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Articles about Microprocessors

DVD it in many colours

Learning about chip design from Silicon Roundabout

Yesterday would have been the 84th birthday of Robert Noyce - who with Jack Kirby invented the integrated circuit, and who was one of the three founders of Intel. A day to talk about chips, then. The high-risk business of designing microprocessors is fascinating: the cost of failure is enormous, many designs fail to set the …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Dec 2011
fingers pointing at man

Oracle says HP is paying Intel to prop up Itanium

The legal spat between Itanium system maker HP and software and now systems maker Oracle has heated back up, with Oracle filing papers in California's Superior Court alleging that HP was paying Intel to keep the Itanium processor alive. This is sure to surprise readers of El Reg. Or, rather, not. The only way HP would ever have …
TNMOC

Rise of the machines, south of Milton Keynes

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
Apple Newton MessagePad

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

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
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Chip cooler launches liquid nitro at CPUs

A US company that specializes in CPU-cooling systems has just released its latest weapon in the war against melty microprocessors: liquid nitrogen. Auburn, Washington-based Koolance offers a broad range of CPU coolers, but none that will make a serious overclocker's heart skip a beat more than the CPU-LN2 Liquid Nitrogen …
Rik Myslewski, 11 May 2009

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 players …
Steve Bell, 18 Feb 2013

AMD 'unleashes' unlocked FX processor family

AMD has released its long-expected AMD FX processor line, and – as also expected – they're shipping them unlocked, thus warming the cockles of overclockers' hearts. Early testing, however, reveals others' cockles to be somewhat chilly. "AMD FX CPUs are back with a vengeance," AMD client group headman Chris Cloran promised in a …
Rik Myslewski, 13 Oct 2011
Amstrad CPC 464

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

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
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Intel reports first $11bn-plus quarter

Less than two months after Intel lowered Wall Street expectations for its third-quarter, it released said financial info — and the news ain't too shabby: Chipzilla exceeded $11bn in revenues for the first time in its history. "Intel's third-quarter results set all-time records for revenue and operating income," Intel president …
Rik Myslewski, 12 Oct 2010
cable

Intel switches ARM stance from 'No' to 'Maybe'

Ten days ago, Intel CEO Paul Otellini told US investors that Chipzilla wouldn't use its new 22nm Tri-Gate process technology to build chips based on an ARM core. At a UK investors confab this Thursday, CFO Stacey Smith hedged on Otellini's emphatic "No". If a customer came to Intel and asked them to fab processors that weren't …
Rik Myslewski, 27 May 2011
globalisation

EU expresses 'private concerns' about Intel buyout of McAfee

Brussels could kick-start an anti-trust investigation into Intel’s planned $7.68bn buyout of anti-virus software maker McAfee Inc. European Union watchdogs have privately expressed concerns when undertaking an initial review of the agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The newspaper cited sources familiar with …
Kelly Fiveash, 20 Dec 2010
Cat 5 cable

Intel demos ultra low-juice chippery

Intel labs has created a prototype processor that achieves a high level of energy efficiency by running at voltages barely above those those required to light up its transistors. Intel's marketing folks trumpet that the processor, code-named Claremont, can be "run off a solar cell the size of a postage stamp", but at CTO Justin …
Rik Myslewski, 16 Sep 2011
ARM

ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber

Back in the late 1970s you wouldn't have guessed that this shy young Cambridge maths student named Wilson would be the seed for what has now become the hottest-selling microprocessor in the world. Ninety-five per cent of today's smartphones are built around an ARM processor. The ARM began with Wilson. Sophie Wilson. Sourc: …
Chris Bidmead, 02 May 2012
The Register breaking news

Last week in microprocessors 16-22 Aug 1999

Far from being a quiet time of the year, August 1999 decided to keep everyone at The Register well busy. On the microprocessor front, we started the week by reporting that the Pentium II family has now reached the end of the road. Coupled to that, our favourite Japanese site Happy Cat posted a delicious Intel roadmap with some …
Team Register, 22 Aug 1999
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Intel mocks PC slowdown, laughs at skittish economy

