Intel Archive

The Itanium processor

The Itanium may not have been much of a commercial success, but it is interesting as a processor architecture because it is different from anything else commonly seen today. It's like learning a foreign language: It gives you an insight into how others view the world.

The next two weeks will be devoted to an introduction to the Itanium processor architecture, as employed by Win32.

There's part one, two, and three - with more to come.

The Clear Linux Project

The Clear Linux Project for Intel Architecture is a project that is building a Linux OS distribution for various cloud use cases. The goal of Clear Linux OS is to showcase the best of Intel Architecture technology, from low-level kernel features to more complex items that span across the entire operating system stack.

Don't dismiss it - Intel is doing a lot of interesting under-the-hood stuff with this one.

‘Dell is back with an ultra-thin tablet – with Intel inside’

AndroidCentral reviews some Dell Android tablet, and concludes:

There's a lot to like in the Dell Venue 8 7840 tablet. The name is not one of those things. The display, however, most definitely is. Resolution quirks aside, Dell's got a gorgeous panel in this tablet. And the Intel Atom processor seems like it's pushing everything just as you'd expect a high-spec'd tablet to do. Battery life is pretty much on par with what we'd expect. And while on-board storage is close to shameful, Dell makes up for it with allowing for a massive amount of removable storage.

I'm not interested in the tablet itself, but in its processor. I find it remarkable that Intel has reached a point where it can power mobile devices with comparable performance and battery life... But with x86-64, not ARM. Intel isn't new to mobile, of course - I have countless Xscale-powered PDAs - but that was ARM, not x86(-64).

We're reaching a point where we have a standard architecture running from small phones all the way up to supercomputers. Remarkable.

The 8080 at 40: what’s next for the mighty microprocessor?

It came out in 1974 and was the basis of the MITS Altair 8800, for which two guys named Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote BASIC, and millions of people began to realize that they, too, could have their very own, personal, computer.

Now, some 40 years after the debut of the Intel 8080 microprocessor, the industry can point to direct descendants of the chip that are astronomically more powerful. So what's in store for the next four decades?

Forty years old. The industry and technology sure have changed since then.

Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a full PC in an HDMI dongle

Set-top boxes and streaming sticks are decent, cost-effective ways to turn the TV you already have into a "smart TV," but Intel has an intriguing new option for those of you who want something a little more versatile. The Intel Compute Stick is a full Bay Trail PC complete with a USB port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and a micro SD expansion slot, and you'll be able to get them with both Windows 8.1 and Linux.

Fascinating. I want one.

Intel opposes Gamergate as part of $300 million effort

Intel's big goal last year was to eliminate conflict minerals from its processors and supply chain, and this year it's putting some of its money into something completely different: diversity. During its keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show today, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company plans to spend $300 million over the course of the next five years to improve diversity. That goes for both the underrepresentation of women, as well as minorities in the technology industry, something that's become a hot button topic as technology companies try to diversity their workplaces, and increase the appeal of computer science courses.

As for why this is happening now, Krzanich cited issues faced in gaming and technology over the past year, alluding to Gamergate, which the company became embroiled in following an advertising snafu.

Good move by Intel - and a clear sign the company distances itself sharply from the GamerGate idiots.

Intel releases Broadwell-U: New SKUs, up to 48 EUs, Iris 6100

As part of the CES cavalcade of announcements, after launching Core-M back in September, Intel is formally releasing their next element of the 14 nanometer story: Broadwell-U. As the iterative naming over Haswell-U suggests, Broadwell-U will focus on dual-core 15W and 28W units from Celeron to Core i7 using 12 to 48 ­execution units for the integrated graphics. A Broadwell-U processor should drop into any existing Haswell-U equivalent design (i3 to i3) due to pin and architecture compatibility, albeit with a firmware update.

As with any node change, the reduction to 14nm affords the usual benefits: more transistors per unit area, lower power consumption for a given design, or the potential to increase performance. Ryan covered the details of Intel's 14nm architecture back as part of the IDF launch, as well as a good deal of the Broadwell architecture itself. The launch today is in essence a specification list with a few extra details, along with potential release dates for Broadwell-U products. The CPUs are already shipping to partners for their designs.

