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Another ISP pulls the plug

Unmetered ISP 24-7 SpinolaVista has thrown off all its remaining users, claiming they had been abusing the service's terms and conditions. Launched in August, the service broke new ground in value for money Web access by offering £2 million cashback with every £60 annual subscription. The company has now disconnected both users …
Andrew Thomas, 19 Dec 2000
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Intel, Rambus beefing up legal departments

Intel is advertising for more lawyers to work on intellectual property and patents. The list of vacancies at the chip behemoth at HotJobs includes vacancies for an additional four attorneys. Meanwhile, Rambus is also looking to hire another patent attorney here, whose job description includes the phrase "You will also perform …
Andrew Thomas, 18 Dec 2000
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Celeron 800 tips up in Japan

Japan's Akiba Hotline is advertising the new 800MHz Celeron, the first Celery to sport a 100MHz front side bus. The part isn't scheduled for launch until January, but Akiba has a tradition of being the first store on the block with new processors. Intel famously doesn't comment on unannounced products, but OC Workbench has a …
Andrew Thomas, 16 Dec 2000
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Pentium 4 castrated to keep costs down

Not even Intel could afford to build Willamette aka Pentium 4 as it was originally designed, admitted a senior Intel engineer yesterday. Darrell Boggs, Intel's principal engineer for the desktop platform group, told delegates at the Micro-33 conference in Monterey that the original P4 design would have been too large to build …
Andrew Thomas, 16 Dec 2000
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Reg staffer cut off by 24-7 Freecall

Troubled UK unmetered ISP 24-7 yesterday dumped another 1000 users from its service for alleged 'abuse' yesterday, including yours truly. It's difficult to tell precisely how I abused them, as I wasn't given the courtesy of an email telling me what was going on. The service worked yesterday and this morning it didn't. A call …
Andrew Thomas, 15 Dec 2000
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Infineon buys into Ramtron

German chipmonger Infineon has taken a $30 million, 20 per cent stake in Ramtron, comprising $10 million in cash and $20 million in shares. The two companies have also signed a cross-licensing agreement to give Infineon access to Ramtron's ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) memory technology, while granting Ramtron use of Infineon FRAM …
Andrew Thomas, 15 Dec 2000
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Taiwan snaps at heels of Jap LCD market

Top Japanese LCD makers are losing out to aggressive Taiwanese competition. Hitachi and Toshiba, second and third biggest flat panel display makers, are losing market share to Taiwanese suppliers who have nearly doubled production this year, say analysts. Acer Display Technology and Chunghwa Picture Tubes, are tipped to become …
Andrew Thomas, 15 Dec 2000
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AMD, Alliance patch up differences

AMD and Alliance Semiconductor have agreed settlement terms for AMD's patent infringement lawsuit filed in 1996. Alliance and AMD will drop their claims and counterclaims against each other and Alliance will pay AMD an undisclosed sum for past damages. AMD had originally claimed that Alliance's flash memory devices infringed …
Andrew Thomas, 14 Dec 2000
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Intel Irish fab to slip a year

Updated Chipzilla has delayed starting production at its new Fab 24 in Leixlip, Ireland, by 12 months to the second half of 2002. Plans for the $2 billion, 135,000sq ft fab were unveiled in June when it was announced that the factory would be used principally to build Pentium 4s on a 130nm process. But a slump in chip demand has given …
Andrew Thomas, 13 Dec 2000
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Software fault forces Ford recall

Car giant Ford has instigated a recall of 110,000 Explorer and Mountaineer sport utility vehicles because of a programming glitch in the car's cruise control equipment. A month ago, Ford denied claims in a UK TV show that cruise control problems had caused a number of Explorers to accelerate suddenly without warning. At the …
Andrew Thomas, 13 Dec 2000
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Athlon, Duron get new mobile chipset

VIA has added PowerNow! support to its Apollo KT133 chipset, ready for the launch of AMD's Palomino and Morgan mobiles next year. The KT133A is pin-compatible with its predecessor and supports both 200 and 266MHz FSB. The mobile Athlons and Durons are due in the first half of 2001, but the KT133A is also suitable for desktop …
Andrew Thomas, 13 Dec 2000
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More DDR chipsets coming RSN

Another brace of DDR chipsets are on the way. SiS' 635 and 735 are designed for Intel Socket 370 and AMD Socket A processors respectively. The 635 will also support Intel's forthcoming 0.13 micron Pentium III die shrink, Tualatin. The 635 and 735 support DDR 266, DDR 200 and PC133 SDRAM and integrate the South and North Bridges …
Andrew Thomas, 12 Dec 2000
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World's smallest wine glass boost for drink drivers

