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  • 12/24/12--12:40: The End of x86? An Update
  • Michael J. Fern (via Hacker News): x86 shipments dropped by 9% in Q3 2012. Furthermore, the expected surge in PC sales (and x86 shipments) in Q4 due to the release of Windows 8 has failed to materialize. NPD data indicates that Windows PCs sales in U.S. retail stores fell a staggering 21% in the four-week period […]

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    Anand Lal Shimpi: With six decoders and nine ports to execution units, Cyclone is big. As I mentioned before, it’s bigger than anything else that goes in a phone. Apple didn’t build a Krait/Silvermont competitor, it built something much closer to Intel’s big cores. At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the […]

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  • 08/31/15--10:59: Skylake
  • Peter Bright: As has been the case for many years now, reducing power consumption remains Intel’s top priority for Skylake. Not only does reduced power consumption enable the company’s processors to be used more widely—client Skylake processors will span everything from 4.5W tablet and ultralight systems up to 95W desktop devices, a 20-fold difference in […]

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    Steve Cheney (comments): One of Steve Jobs’ biggest legacies was his decision to stop relying on 3rd party semiconductor companies and create an internal silicon design team. I would go so far as to argue it’s one of the three most important strategic decisions he ever made. […] It is – in fact – these […]

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  • 12/03/15--08:47: The Success of ARM
  • ChuckMcM: What is fascinating is that Intel got into that position by being open, there were no fewer than 12 licensees for its 8086 design, and people had supplanted “expensive, proprietary lock-in” type architectures with more open and cheaper chips. It was the emergence of the PC market, and the great Chip Recession of 1984, […]

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  • 01/12/16--09:49: Intel CPU Bugs of 2015
  • Dan Luu (via Hacker News and Peter Steinberger): We’ve seen at least two serious bugs in Intel CPUs in the last quarter, and it’s almost certain there are more bugs lurking. Back when I worked at a company that produced Intel compatible CPUs, we did a fair amount of testing and characterization of Intel CPUs; […]

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    Bloomberg Businessweek (comments): Srouji runs what is probably the most important and least understood division inside the world’s most profitable company. Since 2010, when his team produced the A4 chip for the original iPad, Apple has immersed itself in the costly and complex science of silicon. It develops specialized microprocessors as a way to distinguish […]

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  • 02/20/16--06:53: What Is the Secure Enclave?
  • Mike Ash (comments): Each iOS CPU is built with a 256-bit unique identifier or UID. This UID is burned into the hardware and not stored anywhere else. The UID is not only inaccessible to the outside world, but it’s inaccessible even to the software running at the highest privilege levels on the CPU. Instead, the […]

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  • 03/22/16--12:12: Andy Grove, RIP
  • Casey Newton: Andy Grove, who fled from Nazi and Soviet oppression to become one of the most powerful business leaders in the global tech industry as the chairman and CEO of Intel, died on Monday. He was 79. The cause of death was not reported, though Grove was a longtime sufferer of Parkinson’s disease. Intel: […]

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  • 05/03/16--10:17: Intel Splits on Atom
  • Daniel Eran Dilger: Intel initially intended for Atom to scale down its legacy Wintel desktop x86 processor architecture for use in efficient mobile devices such as phones and tablets, but that strategy has been effectively abandoned as the chipmaker now moves to refocus its sights on modems, data center, Internet of Things and memory chips. […]

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    Kaiyuan Yang et al. (PDF) (via Brendan O’Connor): While the move to smaller transistors has been a boon for performance it has dramatically increased the cost to fabricate chips using those smaller transistors. This forces the vast majority of chip design companies to trust a third party— often overseas—to fabricate their design. To guard against […]

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  • 08/29/16--09:56: mov Is Turing-complete
  • Stephen Dolan (PDF, via Emily St.): It is well-known that the x86 instruction set is baroque, overcomplicated, and redundantly redundant. We show just how much fluff it has by demonstrating that it remains Turing-complete when reduced to just one instruction. The instruction we choose is mov, which can do both loads and stores. We use […]

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  • 09/20/16--20:06: iPhone 7 Notes
  • Matthew Panzarino: Every time you take a picture with the iPhone 7, both the wide angle and telephoto fire off. Yes, two 12 megapixel pictures for every shot. This could be a prime driver behind the increase of the iPhone 7 Plus’ memory to 3GB. Both images are needed due to an Apple technique it […]

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    Mark Walton (Hacker News): The Intel Core i7-7700K is what happens when a chip company stops trying. The i7-7700K is the first desktop Intel chip in brave new post-”tick-tock” world—which means that instead of major improvements to architecture, process, and instructions per clock (IPC), we get slightly higher clock speeds and a way to decode […]

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  • 02/03/17--12:43: ARM Mac Notebook Rumors
  • Mark Gurman: Apple Inc. is designing a new chip for future Mac laptops that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel Corp. processors, according to people familiar with the matter. […] Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac’s low-power mode, a feature marketed as “Power Nap,” to the next-generation ARM-based […]

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  • 04/25/17--13:48: How Apple Won Silicon
  • Rene Ritchie (via John Gruber): The Apple A10 Fusion system-on-a-chip (SOC) in iPhone 7 mops the floor with both the Samsung Exynos 8895 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 found in the Galaxy S8 when it comes to single threaded operations. […] Apple’s platform technologies team doesn’t have to worry about being hobbled or constrained in any […]

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    Joe Rossignol: Intel today announced that it plans to drive large-scale mainstream adoption of Thunderbolt by releasing the protocol’s specification to the industry next year under a nonexclusive, royalty-free license. […] Intel also revealed plans to integrate Thunderbolt 3 into its future CPUs, but it didn’t provide a timeline as to when. The all-in-one design […]

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  • 06/15/17--11:40: The 2017 iMacs
  • Andrew Cunningham: At a high level, single- and multi-core CPU performance has increased by around 40 percent since 2012, or by somewhere between 50 and 60 percent if you go back to 2011. Much of that comes from architectural improvements, but the clock-speed boosts deserve some of the credit, too. […] The decision to choose […]