The Macintel Report

Intel Moving to Lower Power, Lower Speed, Cooler, More Efficient CPUs; Apple vs. OSx86; and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.08.25

This Week's Mac-on-Intel News

Low End Mac has standardized on Macintel as our official informal label for the forthcoming OS X on Intel Macintosh computers, although you'll probably find just as many people calling them "Mactels". Whatever we call them, Apple's decision to switch to Intel CPUs means we live in very interesting times.

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

Intel Developer Forum

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Intel Developer Forum

Intel Plans Low-power Chips

CNET's Michael Kanellos reports:

"At Intel, watt is the word.

"The chip giant showed off road maps for its server, notebook and desktop chips for 2006 and 2007 at its Intel Developer Forum here Tuesday, and the dominant theme revolves around reducing power consumption, a concept the company has espoused since the beginning of the decade.

"Some of the future chips also reverse key technological decisions and design ideas behind the Pentium 4. Hyperthreading, one of the touted features of the Pentium 4, will not be part of a new round of chips coming in the second half of 2006, although later chips will likely include some form of threading....

"Merom, a notebook chip coming in the second half of 2006, will consume a maximum of 5 watts of power, while an ultra-low-voltage version of the chip coming at the end of that year will consume 0.5 watt. Current Pentium M chips for notebooks consume a maximum of about 22 watts, while ultra-low-voltage Pentium Ms on the market today consume 5.5 watts.

"Conroe, a desktop relative of Merom coming out at the same time, will consume a maximum of 65 watts. Current Pentium 4s consume close to 95 watts. In servers, Woodcrest will consume a maximum of 80 watts, far less than the 110-watt maximum of today's Xeon processors."

Intel Looks to Low-power, High-performance Chip Future

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel will this week detail how its multicore strategy to square the circle of reducing processor power consumption without limiting performance.

"Performance will be limited, of course, at the core level, but by including more cores, the overall, chip performance will rise, Intel Senior Fellow and Digital Enterprise Group CTO Steve Pawlowski said today.

"Virtualisation will allow Intel to drive the number of cores without being hindered by a paucity of multithreaded applications or the ability of the host operating system to cope with future processors containing dozens and even hundreds of cores, Pawlowski suggested."

Intel Swaps Clock Speed for Power Efficiency

eWeek's John G. Spooner reports:

"Intel, which next week is expected to announce plans to move to a new processor architecture, is switching to a new yardstick to measure processor performance: performance per watt.

"Intel Corp. is expected to detail next week at its IDF (Intel Developer Forum) a plan to begin building multicore chips with the architecture, a modified version of the circuitry behind its Pentium M notebook processor, during 2006....

"Its first dual-core Pentium M, a chip dubbed Yonah, will become part of Intel's forthcoming Napa notebook platform, due in early 2006. But it will also be used in brand-name desktops, possibly including the Apple's Mac Mini, said sources familiar with Intel's plans.

"Merom, a dual-core notebook processor that will succeed Yonah in late 2006, will be one of the first new architecture chips.

"Expected to arrive in notebooks in early 2007, it will deliver the expected bump in speed and 64-bit addressing, the sources said."

Intel Takes Cool to the Core

InfoWorld's Tom Krazit reports:

"Speed and heat are out at the world's largest chipmaker; power management and cool are in. This week Intel will reveal details about a new chip architecture that will allow the company to put a lid on the runaway power consumption of its Pentium 4 and Xeon chips and to create chips with more than one processing core.

"Intel has not yet publicly disclosed specifics about its next-generation architecture, other than to announce that it would be discussed at this week's Intel Developer Forum. Analysts and other sources familiar with Intel's plans, however, expect CEO Paul Otellini to say that Intel's processors for the second half of 2006 will use an architecture inspired by the Pentium M notebook processor."

Intel to Standardize Small-size PC Platform in 2006

DigiTimes' Charles Chou and Jessie Shen report:

"Intel informed its customers that in the first quarter of 2006 its next-generation architecture for small-profile PCs will feature similar CPUs as its next-generation notebook-use processors, the dual-core Yonah, according to sources at motherboard makers. Intel intends to push its "Mobile in Desktop Platform" concept for small-profile PCs including small form factor (SFF) systems, which lack space for heat-dissipation, the sources indicated."

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Apple Demands French Website Remove OS X on Intel Videos

eWeek reports:

"It has confirmed by eWeek that Apple sent a letter to the French Web site MacBidouille asking the site's owners to remove posted videos and torrent files for the videos.

"These videos showed a version of Mac OS X for Intel running on generic PCs, rather than on the Intel-based developer kits Apple made available to developers for a fee.

