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Intel Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Intel's Expensive Disco Ball 324

Posted by timothy
from the dance-to-it-baby dept.
Re-Pawn writes "From the NY Times: The Disco Ball of Failed Hopes and Other Tales From Inside Intel (Registration Required.) Seems like Intel is losing market share to other chip makers - this article highlights a few problems that Intel has had including one very expensive disco ball made from a failed attempt to produce projection televisions."
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Intel's Expensive Disco Ball

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  • by Shinaku (757671) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:24PM (#10947849) Homepage
    are no longer belong to them!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:24PM (#10947853)
    over at CNET [com.com], as I'm sure it is not required at many other sites.

    What's with the /. addiction to NYT?

    • Use NYT Generator! (Score:5, Informative)

      by antdude (79039) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:44PM (#10948080) Homepage Journal
      Clicky [nytimes.com] without logging in! Use NYT Generator [blogspace.com] for these NYT stories.
    • It's part of a secret readership drive, using subliminal suggestions in NYT-based stories to assimilate the entire Slashdot following. It is combined with a secret program to promote the NYT as immune to terrorist attacks. After all, if they can survive a Slashdotting, they can survive anything!
    • Using Firefox?

      Try BugMeNot [roachfiend.com]. It is also available by doing Tools --> Extensions --> Get More Extensions in the browser.

      I am in no way related to this extension. I just love it.
    • Copying the URL into google search and clicking on the first search item usually works too.
  • Article text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@gmai l . c om> on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:25PM (#10947879) Homepage Journal
    (Courtesy of bugmenot.com ;-) )

    One sign that Intel is having trouble dancing to technology's current beat may be the world's most expensive disco ball.

    For a company holiday party next month, a handful of engineers assembled a disco ball - with hundreds of small reflective devices - to hang above the dance floor. The mirrors are leftover projection-television chips from Intel's planned effort to enter the digital television market - an effort the company recently abandoned only 10 months after a splashy introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show last January.

    The TV effort became yet another in a series of embarrassing stumbles for Intel. The company has publicly canceled a succession of high-profile projects, has replaced managers in money-losing ventures and has fallen behind its keen competitor Advanced Micro Devices in introducing technologies, like a feature that wards off viruses and worms, in markets that Intel has long dominated.

    A.M.D. has been so successful in stealing the spotlight from Intel lately that Kevin B. Rollins, the president of one of Intel's biggest customers, Dell Computer, said at a financial conference call this month that Dell was considering adding computers with A.M.D. chips to its product line.

    For two decades, Intel has been the most sure-footed of Silicon Valley companies. But lately, it seems to have lost its way. "They have made many wrong decisions and now it's time for soul-searching and structural, not cosmetic, changes," said Ashok Kumar, a financial analyst at Raymond James & Associates.

    This all portends an interesting inauguration for Intel's 50-year-old president, Paul S. Otellini, the longtime Intel marketing executive tapped by the board this month to become only the fourth chief executive in the company's history.

    Mr. Otellini does not officially take the job until May. But next week in one of his first official acts as the designated chief executive, he plans to present his strategy to Wall Street analysts. He may have a lot to answer for, including the 25 percent decline in Intel's stock price this year.

    Mr. Otellini will tell analysts that he plans to focus on four areas for growth: international markets for desktop personal computers, mobile and wireless applications, the digital home, as well as a new initiative aimed at large corporate computing markets that Intel is calling the Digital Office.

    The strategy is a significant shift - a "right-hand turn," as Mr. Otellini likes to say - from Intel's long-term obsession with making ever-faster computer chips. Instead, the company is now concentrating on what he calls platforms: complete systems aimed at both computing and consumer electronics markets.

    Mr. Otellini insists that the recent missteps, including the premature introduction he himself made of the digital project, are simply a result of over-optimistic marketing.

    "What was wrong was that I made the decision to go public on it at the Consumer Electronics Show," he said in a recent interview in Intel's Santa Clara headquarters. "Error of judgment. Mea culpa. I learned a lesson."

    The decision to preannounce an unproven technology was an uncharacteristic one for Intel, said G. Dan Hutcheson, president of VLSI Research Inc., and a longtime observer of the company. However, he said, it has been Mr. Otellini's ascendancy at the company that has changed the way it markets technology.

