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Intel Upgrades

Intel Announces New, Slower, Chip 417

kshkval writes "According to Business Week, Intel is marketing the Centrino, a 1.6 Ghz chip that is slower than previous laptop processors from Intel, but does more. Hey, isn't that what Apple and AMD have gotten so much guff about? The worm turns..."
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Intel Announces New, Slower, Chip

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  • Go INTEL! (Score:5, Funny)

    by naelurec ( 552384 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:00PM (#5291769) Homepage
    A better built, more efficient chip .. I like it. Though since its winter, I'll stick with my AMD chips to keep me warm.
    • Re:Go INTEL! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:07PM (#5291830)
      One has to realize that the new chip competes directly with the Transmetia Processors, not with Intel P4. So instead of looking at it as a step back 1.5 Ghz, look at it as an increase of 600 Mhz over the 1 Ghz Crusoe. I wonder what the will market it as (fade to daydream of "Intel-Pentium-4-Mobile-Hyperthreading-Altra-Mobil e")
      • by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:27PM (#5291950)
        (fade to daydream of "Intel-Pentium-4-Mobile-Hyperthreading-Altra-Mobil e")

        ***Error. Your fade has been interrupted and your laptop put to sleep mode due to low battery.
    • Re:Go INTEL! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by juggleme ( 53716 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:32PM (#5291976)
      Actually, you'll need to get one of the new 3.06 GHz P4s; it's power dissipation is above and beyond any Athlon. The highest an Athlon ever got was ~74 W max; the current P4 has an average of 81 W and a max of ~105 W.

      http://www.aceshardware.com/read.jsp?id=50000365
    • HA! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xeeno ( 313431 )
      I can just see the next generation of game requirements.
      OS: No later than 3.1 windows
      Internet Connection Speed: 2400 bps or lower
      CPU: 486 or lower
      etc.
      Brilliant move. Now we know what they are gonna do with all that surplus outdated hardware :D
  • by dynoman7 ( 188589 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:00PM (#5291772) Homepage
    we don't?!?!

  • The logo, featuring a striking magenta color and a completely new shape, suggests flight, mobility, and forward movement.

    Sold!
  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:00PM (#5291776) Journal
    Perhaps now we will see a new wave of marketing, measuring and such from Intel, although I doubt it.

    They have made a tremendous amount of money due to the ignorance of "moms and dads" who assume that bigger numbers mean faster computer.

    They are more typically going to say "yea, but this is for laptops only, they are different" and still focus the race on ghz. I mean, you can't blame them. their job is to make money for their shareholders, not impress /.ers with their honesty.
    • by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:03PM (#5291796) Homepage
      I mean, you can't blame them. their job is to make money for their shareholders, not impress /.ers with their honesty.

      Yup. Just like Apple, AMD, IBM, Oracle, Sun, Motorola, Microsoft, RedHat, and just about every other corporation except maybe Ben & Jerry's.
    • Intel will start pushing what they call:

      The GigaFLOP Myth

      For those who missed it, this was humor.
    • by $$$$$exyGal ( 638164 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:29PM (#5291963) Homepage Journal
      New Commercial from Intel:
      *Man takes off his pants and forlornly looks down at his crotch.* "Don't worry!", says the hot naked chick, "Size doesn't matter!". *The man happily jumps in the bed and starts pumping his hips faster than a llama can spit.* "HEY!", yells the hot mama, "SLOW DOWN! It's not the speed, it's how you use it." *Commercial cuts to Intel CEO wearing a suit, sitting in a leather chair*

      --sex [slashdot.org]

      • *Man takes off his pants and forlornly looks down at his crotch.* "Don't worry!", says the hot naked chick, "Size doesn't matter!". *The man happily jumps in the bed and starts pumping his hips faster than a llama can spit.* "HEY!", yells the hot mama, "SLOW DOWN! It's not the speed, it's how you use it." *Commercial cuts to Intel CEO wearing a suit, sitting in a leather chair*

        Ok, someone OBVIOUSLY is spending entirely too much time downloading pr0n. :-)
      • lol, excellent commercial, it would be banned from american air waves, but then again, galileo was excommunicated, so genuis is never appreciated.

        on a non-related note, the game on your journal rules - but it might be time for you to stop dling pr0n... just a thought.

