Articles about Microprocessors

By 2040, computers will need more electricity than the world can generate

Without much fanfare, the Semiconductor Industry Association earlier this month published a somewhat-bleak assessment of the future of Moore's Law – and at the same time, called “last drinks” on its decades-old International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). The industry's been putting together the roadmap every …

Intel and pals chuck money at another Fibre Channel killer

+Comment Kazan Networks just got $4.5m A-round funding from Intel, Samsung Ventures and Western Digital Corp for its storage array access acceleration technology. So what? So Fibre Channel and iSCSI external array access are poised to be devastated by NVME over Fabrics (NVMeF) and Kazan is developing a hot little ASIC number that it …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2016
Woman at gym lifts weights with arms. Photo by Shutterstock

Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

Brit-tech success poster child ARM holdings is to be acquired by Japanese telecom multinational Softbank. ARM, whose chip designs drive the majority of the world’s smartphones, is under offer for a remarkable £24.3bn - a premium of 43 per cent over current stock price. Softbank, whose last yearly revenue totalled 19.5 …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Jul 2016

New ISS crew will spend their time bombarding computers with radiation

Three new astronauts currently rocketing up to space in the Soyuz spacecraft will be conducting new experiments, including sequencing DNA and blasting computers with radiation. Anatoly Ivanishin from the Russian space agency Roscosmos is commander of the Soyuz, and is joined by two space newbies: Takuyi Onishi from Japan's …
Katyanna Quach, 08 Jul 2016
Mega processor cables

Holy Crap! Bloke finishes hand-built CPU project!

Have you ever seen an up-close view of how a computer processor works? If you're in the UK, you can head over to Cambridge and see the process firsthand, thanks to the work of Reg friend James Newman, who has finally finished constructing his 16-bit masterpiece, the Mega Processor. You may remember the story of James and his …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jun 2016
Amazon data center

Server makers love Intel Xeons (true) - but not the price tag

Amazon, Google and other giant cloud companies are buying server CPUs in huge numbers, helping to increase global shipments in 2016 for x86 and ARM server class microprocessor by 3.5 per cent to 22.9 million shipments. Strong demand means rising average selling prices (ASPs) - up 25 per cent between 2010 and 2015 - and revenue …
Drew Cullen, 01 Jun 2016

12,000 chopped: Intel finds its inner paranoid

Only the Paranoid Survive, or so former Intel chief executive Andy Grove once wrote. And it seems that, faced with the demise of the PC market, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has found his inner Andy Grove. Grove, who died last month aged 79, left both an awesome business record and some great quotes behind him. While Intel co- …
Speedometer by Nathan E Photography, Flickr under CC2.0

Google in Power9 push

Google is building scale-out servers using IBM's Power9 microprocessors. It has ported a bunch of its software to Power, and its toolchain can build for the architecture by changing a flag. Speaking at the OpenPower Summit in San Jose, California, today, Google engineering manager Maire Mahony said: "Compute technology …
Chris Williams, 06 Apr 2016
Die shot of the Opteron 6300

AMD to fix slippery hypervisor-busting bug in its CPU microcode

Analysis AMD will release on Monday new processor microcode to crush an esoteric bug that can be potentially exploited by virtual machine guests to hijack host servers. Machines using AMD Piledriver CPUs, such as the Opteron 6300 family of server chips, and specifically CPU microcode versions 0x6000832 and 0x6000836 – the latest …
Chris Williams, 06 Mar 2016

AMD accuses Intel of VW-like results fudging

AMD has revived one of the oldest feuds in the industry, once again accusing Intel of fudging benchmark results and comparing Chipzilla's practices to VW's falsified diesel engine emissions tests. The world's other x86 booster has slung slings, arrows and FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) at Intel for more than a decade over …