Worries about the global economy, the IT spending environment, and a slowdown in PC sales – none of it mattered one tiny bit for Intel as it completed another record-breaking third quarter. In the third quarter – which ended on October 1 this year, and not September 25 as it did last year – the chip giant posted $14.2bn in sales …
globalisation

Intel debuts '3D transistors' with 22nm chip recipe

Intel has unveiled its 22nm manufacturing process. The process marks the debut of Intel's "Tri-Gate" transistors, first revealed as a research project over eight years ago, and the company has demonstrated its first microprocessor built with the new process, a chip codenamed "Ivy Bridge". Equipped with a three-sided gate – the …
Cade Metz, 04 May 2011
MIDI clocks up yet another birthday party

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

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
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Intel PC hegemony facing ARMy attack

ARM-based processors will bite off a significant chunk of Intel's PC hegemony in the next few years, achieving a 13 per cent share of the PC-processor market by 2015. That's one conclusion of "Worldwide PC Microprocessor 1Q11 Vendor Shares", an IDC report released Thursday. Notice that IDC's report focuses on PC processors – …
Rik Myslewski, 05 May 2011

Cheaper competition? Right, we're outta here

Last month chip maker Broadcom, with hardly a whimper, began disengaging from the smart TV and Blu-Ray player markets, despite having some high profile CE customers such as LG in this sector. Then around three weeks later in mid-October, Intel, with tail between its legs, also announced its withdrawal from the smart TV market …
Faultline, 30 Oct 2011
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Ex-AMD exec called own company 'pathetic'

Intel has dropped a stink bomb into its ongoing dust-up with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations of anticompetitive practices, revealing a 2004 communication in which AMD's then-top salesman referred to his own company as "pathetic" and said he "would never buy AMD for a personal system if I wasn't workin here." The …
Rik Myslewski, 14 Jan 2010

Nvidia countersues Intel in licensing spat

Nvidia filed a countersuit against Intel for breach of contract yesterday, in which it alleged Chipzilla had made misleading statements in an effort to weaken the graphics chipmaker's licensing rights. The suit is also seeking to kill off Intel's licence to Nvidia's graphic processing and 3D computing patents. "Having breached …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Mar 2009
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AMD gets in Intel's grille with desktop Fusion rollout

AMD's first desktop Fusion processors were detailed on Thursday, and the company marked their debut with a confident blast at its megacompetitor, Intel. "We win – that's our competitive positioning," Sasa Marinkovic, AMD's head of desktops and software product marketing told a press gathering when the A-Series APUs (accelerated …
Rik Myslewski, 30 Jun 2011
graph up

Oracle fires Itanium countersuit at HP

Late Friday, Oracle filed a countersuit against HP, which sued Oracle back in June because Oracle said in March that it would not be developing future releases of its database, middleware, and application software on future Itanium processors. It's hard to tell who is stretching the truth more it in the ongoing lawsuit, and now …
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Ellison slams former Sun CEO for blogginess

Blogs are no substitute for smart business strategy, according to new Sun Microsystems owner Larry Ellison. Oracle's billionaire chief executive has laid into Sun's famously blog-tastic former chief executive Jonathan Schwartz, criticizing his management style and accusing him of a catalogue of poor decisions and business …
Gavin Clarke, 13 May 2010
(c) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. TM Danjaq, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Target Silicon Valley: Why A View to a Kill actually made sense

A View to a Kill is generally regarded as one of the least successful Bond movies. Yet it stands out for two things: a suave villain who is deranged in an entirely believable way, and a villainous plot that appeared both logical and plausible. While its box office performance was passable at $152m, on a budget of $30m, even …
Joe Fay, 08 Oct 2012
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ARM's Intel challenger set for 2012 release

ARM Holdings' high-performance, low-power Cortex-A15 processor design will appear in products in late 2012 or early 2013, when it will begin to muscle in on territory long dominated by Intel's x86 architecture. "With our upcoming Cortex-A15 processor, we are definitely moving closer to the day when your smartphone or tablet can …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Apr 2011
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Intel chief commits to doubled profit, revenue growth

Intel will double its revenue and earnings growth rates over the next few years, and ship a billion microprocessors per year within the next five. These were just a pair of the bullish forecasts that Intel CEO Paul Otellini unloaded on a group of reporters and moneymen on Tuesday morning at the company's annual Investor Meeting …
Rik Myslewski, 11 May 2010

