Tag: intel

Intel to release thumb-sized PCs

thumbs downChipzilla has said that it is shrinking PCs to thumb-sized “compute sticks” that will be out next year.

The stick will plug into the back of a smart TV or monitor “and bring it intelligence to that,” claimed senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen.

A device the size of a USB stick was shown on stage, but its capabilities were not demonstrated, so we will have to take Intel’s word that it was not a thumb drive Skaugen picked up and waved around before the press conference.

Although, to be fair, the technology is already in the marketplace. Skaugen likened the compute stick to similar thumb PCs offered by PC makers with the Android OS and ARM processor.

Dell’s $129.99 Wyse Cloud Connect, plugs into an HDMI port, can turn a screen or display into a PC, gaming machine or streaming media player.

Skaugen claimed the devices will be an extension to laptops and mini-desktops, which have Core desktop processors in small PCs that can be handheld.

Normally these thumb sized PCs do not have internal storage, but can be used to access files and services in the cloud. The Wyse Cloud Connect has wi-fi and Bluetooth.

Skaugen thinks that the market for such devices is in the tens of millions of units,. The compute stick will bring x86 computing to fanless designs.

Intel makes low-power Atom processors for mobile devices, which could fit into thumb-sized PCs.

 

Intel announces 3D NAND-Flash

IMFT Sign - Lehi

Rob Crooke, VP & GM of Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Solutions Group was last up in the company’s day long Investor Meeting today in Santa Clara.

Though last, he had the most newsworthy announcement about the company’s future memory intentions.

Intel announced it is back in the memory business – 3D NAND-Flash that is (mass production in-house is conditional though).

Crookes’ revelation ends any rumination on Intel-Micron Flash Technologies 3D Flash development – it also includes SK Hynix when the device goes into production 2Q 2015. Evidently those who have been nice have early sample devices according to sources.

The specifics:

  • 4G hole array 32 layers deep | (216 x 216)(Array) x 25(Layers) x 2(MLC) = 256 Gbits
  • 1TB in 2 mm package
  • SSDs: 10TB and up planned
  • Production 2H 2015 – IMFT (Lehi, Utah facility mentioned) & SK Hynix
  • Intel can also produce internally
  • Replacement of HDD with SSD in all PC and Mobile devices

Crooke allowed that the devices will not use Intel’s cutting edge 14nm technology but a slightly relaxed geometry  – Micron is on record at 16nm geometries for 3D NAND. The openly known fact that prevaricating about Flash Geometries may hold sway – a hefty dose of caveat emptor is recommended.

The announcement coincides with reports that Intel and Micron are involved in a project with EMC2-DSSD – an effort to produce the first NAND-Flash In-Memory Database appliance.  The proffered memory type may be a custom type expressly tailored for the application and may be produced in-house by Intel – more on this as roll-out time nears.

AMD introduces Carrizo SOCs

AMD's John ByrneIntel rival AMD said it has added two system on a chip (SoC) devices to its semiconductor roadmap.

The Carrizo and the Carrizo-L are being positioned as the firm’s answer to the mobile market.

The chips will support Microsoft DirectX 12, OpenCL 2.0, AMD’s Mantle and Freesync and support for Windows 10, when that emerges next year.

AMD senior VP John Byrne said his company is building on its existing intellectual property portfolio.

He said “our goal is to improve APU energy efficiency by a factor of 25 times by 2020”, and said the company would work with the latest industry standards.

The Carrizo microprocessor combines an X86 CPU core called Excavator with its next generation Radeon graphics in what AMD claims will be the world’s first heterogeneous system architecture compliant SoC.

The chips will ship in the first half of next year, Byrne said.

Intel’s Knight’s Hill cut down to 10nm

intel_log_reversedIntel is telling the world+dog that it talks to that its third-generation Xeon Phi, codenamed Knight’s Hill, will use 10nm technology and its second iteration of Omni-Path fabric. TechEye and ChannelEye are not in Intel’s good books again, so we have to sneak under the radar.

Intel is not talking to us any more. Sniff.

Knight’s Hill is a long way from being in the shops. We still have to see the 14nm Knight’s Landing which is not going to be in the shops until summer of 2015. This could mean that Knights Hill is likely for 2017.

Knight’s Landing will use the same Silvermont architecture that powers Intel’s Bay Trail but it will  support four threads per CPU — currently Silvermont doesn’t use hyper-threading marchitecture at all.

