The Macintel Report

2.16 GHz Mac mini Upgrade, Benchmarks, Inside the Intel mini, a Slew of New Intel CPUs, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.03.09

This Week's Macintel News

Just how fast is the Intel-based Mac mini? Macs Only tells all - and for those who don't find dual 1.83 GHz performance fast enough, Xtreme Systems explains how to drop in a 2.16 GHz CPU. Macworld dissects the new mini, and there are rumors that Apple could go AMD in two years.

Intel has announced a lot of new/forthcoming CPUs. All this and more in this week's news roundup.

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.

The Macintel Transition

Intel News

The Macintel Transition

Core Solo Mac mini Upgraded with 2.16 GHz Core Duo Fugger says:

"I picked up an Apple Mini Mac for $599 and Fry's Electronics today. It was the low end unit with plans to swap out some of the guts for a mega upgrade that would be an unavailable configuration from Apple.

"For those with access to Yonah chips or prefer to purchase from an online retailer but did not have a platform to run it on, this is very cool interim machine to check out.

"The motherboard is an Intel Napa. It uses SODIMM and supports up to 2 GB of DDR2 ram. It also run in dual channel mode as long as you keep DIMM's matched.

"You have no ability to manually adjust memory timing but it will uphold SPD information like a champ.

"I did some research into breaking the Apple spirit and getting windows operational and I know it will be possible based on depth of Apple protection."

Link: Apple Core Solo to Core Duo Upgrade

How Fast Is 1.66 GHz Mac mini Core Duo?

Macs Only's Bill Fox says:

"We hoped Apple would release a Mac mini that could replace our workhorse Mac, an aging and highly upgraded Power Mac G4 Cube. The original Mac mini didn't make the grade as it proved to be just the rough equivalent to our Cube according to our speed tests. When Apple released the new Mac mini Core Duo last week, we thought that Apple had answered our wish even though we had hoped for 1.83 GHz rather than 1.66 GHz and for a graphics system closer to the iMac Core Duo's. We ordered one on Wednesday and it arrived on Friday.

"We ordered the $799 1.66 GHz Core Duo model completely stock, including the 512 MB of RAM despite a nagging feeling that it just might need more. We felt it might need more RAM because it will be running Microsoft Office 2004, Adobe Photoshop Elements and iVisit in Rosetta, the Power PC emulation software, and Rosetta runs best with lots of RAM. In addition, the Mac mini Core Duo's graphics system 'takes' 64 MB of the 512 MB system RAM. But we first wanted to see how well the Mac mini Core Duo would perform with the base level 512 MB of RAM."

Link: New 1.66 GHz Mac mini Core Duo - How Fast Is It?

Inside the Intel Mac mini

Macworld's Jason Snell reports:

"Our first Intel-based Mac minis have arrived, straight from the Apple Store, and what was the first thing the cold, cruel alien intellects at Macworld did with one of these innocents? That's right. We got out our putty knife, popped it open, and spilled its guts out faster than you could say 'CSI!'

"So before we get started, be sure you've read our clever list of things you need to know about this new machine. You might even want to read my first take on the new Mac mini (hint: I'm excited about its use in a home theater set-up), or hear me yammer on about it in our latest podcast.

"All set? Okay, without further ado, here's an extremely quick tour around the patient's insides."

Link: Opening Up the Intel Mac mini

Half of Apple Line Runs Intel

WebProNews' David A. Utter reports:

"Amid all the excitement over Apple CEO Steve Jobs' announcement of a new Mac mini and the iPod Hi-Fi, many missed one bit of news about Apple's transition to Intel processors....

"Lost in the hype and subsequent disappointment expressed by those covering the event was a statement from an Apple executive included in a press release. He noted how quickly Apple has shifted half of its product line away from the PowerPC platform:

"'With the new Mac mini, Apple has now moved 50 percent of its entire product line to Intel within 60 days-a record transition,' said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing...."

Link: Apple: 50 Percent of Line Runs Intel

Apple to Go AMD in 2 Years?

SvenOnTech says:

"Apple was in talks with AMD nearly two years ago, just before the Intel talks began. The reason for leaving AMD for Santa Clara's famed company was the issue of power consumption on notebook computers. AMD's was, and is, a drain on power while Intel wasn't. Yet in every other facet, AMD excels over Intel. When AMD releases its lower power hungry notebook chip, guess what? Apple will go Intel."

Link: Apple to Go AMD in Two Years?

Intel News

Under Pressure from AMD, Intel Touts New Chips

Reuters' Scott Hillis reports:

"Intel Corp. on Tuesday touted a new line of more efficient microprocessors, seeking to bring some sparkle back to a product stable that has come under assault from rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

"Acknowledging that the world's top chipmaker is 'under tremendous competitive pressure,' Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner said the company was reversing a trend of making chips that guzzle more electricity.

