Archive for the ‘nanometer’ tag
Chipmakers are preparing for production of Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, including Qualcomm, which is said to be providing high-speed 4G long-term evolution chips produced using a 28-nanometer process.
You just can’t stop those wily jailbreak hackers. Today new software has been released that will fully jailbreak almost any iOS device running the latest iOS update, including the iPhone 4S and new iPad.
Hackers from the Chronic Dev Team have released Greenpis0n Absinthe 2.0, which offers a completely untethered jailbreak — meaning the hack will stick with your device even if you have to reboot it. There have been tethered jailbreaks around for some time, which are more cumbersome since you have to jailbreak every time your iOS device restarts.
Jailbreaking your iPhone allows you to run unauthorized apps and customize your phone in an assortment of ways. It’s a direct affront to Apple’s heavily locked-down app ecosystem, so the company has made each new hardware and software release more difficult for hackers to jailbreak.
The tool is compatible with just about every iOS device, except for iPad 2 models running Apple’s new 32-nanometer chipset.
As always, tread carefully when jailbreaking your device: backup first, and be vigilant when installing unauthorized apps. Though jailbreaking allows for more flexibility with your iOS device, it also opens you up to all sorts security vulnerabilities.
Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat
Intel chief executive Paul Otellini addressed Wall Street analysts this morning with the message that Intel isn’t a dinosaur clinging to the PC chip market, but a fleet competitor expanding in all directions where computing can be found.
The world’s biggest microchip maker is not only making faster chips. It is also making them more power efficient, and that is allowing Intel chips to move into mobile devices where low power usages yields longer battery life. It is also moving deeper into the data center and communications infrastructure, as well asinto cars and retail kiosks. For competitors, there is nowhere to hide.
“We’re delivering experiences across the compute continuum,” Otellini said.
In particular, Intel sees growth in thin laptops known as Ultrabooks, mobile devices, and data center chips. The annual Intel analyst day is useful for providing perspective on Intel’s operations. Last year, Intel generated $54 billion in revenue, up from $35 billion two years ago. Its operating income was $17.5 billion, up from $5.7 billion two years ago. Otellini noted that Intel now gives a dividend of 90 cents a share each quarter. Over the past 10 years, Intel has given back $80 billion to shareholders. And while Intel focused on a 100-million unit PC market in 1995, it now focuses on a broader computing market with the potential for billions of units.
Web-connected data centers are creating huge demand for Intel’s server chips. One of the inexorable trends helping Intel is the huge growth of data that is uploaded to the cloud. Seven exabytes of data are created every day, Otellini said. That’s equal to 17,000 high-definition movies uploaded every second. In one minute, 60 hours of data are uploaded to YouTube.
The tectonic plates are changing around computing. In 2011, the U.S. was the No. 1 market for PCs, followed by China, Germany, Japan and Brazil. In 2011, China surpassed the U.S. and Brazil passed Germany and Japan. By 2016, the top five will be China, the U.S., Brazil, Russia and India.
Otellini noted how fast Intel has moved on Ultrabooks, or the high-performance, thin laptops that resemble Apple’s MacBook Air. In the middle of last year, Intel set up a $300 million investment fund for Ultrabooks. It is now kicking into high gear shipping chips based on its code-named Ivy Bridge design, which combines graphics and a microprocessor in the same chip.
Those 22-nanometer Ivy Bridge chips are the heart of the new Ultrabooks and enable them to operate on low-power levels that give the laptops all-day battery life. Intel is expecting 110 Ultrabook designs coming to the market by the end of 2011.
“We are on track to meet our goal of 40 percent of the consumer notebooks this fall being Ultrabooks,” Otellini said.
The Ivy Bridge chips will be shipping at 2 million chips a week by the end of this quarter, and they will exceed the predecessor Sandy Bridge chips by the end of this year.
Otellini said in mobile that “we’re just getting started here.” Intel has been criticized for failing in mobile device chips before, leaving the market to ARM-based rivals.
Intel’s first chip for the new generation of smartphones, the Intel Atom Z2460, is getting good reviews. Intel partnered with Google last fall on Android, and it followed that up by scoring deals with Orange, Lenovo, ZTE, and Motorola. All of those partners will use Intel’s chips, and Intel has a mobile payments deal in place with Visa. Otellini said that Intel-based tablets will take off with the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system this fall.
