17th > June > 2000 Archive

Intel downplays PC-133, Screaming Cindy, on notebooks

Internal Intel roadmaps seen by The Register indicate that notebook chips which will be launched next Monday -- as exclusively revealed here last January -- are just the thin end of a DDR (double data rate) wedge from Chipzilla Central in Santa Clara. Further, Intel is not overconcerned with Transmeta, the notes reveal, but is far more concerned with making notebooks that incorporate synchronous memory, and is downplaying the fact that such chipsets also support Screaming SIMD extensions. AMD is the real, retail enemy. The mobile roadmaps we have seen, rather than considering Transmeta as a major player, target AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), which has taken a major bite out of Intel's retail notebook market share. Bluetooth is the sharp end of Intel's offensive come September. One executive told us today: "In US retail, the Pentium Brand has maintained its market share. More and more large corporations adopt Windows 2000 operating system for notebooks." Those figures are based on market data. For example, according to these figures, IDC says that 81.5 per cent of large and medium corporations will buy Pentium III based notebooks. Intel's margin on its notebooks chips has avoided the price erosion that has affected its desktop Pentium IIIs and Celerons. Intel is also downplaying the fact that Solano II-mobile is based on the synchronous memory solution too. Although it is takes Transmeta and other information appliances seriously, it does not believe PDAs will dent its share of the market. Intel also has no plans to release a 733MHz using a 133MHz front side bus in the second half of this year, although it could do so. Instead, it will launch a 800MHz supporting 100MHz bus speeds, and, our sources confirmed today, although .18 micron mobile chips support Streaming SIMD extensions, it does not want to tell its customers about that. Unless they ask. Which now we know they will. Solano-2M does not yet have a launch date, but has sampled for two months now, and it is a given that Intel will intro a PC-133 version to companies such as Toshiba, IBM and Compaq this year. The last Celeron offered in the MMC2 form factor will be in September this year. Intel is making sure that this month's PC Expo in New York will be dominated by low end offerings of mini notebook form factors, and is far from intimidated by threats Transmeta could possibly steal the show, and damage share prices accordingly. Nor will Intel introduce increased speeds on mobile Celeron processors at 1.35 volts until next year, as Intel attempts to drive demand for the mini-notebook sector. But Intel will launch a huge collateral drive starting on Monday in an attempt to convince corporate end users that its boxes are better than its competitors. Further, come June 27th, Intel will intro an educational scheme and attempt to convince both the world and its dog that Bluetooth is the shape of things to come. The advertising campaign will kick off in the following publications, which we will not bother italicising: Business Week, Mobile Computing and Mobile Insights. It will also offer deals with software companies such as Laplink. Intel CPUs in the mobile sphere will remain on 100MHz front side buses until at least the middle of next year, although if we were buying mobile notebooks, which we're not, we'd prefer to have them now, seeing as Intel can already make them. The question that remains is why Intel is not majoring on its Strongarm family of processors, a very dinky set of chips. We have not seen any StrongArm roadmaps so can only surmise that Intel is keeping these products in reserve in case PDAs begin to present a real threat to its traditional notebook space. ®
Mike Magee, 17 Jun 2000

Online chat ends in knife attack

A Chinese man has been jailed for stabbing a fellow Net user after the pair argued in a chat room. The two men - from Yingkou city in Liaoning province - decided that hurling insults at one another simply wasn't good enough, so they decided to meet face-to-face to settle their differences. But when Huang He gave "Qi Qi" (that was his online name apparently) a good kicking, "Qi Qi" legged it only to return a while later with a knife. Qi Qi stabbed Huang He and only the arrival of the local police prevented a fatality, according to the AFP report of a story in the Beijing Morning Post. ® To read the AFP report go here.
Tim Richardson, 17 Jun 2000
Broken CD with wrench

It's a fixed wireless auction thing

E-commerce Minister Patricia Hewitt has released details of the government's plans to auction radio spectrum for broadband fixed wireless access. There will be three licences available in each of the 11 English licence areas and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Successful bidders will be limited to one licence per area, but will be able to hold licences in multiple areas. The licences will get 112MHz of spectrum and will be valid for 15 years. The 28GHz technology is designed to let users get cheap, fast Web and multimedia access by radio links instead of via a phone line. Draft regulations will soon be published, along with a notice of detailed arrangements for the auction, said Hewitt. Comments can be received until July 17, with Hewitt adding she hoped to present the regulations before Parliament by the end of July. ®
Linda Harrison, 17 Jun 2000

