Intel told its investor day last week it would be producing 2m units a week of its latest “Ivy Bridge” processors by the end of June, but the chipmaker faces fresh competition from Tuesday’s consumer and business announcements by rivals AMD and Nvidia.
AMD launched its second-generation “Trinity” processors, touting longer battery life and lower prices than Intel’s offerings for notebooks and PCs, while Nvidia threatened to challenge Intel in the data centre and enterprise with the unveiling of its VGX graphics processing unit (GPU) platform. Read more
Intel has launched its next-generation server processor to boost its presence in data centres and cloud storage, while at the same time pooh-poohing an acquisition by rival Advanced Micro Devices in the same area.
At a launch event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Intel said the Xeon E5 product family represented up to an 80 per cent performance improvement over its previous generation. It said it was not impressed with the server technology of SeaMicro and declined to buy it before AMD announced a $334m deal last week. Read more
Tech news from around the web:
Google is profiting from illegal advertisements on its search engine, even though it takes them down, alleged a report published on the BBC website on Tuesday. Read more
Apple updated its flagship desktop iMac computers on Tuesday, giving them more powerful components, including Intel processors with four engines and AMD graphics chips that it said make video as much as three times faster. Read more
Much of the excitement around HP at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is over whether it will unveil a long awaited tablet powered by Palm’s webOS. No sign of it yet, but, in the meantime, HP has announced its new notebook, netbook, PC and monitor lineup with the Pavilion dm1 looking the pick of the bunch. Read more
AMD has followed Intel in warning that revenues suffered in the third quarter due to slackening consumer demand.
The news on Thursday reinforced the view that PC makers and their microprocessor partners have suffered a tough “back to school” season. With tablets, eReaders and smartphones exciting the consumer imagination more than laptops, it could be an equally tough holiday season ahead. Read more
Intel introduced “Sandy Bridge” on Monday as a chip that would revolutionise the PC, with analysts agreeing it was part of a graphics trend that could reshape the industry.
Sandy Bridge will compete with rival products from AMD and Nvidia, with chipmakers focusing on consumer interest in watching and processing high-definition video as the best use case for the extra capability they are adding to processors. Read more
The splurge in server sales, which Intel highlighted on Tuesday as a revival of corporate hardware spending, is also benefiting its rival AMD.
On its second-quarter earnings call on Thursday, the Silicon Valley neighbour said shipments of its new Opteron 6000 server chips nearly quadrupled compared to the first quarter “ramping late in the quarter as our largest customers transitioned the bulk of their AMD-based offering to the new platform.” Read more
HP emphasised compelling designs and colours, but also its expanded use of AMD processors in its back-to-school laptop lineup this week.
Ultra-thin laptop concepts pushed by AMD could literally be the shape of things to come, with netbooks suffering a setback in the first quarter and Intel taking another shot at this higher-end category. Read more
Servers, whether the tall wardrobe type or those pizza-box slices of hardware that slide into racks in data centre ovens, seem suddenly almost sexy.
We have had lavish beauty-contest launches from AMD and Intel on Monday and Tuesday of new high-performance server chips at San Francisco’s De Young Museum and the old Federal Reserve building respectively. Read more
Incredible detail, natural movement, photo-realism and 3D are the imagery-grabbing headlines from Nvidia for its new flagship PC graphics processor (GPU), unveiled at the PAX East gamers’ show in Boston on Friday.
The $500 GeForce GTX 480 may be blazingly fast, but Nvidia itself has been exceedingly slow in releasing the product a full six months after its rival AMD launched its equivalent card – the $400 Radeon HD 5870 – catching last October’s Windows 7 upgrade to the Microsoft operating system. Read more
A year after launching its “awesomely spectacular” four-core Xeon 5500 server processor, Intel is coming out with its six-core successor, the 5600.
Its debut today represents the beginning of a new battle with Advanced Micro Devices over “volume servers” – a key market segment where the bulk of server chips are sold for systems that run applications and processes in data centres and company IT departments. Read more
Nvidia today launched a “GPU computing in the cloud” service that will allow designers to manipulate and check photo-realistic environments in a fraction of the normal time it takes on a PC workstation. Read more
Intel is to argue that the European Commission provided insufficient proof of wrongdoing when it appeals the record antitrust fine imposed by commissioners in May.
The details of Intel’s appeal asking for an annulment of the decision or a reduction of the €1.06bn ($1.5bn) fine have been revealed in the official journal of the European Union. Read more
Consumers worldwide spent nearly half a billion dollars on digital video software last year, according to a new study by John Peddie Research.
The firm predicts flat spending this year, partly due to the economic downturn but also because “consumers have made it very clear that they are not interested in difficult-to-use video editing software.” Read more
Advanced Micro Devices, Intel’s smaller microprocessor rival, is backing up chip industry earnings reports of a recovery in the second quarter and a seasonally stronger second half to come.
Like Intel, AMD saw strong sales of its mobile chips and growth in Asia. But it reported sales were flat in the US and gross margins suffered as it tried to clear out older 65-nanometre chips and its factories remained underutilised. It is still short of its break-even target and the Q2 loss of $330m sent shares down 13 per cent in extended trading.
What’s next in personal computing after netbooks? The answer, it seems, depends very much on what directions the makers of microprocessors are taking.
If you were to ask Intel – at its Research Day this week - the answer would be Mids (mobile internet devices). AMD said in a briefing it was “thin and light” or “ultrathin”, while Freescale came up with some interesting-looking “smartbook” concept machines (pictured) at this month’s Computex trade show in Taiwan. Read more
For the FT’s New Technology Policy Forum, University of Chicago professor Richard Epstein considers the European Commission’s recent fining of Intel for anticompetitive behaviour:
On May 13, 2009, the European Commission fined Intel just over €1bn for its supposed abuse of its dominant market position in violation of Article 82 of the EC Treaty. That decision marks yet another effort by commissioner Neelie Kroes to ratchet up the enforcement of EC competition policy, all in the name of preventing consumer harm. Yet the devil lies in this one detail. The aggrieved “consumer” of Intel is its long-time junior rival, AMD, which filed three separate complaints against Intel between 2000 and 2006.
The FT’s Lex column suggests that while the European Commission may have levied a record fine against Intel, the penalty will not affect Intel’s dominance, or give AMD a new lease on life.
With about 70 per cent of the market for microprocessors – the central engine of every computer – Intel benefits from a self-reinforcing scale advantage that allows it to outspend AMD on research and development by more than four to one.
Intel, which believes in investing during a downturn to the tune of spending $7bn on new manufacturing facilities over the next two years, is trying to persuade its customers to think the same way.
It released a survey and statistics on Tuesday that suggested investing in upgrading three or four-year-old computers will quickly pay for itself. Read more