Tag: intel

AMD rumoured to be up for sale

AMD, SunnyvaleFinancial analysts on Wall Street yesterday gave credence to rumours that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is up for sale.
The putative buyer is rumoured to be a Chinese company but there are caveats around such a deal.
For example, AMD’s licence agreement with chip behemoth Intel would fall into desuetude if such a sale was to go ahead.
But the company may be worth something even without that element, given that AMD’s X86 business isn’t that important any more.  Its graphics business continues to do well.
AMD’s share price closed yesterday at $2.70.
On the 20th of January, AMD released its fourth quarter results, showing revenues of $1.24 billion – down 22 percent compared to the same quarter the year before.
Newly sprung CEO Dr Lisa Su said then AMD had made some progress diversifying its business but admitted its PC business faced challenges.
It is facing “channel headwinds” in its computing and graphics segment, she said then.

 

Windows 10: the mess begins

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseMicrosoft appears to have further muddied the waters with its announcements about Windows 10 last week.
The new version of Windows, which no one really expects to be available until September this year at the earliest, is supposed to run on all sorts of different hardware platforms.
But, according to veteran expert Mary Jo Foley over at ZD Net, you might need a degree in both physics and marketing to try and make any sense of what’s in store for millions of people later this year.
She writes that the different SKUs – stock keeping units come in a plethora of shapes and sizes.
For example, the preview edition available to test now is Windows 10 desktop that will run on Intel based devices.
But the February version will be Windows 10 mobile and that’s intended to run on phones based on ARM chips.
There are other versions of Windows 10 intended for different kinds of devices.
You can read more about what Mary Jo has to say, here.
Our take on this is that all Microsoft will do is persuade its enterprise customers and everyone else that it is deeply confused about the future.
Some sources estimate that as many as 10 percent of people that use Windows are still using Windows XP.  That’s because they failed to be convinced it was worth moving to Vista, Windows 7, or the widely disrespected Windows 8.1.

Mediatek munches up Qualcomm’s lead

qualcomm-snapdragonA report from US firm Strategy Analytics said that while Qualcomm still had a 64 percent lead in the third quarter of 2014, its lead is being eaten into by Mediatek.
Mediatek has 17 percent share of the top five baseband revenues, followed by Spreatrum with six percent revenue share.
Qualcomm did have 85 percent share in the LTE baseband market but that fell to less than 80 percent in the period, mostly due to incursions from the Chinese company.
Mediatek overtook Marvell and Strategy Analytics believe it is set to continue its growth in LTE.
During the quarter, HiSilicon, Intel and Marvell made progress in the marketplace.  Intel won some major design wins with Samsung.

 

Dell, HP fight back on server prices

server-racksA price war has developed on the server front after multinationals faced competition from original design manufacturers (ODMs) that make the machines.
Over the last year or so, companies such as Quanta Computer have undercut Dell and HP and won big orders from the likes of Google and Amazon.
Digitimes reports that HP is fighting back by striking a deal with giant Taiwanese combo Foxconn to offer cut price X86 servers to customers.
Meanwhile, Dell has struck a deal with Microsoft to offer cloud based systems in a bid to sell private cloud data centres.
But while the news might be good for enterprises looking to pay less for their X86 servers, it can’t be good news for margins.
And Intel, which supplies the majority of microprocessors that power servers, must be worrying about an effect it may have on its margins.

 

Oracle unveils X5 with Intel Inside

Oracle-Announces-X5Oracle chairman and chief technology officer Larry Ellison unveiled X5, its fifth generation of Oracle’s engineered systems, to media and analysts at company headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.

Ellison introduced the company’s X5 as “the future of the datacentre” based on Intel Xeon® E5-2600 v3 processor family (Haswell-EP with up to 32 cores) and support for high bandwidth NVM Express (NVMe) flash drives.

The X5-2, a 1U two socket server, is designed and optimised for running Oracle Database in a clustered configuration. Optional four NVMe drives can be used to accelerate Database performace via Smart Flash Cache. This server is targeted at high-density vitualization environments.

