4th > September > 1999 Archive
Only three weeks after it slashed prices on its desktop Pentium III and Celeron processors, Intel is to cut prices yet again. (Story: Intel fires first serious price salvo in AMD's K7 war) Distributors have received notice from Intel that the price cuts will come the week of the 12th of September, on selected members of the Pentium III and Celeron desktop family. At the same time, Intel quietly lowered the price of its 366MHz in the PPGA packaging on the 29th of August. The move must be seen as attacking AMD's products, and at the same time paving the way for the introduction of CuMine technology in October and Camino i820 introductions in late September. Intel is cutting prices on its mobile products too. You can find the details here. ®
Intel Developer Forum Just a few hours before a gaggle of British hacks headed out of overheated Palm Springs, we overheard a conversation that stopped us in our tracks. We were sitting by the poolside bravely quaffing some Michelobs and Banquet Coors, when a group of Inteleers and customers came out on the veranda for a sly cigarette or two. One customer was asking why it was that the i820 with Direct Rambus memory is outperformed by a BX mobo using SDRAM (synchronous DRAM). He had been to an Intel presentation where a graph demonstrated that anomaly and had asked the speaker to explain it to him. The Intel speaker couldn't, but said: "If it says it on the slide, it must be true." Ahem. Regular readers will be well aware that there is currently a massive shortage of BX parts. Without being conspiratorial about it, there couldn't be a connection between the two, could there? At IDF, we also picked up a copy of a Platform bandwidth test for the i820 which we hope to take a shrewd look at in the near future. Note, this is not a benchmark. As Pat "Kicking" Gelsinger said in a press conference earlier in the week: "There are lies, lies and benchmarks". ®
Intel Developer Forum Reliable sources have told The Register that Intel's efforts to implement Rambus technology in its Carmel chipset for standard high volume servers have come to nothing. Carmel is Intel's server Rambus chipset, which can optionally use the Repeater chipset for machines with very large memory arrays. Over the last six months, a team of Intel engineers have attempted to design a Carmel chipset based motherboard for a quad server but that project has now been abandoned. Instead, Chipsetzilla will now use the Reliance chipset for its quad processor, which will use DRAM, instead. As reported here from Computex in June, engineers are doubtful that large arrays of Rambus RIMMs will ever run at 400MHz (800MT/s). Board firms will also have trouble producing reliable boards to run at 400MHz, the sources added. One of the problems is that Rambus technology are microwave circuits and engineers at mobo manufacturers do not have the technical skill to produce such designs. The 354MHz Rambus channels only tipped up on roadmaps over the last three months and specs for the DRCG clock generators use a divider ratio of 8/3. Translated into system terms, the REFCLK frequency of 100MHz generates a Rambus channel frequency of 267MHz, which does not give any performance gains at all. But if the REFCLK input is changed to 133MHz, identical to the front side bus (FSB) frequency, the rabbit pulled out of this piece of Intel magic gives a frequency of 355MHz. This gives a peak channel of 1.42GB/s and there is enough margin to run a reliable Rambus channel by most mobo makers. Sources added that when Intel tested the first prototype Rambus boards earlier this year, they discovered problems due to intersymbol interference and power plane noise. The divide ratio popped out of nowhere shortly after this discovery. No-one at Intel was available to comment on these reports on Saturday night at 8 pm. ®
Intel Developer Forum Some of our colleagues had discussions with Intel engineers involved in the USB 2.0 project at the Intel Developer Forum in Palm Springs. And several of them report an amazing but true fact. Someone called Jason Zilla works for Chipzilla. We trust that new recruits at the chip monster are not required to change their surnames when they're hired by Intel. We know for a fact that when contractors for Intel are given spooky email addresses when they join the company, such as MichaelX@intel.com... It all sounds a bit spooky to us... ® NB We have some rather interesting Bootnotes from the Forum which we will place on the site, but not on the front page, in the next few days. Keep your eyes peeled, for example, for the Intel Bunny Graveyard...