Intel Announces Q1 2012 Earnings: Not a Record, but Close

Subject: Editorial | April 23, 2012 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: trinity, Q1, Ivy Bridge, Intel, earnings, atom, arm, amd, 2012

Guess what? Intel made money. A lot of money. This is not surprising. The results were not record breaking, but they did beat expectations. Intel had a gross revenue of $12.9 billion for the quarter, with a net income of $2.7 billion. Gross margins decreased (slightly) to 64%, but the reasons for this are pretty logical as we discover down below. Compared to Q4 2011, results are still significantly down, but this is again expected due to seasonal downturns. In Q4 they had $13.9 billion in gross revenue and $3.4 billion in net income with a gross margin of 64.5%.

 
Currently Intel is showing inventory at near historic lows, and this is due to a variety of factors. The PC market has been growing slower than expected due to the hard drive shortage that started last fall. Intel has adjusted manufacturing downward to account for this, and has worked to ramp 22 nm products faster by cutting back 32n production and converting those 32 nm lines. Intel is very aggressive with Ivy Bridge, and it expects 25% of all shipments in Q2 to be 22nm products. This is probably the fastest and most aggressive ramp that Intel has ever done, and it will continue to put AMD in a hole with their 32 nm production.
 
intel_logo.jpg
 
The second half of the year should see some significant growth on the PC side. The primary push will be the release of Windows 8 from Microsoft. This, combined with the near complete recovery of hard drive production, should push PC growth the record levels. Ultrabooks are an area that Intel is spending a lot of money to promote and develop with their partners. There are some 26 Ultrabook designs on record so far, and Intel expects this number to rise rapidly. The big push is to decline the overall price of Ultrabooks, as well as enabling touch functionality for a more affordable price. While not mentioned during the conference call, AMD is also pushing for ultra-thin notebooks, and once Trinity enabled products hit the street, we can expect a much more aggressive price war to be waged on these products.
 
Smart phones are another area that Intel is actively trying to expand into. This past quarter we saw the introduction of the Orange, Lava, and Lenovo phones based on the Medfield platform. So far these have been fairly well received by users and media alike, though the products have certainly had some teething issues. Intel still has a lot of work to do, but they finally realize the importance of this market. Intel expects that there will be 450 million smart phones shipped in 2012 (from all manufacturers), and that it is expected to grow up to 1 billion shipped a year by 2015/2016 (if not sooner). Intel wants to get into those phones, and is adjusting their Atom strategy to fit it. While in previous years Atom lagged behind other processor development from Intel, they are pushing it to the forefront. We can expect to see Atom based products being manufactured on 22 nm, and then aggressively pushed to 14 nm when that process node is available. Intel feels that they have a significant advantage in process technology that will directly impact their success in achieving higher rates of utilization across product lines in the mobile sector. If Intel can offer an Atom with similar performance and capabilities, tied with a significantly lower TDP, then they feel that a lot of phone manufacturers will look their way rather than use older/larger/more power hungry products from competitors.
 
Finally, Intel essentially has little interest in becoming a foundry for other partners. They are currently working with a handful of other countries to produce products for them, but I think that this might be a short term affair. Intel will either stay with a few partners to produce a low quantity of parts, or Intel will learn what they have to about producing products like FPGAs and eventually start producing chips of their own. When Intel fabs their own parts, they essentially get paid twice as compared to foundries or 3rd party semiconductor companies.
 
Intel continues to be profitable and successful. Ivy Bridge is going to be a very big product for Intel, and they are going to push it very hard through the rest of this year. Mobile strategies are coming to fruition and we see Intel getting their foot in the door with some major partners around the world. Servers, desktops, and notebook chips still comprise the vast majority of products that Intel ships, but mobile will become a much stronger player in the years to come. That is if Intel is able to execute effectively with accelerated Atom development on smaller process nodes. ARM is still a very worthy competitor, and a seemingly re-invigorated AMD could provide some better competition with Trinity and Brazos 2.0 in the notebook/tablet market.
 