AMD ships low-cost six-core Phenom IIs

AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 processors have hit the streets, and the company claims that since they work with existing AM3 and AM2+ socket motherboards "with proper BIOS support," the move to six cores is "an easy upgrade." As The Reg reported last week, the two new processors are the 2.8GHz Phenom II 1055T and the 3.2GHz Phenom …
Rik Myslewski, 28 Apr 2010
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Ellison: 'There'll be nothing left of IBM once I'm done'

Oracle has pulled the rug out from under Hewlett-Packard's Intel's Itanium processor by yanking support of its database, middleware, and application software on future "Poulson" and "Kittson" Itaniums. It looks as though Larry Ellison wants to take on IBM in microprocessors for data center systems, man-to-man, head-to-head. "I …

3D processor-memory mashups take center stage

A trio of devices that stack layers of compute units and memory in a single chip to boost interconnect bandwidth were presented at this week's International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. Sharing the stage at the ISSCC's High Performance Digital session were three technologies; one prototype developed by IBM …
Rik Myslewski, 24 Feb 2012
The Register breaking news

IBM closer to chips with frickin' laser beams

IBM scientists say they're another step closer to creating computer chips circuits that efficiently use frickin' laser beams rather than copper wires to communicate. On Wednesday, Big Blue's light-wrangling boffins unveiled what's called an avalanche photodetector capable of receiving optical information pulses at 40Gbps. The …
Austin Modine, 03 Mar 2010
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ARM vet: The CPU's future is threatened

ARM's employee number 16 has witnessed a steady stream of technological advances since he joined that chip-design company in 1991, but he now sees major turbulence on the horizon. "I don't think the future is going to be quite like the past," Simon Segars, EVP and head of ARM's Physical IP Division, told his keynote audience on …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Aug 2011
The Register breaking news

Intel coffers rebound from first half beating

The theme of Intel's third quarter earnings today is paying no mind to last year and focusing on how much better things are compared to Q2. Chipzilla is indeed doing much better sequentially. But to finger the issue more precisely, Intel had suffered a particularly awful second quarter this year. (It was also hit with a $1.45bn …
Austin Modine, 13 Oct 2009
homeless man with sign

AMD nabs ex-Intel techie as server CTO

Chip maker designer and seller Advanced Micro Devices said today that three weeks ago it nabbed Don Newell, a chip tech from rival Intel, to be its new chief technology officer for its server microprocessors. The server CTO position has been vacant in the wake of the launch of the "Istanbul" six-core Opteron launch last summer …
Thorn EMI Liberator

Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 1

In 1985, the UK home computer boom was over. Those computer manufacturers who had survived the sales wasteland that was Christmas 1984 quickly began to turn their attention away from the home users they had courted through the first half of the 1980s to the growing and potentially much more lucrative business market. The IBM PC …
Tony Smith, 12 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

Apple files chip block stack patent

Apple has filed a patent application that supports the stacked-component design of its A4 chip used in the iPad and iPhone 4, and points to further future integration of multiple system components on the same die. The filing, "Systems and methods for providing a system-on-a-substrate," describes methods for reducing the size of …
Rik Myslewski, 26 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

AMD readies Bulldozers to ship next month

The hybrid CPU-GPU chips for mobile PCs gave Advanced Micro Devices some breathing room in the second quarter, but it's going to take continued ramping of these APU processors and an upswing in Opteron server sales to get the company back to the profit levels it should be enjoying during a retooling phase in the IT market – and …
SGI logo hardware close-up

AMD claws back to profitability

Business is picking up at AMD, which has announced its financial results for the first three months of 2010, which president and CEO Direk Meyer identified as having attained "record first quarter revenue." That said, it's not a simple matter of reading the company's bottom line to fully understand exactly what shape Intel's …
Rik Myslewski, 15 Apr 2010
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Intel puts five Xeons on death row

Intel's newly released Nehalem EP-core Xeon processors have inflicted their first casualties: five older Xeons are scheduled to be phased out. According to Intel's Product Change Notification #109186-00 (PDF), you'll be able to buy these death-row Xeons in a retail box until January 9, 2010. The Xeons set for the chopping block …
Rik Myslewski, 08 Apr 2009
The Register breaking news