The reason we are interested in Knight’s Hill is that information on it is about as rare as a 1970s TV star who has not been investigated by operation YewTree, and we wonder why Intel is talking about it at all.

Perhaps it might because Intel is attempting to reassure customers that there’s a roadmap stretching out beyond the Knight’s Landing product and the 14nm node.

Intel’s Omni-Path scaling architecture debuts next year. Omni-Path is Intel’s next-generation networking interconnect that handles up to 100Gbps of bandwidth and uses silicon photonics technology for signalling. The new standard offers up to 48 ports per switch compared to 36 ports on other top-end standards, and is designed to lower the cost of huge build-outs by reducing the total number of switches. The long  term goal is to reduce latency and allow for effective scaling as the industry pushes forwards towards exascale. Bring back Pat Gelsinger!

Future versions of the core will likely expand both the onboard memory pool (16GB is expected for Knight’s Landing; Knight’s Hill could pack 32GB or more), add additional bandwidth, and likely increase the interconnect performance between the CPU and the associated MIC.

According to Extreme Tech  Intel might push its AVX standard up as high as 1024-bit registers, if the HPC crowd wants it. Adding wider registers is a simple way to boost performance The current AVX specification allows for extensions of up to 1024 bits in length, however, so Intel could do this. [Does anybody apart from Extreme Tech believe this Intel crap any more? Ed.]

 

Get ready to wear a smart shirt

fobwatchA survey from Gartner said that less wearable electronic devices for fitness will ship in 2015 because of confusion in the marketplace.

While 70 million wearables will ship in 2014, that figure will fall to 68 million next year.

That is because the entry of smartwatches into the marketplace will have overlap in functionality.

But the figure is set to rise again in 2016 because lower cost machines will be available along with a variety of different designs.

The push to get people to use fitness wearables is being funded by a number of industry giants including Qualcomm, Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nike and Intel.

Gartner sys the five main form factors are smart wristbands, sports watches, other fitness monitors, heart rate monitor chest straps and so called smart clothes.

This last category has the biggest potential for growth, according to Gartner and so-called “smart shirts” are no becoming available.  The research firm didn’t say whether the next step will be “smart pants”.

While smartwatches will come in many different price range, those costing $150 or over are likely to include accelerometers and gyroscopes but unlike health wristbands will have to tell the time and have the capacity to send and receive texts.

Intel scrambles PC and mobile processor divisions

ScrambledEggIntel has decided to merge its PC and mobile processor divisions under one roof, claiming that the line between tablets and laptops has blurred.

Starting from next year, Intel will form a  division called the Client Computing Group, which will include the teams that develop its Core processors for desktops and laptops, as well as those that develop its Atom chips for smartphones and tablets.

According to an internal email from CEO Brian Krzanich, the changes are supposed to improve lines of communication between product teams and help Intel better reach manufacturers that use its products.

Krzanich said that the market was evolving and Intel must change faster to stay ahead.

He claimed that the days when Intel served the PC market with its Core processors and the smartphone and tablet markets with its low-power Atom chips, were gone. The emergence of hybrid computers, which can switch between a laptop and a tablet, has done much to blur the boundary, he reckons

Intel’s Core M processors, for instance, are used in traditional laptops but also in hybrid computers and tablets. The current structure of the company no longer matches where the market is headed, he said.

Kirk Skaugen, who leads what is called the PC Client Group, will run the Client Computing Group when it’s formed.

The Mobile and Communications Groupwill be broken up. The teams that develop mobile processors will join the new client group, while the remainder, which builds modems, will be part of a new wireless R&D group.

Herman Eul, who leads the mobile group today, will oversee the move to the new structure until at least the end of the first quarter, with a new role for him to be announced after that.

The Mobile and Communications Group reported an operating loss of more than US$1 billion in the third quarter, in part because it has been making payments to tablet makers to encourage them to use its chips. Because of those and other efforts, Intel has said it aims to get its processors into 40 million new tablets this year.

Your car will be watching you

bigbrotherBy 2019 shipments of factory installed driver monitoring systems (DMS) with inward facing cameras will reach 6.7 million in number.

The systems include eye tracking technology which analyses the movements of your eyelids and the direction you’re gazing in and allows for personalisation in your vehicle, security, health tracking, distraction and detection of fatigue, according to market research firm ABI Research.

Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Volkswagen already have some of these features but Toyota has deployed advanced eye tracking systems in its Lexus brand and both Volvo and General Motors will install similar systems in the future.

And in a further twist, chip companies Nvidia and Intel ears are perking up as they sense business headed their way.

It’s not just cars that will deploy such systems, however.  ABI Research said in its report that companies SmartDrive and Lynx are targeting commercial vehicle fleets.

Intel drives down Chromebook prices

Intel-logoLenovo and Asustek are expected to release Chromebooks next year that will cost $149.

The machines will be powered by Rockchip technology and that is in the embrace of Intel for design and distributing its SoFIA chips, according to Digitimes Research.

The price will be around 25 percent less than the cheapest machine on the block – the C720 from Acer.

But the move is also likely to put Intel at loggerheads with its long time partner Microsoft, which is desperate to knock the Google Chromebook project on the head, and has lowered its licensing fees in a bid to be competitive and keep its place in the notebook market.

The research outfit thinks that both machines will use an 11.6-inch screen. The Lenovo device is likely to appear early next year.

Intel expects Chinese small chipmaker rebellion

1900-intl-forces-including-us-marines-enter-beijing-to-put-down-boxer-rebellion-which-was-aimed-at-ridding-china-of-foreigners-Intel boss Brian Krzanich has been consulting his i Ching and expects ARM to be a spent force in China within a few years.

He claims that new semiconductor partners in China will migrate to Intel and give up on ARM technology more widely used in smartphones and tablets.

Intel this year signed deals with Rockchip and Spreadtrum Communications to use Intel’s technology to make chips for low-cost smartphones and tablets aimed at China’s fast-growing consumer market.

Spreadtrum and Rockchip specialise in smartphone and tablet platforms that are easy for manufacturers to use. At the moment they use ARM technology.

Intel has been writing agreements with the Chinese chipmakers which still allow them to make ARM-based chips, but Krzanich thinks that in a couple of years they will not see the point.

With Qualcomm offering high-end chips based on ARM and Taiwan’s MediaTek attacking the Chinese market with inexpensive chips also designed using ARM, adopting Intel’s architecture is the only way that anyone can offer a way to differentiate with better performance and features.

The only way for small manufacturers to compete is by going to Intel, he reasons.

Intel and Rockchip are working on an Intel-branded tablet SoC, with Rockchip contributing expertise on connectivity, graphics and its experience in China’s domestic market. Spreadtrum, is working with Intel on SoCs expected out next year.

Since both outfits are small, they lack the resources to make separate chips based on Intel and ARM technology over the long term.

Krzanich said Intel might collaborate with more companies there.

Intel’s Skylake is an escargot

Cooked_snailsWord on the street is that Skylake processors may be delayed.

Intel has been promising that Skylight will be in developers paws early 2015 ahead of shipping “by the second half of the year.”

Digitime’s Joanne Chen claims that Skylake will be held back so as not to dent sales of Broadwell-based notebooks.

The report claims that Intel has set the RTM schedule for the Skylake to the 37-47th weeks of 2015 which is the end of August to the end of October.

The later schedule, Chen claims, would damage the release of Windows 10 notebook sales, because Skylake-based models will not be able to reach retail until late September.

“Windows 10-based notebooks are already facing many negative factors that could impact their shipments in 2015: most enterprises are expected to finish their PC replacement by the end of 2014 after Microsoft terminated support for Windows XP; Microsoft will offer free upgrade to Windows 10 for existing Windows 8/8.1 notebooks; and Windows 10 lacks attractive features,” Chen wrote.

While it is possible that Intel has allowed itself room in September for a later ship date without exposing itself to accusations of breaking its promises, the matter of Windows10 is important. The Skylake delay is expected to worsen Windows 10-based notebooks prospects, and may in turn weaken the notebook market’s performance in the second half of 2015.

Intel releases Core M for OEMs

bendIntel has hit the market with a range of faster Core M chips which are hitting the shops just a few months after its first Core M lineup was announced.

Intel has added four more Core M’s to its list. Like the launch chips, these four are dual-core designs that support HyperThreading. Like the earlier chips, these are spec’d with a TDP of 4.5W.

However, these are faster than the launch models, with a base clock speed of 1.2GHz, which is burstable through Turbo up to 2.9GHz.