Over time, Intel will move at twice the rate of Moore’s Law (the idea that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every couple of years or so) as it improves its Atom chips. It will move further with miniaturization of its Atom chips as it does with all of its product lines, but it will also move them from older manufacturing processes to the most advanced ones. By 2014, Intel will move to 14 nanometer chips where the circuits are 14 nanometers apart (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter).
Moore’s Law, articulated by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore in 1965, has delivered chips that are 4,000 times more powerful than Intel’s first 4004 microprocessor in 1971. The chips use 5,000 times less energy per transistor and are 50,000 times cheaper per transistor. Meanwhile, the cost of factories are skyrocketing. With 200 millimeter wafers (the pizza-dish-size disks that are processed and then sliced into chips), factories cost $1 billion. Now they cost $5 billion. By the time the industry shifts to 450 millimeter wafers, they will cost $10 billion.
With the costs rising, inventions for new ways of making chips are becoming more important. Intel launched such an innovation with “tri-gate” transistors that make use of vertical space. Otellini argues that its rivals will become less competitive in terms of manufacturing chips with economic and volume scale. Otellini foresees a “golden age” for companies that can afford to make their own chips.
Otellini said that chips that are embedded in kiosks or robots or terminals will become smarter, so Intel is labeling this $2 billion a year business as “intelligent systems.” Intel is moving its chips into cars with dashboard entertainment systems, retail kiosks, and communications infrastructure. In the latter, Intel has deals with Huawei, China Telecom and Verizon.
“The world is moving to client-aware computing,” where the network understands the computing device and exploits it if it is based on Intel architecture, Otellini said.
Intel’s acquisition of McAfee and Wind River have contributed about $4 billion a year in revenues. McAfee is now embedding its security functions inside Intel chips.
“We’ll continue to deliver shareholder value through” chip manufacturing, architecture, and new markets, Otellini said.
Speaking about Intel’s overall strategy, Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said, “This makes a lot of sense for Intel because it leverages their strength in the data center. If Intel can tie client processor features to server features like security, this will create in a sense, a ‘lock-in’ that would be difficult to break apart. Intel’s competition knows this and will do everything they can to block these advances.”
As for Intel’s manufacturing advances, Moorhead said that the company is typically years ahead of rivals, but smaller companies such as TSMC and Globalfoundries have found ways to be competitive in the past, even with rising factory costs.
“Regardless, it will be tougher to stay close to Intel on process technology and manufacturing,” Moorhead said.
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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has reportedly placed an early investment in 20-nanometer chip technology, in hopes of landing orders from Apple as soon as 2014.
A day after Intel launched its Ivy Bridge combo graphics-microprocessor chips, Advanced Micro Devices is launching a new series of fast and power-efficient graphics processing units (GPU) for notebook computers.
The new AMD Radeon HD 7900M, 7800M, and 7700M series are aimed at both high-end gamer laptops as well as thin media-rich laptops. The products are aimed at beating back competition from both Intel and Nvidia.
The new AMD GPUs use the “Graphics Core Next” architecture introduced last fall with the 40-nanometer 7000 series chips. But the new ones are more advanced and power efficient because they use a 28-nanometer manufacturing process; i.e., the circuits are a mere 28 nanometers apart. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.)
The improvements in the manufacturing process and design that come with the new GPUs will enable video game graphics that run much faster than the previous generation of mobile graphics chips. AMD says that the HD7970M can run Deus Ex: Human Revolution 16 percent faster than Nvidia’s GTX675M. That’s not much. But it also says that it can run Aliens vs. Predator (2010) as much as 76 percent faster than the Nvidia chip based on benchmarks provided by AMD.
They also feature AMD App Acceleration, which means that non-graphics computer applications will be able to run faster. And they are more power efficient thanks to features such as AMD Enduro technology, AMD Powergate, and AMD ZeroCore technology.
“We’re bringing a lot of innovation to notebook computers,” said Ogi Brkic, an AMD product manager.