Huffing and puffing Intel needs new diet of chips if it's to stay in shape

My web browser ate my homework. I spent nearly two hours typing an analysis article on Intel's latest financial figures into our intranet thing when the browser tab unexpectedly refreshed and I lost everything. Hadn't saved. Moron. So let me start again and get to the point: the nosedive in sales of personal computers around …
Chris Williams, 14 Jan 2016
John Fowler

Oracle hardwires encryption and SQL hastening algorithms into Sparc M7 silicon

OpenWorld Oracle execs used the final keynote of this week's OpenWorld to praise their Sparc M7 processor's ability to accelerate encryption and some SQL queries in hardware. On Wednesday, John Fowler, veep of systems at Oracle, said the M7 microprocessor and its builtin coprocessors that speed up crypto algorithms and database requests …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2015
The Kremlin in Moscow. Pic: Pavel Kazachkov

Trio nailed in US for smuggling $30m of microchips into Russia

Two men and a woman have been found guilty in the US of illegally peddling electronics to Russian military and spies. The trio worked at Arc Electronics in Houston, Texas, which was a front for an operation that moved more than $30m in microchips overseas against Uncle Sam's export and arms laws. Arc masqueraded as a traffic …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Oct 2015

This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

Pics A bloke in Cambridge, UK, is building a computer processor using 14,000 individual transistors and 3,500 LEDs – all by hand, piece by piece. James Newman said his Mega Processor relies almost entirely on the hand-soldered components, and will ultimately demonstrate how data travels through and is processed in a simple CPU core. …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Jun 2015
The Seeing Eye by Valerie Everett, Flickr, CC2.0

Hyperconvergence: Just where is the technology going?

When I started in business IT back in 1989, the machine room housed an IBM System/38 and an IBM PC-AT. The latter was the Novell NetWare 2.0a server. The S/38 had its proprietary connections, and the PCs were connected by traditional Token Ring. In fact a couple of PCs had IBM 5250 adaptor cards and terminal emulators so they …
Dave Cartwright, 09 Jun 2015
Dr Hermann Hauser addresses Pioneers Festival 2015

Hyperloop tube trains, killer AI, and virtual skydiving: Yes, it's the Pioneers Festival

Pioneers Festival 2015 is under way in Vienna – the event where hundreds of breathless startups go in search of funding or to publicize their bright ideas. Pioneers is about future technology, but Dr Hermann Hauser, cofounder of Acorn Computers, kicked off the event with a journey into the past. The 1949 EDSAC 1 computer was the …
Tim Anderson, 29 May 2015
On board diagnostics port pinout

There's data in your dashboard, so liberate it from Big Auto's grasp

“I must have seen it thousands of times,” my friend said, “but I never really noticed it before.” My friend has recently become obsessed with something utterly common, yet almost entirely invisible. Cars manufactured since the turn of the millennium sport an on-board diagnostics port (OBD), a small, 16-pin port reminiscent of a …
Mark Pesce, 28 May 2015

The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

Critics have had half a century to pick apart and predict the end of Moore’s Law, which marked its Big Five Zero birthday this week. It’s unlikely that Gordon Earle Moore, the former electrical engineer who authored the eponymous law for a 1965 article, and who two-years later co-founded Intel, has any doubts over its value. …
Dave Wilby, 23 Apr 2015

Regcast followup: Identity management in a connected world

In our Regcast Managing identity to drive business, ForgeRock’s Daniel Raskin explained why the function of identity management is changing from basic security and a way to lower operational costs to a world in which identity transforms your relationships (and the outcome of those relationships) with your customers. Behind …
Tim Phillips, 04 Dec 2014
Moonbase Otago's OneRNG entropy generator

Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age

One of the many bits of technology that attracts paranoia in a post-Snowden era is random number generation, and a New Zealand developer hopes to help solve that with an all-open entropy generator. As often happens in Middle Earth New Zealand these days, Paul Campbell of Moonbase Otago is invoking Tolkien by naming the project …

IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!