    "As he came into power Intel tried to become a more aggressive marketing company," he said. "They never seemingly made mistakes before and that was simply because they didn't preannounce. This is the classic failure of a company where the marketing guys are pushing the manufacturing guys more than what's there."

    Intel is still a technology giant, the global leader in semiconductors, with revenue last year of more than $30 billion. The company retains an unrivaled manufacturing capacity, control of a powerful desktop computing standard, and an enviable internat
    • Re:Article text (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PhotoGuy (189467) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:39PM (#10948027) Homepage
      "What was wrong was that I made the decision to go public on it at the Consumer Electronics Show," he said in a recent interview in Intel's Santa Clara headquarters. "Error of judgment. Mea culpa. I learned a lesson."

      I like this statement. And I think it's consistent with what I've known of Intel first hand. A corporation this large and leading-edge, needs to dabble and branch off in "researchy" ways to test out areas of new market potential.

      I was involved in a company whose seed money came from a sizeable (to us) contract from Intel, to license our technology in the digital imaging space. They were a great company to work with, talented people, good executives, and they got their demonstration technology, based upon our code, up and life in a respectable time.

      The site was never marketed and never took off, but I believe it served their purposes in exploring this potential area of technology. It's a good thing to see a company like Intel taking part in this type of thing.

      The only story here, as in the quote above, is that they made a bit of a visible statement about where they were headed, before knowing for sure. Minor mis-step, if mis-step at all.

      -d

    • by itwerx (165526) <itwerx@gmail.com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:54PM (#10948163) Homepage
      So where the hell is a pic of the damn ball already?!?
      Geez... :)
    • by xtal (49134) on Monday November 29, 2004 @09:47PM (#10949019)

      The strategy is a significant shift - a "right-hand turn," as Mr. Otellini likes to say - from Intel's long-term obsession with making ever-faster computer chips. Instead, the company is now concentrating on what he calls platforms: complete systems aimed at both computing and consumer electronics markets.


      What's that sound? That's intel. Flushing itself down the toilet. Hello, you're INTEL. You make CHIPS. Long term obsession? That's what the company DOES! I haven't checked this guy's past out - but something tells me engineering is not in his blood.

      If I had intel stock - I'd be twitching to get rid of it in a hurry. I do, however own AMD stock. I rather like their long-term obession with making ever faster chips, and I expecially like the single-minded focus at doing it better and better and better.

      It's going to be fun to watch this one.
  • come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lashi (822466) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:26PM (#10947896) Homepage
    oh, come on, what company doesn't burn some R & D money that ends up junked? I am sure all the "good" companies like IBM and so on have failed projects too.

    Now if you are doing this as a showcase of bad ideas, let's link a few more interesting samples.

    • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:33PM (#10947977) Homepage Journal
      oh, come on, what company doesn't burn some R & D money that ends up junked? I am sure all the "good" companies like IBM and so on have failed projects too.

      Yes, but I think the point is that Intel is somewhat lacking in the "recent successes" department to cover the losses on the failures - For now they're still happily on top of the market, and that is their strength, but they are losing mindshare, which really is crucial. The more that other chips are seen as perfectly viable options the faster Intel could lose market share.

      There is, of course, no reason to go counting them out just yet. I'm sure Intel has plenty of fight left, and potentially a few cards still up their sleeve. Compared to their position 3 or 4 years ago however, they are not looking anywhere near so good.

      Jedidiah.
      • Wasn't centrino a success? It's low power and integrated wireless made AMD have to follow suit and revamp its mobile core line. Of course, the anti-intel slant (not you!) on this board tends to not see AMD failures.
        • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Coryoth (254751) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:45PM (#10948093) Homepage Journal
          Wasn't centrino a success? It's low power and integrated wireless made AMD have to follow suit and revamp its mobile core line. Of course, the anti-intel slant (not you!) on this board tends to not see AMD failures.

          Yes, Centrino was a definite win for Intel. That means they're doing well in the laptop market, but are losing share on the desktop. And yes, AMD is not without its own issues: The Opteron hasn't been doing quite as well as they would like [theregister.co.uk]. That's not exactly fatal, but its not exactly great press either.

          So, in summary: laptop: Intel, desktop: AMD, server: still up for grabs. The question is whether the laptop market will supercede the desktop market - certainly the laptop market is growing faster... it may have a lower ceiling though, and there's always Apple and the Power chips to compete with there, and Apple is quite strong in laptops.