"'I can confirm officially that we've received a cease-and-desist letter from Apple's lawyers at the firm O'Melveny and Myers LLP,' wrote François Rejeté, one of MacBidouille's cofounders."

Apple Developers Taking to Intel with Aplomb

Red Nova reports:

"There is one certainty for Mac developers: Change comes often to the Apple world. In the early 1990s, developers had to move their code from the 68000 series of Motorola processors to the PowerPC architecture. In the early aughts, they had to move it again, this time from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. And now, just as the dust has finally settled, the cadre in Cupertino has changed horses once again.

"It's been two months since Steve Jobs announced that Apple Computer was going with Intel processors, and in that time, Apple's transition toolkit has made its way into the hands of the Macintosh cognoscenti. And in that time, it's become clear that this transition will likely be the easiest of all those yet experienced by Apple developers."

Can Apple Build Intel's Dream?

IT Week's Kelvyn Taylor says:

"Apple's move to Intel-based Macs will spark innovation in the PC industry

"Forget the squeals and protests of the die-hard Mac lovers - the recent news of Apple's move to the Intel platform marks a turning point in the personal computer industry. If my theory is correct, it's exactly what's needed to breathe new life into an area of technology that is currently starved of innovation.

"And what's more, I reckon Apple is absolutely right to state from the outset that Mac OS X will only run on Apple hardware - in fact that's one of the key factors.

"As I see it, Apple's specific choice of Intel (rather than just x86) is significant, and anyone who was at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco earlier this year or has read any of the coverage of that event should be able to see why. Note that I'm not talking about the economics of the decision to use a different type of processor."

Apple's Power-User Grab

InfoWorld's Tom Yager says:

"Apple pushed IBM and Freescale to advance PowerPC technology further and faster than the majority of their customers expected or required. I hope Apple makes itself another pain in Intel's ass. Then all users of commercial client hardware can demand more than Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and IBM can deliver.

"When Apple made its announcement about the Mac's steady march to Intel, I flashed on the Great Wall of Client Conformity at last year's Intel Developer Conference. Intel displayed its reference desktop motherboards ringed by third-party 'alternatives' or knockoffs. The message I took from it was: An Intel PC is an Intel PC wherever you go....

"However, one small, well-heeled segment of the market forces PC innovation: the power users. On the noncommercial side, these are serious gamers, developers and the enthusiasts who obsess over keeping their systems state of the art - and who compete with one another to stuff boxes with the most firepower money can buy."

What They Stopped Talking About

Gene Steinberg, the Mac Night Owl, writes:

"It's tempting. We live in a world of instant analysis, so when something happens, expected or otherwise, you can bet there will be a thousand and one interpretations of the meaning of the event within the first five minutes. You aren't supposed to just sit back and sort through the maze of facts and fiction for yourself, not when others are ready and waiting to tell you what to think."

Iscentia Launches Podcast for Macintosh Enterprise Managers

Iscentia Ltd., providers of Macintosh Enterprise Services, announces today that the second edition of its popular Iscentia Enterprise Report publication is available in both a print edition and a new complimentary podcast edition.

The Iscentia Enterprise Report is a regular electronic executive publication designed to inform senior business, technical, IT and creative managers on the latest issues, trends, and opportunities associated with the improvement, integration, and management of Macintosh based enterprises and networks.

The Summer 2005 edition contains 4 in-depth articles, based on Iscentia's extensive project experience and cover the following Macintosh industry topics:

  • Apple transitioning to Intel: What we know, what we don't know right now, and how the Mac enterprise can start to plan for the introduction of Intel based Macs.
  • Enterprise Integration: How to ensure that Macs are no longer an island within the corporate enterprise.
  • Advanced backup architectures: The wide range of enterprise class backup strategies and solutions available for the Mac.
  • Virtual private networks: They are now widely available and highly useful for even the smallest Mac enterprise.

The podcast edition has the same content as the print edition presented in a creative spoken word format. It is styled similar to an audio book, as opposed to a radio show.

"With the successful launch of the Iscentia Enterprise Report in the Spring, and the rapid adoption of podcasts it was a natural evolution for us to provide our publication in both formats," explained Stuart Wilkes, Iscentia Technical Director.

The first edition of the Iscentia Enterprise Report, published in the Spring, received many hundreds of subscribers from a cross section of Macintosh enterprise users in a diverse range of industries, corporations, creative organisations, educational establishments and even Apple themselves!

Both the print edition and the podcast edition of the Iscentia Enterprise Report are available for free (registration required) from Iscentia's website.

More Mac News

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

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