Daily Archives: March 4, 2008

Intel’s “Atom” is unlike Acorn’s “Atom”

SOMEWHERE in this murky brown study I have an Acorn Atom – really it was a prototype for the BBC Micro, which Acorn also made.
The Acorn Atom was an early personal computer and had some nightmare qualities – the microprocessor got so hot that I had to use a hacksaw to stop the plastic casing melting onto the chip.
Interesting chip design, the Intel Atom. Wouldn’t it be better, though, if Intel used an ARM chip rather than basically producing something which seems to be rather close to the Via C7 family?
But it’s got hyperthreading, and my Acorn Atom could barely run a single thread successfully, although must say the BBC Micro was a vast improvement and did some very nice RISCy things.
Still this whole semiconductor market isn’t anything to do with chip design these days, is it? The Alpha is the undead while the Itanium lingers on like the ghost of Christmas Past.

Applied wins $2 billion from solar panel market

MIKE SPLINTER, who used to work for Chipzilla until he was nabbed by Applied Materials, has obviously got an attack of  solar euphoria.

The Wall Street Journal reports Applied has won a $1.9 billion deal to sell kit to firms producing photo-voltaic solar panels, although the company that  placed the order isn’t named.

We think the Journal’s Don Clark, who has recently taken to writing about motherboards, knows which firm it is.

It’s a privately held non-American firm. PV solar panels are great, just as long as governments give you a grant if you’re a householder to help you work out an amortisation rate that’s realistic.
The cher price of Applied shot up on the news, according to the Journal, here. You’ll need a sub to read it.

Intel issues margin warning – memory hurts

CHIP GIANT Intel said it won’t make as much gross margin as it wanted to in its first financial quarter, because the price of flash memory continues to slump.
The prices of both flash and DRAM have shown signs of eroding away to nothing over the last year, with even the big players – the Dramurai – hurting from the falls.
Intel (tick:INTC) lowered its margin forecast to about 54 per cent, down from the 56 per cent it had expected.
Still, the world+dog would die for gross margins like that, and sales of its CPUs haven’t been affected, it said in a statement.

Stitched up like a kipper, again

MY OLD mate Lord Bostoon of Barking seems to have stitched me up with this lively little ditty. Hic!


My next step after the INQUIRER

I LEFT theinquirer.net last Friday. I’m not going away however, some of you will be horrified to learn, and there’s a new project in the offing. I’m going to keep my hand in here in the meantime.