          Only time will tell.

          Jedidiah.
          • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@monkele c t r i c . com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:54PM (#10948165)
            There is a Centrino Shortage [theinquirer.net] BTW which is keeping the prices of those popular laptops way too hight IMHO. Not sure If Id call that a "success". They make a product people want, then they dont have it
            • Re:come on (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Moofie (22272)
              Any time you're selling more than you can make, that's a "success".
              • Re:come on (Score:3, Insightful)

                by bani (467531)
                no it's not. it's a failure.

                failure to correctly estimate market demand.
                failure to ramp up production to meet demand.

                the failure to meet demand means the prices are driven up, which in turn means intel is selling less product than they could have -- it is lost revenue.

                it also negatively impacts their product penetration, as cheaper alternatives can more easily compete -- so they lose market share as well.
              • Re:come on (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Waffle Iron (339739)
                Any time you're selling more than you can make, that's a "success".

                A couple of times in the past, AMD themselves had come out CPUs that compared very favorably to Intel's then-current chips. However, they ran into fab problems and never got production and market share up before the next cycle where Intel leapfrogged them. That was certainly a failure; they didn't recoup enough of their investments and AMD's very survival has been in question a couple of times. It's taken many years for them to battle back

        • Re:come on (Score:2, Interesting)

          by suckmysav (763172)
          haha

          There is no such thing as a "Centrino". It is nothing but a marketing label, pure and simple. It applies to any laptop that has a Pentium M AND an intel wireless chip.

          Neither of these devices alone are a "Centrino", but if you put them together you can slap a "Centrino inside" sticker on your laptop and sell it to suckers who think it means something.

          BFD

          If getting your customers to accept a marketing label as if it were a real product can be called a success, then I guess this has been a success for
          • Re:come on (Score:5, Informative)

            by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Monday November 29, 2004 @09:28PM (#10948892)
            "It applies to any laptop that has a Pentium M AND an intel wireless chip."

            AND the Intel 855 chipset.

            It's brilliant, actually. Intel has never advertised "Pentium-M", so people ask for a "Centrino" notebook. Because "Centrino" only applies when resellers use their wireless chip and chipset in addition to the Pentium-M, Intel effectively locks their resellers into selling Intel components when they might otherwise have not.

            Not that the Intel PRO/Wireless 2200 and 855 chipset are bad. I'm thoroughly impressed with the trio.
    • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Total_Wimp (564548) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:41PM (#10948050)
      "Dell Computer, said at a financial conference call this month that Dell was considering adding computers with A.M.D. chips to its product line."

      The words "news of Intel's death were greatly exagerated," come to mind.

      It's like Microsoft wringing their hands over Linux; they _should_ be paying attention, but they've got a long way to go before they become number 2.

      TW
    • intel seems to be succumbing to stubborn 'face-saving' rather than killing projects which are obviously broken beyond repair.

      take ia64 for example. over a decade of development, billions and billions sunk into the project, and they have nothing to show for it. remember that intel intended ia64 to replace ia32. go ahead and point to a couple overpriced ( terrible price/performance) top100 machines as "vindication" of ia64 -- but realize that intel expected ia64 to be on millions of desktops and servers by
    • Re:come on (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:15PM (#10948339)
      oh, come on, what company doesn't burn some R & D money that ends up junked? I am sure all the "good" companies like IBM and so on have failed projects too.

      One big difference is that those "good" companies were also smart: they didn't go to the press and the trade shows and drum up a lot of hype over their R&D projects, saying they'd be releasing products based on them very soon. Yes, IBM did make the Linux wristwatch, but they also made it very clear this was simply a research project, and nothing more, and would not show up in stores any time soon. Intel made all kinds of noise about how they'd revolutionize the big-screen TV market with their LCOS technology, and it didn't work.

      This is not a way to inspire confidence in your company. The old story of the boy who cried wolf is very applicable here.

    • all the "good" companies like IBM


      Shedfuls. I can say no more.

    • I think companies should be burning more r&d money. Bell labs used to do all sorts of crazy things that had nothing to do with telecomunications and came up with all sorts of interesting stuff (think UNIX).

      Once it got spun off into Lucent Technologies, profit and pleasing the shareholders became the cheif motive, and most of the sciensist who were workign on porjects that weren't directly profitable were laid off.