The X5-2L, a 2U platform, is targeted for single-node databases and enterprise storage applications. The supports up to 758GB of memory, and configured for a maximum of 50.4TB of direct attached storage.

Also announced was Oracle’s NVM Express (NVMe) design providing up to 6.4TB of hot-swappable flash providing 2.5X the data rate of older SAS3 SSD interface drives using PCIe Gen3 Small Form Factor NVM SSD drives (12Gb/s vs. 32Gb/s). NVM Express flash technology is optimized to accelerate Oracle Database using a feature called Database Smart Flash Cache. This feature keeps recently accessed data warm in flash storage, reducing the chance that the database needs to fetch the data from slower magnetic media that may be direct attached or resident on a NAS/SAN fabric. In addition to the high-bandwidth interface to the NVM Express SSDs, the flash technology itself has been engineered to be high-endurance and write-optimized for Oracle Database.

Ellison’s new “vision” entails connecting datacentres efficiently and at lowest cost to the cloud – “There has to be some degree of compatibility between the public cloud and your private datacentre”, Ellison said.

Ellison emphasised Oracle’s “new strategy” using Intel processors to compete for the two-socket core business. The new “Virtual Compute Appliance X5” converged infrastructure system, consists of compute servers and software defined networking.

That integration comes in the form of th Virtual Compute Appliance X5 converged infrastructure system, consisting of compute servers, software-defined networking and Oracle designed hardware. Ellison went on to highlight the company’s abilities in software defined configuration of server and storage networks on VCA, supporting infiniband internal networking with external connectivity provided by Ethernet and Fibre Channel to link with existing networks.

Included within the X5 product portfolio are Oracle’s Big Data Appliance for Hadoop and NoSQL big data jobs and Exalogic X5-2 for private clouds.

Ellison described Oracles Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance capable of full data recovery with real-time “redo” transport and fully automated recovery functions, log re-examination with extraction of malicious transactions followed by re-entry of those processes again allows the appliance to be restored to any point in time.

Further the appliance, which can handle thousands of databases with backup connections to on-site datacentre, remote datacenters and cloud. “The big deal is it’s fully automated, so it’s easy to operate, and you never lose data. It’s a no brainer appliance as we have, “Ellison stated.

Ellison reminded the audience that “Oracle manufactures tests and supports all of these products in-house”, naming rivals Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat hinting at more expensive and fragmented support by rivals. Further “One appliance alone can handle thousands of databases with potential backup connections to on-site datacentres, remote datacentres, and the cloud.” he said.

“The big deal is it’s fully automated, so it’s easy to operate, and you never lose data. It’s as a no-brainer appliance as we have,” Ellison remarked.

He further stressed Oracle has manufactured, tested, and support all these pieces in-house, calling out rivals Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft, and Red Hat and hinting at more fragmented (not to mention expensive) deployment options. All X5 machines are available now.

TechEye Take

The rumor of the Intel invasion of Oracle has been circulating since OracleWorld 2012. This is a major shift for Oracle. The company’s management, currently in the midst of a “reinvention period”, includes the fact that Larry Ellison is executing a gradual accession plan as he moves toward retirement.

The X5 release is seen as one aspect of the company’s new strategy – one in which the company protects their private datacentre market base while adjusting to a world increasingly enveloped by the evolution of open hardware, software and the cloud. Ellison is a sharp toothed shark and Oracle is having a problem finding a way to replace his natural instincts – how this evolves is another one of those “only in the valley” stories.

It is looking like a very good year for Intel’s E5000 series though…,

 

Government in school technology push

Nicky Morgan, department for educationThe coalition government has used a teachers’ conference in London to encourage primary schools to up their technology ante.
Speaking at the BETT conference in London, education secretary Nicky Morgan will tell people that Google and O2 will help the move by supporting a £3.6 million initiative.
She thinks that schools should be plugged into technology firms because a lot of jobs will end up being in the tech sector.
Her department, the Department for Education, is putting up £3.6 billion in funds to develop computing skills in primaries.
She wants children in primary schools to learn about coding. Meanwhile, Oxford Brookes University will develop an online course for teachers in primary schools.
Other tech firms at the BETT conference include Intel, which is launching an education content management portal aimed at teachers. Intel wants teachers to help develop the so-called “three Rs” of reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic.

