Apple May Switch to Inferior, Pricier Chips to Spite Samsung – DailyTech

Analysts suggests Apple’s customers may hardly notice the difference, even if they’re paying more

Even as Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.’s (SEO 005930) legal woes [1][2][3][4][5] regarding Apple, Inc.’s (AAPL) campaign of lawsuits and trade court complaints continue, it faces a perhaps more serious crisis in the form of an eroding supply relationship with its legal rival.  Samsung currently “has its cake and eats it too”, enjoying a position in that it’s the world’s second largest phone manufacturer, and at the same time drawing a great deal of revenue from the world’s largest phone manufacturer, Apple, whom it supplies NAND flash memory.  But that comfortable situation for Samsung could be coming to an end.

I. Apple Expected to Dump Samsung

Nho Geun-chang, an analyst at HMC Investment Securities tells Reuters in an interview, “Samsung’s tablet business will be most affected and its chip business will also take a hit as Apple moves to diversify away from Samsung to the likes of Toshiba. For Samsung, (the) biggest concern is reduced order from Apple. Without Apple’s big backing, it would be difficult for Samsung to boost its chip market share sharply.”

Mr. Geun-chang suggests that while the chips from rival suppliers will likely be slightly inferior in reliability, power performance, and other metrics, and may increase device costs, Apple’s unquestioningly loyal customer will hardly notice the difference.  He comments, “Apple is leveraging the fact that it’s got alternative suppliers. They may offer inferior or more expensive components but it’s something consumers barely notice and something Apple can successfully use to pressure Samsung.”

II. Device Business is More Lucrative for Samsung

The battle against Apple may prove painful, given the slow death of its lucrative supply contract, but it’s one that Samsung must commit to, according to Mr. Geun-Chang.

Samsung’s supplier contracts to Apple in calendar Q1 2011 constituted 5.8 percent of its revenue, up from 4 percent ($5.7B USD) a year prior.  But its devices business is too valuable to sacrifice even for the lucrative supply contract — device sales will soon constitute over half of the company’s revenue, according to analysts.  States Mr. Geun-chang, “[T]aking passive steps for fear of losing its biggest customer will slow down strong growth momentum at its telecoms business, which Samsung doesn’t want to see as the business is set to become the biggest earnings generator this year and make up for weakening chip profits. It’ll be a costly battle for Samsung.”

Some say the lawsuit campaign could hurt Apple more than Samsung.  Aside from possible quality and price issues with a supplier switch, Apple may be creating the perception that Samsung is the best of the competition.  States Choi Do-youn, an analyst at LIG Investment & Securities, “These legal battles are raising perception among consumers that Samsung is the only one capable of competing against Apple.”

There’s some truth in that belief.  Samsung is by far the top Android phone manufacturer and holds a huge lead in tablet sales over other Android manufacturers.  In the tablet sector it’s the only company to be currently giving serious chase to Apple, selling 7.5 million tablets in H1 2011, compared with Apple’s 14 million.

On the smart phone side Samsung’s diversified approach is paying even greater dividends.  The company’s broad lineup, which includes the best-selling Galaxy family of smart phones, posted 500 percent growth in Q2 2011, compared to an impressive, but lesser 142 percent growth by Apple.  Some expect Samsung to dethrone Apple’s brief reign atop global smart phone sales (by manufacturer) when the Q3 2011 numbers come out next month.

Samsung and Apple are now suing each other in at least 23 lawsuits or trade complaints in 10 different countries.  One key trade complaint will be Apple’s request to ban sales of Samsung’s tablets and smart phones, via an import ban, which the U.S. International Trade Commission will consider [docket record] next month.  In anticipation of that hearing, Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) has filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of Samsung, saying an import ban would create economic harm to U.S. customers and lead to job loss.

Some are holding out hope that the pair will settle their dispute outside court, similar to Apple and Finland’s Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V).  Comments HSBC analyst Daniel Kim, “The most likely scenario is an out-of-court settlement, after a long-drawn IP battle… As in the case of the Nokia-Apple dispute, this issue too is likely to be settled out of the court, after a long drawn legal dispute.”
Source: DailyTech.

[How to] Overclock Sandy Bridge E – bit-tech.net

How to Overclock Sandy Bridge E

Intel showed us how it would overclock  a Sandy Bridge E processor
Intel showed us how it would overclock a Sandy Bridge E processor

While we’ve yet to get our hands on a Sandy Bridge E processor, Intel has revealed how we’ll be overclocking it. As the architecture’s codename implies, Sandy Bridge E is based on the Sandy Bridge architecture, despite the new LGA2011 CPU socket and the quad-channel memory controller. This means that it shares many of the characteristics of the LGA1155 CPUs which with we’ve become familiar.Recently leaked information that showed that only one Sandy Bridge E processor will have an unlocked multiplier was therefore met with shock and dismay – it had seemed that if you wanted to overclock Intel’s supposedly enthusiast-class platform, you’d have to pay through the nose for the top-end LGA2011 CPU, which was rumoured to cost $999 before tax.Without an unlocked multiplier on an LGA1155 system, you’re limited to Base Clock overclocking, which Intel only recommends increasing by up to 5 per cent, while others claim it’s only good for up to a 10 per cent boost.Thankfully, we now know that Sandy Bridge E systems support more flexible Base Clock overclocking than Sandy Bridge systems.The key is a new divider between the Base Clock of the system and the CPU – it’s a gearing mechanism, just like a memory strap or a CPU multiplier.There are two dividers to tweak, at 1.25x and 1.66x, with both acting to gear up the Base Clock used by the CPU, while leaving the Base Clock for the rest of the system alone.Having two Base Clocks in one system will probably get confusing, though, so in the absence of clear labelling from Intel we’ll call them the System Clock and the CPU clock.You’ll also need to tinker with the Turbo Boost tweaks with which you’re familiar when overclocking a Sandy Bridge system – increasing the maximum possible power draw of the CPU to prevent Turbo Boost capping your overclock, or reducing it during a prolonged session.