      Intel's fault isn't in a failed product, but that it started to market something that was

    • You're correct about burning R & D money, but the difference is how the burn is handled.

      IBM developed the thinkpad laptop and then management tried to shut the project down. Rumor has it that developers had to go around management directly to the media to get the button mouse to market.

      Also, did Xerox make any money at all from Parc??? If not, does that make it a failure?

      • Also, did Xerox make any money at all from Parc???

        Hmm, ethernet (one time known as DIX Ethernet; DEC, Intel, Xerox) and laserprinters come from PARC? I'm sure they made a buck or two from laser printers, not sure how much (if any) money was made off of ethernet.

        Most people think of PARC for the computers, specifically the systems that became our modern GUI a.k.a. W.I.M.P (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer) interface. I read someplace that Apple gave Xerox some stock for them to be able to copy the ideas
    • Now if you are doing this as a showcase of bad ideas, let's link a few more interesting samples.

      Sun scrapped the UltraSPARC V, Picojava, Javastations, and others, I'm sure. Yet, Sun is still around and looking good with Opteron, Niagara, and Solaris 10. You win some and lose some; we'll see how Intel fares their share of dead-end R&D (imagine how thankful they are for Pentium revenue in light of Itanium!).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:27PM (#10947905)
    Though the x86 now pretty much owns the consumer pc chip market unchallenged-- it's just that Intel isn't always the person shipping that x86 chip-- Intel's platforms are not doing so well in other areas. IBM's POWER chip, the chip the PowerPC is based on, is very very quickly becoming the new MIPS. All three of the next-generation video game systems-- the PS3, the XBox Next, and the Nintendo Revolution-- are known to use CPUs based off of a POWER core...
  • Is about time! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elfarto (650512) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:28PM (#10947919)
    Well, never been a Intel Fan before, i don't like the bullying tactics applied to OEM distributors ala Micro$oft style, for me lower Intel share translates into higher quality and lower prices for the end user, and most important "freedom of choicee", so the next time joe user goes shopping for a new Worm/Spyware host because the old one is too slow, he will see more AMD and less Intel Inside. By the way, the disco ball may be useful for the next wave of laidoff intella employees who will dance to the rythm of "the pink slip blues", sorry for all of them, really sorry. $hitty corporate america has to keep the skyhigh CEO salaries somehow.!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:29PM (#10947926)
    Intel has 2 shocking policies: bell-curve grading system and preferential hiring of H-1B workers from China (which includes Taiwan province and Hong Kong) [phrusa.org] and India.

    More than 50% of Intel's workforce in the USA (not China) is current or former H-1Bs. Intel claimed that it absolutely needs Chinese workers in order to build a competitive product: e.g. Itanium. Then, IBM proved Intel wrong by producing the Power5, which is mostly built by American engineers.

    Further, Intel has a brutal job evaluation policy: strict bell curve. If an employee falls in the bottom 25% more than once, then the manager shows her the door. Exceptions are made when there is a labor shortage, but officially, the 25% rule is strictly enforced.

    I, for one, am glad that Intel is losing. I hope that IBM beats the pants off of it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:37PM (#10948009)
      Whatever! The FOCAL process (as it is called) may seem brutal to outsiders, but you have be pretty lazy and completely incompetent to lose your job...and it is more like the bottom 10% that fall into the category that get put on corrective action plans.
    • I, for one, am glad that Intel is losing. I hope that IBM beats the pants off of it.

      Well, you're already getting your wish in the enterprise space. There are sure a lot more Power servers than Itanium ones out there.

      Of course, on the desktop it's another story. Power isn't going anywhere there unless the world changes to Macintosh. Nice as they are, I just don't see that happening. Too much is invested in x86.

      But hey, it's nice to dream.
      • What could make for a very interesting move on IBMs part would be to make a power5 x86 processor. Of course the idea initially sounds crazy, but how much extra work would it be. Sure adding the emulation and x86 decode layer to the chip would make the chip larger and make it a bit slower (say 10%), but the core of an opteron and the core of a ppc aren't incredibly different. Its just that the opteron does extra work to decode the x86 instructions.

