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KickAss Gear News Archive: February 2004

February 28th

Don't Make Linux Mad (You Wouldn't Like it When Linux is Mad)

There is lots of talk on the internet today about how "free speech" rights won out in the "DVD Jon" case over the dissemination of DeCSS code. And indeed this is a big victory for those involved in this long-running court case about DVD copy protection. In light of the fact that 321 Studios just lost a case over the use of a descrambling system for copying DVDs, this court ruling seems a tad unusual in the ongoing copy protection wars. But one of the things that I found most interesting while reading the court's decision was the historical background on how the case developed in 1999.

As the court describes in the "factual and procedural background" section, this case started with the fact that the company that makes the DVD encryption system known as CSS (content scrambling system) did not license this system to any Linux developers. As such, it was impossible to play DVDs on Linux-based computers. The court documents do not make it clear why Linux developers were excluded, but my guess is they were not willing to pay a hefty licensing fees. Nonetheless, what you had in essence was a lot of agitated Linux programmers just itching to reverse engineer CSS and produce a Linux DVD player. And that's exactly what happened in 1999 with the development of DeCSS. 

What the court ended up ruling was that by the time DeCSS had been widely disseminated on the Internet it was impossible to protect the company's trade secrets by litigating against those who distributed the code. At that point, any such ruling would have infringed on free-speech rights more than it would have protected trade secrets. A sort of "the cat is out of the bag" ruling you could say. The end result is that all charges have been dismissed, but the ruling does not preclude the maker of CSS from further litigation against those who allegedly reverse engineered their copy protection scheme.

Perhaps the take-home message is that you don't want to make Linux mad. Ask SCO about that. They too have found out the hard way that going after Linux involves risk similar to the way that going after a large corporation involves risk. But instead of risking huge legal bills in the case of going against corporations, with Linux, you risk going up against a hard-nosed army of computer programmers. Going up against an army of angry lawyers is probably the preferable way to go.

                                              Dr. John



February 27th

Microsoft Stuck in Mud

I've been talking for some time about the curious way that Microsoft seems to be treading water in advance of their release of Windows "Longhorn". Everyone has been buzzing about when Longhorn will be released, and the answer seems to be, "not for a Long(horn) time", perhaps not until 2006! Everyone has been expecting Service Pack 2 for Windows XP sometime later this year, but beyond that, there is a giant gap in the Windows roadmap. 

Well now there is talk about an interim release of Windows XP to debut late this year, and currently Microsoft minions have been calling it "Windows XP Reloaded". All very fascinating, but it sort of ignores the fact that Microsoft has a very large opportunity now to produce a 64-bit version of Windows and garner significantly expanded sales as people upgrade to 64-bit Athlon and Opteron processors. The sales volume would not be as large as they would get with a completely new "Longhorn" release, but it could happen much quicker, and could keep the money flowing in the interim. In fact, if Microsoft increased security, and added a few handy new features to the 64-bit version of Windows, they could drive sales even higher.

I find it somewhat disconcerting that recent discussions of XP Reloaded and Longhorn do not contain even one mention of Windows 64. To me this suggests that Windows 64 is a back-burner issue at Microsoft, and that they are unsure of its sales potential. I believe this to be a major blunder on Microsoft's part, because they have a rare, golden opportunity here to push 64 bit computing into the mainstream, and reap some large rewards in the process.

                                              Dr. John



February 25th

DVD Copy Software Fight Will Go to Supreme Court

The makers of "DVD X Copy" software has vowed to appeal last weeks court decision against them all the way to the Supreme Court. A Federal Court Judge ruled against "321 Studios" and ordered them to halt sales of their software by this Friday. But 321 Studios founder and president Robert Moore said they would ask for an appeal, and a stay on the courts decision pending outcome of the appeal. Mr. Moore said "There is no difference between making a copy of a music CD for personal use and making a backup of a DVD movie for personal use. We are so firm in our belief in the principle of fair use that we will appeal this ruling immediately. And we will take our fight all the way to the Supreme Court, if that's what it takes to win."