Margins will be down next quarter due to the aggressive 22 nm ramp. With any new process there will be problems and certain inefficiencies at the beginning. As time passes, these issues will be resolved and throughput and yields will rise. Intel does expect a larger PC growth through the next quarter and a higher gross revenue. It will be interesting to see if Ultrabooks do in fact take off for Intel, or will competitors offer better price/performance for that particular market. Needless to say, things will not slow down through the rest of this year.
Source: Intel

Podcast #198 - Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, Galaxy GTX 680, Intel PCIe SSD and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2012 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, pcie, nvidia, maingear, Intel, amd, 910, 7970, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #198 - 04/19/2012

Join us this week as we talk about a Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, a Galaxy GTX 680, an Intel PCIe SSD and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:15:40

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. MAINGEAR Shift System Review - Triple HD 7970s and Sandy Bridge-E
  6. Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB Review - 10K RPM Hits a Larger Capacity
  7. Galaxy GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review
  8. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. Intel Releases 910 Series Enterprise PCIe SSD
  10. Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing
  11. AMD Three for Free promo: HD 7900 Price drop & free games
  12. Intel Announces Intel Solid-State Drive 330 Series
  13. PC Perspective Live Review Recap: ASUS Z77 Motherboards
  14. New Fusion ioFX Will Accelerate Professional Workloads
  15. Microsoft Details Four Windows 8 SKUs, Seems Reasonable
  16. The never ending story of TSMC's 28nm process
  17. NVIDIA Teases Another Graphics Card
  18. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Linksys power line networking...sucks.
    2. Jeremy: Something to do with that old walkman you haven't thrown out
    3. Josh: Finally! Down in price!
    4. Allyn: Stable Internet
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Source:

AMD Three for Free promo: HD 7900 Price drop & free games

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 16, 2012 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged: southern islands, price cut, amd

AMD, for a limited time and while supplies last, will bundle three games with the purchase of a Radeon HD 7900 Series graphics card. The qualifying cards, the Radeon HD 7950 (now $399) and 7970 (now $479), will be bundled with DiRT Showdown, Nexuiz, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution with The Missing Link DLC.

Getting a game bundled with your GPU is not the most unheard-of practice, but could still be a good deal regardless. Bundling three high-profile games and an expansion DLC for one of them is very likely to be a good deal however you look at it.

AMD will soon launch their “Three for Free” promotion for qualifying Radeon HD 7950 and 7970 video cards from participating resellers. With this program, AMD will throw in DiRT Showdown, Nexuiz, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution with The Missing Link DLC with their video card.

AMDThreeForFree.png

AMD’s throwing DiRT in a Showdown?

The selection of games is quite impressive but they only serve as BBQ sauce for the promotion: the HD 7000 series are receiving price cuts.

AMD is lowering the price of the Radeon HD 7970 to $479 and the HD 7950 to $399 along with the three-and-a-bit free games. Also cut in price, although not qualifying for the free games, is the Radeon HD7770 which loses $20 off of its price tag with an expected price of $139. Check out Ryan’s review for the performance of that card.

You can keep a lookout for these updated prices here on Newegg.com!

Source: PCPer

Price Cuts on AMD Radeon 7900 Series GPUs Coming Soon

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 13, 2012 - 09:31 PM |
Tagged: price cut, nvidia gtx 680, gpu, amd, 7970

We reviewed the AMD Radeon 7970 3GB GPU back in december (you can read that here), and then the NVIDIA GTX 680 was released and became king of the single GPU hill. And while I was hoping for price cuts in the 7900 series as a result, there were none to report.

According to LegitReviews, who questioned sources within AMD, consumers may be seeing cheaper 7900 series cards next week. Starting Monday, April 16th 2012, AMD will be cutting prices for the suggested retail prices (MSRP) of the cards. Specifically, the 7970 will be getting a price cut of $50 USD and the 7950 will get a $40 lower MSRP.

AMD Radeon 7970 3GB Graphics Card_PCPERdotCom.jpg

Although AMD has a slower single card on their hands, the scarcity of NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and decent performance of the 7970 means that price cuts aren't going to be a much as I was personally hoping for. Even more, retailers may further murk up the situation by not reducing prices as much as the full MSRP reduction due to GTX 680s being sold out. Also, there is no word on whether the 7800 series will also be getting price cuts. In the end though, at least you won't have to spend as much of your tax refund on a new GPU if you've been eyeing the 7900 series (heh) even if it's not as much as you were hoping for.