  • by clmensch ( 92222 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:02PM (#5291785) Homepage Journal
    Is it me or is that logo a two-colored sideways ass? Awful.
  • Take that! (Score:5, Funny)

    by CommieBozo ( 617132 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:02PM (#5291789) Journal
    Moore's Law doesn't stand a chance!
  • Not a processor (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:03PM (#5291791)
    The Centrino is not a single processor but a "mobile technology" including microprocessor, wireless networking, etc.

    Processor is a misnomer.
    • Re:Not a processor (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, but the processor (the Pentium M) will also be available separately.

      from the article:
      Although the CPU itself -- called Pentium M -- that's part of the Centrino brand will also be sold separately, most analysts believe that Intel will offer PC makers major discounts -- and advertising dollars -- to make the bundle irresistible. Intel is expected to offer generous reimbursements to PC makers that mention Centrino in their ads.
  • by CoolVibe ( 11466 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:04PM (#5291798) Journal
    Cool, what will we get in 40 years? Do we get the ENIAC back? Now _that_ is what I call a computer. Woohoo!
  • Wow .... (Score:2, Funny)

    by taniwha ( 70410 )
    just in time for Valentines day ....
  • by The Other White Boy ( 626206 ) <theotherwhiteboy ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:05PM (#5291808)
    are they going to also follow AMD's path of lower clock speed paired with lower price as well, or are they gonna keep it priced according to how much work it gets done? i imagine most people faced with the option of $300 for an efficient 1.6ghz chip or an innefficient 3.0ghz chip that get the same amount of work done (just making these numbers up for the sake of argument) will side with the chip with the highest clock speed. We all love those big numbers!
  • Pile on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:07PM (#5291825) Homepage
    Ok, /. was pissed at intel for pushing megahertz over IPC (or CPI).

    Now their pushing IPC over MHz, and guess what, here comes the bashing.

    How ironic. Reminds me of an old, angry ROTC buddy I had who used to brag, "Just find me a target, and I'll make an issue."

  • Wireless in chip? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TiMac ( 621390 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:07PM (#5291828)
    Is this really a good idea? Apple gets crap all the time because many of its components cannot be upgraded, such as its graphics cards, etc.

    So now Intel is removing a laptop user's ability to easily upgrade his/her wireless capability...say from 802.11b to .11g?

    I wonder how easy it will be for PC Cards, etc to override the CPU's wireless functionality....

    • Most Mac's graphics cards can be upgraded. Which Macs are you talking about? I think the iMacs may not be able to. But all the Macs with PCI slots or the like support upgrades. Many people upgrade their graphics cards. Personally I don't do anything quite intensive enough to need such upgrades. Indeed I can't recall the last time I used a PCI slot for anything but an ethernet card. (On Macs or PCs)

    • If the personal computer is really taking a long slow march into being a "consumer electronics device" instead of a nerds toy, then these types of changes are inevitable. (I suppose nerd machines may never dissapear altogether, but..) "Consumers" don't use PCI slots, nor do they know what they are, nor do they care. In fact I'd wager than more than half of the people who do know and care don't use them during the life of the machine anyway. So it makes sense to see "consumerized" computers doing away with these unnecessary technologies to give more flexibility in price and form factor.

      Yes, yes - my computer does have PCI slots and yes, so will my next one. But that's not the point :)
    • The wireless isn't in the CPU; it's just a Mini PCI card like everyone already uese.
  • Rocket Science (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cyberia ( 70947 )
    The bottom line is "Do you want to exchange performance for battery life?" and "Do you not want to have to purchase a wireless card (sd/pcmcia)?" For some, that may be appealing, however, not a big enough reason for thoes of us who would hopefully know better. I for one enjoy a snappy machine.
    • Re:Rocket Science (Score:3, Insightful)

      by damiam ( 409504 )
      You think a 1.6Ghz machine isn't snappy? Kids these days...
    • I personally enjoy working on a laptop for hours at a time, wireless and all, without worrying about where the nearest AC outlet is. That's why I bought a Powerbook G4.

      Hi, I'm Jon Abbott, and I'm an Engineering student. :^)
    • Re:Rocket Science (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:21PM (#5291910)
      "I for one enjoy a snappy machine."

      I would agree with that comment if we were talking about a desktop machine. But we're not, we're talking about laptops, and they're more specialized than desktops.

