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Intel Hardware

Intel To Debut Limited-Run Ivy Bridge Processor 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the low-energy dept.
abhatt writes "Intel is set to debut the most power efficient chip in the world — a limited edition 'Ivy Bridge' processor in the upcoming annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Only a select group of tablet and ultrabook vendors will receive the limited Ivy Bridge chips. From the article: 'Intel did not say how far below 10 watts these special "Y" series Ivy Bridge processors will go, though Intel vice president Kirk Skaugen is expected to talk about the processors at CES. These Ivy Bridge chips were first mentioned at Intel's annual developer conference last year but it wasn't clear at that time if Intel and its partners would go forward with designs. But it appears that some PC vendors will have select models in the coming months, according to Intel.'"
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Intel To Debut Limited-Run Ivy Bridge Processor

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  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @10:40PM (#42471325)

    There are "crippled" products on the market, sold by others as well as Intel. Sometimes it's so they can build one part in their fab, cripple the mainstream part with a fuse, and then charge a premium for the un-crippled part.

    Sometimes that actually turns our cheaper to make it this way. They could design a low end CPU to sell cheaper than their premium product, but the cost of producing an entirely different fabrication line for that CPU might actually more than just including a switch in their higher end processor to cripple the chip. The costs include having to reconfigure the production line to a different line of wafers.

    Using the same chip design means that they can still sell the CPUs that fail quality control testing. If one of the cores fails in a quad core CPU, they can just turn that one off and sell it as a dual core part. So instead of increasing the price of the premium chip by having the "fuse" as you put it, they are making the chip cheaper because it reduces the wastage if having to discard the failed processors.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @10:44PM (#42471351)

    Intel is NOT crippling Ivy Bridge processors. Rather what happens is that minor variations silicon wafer mean that different chips come out with different characteristics. It doesn't take much to change things either, we are talking thins with features just 22nm wide, little things have large effects.

    When you get a wafer of chips, you have to test and bin them. Some just flat out won't work. There'll have been some kind of defect on the wafer and it screws the chip over. You toss those. Some will work, but not in the range you want, again those get tossed. Some will work but not completely, parts will be damaged. For processors you usually have to toss them, GPUs often will disable the affected areas and bin it as a lower end part.

    Of the chips that do work, they'll have different characteristics in terms of what clock speed they can handle before having issues and what their resistance is, and thus their power usage.

    What's happening here is Intel is taking the best of the best resistance wise and binning them for a new line. They discovered that some IB chips are much lower power usage than they though (if properly frequency limited) and thus are selling a special line for power critical applications.

    They can't just "make all the chips better" or something. This is normal manufacturing variation and as a practical matter Intel has some of the best fab processes out there and thus best yields.

    CPU speeds are sometimes an artificial limit (though often not, because not only must a chip be capable of a given speed, it has to do it at it's TDP spec) but power usage is not. It uses what it uses.

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