Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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.

Chris Nuttall

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. Read more

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. Read more

Chris Nuttall

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