      Laptops are:

      1.) Very mobile
      2.) Very Powerful
      3.) Very efficient with batteries

      The catch is that you can only pick two of the three.

      See my point?
      • I have a Dell Inspiron 8000, and in my mind I have all three features. It replaced an older laptop. Here is how I have all 3:

        1. Very Mobile - It is a large laptop, but even with 2 batteries it's slightly lighter than my old laptop (which was P-266 era)
        2. Very Powerfull - 900 Mhz (just about the fastest you could get when I bought it), 512 MB, Geforce 2 GO (why I bought it, plays games great!) and more. With the exception of the graphics card, it's actually better than my desktop
        3. Very Efficient with Batteries - With two batteries (what I keep in it, because it's 3 spindle and I have no need for the floppy), I can play 3D games or watch DVD or such and use the backlight, etc for 4 hours straight. If I were to turn down the backlight, slow it down, only play solitare, etc I could go longer. My old laptop had troble going 90 min playing solitare on one battery

        It's a great little machine. As far as I care, it's all 3. It's quite snappy. It's only real problem is the hard drive can only sustain about half the transfer rate of a decent desktop hard drive (15 vs. 30), but that's common for laptops due to battery/noise/heat/etc. The only thing that bugs me is that I can have either built in 10/100 + a modem (what I have) or I could have had built in wireless, but not both. But when someone makes a MiniPCI card with both 10/100 and wireless, I'll buy it in a heart beat. This isn't the fault of Dell though, just not that high a demand for wireless at the time and it would have been VERY expensive I bet.

  • by Eneff ( 96967 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:08PM (#5291832)
    Looking at the press release, Intel outlined three priorities:

    o extended battery life
    o thinner and lighter form factors
    o outstanding mobile performance

    This is a chip to compete on the Transmeta level, if you will. The message is "If you want better battery life and acceptable performance, buy this."

    The megahertz myth is irrelevant here.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What exactly are they doing to achieve these goals, other than slowing the ship down to compensate for the fact that it's a powersucking hog?

      Two of those (battery life, thinner and lighter) are essentially the same thing inasmuch as Intel can affect them. The other is basically contradictory to them. So I can have it fast, small, and low-power? And the North Bridge is in Brooklyn? Sold!

      This is a chip to acknowledge that they have nothing to compete on the Transmeta, AMD, and PPC level. Intel-powered notebooks will continue to suck (power, and generally).
    • > Looking at the press release, Intel outlined three priorities: > o extended battery life > o thinner and lighter form factors > o outstanding mobile performance All new intel mobile chips have above characteristics. Go and check their previous press releases.
  • Beware! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:09PM (#5291839)
    Don't let your Centrinos collide with Anti-Centrinos, or you'll get a huge explosion that will rain Pentinos, Athlinos, and other junk.
    • or you'll get a huge explosion that will rain ... and other junk.

      You mean cyrix-eos?

      *sees the little bee buzzing around, (his wings performing at very low clock speeds) *

  • by path_man ( 610677 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:12PM (#5291860)

    Before, the chant was "High MHz good! Higher MHz better! GHz is the best!" Now, since the general public is no longer susceptible to the pimply-faced kid at CompUSA who convinces ma & paw that a 2.4GHz is indeed 17% faster than a 2.0GHz, Intel needs to shift gears and change their tune.

    The really sad part about the entire remarketing campaign is that they will get away with it. The general public has a very short memory for these kinds of stunts -- just look at how well Microsoft is doing after countless screwings over of the populace. Windows ME anyone?

    The thing to remember is that with enough marketing funds, you can indeed have success even selling snow to eskimos.

  • Logo? (Score:5, Funny)

    by cascino ( 454769 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:12PM (#5291862) Homepage
    The new Intel Centrino mobile technology brand name will be represented by a new logo carrying the famous Intel Inside® mark. The logo, featuring a striking magenta color and a completely new shape, suggests flight, mobility, and forward movement.
    Yeah, either that, or "disposable feminine product"
  • Great. (Score:2, Funny)

    by amberspry ( 596952 )
    Brown says: "Megahertz are no longer important..."

    There go my bragging rights...

