BusinessWeek looks at IBM, Intel, others’ CPU issues

“Typically, companies are reluctant to publicly blame a partner when something goes wrong. But when Apple Computer reported second-quarter earnings on July 14, it didn’t hold back. It blamed IBM’s failure to deliver enough microprocessors for Apple’s inability to satisfy demand for its popular Power Mac G5s. Said Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer: ‘We’re extremely unhappy with these events,'” Steve Hamm reports for BusinessWeek.

“IBM isn’t the only company having problems making chips these days. Intel’s delivery of Prescott, its most recent Pentium processor, was delayed by more than six months, until February, while it worked out design problems. And leading chipmaker-for-hire Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing has experienced delays as well,” Hamm reports.

Full article here.

11 Comments

  1. There has been no production of “Antares” chips. Making them under lab conditions is fine but ramping up for manufacturing is something entirely different. That’s why the 90nm chips have had problems. All can theoretically be fine when making pre-production samples, but when it comes to time for mass production…. well you know the result.

  2. You’re welcome, Red Wings. The processor in the article that I linked to appears *not* primarily intended for Powerbooks, but rather likely the next generation Xserves and PowerMacs. On the Powerbook front I wouldn’t count out Motorola or the G4 just yet. The buzz is that Motorola might surprise us all in the not so distant future.

  3. Thanks Gabriel,
    I reported the link to MDN last night as well, and I’m looking forward to their take on it. Think Secret appears to me to be the best and most conservative (read “accurate”) of the rumor sites, so I tend to take their pronouncements seriously. I agree completely that Motorola should not be discounted either; the G4 still has not reached its full potential, and I have argued in this forum that putting more advanced G4’s in PowerBooks might be a better option than trying to shoehorn the G5 into a one-inch thick case. Unless of course, the reputed power management features of the upcoming G5’s can solve the power consumption/heat dissipation constraints the engineers face.

    pkradd,
    Wise words of caution, but if IBM have in fact ironed out their yield problems with the 90nm process, I believe that “Antares” will meet their delivery schedule. From what I understand, the problem is manufacturing, not technological, difficulties.

  4. I agree completely that Motorola should not be discounted either; the G4 still has not reached its full potential, and I have argued in this forum that putting more advanced G4’s in PowerBooks might be a better option than trying to shoehorn the G5 into a one-inch thick case. – Viridian

    They really have to work on the front side bus, though. It’s a shame that a good chip otherwise was slowed down by the FSB. For how many years have we heard about what they were going to do to improve the FSB and yet Motorola failed to do so? Motorola may yet surprise us, but if there is one Dilbert company, Motorola is it.

  5. “They really have to work on the front side bus, though. It’s a shame that a good chip otherwise was slowed down by the FSB.”

    Nobody,
    Well said. It’s nothing short of a tragedy that a processor as well-engineered and promising as the G4 should attract such ill-deserved negative publicity, or whose development should be hamstrung, because of Moto’s manufacturing blunders.

  6. Viridian, Think Secret is one of the more accurate rumour sites around, but their track record isn’t perfect. I remember in the days leading up to the WWDC 2004 how Nick dePlume published an article in which he stated that the speculation around the web regarding the possible Stevenote release of G5 iMacs had Apple, and I quote “…laughing at the rumors on this one…”

    In light of the present iMac fiasco, we simply *know* that *nobody* in Cupertino were laughing about the absence of new iMacs at the WWDC. Rather, I’d wager, heads were rolling.

  7. ” IBM, for example, has come up with a technology called silicon-on-insulator, which reduces power consumption and heat. It was also the first company to introduce so-called dual-core microprocessors. These are chips with two processors on a single piece of silicon that share tasks and eliminate the need to run at the high speeds that cause excessive heat.”

    Isn’t Symmetric Multitasking something that Motorola and Apple pioneered years ago?, henceforth the Megahertz Myth’s propogation?

  8. Gabriel,

    Point taken, but Think Secret did accurately report that the iMac G5 would not debut at WWDC. I agree though, there can’t have been much mirth in evidence at 1 Infinite Loop.

  9. “Isn’t Symmetric Multitasking something that Motorola and Apple pioneered years ago?”

    Rescuesquad,
    I suspect that you’re referring to Symmetric Multiprocessing. Here’s the link to the Wikepedia page on SMP. It’s quite informative, although it doesn’t name the pioneers in the field. It does state that Apple has been pursuing SMP “aggressively” for several years, but the references to 8 and 16 processor systems leads me to believe that SMP was developed by one or several of the heavy metal manufacturers. I’d appreciate it if someone here could supply more details.

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