The tablet wars are going to get very interesting now that Microsoft has pushed out Windows 8 and their “design point” device the Surface RT. Already this morning there are multiple articles about this new OS and hardware from both sides of the argument. It is interesting to see the comments that range across Facebook and other social networking sites about the new OS, and more importantly about Microsoft’s Surface RT. This last product has created its own subset of fans and haters outside the general argument about Windows 8. So the big question is, where does Windows 8 and Surface RT stand in the market on the day of the launch, and where do they really fit in?
Intel plans to launch another line of processors specifically designed for tablets in the first quarter next year. This is a core chip from their Y series based on the Ivy Bridge architecture and in BGA packaging, while in the third quarter of next year Haswell versions of the same series should appear.
Since the rebirth of Apple in 1997 the PC market has had to listen to the constant drone of analysts foretelling the “post PC” world is upon us. It is a common statement made by Analysts that really do not even know what a “PC” is anymore. Well to help some of them do their jobs a little better let’s go back and define some of this for them and then take a look at where the market is and why claims of a post PC era are quite simply a falsehood.
AMD is an interesting company; on the one hand they have some incredible ideas and can really bring some great features to life. Where they sometimes have an issue is bringing them to market and conclusion. One of the reasons for this is their lack of funds. If you do not have enough money to push your products (like Intel and nVidia usually do) then you have to rely on the community to adopt and support your goals. We have watched this happen multiple times with everything from GPU based Physics (the integration of Ageia PhysX onto the X19xx series GPUs) to OpenCL. AMD shows off what is capable and then due to lack of support and money has to step back and watch as the “rich kids” run off with the toys.
You would think today was a slow news day as we see people reporting on something we talked about almost a month ago (well really more than that). It seems that people are waking up from the haze of all of the news about Windows on ARM (Windows RT) and starting to realize that x86/64 tablets are going to be much, much more attractive to both consumers, businesses and both manufacturers and developers.
Intel is looking to the future even as their newest CPU, the 22nm Ivy Bridge, is taking something of a beating in the media. According to a few slides that have hit daylight Intel is already working on moving some of its FABs to 14nm in preparation for their next generation of CPUs. Of course this is not that big of a deal really, Intel has moved from one process to the next like clockwork (insert “Tick-Tock” joke here).
CES 2012, Las Vegas, Nevada – We found Asus in the Trump Tower near the top of the building. I honestly think they had the entire floor up there, but we were only there to see a small portion of what Asus has to offer to the consumer. Asus, as most of you know already is one of the leading manufacturers of computer components. They also have their own channel marketing team and make quite a bit more than just motherboards, GPUs, Audio cards and networking gear.
One of the thing things that we find interesting in many leaks and even official documents about upcoming products is the use of percentages and multipliers without much real data. We saw this with Microsoft and their performance claims for Windows 8’s new desktop and 3D graphics performance. They used a ton of percentages and yet forgot to list the hardware they were comparing or any of the raw numbers. Not too long after that we saw ARM claim a base 50% performance increase with their next generation Mali GPUs over their current generation Mali GPUs. Again we do not have any real numbers or the basis for these claims. Unfortunately for ARM even a 50% performance increase will not make their next gen faster than some of their competition.
AMD has recently released its new line of “Piledriver” CPU's, and they perform pretty darn well. No longer in its infancy stage, AMD's multi-threaded core approach has improved significantly from the “Bulldozer” line of chips. The FX-8350 is the best of these CPU's currently on the market, and retails for approximately $220.
At CES 2010 we watched as the “PC” world began to gear up for its onslaught into the tablet market. Many at the time were still claiming that Apple was going to hold the market simply because they had a very big foot hold (and still do). However as we watched press briefings from Asus, Lenovo, nVidia, AMD, and Intel we saw something very interesting; the move to tablets that make sense for everyone. We are not talking about the choice of OS here either.