  • by blurfus ( 606535 ) <ivan.slashdot@NOSpaM.blurfus.com> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:14PM (#5291873) Journal
    Intel discovers that size isn't everything...
  • by unicorn ( 8060 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:15PM (#5291877)
    A couple years ago I went to an intel sales seminar for retail salespeople (amazing how you can dummy a paystub with photoshop, and a scanner) and halfway through the presentation the trainer threw out "Who knows what iComp is?"

    The entire room lost it when I yelled back "A cheesy marketing ploy!"
  • Is this wireless built into a CPU? "Centrino" brand motherboards, what? I want to know. I don't want any of that wireless shit in my boxes. I don't need it, and I don't want to have to deal with securing it. I *would* consider AMD chips, but from my experience, W2K and AMD chips just don't get along. Looks like I'm gonna keep trolling the bargain bins for reliable P2's.
  • From Intel's Site:
    Intel® Pentium® M Processor

    does this mean they overclocked a 166 Pentium to 1.6 GHZ?!
  • Fluff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:25PM (#5291937)
    What a load of fluff. Is there even anything new here? A slower chip which uses less power - shocking! Bundled technology that's already being bundled by every single vendor - wow! I can't even tell from either link whether there is one single thing that's new about the chip other than its slowed core - the retained bandwidth could just be because the FSB is still the same speed.

    Beyond that, who writes these ridiculous press releases? "Intel Corporation said today" - yeah, to ITSELF. "CES Virtual Press Kit" really is descriptive of the press these days.

    The Business Week writer tries, but can't help the fact that it's a non-story. "Intel's carrot is a new logo" - huh? In what possible way is this a carrot? You could at least argue that the existing Intel logo is recognised, though widely mocked. What possible benefit is there in the new one to a vendor? Another damn sticker on every device? And for this they have to buy a bundle of three things they otherwise could have sourced separately.

    It all seems a pathetic smokescreen way of saying "our competitors were right all along - everything we've said against them was bullshit". Also "we're having trouble moving some of this stuff, so you can't buy this less-useless CPU without it - oops well that would be monopolistic, so you CAN buy it separately, you just can't have the logo! By the way, AMD sucks!".
  • by statikuz ( 523906 ) <djboge@noSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:33PM (#5291985)
    The article claims that "Intel is marketing the Centrino, a 1.6 Ghz chip". However... as I understood from the information on Intel's site, the Centrino ISN'T the actual chip, but a set of components:

    * Intel® Pentium® M Processor
    * Intel® 855 chipset family
    * Intel® PRO/Wireless network connection

    Further explaining:
    Intel Corporation said today Intel® Centrino(TM) mobile technology is the new brand name for its upcoming wireless mobile computing technology.
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:35PM (#5291999) Homepage Journal

    Intel will announce "Centrino with Wings, for those heavy flow days."
  • by theCat ( 36907 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:35PM (#5292002) Journal
    AMD said several months ago they are getting out of the megahertz race and focusing on application of technology, meaning doing more with the die space instead of doing faster. Intel is now taking back leadership by...being sure to have a slower chip than AMD that does still MORE with the die space.

    The speed race is over. You will continue to hear about who has the fastest, but it will be more "gee whiz" stuff than "I need that" because you just won't need it. Before long you won't be able to even FIND a retail desktop computer that runs over 2Ghz, and when you open the hood it will have ONE chip in it, right in the center of the logic board. In the end probably everything sold as a desktop system will have power consumption below that of today's laptop computers, power supplies the size of a deck of cards, no fan, 1.8 inch HDD, wireless input on all I/O (including the monitor) and the whole thing will fit in a pocket and run for an hour on a built-in backup UPS battery, thus finally bluring the distinction between what is a portable computer and what is not.

    Think iPod on steroids, and yes you will use your "portable desktop Pee Cee" to listen to MP3s most of the time, using a wireless headset.

    That's just the way it is going folk, because with all the price pressure that is where the profit will be. Besides, all that sounds tre kewl to me!

    Give it...what? Two years? Now that the race has turned to "less is more" it might not even take that long. And to the winner go the spoils.
  • Instead of simply running more rapidly, says Intel, its new laptop chip will result in better overall performance in real-world applications.

    Joe: But this laptop runs faster and is cheaper!
    Salesguy: Yeah, but this one performs better.
    Joe: So faster is not better?
    Salesguy: No... I mean yes! Ahh, screw you... next customer!

