Print 19 comment(s) - last by TomZ.. on Oct 16 at 3:26 PM

Intel plans to develop new CPU architecture for ultra-low cost laptop computers

Intel isn’t content to cede any portion of the CPU market to rival AMD and to compete on all fronts -- including the OLPC market -- Intel plans to develop a new CPU architecture.

No current Intel processors fit the specifications for the one laptop per child notebook program (OLPC), so Intel is designing a new processor specifically for the ultra-low cost laptop category where the AMD 433MHz Geode LX-700 reigns king.

Few specifications on the new Intel architecture are known at this time, other than it will be cheap and aimed at the specifications of the AMD processor currently being used in the OLPC system. Yahoo! News is reporting that Intel considered using existing mobile processors including modified versions of the Celeron M and the upcoming Silverthorne processors, which were specifically designed for mobile systems.

Those processors were ruled out because Intel says the small size, low cost and low power consumption required by the OLPC laptop are unique enough to warrant a new architecture. While Intel processors aren’t powering the official OLPC, Intel parts are used in similar systems including the Classmate PC and the ASUS Eee.

The ASUS Eee PC will be shipping soon and is going to be sold through and Best Buy. That system features a 7-inch screen and should be quite power efficient. However, the retail price for the system is more than the target cost of the OLPC, which originally was aiming at a $100 price tag.

Prices for the official OLPC system have since increased significantly over the original $100 target.

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RE: Giving it away.
By ghost101 on 10/15/2007 5:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well if they are selling at cost of production, then they to incur an opprtunity cost. You could say AMD/Intel are subsidising the OLPC project.

RE: Giving it away.
By TomZ on 10/15/2007 5:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't heard that AMD or Intel were providing processors at cost, either.

RE: Giving it away.
By Gul Westfale on 10/15/2007 5:33:06 PM , Rating: 2
either way the fact that they are developing a custom chip for this thing means that the OLPC will be getting a CPU that is better adapted to its market- probably lower cost, lower power consumption at the expense of some processing power, which the OLPC doesn't need much of anyway. so this is a good thing, imho.

RE: Giving it away.
By Hydrofirex on 10/15/2007 6:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but I wouldn't pat anyone on the back for this. If there wasn't a market opportunity would AMD or Intel still be spending so much time on this?


RE: Giving it away.
By Gul Westfale on 10/15/2007 7:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
of course not, but they are building the OLPC one way or the other.

RE: Giving it away.
By barclay on 10/15/2007 8:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
behold the invisible hand

RE: Giving it away.
By jtemplin on 10/15/2007 8:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
Intel wants to get a bigger stake in the mobile market (currently dominated by ARM-based procs, I believe). So they are developing Menlow-Silverthorne and in the future we will see Moorestown-xxx chip(this new OLPC Chip). Intel selfishly wants to dominate a market they haven't quite cracked yet, and an ancillary benefit can be their participation in OLPC. Everyone wins, just like Adam Smith would have wanted.

/Armchair theorizing

RE: Giving it away.
By mathew7 on 10/16/2007 5:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe with this project they see an oportunity to research a processor for the next PDA, with higher performance than an ARM, less power consumption and x86 compatibility.

RE: Giving it away.
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 8:09:48 AM , Rating: 2
^-- Bingo, we have a winner! X86 is currently not a processor that can be considered for small mobile devices due to power consumption - ARM wins nearly all those designs. A new architecture that has X86 compatibility and power consumption competitive with ARM would let Intel move (again) into this market. And it wouldn't be just an OLPC thing - it would be used on a wide variety of other devices.

RE: Giving it away.
By jtemplin on 10/16/2007 10:13:16 AM , Rating: 2
Buuuurrrnnn...and how did I get rated down? I was dancing to the tune of the previous poster's Wealth of Nations reference, and the following two posts basically corroborate mine. Salty internet users lol

RE: Giving it away.
By dever on 10/16/2007 2:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
They must have read the word "selfish" and not realized that this is only useful and beneficial mode for businesses in the free market.

RE: Giving it away.
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 3:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with that, and I don't know how we got to this point where a company being "selfish," i.e., profit-driven, is perceived as being a bad thing.

Makes me think our society is off in the weeds like the societies in one of the books by Ayn Rand.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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