HPC Blog So, it looks like IBM has moved its chipworks over to Globalfoundries, as described by Reg hack Tim Worstall here. But what are the implications for IBM's systems business? I agree that the brutal and implacable economics of the chip business forced IBM’s hand here. Manufacturing microprocessors is a hugely capital intensive …

Internet of Stuff: Chip rivals try to stop Cortex-M7 from flexing ARM’s muscle

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing an estimated five times more quickly than the overall embedded processing market, so it's no wonder chip suppliers are flocking to fit out connected cars, home gateways, wearables and streetlights as quickly as they can. However, the sector is so new that there is considerable uncertainty …
Wireless Watch, 29 Sep 2014
Intel's 14nm package, codenamed "Broadwell"

Intel launches skinny nippy Core M – its new BRAIN for fondleslabs

IFA 2014 Intel chose the IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin this week to launch the Core M, its latest 14-nanometer processor aimed at high-end, two-in-one typoslabs. "Core M is the first of a new product family designed to deliver the promise of one of the world's thinnest laptops and highest performance tablets in a single …
Neil McAllister, 05 Sep 2014
An original member of the System/360 family announced in 1964, the Model 50 was the most powerful unit in the medium price range.

Hackers' Paradise: The rise of soft options and the demise of hard choices

Opinion John Watkinson argues that the ubiquity of hacking and malware illustrates a failure of today’s computer architectures to support sufficient security. The mechanisms needed to implement a hack-proof computer have been available for decades but, self-evidently, they are not being properly applied. The increasing power and low …
John Watkinson, 15 Aug 2014
AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer

What's inside AMD's life-support machine? A big pile o' PlayStation 4s and XBox Ones

AMD execs are remaining optimistic despite emerging from a quarter in which the company made an eight-figure net loss and fell short of analyst estimates. In Q2 2014, ending June 29, the chipmaker bagged $1.44bn in revenue, up 24 per cent year on year. However, it recorded a GAAP net loss of $36m for the quarter, down from the $ …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Jul 2014
NIST's one-way photonic metamaterial

NIST shows off one-way photon-passing metamaterial

If photonics is ever to displace or supplement electronics in microprocessors, the operations we perform on electrons need to be replicated on photons. A group at NIST is the latest to demonstrate a photonic diode – a device that passes light in one direction only, similarly to how diodes pass electrons in one direction only. …

AMD unleashes savage bird of prey on Internet of Burly, Brawny Things

AMD has released the second generation of its R-Series chips, code-named "Bald Eagle", aiming them squarely at the high end of the embedded market. What segments might those be? How 'bout arcade and casino gaming, medical imaging and imaging-assisted surgical systems, ultrasound, industrial control and automation, military and …
Rik Myslewski, 20 May 2014
Pat Gelsinger

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger's DARKEST FEARS revealed

The USA's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published VMware's Form 10-K, the warts-and-all document listed companies are required to file each year offering deep detail on the state of their business. Form 10-Ks are rather less polished than annual reports and therefore offer more penetrating insights into a company' …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Feb 2014
Amstrad CPC 464

You’re NOT fired: The story of Amstrad’s amazing CPC 464

Archaeologic It was a home computer that embodied so many contradictions. It was launched months after the British microcomputer boom of the early 1980s had peaked. It was a rush job: the machine that was revealed to the press in the Spring of 1984 hadn’t even existed nine months previously. It was one of the best-produced British micros of …
Tony Smith, 12 Feb 2014
Smartphones

¡Viva la Revolution! Geeksphone's new mobe to go on sale this month

Smartphone startup Geeksphone has announced complete specs, pricing, and a selling date for Revolution, its Intel-powered, OS-agnostic handset. The Spanish firm said the device will go on sale in its online store on February 20 with a list price of €239, but "for a limited time" – exact dates unspecified – it will be …
Neil McAllister, 11 Feb 2014

Intel Labs demos crazy-efficient, crazy-fast 'network on chip'