*How to Overclock Sandy Bridge E How to Overclock Sandy Bridge E *How to Overclock Sandy Bridge E How to Overclock Sandy Bridge E
Intel highlights the key areas for overclocking Sandy Bridge E processors, and gives a practical example of a 4.74GHz overclock

From the slides, demos and discussions we’ve had with Intel, we can now tell you how to overclock Sandy Bridge E to 5GHz, although our methodology will work for any overclock on such a system.
Read more @ bit-tech.net.

Multi-Core Goes Mainstream, Computing Pushed to Extremes

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

  • New “Near Threshold Voltage Processor” from Intel Labs challenges the computing system status quo with an experimental Pentium®-class Intel® architecture CPU delivering five times the energy efficiency and the ability to run off a solar cell the size of a postage stamp.
  • Intel Labs released a “Parallel JS” engine to the open source community, adding data-parallel capabilities to JavaScript™ to speed up browser-based services such as computer vision, cryptography, and 3-D games by up to 8-fold.
  • Intel Labs unveiled the Hybrid Memory Cube with 7-times better energy efficiency than today’s DDR3 memory along with the highest data rates ever seen in a single DRAM device.
  • Intel CTO Justin Rattner highlighted the accelerating impact of multi- and many-core computing, expanding beyond HPC with developers solving a wide range of everyday computing problems on both clients and servers.

INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM, San Francisco, Sept. 15, 2011 – Citing the impact of multi- and many-core computing hitting the mainstream and new developments in extreme scale computing as examples, Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, told an Intel Developer Forum audience that the future of computing is being accelerated.

“Since 2006 Intel and the IA developer community have worked in partnership to realize the potential of multi- and many-core computing, with accelerating impact beyond high-performance computing to solving a wide range of real-world computing problems on clients and servers,” Rattner said during his Day 3 keynote in San Francisco. “What we have demonstrated today only scratches the surface of what will be possible with many-core and extreme scale computing systems in the future.”

Computing to the Extreme

Intel continues to push tech beyond today’s limits, looking for the next big leaps that take computing to the next levels of performance with much less power consumption than is possible today. As an example, Rattner demonstrated a Near-Threshold Voltage Processorusing novel, ultra-low voltage circuits that dramatically reduce energy consumption by operating close to threshold, or turn-on voltage, of the transistors. This concept CPU runs fast when needed but drops power to below 10 milliwatts when its workload is light – low enough to keep running while powered only by a solar cell the size of a postage stamp. While the research chip will not become a product itself, the results of this research could lead to the integration of scalable near-threshold voltage circuits across a wide range of future products, reducing power consumption by 5-fold or more and extending always-on capability to a wider range of computing devices. Technologies such as this will further Intel Labs’ goal to reduce energy consumption per computation by 100- to1000-fold for applications ranging from massive data processing at one end of the spectrum to terascale-in-a-pocket at the other.

The Hybrid Memory Cube, a concept DRAM developed by Micron* in collaboration with Intel, demonstrates a new approach to memory design delivering a 7-fold improvement in energy-efficiency over today’s DDR3. Hybrid Memory Cube uses a stacked memory chip configuration, forming a compact “cube,” and uses a new, highly efficient memory interface which sets the bar for energy consumed per bit transferred while supporting data rates of one trillion bits per second. This research could lead to dramatic improvements in servers optimized for cloud computing as well as ultrabooks, televisions, tablets and smartphones

Multicore’s Many Uses

Multi-core, the practice of building more than one processing engine into a single chip, has become the accepted method to increase performance while keeping power consumption low. While many-core is more of a design perspective, rather than incrementally adding cores in a traditional approach, it’s reinventing chip design based on the assumption that high core counts is the new norm.

Rattner highlighted the progress multi-core computing has seen since he introduced Intel’s first dual-core processor at IDF 5 years ago. Today Intel’s multi- and many-core processors are hosting a myriad of important applications across a wide range of industry sectors, including some surprising new uses in the rapidly advancing world of high-core-count computing.

Rattner described some of the latest applications of this technology along with the software tools and programming techniques that are enabling developers to harness the power of multi- and many-core computing in several key areas, including:

  • Faster Web Apps: Extending JavaScript™ with data-parallel programming features, using a just-released experimentalParallel JS open-source engine from Intel Labs, to enable a new class of browser-based apps in domains such as photo and video editing, physics simulation, and 3-D gaming for desktop and mobile personal computers, including Ultrabooks™.
  • More Responsive Cloud Services: Best-in-class increases in queries per second for Memcached applications using the multi-core capabilities of Intel’s 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ microprocessor to enable the world’s largest Internet sites to improve their Web app responsiveness and minimize user wait times for critical data.
  • Improved PC Client Security: Parallel cryptographic and facial recognition services to improve security on Ultrabooks and traditional notebook and desktop personal computers by utilizing all of the IA and graphics cores on 2nd Generation Intel Core microprocessors in a heterogeneous fashion.
  • Lower Cost Wireless Infrastructure: Collaborative research with China Mobile to replace the custom and costly base-station hardware used on cell towers today with a fully programmable and far more cost-effective, software-based PC alternative.
  • Really Big Science: Unlocking the mysteries of the universe by utilizing clusters of Intel multi-core processors at CERN* to greatly improve their high-energy physics app performance and to quickly port their code to Intel’s upcoming Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture product family.

HMC3.jpg

Hybrid Memory Cube

Source: Intel Newsroom.