Shopping for Silicon

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2002-10-28 Print this article Print

Shopping for Silicon

Desktop and portable processors
  • High clock rate is a cost, not a benefit; it drives up costs of everything else in the machine.
  • Application benchmarks tell the story that matters.
  • Compact, quiet systems give back desk space, reduce workplace noise levels and cut air conditioning costs. Small-footprint desktop and high-function laptop systems should dominate the next wave of desktop buys, likely by the end of next year.

    Server processors
  • Bandwidth, not processor power, is the engineering challenge. IBM and AMD are addressing this directly; Intel is trying to solve it with lots of cache.
  • Ask about scalability of multiprocessor systems: Is there a near-term road map to four-way and beyond?
  • Chip builders are looking for things to do with more on-chip transistors. Application accelerators for compute-intensive tasks, such as encryption, will characterize next-generation server designs.

    Related Stories:
  • Intel Banks on Banias Mobile Chips
  • Chips Power Killer Apps for Handhelds
  • Data Bandwidth: Memory Should Take Pride of Place

    Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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