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Intel Government The Courts Hardware

Despite FTC Settlement, Intel Can Ship Oak Trail Without PCIe 140

Posted by timothy
from the bizarre-micromanagement-from-on-high dept.
MojoKid writes "When the Federal Trade Commission settled their investigation of Intel, one of the stipulations of the agreement was that Intel would continue to support the PCI Express standard for the next six years. Intel agreed to all the FTC's demands, but Intel's upcoming Oak Trail Atom platform presented something of a conundrum. Oak Trail was finalized long before the FTC and Intel began negotiating, which means Santa Clara could've been banned from shipping the platform. However, the FTC and Intel have recently jointly announced an agreement covering Oak Trail that allows Intel to sell the platform without adding PCIe support — for now."
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Despite FTC Settlement, Intel Can Ship Oak Trail Without PCIe

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  • by bhcompy (1877290) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:48PM (#34145080)
    You mean leaving no way for nVidia to do it. ATI has always had solid mobility offerings and AMD owning them just means that nV is left out in the cold if Intel goes down the course you say.
  • by sarkeizen (106737) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @12:18AM (#34145216) Journal
    I don't even see the relevance of the Atom platform anymore. It used to be about power efficiency and they really got there with the Z series maxing out at 2.4W. This was, of course at the expense of processing power, addressable memory and such. However after the release of the SU7300 which maxes out at 10W - and doesn't have the limitations of the Atom. I get that there are some power savings in there with all the integration Intel is planning but I'm skeptical how much that bares out. My wife was recently in the market for a more portable machine for work and I steered her toward an machine with an SU7300 core. It's battery life rivaled my Z series netbook and was much more functional (in addition to the other things I've mentioned my netbook had a GMA 500 graphics controller which Intel severely hobbled in Windows 7). When that netbook died I replaced it with the ASUS UL30 - a bit more screen space, longer battery life, full 64 bit OS, well supported video hardware, up to 8GB of RAM...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 06, 2010 @12:20AM (#34145224)

    AMD also has HyperTransport. Maybe this was why there were rumours about Nvidia making a CPU.

    If Intel & AMD decided to offer GPUs linked by QPI & HT it would give their GPUs a big advantage with Nvidia unable to compete.

    I think non-portable computers will end up a lot more modular in this way. Memory, CPUs, GPUs, Northbridge all connected to each other on a future generation of a switched HT/QPI bus. It would make the computers much more scalable, futureproof, adaptable and efficient. It might also allow you to mix different components. Imagine having an ARM CPU in your computer to handle day to day work. It would be more than enough and much more efficient to use an ARM CPU for OS work and leave more powerful components idle unless they're needed. If you need more expansion just link it to another bus switch to add a few more CPUs, GPUs or whatever remembering its associated issues.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @12:38AM (#34145300)

    If Intel & AMD decided to offer GPUs linked by QPI & HT it would give their GPUs a big advantage with Nvidia unable to compete.

    That would also kill Intel's high-end consumer products. Most high-end Intel CPUs are sold to gamers, who aren't going to be gaming on some crappy Intel integrated graphics chip.

    At least for the forseeable future, Intel need Nvidia for the mid to high-end gaming market, because they're not going to be releasing GPUs in that arena any time soon.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @03:44AM (#34145858) Journal

    Instead of telling Intel how to make their product, I consider it much better to confiscate the relevant patents and copyrights and put them into the public domain. That way AMD, nvidia, etc. will have all the access they need. They use asset forfeiture on us all the time. Time to use it here. Fair is fair.

  • If Intel doesn't want a GPU on their platforms, it is trivial to abide by the letter of the law and still screw Nvidia

    During the public comment period, I submitted a comment about this and the FTC actually responded:
    http://www.ftc.gov/os/adjpro/d9341/101102intelletterbao.pdf [ftc.gov]

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @05:11AM (#34145990)

    Intel doesn't want nVidia making chipsets, true enough, because Intel makes chipsets. However the want expansion slots on their boards because they want people using their boards. I'm quite sure they are plenty happy with nVidia and ATi graphics cards. Heck they've included ATi's crossfire on their boards for a long time (they didn't have SLI because nVidia wouldn't license it to them). Intel has nothing that competes in that arena, and they recently revised their plan so they aren't even going to try. They want people to get those high end GPUs because people who get high end GPUs often get high end CPUs since they are gamers. Not only that, they STILL sell the Integrated GPU, since it is on chip.

    I just can't see them not wanting PCIe in their regular desktop boards. They know expansion is popular, and they also know that the people who expand the most also want the biggest CPUs.

    Now on an Atom platform? Sure makes sense. These are extremely low end systems. PCIe logic is really nothing but wasted silicon. You don't have room for PCIe expansions in there, never mind the desire for it. Those are integrated, all-in-one, low end platforms.

    However desktop and laptop? I can't see them wanting to eliminate it there.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @05:17AM (#34146006)

    Don't believe their bullshit. Two major flaws with their argument:

    1) Nobody gives a shit about PCIe speed on the Atom. It is a low end platform, for netbooks. You are not putting discrete GPUs at all on it, never mind fast ones. You do not want that kind of battery drain, or cost, for that platform. Speed is really not relivant.

    2) PCIe is way, WAY faster than it needs to be. 8x, which is half speed, is still more than you need as HardOCP found (http://hardocp.com/article/2010/08/16/sli_cfx_pcie_bandwidth_perf_x16x16_vs_x16x8/6) even for extremely high end cards in multi-card setups. For that matter on the forums Kyle said that 4x (quarter speed) is still more than enough for cards at 1920x1200. The highest end discreet cards don't need it, you are fine.

    Semi-accurate is more of a raving opinion rag than a news site. The guy who runs it was fired from The Register for bias, and that is right up there with getting fired from Fox News. He hates Intel, hates nVidia and loves AMD/ATi.

  • by Tailhook (98486) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @06:13AM (#34146140)

    mediocre solution that they have to glue it onto the CPU

    The mediocre solution (GMA HD) they are gluing to the CPU is a derivative of the solution they shipped 140,000,000 of last year (GMA* in 90%+ of every laptop manufactured.) That's pretty hilarious. It will be downright hysterical when, integrated into the CPUs, another 100,000,000 displace most of the discrete desktop graphics cards.

    Do not bet against integration.

  • by squizzar (1031726) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:05AM (#34146464)
    I thought that Intel wanted to break into the embedded market that contains a lot of ARM and PowerPC cores with Atom? The FPGA + Embedded processor combination is pretty common, and PCIe is the way to interface them. Hence your low power/low performance chip is bundled together with another (FPGA or ASIC) that does the heavy lifting for a specific task. Every application that requires some serious, but fixed, number crunching is appropriate for this. I do broadcast related stuff, so the things that spring to mind are video compressors, deinterlacers, etc. Why spend lots of dollars and lots of watts on a powerful CPU when you can combine a amsll core and an ASIC/FPGA and get the same result? Without PCIe no one is going to consider the Atom for these applications.
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @09:40AM (#34146808)

    Try instead looking at, say, a Core i5-760. 2.8GHz quad core chip for $210. Look up some performance numbers and then compare to AMD chips.

    Performance numbers based on Intel crippling compiler.

    Yeah. Even in cases where Intel's compiler isnt used for the benchmark program, many benchmarks still use libraries compiled with Intel's compiler.

    Of significance are Intels Math Kernel Library and even AMD's Core Math Library (compiled with Intels fortran compiler!)

    These libraries are extensively used in most benchmark programs.

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