“Two weeks ago, Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, publicly acknowledged that it had hit a ‘thermal wall’ on its microprocessor line. As a result, the company is changing its product strategy and disbanding one of its most advanced design groups. Intel also said that it would abandon two advanced chip development projects, code-named Tejas and Jayhawk,” John Markoff reports for The New York Times.
“Now, Intel is embarked on a course already adopted by some of its major rivals: obtaining more computing power by stamping multiple processors on a single chip rather than straining to increase the speed of a single processor,” Markoff reports. “‘This is a very hard toggle of our product line,’ said Paul S. Otellini, Intel’s president at the company’s meeting with Wall Street analysts in New York on Thursday.”
Markoff reports, “In recent years, I.B.M. has announced a succession of technologies – including copper, strained silicon, high capacitance materials and a new insulation approach known as silicon-on-insulator. At the same time, it has focused less on pure clock speed to improve computer performance than Intel has. I.B.M.’s approach may be paying off. Its most recent processor for a top-of-the-line Apple Macintosh computer – also made with 90 nanometer manufacturing techniques – is lower in power demands than similar Intel chips.”
“During the 1980’s many computer makers thought that design approach would be displaced by a simpler approach known as reduced instruction set computing, or RISC. But Intel was able to drive down the costs of its CISC-based manufacturing process, forcing rivals using the competing approach to fall by the wayside,” Markoff reports. “The failure of the Tejas project, however, signals that Intel may have wrung all of the performance possible from its approach.”
Full article here.