    I think Joe Sixpacks will be very wary of shelling out more money for a lower clocked processors even if the latter ones perform better; and Intel has no one to blame for this but themselves.
  • Whether at work, at home, at an airport or a café, Centrino mobile technology will bring the freedom and flexibility of being unwired.

    Anyone know how can they say that a CPU chip will help wireless technology?

    Isn't that up to the operating system and wireless ethernet card?

  • stunning. If AMD had released something that performs as well as their top end desktop processor but at half the clock speed, would it have been billed here as a "slower" processor? I don't think so.
  • cetrino == banias (Score:3, Insightful)

    by asv108 ( 141455 ) <asv@ivRASPoss.com minus berry> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:43PM (#5292048) Homepage Journal
    Just in case anyone was confused by the name, this is the processor that was codenamed Banias. Depending on when this product is publicly available, this could be the final straw for transmeta. Transmeta's Astro [tomshardware.com] looks like a great product, but if the stronger Intel has the first mover advantage, Transmeta may be SOL.
  • Mutant and Mobile (Score:5, Informative)

    by l33t-gu3lph1t3 ( 567059 ) <{arch_angel16} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:45PM (#5292060) Homepage
    The "Centrino" which was previously known by the codename "Banias" is the first ever CPU Intel has designed specifically for mobile computing.

    It's the combination of the a mutant P3 with the quad-pumped P4 bus, SSE2, lots of power-saving tricks, and an assload of L2 cache (1MB!).

    From the limited previews I have seen of it, these things are quite nice, especially with Intel combining the new CPU with mainboard built-in wireless networking adapter. They perform well, and do consume significantly less power than any other mobile chip (excluding the Transmeta CPU, as I have come to the conclusion that they never really existed outside of Japan. Have you seen one in North America?).

    "Centrino" is now officially branded Pentium-M...a rather obvious naming strategy IMHO, but a good one. Look out next year, once Intel has its 90nm fabrication process up and running, we should see "Dothan" code-named CPUs...with 2MB L2 cache...mmm

    Btw, this news story is old, Slashdot admins, pick up the slack!
    • Re:Mutant and Mobile (Score:3, Informative)

      by jbischof ( 139557 )
      >"Centrino" is now officially branded Pentium-M...a rather obvious naming strategy IMHO

      The *processor* is called Pentium-M, the chipset, processor, mainboard combo from Intel is called Centrino.

      I agree with you though, they look really cool, and this is really old news.

  • Is that chip gay? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n1ywb ( 555767 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:48PM (#5292076) Homepage Journal
    I can't tell if the Centrino logo looks like a pink triangle or a broken heart.

    There is a huge market for slower chips. Slower == less power. Less power is great for mobile computing where the foremost concern is battery life. The XScale is a good example of where slower is better. Why don't they just shrink 400mhz Pentiums and cram them into pocket pc's? Because the XScale uses a tiny fraction of the power that any Pentium uses.

    Don't forget also that cooling is becoming a limiting factor in CPU design. Not everybody wants their computer to sound like a jet turbine or have water running through it. As "embedded" CPUs like the ARM and XScale get faster, you may start to see them in more traditionally "desktop" applications. Electricity is expensive and low power computers can save money.

    And I still don't understand why everyone equates CLOCK RATE with SPEED. Do people think high frequency EM waves travel faster than slower ones, or something? There are have been MANY examples over the last 10 years of CPUs that get more done at a lower clock rate.
  • AT LAST! (Score:2, Funny)

    by sryx ( 34524 )
    I knew Moore's Law would break eventurally, I guess I always hoped it would be by releasing a faster chip and not a slower one :P
    -Jason
  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @08:58PM (#5292126)
    I bet the new chip running at 1.6 GHz, will be marketed as Centrino 2000+.
  • by jbischof ( 139557 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @09:04PM (#5292148) Journal
    Actually Centrino, which has been posted about in slashdot already, is not a new chip.

    The Centrino Brand is a combination of three main things.

    1. The new Banias processor
    2. The Montara 852/855 Chipset
    3. Integrated 802.11b
    This means that mobile computer makers can make new lighter, faster, cheaper, and colder laptops.

    Centrino computers are designed for Mobile features, which doesn't always neccesarily mean speed. Banias runs colder than comparable processors from Intel, it has a host of new features to support all the crazy things laptops want to do (Better power management, bus control, hotkey support, more feature rich graphics etc...)

