6th > February > 2000 Archive
"A year is as a day in the mind of Chipzilla" -- Book of Remembrances It is nearly a year since Dr Albert Yu, a senior VP at the Intel Corporation, showed an assembly of hacks a machine running a chip at 1GHz at its bi-annual Developer Forum. What a difference a year makes. When we attend the Intel Developer Forum next week, we are confident that we will see a machine being demoed that runs at 1GHz, but this time Chipzilla may open its kimono, and dispel any doubts that liquid nitrogen is making it clock. This will be the fabled Willamette IA-32 processor, which Intel has talked about for quite a long time now. It has actually demoed the processor to chip boffins already, as we reported last year. The product taped out about a month ago. What do we actually know about Willamette so far? Well, piecing together the jigsaw puzzle, we have the following: The chipset supporting it, Tahama, will include some screaming Sindie like additional instructions called Willamette New Instructions. Screaming Sindie will include 64-bit FPU instructions, but Willamette itself will support 128-bit MMX instructions. Tahama will support AGP 4X, and include 3.2GBps memory bus bandwidth and 3.2GBps system bus bandwidth. Initially, it will have 256K of on chip cache, but our information is this will rapidly rise. It may debut at 1.0GHz, it could be 1.2GHz or 1.4GHz, but at any rate its slated launch date is 1 October this year. Willamette architecture will have 128-bit MMX instructions, and SIMD (Screaming Sindie) 64-bit floating point instructions. Willamette is scheduled for launch on Oct 1, 2000. At IDF next week, which we will be covering as extensively as on the last three occasions, Intel will spend a huge amount of time on its up-and-coming IA-64 chips, we know. Meanwhile, reports that AMD will attempt to blag journalists and analysts in the middle of Intel's Palm Springs conf were discounted by a source close to the smaller company. He said: "AMD isn't clever enough to attempt that." It won't be the first time such an exercise has been attempted, however. Nine years back, on a visit to Intel's Satan Clara HQ, a Motorola spin doctor attempted to "kidnap" British journalists so they could listen to a suit talk about the Power PC platform. Some of us managed to evade capture. ® See also Major Intel roadmaps ahead, please keep left Yu demonstrates 1GHz chip, talks roadmap talk Willamette, Foster details leak Intel to demo 1GHz IA-32 chip February 2000 Happy Cat leaks stash of Intel futures Hard facts emerge about Willamette Katmai out of the bag
Life has its moments of Serendipity, here at The Reg. After a rather long day listening to Compaq's biggest and best telling us about the future strategy of the company, a couple of tired old hacks semi-retired to the Clachan, a hostelry near Vulture Central, to chew over the cud. In the midst of a conversation, the other hack held up one hand and imperiously stopped the flow. We thought he just wanted to listen to the lyrics of a song that was playing, but after we'd sat down elsewhere, he told us what that was all about. An overheard conversation between three civil servants suggested that Psion was just about to win a giant contract from the UK government for between two to three million (million...) handhelds, brokered by Deloitte Touche. Of course, we had to ring Psion the next day to check on this story -- it being big news -- if true, and talked to a corporate man at the firm, who said he was neither in a position to confirm nor deny the reports. He said that he had been in to see David Levin, Psion's chief executive, whose reaction had been to lift one eyebrow and say "Really?". It was not beyond the bounds of possibility, our corporate man said, that such deals were being brokered, as Psion had many partners. He had not heard of such a deal yet, but it was not impossible one had been brokered. And we do know for a fact that David Potter, Psion's chairman, has a very good relationship with our present prime minister, Tony Blair. Perhaps this is one of the projects now being brought to fruition by Gareth Hughes, formerly MD of subsidiary Psion Dacom, who, we reported recently, has gone off to look after all nursery projects at the firm. ®
Japanese correspondent Battlax, who regularly sends us a report of what is news in technology area Akihabara, in Tokyo, is reporting that the Akiba PC hotline has spotted .18µ (micron) Athlon 550MHz parts being sold in the area. At the same time, a motherboard using Via's Apollo KX-133 motherboard, designed for Athlons, is already available in Akihabara, while a SiS 300 video card has also made a debut. The Athlon product part number is AMD-K7550MTR51B A, and the news is significant because it demonstrates that AMD is moving its process technology rapidly away from .25µ technology to .18µ technology in the timeframe it said it would last year. The company will sift through yields of .18µ parts and grade them at different speeds. A .18µ process allows the die of a microprocessor to be smaller, and also gives significant power consumption benefits, which reduce the need for massive heatsinks, huge power supplies, and loud, noisy fans. There are pictures, Japanese text, and prices of the .18 micron part here, with pricing for the 550MHz Athlon at ¥25,800. Pricewatch also looks weekly at CPU prices, on this page. ®
Opinion Giving a child a mobile phone is no different from handing out cyanide pills, according to a leading UK academic.