The Macintel Report

January Macintel Debut or Not, PowerPC and Linux in Apple's Future?, Intel's 8-core CPU Plans, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.12.08

This Week's Macintel News

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.

January Macintel Debut?

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Yonah Performance

Other Intel News

January Macintel Debut?

Will Apple have new Macintel product available in January? Or will we have to wait until June at the earliest? Steve Jobs isn't telling....

Apple May Launch Intel Laptops in January...

Reuters reports:

"Apple Computer Inc. could introduce its first laptop computers based on Intel Corp. chips as early as January, which, together with robust sales of video iPods, should drive earnings higher, Citigroup said on Wednesday.

"Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner raised his target on the computer maker's stock price to $71 from $51 and boosted his earnings forecasts for the next two years....

"'We are becoming more convinced that Apple will introduce its first Intel-based PowerBook at Macworld San Francisco,' Gardner said in a note to clients...."

Link: Apple May Launch Intel Laptops in January - Analyst

...Or Not Until June 6

DigiTimes' Shawn Chen andJessie Shen report:

"Intel processors will be initially adopted in Apple Computer's entry-level Macintosh PC lineup, including the Mac Mini, iBook, and iMac series, with a launch in Taiwan slated for June 6 2006, according to sources at Taiwan PC distributors.

"Apple Taiwan declined to comment on the report, noting that the launch schedule would be released according to the company's official statement....

"Apple is expected to unveil its new Macintosh PCs with the 'Intel inside' logo on January 9 of next year, when Macworld 2006 takes place in San Francisco from January 9 to 13, sources at domestic PC makers indicated..."

Link: Taiwan Market: Appleís 'Intel Inside' Macintosh to Hit Shelves on June 6

Intel Macs 'Due 6 June'

The Register's Tony Smith says:

"Apple's Intel-based Macs may not appear until June 2006, if claims made by sources at Taiwanese distributors are to be believed.

"According to the moles, cited by DigiTimes today, Intel-based Mac Minis, iBooks and iMacs have been scheduled to launch in Taiwan on 6 June.

"That's six months after most recent speculation has suggested that Apple will launch its x86 machines...."

Link: Intel Macs 'Due 6 June'

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Apple 'to Stick to PowerPC for Another Generation'

ZNet blogger Paul Murphy says:

"Quite a number of pundits have gone out and predicted the appearance of Intel based Powerbooks from Apple this January - but it isn't going to happen. In fact what I expect is either, or both, an Intel based Mini and/or some Intel based iBooks. Beyond that, however, Intel is just not going to happen for Apple next year - no Powerbooks, no iMacs, no Workstations, and no X-Serves....

"So what can they do?

"The obvious answer is to stick to PowerPC for another generation - pushing the first Intel products into 2007. IBM has a low power (13 Watt) G5 that would be a big winner in new PowerBooks, and Freescale's 8641, a dual-core PowerPC G4 with integrated system logic and four Gigabit Ethernet media-access controllers, offers exactly the price/performance combination Apple needs to give both the iBook and Mini big performance boosts without changing retail price or cutting their own margins."

Link: Apple Rumours and Realities

Mac OS X on Linux?

ZNet blogger Paul Murphy says:

"Yesterday I talked about the pricing box Apple finds itself in as it tries to integrate Intel CPUs into its products: basically going from a $72 CPU in an iBook to one selling, in volume, for about $240 destroys the financial structure needed to meet school board demand for significant discounts on products retailing at $999 in oneses and twoses.

"If Intel were to match PowerPC pricing from IBM and Freescale they'd have to reduce the average price per CPU by about $200 - meaning that Intel would be subsidizing Apple to the tune of about a billion dollars a year.

"SInce that's just not going to happen the obvious thing for Apple to do in 2006 is continue, as it originally said it would, with the PowerPC line - using the dual core G4 in products like the iBook and Mini and the low power (14W at 1.6Ghz) G5 970FX in new Powerbooks.

"Great, but where does this leave Apple's Intel strategy? More importantly, how will developers, particularly the PC oriented shops dragged into the Apple house over the last six months on the promise of lower porting costs and higher performance for PC code, react?

"There is a simple and elegant answer: Linux.

"Apple could simply license the MacOS X shell and integration technologies set for Linux - thereby creating an instant mass market for its software on Intel, more than meeting its obligations to its PC oriented developers, differentially rewarding those who put real effort into their Mac software, and freeing itself to to make a more reasoned CPU decision for its 2007 and later products."

Link: Mac OS X on Linux?

How Apple Could Fight Against OSX x86 Hacking

HardMac's Lionel says:

"While the launch date of the first MacIntel is getting everyday closer, we keep asking ourselves how Apple will manage to protect its OSX system from hackers who will look for solutions to install OSX x86 on non-Mac certified PC.

"If you look at It history, it is quite clear that fighting against the wind does not help much, whatever protections Apple will install, there will always be a solution to run OSX x86 on a standard PC; it is only a matter of time, and motivation (meaning that the price difference between MacIntel and similarly equipped PC will be big)

"So how to prevent such a move?"

Link: How Could Apple Fight Against OSX x86 Hacking?

Yonah Performance

Yonah Performance Preview: A First Look at Yonah

Anandtech's Anand Lal Shimpi reports:

"Intel, oh Intel, how uninteresting your processors have been to us for so long now. Where have the days of the Northwood gone? Prescott brought us a minor bump in clock speed, minor increases in performance, and more importantly - major increases in power bills. But if any company can go down the wrong path for five years and still come out on top, it's Intel. So starting next year, we'll start seeing a new Intel. A more power conscious Intel and to kick it all off will be Intel's first Earth-friendly dual core processor: Yonah.