Like the previous item about NVIDIA, yet another excellent AnandTech first look at new processor technology - this time from Intel.

Why Rosyna can’t take a movie screenshot

Given that the ME sits in a position where it can configure the chipset and operate on the PCI bus, there are some serious security implications here I wish I could mitigate. Among them is the ability of the ME to run arbitrary code on the host CPU via option ROMs or presenting a disk-drive to boot from. Also among those abilities is the possibility to perform DMA to access host CPU memory. And another one is the ability to configure and use PCI devices present in the system (such as the ethernet card).

As a consumer, I didn't ask for these features. It'd be great to turn them all off. A hardware switch even. And BIOS settings do have a way to "Disable" the ME. But is it truly disabled? It will still run some code at startup I assume. And given that the Intel ME's security model requires that the host CPU is less privileged than the Intel ME, how can the host CPU really turn it off? One example of how the ME is more privileged is the ability to walk around VT-d configuration when performing memory access, which is possibly something required to make PAVP secure.

Baseband processors, FireWire, Apple's Thunderbolt, IME - you may think your operating system is secure, and even if that were true (it isn't), there's still dozens of little pieces of firmware in every machine you own - from your smartwatch to your car - which are closed off, impenetrable black boxes of crappy, insecure code.

As for who or what 'Rosyna' is - I think she or he is a person the author knows. Took me a little while to figure that one out (I thought it was a computer program at first). Not really relevant to the story at hand, but I figured I'd save you the confusion.

Inside the Intel 1405: die photos of a shift register memory

In 1970, MOS memory chips were just becoming popular, but were still very expensive. Intel had released their first product the previous year, the 3101 RAM chip with 64 bits of storage. For this chip (with enough storage to hold the word "aardvark") you'd pay $99.50. To avoid these astronomical prices, some computers used the cheaper alternative of shift register memory. Intel's 1405 shift register provided 512 bits of storage - 8 times as much as their RAM chip - at a significantly lower price. In a shift register memory, the bits go around and around in a circle, with one bit available at each step. The big disadvantage is that you need to wait for the bit you want to come around, which can take half a millisecond.

Great article.

Intel CEO on not getting Intel inside the iPhone

"It was the only moment I heard regret slip into Otellini's voice during the several hours of conversations I had with him. 'The lesson I took away from that was, while we like to speak with data around here, so many times in my career I've ended up making decisions with my gut, and I should have followed my gut,' he said. 'My gut told me to say yes.'" The world would've been a much different place - Apple would have been less dependant on Samsung for its chips, which probably would've meant less money for Samsung to develop its Galaxy business.

Intel’s first smartphone arrives… In India

"Intel announced that Lava International, a cell phone company in India, has launched the XOLO X900. The device will launch on April 23 in India and will be sold through Croma, a big retail chain in India. XOLO X900 features a 1.6GHz Atom Z2460 (a.k.a. Medfield) with Intel Hyper Threading Technology, 400 MHz graphics, a 4-inch 1024x600 display, full 1080p HD video encoding and playback, a 1-megapixel camera up front, an 8-megapixel camera in the back, and support for HSPA+ 3G connectivity. The phone will ship with Android Gingerbread but Intel is already promising an OTA update to Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone is priced around INR 22000 (around USD 425)."

Intel: Retina laptop, desktop displays coming in 2013

It looks like 2013 is finally going to be the year that we're going to see truly high resolution displays - according to Intel. Retina displays for laptops and desktops for everyone. Considering promises regarding HDPI have been thrown our way for years now, it's high time they became reality. As the article mentions, there's one interesting possible issue: Windows 8's desktop mode. How will it handle HDPI displays?

Intel’s x86 Android, Smartphone, Tablet Plans Exposed

"Last week, Intel announced that it had added x86 optimizations to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, but the text of the announcement and included quotes were vague and a bit contradictory given the open nature of Android development. After discussing the topic with Intel we've compiled a laundry list of the company's work in Gingerbread and ICS thus far, and offered a few of our own thoughts on what to expect in 2012 as far as x86-powered smartphones and tablets are concerned."