Articles about Microprocessors

How IT will evolve to photonics

Replacing electronics with photonics will one day be an important way to run IT while consuming far less power than is the case today. But while that idea looks great on paper, the research is still young. The Internet’s voracious appetite for electricity needs some near-term solutions, so asThe Register followed-up the our …
Thorn EMI Liberator

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

Archaeologic 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 …
Tony Smith, 12 Nov 2012
Intel Pentium 4

Slideshow: A History of Intel x86 in 20 CPUs

Would there have been a PC revolution had Intel decided in the late 1960s to stick to making memory chips and turn its back on microprocessors? Almost certainly, but the company did get into CPUs and IBM chose its 8088 chip to build into its first Personal Computer, the 5150. The 8088 and its sibling, the 8086, evolved from the …
Hard Reg, 12 Nov 2012

AMD to 'reset' goals: servers, embedded, ultra-low power

After his company announced a $157m loss and its plans to lay off 15 per cent of its global workforce on Tuesday, AMD president and CEO Rory Read explained how he and his brain trust plan to pull Intel's only x86 competitor out of its spiral. First, AMD will "reset and restructure" its business model to reduce expenses by 25 …
Rik Myslewski, 19 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Apple to drop chip-baking partnership with Samsung?

Apple is planning to shift production of its ARM-based microprocessors from Samsung to the Taiwanese chip-baking giant TSMC as early as next year, according to a report by the China Economic News Service (CENS). The report, spotted by MacRumors, cites CitiGroup Global Markets analyst J.T. Hsu as saying that TSMC will be Apple' …
Rik Myslewski, 12 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Apple bags chippery guru from rival Samsung

There's already no love lost between Seoul and Cupertino, but that rivalry has surely racheted up another notch now that Apple has reportedly bagged one of the Korean electronics giant's top chip designers. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Apple has hired Jim Mergard, who joined Samsung last June as one of a …
Rik Myslewski, 11 Oct 2012
(c) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. TM Danjaq, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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

Bond on Film 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
The Register breaking news

Feds charge US firm with smuggling illegal military tech to Russia

Key personnel in a Texas-based electronics firm are among 11 people arrested over an alleged conspiracy to smuggle advanced microelectronics from the US to Russia. Arc Electronics Inc allegedly acted as a conduit for the smuggling of high-tech components potentially useful in radar, weapons guidance, surveillance and other …
John Leyden, 05 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Intel spreads $40 million investment love to 10 companies

Intel Capital has announced $40m worth of investment in 10 companies headquartered from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. "The globe is our oyster," Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani said in a webcast from his investment group's 13th annual Global Summit in Huntington Beach, California, where the announcements were made. From …
Rik Myslewski, 02 Oct 2012
Intel Poulson Itanium Chip, the sequel

Oracle hits reboot on Itanium software development

Software giant and systems player Oracle has restarted software development for Itanium-based machines. That sound you hear is a sigh of relief from HP-UX system customers the world over and from Hewlett-Packard, whose Integrity and Superdome servers fell off a cliff, in terms of sales, after Oracle pulled the plug on Itanium …

NASA's $2.5bn Curiosity rover: An Apple PowerBook on wheels

Pic It's a bit sturdier than the average Apple product, but the Curiosity rover that touched down on Mars on Monday is powered by the same processor family used in Apple's 1997 PowerBook G3 laptop. For its nuclear-powered life-hunting tank, NASA chose a 200MHz PowerPC 750 CPU specifically hardened to withstand radiation and space …
Anna Leach, 08 Aug 2012

Intel grazes Q2 numbers, but 'growth will be slower' in Q3

Intel has reported its second-quarter 2012 financial results, and you can almost hear the Wall Street moneymen breathe a muted sigh of relief – although the sound of popping champagne corks is not likely to be heard. Although total Q2 earnings were just under expectations at $13.5bn, the all-important earnings-per-share (EPS) …
Rik Myslewski, 17 Jul 2012
Microsoft

Microsoft plots entry into tablet trade

Microsoft will launch its own tablet device next week, entering the booming slate market without the help of a separate hardware manufacturer, it has been claimed. The company has promised to make a major announcement at an event on Monday, 18 June said to be related to its tablet strategy. Sources close to the matter say …
Caleb Cox, 15 Jun 2012
ARM

ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber

Unsung Heroes of Tech 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

Intel: Chinese server market second only to US

Intel's earnings call yesterday left server watchers wondering when China will outstrip the US as the world's biggest consumer of server chips. Intel's server business was not immune to shrinkage in the first quarter of 2012, and it would be easy to blame it on the delayed ramp of the Xeon E5-2600 processor for two-socket …
channel

Ubuntu hammers out Metal-as-a-Service tool for microservers

Canonical has unveiled a Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS) offering to provision and manage high-density Ubuntu microservers running hyper-scale computing centres and clouds. The Linux shop claimed MaaS would allow administrators to set up and allocate thousands of tightly packed racks to different groups of users, adding the latest …
Gavin Clarke, 04 Apr 2012
Apple iPad 3 aka new iPad

'Regrouping' Android tablet makers extend Apple reign

The iPad 3 will prevent Apple's share of the tablet market from eroding as quickly as once thought, market watcher IHS iSuppli has admitted. Back in February 2011, iSuppli forecast that Apple's share of the tablet business would fall below 50 per cent in 2013. A year on, and it reckons that point won't be reach until 2015. “ …
Tony Smith, 09 Mar 2012