        If IBM wanted to play hardball on their processors again
    • [OT] (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 0racle (667029)
      Gotta love the xenophobia on Slashdot. Your aware that the 'American Dream' was people leaving the low living conditions they grew up in and go to America and live at a much higher standard right?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The bit about the "Bell Curve" and the bottom 25% at Intel is a myth - at least based on my personal experience. I worked for Intel for 4 years and was given my cards 2 years ago when the project that my group worked on was cancelled and we were ALL let go. Before that, we had heard stories that if you were in the bottom x% (we heard 10%) you were toast, however our group grew (as we were needed for the project) and no-one was axed. As a company, they may have an overall aim each year to get rid of the
    • by Colonel Panic (15235) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:25PM (#10948412)
      As someone who has contracted at Intel, believe me I'm not a fan of the company.

      However, many companies now practice the rating and ranking system you describe. And it's not the bottom 25%, it's the bottom 10% from what I've heard.

      As for H-1B workers: When I was last contracting at Intel (June 2004) the policy was that all permanent hiring was to be done outside of the US. In the US they could only hire contractors unless there was some very special skills needed. I suspect that this policy is still in place. This is of course worse than your claim that they only hire H1B workers - at least an H1B worker would be paying taxes in the US and contributing to the economy here. Many of Intel's former permanent employees in the US have now become contractors (via layoffs) which means that they can only work for the company for 12 months out of every 18 months (but look on the bright side, you get a six month vacation after contracting there for a year!) and no health benefits.-
  • by tloh (451585) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:30PM (#10947945)
    ...including one very expensive disco ball made from a failed attempt to produce projection televisions.

    So THAT was the inspiration for those commercials with dancers in clean suits!
  • by kinema (630983) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:32PM (#10947960)
    If you would like to read the article but don't feel like registering you can as always use Google's NY Times referer [google.com] or checkbugmenot.com [bugmenot.com] for a login and password.
  • Re: disco ball (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This thing about the disco ball made out of discontinued microchips makes me think of something I've been wondering. Microchip fabrication involves a LOT of defective chips, right? Like chips that burn but then fail the tests. What happens to all those chips? Are they just melted down for metal? Are they thrown away? Can you buy them?

    I would just love to have some earrings made out of broken G5s.
    • Re: disco ball (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:32PM (#10948475)
      They make nothing but the top of the line chips. That's all they ever try to make. They don't set out to make a Celeron or a 2.4G chip (at least, not anymore.)

      They test all the chips, and the ones that pass enough tests at a certain speed are rated for that speed. The ones that fail are tested at slower speeds until they get to the threshold.

      That's why some people have great luck overclocking a system and some don't. They folks who picked up a 2.0 GHz chip that barely failed the 3.0 GHz tests will be able to make a reasonably stable 3.0 GHz chip because it worked okay for most of the tests. Others get something that barely passed the 2.0 GHz tests.

      You've heard that Celerons are great for overclocking, right? Well, yeah, of course they are - they're faster chips than what's stamped on them, albeit with a cache wasn't working right at the target speed.

      If they fail every test, they send it to VIA to make chipsets. ;) No, seriously: very few chips made with modern techniques fail every test, and those that do are recycled if possible.
    • failed chips (Score:3, Informative)

      by lingqi (577227)
      Mostly chips that fail are crushed and tossed. they are crushed because the chips contain your IP and you don't want, say, a compeitor finding a shiny (but bad) wafer in your trash and take a microscope to it - and face it, test is not 100% so that "defective" wafer you tossed out might actually be fully functional, more reason to fear the competitor getting your secrets*.

      i don't even think the crushed silicon is recycled - after dozens of litho runs, the chips have too much junk on it and it's cheaper to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:36PM (#10948002)
    The engineer described sitting in meetings where the company's simulation models showed that 95 percent of the chips from each test wafer would be usable, while the actual yields were closer to 4 percent.

    Unfortunately, the simulations were running on Intel processors and were hit with rampant floating-point errors. They should have gone with AMD like the engineers wanted.
  • ... and they don't have pictures???!!!
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:42PM (#10948064)
    The Barrett era at Intel has been an unbroken string of failures. I fault the Intel board for not having the guts to purge him. The problem is, at any tech company, it is impossible to make painful (but necessary) cuts when the stock is going up. Everyone's attitude is "hey, we're making money, why rock the boat?"

    Even marketshare and technology takes a back seat to obsession over the closing price of the stock...this is what you get for obsessing over the very short term.