We should all thank Mr. Moore for footing the bill on this fight, because as it stands now, two US laws are in direct conflict with one another. The "Fair Use" law allows people to make backup copies of their CDs and tapes for personal use, but the DMCA act passed later prohibits any technology that bypasses copy protection schemes on CDs and DVDs, even for personal backups.  This is a confusion that the courts need to clear up, and I'm very glad that 321 Studios has taken up the fight on every Americans behalf.

                                              Dr. John



February 24th

Internet Rumor Mill Grinds Exceeding Small

One thing that the Internet has done for us is to provide instant access to thousands of hoaxes and false stories that are posted for political reasons. This year will see more such activity than ever before, because the conservative rumor mill is in full swing for the 2004 election. For those of you who have just awakened from a protracted coma, I'll try to bring you up to speed. 

Matt 'Dredge', the Internet's favorite conservative rumor mongerer, posted a rumor that John Kerry had an extramarital affair with an intern (sound familiar?). The rumor was very detailed, including all of these non-facts: 1) Kerry asked the woman to leave the country to avoid the scandal, 2) Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman to run for VP 4 years ago because he knew that Kerry had an "intern scandal problem", 3) Wesley Clark was quoted as saying "Kerry will implode over an intern issue", and 4) the woman's father was quoted as calling Kerry a "sleezeball". The only problem with this story is that none of the rumors are true. They turned out to be so untrue that even Fox network refused to air them. That hasn't stopped the internet rumor mill.

Conservative rumor websites and blogs haven't let up one bit, and conservative-owned London tabloids are having a field day with the false story. Much of their blathering is about the "liberal media" showing their colors by not airing the disproved rumors. What this clearly shows is that the conservatives haven't got much of a positive agenda, and therefore need to resort to making up scandals. Indeed, the photo that made the rounds on NBC, CNN, MSNBC and other TV news outlets of Jane Fonda and John Kerry in the same crowd also turned out to be a complete fake. But because it was all over the internet, mainstream news organizations felt the need to show the fake picture and discuss its "implications" for the Kerry campaign. A very sorry state of affairs.

My guess is that conservative rumor mongerers were feeling some intense heat surrounding the Bush National Guard "absenteeism" problem that Bush can't seem to shake. They figured that a phony Kerry scandal would be better than nothing, and it would provide much-needed red meat for rabid Republicans desperate for some anti-Kerry ammunition. Forget about policies and platforms, we're going to be blasted with personal attacks and false rumors right up to the election, and the internet is going to be the vehicle for delivering these messages.  Rush Limbaugh and others will pick the rumors up and run with them, in the hopes of tainting Kerry with independent voters. 

What you won't hear is a single conservative rumor mongerer admit that they were wrong in the face of massive contradictory information. They will blame the "liberal media" for squelching the falsehoods, and will try to keep the claptrap rolling. Should be fun to watch as they do anything but talk about the issues facing our country. Pre-emptive war? No WMD? Distorting scientific reports? Over $100 billion spent in Iraq instead of in the US? Outing of a covert CIA operative? The trashing of the surplus in favor of a huge deficit? Halliburton overcharging scandals? Sending jobs overseas is good for America? I could go on and on.  It's pretty obvious that a substantive debate on past performance and current policies isn't going to be a winning discussion for the Republicans. 

Rumors anyone?

                                              Dr. John



February 23rd

Intel X86-64 IS AMD X86-64?

People have been looking at Intel's 64-bit extensions on the upcoming Nocoma and Prescott chips, and have found them to be identical to AMD's extensions as far as they can tell. And considering how long Intel has been working on adding the extensions to the Pentium 4 and Xeon line of CPUs, it's pretty apparent that they decided to do this a very long time ago. Probably as soon as they got their hands on an early Opteron, and saw how it performed.  They probably thought to themselves, "Gee, why didn't we do it this way? What were we thinking with the Itanium? Oh yeah... we were thinking that corporate America would pay Big Bucks for Big Tin! Oh well."  