The high-end 7900M graphics chip has 1,280 components known as stream processors. It runs at 850 megahertz and can compute 2,176 gigaflops (a measure of math-intensive performance). The chip can power as many as six displays. The 7900M is shipping now. The 7800M graphics chip has 640 stream processors, runs at 800 megahertz, and can compute at 864 gigaflops. And the low-end 7700M graphics chip has 512 stream processors, runs at 675 megahertz, and can compute 589 gigaflops.
The AMD Enduro technology is like Nvidia’s Optimus. It switches between the processor’s integrated graphics or a discrete graphics chip, depending on the graphics task at hand. The AMD Powergate technology shuts down parts of the graphics chip when they are not in use, reducing static screen power by 34 percent. The ZeroCore technology turns off a lot of functions in the graphics chip when the core is idle. It also controls additional graphics chips in the system and consumes less power as needed. ZeroCore reduces idle power consumption by 86 percent.
Intel launched its Ivy Bridge microprocessors on Monday, and computer makers are announcing a bunch of systems that combine Ivy Bridge and graphics chips from AMD’s arch rival, Nvidia. Toshiba and Alienware have combined both Nvidia GeForce 600M graphics chips and Intel Ivy Bridge processors in new systems. Both of those systems were built from the ground up for performance and power efficiency. Alienware has announced a new laptop with the AMD chips, and more are expected soon.
Nvidia says it expects to garner the lion’s share of Intel Ivy Bridge notebooks with discrete graphics chips. Of course, some computer makers will simply use Ivy Bridge chips, which combine decent graphics and a microprocessor on the same chip, as the only major computing chip in stripped-down laptops or Ultrabooks. In that kind of scenario, both AMD graphics and Nvidia lose out.
AMD is now ramping up its production of its code-named Trinity processors, which are expected to compete head-on with Intel’s Ivy Bridge chips. As you can see, the competition has become multi-dimensional in the processor-graphics market.
Intel has officially launched the first wave of its Ivy Bridge processors with a new tri-gate transistor technology, touting the new chips as the “world’s first 22 nanometer product.”
Intel chief executive Paul Otellini confidently asserted today that the world’s biggest chip maker is pulling ahead of its rivals in chip manufacturing technology.
Speaking to analysts in a quarterly conference call, Otellini said that Intel has begun manufacturing its 22-nanometer, 3D tri-gate transistors with its newest chips. The vertically-oriented tri-gate transistors can deliver twice the performance for the same level of power, making it possible for Intel to launch more powerful chips for smartphones and laptops.
Intel is one of the few companies in the industry that creates its own manufacturing process, factories, and design. That is an “increasingly rare” business model in the chip industry, Otellini said. He said that Intel will produce new generations of chips twice as fast as the normal rate of Moore’s Law (which calls for a doubling of transistors every two years) by 2014.
“We are doing this at a time when the rest of the industry is struggling to implement older technology,” Otellini said. “Advances like this are getting harder and harder to achieve” but Otellini said the big changes are just the beginning.
Otellini said that Intel has begun its largest ad campaign in a decade in the past month. It is promotion Ultrabooks, or MacBook Air-style laptops with high-performance, good energy efficiency, and thin profiles. Otellini said he is excited that Ultrabooks because they are convenient and thin like tablets but are more productive and useful because they have keyboards.
Intel has begun production of its Ivy Bridge hybrid microprocessors which combine a processor and graphics on a single chip. Intel said it has been able to ramp up its Ivy Bridge chip manufacturing in three factory sites, rather than the normal two factories. He said Ivy Bridge will be Intel’s fastest-ramping chip ever. Otellini said that the company’s chips will be used across a range of price points and in the server market as well.
Otellini also said that Intel will launch Centerton, an Atom-based server chip that will likely be used by Intel.
Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Insight 64, said, “Intel is way ahead of the industry in its shift to 22nm, with or without tri-gate. (rivals) TSMC and GlobalFoundries are still in the early stages of their 28/32nm ramps, while Intel is now shipping 22nm Ivy Bridge chips and says it will be a quarter of their volume in Q2.”
“The other guys argue that they can do one more generation (i.e. 20/22nm) using traditional planar FET transistors, and don’t plan on going to fin-FET technology until their 14nm generations. But you won’t see 20nm chips ramping from TSMC, UMC or GloFo for at least three years,” Brookwood said.
