent 1,000 tray units, so expect to pay slightly more through your favorite online vendor.
New models will also find their way into the lineup, including the Core 2 Quad Q9650 (3.0GHz) and Core 2 Quad Q9400 (2.66GHz) priced at $530 and $266 respectively. A trifecta of new Xeons will also make their way into the lineup: Xeon X3370 (3.0GHz) priced at $530, X3333 (2.66GHz) priced at $266, and the E3120 (3.16GHz) priced at $188.
It might be awhile before other popular chips in Intel's lineup see another price drop, as the company has stated its initial Nehalem parts, the Core i7, will be geared towards high-end PCs.
Rumors don't always turn out to be true, particularly in the tech wolrd, but that's not the case with last week's chatter regarding Nehalem's name change. Intel has since made it official, formerly branding the new architecture "Intel Core processor." Also true to rumor, the first products to come out of Santa Clara on the new silicon will be dubbed Core i7, which the company says is the first of several new identifiers to come as different products launch over the next year.
"The Core name is and will be our flagship PC processor going forward," said Sean Maloney, Intel's general manager, Sales and Marketing Group. "Expect Intel to focus even more marketing resources around that name and the Core i7 products starting now."
Antsy upgraders can look for the new processors in the fourth quarter of this year, with Extreme Edition variants identifiable by a separate black logo.
Any thoughts on Intel's decision to keep the Core nomenclature?
As the tech world waits with abated breath for Intel's Nehalem architecture to crash the Core 2 party, we still don't know what name to put on the banners, but we might have a pretty good idea. It's not yet official, but according to the latest rumor, Intel will dub its newfangled Nehalem as Core i7, which would put to rest any speculation that the chip maker might drop the 'Core' designation in its new nomenclature.
For anyone that hasn't been reading Maximum PC on a regular basis (shame on you) or who have been living under a rock (you get a free pass), Nehalem is Intel's next big processor microarchitecture, representing the 'tock' in the company's tick-tock update cycle. Along with tri-channel DDR3 support, Nehalem will usher in Intel's move to an integrated memory controller and finally do away with the crowded front-side bus. Gordon Mah Ung covered the architecture in detail last week, and while you're brushing up on the nuances of Nehalem, be sure and check out what the first Nehalem system looks like.
Getting back to the naming scheme, we'll have to wait until hearing official word, but in the meantime, speculation is welcome. Do you like the rumored name change?
Nvidia has licensed Transmeta’s power conserving technology for a sum of $25 million. The technologies that Transmeta has leased out to Nvidia include its flagship power management technologies, Longrun and Longrun 2. Transmeta has quickly mastered its current business model of licensing IP to bigger companies and its coffers are loaded with cash.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Nvidia has licensed Transmeta’s power management technology as most chip manufacturers are concentrating on increasing power efficiency.