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Intel Hardware

Where's Alviso? 104

DMOS writes "Intel's 'Dothan' processor for moblile computers has finally seen the light of day, but where is the rest of the 'Sonoma' platform? Specifically, the 'Alviso' chipset that is replacing the current i855 and ICH4m. So far it appears to be MIA, and Devhardware looks into why with their 'Where's Alviso?' article."
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Where's Alviso?

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  • What's down the pike, Rethan, Mithan, Fathan, Sothan, ...?

    • > What's down the pike, Rethan, Mithan, Fathan, Sothan, ...?

      Sorry; I think that's based on a bad parse. More likely will be Dotchewy, Dotluke, Dotleia, Dotbobba, Dotdarth, Dotstormtrooper#3, ...

  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @06:50PM (#10112996) Journal
    Come off Hwy 101 in Sunnyvale, take Hwy 237 East and head for Milpitas. I think.
    • I thought the same thing....

      And it's on the left hand side of the road....
      • Well, I was going to say near Sunnyvale on Mountain View-Alviso Road, but....

        It's kind of cool with all the murals on the walls and stuff. Worth driving by if you're in the area. Then hang a left on the end of 237 and drive up over the hills for a nice view overlooking the entire South Bay.

        As for the chipset, why do we really need it? It's a laptop chipset. Adding DDR just adds heat, cost, and power consumption without that much benefit. (I mean, really, how many of you are doing video rendering or

        • Re:Where's Alviso? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bhtooefr ( 649901 )
          If they want DDR2 and PCI-E on a laptop so badly, what's stopping them from using a 925X? No, it wouldn't be Centrino, but you COULD throw a Dothan (or any P4, be it Socket 423, 478, or LGA775) on that chipset.
          • I don't think the Pentium M (basically a pentium 3 with a lot of p4-based enhancements) is bus-compatible with the Pentium 4 (lest we would be seeing PM-based desktop boards flying off the mills).
            • No, it is very much bus compatible. Why else would the i852 work on P-Ms AND P4s, and why else would Intel have been able to demo the P-M on a Xeon chipset?

              The reason why P-M desktop boards aren't selling - price. They're out there in MITX format.
        • Er, what?

          Pentium M systems using the i855 chipset already use DDR266(PC2100). DDR2 runs at a lower voltage than DDR, thereby producing less heat and consuming less power. If you had read the article . . . no, wait, nevermind.
    • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:05PM (#10113090) Homepage
      yep. There it is. [yahoo.com]
    • Yes, TiVo is there. Smelly as hell, but cool... You can see what happens to a harbor when you stop dredging it. Alviso has a an undredged harbor.
      • Tivo's pretty far east, past the sewage plant and garbage dump. The town is west of all that, and I've never noticed it smelling bad, though I'm used to living in places with freshwater or saltwater marshes before I moved to CA, and your tastes may be different. Occasionally the wind blows the wrong way, though.

        There were a couple of houses I looked at renting or buying when I moved out here in ~93. Before 237 was upgraded and the Dot-Com era office buildings and accompanying yuppies got there, Alviso

    • Probabaly in the same location as my socks.
    • It's also sinking, a fate this project of the same name hopes to avoid...
    • And Dothan is on Hwy 231, about 100 miles south of Montgomery.
    • They name all their code names after place names so that they won't accidentally step on any feet. This didn't turn out so well for Tanglewood because the Boston Pops happens to practice there. Instead of trying to fight it (there's no reason to) they changed it to another town which can be abbreviated TW. Check the inquirer or someone post the new name if you feel so inclined. I won't.
    • No no no! Clearly they meant the street! It runs right through Santa Clara University in Santa Clara CA. You can't miss it, just look for the college students passed out in the street. (Full disclosure: my girlfriend went to Santa Clara U). (Full Disclosure 2: I still don't respect most of the people she went to school with). (Full Disclosure 3: One of those fuckers threw up on me once). (Full Disclosure 4: I went to the University of Minnesota, where people had the fucking decency to at least throw up in t
    • Yeah, it's the home of Vahl's, one of my favorite spots. More on Alviso here....

      http://www.sanjose.com/underbelly/unbelly/Alviso/a lviso1.html [sanjose.com]
    • And, did they remember to document it this time?
  • Alviso's location (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Alviso's just north of San Jose, but legally speaking is part of San Jose. Silicon Valley tried to grow north of hwy237 during the .BOOM years, but didn't quite make it, and the predicted swamping of alviso by outsiders didn't quite happen.

