Items tagged with x86

It's been more than seven years since Apple began putting Intel inside its systems, and that relationship might be coming to end. Rumors are running rampant on the web this morning that Apple is seriously considering embracing ARM for its Mac lineup, with a version of the chip that it's already using in its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Citing "three people with knowledge" of the situation, Bloomberg says Apple engineers are fairly confident the Cupertino company will port its mobile device chips over to its desktop and laptop lines, the only unknown is when it will happen. If that's indeed the case, it would be a bold move for Apple. This isn't simply a matter of switching from one chip... Read more...
One of the questions that's been kicked around since Microsoft debuted Surface last summer is how much Redmond would charge for the systems. Rumors have ranged from the ridiculously low ($299) to $1200 or more. Microsoft briefly posted prices on its own store, and while the numbers and listings have been pulled, the price targets were extremely reasonable. They've also been confirmed by a handful of journalists who attended a Microsoft early briefing. The tablet version of Surface will debut at $499 for a 32GB tablet running Windows RT (that's the second-class ARM flavor). The Touch Cover keyboard Microsoft invented for the system will go for $599; with a premium 64GB configuration for $699.... Read more...
Today at the Hot Chips Symposium, AMD's CTO Mark Papermaster is taking the wraps off AMD's upcoming CPU core, codenamed Steamroller. Steamroller is the third iteration of Sunnyvale's Bulldozer architecture and an extremely important part. Bulldozer, launched just over a year ago, was a major disappointment. The company's second-generation Bulldozer implementation, codenamed Piledriver, made a number of important changes and was incorporated into the Trinity APU family that debuted last spring. Steamroller is the first refresh of Bulldozer's underlying architecture and may finally deliver the sort of performance and efficiency AMD was aiming for when it built 'Dozer in the first place. In the... Read more...
At the International Supercomputing Conference today, Intel announced that Knights corner, the company's first commercial Many Integrated Core (MIC) product will ship commercially in 2012. The Descendent of the Processor Formerly Known as Larrabee also gets a new brand name -- Xeon Phi. The idea behind Intel's new push is that the highly efficient Xeon E5 architecture (eight-core Sandy Bridge on 32nm) fuels the basic x86 cluster, while the Many Integrated Core CPUs that grew out of the failed Larrabee GPU offer unparalleled performance scaling and break new ground. Sounds interesting enough doesn't it? Intel Announces MIC Xeon Phi, Aims For Exascale Computing... Read more...
At the International Supercomputing Conference today, Intel announced that Knights corner, the company's first commercial Many Integrated Core (MIC) product will ship commercially in 2012. The Descendent of the processor formerly known as Larrabee also gets a new brand name -- Xeon Phi. The idea behind Intel's new push is that the highly efficient Xeon E5 architecture (eight-core Sandy Bridge on 32nm) fuels the basic x86 cluster, while the Many Integrated Core CPUs that grew out of the failed Larrabee GPU offer unparalleled performance scaling and break new ground. The challenges Intel is trying to surmount are considerable. We've successfully pushed from teraflops to petaflops,... Read more...
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) managed to lessen the gap between it and Intel in the x86 space, even if just by a smidgen. According to Mercury Research's latest data, AMD's x86 market share jumped nearly a full percentage point from 18.2 percent to 19.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared to Intel, which dropped from 81 percent to 80.2 percent, nearly the same margin as AMD's gain. These figures represent x86 market share prior to Intel's Ivy Bridge launch, which became official earlier this week. Ivy Bridge is Intel's newest processor line built on a 22nm manufacturing process using 3D transistors, a combination that adds up to higher performing parts with a lower power consumption... Read more...
Intel made headlines last year when it announced that it would fab 22nm products for FPGA designer Achronix. This week, the company has unveiled an additional 22nm partner. Santa Clara will also be building parts for Tabula and will build that company's new Spacetime microprocessors. Tabula claims that its new chip "uses time as a third dimension to deliver unmatched capability and affordability. Tabula achieves this breakthrough by combining the Spacetime hardware that dynamically reconfigures logic, memory, and interconnect at multi-GHz rates with the Spacetime compiler that manages this ultra-rapid reconfiguration transparently." That's so meaningless it hurts. It's a reconfigurable FPGA that... Read more...
