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.
A supercomputing race is taking place among leading nations to reap the economic benefits of reaching exaflop speeds, according to Steve Scott, formerly of Cray Inc and now Nvidia’s new chief technology officer. “It’s really critical for industrial competitiveness, military superiority is not the most important thing anymore,” he told us, in the week Nvidia announced it would supply 18,000 of its Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to upgrade a supercomputer at the US’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
The iPhone and iPad have made Apple a mobile gaming leader in smartphones and tablets, but Android is now getting more firepower with the help of Sony and chipmakers Nvidia and Qualcomm. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is the first PlayStation-certified smartphone, Nvidia has been showing off the gaming capabilities of its new quad-core processor at Computex this week and Qualcomm today introduced a game pack optimised for devices using its Snapdragon mobile processors.
Nvidia’s acquisition of Icera on Monday for $367m completes the chipmaker’s transition from a PC-focused graphics chipmaker to one built to challenge in the post-PC world that Apple likes to talk about so much.
It also deals another blow to Texas Instruments, once the leading wireless chipmaker but now one that prefers to emphasise its strength in analogue chips.
Aside from the flashy phones and tablets unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, chipmakers have been giving us a taste of things to come with announcements on future technologies such as quad-core mobile chips, new user interfaces and breathtaking graphics capabilities. A summary of the news from Qualcomm, Marvell and Nvidia, as well as a note on the serious lack of any major news from Intel, follows.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, and Nvidia, the graphics chipmaker, on Thursday announced they have together produced 1 billion GeForce graphics processors. An impressive milestone, but it comes at a time when winds of change are blowing through both the contract chipmaking and the graphics card industry.
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.
Computex, the world’s second-biggest IT trade fair, does not officially start until Tuesday but already the hype about which tablet personal computer will challenge the iPad as the hottest product of the year is in full swing.
The chief executive of Nvidia, the specialist graphics card company that is also a big supplier of chips for tablet PCs, kicked things off by making the prediction that within five years “tablets will be the world’s biggest computing category”. Jen-hsun Huang said tablets could even surpass netbooks and notebook PCs in terms of volume.
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.
With a never-ending need for better battery life and performance from netbooks and eReaders, there was welcome news this week from chipmakers Intel, Nvidia and Freescale on more efficient processors.
Intel released a faster version of its latest “Pine Trail”-codenamed Atom processor, lifting it to a 1.83Ghz clock speed from 1.66Ghz. Nvidia said its new ION separate graphics processor would give a 10x graphics performance improvement over Pine Trail netbooks that just use integrated graphics.Freescale promised faster page turns , higher resolution and longer battery life on eReaders from its new chip.