    • After reading the article, it sounds like Otellini isn't any better. He comes from marketing background, and his only success is the Centrino--which is basically a marketing strategy, not a new technology. And now he talks about platforms and mobile devices--Intel's potential new markets. What, are they not interested in CPU's anymore? No wonder they are chasing AMD. Good riddens.
  • we want a picture of the disco ball ... after all if it's covered with MEMs mirror chips maybe it doesn't spin, maybe it's not even a ball ....
  • by jedaustin (52181) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:54PM (#10948162) Homepage
    One word... VALUE!

    AMD makes good products. I've NEVER been burned when buying AMD processors. I've been buying them since the K6 chips.

    I once had a machine that would periodically crash (K6/2). I thought it was just windows, since windows crashed a fair amount anyway. One day on a whim I opened up the case and discovered the CPU fan was burned out. I'd been running it that way for over a year. I put a new fan in it and all was well.

    I had a P4 cpu fan go bad.. it was toast by the time I knew about it.
    I haven't tried that trick with newer AMD chips, but that experience was enough for me to stick with them since. Plus they're still usually cheaper.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      P4s have thermal protection built in, if you remove the heatsink (not just the fan), P4s will throttle down their speed immediately in order to cope, and will speed back up again when the heatsink is replaced. Tom's Hardware did an article about this a couple years ago, and even made a video of them removing the heatsinks of various processors. The P4 throttled down, a P3 locked up (but the chip survived), and an AMD Athlon XP and an MP both burnt up (one of them even produced a small fire).

      I agree th
      • Granted, I didn't go buy another one to see if my P4 failure was a fluke, I popped it in a friends board.. it was dead. The cpu fan was burned out, I made the connection.

        I bought an Athlon board and CPU to replace it.
        From what you say about Tom's Hardware article I hope the fan doesnt go out :)

        Do you happen to have a link to that article? It sounds like an interesting read.

    • I have been burned by AMD processors, literally due to a lack of on chip thermal regulators.

      Other then the singed fingers I find that the bigest problem with AMD is the motherboards and chipsets. I've seen too many problems with VIA for instance to make me EVER want to use any product they produce. In addition I like that I can get an Intel motherboard without the addons like RAID, audio, LAN, etc etc.... I want to chose my own expansion cards and just want BASIC IO on the motherboard.



      • "Other then the singed fingers I find that the bigest problem with AMD is the motherboards and chipsets."

        If you buy NFORCE, you won't have any trouble. NVIDIA's drivers are rock-solid, easy to find (NVIDIA.com) and easy to install. Good Linux support now, too.

        "In addition I like that I can get an Intel motherboard without the addons like RAID, audio, LAN, etc etc.... I want to chose my own expansion cards and just want BASIC IO on the motherboard."

        The thing is that adding functionality to the motherboar
    • In my experience, Intel's chipsets are much more reliable than Via. I don't have any experience with nforce, but I've been burned by more than one flaky AMD board.

      I've learned my lesson on cheap hardware. It's not as cheap as it seems at Fry's.
  • Intel's focus areas (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chiph (523845) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:01PM (#10948223)
    Mr. Otellini will tell analysts that he plans to focus on four areas for growth: international markets for desktop personal computers, mobile and wireless applications, the digital home, as well as a new initiative aimed at large corporate computing markets that Intel is calling the Digital Office.

    International markets are more price-sensitive than the US, so they'll go with the cheapest CPU they can find, which ain't Intel.

    If they think that the PC market is fast moving, wait until they see the mobile market. We're talking a 6-9 month obsolesence cycle and incredible price pressures. There's also lots of established players, so Intel had better offer something special that the others don't have (and can't easily duplicate).

    So far as a "digital home" -- most people (meaning non-developers and non /. readers) are happy with a single PC to surf, get email, etc. The gamers are a viable market, but the under-24 folks don't have the money for media-center PCs, as they can barely afford to buy new GForce cards and purple case lamps every few months.

    The corporate market is the one place that Intel has a chance of succeeding. Most IT departments won't buy anything unless it has "Intel Inside" because they're so conservative. The areas for Intel to focus on there are increasing power density, reducing heat, and improving system managability.

    Chip H.
  • by synth7 (311220) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:03PM (#10948243) Homepage
    Could someone post the article text, or perhaps another news source with this article, or perhaps post an alternative link that bypasses the NYT registration? I mean, I looked... I really did, but I just couldn't find a way to view that article in all these replies.