"Rattner was speaking at the start of Intel's twice-annual developers' forum in San Francisco, an important venue for the technology bellwether to showcase new products."

Link: Under Pressure from Rival, Intel Touts New Chips

Intel Announces 3 New Dual-core Processors

IDG News Service Ben Ames

"Announcing it had found a way to strike a new balance between power and performance, Intel Corp. on Tuesday said it would release three new dual-core processors in coming months.

"They include Merom for mobile platforms, Conroe for desktops and Woodcrest for servers, said Justin Ratner, Intel's chief technology officer. He spoke at the Santa Clara, Calif. company's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

"All three share a design called Intel Core Microarchitecture, which combines the energy efficiency of the company's Pentium M and Core Duo processors with the high performance of its Pentium 4 and Xeon products."

Link: Intel Announces Three New Dual-core Processors

Intel's New 'Core' Could Gore AMD

The Register's Ashlee Vance reports:

"IDF Intel today worked hard to convince anyone who would listen that AMD's performance advantage has come to an end. A new processor architecture stretching across its mobile, desktop and server lines will deliver better overall performance and better performance per watt than AMD's rival products. And this performance edge is coming 'sooner than you think.'

"Intel has been on the defensive since 2004 due to a series of chip cancellations, delays and failures to advance its processor technology at the same rate as AMD. The chip giant, however, would never admit to such failings in public, insisting instead that all was fine.

"This week's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco cracked Intel's vow of silence as officials conceded that past products didn't not address power consumption issues as well as they should have. In addition, Intel confessed to falling behind AMD's Opteron on numerous benchmarks. (Intel has never discussed its miscues with 64-bit extensions and dual-core server processor delivery, but two out of four ain't bad.)

"Intel plans to eradicate any failings with its new 'Core' microarchitecture. This chip design builds on the devices created by Intel's mobile processor team in Israel. Intel will extend the performance per watt advantages seen in its mobile chips (Pentium M) to the desktop and server markets where AMD currently holds a clear lead."

Link: Intel's New 'Core' Could Gore AMD

Intel's Gelsinger Talks Virtualization, Quad-Core

eWeek's Jeffrey Burt reports:

"As Intel prepares to roll out the next generations of processors based on its new Core Architecture, officials are commenting on what the company is doing to enhance such areas as hardware-level virtualization and quad-core chips.

"Speaking here at the Intel Developer Forum on March 7, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, demonstrated both server and desktop systems running early versions of the company's quad-core processors, which are due next year."

Link: Intel's Gelsinger Talks Shop on Virtualization, Quad-Core

Power, Performance at the Core of Future Intel Chips

eWeek's John G. Spooner reports:

"SAN FRANCISCO-Attention to power consumption has formed the core of a new generation of Intel chips coming out later this year.

"Justin Rattner, Intel's chief financial officer, kicked off the company's spring Developer Forum here March 7 by taking the wraps off some of the features behind the chip maker's Core Microarchitecture. Core Microarchitecture, otherwise known as Next Generation Microarchitecture, is a redesign of the circuitry that underpins Intel's entire chip line. It not only delivers double-digit performance gains across desktops, notebooks and servers, but it will also help deliver double-digit cuts in power consumption, Rattner said. Intel first discussed it last August."

Link: Power, Performance at the Core of Future Intel Chips

Intel Invests $300 Million to Build First Semiconductor Assembly and Test Facility in Vietnam

PR: Intel Corporation has announced it will invest $300 million (US) to build a semiconductor assembly and test facility in Ho Chi Minh City. This represents the first such investment by the semiconductor industry in Vietnam and supports Intel's strategy to invest to support overall demand. Construction of this facility will begin immediately.

"We applaud the progress the country has made in building up their technology infrastructure and the support of education programs to advance the capabilities of the local workforce," said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett. "Intel looks forward to working with the government and public sector in Vietnam to grow their technology capabilities and competitiveness."

The latest addition to the global network of assembly and test facilities will supplement Intel's existing activities in Southeast Asia. As part of Intel's digital ASEAN (d-ASEAN) program, the company continues to work on the development of a stronger digital workforce, integrating technology into education and government, as well as making technology more accessible for business and consumers.

This new facility is part of Intel's worldwide expansion of production capacity. By the end of 2006, the company plans to invest over $6 billion worldwide for capital additions. When completed, the Vietnam facility will be the seventh assembly site of Intel's global network and is projected to eventually employ about 1200 people. Other sites include Penang and Kulim, Malaysia; Cavite, Philippines; Chengdu and Shanghai, China; and San Jose, Costa Rica.

Link: Intel

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