Podcast #196 - The new iPad, the OCZ Vertex 4, AMD FX-6200 CPU and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: Vertex 4, ssd, podcast, ipad, Intel, gpu, FX-6200, cpu, amd, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #196 - 04/05/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the new iPad, the OCZ Vertex 4, AMD FX-6200 CPU and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:10:16

Program Schedule: 

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper 
  5. 0:01:45 The New iPad (2012) Review: Pixel Power
  6. 0:07:00 SilverStone Strider Gold Evolution 1000W Power Supply Review
  7. 0:09:00 OCZ Vertex 4 512GB SSD Initial Review - Vertex Returns to its Indilinx Roots (Firmware Progression Testing)
  8. 0:25:00 AMD FX-6200 CPU Review: A Small Bulldozer Refresh
  9. 0:37:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:38:50 IOLO U-NO-LOL. Ed Bott not amused by system optimizer ad
  11. 0:40:10 PC bill of materials articles creeps lower.
  12. 0:42:15 The fine waterline between genius and madness; toilet water PC cooling
  13. 0:46:15 NVIDIA urges you to program better now, not CPU -- later.
  14. 0:52:50 OCZ isn't the only one with a new drive today, Hitachi now offers a 4TB Ultrastar
  15. 0:57:00 This week: FX-6200, GTX 680 SLI and Surround Performance Testing, Z77 motherboards, MAINGEAR SHIFT system review
  16. 1:00:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: While GTX 680s are MIA still, HD 7970s are as low as $529
    2. Jeremy: Flying Car or Tricorder ... I can't decide
    3. Josh:  I really enjoy this game.
    4. Allyn: Koolance GTX 680 water block (in stock, oh wait, never mind, it *was* in stock an hour ago)
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. Closing

Source:
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

More MHz for the Masses

AMD has had a rough time of it lately when it comes to CPUs. Early last year when we saw the performance of the low power Bobcat architecture, we thought 2011 would be a breakout year for AMD. Bulldozer was on the horizon and it promised performance a step above what Intel could offer. This harkened back to the heady days of the original Athlon and Athlon 64 where AMD held a performance advantage over all of Intel’s parts. On the graphics side AMD had just released the 6000 series of chips, all of which came close in performance to NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture, but had a decided advantage in terms of die size and power consumption. Then the doubts started to roll in around the April timeframe. Whispers hinted that Bulldozer was delayed, and not only was it delayed it was not meeting performance expectations.

fx6200_01.jpg

The introduction of the first Llano products did not help things. The “improved” CPU performance was less than expected, even though the GPU portion was class leading. The manufacturing issues we saw with Llano did not bode well for AMD or the upcoming Bulldozer products. GLOBALFOUNDRIES was simply not able to achieve good yields on these new 32 nm products. Then of course the hammer struck. Bulldozer was released, well behind schedule, and with performance that barely rose above that of the previous Phenom II series of chips. The top end FX-8150 was competitive with the previous Phenom II X6 1100T, but it paled in comparison to the Intel i7 2600 which was right around the same price range.

Read the entire review here.

Penguins made it to the Southern Islands - Ubuntu and the HD 7950

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 4, 2012 - 06:12 PM |
Tagged: hd 7950, ubuntu 12.04, opengl, linux, amd

Phoronix revisited the performance the HD 7950 on the new Catalyst driver for Linux as it is no longer labelled as unsupported hardware.  That means that not only are the default clocks correct, you can use aticonfig/amdconfig to overclock the cards if you so desire.  The scaling of the card now matches the clock speed nicely and shows an improvement from the HD 6950 in the benchmarks.  You might not be able to find a Linux game which will take advantage of the full feature set and power of the HD 7950 but the card is capable of far more than providing you with pixels to slaughter.

phor_cat.jpg

"Here are some updated benchmarks of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 "Southern Islands" graphics card under Linux with the proprietary Catalyst driver."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

 

Source: Phoronix

How efficiently do Intel and AMD's latest architectures handle virtualization on Ubuntu?