Linus Torvalds was quoted as saying that "Intel should be ashamed of themselves. Just because Intel doesn't care about their customers and has been playing with some other 64-bit architecture that nobody wanted to use is no excuse for not giving credit to AMD for what they did with X86-64".

Intel give AMD credit?  You must be joking! Intel is hoping that all their fans will figure that Intel's version of X86-64 must be better, just because it's Intel's. But of course Intel's implementation is going to be quite wimpy in comparison, especially when comparing 2 and 4-way Xeon systems to 2 and 4-way Opteron systems. The Opteron has memory controllers built into the processors themselves, and have Hypertransport links between the CPUs that will definitely give the AMD chips an edge over Intel's varieties. But Intel fans and corporate America will probably have to be bashed over the head with tons of benchmarks before they succumb to the AMD camp.

Intel may be in for some hard times over the next year. Itanium II will wither and die, and Xeon will not stack up well against the Opteron, and is much later to market. The Pentium4-64 will not be out until late in the year, giving AMD tons of time to snatch market share. 

Intel is operating in a whole new environment here, and it will take some time for them to get their footing, and retool their product line. A big remaining question is, will Microsoft release Windows-64 before the Pentium4-64 (Prescott) is ready to roll? I doubt it, but if they do, Intel will be in for a load of hurt.

                                              Dr. John



February 21st

Get Your DVD Copy Software Quickly, Or Else!

A federal judge has ordered 321 Studios to cease distribution of its popular DVD X Copy software because it violates the digital millennium copyright act. Everyone pretty much knew this was coming, but 321 Studios has vowed to appeal the decision. At issue is whether or not fair use laws permit people to make backup copies of their DVDs and CDs.

321 Studios has already sold approximately one million copies of the software package in question, including one to me. The software works very well, and provides users with an excellent backup copy of any DVD. The program strips out menus and subtitles in order to fit entire movies onto a single DVD-R disk. It even replaces the FBI warning with a notice that this is a backup copy for personal use only.

I assume as this court case winds its way through the judicial branch of the government, that 321 Studios will be able to continue selling its product. But eventually this case will make it to a federal appeals court, or even the Supreme Court, and my guess is that the higher court will uphold the digital millennium copyright act. So, if you're in the the market for DVD copying software, get it while you can. But let's all hope that the feds don't decide to start knocking down people's doors because they are on the customer list for 321 Studios.

                                              Dr. John



February 20th

What Business is Rambus In Anyway?

Is Rambus a memory company?  No, they don't make any memory modules.  Are they a memory design company? Sort of, a small amount of their effort is directed at designing one type of computer memory: Rambus DRAM. Are they an IP company? Actually, they are an IP litigation company. That is their primary business. They only have $100 million in sales every year, but the company is said to be worth $3.3 billion. It all has to do with perception about possible future royalties if they continue to win court cases.

The FTC's case against Rambus, which was pretty air tight, was just thrown out by an administrative law judge. The FTC alleged that Rambus used it's position in a memory standards body to learn what technology was going into SDRAM and DDR DRAM, and amended it's patent applications to cover parts of those designs. But the judge decided that the standards body did not have any power to hold members to any standards, and hence Rambus wins the case. History will look back very disfavorably on this ruling, and on the entire idea of IP litigation companies (such as SCO in their anti-Linux campaign). The European Union courts voided Rambus' memory patents after reviewing the same exact information as in this case.  But in the US, everyone has dollar signs floating in their eyes, blinding them to unethical behavior, and precluding justice. 