Fresh news out of Taiwan is that Intel and AMD, despite their keen interest in the tablet market, "cannot compete with solutions from ARM in terms of price." The statements, purportedly from various notebook manufacturers, are meant to imply that the two manufacturers (especially Intel) must reduce costs if they ever hope to gain any traction in the market. Then the article at DigiTimes coughs up this gem:  "Intel debuted 32nm-based Medfield processors with power consumption reduced to 11W to match Android 4.0 in January 2012 and will launch Atom processors with power consumption of less than 10W specifically for use in smartphones and tablet PCs in the second half of 2012, the sources indicated."... Read more...
If there's one fact that's emerged after Steve Jobs' death this fall, it's that the man hated Android. Really hated. As in, declared thermonuclear war on it and dedicated himself (and Apple's bank account) to wiping it from existence. In light of Steve's Khan-like level of loathing for Google's operating system, it's a wee bit surprising to hear the "other" Steve sing its praises. “My primary phone is the iPhone,” Woz said. “I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do." According to Woz, the iPhone is a better option for anyone who's plugged into the Mac ecosystem or suffers from a fear of computers, but Android wins out in terms of... Read more...
It's been a few years since Microsoft really shot itself in the foot by making itself look really unfriendly, and someone at the company must've been missing the pain. A careful read of the company's "Windows 8 Hardware Certification Requirements" document has revealed draconian policies that require vendors to block the installation of other operating systems on ARM devices. First, a bit of history. Earlier this fall, Microsoft briefly made waves when it announced that Windows 8 would require that UEFI (the successor to BIOS) Secure Boot be enabled on all systems that ship with Windows 8 installed. Secure Boot uses vendor-provided signed keys to ensure that the OS in question has been properly... Read more...
When AMD announced its first tablet APU earlier this year, codenamed Desna, it was obvious that the chip was more a proof-of-concept than an actual shipping part. Factors outside AMD's control, such as the limitations of Windows 7 when running on a tablet, have kept consumer interest in x86 tablets to a minimum. Nevertheless, MSI's AMD-powered Windpad 110W is about to have company. A Taiwanese manufacturer, Bungbungame, has developed a device based on AMD's Z-01, dubbed the Photon-100. The tablet features an AMD Z01 APU, Windows 7 Home Premium, a 10.1-inch multi-touch screen, 4GB DDR3 memory, 64GB SSD and a weight of 820 grams, BungBungame indicated. The tablet PC is produced by Taiwan-based... Read more...
Intel's decision to join Google and become a major Android developer was big news in 2011, but it appears the CPU giant's fondness for x86 support in Android is a wee bit more specific than you might have thought. Intel has made a number of major contributions to Android in the past six months, but the Android-x86 project, which substantially predates Chipzilla's efforts, has been left in the cold. According to an EETimes article, AMD has stepped into that gap. The lead developer of Android-x86, Chih-Wei Huang, has stated that "Yes. AMD provides great support to us, including devices donation and  engineer's support. On the other hand, Intel still refuses to provide any help to this project. ... Read more...
HP and Oracle have been slugging it out in court over the future of Intel's Itanium for months now. HP has just widened the front by asking the EU to investigate whether Oracle acted improperly when it terminated support for Intel's Itanium. HP claims that Oracle is improperly leveraging its software market to compel purchases of its own hardware, while Oracle maintains that Itanium is essentially a zombie chip. Just the Facts HP sued Oracle after the software company announced it would stop building software for Itanium. According to Bill Wohl, HP's chief communications officer, the two companies share ~140,000 customers. The lawsuit is an attempt to enforce what HP believes are contractual... Read more...
Oracle is publicly demonstrating its new T4 processor today and is shipping beta test systems to selected partners. The new T4 chip is a major departure from previous designs. Sun's T1 processor, codenamed Niagara and introduced in 2005, rejected a conventional focus on single-thread performance in favor of an aggressively multi-threaded, multi-core approach. CPU clock speeds were purposefully kept low to minimize power consumption. The Niagara T1, introduced in 2005 The T1, which was introduced in 2005, ran at a maximum of 1.4GHz and offered a maximum of eight cores, with each core capable of handling four threads for a total of 32 threads. The T3, released last year, is clocked at up to 1.67GHz,... Read more...