3D processor-memory mashups take center stage

ISSCC 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

Chip boffins demo 22-nanometer maskless wafer-baking

An international consortium of chip boffins has demonstrated a maskless wafer-baking technology that they say "meets the industry requirement" for next-generation 14- and 10-nanometer process nodes. Current chip-manufacturing lithography uses masks to guide light onto chip wafers in order to etch a chip's features. However, as …
Rik Myslewski, 14 Feb 2012
channel

Chip sales definitely not down – but almost – in 2011

The chip biz didn't do as badly as many had feared it might last summer, closing out 2011 with $299.5bn in worldwide sales, up four-tenths of a per cent from the record $298.3bn revenue level set in 2010. All the news was not good, however, since global semiconductor sales took a big hit in December, according to stats …
graph up

US judge rejects Oracle's fraud claim against HP

A US judge has dismissed an Oracle fraud claim against HP in the companies' ongoing legal battle over the Itanium platform. Last year, Oracle discontinued its software support for Itanium chips, alleging that Intel had made it clear the microprocessors' time was nearly up and that it would now be focusing on its x86 chips. HP …
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
graph up

Disk fab floods rinse $1bn off Intel's Q4 revenue

Chip maker Intel has slashed its final quarter outlook, admitting it will fall short of the company's previous forecast due to a hard drive supply shortage - sparked by flooding in Thai disk factories. The vendor said it now expects to bank Q4 revenue of about $13.7bn (£8.7bn), compared to an earlier prediction of $14.7bn for …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Dec 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 …
Rik Myslewski, 07 Dec 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 …
The Register breaking news

Word and Excel creator: How Gates, Jobs and HAL shaped Office

Films, according to Charles Simonyi – the man behind Microsoft's Word and Excel used by 500 million people – are great for showing the future of computing. Simonyi reckons Kubrick's seminal 2001 a Space Odyssey from the moon-landing days of 1969 foreshadows the kind of video calls now in Skype. Minority Report does much the …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Nov 2011

Future of computing crystal-balled by top chip boffins

If you thought that the microprocessor's first 40 years were chock full of brain-boggling developments, just wait for the next 40 – that's the consensus of a quartet of Intel heavyweights, past and present, with whom we recently spoke. At the 4004's 40th birthday party in a San Francisco watering hole on November 15, The Reg …
Rik Myslewski, 28 Nov 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 …

Happy 40th birthday, Intel 4004!

On November 15, 1971, 40 years ago this Tuesday, an advertisment appeared in Electronic News for a new kind of chip – one that could perform different operations by obeying instructions given to it. That first microprocessor was the Intel 4004, a 4-bit chip developed in 1970 by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and …
Rik Myslewski, 15 Nov 2011
channel

Virtualisation turns PCs into personal clouds

If IT managers had had it their way decades ago, we would have never been allowed our own personal computers. The whole idea of giving end-users their own computing resources runs counter to the philosophy that data processing is a centralised function best left to professionals. PCs took off, and dragged IT departments into …

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
channel

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 …

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
channel

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 …
The Register breaking news

Apple sued for iPhone, iPad chip 'patent rip-off'

Apple has been sued by the Taiwanese fabless semiconductor-design firm VIA Technologies for – what else? – patent infringement. The patents involved, Via's complaint charges, are for technology used in microprocessors in Apple's iOS products that "generally provides efficient loading of data in the microprocessors and …
Rik Myslewski, 23 Sep 2011
Cat 5 cable

Intel demos ultra low-juice chippery

IDF 2011 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 …
Rik Myslewski, 16 Sep 2011
Broken CD with wrench

Intel promises '20X' power reduction with 'Haswell' chips

IDC 2011 Intel claims that platforms built around its Haswell microarchitecture – the successor to the today's Sandy Bridge, scheduled for 2013 – will use one-twentieth the power of today's stingiest low-power platforms. "Haswell was designed to enable a 30 per cent reduction in connected standby power over the currently shipping …
Rik Myslewski, 13 Sep 2011
chart

ARM vet: The CPU's future is threatened

Hot Chips 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 …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Aug 2011

PC chip sales up, shipments flat in Q2

Shipments of microprocessors for netbook, notebook, desktop PCs and related x64-based servers and workstations flatlined in the second quarter as the economy stumbled a bit in the United States and Europe. Consumers held back on PC purchases while also spending some of their hard-earned cash on tablets. The good news is that …
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 …

Intel reports (mostly) solid revenue growth

Intel's second quarter of 2011 was a good one, beating Wall Street estimates and showing double-digit revenue growth across all major business segments. But weakness at the low end of the market shows that the world's largest microprocessor maker has its vulnerabilities. "We achieved a significant new milestone in the second …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Jul 2011
The Register breaking news

Energy scavenger eats leftover wireless signals

No, it’s not another cute-but-useless contactless charger: a group of researchers led by Manos Tentzeris at Georgia Tech are working on antennae that could scavenge stray wireless signals to power small sensors or microprocessors. If you’re close enough to a large radio transmitter, harvesting stray energy is pretty …
channel

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 ( …
Rik Myslewski, 30 Jun 2011
channel

Intel takes CPU market share from AMD in Q1

The chip watchers at iSuppli say that Intel continued to gain processor market share even though it was hit by a bug in a chipset used with its "Sandy Bridge" desktop, laptop, and entry server platforms. According to the latest stats from iSuppli, both x86 and x64 microprocessors as a group continue to take market share away …
channel

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
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
Intel electron-microscope photo: planer 32nm versus tri-gate 22nm

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

Analysis 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
channel

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
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
chart

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 …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Apr 2011