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Intel also talks "Sandy Bridge" and "Tunnel Creek."

The poor global economy of the last year meant that profits were down for just about every major computer manufacturer and hardware maker in the industry. Consumers and corporations held onto tight funds rather than spending on upgrades and new computers. One of the few bright spots was in cheap consumer devices like netbooks and server processors where power savings offset the cost of the upgrade for some companies.

With the worst of the economic crisis hopefully over, consumers and businesses are starting to spend again on computers. Surprisingly, many consumers and corporations are buying in the higher-end range of the market rather than the low-end with netbooks. With the increased spending in the higher-end market Intel has boomed. The company posted its earnings figured yesterday and reported a massive jump in profit of over 400% compared to the same month in 2009.

Profit at Intel was a massive $2.4 billion or 43 cents per share. The exact growth percentage was 433% reports 
CNET News. The 43 cents per share earnings significantly eclipsed what analysts expected Intel to post at 38 cents per share. Q1 2010 revenue was $10.3 billion, a 44% increase from Q1 2009. CEO Paul Otellini stated that it was the best quarter ever for Intel.

Analyst Doug Freedman from Broadpoint AmTech said, "Consumer and corporate are spending more on horsepower. They're buying high-priced machines in a time that you would think budgets would be tight."

The big factor in the whopping profits for the quarter was in mobile processor revenue. There were massive shortages of Intel's new 2010 line of Core processors due to demand from computer builders that are just now easing. With shortages, Intel was still able to turn record profits.

Profit reports were not all Intel had up its sleeves this week. The company has also announced a new Atom-based SoC codenamed
Tunnel Creek. Tunnel Creek is aimed at IP phones, printers, and in-vehicle infotainment systems for cars and trucks. The new SoC integrates an Atom processor core, memory controller hub, graphics engine, and video engine into one highly integrated chip. The first mass use of the new SoC will be Chinese carmaker HawTai. The company will use the new SoC in an in dash infotainment system in some of its vehicles.

"Intel is committed to focus our technologies on innovative new applications in China," said Doug Davis, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel's embedded and communications group. "We're cooperating closely with local companies in China to provide smarter and better connected computing solutions for cars, homes, businesses that provide infrastructure to power a more mobile and faster Internet experience." 

The new SoC will allow companies to create PCI Express compliant devices that directly connect to the chip for the first time. Intel claims that this feature will increase flexibility for embedded applications.

Intel also shared some of its vision for the future this week. Intel talked a bit about its next generation
Sandy Bridge processors set for production late in 2010. The new processors will be constructed with the second-generation Intel Hi-K 32nm process technology. The processors will also be the first to support Intel Advanced Vector Extension (Intel AVX) instructions. Sandy Bridge will also support Intel AES New instructions.

Intel AVX accelerates the trend towards floating point intensive computation in general applications like 3D modeling and scientific simulation. Intel AES-NI is a set of software instructions that accelerates encryption and decryption.
Sandy Bridge will also have Intel's sixth generation graphics core with acceleration for floating point, video, and other processor intensive applications.

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Sandy Bridge
By Etern205 on 4/14/2010 11:18:42 AM , Rating: 1
Looks like Intel is already shipping samples and end users are getting screwed...again.
More info on Sandy Bridge

RE: Sandy Bridge
By redbone75 on 4/14/2010 12:11:04 PM , Rating: 2
How are end users getting screwed? Don't see anything in the article except this:
As we know, the first Sandy Bridge CPUs are built around LGA 1155, compatible with Intel's next-generation 6 series chipsets. So, upgrading to Sandy Bridge will require the purchase of a new motherboard.

This doesn't quite make sense.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By aegisofrime on 4/14/2010 12:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, it doesn't make sense. 1155 is one pin less than 1156. Obvious, I know, but I'm pointing out the similarities between AM2+/AM3 and 1155/1156.

Changing sockets at Sandy Bridge will make 1156 one of the shortest lived sockets ever.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Mitch101 on 4/15/2010 10:02:29 AM , Rating: 2
Its a nice perk with AMD having the ability to pull out a dual chip and slap in a possible quad or six core cpu especially when it seem to be going with more cores today over speed. Problem is the software is lagging so far behind the hardware.

When Bulldozer does arrive I would expect to need a new mobo.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Targon on 4/16/2010 8:15:10 AM , Rating: 2
AMD may not be increasing clock speeds right now, but six core 3.2GHz chips that use the same 125 watts as their current 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz quad cores is fairly impressive considering 32nm isn't there yet.