What really sets these chips apart from the initial Core M models is that their TDP is scalable, based on what the builder wants to do with it. For example if the chip is set to be used in a notebook with very little free space, the OEM could opt to drop the chip down to 3.5W and lose 600MHz in the process. A bulkier notebook could handle a hotter chip better, so a higher TDP can be used. Any one of these new chips could be tweaked to peak at 6W and add 200MHz to the clock. That would put a chip like the M-5Y71 at 1.4GHz, rather than 1.2GHz.

The chips also offer the same flexibility for graphics. The IGP in the initial Core M chips were clocked at 100MHz base, while these new CPUs start at 300MHz. The top-end clock for the top two models can reach 900MHz, whereas some of the launch models peak at 850MHz.

All four of these new models have officially launched, but it is likely that they will not hit the market until early 2015.

Intel impedes Windows 10

Intel-logoA report said that sales of notebooks using Microsoft Windows 10 are likely to be hit because Intel will be tardy releasing an appropriate chip.

Digitimes Research said that the Intel Skylake microprocessor is supposed to be ready at the beginning of the third quarter in 2015 but will probably not hit the streets until the end of next year or even 2016.

The news will plunge Microsoft into the depths of despondency.  It is already taking a hit because uptake of the notoriously shabby Windows 8.x isn’t going to plan.

Windows 10 is supposed to be the summum bonum – that is to say it will work properly because there won’t be a Windows 9.

Digitimes Research estimates that Intel’s delays won’t make the acceptance of Windows 10 any easier and it appears the alliance between Microsoft and Intel is crumbling.

Intel could not be contacted for comment at press time.

The report is here.

AMD faces Nvidia threat

AMD, SunnyvaleNvidia is ahead of AMD on the graphics front and it won’t be until next year that the Sunnyvale firm catches up.

That’s according to financial analyst Sean Chandler, who works for Seeking Alpha.

He said in a note to his clients that the Nvidia “Maxwell” architecture has put AMD under heavy pressure in the consumer graphics arena.  And that’s worry investors and taking its toll on the AMD share price.

Chandler said that while AMD’s restructuring are widely seen as positive, the firm “still needs to release competitive technologies to remain relevant”.

Nvidia Maxwell, he said, means “monumental advancements” in both efficiency and performance.

Nvidia’s 60watt 750Ti is comparable to AMD’s 150 watt R7 260X, he said.  And Maxwell also outforms AMD in performance efficiency per die size.

He added that the rumour mill suggests AMD may respond with 20 nanometre chips now chip foundry TSMC has got the shrink down pat.

He suggests to investors: “AMD is almost certainly not out of the game, but be cautious and don’t pour all of your eggs into one basket.”

Intel readies server shifts

intel_log_reversedRoadmaps seen by sources close to chip manufacturer Intel say there’s a series of sea changes for server chips to be released in the second quarter of 2015.

According to reporters at Taiwanese wire Digitimes, Intel will release processors for servers based on Haswell-EX  as it readies other products for workstations too.

It is scheduled to introduce Skylake Xeons in the third quarter as well as Broadwell Xeons during the third quarter of next year.

That means – as is the tradition at Intel – we’ll see several processors phased out including Xeon Phis, Itaniums and other microprocessors, according to the wire.

Meanwhile the same media says that Intel will manage to ship a milllion units of its so-called “Education Tablets” this year.  The machines are largely aimed at developing markets.  Shipments will exceed three million units in 2015.

Intel revises its pay outs for vendors

Intel-logoIt looks as if Intel will stop providing pay outs – in euphemistic terms – subsidies, for people making mobile phones using its technology.

According to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, while Intel had an apparently sparkling set of financial results recently, it is going to restrict these payouts to all but the biggest players

It is significant that despite these sparkling results, Intel’s mobile unit, as we reported yesterday, was a loss making venture.  Intel beancounters don’t like making losses.

Digitimes said that Intel is concentrating on reducing costs for the bill of materials making up smartphones.  The writing on the wall for Intel has been clear to the chip giant for quite some time.  Vendors using ARM chips and non-Windows operating systems feel a little bit freer to pursue their own path.

According to the same report, Asustek, one of the bigger Taiwanese vendors, ordered over seven million Intel Atom processors but the level of rebates remains unclear.

Asustek will almost certainly continue getting pay offs from Intel because it’s estimated it will soak up at least fifteen million processors during the calendar year 2015.