Intel profits surge towards heavens

Intel has reported fourth-quarter revenue of $10.6bn, a 28 per cent rise from the same quarter last year. Operating income for the quarter was $2.5 billion and net income $2.3bn, topping Wall Street estimates. That net income increase was a brawny 875 per cent improvement year-on-year, a $2bn rise. But as impressive as these …
Rik Myslewski, 14 Jan 2010
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PCM prototype beats PCIe flash

A first-generation Phase Change Memory device has been built, faster than OCZ's VeloDrive PCIe flash card with random blockI/O but slower with sequential writes. University of California, San Diego (UCSD) student boffins in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the Jacobs School of Engineering built their Moneta …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jun 2011
EU flag

EC denies 'provisional decision' on Intel anti-trust probe

The anti-trust arm of the European Commission today denied that it had reached any provisional decision in its ongoing probe of Intel’s marketing and sales practices. EC competition spokesman Jonathan Todd said: "There is no provisional or internal decision on this case. The investigation is very much active and ongoing," …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 May 2008
Intel electron-microscope photo: planer 32nm versus tri-gate 22nm

Intel's Tri-Gate gamble: It's now or never

There are two reasons why Intel is switching to a new process architecture: it can, and it must. The most striking aspect of Intel's announcement of its new Tri-Gate process isn't the architecture itself, nor is it the eye-popping promises of pumped-up performance and dialed-down power. And it certainly isn't the Chipzillian …
Rik Myslewski, 09 May 2011

BREAKTHROUGH: Feisty startup slashes chip power by 50%

An impressively staffed startup by the name of SuVolta has teamed up with Japanese heavyweight Fujitsu Semiconductor to create a new chip-baking technique that promises low-power, inexpensive chips created in a highly scalable process and manufactured using equipment that's already ready in chip foundries. Yes, that description …
Rik Myslewski, 07 Dec 2011
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Ingres strikes back at Microsoft and Oracle iron appliances

Two years after Microsoft nicked DataAllegro out from under Ingres, the open-source database vendor has delivered its hardware-loving storage and database response. Ingres has released VectorWise, a database technology that utilizes the cache on multi-core chips to speed data crunching and analysis in massive data sets. The …
Gavin Clarke, 09 Jun 2010
globalisation

DRAM patent holder sues Big Blue

Canadian embedded DRAM patent-holder Mosaid is suing IBM for patent infringement. Mosaid, founded in 1975 and based in Ottawa, calls itself one of the world’s leading intellectual property companies, and licenses patented IP in the areas of semiconductors, wired and wireless communications systems. It counts many of the world's …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jul 2009
Intel's 22nm memory array

Intel CEO waves around 22nm wafer

Intel CEO Paul Otellini today showed off a 300mm wafer of memory arrays fabbed at 22nm and reiterated the chip giant's plan to release microprocessors produced at that node in 2011. As yet, Intel hasn't named its first 22nm CPU, but if the company follows its "tick-tock" regular release programme, the chip will go into …
Tony Smith, 22 Sep 2009
DVD it in many colours

AMD sales up – but ink still red

If you have been wondering where those extra profits that Intel raked in during its best quarter ever came from in Q2, it looks like some of that black ink came right out of the hide of Advanced Micro Devices. The CPU and GPU seller posted decent sales of $1.65bn, up 39.6 per cent, in the quarter ended in June. That's more than …

AMD chip chief: 'one day, microprocessor skyscrapers'

Although today's processors are all residents of Flatland, AMD's head chippery honcho says that multi-level, multi-core processors may be the wave of the future. "I'm not saying it's an easy dimension, the third dimension," AMD's senior vice president and headman of the company's Technology Group Chekib Akrout cautioned The Reg …
Rik Myslewski, 11 Nov 2010
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Intel cash pays down AMD debt

Less than a week after accepting $1.25bn from Intel in exchange for dropping its legal actions against Chipzilla, AMD has announced how it plans to use that windfall. In a trio of Wednesday announcements, the world's second-largest microprocessor designer revealed a plan to slash its debt by as much as $1.4 billion, thus …
Rik Myslewski, 18 Nov 2009