 

Hedge fund bets against Intel

Intel-logoThe founder of hedge fund Kynikos Associates is betting against Intel’s share price and has done so for the last six months.
Intel turned in quarterly results that disappointed Wall Street late last night.
According to Reuters, Kynikos Associates founder Jim Chanos said he’d shorted Intel’s share for six months.
He believes that despite bullish talk from Intel about its future, the semiconductor giant faces similar challenges as companies HP and IBM did.
Intel’s mainstream business is selling X86 microprocessors used in PC, but as we reported earlier today, revenues from those devices fell in its financial fourth quarter.
Intel shares fell in after hours trading on Wall Street.

 

Intel earnings Jump: it’s memory bundling

Intel Q4_14_Results

Intel released its fourth quarter 2014 results yesterday afternoon with income jumping 39 percent on improved demand for personal computer and server system chips. The company allowed that it is  expecting a somewhat flat first quarter for 2015 which led shares 1.9% lower in after-hours trading. The PC Client Group’s earnings improved by three percent while the Data Centre Group’s earnings improved by 25 percent. Overall revenue increased by six percent  year-on-year and gross profit margin exceeded 65 percent.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of 66 cents and revenue of $14.71 billion.

For the current first quarter, Intel projected revenue between $13.2 billion and $14.2 billion and gross margin of 60 percent, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $13.76 billion and gross margin of 61.2 percent, according to Reuters.

For the year, Intel projected revenue to rise by a mid-single digits percentage rate and achieve a gross margin of 62% of revenue, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue to rise 4% and gross margin of 63.4%, according to Reuters.

PC Client Group Improves

Intel’s integral attachment to the PC market greatly affected earnings as the PC market growth slowed and consumer market demand was satisfied with less costly tablets and high capacity smartphones. The uptick in PC demand last spring has had a positive effect on earnings and aided in the company’s turnaround effort to become “the” dominant supplier in the mobile market. With Intel’s 14 nm manufacturing muscle Brian Krzanich is now “loaded for ARM” vowing to place 40 million Intel chips into tablets now dominated by ARM Holdings PLC.

3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash Bundling?

No mention was made by Intel of its  recently announced 3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash devices. Intel has what can only be called an obsession with its ability to control the memory side of the sales equation without owning any of the fixed assets to produce it.

Analysts have been wondering why Micron was not more upbeat on the announcement; it is,  after all the controlling partner in Intel-Micron Flash Technologies, Inc. (IMFT). Sources indicate that Intel will most likely begin bundling Processors and Memory kits with Intel claiming the lion’s share of margin leaving Micron to its own pursuits with its share of output.

Last but Not Least

The Data Centre Group is rumoured to be the earnings darling of the coming quarters with sources indicating market moving announcements over the first half of 2015. Those announcements concern Intel’s SDN for Cloud Computing efforts…

 

 

 

Tablet market faces further woes

tablet-POS-cash-registerThere’s more research data on the tablet market out today and the latest report suggests gloom for 2015.
Digitimes Research said that total shipments of tablets worldwide will fall by 11.8 percent this year, accounting for shipments of 244 million units.
The logic behind the forecast is that demand for high end and entry level units is saturated, and smartphones with bigger screens are further eroding the tablet marketplace.
The seven inch segment, in particular will see a sharp drop in shipments because of smartphone competition.
However, it’s not all bad news. The report said demand for tablets with 10-inch screens and above will grow by 20 percent, fuelled by enterprise interest.
Digitimes Research also thinks Windows tablets will grow by 50 percent this year – which if true – is encouraging news for both Microsoft and Intel.  Both behemoths have introduced subsidies to encourage vendors to use their kit.

 

AMD shuns the Internet of Things

1-AMD-s-New-Steamroller-Architecture-to-Bring-Significant-PerformanceWhile Intel is pinning its future on the Internet of Things (IoT), AMD appears to be spurning it as if it were a rabid dog.