Once AMD has made the move to 32nm, I would expect more clock speed increases.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Mitch101 on 4/16/2010 10:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
I have a Hyper-V box running a dual core 4850e chip and 8gigs of ram. Looking at throwing in a 6 core chip instead of buying cpu, mobo, ram to replace the existing. Should definitely give a boost to my VM's.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Etern205 on 4/14/2010 12:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
How can it not make sense?

-Intel 915 chipset, first to support socket 775

-Intro on the first dual core (Pentium D)
915 chipset users are screwed as it requires a new chipset (Intel 945)

-Core 2 Duo are out, again end users are screwed as it requires a new chipset (although some mobo makers are able to get it working on the Intel 945)

-Core 2 quad later came and again new chipset as majority of 945/955 are not compatible (except for the 975x)

-Intel 3/4 series chipset last chipset for socket 775

-i7 new socket new board (1366)

-i3/5/7 new socket new board (1156)

-Sandy Bridge: new socket/chipset/board

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Etern205 on 4/14/2010 12:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
maybe author of that site did a typo?

RE: Sandy Bridge
By DanNeely on 4/14/2010 1:23:16 PM , Rating: 4
I don't know about that but I've read that the replacement for the current LGA1366 will be an ~15xx pin model with quad channel DDR3 support.

We know the pin count for the mainstream part hasn't changed significantly; but that doesn't mean that the interconnects to the mobo it needs will also remain essentially unchanged. They might, or they might not. It's also possible that despite the designation change it will function similar to the AM2/AM2+/AM3 sockets where generation N and N-1 hardware are compatible.

We need more information from Intel to be able to comment intelligently on the issue.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Taft12 on 4/14/2010 12:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
Send them a message and buy AMD. Intel's profit margins are enormous (chipsets are particularly obscene) and your wallet is the only way to voice your displeasure.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Fox5 on 4/14/2010 12:59:31 PM , Rating: 3
Intel also offers the best performance on the market. Are you just upset that Intel is able to turn a massive profit, while still providing best in class (and rather competitive cost) performance?

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Taft12 on 4/14/2010 4:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, the best performance and profitability are fine by my - it's overpricing and monopolistic practices are my beefs!

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Etern205 on 4/14/2010 2:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
Rumor said that AMD's hexa core will be like around $2-300.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By zpdixon on 4/15/2010 3:35:05 AM , Rating: 2
It's not a rumor. It's not "will". It is available, today, for $300: Opteron 6128, 8 cores, 2.0 GHz

RE: Sandy Bridge
By ipay on 4/15/2010 2:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
I guess the meaning of "hex" must have changed, because last time I checked it was 6.

The Opteron 6128 is not a desktop processor. It doesn't come with a HSF, it doesn't fit in any desktop motherboards, and 2GHz is slow as molasses compared to Nehalem.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Etern205 on 4/15/2010 3:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
By now you should know that raw speed isn't the main factor when it comes to performance. Depending on the program if it's multi-threaded or not, the Opty will out perform a opty in terms of cores vs raw speed.

And what do you expect, it's a server cpu and so far most don't include any cooling solutions, but $300 is not a bad deal.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By MrBungle123 on 4/15/2010 11:58:14 AM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong but arent intels current chipsets essentially just a hyped up "southbridge" with the "northbridge" and memory controller integrated into the CPU itself? This type of design methodology has allowed AMD to use the same socket across mulitple generations I don't understand why Intel can't do the same... assuming there isn't some electrical reason that its not possible to make a sandybridge chip run in a nehalem socket.

RE: Sandy Bridge
By Targon on 4/16/2010 8:19:19 AM , Rating: 2
This is why so many people feel that Intel keeps screwing over their customers. It SHOULD be possible to use new chips in old motherboards, but Intel forces customers to buy a new chipset for every generation of processor JUST for the motherboard/chipset profits.

By WinstonSmith on 4/14/2010 10:40:50 AM , Rating: 2
An EE Times article on the Tunnel Creek SoC states that it uses a 45nm process technology and is expected to have a power consumption of 3 watts. The currently available and, probably, similarly capable TI OMAP3 uses 1 watt.

By menting on 4/14/2010 10:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
from the article, it seems that the target sector for Tunnel Creek differs from the TI OMAP3 you mentioned.

By therealnickdanger on 4/14/2010 10:54:22 AM , Rating: 4
... but ARM can't run Windows 7. 2W seems like a fair trade to be able to do anything you want.

