Intel pressure mounts on AMD, Via

AMD pressure mounts on Via, Intel

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Rumour Mill Wait for one rumour patiently for months and six or seven come along all at once.

But financial pressures are beginning to cause the rumour mills in the x86 microprocessor business to turn much, much faster than the windmills in Cervantes' Don Quixote.

And, although these are rumours, we stress, all of them emanated from sources close to the biggest x86 or x86 compatible firms currently at the heart of the biz - that is to say Intel, AMD, and Via. All our deep throats and contacts are dishing the dirt.

The first, and most controversial, and one which so far we have been unable to confirm or deny, is that Gateway is contemplating dropping AMD chips from its product line - a combination of Intel's ability to offer good pricing on processors and AMD's inability to match that.

The second, somewhat interesting rumour, concerns ATI. Despite seeing its share price tumble yesterday, we hear that INTC is very interested in acquiring ATI lock, stock and barrel.

We'll need a techie to help us with this one, but another rumour reaching our ears is that 1GHz performance on mobile microprocessors that aren't Transmeta chips use something called "clock throttling" - a phenomenon nothing to do with Geyserville, Gemini or any other technology, but a way of slowing down the processor speed so that a chip rarely runs at a full 1GHz. It only applies to notebooks, so the rumour runs.

AMD is under the curious delusion that it is friends with Via but perhaps it had better watch its back, we hear.

Everyone is very surprised that Rambus hasn't taken legal action against Via, one of the chief proponents of double data rate (DDR) memory.

And why has Nanya, like Via, sister subsidiary of Formosa Plastics, climbed so fast into bed with Kingston Technology on double data rate (DDR) memory?

And that 870 McKinley mobo we talked about yesterday. You know, the one that's got an MTH for DDR translation? It may not be as long for the world as we first thought. The engineers working on the 870 MTH thought that they could do a far better job than those working on the 820 Caminogate version, but that may not be necessarily so.

Second to lastly, but certainly not leastly, we hear that Intel is on the verge of restricting Tualatin technology, at least on its Pentium III family, to mobile processors only. This could be a blow for chipset manufacturers who think differently, but it won't be the first time such a thing has happened.

At the big Computex Trade Show in Taipei held every June, we saw the famous Acer Timna motherboard in its suite just a day before Intel pulled the plugs on that, while another mobo manufacturer said they wouldn't be producing mobos for the Pentium 4 as long as Intel messed around with the number of pins on the chip.

Lastly, must we soon be waving farewell to the Intel Celeron processor, seeing as AMD is on a determined course to undercut it on the price performance front, as part of its urge to enter the business marketplace?

They're rumours, OK? So don't flame us too hard, we're still recovering from the wave of Ramboid ones that hit us over the weekend.

And if any of the firms mentioned above would care to provide denials, confirmations, rebuttals, clarifications or what have you, we're open for business 24/7. Nearly. ®


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