Earlier this year, Intel software VP Renee James caused a kerfluffle between himself and Microsoft when he claimed Microsoft's upcoming OS wouldn't support older x86 applications when running on an ARM processor. Microsoft, in response, called his characterization "factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading." ...Except, apparently, it wasn't—at least, not as far as ARM/x86 compatibility were concerned. During a Q&A session this past week, Windows division President Steven Sinofsky clarified the relationship between the two architectures: We've been very clear since the very first CES demos and forward that the ARM product won't run any X86 applications... We built a great deal... Read more...
We've discussed ARM's plans to enter both the netbook and server markets, but a new interview with Tudor Brown, the company's CEO, suggests the CPU designer's plans are more ambitious than some have realized. Speaking to DigiTimes, Brown claims that the company will snatch a huge chunk of the notebook market by 2015, while simultaneously gripping 85 percent of the future tablet industry. Brown's betting on Windows 8 will open the netbook/notebook market to ARM processors in ways the company hasn't previously been able to achieve. There's no denying that the CPU designer's products have matured enormously in recent years--dual-core Cortex-A9 CPUs have established themselves as the workhorse of... Read more...
Tilera is a small CPU design firm that first attracted attention back in 2007, when it debuted its TILE64 architecture. The company's tech is designed to offer a grid of CPU tiles. Each tile contains a very simple CPU core, its cache, and a router. All of the processors are attached via mesh networking. Each tile has its own L1 and L2 cache. If a given CPU has a local L2 cache miss, it can reach out and search the combined L2 cache of the entire processor cluster. Tilera refers to this as a "very large, effective L3 cache." Today, the company demonstrated a 100-core processor it claims is capable of competing with the best Intel and AMD have to offer. "The reason we can go against Sandy... Read more...
Microsoft's tablet strategy (or complete lack thereof) has drawn significant criticism, but the rumor mill suggests the manufacturer may take unprecedented steps to establish itself as a player in this space. DigiTimes, quoting unspecified industry sources, claims Microsoft may build and market its own tablet. MS is allegedly cooperating with Texas Instruments to design and market the device and plans to compete against its own industry partners. If true, it wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has tossed its hat into the hardware ring, but the company's track record in this area is anything but good. Its keyboard/mouse products have performed well, but the Zune ultimately failed to gain traction... Read more...
It's been 10 years since Microsoft and Nvidia colaborated on a console development project, but a clause in the agreement between the two companies could still have ramifications for the GPU manufacturer. The company's recent FY 2011 report with the SEC states: On March 5, 2000, we entered into an agreement with Microsoft in which we agreed to develop and sell graphics chips and to license certain technology to Microsoft and its licensees for use in the Xbox. Under the agreement, if an individual or corporation makes an offer to purchase shares equal to or greater than 30% of the outstanding shares of our common stock, Microsoft may have first and last rights of refusal to purchase... Read more...
The nascent tablet market segment has already strained the Wintel alliance; both Microsoft and Intel have made marketing/strategic decisions that the other isn't fond of. Intel's recent financial analyst day has only made things worse; Microsoft is quite unhappy with the CPU manufacturer's remarks regarding Windows 8. Microsoft's declaration that Windows 8 would run on ARM processors was one of the most talked about announcements of last January's CES, but Intel's remarks this week cast doubt on the usefulness of the ARM-flavored version of that operating system. Renée James, Intel's general manager of the software & services group, claimed in his presentation that Microsoft's Windows... Read more...
The question of what's next for AMD took an interesting twist this morning as the company's stock rose ~ five percent on the rumor that Dell might be interested in acquiring the CPU designer. To say 2011 has been a tumultuous year for AMD thus far would be an understatement; the company has launched major new products, fired its CEO, turned in a solid Q4 2010, and dismissed two additional board members all in the last six weeks. The rumors of a potential buyout aren't just leaking in anonymously. This latest is courtesy of Barrons and Bloomberg with the latter noting that, according to Patrick Wang with Wedbush Securities, "there's no management team there [at AMD]." According to Wedbush, while... Read more...
Intel and Nvidia announced today that they've resolved their legal problems thanks to a new, six-year cross-licensing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Intel will pay Nvidia $1.5 billion dollars in five annual installments beginning on January 18. As part of the agreement, the two companies have renounced all previous legal claims, including claims related to possible breaches of the previous five year contract. "This agreement ends the legal dispute between the companies, preserves patent peace and provides protections that allow for continued freedom in product design," said Doug Melamed, Intel senior vice president and general counsel. "It also enables the companies to focus their... Read more...
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