NEC boffins have built a wine glass 200,000 times smaller than normal. 'Why?' might be one immediate response. 'Do the laws of physics allow the formation of a drop of wine that small?' could be another. Researchers built the glass from carbon with an external diameter of 2750nm, approximately 200,000 times smaller than a …
Andrew Thomas, 12 Dec 2000
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Car black box privacy threat

Car giant General Motors is facing a lawsuit claiming that it has violated privacy laws by installing black box recorders in its vehicles to record information about speed, braking and seat belt use in the moments leading up to a crash, reports Bloomberg. The suit claims that the world's largest car company failed to tell …
Andrew Thomas, 12 Dec 2000
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1.3GHz P4 priced at around $300

US distributor Tech Data now lists the baby P4 1.3GHz with 128MB RDRAM, despite Intel maintaining its official response of refusing to comment on unannounced products. Tech Data lists the part as follows: "INTEL Manufacturer Part# BX80528JK130GR Description BOXED PENTIUM 4 1.3GHZ 128M 800MHZ NECC RDRAM TD Part# 277354" The …
Andrew Thomas, 11 Dec 2000
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Rambus growls at Nvidia

Graphics behemoth Nvidia warns in its quarterly SEC form 10Q filing that it has been advised by Rambus it may be in breach of patents. Nvidia's SEC filing says: "We have been advised by Rambus Inc. that it believes our products infringe certain patents owned by Rambus and requesting that we agree to certain licensing terms, …
Andrew Thomas, 11 Dec 2000
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AMD chops chip costs

Not to be outdone by Chipzilla's price cuts today, AMD is chopping its prices too. A 1.2GHz Athlon is now $254, while other Athlons are reduced as follows: 1.1GHz - $223 1.0GHz - $179 950MHz - $161 900MHz - $143 850MHz - $125 800MHz - $110 750MHz - $95 700MHz - $85. Duron prices go down too. An 800MHz part is now $79, …
Andrew Thomas, 11 Dec 2000
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Intel plans $1500 10GHz PC

Intel has built what it claims is the world's smallest and fastest CMOS transistor. The company says that within the next five to ten years (nice accurate bit of futurology there) it will be able to build microprocessors containing more than 400 million transistors, running at 10GHz and operating at less than 1V. Intel boffins …
Andrew Thomas, 11 Dec 2000
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Rambus-Infineon legal spat delayed

Legal rottweiler Rambus' pending court case against Infineon has been postponed due to the judge being promoted. The court in Mannheim, Germany has rescheduled the case, originally set for 22 December, to May next year due to the judge originally assigned to hear the patent infringement suit being promoted to the appeals court …
Andrew Thomas, 11 Dec 2000
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New Intel processor prices

Intel's 1Ku tray prices have been chopped today, bringing a 1.4GHz P4 down by 11 per cent to $574. The 1.5GHz part remains unchanged at $819. Unlike boxed P4s, tray processors - aimed at the largest PC makers - do not come bundled with 128MB of RDRAM. PIII Xeons are unchanged, but desktop PIIIs are reduced by up to ten per cent …
Andrew Thomas, 11 Dec 2000
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Chipmongers vie for chip of the year crown

Chipmakers are readying their tuxedos for January's big event - the announcement of the winners of Microprocessor Report's Analyst's Choice Awards. Awards are given in eight categories and are aimed at recognising excellence in semiconductor innovation, design, and implementation. To be selected for the shortlist, the product …
Andrew Thomas, 08 Dec 2000
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Baby Pentium 4 materialises

Intel's IPD Web site, the prime source of information for small system-builders, now lists a 1.3GHz Pentium 4 alongside the 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz parts launched last month. The new baby P4 is aimed at plugging the price/performance gap between the top of the Pentium III range and the existing P4s - a space briefly occupied by the …
Andrew Thomas, 08 Dec 2000
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IBM resurrects 1970s memory technology

IBM and Infineon are jointly to develop a memory technology dating from the 1970s that could significantly increase the battery life of portable computing devices and help the spread of 'instant-on' PCs. Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) uses magnetic charges to store data and the two companies claim commercial products …
Andrew Thomas, 07 Dec 2000
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VIA up, Creative down

Chip designer VIA Technologies had net sales for November 2000 of US$89 million, up almost 32 per cent on the same period in 1999. Sales from January to November 2000 of $938 million were 193 per cent up over the same period last year. But Creative Technology shares fell 4.3 per cent following analyst downgrades. The sound …
Andrew Thomas, 07 Dec 2000
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Intel's Barrett: P4 the ‘king of processors’

It's one thing having faith in one's products, but that faith should not be of the blind persuasion. In an interview in Hong Kong yesterday, Intel boss Craig 'Five Speeches' Barrett told Bloomberg that the Pentium 4 is the "undisputed king of microprocessors". Asked to comment on analysts claiming that poor execution had given …
Andrew Thomas, 06 Dec 2000
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Mobile Duron due this month?