ISSCC Researchers at Intel Labs have come up with a "network-on-chip" that holds promise for more efficient, faster, and more versatile many-core processors. And no, this use of the term "network" doesn't mean hooking up a bunch of machines in a LAN, WAN, or whatever. This is a network inside a chip – specifically chips designed for …
Rik Myslewski, 09 Feb 2014
Science of Cambridge MK14 close-up

Ian Williamson: The engineer who gave Sinclair his first micro

Archaeologic Before Sinclair Research and the QL, the Spectrum and the ZX81, before even Sinclair Computers and the ZX80, there was Science of Cambridge and the MK14 microprocessor kit. Released in February 1978 - that’s when the first adverts for the mail-order-only offering appeared, at least - the MK14 entered the SoC pipeline late in the …
Tony Smith, 16 Jan 2014
Toshiba LTPS touchscreen LCD

Andrew Fentem: Why I went to quango to fund pre-iPhone touch tech

Special Report Part 2 In the late '90s British inventor Andrew Fentem pioneered multitouch techniques, years before Apple brought them to market in the iPhone and later the iPad. He won backing for his technology from Britain's new innovation quango: but its incompetence meant that Apple ultimately looked elsewhere. We told the story of how the UK …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2013

OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

A US, Chinese, and German research team has come up with a new material dubbed "stanene" that could – theoretically, at least – conduct electricity with "100 percent efficiency" at temperatures at which computer chips operate, raising the tantalizing possibility of highly efficient future chippery. "Stanene could increase the …
Rik Myslewski, 04 Dec 2013
John Miller-Kirkpatrick

Britain’s forgotten first home computer pioneer: John Miller-Kirkpatrick

Archaeologic Too few people today remember John Miller-Kirkpatrick, the enthusiastic founder, owner, manager and technical director of Bywood Electronics. He died in December 1978 at the monstrously young age of 32, less than two years before the début of the Sinclair ZX80 and the start of the UK home computing boom – for which he had helped …
Tony Smith, 29 Nov 2013
Intel Smart City

Intel on Europe: The Internet of Things could SAVE US ALL

Feature How will Europe lift itself out of current and future economic woes - and help save the planet while it’s about it? According to chip giant Intel, with hi-tech carrots rather than government sticks. So said the head of Intel’s European R&D operation, Martin Curley, this week at the chip company’s European Research and …
Tony Smith, 25 Oct 2013
IBM 'through-silicon via' stacked chips

ARM cores leg it into body of Big Blue, rub shoulders with Power network chips

IBM has announced it is licensing a basket of processor designs from ARM for its network equipment division. The new deal means Big Blue can make use of ARM's Cortex-A15, Cortex-A12, Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 cores, as well as the ARM Mali-450 graphics processing unit. These are aimed at beefy phone and tablet chips, and IBM wants …
Iain Thomson, 25 Oct 2013

Hey coders – get a sense of hUMA: AMD to free GPU from CPU slavery

AMD is to manufacture microprocessors that connect their on-board CPU and GPU components more intelligently than ever before. The upcoming chips will utilise a technique AMD calls Heterogeneous Queuing (hQ). This new approach puts the GPU on an equal footing with the CPU: no longer will the graphics engine have to wait for the …
Tony Smith, 22 Oct 2013

Boffins create bulk-process on-silicon optics

A group of researchers from MIT and the University of Boulder at Colorado say they've moved photonics a step closer to integration with both microprocessors and memory. On-chip photonics offer a number of attractive prospects for chip-makers. Photonic communications generate less heat than electrons moving through copper, and …
Apple Newton MessagePad

Stylus counsel: The rise and fall of the Apple Newton MessagePad

Archaeologic It will forever be remembered as the butt of a-thousand-and-one jokes about its poor handwriting recognition, but Apple’s MessagePad was bold in its conception. Its legacy is ARM’s conquest of the mobile microprocessor world. The company said on 8 August 1993: The Newton MessagePad is the first in a family of communications …
Tony Smith, 17 Sep 2013