    Seriously.
  • by Sai Babu (827212) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:05PM (#10948263) Homepage
    Wallmart dragged it down though.

    AMD is making that spiffy flash too.

    I'm a fan of whoever makes the best stuff the cheapest. Right now I'm a Athlon 64 fan and will be happy if Intel can compete with the Opteron.

    re: Dell. They areall over the place on this AMD switch. I rad someplace that Dell is holding off because the design their own boards and adding the AMD will mean adding a new design team. Not familiar enough with Dell costing to knwo it this is a significant problem or if it;s just more smoke and mirrors. Any of youy /. guys know what it costs to bring a server design tem on line? After all, the ultimate goal of any business is to make $ and beating Intel up on price with AMD noise may pay better than actually bringing AMD based Dell product to market.

    I can tell Intel there are only two ways to make $ in manufacturing. 1)Be the only guy who CAN make something. 2)Be the guy who can make it the cheapest.
    Trying to compete in projection TV which is pretty mature is NOT gonna make you $ unless you've got a spiffy atent likr TI and mirror arrays used for DLP. Of course that patent will expire so if you can beat TI, and everyone else waiting in the wings, handily on the cost/unit front...when that day arrives, you'll clean up.

    Manufacturing is all about cost/unit which is all about cycle time, yield, and amortization of the plant. Chip manufacturers would do well to study other USA industries. Excepting the guys who are the only guys who can make the stuff, most stuff that anyone can make is moving offshore. Some exceptions. My brother told me of a 5 pan&pot stamped steel cookware set selling for $4.99 at BrandSmart. Made in USA. It costs less to make here and ship domestic than to ship steel to china and the shp the pots back.

  • But how many people here looked at the title and summery went over to NYT, went to the trouble of BugMeNotting the registration, expecting a cool story about the neat things Intel engineers do with leftover parts?

    That was disappointing.

  • by The Cisco Kid (31490) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:29PM (#10948454)
    ... for either the person submitting a story, or the editors, from hitting news.google.com and finding the same story somewhere OTHER than the goddamn NYT that turns story links into login forms.

    http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF- 8& q=intel+disco+ball&btnG=Search+News

    How do I get into the 'get kickbacks from NYT for submitting stories to /. that link to the NYT reg form?' plan?
    • And im sure someone will counter with - readers can hit google too, but it seems like it makes more sense for *one* person to do it, once, as the article is posted, to save the thousands from each having to do it individually.
  • intel's (future) ceo:
    "Our view is that an evolutionary version of the PC will win that space," he said. "Do you want a rack of single-purpose devices costing from $100 to $250 each or do you want one $400 to $500 device, the PC? The key to the home is networking, and the PC is much better suited to do that."

    Somebody get these guys a clue while I go sell my stock!

    In their markets, this is the most bone-headed idea I can imagine! Why not go and sell people 4-5 $150 purpose-built devices rather than one $
  • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:52PM (#10948630) Homepage Journal
    Their hiring practices leave a lot to be desired. They prefer contractors to employees, but won't hire a contractor for longer than a year, and there has to be something like a 6 month break before re-hiring. This means there is zero incentive for contractors to do anything worthwhile (they're not going to be around for long, no matter what) and there's no continuity when something does go right.

    Then, there's their design strategy - lock everyone else out. By making it damn-near impossible to use a standardized processor socket, anyone who currently uses some other chip-maker is essentially locked out of buying anything Intel. In other words, about now, they're locking out nearly half their potential customers. I'm sorry, but that's just plain dumb.

    Their near-violent reactions against people making support chips for the Intel processors means that competitors are going to have to be based on AMD or some other x86 clone, for the most part. A few (eg: Via) will work with Intel, but I've also seen plenty of Intel docs on what breaks when you use Via with some Intel processors. Compatibility sells more products than coercian.

    True, most of Intel's competitors aren't too smart on these points, either. But that simply means that the first seriously open competitor is likely to wipe the floor with the lot of them. Transmeta could have. In fact, they could have crushed most of the 32-bit market, if they'd provided people with the means to upload different instruction sets. That capability becomes a liability (it impacts performance and reliability) if nobody can actually make any use of it.

    None of the current chip manufacturers has opted to move the southbridge or northbridge into the CPU, despite the fact that this would improve performance, without having to speed the chip up.