    Alviso is where TiVO is headquartered.

    http://www.alviso.com/ [alviso.com]
  • Where? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Fek'Lar ( 804674 )
    Take 101 to 237 east until you smell it.
  • RTFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by cephyn ( 461066 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @06:55PM (#10113033) Homepage
    RTFA. Pay your respects. Many Dothans died for this information.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @06:57PM (#10113050) Homepage Journal
    My guess is that Dothan may be held up as well pending GX-NX flag compatibility, without which there's no way to take full advantage of XP SP2 anyway and so nobody will buy.
  • It was a brave one, he was first lieutenant of Alpha company, he was of major aid to Operation: "Processor Freedom" and will be greatly missed.
  • Maybe the lack of Alviso indicates Intel's trying to figure if Alviso is what they need to secure the market share.

    And maybe this DDR2 and fastest FSB (higher GHz?) aren't what the consumers are looking for at the moment.
    • If you check out most of Intel's latest mobile push (Centrino) you will notice that they are centered more on efficiency and power saving. I can run my Dothan based Centrino laptop for almost 4 hours and still get good performance out of it, even though the CPU is 1GHz slower than when at full speed. Intel can see that people want this, not faster and faster GHz (for a mobile anyway).
    • This is the second person posting here questioning the value of DDR2 in a laptop. That was covered in the article. DDR2 runs at a lower voltage than the DDR used in i855-based notebooks(1.8v vs 2.5v). It consumes less power and produces less heat. so, yes, that is what consumers are looking for at the moment.
  • by MsGeek ( 162936 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:05PM (#10113089) Homepage Journal
    Intel has always been somewhat embarrassed about the Pentium M series of microprocessors. Basically a Pentium M, whether a Banias or Dothan, (both of which are named after rivers in Israel) is more an heir of the Pentium III architecture than the P4. Yet, the Pentium M, clock for clock, does more work and stays cooler than the P4.

    A Pentium M desktop would be great, and it looks like Alviso is that very desktop. It would be ideal for quiet media boxes and transportable LAN party machines. However, I am sure that one of the reasons why Intel is dragging its feet is this: to put out a desktop Pentium M board would be an admission of just how much of a disappointment the P4 architecture has been.

    Perhaps Intel should look towards Micro-ITX and Nano-ITX applications of this technology as well. I'm sure that the existing Centrino chipset would be ideal for such mini-boxen.
    • Banias or Dothan, (both of which are named after rivers in Israel)
      not surprising given Intel's penchant for naming things after geographical landmarks, and the fact that a large portion of the design team being in Israel

      A Pentium M desktop would be great, and it looks like Alviso is that very desktop.
      While I agree on the first part, there is no reason it can't be done with the current chipsets, just add a miniPCI NIC for the A/B/G 802.11 access. The reason I don't agree about the chipset, if you add f
    • Actually, it's the Dells of the world that prevent the Pentium M from being on the desktop. There is a premium for bying a Pentium M processor (not as massivily produced as P4's are), and the desktop manufacturers dont' want to pay that premium for a desktop chip. As for Intel releasing their own chipset/mobo for a desktop Pentium M, I think Intel believes there wouldn't be much of a market for them, so they don't produce them. But in no way is Intel "embarrassed" that the Pentium M is a good chip and th
      • As for Intel releasing their own chipset/mobo for a desktop Pentium M, I think Intel believes there wouldn't be much of a market for them, so they don't produce them.

        Hmmm, I don't know if I completely agree there. The Pentium-M has been integrated into blades and is listed on Intel's site as having the support of thier E7501 chipset -- since they know it can kick ass. Just yesterday I found a comparison of Dothan with current P4 and A64 cpus that was really amazing (google for "DFI" and "Dothan", then hit

    • not that far fetched, it would make much more sense on desktop anyways than their balls-cut-off-celeron line does anyways... internal politics..

      btw good sig, i'm all for it too(the first thing anwyays, can't affect the second myself).

