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Monday, November 12, 2007

Say hello to Penryn

Intel's showing the world a new chip that will make those YouTube clips even smoother. And they're making them here in Oregon.

Comments (6)

I understand from the story in the Oregonian that the Penryn was designed in Oregon, but I could notr find a reference in that story to a manufacturing location.

Is it being made in Oregon, or Washington / Texas / Arizona / Ireland / Singapore, etc.?

I need to correct myself.

Looking at the Times link the hip is being made in Oregon and Arizona, and will, in the future, also be made in new Itel fab shops in New Mexico and Isreal.

chips are developed here in Oregon. The HVM (High Volume Manufacturing) is done in Arizona, New Mex and Israel.

The new processor won't make YouTube clips smoother unless YouTube improves the quality of their compression schemes and software and code it specifically to take advantage of the features of this new processor. Considering YouTube's now owned by google and google's penchant for cheaper, easier to replace redundant hardware, I don't foresee this happening.

This isn't a special "Video-only" type of chip -- it's just a new and faster standard desktop processor that will help everything run faster -- video encoding, games, desktop apps, etc... .

Don't get me wrong, I like Intel, but this is just typical marketing speak from the same company that convinced everybody that their Centrino (or was it Pentium 4? I can't remember) processors would somehow make their internet experience better and faster (when the processor has little to do with that -- your 'net connection speed and browser have more to do with it).

Much of the engineering of this processor, and the processes with which it is made, were done here in Hillsboro, yes. Early test chisp were also I believe made in Oregon (small batches, to perfect the process and recipes).

The actual manufacturing in bulk will be done elsewhere.

There is a lot of hype in what Intel is saying about this chip. Jake is 100% correct that this chip won't really run video etc. any smoother than any previous chip because current applications aren't expressly made to take advantage of this chip's new features and instructions (which Intel calls SSE4 -- Streaming SIMD Extensions generation #4).

Intel marketed its Pentium 4 chip (code-named "Willamette") as providing the "best Internet experience" which was a load of garbage. All the P4 was, was a Pentium 3 with a few minor enhancements and mainly the clock speed jacked up as high as it could go -- a HUGE compromise in the overall performance and thermal efficiency of the chip. P4s were so inefficient in terms of power use that it wasn't funny. They generated masses of heat and eventually Intel totally hit the wall in terms of clock speed, somewhere just north of 3 GHz of frequency. Past this point they just didn't work, because it was an old creaky architecture that was totally maxed out.

This myopic focus on GHz and frequency and beating AMD made Intel very blind to what was happening elsewhere, and it was around this time that AMD started gaining momentum because they had a much smarter, more efficient design. They also did a better job than Intel about listening to customers and giving poeple what they wanted, instead of what the company foisted upon them.

Intel's stock has been almost totally stagnant over the past 6-7 years -- well, it did get lower than it is now, but it's been quite stagnant for the past few years. Wall Street and the public at large isn't yet convinced that Intel is back on the right track. Thus the spin with this announcement, to try to goose this new Hafnium-based technology as the newest and most significant thing since the introduction of silicon in semiconductors.

Hype, hype, hype. I worked in Intel PR for a number of years, and it's easy to smell the hype.

Just wait until you try to rename a file.

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