No honor among thieves?

No honor among thieves?

Summary: Only a qualified success? there's a phrase you'd expect from Barbara Boxer's therapist, not ajournalist talking about Microsoft's failure to take an Intel technology much beyond PowerPoint.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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"It is to laugh" -that's the French idiom captured in English by the word "risible" and often the only response to the pearls of wisdom dropped on an unsuspecting public by people who should know better.

Unfortunately some of these have real consequences. Two weeks ago, for example, Apple's market capitalization rose almost a billion dollars on the rumor that Macs might get Intel chips.

If it's true, people should short Apple, the x86 is a security and performance disaster -but let's look at part of what Forbes Magazine, had to say:

 

This time, Apple is trailing in the notebook PC game. Competitors like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Gateway, Toshiba and others are all offering notebook PCs using Intel chips with clock speeds of 2.8 gigahertz and in some cases faster than 3 GHz. Apple's flagship notebook, the PowerBook G4 is still running at 1.67 GHz with a version of the Power PC chip manufactured by Freescale Semiconductor.

You may not see this as important, but remember, your boss probably considers Forbes authoritative - so if what he reads is as flippant and uninformed as this, how can you expect to communicate with him the next time there's a choice between loading up Linux and buying another set of Windows licenses?

The bigger surprise, however, is that no one appears to have noticed that the supplicant in that deal would have been Intel, not Apple. Intel, in fact, has serious problems that are already leading to an outburst of creativity among its apologists. A personal favorite, for example, is this from a PC Pro analysis of Intel's dual core technology:

 

Despite Intel's enthusiasm, Hyper-Threading - where a single-core processor allows two threads to share execution resources simultaneously - has been only a qualified success.

Only a qualified success? There's a phrase you'd expect from Barbara Boxer's therapist, not a journalist talking about Microsoft's failure to take an Intel technology much beyond PowerPoint.

Intel is in deep trouble. Consider this visionary statement:

 

What we are talking about is things like the entertainment PC, and that's really the bedrock of the digital home. The entertainment PC is really the capability to do all sorts of things: store content, create content, distribute content. It's really the hub of the home network. And there's a whole new generation of consumer electronics devices that can speak to one another and are really related to the entertainment PC.

That's powerful stuff; but what's sad about it is that Intel's Craig Barrett said it -just before Microsoft demonstrated the technology to achieve it: based on an IBM made, three core, 3.2Ghz, PowerPC just like the one in the Mac.

Topic: Hardware

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13 comments
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  • What trouble do you speak of?

    InHell is doing just fine thank you. It can come out with poor designs and charge more for them (P4) - or it can come out with great designs and not sell much (Itanium). Either way, they still make money. In the "fab" sweepstakes, InHell has the edge over ALL other chipmakers. HP just came out with their last PA-RISC chip - on a 130nm process. Heck, the 130nm process was OBSOLETE about 3 years ago! I guess their fabs are WAY out of date - which would explain their "both-feet-in" move to Itanium.

    Apple should get InHell to re-create the Alpha chip for their next macs. THAT would set Apple apart!
    Roger Ramjet
  • A poker game between Gates and Ballmer?

    That's what I thought the article was about.. from the title..
    Xunil_Sierutuf
  • new benchmark?

    It seems like the consumer confusion surrounding
    computer performance is mostly being caused by
    the high clock speeds of Intel, and at that they
    really win. Other than that I think there needs
    to be a standard PROMOTED by all responsible
    media outlets, that lets the consumer know in an
    all in one number, test or otherwise, what to
    expect from the computer/processor. I also think
    that in some way the software and interface
    performance must be added to the mix. Many of
    the testing/benchmark tests are so complicated
    that unless you have a real background, it
    becomes a wash, numbers that you don't understand
    can't help you make a decision. Is gfps a good
    measure? It seems like this will only get more
    complicated in the future as multiple core
    processors come out, will the new "speed" be
    equated with the number of processor cores? A
    car that has a 400 hp engine, but spins the tires
    at every touch of the gas is less usable than one
    that has 250 hp, but can really slalom through
    the corners (unless you're at a drag race)
    pesky_z
    • oh I wish I wish I wish

      that could (and would) be done
      murph_z
    • Benchmark what though?