    Intel is trying to jump on the new Mobile computing pattern. There is less and less of a focus on the absolute fastest processor and more of a focus on different ways (espeically easier ways) of using your computer. I mean who really uses all of their cpu cycles on a 3Ghz P4 with HT anyway (some people but not most)?

    When wireless really picks up and people have reliable, quick, super lightweight laptops that can easily fit in a backpack or briefcase sales might pickup like Intel hopes.

    • Let's consider the market for lighter laptops in general.

      Most users will use these smaller form factor laptops with programs like Microsoft Office and for lighter-duty Internet access. The thing is that with this market in mind it's not neccessary to run the fastest CPU available, since business applications and Internet access doesn't require the latest and fastest computer hardware out there. A 1.6 GHz CPU laptop with Centrino technology with 512 MB of system RAM running even Windows XP Professional is far more than fast enough for the general smaller form factor laptop user.

      With Centrino technology, laptop manufacturers can build extremely light (yet fully functional) laptops that are pretty much guaranteed to run with most software out there, yet have quite long battery life. Centrino technology is going to be bad news for Transmeta, that's to be sure.
  • by GnoMoreGnuPuns ( 649356 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @09:22PM (#5292234) Journal
    Intel's big problem is the binary compatibility they've stuck with since the 80x86 (more or less). Binary compatibility was important because so much programming was necessary at the assembler level that changing the chipset was prohibitive. This has kept a bad chipset in commission long, long after it should have died.

    But then, if you can successfully market clock speed as the sole measure of performance, why bother offering something better?
    • > Intel's big problem is the binary compatibility they've stuck with since the
      > 80x86 (more or less). Binary compatibility was important because so much
      > programming was necessary at the assembler level that changing the chipset
      > was prohibitive. This has kept a bad chipset in commission long, long
      > after it should have died.

      I think you mean "instruction set". Intel changes their chipset like they do their underwear (that is, frequently, though perhaps not as frequently as the analogy implies).

      > But then, if you can successfully market clock speed as the sole
      > measure of performance, why bother offering something better?

      Yeah, that's annoying. I always hated how the clock frequency is always called the clock "speed". I mean, it's not in physical motion. You don't call the cycling of your car engine its "piston speed", or whatever. That is perhaps a trivial sore point for me. :)

      Still, the current version of the P4 is not bad at all. It is arguably an equal or superior microarchitecture to AMD's K7 family, though it's difficult to really make that determination solidly, since Intel has a six to eight month process technology advantage over AMD, and that gives them a frequency advantage somewhat independent of the base microarchitecture.

      The Windows user in me is torn between getting an SMT P4 or a K8 ("Athlon 64", I think they're thinking of calling it) at the end of this year. The K8's on-die memory controller should give a boost to some of my operations, but the P4's SMT functionality would likely benefit me, as I have a tendency to run lots of apps at once (I make most power users look like AOL newbies in some respects, heh). Certain cpu intensive programs (like SmartPAR) that eat up all my time might run better on the AMD setup, while other programs (like WinRAR) will likely enjoy the benefit of the Intel box's higher raw memory bandwidth and cpu frequency. I guess that's a "wait-and-see" type of thing.

      The Linux user in me is a steadfast AMD supporter. This has nothing to do with any "WinTel Conspiracy(TM)" or whatever; it simply appears to be the case that any AMD chip is substantially faster than an equivalently rated Intel chip in most Linux-based benchmarks. I am a little interested in seeing how much of a benefit the SMT gives to gcc, but it would take a lot to convince my Linux side to move over. The Athlon XP 2700+ seems faster in Linux than the 2.8GHz Pentium 4, and that's without the added benefits that the Barton brings to AMD's K7 core. Heck, that little Linux daemon (hrm, or maybe it's the FreeBSD dude) inside my head keeps telling me to drool about how much faster than Barton the K8 will be given its advantage of far lower memory latency (due to that on-die memory controller), 64-bit registers, doubled GP register space and those HyperTransport connections. I keep telling myself that only the memory latency and extra registers would make a difference, and even with that compiling probably won't be that much better per clock than with the K7, but even with minimal improvements, K8 should be faster than K7 in compiling, and since K7 is much faster than the Northwood/P4 in compiling, the K8 should be substantially faster at the task. Except for that unknown variable of SMT. I'm going to have too look and see how much it can add to the fray. In addition, it is not unlikely that the P4 will simply scale in frequency by a greater degree than AMD in the next ten months.