    Intel moved to copper from aluminium for chip interconnects, because it reduced power consumption. If they moved to silver, they could reduce it further, so the chips could run cooler and/or faster, with no additional work. There's no evidence they're even looking at that.

    Instead, Intel are working on projects such as TV decoder boxes running on low-end hardware. This isn't their field. They can't seriously compete in that market, because it's too crowded as it is. There's no money in it.

    And now we're told they're going to do MORE of this generalization into markets about which they know nothing, have no solid expertise, no history and no track-record of getting projects complete. They're killing themselves.

    What would I do, if I were in their shoes? Easy. I'd shore up the core products, by putting R&D cash into better product differentiation. In other words, cloning AMD's 64/32 is not good enough. That makes them equal to their competitors. Those who need that tech will already be with AMD, so why would they switch?

    Intel needs to play the one-upmanship, if they want to survive. The Itanium has been a disaster, so they would be far better off dumping it than continuing to invest in a sure-fire loser.

    Right about now, I'd be pushing for a 128/64/32-bit system, that can do everything AMD's chips can do AND support some limited 128-bit operations. Solaris 10 supports a 128-bit filing system, so a 128-bit processor isn't entirely stupid. If they added 128-bit support to controllers, they'd be able to get much smoother dataflow and a much higher throughput. Nice selling points, for servers.

    Multi-cores are good, if you have enough processing elements, sharable, and distributed right to maximise what you can push through. Intel are looking at 2. Why, when most multi-processor needs are alread met with 2-way through to 8-way SMP? To compete with Intel's own products, you need to start at 8-core CPUs, or there just isn't any point.

    Intel's operations are sluggish, compared to AMD. In fact, they're sluggish compared to anyone. Always have been. Anyone who

    • Right about now, I'd be pushing for a 128/64/32-bit system, that can do everything AMD's chips can do AND support some limited 128-bit operations
      ...

      Speeding up the design, then, and adding SIMD support for processing arrays would be a very good step forward


      You *can* do 128 bit operations...that's what SSE is for. It also can do SIMD operatons...2 64 bit ops in a cycle, etc. That's how a 3 Ghz Pentium achieves 6 GFlops.

      Clusters of low-end processors are now starting to take on the supercomputer worl
  • The best part of the article is the stock-price chart that almost makes it look as though because AMD's stock price is approaching that of Intel's, that AMD is catching up with the 800 lb. gorilla. The real point of the graph, however, should be that Intel's stock price has fallen steadily over the past 12 months (high 30s to mid 20s), while AMD's hovered around 15 for the first six months, dropped along with Intel, then shot up to the low 20s in the past few weeks.
  • I used to say that in the '80s. I considered the 8086 to be one of the most brainded of the 16 bit chips that you could have designed if you were trying.... The 8086 did not make the bigtime because it was a good chip design. Quite the opposite.

    I'm very honestly convinced that the reason why IBM chose it for their "IBM PC(tm)" is that it was way too braindead to have any real hope of competing against their big-money IBM/370-family mainframe engines.

    It took them 4 tries (8086, 80186, 80286, 80386) t

  • Theme Song (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrankDrebin (238464) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @04:32AM (#10950841) Homepage

    You can tell by the way I fill your box
    I'm an Intel man, no time for Macs
    Fan so loud and chip so warm
    Transistor count from Mr. Moore
    But it's all right, it's ok
    Just behind your CD tray
    My mission, you understand
    Is pusher for the Redmond man

    Whether I'm a Xeon or a first-gen peon
    I'm x-eighty-six, x-eighty-six
    Maybe I'm a-F00Fin' or power-supply poofin'
    I'm x-eighty-six, x-eighty-six
    Ah ah ah ah x-eighty-six, x-eighty-six
    Ah ah ah ah x-eighty-six!

    Well now, cache gets low and temp gets high
    And for overclockers, I really fry
    Got the gold flashing on my pads
    And an F_DIV bug etched in my sand
    But it's all right, it's ok
    I also heard AMD is gay
    And that VIA, and Transmeta
    Can kiss my royal FPU

    Whether I'm Centrino, you can bet that we know
    I'm x-eighty-six, x-eighty-six
    Ain't got sixty-four-bit, but still think I'm hot shit
    I'm x-eighty-six, x-eighty-six
    Ah ah ah ah x-eighty-six, x-eighty-six
    Ah ah ah ah x-eighty-six!

Debug is human, de-fix divine.

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