"As the successor to the current Pentium M (Dothan) and the predecessor to next year's Conroe, Merom and Woodcrest cores, Yonah is a very important chip. As a mobile processor Yonah will bring dual core to thin and light notebooks, basically anywhere you'd find a Pentium M, you'll now be able to find two Pentium Ms. The implications for mobile performance are huge, as multitasking on notebooks has rarely been all that great of an experience. At the same time, Yonah is so much more than just a dual core mobile processor - it's a predictor of the performance of Intel's next-generation desktop micro-architecture. Sure, it won't have all of the architectural bells and whistles that we'll see when Conroe debuts at the end of next year, but it'll have many and that makes it a reference point."

Link: Intel Yonah Performance Preview - Part I: The Exclusive First Look at Yonah

Intel's 'Yonah' Mobile CPU Benchmarked

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel's upcoming 'Yonah' 65nm dual-core Pentium M processor looks set to provide a significant boost to notebook performance, if the first independent evaluation of the new CPU is anything to go by.

"Anandtech's tests, published today, pitch a 2GHz Yonah against a 2.13GHz 'Dothan' Pentium M, a 3GHz Pentium D 380 and a pair of AMD Athlon X2s: the 2GHz 3800+ and the 2.2GHz 4200+. Generally, the new part outperformed both the higher-clocked Intel chips and proved a worthy competitor to the AMD products."

Link: Intel's 'Yonah' 65nm Mobile Chip Benchmarked

Other Intel News

Intel Working with Companies in Entertainment Push

Reuters reports:

"Intel Corp., the world's biggest chipmaker, on Wednesday said it is working with more than 40 companies to use its Viiv technology in home entertainment and consumer electronics.

"Intel is providing engineering support and other services to software developers and device makers as part of a strategy to develop the digital living room. The company said it plans to offer a "one-stop shop" for home entertainment, including movies, music, video games and home photos.

"The Viiv (which rhymes with 'five') brand, which Intel announced in August, represents a new kind of personal computer aimed squarely at the digital living room, the company said....

"Similarly, Apple Computer Inc. for several years has focused on a digital hub strategy, using its Mac computers as the central device for consumers to access and manage movies, digital photographs, music and the like."

Link: Intel Working with Companies in Entertainment Push

Intel to Drop Pentium Name?

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"When Intel debuts its 'Intel Core' brand-name in July 2006, it will mark the end of the familiar Pentium name. Out too goes any distinction between mobile and desktop versions.

"So claims Japanese-language website PCWatch.

"It's not an unreasonable claim, however. According to the latest roadmaps to leak out of the chip giant, Q3 2006 will see the debut of 'Merom' and 'Conroe', two 65nm, dual-core processors pitched at mobile and desktop roles, respectively. Both are derived from Intel's next-generation architecture, which essentially takes key elements of today's Pentium M and combines it with features introduced with the Pentium 4's NetBurst architecture."

Link: Intel to Drop Pentium Name with Merom, Conroe Debut?

Codename Cornucopia Reveals Intel's CPU Plans

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel may be preparing to segment its next-generation 65nm desktop and mobile processor lines by taking a leaf out of arch-rival AMD's book and offering chips with a range of different cache sizes.

"So we might conclude from the list of upcoming Intel CPUs for 2006 and 2007 published by Tom's Hardware. The list is a veritable dictionary of new codenames, but you can see some patterns begin to emerge."

Link: Codename Cornucopia Reveals Intel's 65nm CPU Plans

Intel's Plans Include Eight-core CPUs

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel isn't due to begin shipping processors produced using its 45nm process until 2008, but it's already naming the chips that will be made using the technology.

"According to a list of upcoming Intel CPUs for 2006 and 2007 published by Tom's Hardware Guide, the ballooning transistor budget made possible by the 45nm process will be used to drive up L2 cache sizes.

"'Wolfdale' and 'Ridgefield', for example, two dual-core, single-die desktop chips due 2008, will have 3MB and 6MB of cache apiece.

"These should appear alongside 'Perryville' and 'Penryn', respectively single-core and dual-core mobile parts, the former with 2MB of cache, according to the report, the latter with 3MB and 6MB of L2.

"On the server side, we have 'Hapertown', an eight-core Xeon with 12MB of cache shared between the cores. It doesn't look like we're going to see a desktop CPU with eight cores until 2008/2009, with the debut of 'Yorkfield', also sporting 12MB of cache."

Link: Intel's 45nm Shift Will Mean Octo-core Desktop CPUs

Intel Building Second 45-nm Fab

ExtremeTech reports:

"Intel Corp. said Thursday that it plans to build a new 300-mm wafer fab in Israel, which it will design with 45-nm processes in mind.

"The new Fab 28 will cost $3.5 billion, Intel estimates, and will be located in Kiryat Gat, Israel, which also houses Intel's Fab 18. Construction of the new Fab 28 will begin immediately, Intel said. When completed, it will enclose approximately 200,000 square feet of clean room space, Intel said."

Link: Intel Building Second 45-nm Fab

Intel Could Raise Q4 Revenue Guidance

Forbes' Ed Lin reports:

"Piper Jaffray analyst Les P. Santiago expects Intel to raise fourth-quarter revenue guidance to a range from $10.5 billion to $10.9 billion, up from a range from $10.2 billion to $10.8 billion....

"The analyst said first-quarter seasonal weakness could be partially offset by inventory build and contributions from Apple Computer, which is transitioning its Macintosh computers to Intel chips."

Link: Intel Could Raise Q4 Revenue Guidance

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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