                                              Dr. John



February 18th

Windows 64 May Work on Intel and AMD Chips

AMD officially welcomed Intel to the 32/64-bit bandwagon yesterday. At the Intel Developers Forum, Intel's Craig Barrett announced that applications and operating systems "probably, for the most part, will run on both systems". Gee, that sounds definite. As it stands now, Intel sees the Opteron as a bigger threat than the desktop Athlon64. As such, the 'Nocoma' chip will be the first Intel CPU with 64-bit extensions, and will probably be ready this Summer. Sometime late in the year, or early next year, Intel will release a "Prescott" version meant for desktop systems. That should give AMD plenty of time to market their Athlon64 chip and saturate the market before Intel can make serious inroads. 

Microsoft is the key issue in the 32/64-bit struggle. Microsoft made it very clear to Intel that there would only be one 64-bit version of Windows, meaning that Intel was forced to make their processors compatible with AMD's. But the implementations will be different, in part because AMD has built their memory controller into their chips, greatly improving memory performance. Intel's design will run at higher MHz due to the longer instruction pipeline, but will also have much greater latency issues. Only time will tell if AMD's sleeker design will win when it comes to 64-bit benchmarks.

This is one embarrassment that Intel is going to have a hard time living down. Not just because AMD beat them to a mainstream market by a year or more, but because sales of Intel's Itanium II server chip will almost certainly be hurt by the flood of 32-bit/64-bit chips on the market. The Itanium II requires all new operating systems and applications be written for it, and that just isn't happening right now because sales volumes on Itanium II's are so low. Intel's Craig Barrett said yesterday that the Itanium II "is not going to necessarily turn into the predominant architecture for servers or workstations over time". So there you have it, Intel's CEO just admitted that Itanium was a dud, and that suggests that Intel realizes that a 32/64-bit Xeon will probably sell better than the Itanium. Now you know why so many people have been calling it the "Itanic", as it slowly sinks below the waves of the IT industry. 

The fact that desktop computing is moving to 64-bits is a good thing for memory makers, because computers will be able to use more than the current maximum of 4GB of memory.  With new 2GB modules coming to market, it should be possible to load systems with a whopping 8GBs of RAM. 

Finally, it remains to be seen if there are going to be incompatibility issues between the two chips once Windows 64 and various 64-bit applications come out. It would appear that Intel has been working on adding AMD-compatible 64-bit extensions to upcoming processors for nearly a year, which suggests that they were fibbing when they said they would wait to see what the market demanded. I can imagine that there will be significant growing pains for 64-bit desktop computing when Windows64 and the first applications come to market, and some of those problems may result from AMD and Intel using differently implemented 64-bit extensions.

If you ask me, Intel should be hanging their heads in shame today. From industry leader to metoo-64 copycat in so short a time. What's next? Intel to adopt the AMD performance rating system?? :)

                                              Dr. John



February 17th

Yamhill Stinks Like a Shrimp Boat

It's pretty much a done deal that Intel is getting ready to announce an AMD Opteron-imitation processor. There's lots about this story that stinks, but that's to be expected with Intel. 

First stinky factoid: the "Yamhill" 32-bit/64-bit may have been a diversion, and there are rumors that the server version of the upcoming "Prescott" Pentium 4, with the codename "Nocona", might be Intel's first 32/64 bit chip. If so, it would not be compatible with the AMD Opteron's 64-bit extensions because those were not published by the time Nocona was locked down. 

Stinky point #2: "Tejas" is the next chip after Nocona, and would be Intel's first chance to make a fully Opteron-compatible chip. Of course what this means again, is that Intel may have had a fallback plan all along to put the 64-bit extensions into all future server and desktop chips, in order to compete with AMD.  

Stinky stuff #3: There is no reason to believe that Intel will make it's 64-bit extensions compatible with AMD if it looks like they can gain advantage by going the proprietary route. Only time will tell how stinky that possibility might be. 

The Big Stink: Dell wouldn't make an Opteron server if it was the last server chip on the planet.  Why? Because Intel virtually owns them. Intel gives Dell such good deals on Pentium 4s that Dell is forced to do whatever Intel demands. 