HW Roundup Via mobos, T'birds, Celery 2s

Two grade 'A' reviews to have a peek at on 3dHardware. The site has nothing much bad to say about either the 700MHz thunderbird Slot A or the the Athlon 850. While we're looking at the CPU arena, Gamebasement has a review of the Celeron 2. Apparently those bad sports at Intel didn't like everyone getting the same performance from the original Celeron as the P2-450 for one quarter of the price. Killjoys! The processor gets a tentative thumbs up, mostly for being so cheap, but can't do the same massive overclock as its predecessor. The good Dr Tom is happy to recommend a VIA-based motherboard to anyone wondering where to spend their hard-earned readies, so no more raised eyebrows over reliability please. The best of the bunch? The Asus P3V4X, Soltek SL-67KV, TMC TI6VG4, Gigabyte GA-6VX7-4X, and QDI Advance 10 all get metaphorical pats on the backs for doing so well. For those who like this sort of thing, HardOCP previews the KYRO reference card. Fast and Inexpensive the man says. Sorry, but we had to mention at least one video card... Ace's Hardware has a link that might get you going if asynchronous logic is your thang. Check out AMULET, a project started in 1994 at Manchester University, and cited as the first asynchronous logic implementation of a commercial microprocessor architecture (ARM).®
Lucy Sherriff, 17 Jun 2000

Intel mobile plans for next nine months unfold

Intel will introduce two SpeedStep based mobile Pentium IIIs in September at speeds of 800MHz and 850MHz, according to a roadmap we viewed at Computex last week. Further, as we pointed out in a separate story earlier today, it is positioning Bluetush technology for businesses, home and road-warrior activity. In addition, a 9xxMHz SpeedStep processor it had originally slated for Q1 of next year, will be released at 900MHz, and probably announced pre-Christmas. Intel's low voltage Pentium III mobile at 600MHz will be announced next this Monday, aimed at the so-called "back to school" market, while the 800MHz and 850MHz Pentium III mobiles will be mainstream units for the high end market, through until the end of Q4 2000. In September, Intel will release a Celeron mobile 700MHz part. Got a socket in your notebook? From September you'll never know or not. MicroPGA-2 will be a BGA-2 CPU mounted on a circuit board with the tiniest, most delicate micropins around one millimetre high. The CPUs will be pin to pin compatible. Vendors can choose to use the expensive USD8 socket, if they wish. If you buy a notebook, you don't normally rip it apart to overclock it, so you will never know whether the vendor is a cheapskate or not. Suspect the worst, though. We have it from a very reliable source that many Taiwanese manufacturers are even using Socket 370 in notebooks and have validated Pentium III 850s. The reason they're able to do this is because of the excellent thermal qualities of yer CuMine chip. But as you don't normally rip notebooks apart, you'll never know for sure whether there's a mobile chip in there or not, will you? Suspect the worst, though. The mobile onslaught on the 19th next includes a 750MHz Pentium III at 1.6 volts, a 600MHz Pentium III at 1.35 volts, 650MHz and 600MHz Celeron notebook chips at 1.6 volts, and a 500MHz low voltage part for mini notebooks running at 1.35 volts. According to the roadmap, the 600MHz mini-notebook part will consume around 9.5 watts, but in battery optimised, SpeedStep mode, will shuffle in at around 5 watts. The 850MHz and the 800MHz mobile Pentium IIIs, which also use SpeedStep, will run at 700MHz at 1.35 volts and at 650MHz at 1.35 volts, respectively, when the battery optimisation is in play. Power consumption is beginning to be something of a problem for Intel on its notebook parts. The 9xx Pentium III notebook core will exceed 20 watts by the first half of next year but a technology called Intel Mobile Voltage Positioning (IMVP) technology will allow around 10 per cent of power savings. This spec will be licensed to notebook customers. The Solano2-M parts, which will be produced at the end of this year and intro'd in Q1 next year, will include AGP, 4X ATA 100, and support four USB ports, and there will be two flavours one with integrated GFX and one without. The Intel MX and ZX chipsets for notebooks will last through to the first quarter of next year. The first Solano-2M offering is aimed at the high end market, supporting discrete graphics, while the second with the integrated graphics, is aimed at the value end of the market. Intel originally had a 133MHz front side bus slated for Solano2-M, but we will not see these creatures appear until this time next year. Solano-2M has already begun sampling to OEMs. PC manufacturers who make notebooks are being advised to borrow from the desktop Solano chipset in order to design for the notebook market. Intel expects that cell phones, mobile PCs, data access points and headsets using Bluetooth will start to appear during the second half of this year. And the firm has started updating its customers on the schedule for its Ambler project, part of its own Bluetush plans. In June there will be point to point engineering samples at 720Kbps. In September, it will release pre-gold software and 720Kbps multipoint samples, with final release software ready for October, and multiple language support by the end of the year. Acer, Compal, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, NEC, IBM, Inventec, Quanta, Sony and Toshiba will all produce Bluetooth PCs and/or mobiles. And Canon, Grundig, HP, Hitachi, Imation, Palm, Ricoh, Seiko and others will produce Bluetooth peripheral parts. In the consumer space, there will be offerings from Fuji Photo, Philips, Sony, Tatung, TDK, Toshiba, Palm, and a host of others. There is a long list of support from the industrial market, including British Airways, Fedex, Volvo, BMW and Saab, while telcos include BT, Ericsson, Nokia, Taiwan Telecom, TDK and others. ®
Mike Magee, 17 Jun 2000