Intel reveals 14nm PC, declares Moore's Law 'alive and well'

IDF13 Intel wants you to know that Moore's Law is not dead. And to prove it, CEO Brian Krzanich rolled out his company's next generation of process shrinkage at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. "I'm here to introduce the first 14-nanometer PC," Krzanich said during his Tuesday keynote. The Ultrabook he displayed to his …
Rik Myslewski, 10 Sep 2013

Silicon daddy: Moore's Law about to be repealed, but don't blame physics

Hot Chips Moore's Law, which promises exponentially increasing transistor counts due to chip-manufacturing process shrinkage, is about to hit the wall. As Intel Fellow Mark Bohr once told The Reg, "We just plain ran out of atoms." But there's one industry veteran, however, who looks at the reason for the repeal of the semiconductor …
Rik Myslewski, 27 Aug 2013
Chris Shelton

UK micro pioneer Chris Shelton: The mind behind the Nascom 1

Archaeologic Chris Shelton is not well known today, yet the British microcomputer industry would have been a very much poorer place without him. Never as famous as Sir Clive Sinclair, with whom he worked in the past; Acorn’s Chris Curry, Herman Hauser, Steve Furber and Sophie Wilson; or even Tangerine and Oric’s Paul Johnson. Nonetheless, …
Tony Smith, 21 Aug 2013
MIDI clocks up yet another birthday party

Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Getting pop stars wired for 30 years

Feature Back in the early days of computer music, Reg man Bob Dormon was a professional recording engineer and music programmer. With a little help from some of his old music gear, he documents the rise of MIDI from a creative concept to its practical applications – which have ultimately led to its recognition as a Grammy Award-winning …
Bob Dormon, 19 Aug 2013
TNMOC

Rise of the machines, south of Milton Keynes

Geek's Guide to Britain It’s the sounds that get you: wheels spinning, processors squeaking, the furious hammering of teleprinters, and some 1980s synth. Yes, computers really were this noisy – something you forget in an era when even the benign tap of the keyboard is giving away to the silent swoosh of finger on glass. I’m at The National Museum of …
Gavin Clarke, 29 Jun 2013

Deep inside Intel's new ARM killer: Silvermont

Intel has released details about its new Silvermont Atom processor microarchitecture, and — on paper, at least – it appears that Chipzilla has a mobile market winner on its hands. Yes, yes, we know: you've heard it all before, from Menlow to Moorestown to Medfield. Intel has made promise after promise that its next Atom-based …
Rik Myslewski, 08 May 2013
Deskstar 7K1000 hard drive

HGST: Nano-tech will double hard disk capacity in 10 years

HGST, the Western Digital subsidiary formerly known as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, says it has developed a method of manufacturing hard-disk platters using nanotechnology that could double the density of today's hard drives. The new technique employs a combination of self-assembling molecules and nanoimprinting, …
Neil McAllister, 01 Mar 2013

What do YOU look for in a tech CEO: Smart, sales savvy, his own hair?

Channel player would like to meet tech CEO with solid sales background, understanding of the IT distribution channel, and no commitment issues. Relaxed attitude to rebates an advantage. Smokers, short-arses and visionaries need not apply. Is that too much to ask? Many industry veterans might tell you it is. Most channel …
Steve Bell, 18 Feb 2013

Data centers to go bonkers over microservers

Intel can't hold a press conference these days without being harangued about ARM-based servers and the potential for microservers based on low-powered processors to bite into its Xeon server-chip biz. And for good reason: there is a growing consensus that these baby servers are going to catch on because of the inherently …

AMD alllllmost promises profitability by year end

AMD, slapped around by what CEO Rory Read and other corporate honchos like to refer to as "the challenging macro environment," looks to regain profitability in the second half of this year. On a conference call with analysts and reporters after announcing its weak financial results for its fourth quarter of 2012, AMD CFO …
Rik Myslewski, 23 Jan 2013