      Oh, new data:
      www.uwsg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0212 .2/0107 .html
      Allegedly, you get something like a 15-20% increase. Not bad.

      www.uwsg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0212.2/01 98 .html
      But this guy is getting some sort of substantial decrease in performance due cache problems between threads (I guess that there's more cache misses since twice as many threads needs twice as much data).

      Interesting.

      Damnit. Why can't companies give me this stuff for free so that I can test it all for myself? I'm a coder, and I have to know what hardware can render my code AFAP!

      But it's all fun, anyway, this talking about microprocessor technology. :)

      -JC
  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @09:42PM (#5292307) Homepage Journal
    Isn't this what women want? A lover who is slower [theromantic.com], but does more ....

  • What about? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @09:50PM (#5292340) Journal
    When are we going to get that blasted 'turbo' button back? You know - the one that reduces processor speed so we can play Space War [mit.edu] at sane speeds.

    Oh... wait...
  • Why Wi-Fi? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tacocat ( 527354 ) <tallison1@twmi.rrGINSBERG.com minus poet> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @10:03PM (#5292395)

    All I've heard over the last several years is that WiFi is inherently insecure, even with 128-bit encryption. From all of this it seems trivial to conclude that 802.11 wireless technology is inappropriate for secure networking.

    And yet, Intel is rolling out notebooks which are, by default, insecure at the core of it's Architecture.

    It seems very clear that there is really no interest by the Industries of America to support Computer Security in any inherently secure system. They will sell us crappy hardware that can't be made secure and then attempt to sell us extensive and expensive quantities of software to ensure that our inherently insecure computers pretend to be secure on the surface.

    I would have hoped that someone in the industry would have not only figured it out, but embraced the idea of making something secure by design besides the *BSD's and Linux. But it seems that this concept is still the exclusive property of the Open Source movement and is not yet embraced by Corporate America.

    When will the Open Source people start making, or specing out, their own hardware?

  • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @10:16PM (#5292463) Journal
    I would really like to see this aggressive power management available for non-laptop boards.

    I currently use a VIA C3 running at 800MHz for my Linux server doing a bunch of tasks ( firewall, VPN, WWW, SMTP, FTP, NTP, Samba, NFS, MySQL/PHP, Answering Machine, etc.). The C3 is about as fast as a Celeron 500MHz. But, it uses very little power and runs cool enough to use only a passive heat sink. With a quiet Seagate Barracuda hard drive, and a quiet power supply fan, the system is nearly silent - which is great in my small apartment.

    I would like to be able to use a processor that idled down 90% of the time when it was doing very little. For those few tasks that need CPU horsepower, it could go up to it's 1.6GHz potential, and turn on cooling fans if needed.

    Power / Heat / Noise savings apply to the desktop too!
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @10:37PM (#5292555)
    ...for most computer use. I developed 3D games on an 866MHz P3 before being upgraded to something faster, and in all honesty there's very little difference. Compile time is better on the newer machine, but a little effort reduces that much more than diddling processor clock increases do. Was the upgrade worth it? No. As a bonus, my new computer uses more power--and generates more heat--the the old one.

    The days of the hardcore gamer driving computer upgrades are over. They'll never admit that, of course, and they'll still overlock and build weird cooling systems, but it's more of a novelty sideshow than anything else, like people who write Windows applications in assembly language.
  • by andymac ( 82298 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @11:03PM (#5292655) Homepage
    One of the key contributors to the costs of these laptops is the damn processor. I know, my company builds crazy-ass hardware & software for various military and commerical applications and we use LOTS of processors (our favourite play toy right now is a module with 2 500MHz G4 PowerPC processors...mmm.. we load up 4 of these babies on a carrier and play...). Anyways, constraints due to component pricing will set the price-point for products (COGS * street-standard 60 points margin). If you want to lower the price-point to capture more market share, you commoditize your hardware (i.e.: stop using FPGAs and develop a cheaper ASIC, use a slower/lower grade processor, etc.). This is exactly what is happening here. It's not rocket science.
  • by citanon ( 579906 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @11:09PM (#5292686)
    At least, according to the tomshardware story posted here last week.

    Application benchmarks. [tomshardware.com]

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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