[Photo credit: Intel-based smartphone, by Dean Takahashi]
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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is expected to begin ramping up manufacturing of its 28-nanometer ARM processors at a much faster rate, but whether Apple will begin using chips with the smaller process remains to be seen.
Intel unveiled an impressive list of specs for upcoming Windows 8 tablets at a conference in Beijing today.
The specs are Intel’s blueprint for tablets that should be in consumers’ hands later this year. On paper, at least, the tablets seem iPad competitive — or better.
Weighing in at a fairly standard 9mm thick and 1.5 pounds (or lighter), the tablets will be available in 10-inch models and 11-inch hybrids with physical keyboards.
The magic comes in the form of Intel’s Atom Z2760 “Clover Trail” chip. We first saw prototypes of this 32-nanometer chip earlier this year at CES, where Intel execs showed the technology once again paired with Windows 8. Intel has been experimenting with mobile chip capabilities a lot over the past few years, and that experimentation is definitely paying off.
The dual-core-capable chip seems designed with high performance and small devices in mind. It brings features like a burst mode and hyperthreading to the table, both of which allow for temporary performance enhancements on an as-needed basis.
Connectivity options include WiFi and 3G/4G, as well as NFC features and WiFi Direct. Gamers and mediaphiles will appreciate the advanced imaging capabilities, and Intel is also touting advanced security features for business applications.
Here’s Intel’s full list:
Earlier this week, Intel announced the launch of Studybook, a tablet just for students.
Fueled by strong sales in its core PC chips business and bolstered by its newer focus on mobile chip research and development, Intel recently reached its highest overall chip industry market share in more than 10 years with 15.6 percent of the total market, up 2.5 percentage points from 13.1 percent in 2010.
hat tip: Cnet
Image courtesy of rangizzz, Shutterstock
Intel announced today that it will create a low-cost, low-power “micro-server” platform dubbed Centerton, aimed to deliver energy-efficient computing.
The move is a reaction to Advanced Micro Device’s acquisition of micro-server startup Sea Micro for $334 million in February.
Sea Micro used Intel’s cheap, low-power, low-compute Atom chips to build dense servers with lots of energy-efficient chips. It consolidated a lot of functions into its chip sets so that it could make tiny server boards. Sea Micro’s computers used a third of the power and a third of the space of normal Intel Xeon chip servers, but they had a 150 percent improvement in compute density, or the amount of computing power packed in a given space.
That woke Intel up, and it began refashioning its Atom chip line-up to cater to micro-server platforms. Now its Centerton platform will focus on taking micro servers to a new level using Intel chips, while AMD will likely put its own chips into Sea Micro’s future platforms. The world’s biggest chip maker made the announcement at the Intel Developer Forum event in Beijing today.
Intel isn’t acknowledging that it is reacting to a rival, of course, and it continues to minimize the importance of micro servers. It says the micro-server market could be 10 percent of the whole server market by 2015.
Even so, it acknowledges that the workloads for servers are diverse, from web hosting (serving web pages) to mission-critical computing (running stock markets). The industry has responded by expanding the choices for data centers, with rack, tower, and blade servers. Since 2009, when Sea Micro appeared, the micro-server category has been growing fast in data centers where compute density and electricity savings are critical, Intel said. Today, Intel’s server chips range from 15 to 45 watts.
Diane Bryant, vice president of data center computing at Intel, said that in the second quarter, Intel will launch a new 22-nanometer Tri-gate family of Xeon processors dubbed the E3 product family. It will then launch the Centerton chips, which can operate on six watts, later this year. Centerton will have two 32-nanometer cores, or computing brains and will have error-correction code memory and 64-bit support. It also does hyper-visor-based virtualization, which ARM-based rival chips are not expected to be able to do, when they show up on the market.
Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said, “This is a clear indication that Intel is raising their game in micro servers, even though they still think it comprises 10 percent of all servers in 2015.” He thinks that Intel will win on raw compute performance per processor, compared to AMD’s chips and expects the overall Intel solution to be competitive, but a full comparison will only be possible once the servers can be tested side by side.
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