Intel hits ‘thermal wall’ with inefficient microprocessors, Apple Power Mac G5 uses less power to ac

“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.


  1. Well, we all knew it would have to happen eventually… I thought it would be 10 years ago, but Intel is an engineering juggernaut and has made CISC work for far longer than it should have.

    It’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out over the next year or so. With OS X out now and Longhorn due out in 2 years, plus now the PowerPC still growing (I hope!) while Intel chips are wrung out, this should be a very good time for Apple/IBM to start winning some major market share.

    If only their marketing were as good as their products!

  2. soLongHorn needs 4-6GHz or so in a few years time, and is not RISCy… (pun intended). Intel drops Tejas and Jayhawk and has a bright “new” idea: “let’s go where the others went!” and starts developing a new type of CPU… due when??? ready when soLongHorn needs that speed?? stable??

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  3. They are adopting a dual core chip, and Longhorn is supposed to take a dual core 4-6 Ghz processor(s), a terrabyte of disk space and 5x present video card speeds.

    This means no more cheapo PC’s, no more home built options.

    They may as well buy a PowerMac G5 and have it today instead of waiting for Intel to switch gears and Longhorn to be debugged.

    Apple/IBM has caught Intel/Microsoft napping.

    Good luck in 2009 Windows users, by then Mac’s will be so far ahead you’ll never catch up.

  4. **Sorry to be off-topic**

    Hey NoPCZone, did you post something the other day about using a headless PC with MS Remote Desktop Connection to run MS apps/CD-roms instead of Virtual PC?

    I need to know more about that. A friend of mine might be able to give me an old CPU with Windows 2000 (pro, I think).


  5. Intel makes space heaters that also run software.

    You would think that the little muffin fan mounted right on Intel CPUs might have been a clue.

  6. AMD are laughing all the way to the bank. The Opteron and Athlon are going to clean up. I can see more people coming to Apple at the high end, but the cheap PC is going AMD across the line.

  7. Back in college I remember some of the computer science majors talking about the heat in pentium chips and many thought Intel would never be able to build a processor above 200mhz or so. So intel got a lot further with the old cisc architecture then many believed they would. Almost ten years or so.

  8. Yep, you know Intel. They’ll just go sit at their desks, put their feet up and read the sports page from here on out.

    “Chips, what chips, I’m busy with my hockey playoffs so leave me alone…”

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