AMD's newly appointed CTO Mark Papermaster provided the public with its first glimpse of its upcoming Steamroller x86 CPU core. Steamroller represents the third generation of AMD's Bulldozer architecture, succeeding Piledriver (second generation) with improved parallelism, increased performance, and more instruction cache, which will lead to 30 percent fewer cache misses and a 20 percent reduction in mistaken branch predictions.
At a special event in San Francisco earlier today, Microsoft raised the curtain on the 15th version of its Office productivity suite, which has historically been a huge cash cow for the company. Speaking at the said press event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer the new Office “will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8.” Well, turns out there really aren’t an awful lot of things out there beyond Windows 8 that can fire up the new Office, for Office 2013’s pyrotechnics are reserved for Windows 8 and Windows 7 only and users with older operating systems will need to upgrade in order to get in on the action.
Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system will incorporate Dolby Digital Plus audio technology, it has been announced. In a press release on Thursday, California-based Dolby Laboratories revealed that its deal with Microsoft covers both x86- and ARM-based Windows devices.
X86 based processors dominate the laptop & desktop markets, while ARM based chips rule the phone and tablet world. This has been the natural order of things for as long as we can remember, however Windows 8 could finally turn the tide for ARM. According to Rob Chandhok, senior vice president at Qualcomm, the company is preparing a quad-core version of its Snapdragon S4 ARM chip to run in future thin and light Windows 8 laptops.
ARM’s built its business around power-efficient chips that are perfect for mobile applications (like tablets and smartphones), but that pedigree could transfer over to another technical arena as well, one that has traditionally been dominated by Intel and AMD: high-powered computing. In fact, Sumit Gupta, who serves as the senior manager of Nvidia’s Tesla GPU Computing HPC business, says that ARM chips are “inherently much more energy efficient than an x86 CPU” – and that fact makes Nvidia feel that the future of supercomputing lies in ARM.
When it comes to PCs, AMD processors are the only thing keeping Intel from complete and utter market domination. But could the plucky little David (OK, AMD's actually pretty pretty big) be preparing to throw in the towel against Intel’s x86 Goliath? A couple of comments by AMD spokesmen over the past few days makes the company's future on the PC seem much more hazy than it did just a few weeks ago, when Bulldozer launched.
Intel is itching to get a toehold in the mobile device market. But unless Apple switches its much vaunted mobile devices to the x86 processor architecture on a whim, the only way Intel can hope to achieve a position approaching strength in the mobile market is by supporting Android. The real question now is not whether Android will run on Intel’s x86-based processors or not, as we already know the answer to it is yes, but how well.
In what has to be arguably one of its most interesting revelations, Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs has revealed that the late Apple CEO wanted the iPad to be powered by an Intel chip. If Jobs had had his way, Intel would have found itself in the driver’s seat in the burgeoning tablet market, something the chip maker is unlikely to achieve in the coming years according to a new report by DisplaySearch.
When Oracle acquired Sun last year, it did so for things like the Java platform and the Solaris operating system, not servers running on Intel's x86 architecture. In fact, even though Sun thought it could become a major seller of x86 servers prior to the buyout, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison now says that the company makes next to no money on them and plans to start phasing x86-based servers out entirely in 2012 favor of more profitable Solaris/SPARC-based hardware.
Any other 33-year-old who noticed a sudden growth spurt would run to a doctor, but it seems that Intel’s x86 architecture will never stop growing. New extensions appeared this year in Sandy Bridge processors, more are coming in next year’s Ivy Bridge, and still more will come in 2013 with a processor code-named Haswell. Is the x86 growing stronger or fatter? Stronger!