Reports from Taiwan suggest that 600 and 700MHz mobile Durons could launch before the end of the year. And about time too - Intel's had things pretty much its own way recently with the mobile Celeron out-punching the venerable K6-2. Chimpzilla is also due to launch a mobile Athlon at 1GHz sometime in Q2 2001. AMD seems to have …
Andrew Thomas, 06 Dec 2000
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Intel US finally catches up with Europe

Intel US has followed Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific in extending its Intel Inside programme to small system builders selling white box desktop and mobile systems. The chip behemoth has set aside $10 million to contribute up to the cost of print and website advertising. Since its inception some ten years ago, the programme had …
Andrew Thomas, 06 Dec 2000
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Rambus derides Intel chipset

It looks as if California's leading law firm, Rambus, Rambus and Rambus, is spoiling for a fight with Intel. The company is still smarting from Craig Barrett's remarks about the Rambus/Intel relationship being a mistake and his criticism of Rambus' litigious nature. Rambus CEO Geoff Tate spent some time listing his Intel …
Andrew Thomas, 06 Dec 2000
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Palomino ‘is really cool’

One of our regular AMD informants emails to confirm that the forthcoming Athlon Palomino is indeed exceptionally cool. "You can put a finger on it while its running," he states. Regrettably we are not told if this is one of our mole's fingers, or one belonging to someone he doesn't like very much. As someone whose promising …
Andrew Thomas, 06 Dec 2000
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Intel to cut P4 prices by 19 per cent

Intel is cutting prices on Pentium 4 as well as selected Pentium III and Celeron parts next Sunday (December 10). Chipzilla says the move, predicted by The Reg last week, is aimed at enabling more mainstream system price points below $1999. The 1.5Ghz P4 is cut by nine per cent, while the 1.4Ghz part goes down by 19 per cent. …
Andrew Thomas, 05 Dec 2000
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‘Super silicon’ outfit confirms AMD link

Last week, The Reg reported that, for over 12 months, AMD had been producing test chips using a new, pure version of silicon with greatly enhanced thermal properties, making a 1.7GHz Palomino a more practical proposition. Today, the boss of the Californian company responsible for the 'super silicon', reacting to increased stock …
Andrew Thomas, 05 Dec 2000
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LSI Logic warns on Q4 revenue

More gloom and doom for US tech stocks came today in the shape of a profit warning from chip maker LSI Logic. The company warns that Q4 earnings and revenue will be lower than expected due to low customer demand and inventory build up. Q4 revenue is expected to be just three to four per cent up on the $728 million of the last …
Andrew Thomas, 05 Dec 2000
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AMD gets business boost in Germany

Germany's third largest computer manufacturer, Maxdata, is to use both AMD Athlon and Duron processors in systems aimed at enterprise and small business users in Germany. A number of other European manufacturers including Vobis and Tiny have also recently moved away from an Intel-only product line. Maxdata supplies systems to …
Andrew Thomas, 05 Dec 2000
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UMC fingers SIS

Two Taiwanese chip makers are squaring up for a fight over intellectual property rights. United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) has filed a lawsuit in San Jose against Silicon Integrated Systems (SIS), claiming that SIS got into the chip making business by 'engaging in a systematic pattern of abuse of UMC's intellectual …
Andrew Thomas, 05 Dec 2000
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AMD 760 needs mobo redesign

As originally reported by The Register over a month ago (see AMD 760 DDR chipset delayed), Jan Gütter, an AMD spokesperson in Germany has confirmed that Micron PC is delaying shipment of its 760-based DDR systems with a 266MHz FSB. The problem stems from noise and the spokesman said it could be avoided by 'very minor' …
Andrew Thomas, 04 Dec 2000
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Rambus CEO surprises world+dog

Mountain View law firm Rambus, Rambus and Rambus held a conference call last week in which a couple of surprising - nay unbelievable - statements were made. CEO Geoff Tate replied to an analyst's question about how much time he spent on legal issues as opposed to looking at future technology with a very unlikely: "In recent …
Andrew Thomas, 04 Dec 2000
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Fan-free Athlon Palomino 'runs at 1.5GHz'

Following our report last week that AMD was experimenting with a new pure form of silicon (later confirmed by AMD Zone), news reaches The Reg of Chimpzilla's progress with the upcoming Palomino. A new natural substance that disspates heat much better than ceramics is being tested and a Palomino prototype is reported to be …
Andrew Thomas, 04 Dec 2000
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SOYO denies everything

Rumours in the channel that SOYO was either about to go belly up or bought out by rival mobo maker Chaintech have elicited a remarkably over the top response. So over the top that it makes you wonder exactly what's going on. On SOYO's main Web site is a missive entitled "SOYO Computer Inc. reiterates all rumors are not true and …
Andrew Thomas, 04 Dec 2000
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Shrinking chips

