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TI is putting the pressure on Intel to deliver smaller, faster, chips for the the mobile space

Today, Texas Instrument has made a startling announcement that it will exceed Intel in terms of chip production and power consumption performance. Both companies are large players in the mobile chip market, especially for cell phones, but TI currently leads the charts. Both Intel and TI produce processors and memory for hand held devices too, but according to TI the company will be one step ahead of Intel in 45nm technology.

According to a report by Reuters, TI will double the number of chips that it can produce on each wafer of silicon by utilizing an advanced 45nm fabrication process. According to TI, processor speeds will increase by as much as 30 percent and power utilization cut by as much as 40 percent. For the mobile market, this is definitely a big achievement. As cell phone users know, many of today's feature-packed cell phones are so equipped that battery life has been greatly affected. Many of today's smart phones last no longer than two to three hours of talk time. At the same time, users are demanding more out of their devices.

TI announced that it has developed the smallest 45nm SRAM memory cell, taking up a mere 0.24 square microns. This is 30 percent smaller than Intel's smallest SRAM cell said TI. In fact, due to design, TI says that its 45nm SRAM cell is up to 30 percent smaller than other 45nm SRAM cells. According to the report, TI will be manufacturing the new chips out of its Texas facility, with samples becoming available next year and full production occurring in the middle of 2008. According to TI's press release:

Other improvements in how many transistors TI's 45-nm process can support on a chip can be attributed to the use of an ultra low-k dielectric that achieves a k value of 2.5, and reduces interconnect capacitance by 10 percent. This will be TI's third-generation process technology to use low k dielectrics for reducing capacitance and propagation delays within a device's interconnect layers, and boosting chip performance.

With the mobile market ever expanding, and at such an incredible rate, TI's pressure on Intel for pumping out faster, smaller and more efficient chips will only mean a win-win situation for the end user.

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TI Calculator chips
By Khenglish on 6/12/2006 8:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
Why can't they replace the CPUs in their calculators that are over 20 years old? Their highest performing chips are 8bit Zilog Z80s at 15mHz and 16bit Motorola 68000s at 7.4mHz. Not only are they slow but they take 5 volts. FYI wattage = voltage x amperage.

They also charge an extra $30 to get 1 extra MB of flash ram. (silver edition).

What they are doing in terms of chip development sounds nice, but to me their calculators are overpriced for what they offer. True, they get the job done, but they really made a monopoly in US schools so you are required to pay $120+ for technology that's several decades outdated.

Also, didn't Intel recently announce that they are, or at least very seriously considering ditching their Xscale processors? What will TI be competing against?

RE: TI Calculator chips
By Egglick on 6/12/2006 10:55:16 PM , Rating: 3
I agree. I've had a TI-86 since my freshman year in highschool, and 10 years later they're still selling it for the same freakin price!

The Z80 (1976) and the 68000 (1979) are two of the most mass-produced processors in the history of computing. The same calculators that TI is charging $100-200 for probably cost less than $5 to produce (the majority of that going to the screen and the plastic shell). Talk about rape.

Texas Instruments is charging people out the ass for technology that's 30 years old.

RE: TI Calculator chips
By toonces on 6/12/2006 11:59:15 PM , Rating: 3
Develop a cheaper, viable alternative and TI will reduce prices as your new company takes most of their marketshare.

No one is forcing anyone to not enter the calculator business nor are they forcing you to buy TI rather than a cheaper Casio or HP. Free markets show that TI does not have any competitors that require them to lower prices so they haven't.

RE: TI Calculator chips
By segagenesis on 6/13/2006 12:01:17 AM , Rating: 2
Well I agree about the old tech bit, but it's not that cheap to produce as you think. While they have added newer features like USB, more flash memory (like thats expensive though now?) and more features to the latest calculators... they should move to XScale processors or something similar.

On the other hand, do you really need more than 16mhz for even the high end features on these calculators? My experience with them is the only stuff thats really slow are large matrix ops and integrating complicated functions. (I bought a TI-89 when the slightly faster cpu clock was used... 12mhz?)

RE: TI Calculator chips
By Khenglish on 6/13/2006 2:06:10 AM , Rating: 2
Basic equations are fine, but they suck at graphing. They need a better screen, and graphing takes at least 10 seconds on parabolas and stuff. That's really annoying if you mess up the equation or window when you have a timed 10 minute quiz.

They could also do much better than needing 4 AAAs.

My brother used to have an 89 which is far better than the 83 and 84, but he lost it and it isn't allowed in HS anyway.

RE: TI Calculator chips
By othercents on 6/13/2006 12:00:40 AM , Rating: 2
Also, didn't Intel recently announce that they are, or at least very seriously considering ditching their Xscale processors? What will TI be competing against?

TI is a DSP manufacturer. DSPs are used in many different mobile technologies including DVD Players, Pocket PCs, Cell Phones, and many many more. Basically DSP manufactures produce more processors than any CPU manufactures do. Intel would be dumb to stop producing DSPs especially since many new technologies like Smart Fridges that are being designed to make life easier (IE order groceries when they are low).


RE: TI Calculator chips
By customcoms on 6/13/2006 12:27:48 AM , Rating: 2
I agree the technolgoy is a bit outdated. However, this leads to some intresting software...people write games for these things that are 3D. I have a TI-89 Titanium with the orginal DOOM in 3D on it...thats with a 12mhz processor! The big problem for the competiton is the schools REQUIRE a TI calculator...its all the teachers know how to use. And their software is excellent for the math based stuff. Apollo astronauts would KILL for a TI-82, nm a 89 or 92! Plus, they are extremely durable. I've dropped mine several times and had acetone spilled on it, and it still keeps chigging away like the day it was new.

RE: TI Calculator chips
By Rock Hydra on 6/13/2006 7:26:24 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I think the higher end TI calculator line could do some revamping. Maybe a rechargable/removable battery, a more efficient processor, and I bet 16 MB flash memory could be thrown on there very cheap, if they price it right, it could be a hit...unfortunately, the free market and competition (lack of) is affecting the price. Though, I'm not complaining too much, they still make great products.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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