Intel is probably feverishly trying to figure out how they will parse their server and desktop markets with their 3 main processors; Pentium 4, Xeon and Itanium II. That's called oversaturation, and it's a bad idea for companies because it fractionates the market into smaller niches which compete at the edges. Intel is going to have a very, very fractionated and complicated market if they have a Pentium-4 32/64-bit chip, a 32-bit large-cache Xeon chip, and a 64-bit-only Itanium II chip. And all of them will be up against less expensive AMD Opteron and Athlon-64 chips. I assume the Xeon would also become a 32/64-bit chip, fully completing Intel's rush to imitate AMD. 

                                              Dr. John


SCO to Huff and Puff, and Blow Linux Down

SCO is continuing it's war of words but not deeds against Linux users. They continue to threaten that they will be filing lawsuits against major Linux users "any day now".  Yeah right Darl. You know that as soon as you lose one of the court cases your house of cards will crumble.  SCO's self-appointed task is to make as much noise as possible, in the hopes of continuing to drive stock prices up.  Darl McBride has even been quoted as saying "I Wasn't Brought In to Have Warm Fuzzies with Slashdot. I was brought in to increase shareholder value." And if you don't have a product that anyone wants to buy, your only other option is to sue people.

But SCO is running out of time. The judge in the IBM case is about to rule on whether SCO can alter it's complaint from "theft of trade secrets" to "copyright violation". Usually, most companies know what they are suing other companies for, but I guess not in this case. 

The moment that SCO loses a single court battle, the stock price will plummet, and Darl will become obsolete. Darl's job now is to keep things shifting enough so that the courts can't get to a ruling anytime soon. I wonder what Darl's next job will be once SCO goes down? Maybe he can join Halliburton, and help them rip off taxpayers.

                                              Dr. John



February 16th

Windows Exploit Discovered Through Stolen Code

The theft of the source code for Windows NT/2000 occurred only days ago, but it has already resulted in the discovery of an Internet Explorer 5 exploit that allows the attacker to take remote control of your computer. It is safe to assume that more such exploits and vulnerabilities will be discovered shortly, and we Windows users may unfortunately all find out the Hard Way, when one of the exploits works better than anyone imagined they could. And it will all happen faster than the anti-virus people or Microsoft will be able to respond, so it could get pretty serious pretty quickly. 

Let's hope we don't all wake up to an Internet Black Monday next week, with the whole bleedin' thing gone bonkers. 

                                              Dr. John


Intel's 64-bit Dilemma

The rumors are flying around the Web that Intel is struggling over the idea of releasing an AMD-imitation 64-bit processor. All the analysts are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for an announcement from Intel. Everyone wants to know if Intel is getting ready to abandon it's corporate Itanium processor line, and switch to a less expensive, consumer level 64-bit processor. It has been rumored for years that Intel has secretly been working (how secret could it be if we've heard about it for years?) on a 32-bit compatible chip with 64-bit extensions just like the AMD Athlon 64. I guess that's the kind of thing you can do in your spare time if you've got billions of dollars lying around in the bank.

But what will Intel say to all its Itanium customers, and to the software companies that have been working on 64-bit software written specifically for the Itanium processor? How will they explain that their expensive 64-bit processor was a flop, and that now they have to put out a cheap, AMD-imitation chip in order to play catch-up? That's not going to sit well with any company that has already put out lots of time, money, and/or R&D efforts.

The final mystery within a mystery is the question of what Microsoft is doing behind-the-scenes to make a 64-bit version of the Windows operating system. Microsoft needs to know what the 64-bit extensions are in the processors, and if different companies use different extensions it's going to be a nightmare. So everyone wants to know if Intel is going to use the same 64-bit extensions to the 32-bit instruction set as AMD, or if they will purposefully create different 64-bit extensions. If the extensions are different, it may start a 64-bit chip war. It's all going to be very interesting to watch. Even if Intel does have a 32/64 bit chip nearly ready to go, it doesn't mean the management will permit it. Intel's Itanium processor was supposed to be a very big deal, and was supposed to make Intel lots of money. If they dump it now, they stand to lose a huge investment. Hence, the 64-bit dilemma.