Its senior vice president and general manager of the computing and graphics business group John Byrne thinks that it is much wiser to keep pushing into the PC market, which is still a $40-billion-a-year opportunity.

Talking to Venture Beat  he said that AMD has to execute on its upcoming Carrizo family of accelerated processing units (APUs), which will be focused on the mobile computing market. About 300 million PC processors and 90 million graphics chips are sold each year, and Byrne wants AMD to get its fair share of those sales.

Byrne thinks that setting up a chip making operation for the Internet of Things is just an invitation to lose money.

Byrne said while it concentrated on the IoT, Intel it was missing opportunities in the classic PC market.

“There’s still 300 million PCs, still 90 million graphics chips. If I look at Intel, Nvidia, and my revenue, that’s still a $40 billion market — even before you get to the IoT. If you look at the gross margin profile of that business, it’s still significantly more than AMD as a company’s average. There’s still significant market opportunities in the classic PC space,” Byrne said.

He said that AMD still had work to do in the PC chip market. It had to work on its x86 performance, ensuring that each product it bought to market is better x86. There needed to be improvements in graphics, notebooks needed to improve battery life.

Byrne said that it all meant that AMD could push into the commercial market a long more. He pointed out that AMD won the industry’s largest single tender in commercial 18 months ago in India and Elitebook with HP last year.

“Wait until you see the lineup of commercial platforms I have with Carrizo. It allows us to continue to attack that i3, attack that i5 consumer, and really get to penetrate the commercial market space. We’ll attack graphics. That’s going to be my strategy next, he said.

While he said that the Internet of Things is important there are two ways to make cash from it. Intel is concentrating on the silicon inside the wearable. However, that will cost under $10 and not make huge amounts of cash.

“You’re seeing that with Quark and some of the other investments our competitors are making. I’m not in business to lose money. Share and revenue is nice but so is profitability,” he said.

But all of those devices have to be connected and it is those higher end devices that AMD will be targeting.

Future dim for Wintel in 2015

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseThe arrival of Windows 10 and the introduction of 14 nanometre microprocessors are unlikely to stimulate much demand for PCs in 2015.
That’s the view of Digitimes – which has interviewed sources in the supply chain that make kit using the software and components.
Windows 10 is delayed – it’s not now expected to ship until the August at the earliest, and will make use of a future 14 nanometre CPU from Intel which is codenamed “Skylake”.
But the wire thinks that in 2015 only 200 million PCs will ship this year – with smartphones and tablets continuing to erode market share.
The manufacturers in Taiwan are more update about Apple based PCs rather than their Windows based cousins and are anticipating that while enterprises may decide to upgrade.
Windows 8 has triggered a distinct lack of excitement in the marketplace, with many enterprises hanging on to Windows 7 systems for dear life.
Windows 10 is expected to look a lot more like Windows 7 than Windows 8.x.

 

Intel’s future is drones and women

tarotreadingAt the CES show at Las Vegas this week, Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich showed off a computer built into a jacket button and a wristband that transforms into a selfie-snapping flying camera drone.

It says a lot about where Intel sees the future of computing. Gone are the days of number crunching business computers, instead the world’s chip makers are developing gadgets which are better at photographing their own users.

Already tourist destinations are full of people carrying their phones on sticks so that they can take snaps of themselves at famous monuments without needing a friend. Now it seems that Intel sees a future for machines that can take pictures of bald heads at famous monuments while at the same time navigating through a sea of Japanese drones re-enacting a narcissistic battle of Midway on the Spanish Steps.

Krzanich used most of his keynote to talk up Intel’s efforts in computerised apparel and other sensor-packed gadgets as consumers get bored with their tablets and start selling their kidneys for the next shiny thing.

Curie, a new button-sized computer for smart clothes, is due out later in 2015 and includes Bluetooth radio as well as the latest from Intel’s Quark line of low-power chips. However Krzanich did sound a little like an East End market barrow boy when he talked about “rings, bags, bracelets, pendants, and yes, even the buttons on our jackets.” They are not dodgy, not dodgy.

Intel is working with Oakley to launch a smart gadget for athletes later this year, Krzanich said. The chipmaker in December announced it was developing smart glasses with Luxottica, which owns the Oakley brand.