      Sounds simple, until you realise no two people use their computer the same way. Is it faster at running MS Office? Lots of folks only care about that. Is it faster at editing video? Something a proffesional video editor is concerned with. How about floating point calculations? Again that is the measure some are looking for.

      See the problem?
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Use a panel of numbers

        ---Sounds simple, until you realise no two people use their
        computer the same way---

        Exactly right, which is why things like frames per second don't
        really matter to those of us who don't play games. My
        suggestion would be to set up a panel of numbers, rate the
        speed in terms of different tasks, things like games, office
        applications, photo manipulation, etc. This would give you an
        overall score, but you could also look in the column that is most
        meaningful to you.

        Then again, you're always going to have a hard time going
        platform to platform for comparisons. Apple has its Altivec
        system which speeds up certain Photoshop processes. Windows
        is always going to have secret hooks into MS products to
        improve their speed.

        Maybe what you would need is a stripped down version of Linux
        that's not optimized for any particular processor, one that would
        be fairly identical across the board.
        tic swayback
  • Two T's in Barrett

    And I'm not in California, so I don't get the jibe about Barbara Boxer being crazy. It's sort of irrelevant, because all Senators are crazy. They prove they're crazy when they decide to run for public office.

    Because you know that, sooner or later, everyone is going to call them crazy.
    DanaBlankenhorn
    • Amen, brother

      If Murph is going to label a politician that's trying to make a difference "crazy", then who can trust his commentary on other issues?
      ejhonda
  • thank the heavens that the megahertz race is OVER

    with the realization that pushing a single chip with that many transistors to higher and higher clock speeds would require pc salesman to become refrigerator salesman as well, megahertz measurements are soon to become a thing of the past.

    does this mean that the performance measurements will become less muddied? of COURSE not! now we'll just have arbitrary model numbers, perhaps showing how MANY cores the chip has (i.e. why buy an amd 32c when you can get an intel 34c !? it has two more cores!!)

    valis
    http://www.helpdeskhell.com
    Valis Keogh
  • Forbes should stick to what it knows...

    ...just telling us who is the richest people, and which companies make the most.
    " PowerBook G4 is still running at 1.67 GHz" just shows how uneducated reporting can spread inaccurate information.
    I'm all for free speach, but you don't see me reporting on which companies are making a ton of money, but here it goes:
    "Apple computer is doing better than HP, because people can see more commercials for Apple on television."
    Ta Da
    el1jones
    • It is an easy argument...

      I got into it with a coworker who said Dell is the best choice because their commercials are always on TV. Yes, they lead the PC race, but not the server race, and they ARE NOT INNOVATORS ON THE TECHNOLOGY SIDE BUT ONLY THE BUSINESS SIDE, and since they are only going with the flow of easily manufactured crap, and common knowledge to 'C'-level buzzords based technologies and have nothing to offer us. Working for a reseller though has enlightened me on sticking to what you know is a mouth full of your sales rep's schiesen. Also, I think most resellers and vendors in technology are thieves. It just depends on your, Obi-wan-esque, point-of-view.
      jmills@...
  • Tech has nothing to do with it.

    Which is the better CPU? Ask ten people, get ten different asnswers. In other words there is no such thing.

    Now putting that to the side, the fact is that even at the hint Apple might join the mainstream and let go of their LOCK IN made the stock bounce. Kind of tells you what the consumer is looking for doesn't it???
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Not really

      ---Apple might join the mainstream and let go of their LOCK IN
      made the stock bounce---

      You mean the LOCK IN where they use chips from IBM and
      Motorola? What about Dell's horrible LOCK IN, where they only
      use chips from Intel? They're clearly worse off than Apple.

      ---Kind of tells you what the consumer is looking for doesn't
      it?---

      No, it tells you what stock buyers are looking for. It says
      nothing about actual consumer demand.
      tic swayback