Subject: Processors | April 3, 2012 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: virtualization, ubuntu 12.04, Sandy Bridge E, Intel, FX 8150, Core i7 3960X, bulldozer, amd

Phoronix is taking the latest Ubuntu release and testing the performance on AMD's FX 8150 against Intel's Core-i7 3960X to see their relative performance in a virtual environment.   Both machines had issues, Xen had critical issues which prevented it from running on the Bulldozer and ASUS motherboard system, while the Sandy Bridge chip had issues with Virtualbox.  The testing was not so much a comparison of the performance difference between the two chips as it is a test of efficiency of these processors running tasks when virtualized.  As both chips averaged 90%+ of base performance when virtualized you can see that both architectures have come a long way in this particular usage.

Also, keep your eyes out for a CPU review from Josh which should be arriving soon.

phoronixbuckle.jpg

"With the upcoming availability of Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin" being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that will be quickly making its way into many enterprise environments, here's a look at the virtualization performance of this popular Linux distribution. In particular, being looked at is the Linux virtualization performance of KVM, Xen, and Oracle VirtualBox compared to bare metal when using Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme and AMD Bulldozer hardware."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: Phoronix

Podcast #195 - GTX 680 Review, the MSI HD 7970 Lightning, and a 4GB GTX 680!

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2012 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, Intel, gtx680, amd, 7970, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #195 - 03/29/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 680 Review, the MSI HD 7970 Lightning, and a 4GB GTX 680!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:00:26

Program Schedule: 

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 LGA 2011 EATX Motherboard Review
  6. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review - Kepler in Motion
  7. Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 Review: Kepler's First Laptop
    1. PC Perspective Live Review Recap: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
  8. MSI R7970 Lightning Review: AMD's HD 7970 Gets the Treatment
  9. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. Galaxy Readying 4GB and Hall Of Fame Edition GTX 680 GPUs
  11. About that pricing AMD; you sure you want to stick with it?
  12. Super Talent Releases New RAIDDrive upStream PCI-E SSD
  13. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: is lame and didnt have one
    2. Jeremy: I got a better deal but this is close
    3. Josh: Two SSDs for the price of one 
    4. Allyn: Khan Academy
  14. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  15. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  16. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  17. Closing

Source:

AMD and SeaMicro partnering to develop a processor agnostic HPC interconnect

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: amd, seamicro, interconnect, purchase, HPC, 3d torus, freedom

In the beginning of March it was announced that AMD would be spending $334 million to purchase SeaMicro, a company who holds the patents on the 3D torus interconnect for High Powered Computing and servers.  This interconnect utilizes PCIe lanes to connect large amounts of processors together to create what was commonly referred to as a supercomputer and is now more likely to be labelled an HPC machine.  SeaMicro's current SM1000 chassis can hold 64 processor cards, each of which have a processor socket, chipset and memory slots which makes the entire design beautifully modular. 

One of the more interesting features of the Freedom systems design is that it can currently utilize either Atom or Xeon chips on those processor cards.  With AMD now in the mix you can expect to see compatibility with Opteron chips in the very near future.  That will give AMD a chance to grab market share from Intel in the HPC market segment.   The Opteron series may not be as powerful as the current Xeons but they do cost noticeably less which makes them very attractive for customers who cannot afford 64 Xeons but need more power than an Atom can provide.

The competition is not just about price however; with Intel's recent purchase of QLogic and the InfiniBand interconnect technology, AMD needs to ensure they can also provide a backbone which is comparable in speed.  The current Freedom interconnect has 1.28Tb/sec of aggregate bandwidth on a 3D torus, and supports up to sixteen 10-Gigabit Ethernet links or 64 Gigabit links, which is in the same ballpark as a 64 channel InfiniBand based system.  The true speed will actually depend on which processors AMD plans to put into these systems, but as Michael Detwiler told The Register, that will depend on what customers actually want and not on what AMD thinks will be best.

amd_freedom_interconnect.jpg

"As last week was winding down, Advanced Micro Devices took control of upstart server maker SeaMicro, and guess what? AMD is still not getting into the box building business, even if it does support SeaMicro's customers for the foreseeable future out of necessity.

Further: Even if AMD doesn't have aspirations to build boxes, the company may be poised to shake up the server racket as a component supplier. Perhaps not as dramatically as it did with the launch of the Opteron chips nearly a decade ago, but then again, maybe as much or more - depending on how AMD plays it and Intel and other server processor makers react."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register