      • not that far fetched, it would make much more sense on desktop anyways than their balls-cut-off-celeron line does anyways... internal politics..
        NOT internal politics . . . business
        The M costs more to produce than the Celeron
        The point of the Celeron is to be cheap, not low power.
        bad argument.

    • I don't think they're really ashamed of it; I just don't think they expected their dedicated desktop chips to be such poor performers (with regards to clockspeed and leakage) in this regard.

      IIRC Intel already scrapped Tejas (the even more absurdly clocked successor to the P4 Prescott) and are basing at least some of their future desktop chips offof the P4-M core, simply because it isn't plagued by the leakage/heat issues of the current P4 line.

      So I think "ashamed" is a bit of a misnomer... unprepared woul
    • It seems detractors like to harp on IPC drawbacks of the P4. The instructions per cycle comparison really doesn't hold much water. I don't think Intel intended for the P4 to have a higher IPC than its predecessors.

      The Netburst trick did hold out for a couple years in giving better peak performance than AMD, and that I will give it, because Intel did keep a fair lead in high-end performance for that long with Netburst. IIRC, back when Intel had introduced the 3.06 GHz chip, AMD was just releasing their 2
    • You can have Pentium M desktops now -- I'm posting from one. They're not cheap, however.

      My primary PC uses a Lippert "Thunderbird" mini-ITX Pentium M motherboard. Unfortunately this is not by any means cheap, as it's ~$1K for the mobo w/ CPU. However, you can make a very fast, very low power, very small, near-silent PC using it, and those extra features were worth the cost [for me]. I can't imagine a mainstream desktop manufacturer would accept the cost premium associated with this particular technology (y
      • They are planning to shunt these into rack mounted servers. Why? As you mentioned, heat and power consumption. Supporting a faster bus is easy. Intel's qualification is so good that most of their chipsets support a bus speed one or two steps above the one they are rated for. i845 went from 100MHz in the original P4's right up to the current 200MHz (clock, not effective speed *which would be 800MHz in IntelSpeak*).
  • Alviso [alviso.org] is right on the Southern tip of the San Francisco Bay. It's mostly abandoned but for a few hold outs like Vahl's [sanjose.com] Restaurant. There's an bartender named Frank there who's straight out of a Rat Pack movie. Ask him to do some magic tricks for you.
    Most of Alviso is now a briney marsh due to redirection of Bay water, dikes, and nearby salt evaporation pools. On summer evenings, the sound of crickets and frogs in the reeds can be deafening.
    For those brave enough to visit, it's off the 237 next to Tivo [tivo.com]'s of
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:15PM (#10113135)
    Alviso has left the building.
  • yes I work in alviso!
  • The city of Alviso [alviso.com] is a little known community that borders on Sunnyvale. Some of TiVo's offices are located there.
  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:23PM (#10113181) Homepage Journal

    I've seen many posts on "where's alviso" but lets take a moment to talk about what alviso really is.

    Alviso used to be a boat landing for "The Valley of Hearts Delights" elite long before it became the foul smelling place that it is today. Santa Clara County built a sewage treatment plant there, and coincidentally, the elite did not like mooring up to a dock that constantly smelled like human excrement.

    Later the alviso landfill was built, to even further add to the cornicopia of smells that arose from that stinky marsh.

    Eventually alviso was populated by low income families (GANG BANGERS) and the SJ Norte's. The whole town fell into complete disrepair and despite the cities best efforts to convert it into a low lease technology park, it still remains what it is.

    The armpit of silicon valley.
  • by SynKKnyS ( 534257 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:34PM (#10113239)
    From the article:

    Next in the Centrino is its Wi-Fi ability. Currently, Centrino makes use of the 802.11b standard. In Sonoma, that's being upgraded to 802.11g.

    The author fails to note that Intel has already released the Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG (802.11g) and that it is a Centrino component.

    My laptop has one from the factory and is badged "Centrino."
  • Alviso is in the extreme north part of San Jose up against the southernmost part of SanFrancisco Bay.