Krazanich also said that he was spending $300 million to get more women and minorities in the technology and the video game industries. Note that money will be spent training women and minorities, there is no guarantee that Intel or any other technology company will hire them.

Intel has a poor record of accomplishment employing women and some minorities. While it is happy to hire Chinese and Indian workers, because they are nice and cheap, only a quarter of Intel’s US employees in 2013 were women and 12 percent of its workforce were Hispanic or African American.

Last year Intel made a huge mistake by backing the misogynistic GamerGate campaign to pull advertising from gaming news sites who dared to slam sexism in the gaming industry. In the end it changed its mind and resumed advertising.

 

 

Samsung aims at internet of things

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picThe CEO of Samsung has made a bid for his company to become an active player in the internet of things (IoT) by putting uo funding for developers.
In a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, BK Yoon said Samsung will provide $100 million in funding while pledging to keep access to devices open rather than proprietary.
He said all Samsung devices will be open and connect to other devices on the matrix, with 90 percent of Samsung devices have IoT inteconnectivity by 2017.
Soon said that the industry required an open system with collaboration across different industry sectors.
While analysts predict that by the end of the decade there will be 10s of billions of devices from lights to kitchen sinks with IP (internet protocol) abilities, problems not only include connectivity and open standards but also security.
Other vendors, including chip giant Intel want to jump on the IoT bandwagon and so far there is little sign of the whole caboodle agreeing on open standards.

 

Chip sales up in 2014

Sales of semiconductors rose by 7.9 percent in 2013, with Intel continuing to rule the chip roost.
intel_log_reversedA report from Gartner said the top 25 vendors revenues rose by 11.7 percent, with those vendors grabbing 72.1 percent of the entire market revenues.
But it was DRAM sales that really shone last year.  Gartner said the market grew by 31.7 percent during the year and undersupply and stable pricing continued to be the order of the day.
Andrew Norwood, a VP at Gartner, said all device categories grew in 2014 but the memory market outstripped them all.
Norwood said Intel saw a return of growth in 2014 after two years of seeing its revenues decline.
Intel’s Datacenter Group was the most stable of its different business units.
While Intel will reach its target of selling 40 million tablet microprocessors in 2014, they’re being sold at big discounts and with subsidies for vendors buying them.
Intel’s been the number one chip company for the last 23 years and owns 15 percent of the 2014 semiconductor market.
The next four top semi companies are Samsung, Qualcomm, Micron and SK Hynix.

 

Intel shows off 14nm processor

Intel-Core-MIntel has taken the wraps off its first 14nm processor, the Core M at the CES show in Las Vegas.

The CPU is designed for the ultramobile, low-power market and is an  SoC die shrink of the existing architecture.

Where it does something interesting is on the GPU side with shedloads of improvements and advances,

The video decoder block has been beefed up with dual bit stream decoders, we are expecting to see other improvements but Intel has been quiet on exactly what it has tweaked and changed to date.

Intel does appear to have clear ground ahead of it. TSMC’s 20nm is only a slight improvement on die size and power consumption, Intel’s new Broadwell cores are 37 percent smaller.

What is odd, is that although more than half the chip seems dedicated to its GPU, Intel has made no announcement about supporting Direct X12. Nvidia and AMD has announced full DX12 support for their various current hardware,

Intel claims its new chip can boost battery life by 1.5 hours, speed video conversions, and offer a whopping 22 percent improvement to 3D performance. It has been a while that we have seen a significant productivity jump and we were not expecting to see much in the way of improved CPU performance from this chip anyway.

We are expecting Intel to announce the shipment of its Cherry Trail platform today too.  This is the  14nm Bay Trail die shrink that’s been on the roadmap for a little while and is not really news.  What is strange is how Intel has been quiet about the specifics of Cherry Trail so far. We have no benchmarks, statistics, or anything.

This is odd given Intel’s commitment to tablets and that pushing the Atom down to 14nm is a significant achievement. It should mean some performance gains and it is not clear why Chipzilla is not trumpeting it more.