                                              Dr. John



February 15th

Lindows in Collusion With SCO?

In a small blurb at Newsfactor, a story mentions that Lindows has declared itself immune from SCO's legal actions due to a prior agreement with SCO. Prior agreement?  Something sounds fishy here. I admire Lindows gutsy style in standing up to Microsoft, but I hope they aren't in bed with the devil on this one.

                                              Dr. John



February 14th

Rambus Rattled

Rambus has been out of the news lately, but... it's baaaack! One of Rambus' memory patents was just revoked in Europe. This is pretty bad news for the pugnacious memory litigation company, because it puts a pall over all of their DRAM patents. Ooooh; I love a good "bad-guy-gets-comeuppance" story. Don't You?

                                              Dr. John



Friday the 13th

Microsoft Source Code Stolen

Friday the 13th turned out to be pretty scary for Microsoft, as copies of Windows 2000 source code circulate around the web and across the world. Talk about Nightmare in Redmond! This news must have Bill Gates in convulsions, but we'll have to wait and see if the whole source code has been stolen, or just parts of it.  One worry that people have is that virus and Trojan horse writers will use the code to find more unknown vulnerabilities. Who knows?  In any case, more than anything this is an embarrassment for Microsoft, which takes the secrecy of its code very seriously.

                                              Dr. John


Games X Copy Scrutinized 

The company that makes DVD X Copy, 321 Studios, has just released a program that copies PC game disks, and lets you put images on your hard drive. This is not really new, there are other programs that let you do this on the market, but this is news because a bigger, better organized company is putting out such a product. 

I recently purchased Games X Copy, and installed it on my system.  With my system overclocked, the program crashed the computer (BSOD). When the system was clocked normally, the program would not recognize my Plextor 504A DVD burner (despite the fact that their other program, DVD X Copy, does recognize the same burner). I uninstalled it on that machine, and then installed it on a system with a CD burner. When started, the program reported "the application is not properly installed", and it didn't work at all.

Therefore, I can't tell you if Games X Copy even works as of now.  I have emailed them (days ago), and they have not returned my email. Bottom line?? This program isn't anywhere near ready for prime time. It may work for you, but then again, it might not. And at $60, it's a pretty big gamble. I can't recommend the current version of Games X Copy. 

                                              Dr. John



February 12th

Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo Released

The much anticipated UT2004 Demo has been released, and is available for download at the usual places. If you don't have a subscription at FilePlanet, expect a long wait. The new game features lots of new stuff, including vehicles, which is obviously an attempt to regain some fans from the ultra-popular Battlefield 1942 and its modifications.  Looks pretty cool!

                                              Dr. John



February 8th

SCO; It's Time to Go

If you haven't been keeping track of the SCO case, you've been missing all the fun. The trial between IBM and SCO has taken some new turns, and passed that signpost up ahead which read "The Twilight Zone". The big news at all the brain-dead news outlets is that SCO has filed additional complaints against IBM. Actually, SCO was forced to drop its claim that IBM misappropriated trade secrets, but then added copyright infringement claims to make up for it. The really big news however, is that SCO formally admitted in court that it cannot indicate what lines of code in Linux were taken from IBM's version of UNIX because they haven't seen it! Yes, that's correct, SCO says it has no idea if any lines of code have been misappropriated, and they will not know until they see IBM's code!

The judge was flabbergasted to say the least. IBM and the Linux community were delighted. In essence SCO was saying that they did not know if there was or wasn't any infringing code, but they would like to see the IBM code so they can find out. What I'm wondering is, will the judge slap huge fines on SCO for wasting the courts valuable time? It is literally impossible for SCO to have filed this case in good faith if they have no idea whether or not their claims have any basis in fact. 