    It is often referred to as the 'armpit of the Bay'. I haven't been there in 10 years, but back then it was a very slummy area. There was a good Mexican Restaurant there that we used to visit occassionally, though.
    • ...also, didn't they have trouble with flooding in Alviso every few years?
      • They've finished the levees. That was one of the "promises" that the City of San Jose made to Alviso in exchange for annexing it in the 1970's. The promise remained broken for two decades until Silicon Valley construction made its way far enough into North San Jose to the edge of Alviso.

        Now with the flood control projects completed, there is more construction occurring in Alviso. Lots of new condos. And they just finished a new power plant there.

        San Jose also bought out the Cargill salt evaporator p

    • Maria Elena's is still there, and I suspect is most of the reason for the name of this chipset (easy trip from Intel Santa Clara for lunch).

      The chipset doubtless sank into the mud like the rest of town.

      To the siblings point, yes it floods. If you've ever been there, you'd know that sea level is a vague concept out there.

  • Dothans, et al (Score:3, Informative)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:48PM (#10113324) Homepage Journal
    The Dothan system is very interesting. I've been developing for it, for about 4 months now, as part of some contract work I was doing for Intel.

    (Btw, cheap plug: If you know anyone hiring programmers, system admins, network admins or Linux coders in the Portland, Oregon region, I have plenty of experience in all of the above, and am looking for work. Here endeth the cheap plug.)

    I won't mention any specifics, but I had a number of problems coaxing Fedora to run on a Dothan board, under stress. The Linux 2.4 kernel was the worst for just locking up solid, but I locked up the 2.6 kernel on a daily basis under conditions I would have expected it to work.

    It's hard to tell if the problems were with the Dothan board or with Fedora, or with some combination of the two. Also, I was using an early development board, so there's no certainty (without testing) that the problems exist in the released system.

    If you're wanting to use Dothan with Linux for development, I would advise against using the Linux 2.4 kernel at all, and would suggest testing a little more thoroughly than you might otherwise do to make sure everything is working as you'd expect.

  • So now that they've named a chipset after Alviso, the next logical name for them to use is 'East PaloAlto', followed by 'Oakland'.

    They were naming things after rivers, now they're using slum towns of California.
    • Oakland may get a bad press but I have friends there who I stay with sometimes. It's actually kinda cool, Lake Merrit's a nice place to go for a walk and is pretty close to downtown, and the place is full of artistic and bohemian people that spill over from Berkeley. Shame how downtown's almost as dead as San Jose though.
      • Oakland may get a bad press but I have friends there who I stay with sometimes. It's actually kinda cool, Lake Merrit's a nice place to go for a walk and is pretty close to downtown, and the place is full of artistic and bohemian people that spill over from Berkeley.

        Yeah, I hear it's been changing in recent years so I shouldn't call it a 'slum'.

        Actually, the way you describe it (artistic and bohemian people) it's probably a lot more interesting than the endless sameness of the San Jose/Santa Clara/Sunny
  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @09:07PM (#10113752)
    Where's Alviso? [twu.net]

    (hint for the cluebies: You are seeking out THIS [mapquest.com] street map, around 8 feet tall, standing among the peeps.)
  • Is this a /. variation on Where's Waldo?

    What's the trick? Pick the pasty white guy with last season's Stein Mart casual Fridays outfit from the crowd of business people?

    Sigh...if I were Alviso, the Where's Alviso books would be pop-up style -- find the guy with the computer nerd gut. :-(

  • Since Alviso is practically a ghost town in Silicon Valley now (if such a thing is even possible), less desirable a place to live than even East Palo Alto.
  • Another technology making its appearance in Alviso is PCI Express (PCIe). I'm not quite sure where the benefit is for this currently

    This guy doesn't get it. PCI express means fewer runs on your board, thus easier routing. Why is it hard to figure out how that would help in a cramped design such as Alviso is targeted at? Even if the end devices don't end up being PCIe, the PXH PCIe to PCIx bridge will add flexibility in component placement.

    Beyond that, the article was a waste of time, vague conjecture,

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