I'm hoping that the IGP of Tunnel Creek is on par (at least functionally) with the IGP of Clarkdale/Arrandale. A netbook/nettop with full HD video capabilities (including Flash) would be a massive benefit.

By StevoLincolnite on 4/14/2010 11:54:15 AM , Rating: 1
I think IGP's are the biggest pitfall at the moment, Intels has never been great performance wise (Erratic), and the drives have always been... well... bad. - If they intend to do a Fusion styled implementation similar to what AMD is going to do, I really do hope they have a decent part by then.

Until then nVidia has the best IGP's in-terms of performance and AMD really does need to kick it up a notch.

RE: Still not competitive even with current ARM SoCs
By Flunk on 4/14/2010 12:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
You won't see that, this is an embedded chip for electronics.

By therealnickdanger on 4/15/2010 12:19:20 PM , Rating: 2
I understood that it was still x86 compatible. I guess we'll see what happens once it hits the market.


By carniver on 4/14/2010 12:40:31 PM , Rating: 1
2W while being a small number is actually 3 times the power of an ARM SoC. The problem isn't with Intel's ability to implement the Atom, but rather that x86 is complex and just inefficient for pretty much anything (performance, power) except backwards compatibility. That's something Intel can't fix.

By Fox5 on 4/14/2010 12:57:24 PM , Rating: 2
But as hardware advances, the impact of x86 will get smaller and smaller. Give it 2 or 3 generations and atom should be competitive with ARM, especially since Intel usually leads in process tech.

They could have also gone with a Transmeta Crusoe type design and trade off performance for power savings (and not be native x86 anymore), current ARM SoCs aren't yet performance competitive with Atom anyway, so they have some room to move around with. It was probably just more financially viable to target low power systems (ULV processors and VIA's target market) right now than to force their way into a market that doesn't have software built for their processors yet.

RE: Still not competitive even with current ARM SoCs
By Sahrin on 4/14/2010 11:28:34 AM , Rating: 2
Well, ARM doesn't run Windows, so the performance factor aside I would say no, they are not similarly capable.

By Dribble on 4/14/2010 11:55:34 AM , Rating: 2
A low powered atom designed for phones is not a practical user of windows 7. It doesn't have the cpu grunt, the memory, the hd space, and anyway windows 7 would be a rubbish os for a car info system or phone - it's designed to be used with big screens, mice and keyboards.

Hence that argument doesn't really stand up.

RE: Still not competitive even with current ARM SoCs
By Sahrin on 4/14/2010 2:01:26 PM , Rating: 3
I don't understand your point. The OP said they were similarly capable - if one is capable of doing significant task X and the other is not, isn't that a counter-example?

It sounds like you agree with me, but you think that Win7 is not a significant feature. I can tell you as a buyer of computer products, it is, because I will not buy a netbook that doesn't support Windows 7. Having used an Atom-based netbook with win7, I can tell you that it runs fine.

You then bring up phones - I guess my question is, who said anything about phones? What phone is Atom sold in now? (None) Then why would you compare it to a phone implementation? Cortex *is* however used in Netbooks, making comparing Atom to Cortex in netbooks a perfectly valid comparison.

By rudy on 4/14/2010 4:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
I would say something about phones and this may even be why WP7 is going to be so radically different. I think WP7 will not be as flexible and at first thought that M$ had abandoned us but if you think about it there is soon to be an SOC capable of running a phone with a full copy of windows 7. And I will definitely be buying that. Being able to do and install anything on my phone that is also on my computer will be a revolution for many who need real functionality. Sure it will not be the greatest OS but it will be a short time before some people make interface changes that make it good. Just strap a larger batter on it.

Partially because of .... ??
By just4U on 4/16/2010 1:18:00 AM , Rating: 2
Would it not stand to reason that part of the reason for Intels increased profits has to do with the new Win7 OS? Usually sales spike but with the recession perhaps it just took a little longer then it usually does.

Regardless, I hope AMD posts some half ways decent numbers itself. Be nice to see as they have a pretty good lineup as well.

By KingstonU on 4/14/2010 6:01:32 PM , Rating: 1
How much would it be had they not been anti-competitive? It's sad to think that, though they got sued and had to cough up $1.25B, being anti competitive and getting caught was probably still worth it for Intel. Allowing them to charge whatever they want for years after the fact as the competition tries to recover and catch up.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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