It will be very interesting to see what happens with SCO's over-inflated stock price now. Fools with  big, green dollar signs in their eyes have been scarfing up SCO's stock like hotcakes, but the ax is about to fall. Once it becomes clear that SCO does not have any evidence of infringing code misappropriated to Linux, the judge will have to dismiss the case. I don't see any other option considering that SCO literally cannot comply with the discovery motions. If they cannot produce the evidence, it's just the same as not having a body at a murder trial. The old Corpus Delicti dilemma! In this case though, it's as though the supposedly dead person walked into the courtroom in the middle of the trial and said "the rumors of my death are quite premature".

Without any sellable product, SCO is pretty much kaput when this ball of twine unravels. 

Woe is SCO. Joy to the World.

                                               Dr. John



February 4th

Microsoft Releases Beta Test for Windows 64!!

Microsoft must be further along with Windows-64 than most people had surmised, because they have just posted a page where you can sign up and download a beta test of the operating system for free. This is Windows XP-64 for the AMD Athlon64/Opteron! This should be a very nice boost for AMD, and is certainly a major coop for them. It also helps make the point that porting existing software, including operating systems, to the AMD 64-bit chips is relatively easy. 

A note on the web page says: "Important: Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems is only compatible with 64-bit AMD Opteron– or Athlon 64-based computers. It cannot be successfully installed on 64-bit Intel Itanium–based systems."

Eat your heart out Intel!! (a trumpet can be heard softly playing Taps for the Itanium II in the background... fade to black)

I've just gotten a copy, and am going to give it a try as soon as I get a chance. Thank you Microsoft! :)


Where AMD Goes, Intel Follows

Kind of strange how things work out. Who'd have thought that Intel would be playing serious catch-up with AMD on a 64-bit processor? Intel is still trying desperately to peddle it's Itanium II processor, which costs a big bundle, but doesn't run on current operating systems except for Linux. Now we have more indications that Intel is feverishly working to get an AMD 64-bit knock-off chip ready to compete with the Athlon64/Opteron. There have been rumors for over a year that Intel was working on a backup plan called "Yamhill", which would compete directly with AMD's 64-bit chips.  But every analyst is scratching their head and asking "how can Intel undercut a 2 billion dollar investment in Itanium??" Good damn question.

My guess is that Intel has a "Yamhill" (I think I'll start calling it 'Landfill' just for fun) chip almost ready to go, considering how long they have been working on it.  But the in-house arguing and hair pulling hasn't wound down yet. That will rage on for at least a few months as the execs yell at the marketing people, who yell at the engineers, who yell at the gofers. I'm sure there are a lot of folks at Intel with soar throats right now.

But what would releasing a 'Landfill' 64-bit chip mean for Intel's Itanium chip?  Certain death. So the main question is, can Intel suck it up that big.  Can they say to themselves, "what the hell is a couple billion when you've got friends like Dell?" In a recent interview, Michael Dell was asked about the AMD Athlon64 and said, "I don't think AMD is the only company that's thought of that. In fact, I think Intel's kind of on record as talking about that. I don't think they've made a full, official announcement, but they have sort of indicated they have it".  What a load of hooey. Intel wanted to keep 64-bit computing at the corporate level for another 5 to 10 years, and was forced to reconsider because of AMD. So all you Intel fans (are there still such people?) remember who is keeping your favorite chip company honest. It's AMD!

                                               Dr. John



February 2nd

Intel's Eggy Face

There's a nice bit over at The Inquirer about my favorite Intel topic, the ever-lengthening pipeline in Intel's CPU line. The latest Intel CPU has had the instruction pipeline boosted from a semi-huge 20, to a gargantuan 31 stages! 

Hoo Ra! 

That should get us to 4GHz without much improvement in performance! :)

And people chide AMD for their 'PR' ratings?

                                               Dr. John


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