With Intel and AMD/Motorola's joint efforts on moving to 130nm processes about to go head to head (Story: New Intel, Motorola/AMD chips face off), it's perhaps an opportune moment to look at how semiconductor technology has progressed over the last decade or so. Intel's first microprocessor, the 108KHz 4004, was built using …
Andrew Thomas, 01 Dec 2000
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Fake mobos – SOYO bares teeth

Mobo maker SOYO, which sold $315 million worth of boards last year, has discovered at least a thousand imitation motherboards in South America, Asia Pacific, Canada and the US. The company has set up a legal investigation team, and promises to prosecute anyone who manufactures or knowingly sells fake SOYO products The problem …
Andrew Thomas, 01 Dec 2000
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VIA fails to profit from Intel 815 delay

TSMC sources quoted in Taiwan's Commercial Times claim that VIA has slashed orders as a result of falling demand from mobo makers. VIA refused to comment on the speculation but said that any adjustment was purely temporary. The company expects the mobo market to return to normal next year and says its chipset product strategy …
Andrew Thomas, 01 Dec 2000
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Micron issues profit warning

Micron Electronics has warned that earnings for the quarter will be below Wall Street estimates, blaming lower DRAM pricing for the dip. Gateway has also warned that its revenues will be half a billion dollars lower than previous estimates. The company now expects revenues of between $385 million and $400 million for the …
Andrew Thomas, 01 Dec 2000
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Athlon Palomino to include Screaming Sindy?

AMD's new Athlon core, codenamed Palomino, is due to ship at 1.4GHz in January, 1.5GHz in Q2 and 1.7GHz in 2H 2001. Key improvements will include much improved branch prediction, cooler running (see AMD tests 'super silicon' to beat heat problems), hardware prefetch and core optimisations to improve FPU and ALU performance. But …
Andrew Thomas, 30 Nov 2000
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AMD tests ‘super silicon’ to beat heat problems

When we cast doubt on AMD's abilty to produce an Athlon running at 1.7GHz that wouldn't run so hot it melted the solder on the mobo, we received the usual flood of 'you're in Intel's pocket' emails. But in among the venom lurked an interesting item: a reader claimed that, for over 12 months, AMD has been quietly producing test …
Andrew Thomas, 30 Nov 2000
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Yet more PIII DDR mobos arrive

Chaintech has two new DDR mobos for PIII and Celeron II based on VIA's Pro266 chipset. One is a purely DDR board, while the other offers the option of using either SDR or DDR memory. The 6VJD has 3 DDR 200/266 memory slots for up 3GB of RAM. The board also sports five PCI, one ACR and an AGP slot, AC-97 compliant audio codec, …
Andrew Thomas, 29 Nov 2000
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Intel ships 6000 Itaniums

By the time Intel's Itanic finally ships in March, almost everyone that was in the market for the 64-bit chip will already have one. Since the beginning of the year, Intel says it's shipped 6000 Itanics for evaluation and has just started a pilot programme under which selected large corporates - including Wells Fargo Bank and …
Andrew Thomas, 29 Nov 2000
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AMD, Intel chips get DDR mobos

SOYO has a brace of double data rate (DDR) memory motherboards for both AMD Socket A Durons and Athlons as well as Intel's Socket 370 chips. The Socket A SY-K7ALA-R features Acer Labs ALiMAGiK chipset, which can support either a 200MHz or 266MHz systems bus. The mobo lists at $129 with discounts for volume. The SY-7ALA-R …
Andrew Thomas, 29 Nov 2000
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1.7GHz Athlon – too hot to trot?

AMD was quietly confident earlier today in London when the company confirmed its plans for a 1.7GHz Athlon sometime in the second half of 2001. The new part will still be built using the current 180nm process as the first 0.13 micron samples from AMD's Dresden fab won't come on stream until late in the year for production in …
Andrew Thomas, 29 Nov 2000
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S3 takes a graphics holiday

Former graphics behemoth S3 is taking a sabbatical from the high end graphics arena and concentrating on the integrated graphics market instead. "We'll be resting on the discrete desktop graphics market for at least nine months," says corporate marketing veep Paul Ayscough. "But in 12 to 18 months we'll be back with something …
Andrew Thomas, 28 Nov 2000
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Duron finally gets integrated graphics chipset

AMD shipped 1.5 million Durons in Q3, despite the cheapo chip being hamstrung by the lack of an integrated chipset enabling system builders to produce value systems without the need for a separate graphics card. The new VIA ProSavage KM133 is based on the KT133 and uses the S3 Savage 4 3D graphics engine together with the …
Andrew Thomas, 28 Nov 2000