Confused of Santa Clara

In the general outpouring of euphoria about Intel’s ‘ARM-killer’ – Silvermont – no one seems to have pointed out that it will be made on 22nm – a process that will be two and a half to three years old by the time Silvermont gets to be made on it in earnest.From the time of  Xscale – Intel has always put its mobile ICs on trailing-edge processes.

As indeed Intel did in its various, failed, attempts at the ASIC business.

And as it has done with these Moorestowns and Medfields which were supposed to get Intel into mobile but didn’t.

And what of Silvermont’s successor – Airmont – due to run on Intel’s 14nm process which is slated for production later this year? A little dicky bird tells me the final netlist for Airmont is not completed. So Airmont won’t at the front of the 14nm node – just as Airmont’s mobile predecessors were never at the front of whatever was the leading node of their day.

Intel is doing what it has always done – confined mobile ICs (or any other non-PC or non-server type of chip) to a less than leading edge process.

Either this means there are forces within Intel who will stop Intel’s mobile business gaining traction over their dead bodies.

Or it means that Intel thinks it can get a successful result from repeating actions which have resulted in  failure in the past.

Which, of course, is one of the definitions of being potty.



  1. Aha, Odename, I think you are probably right. Andes suddenly seem to have raised their flag to the masthead and are actively seeking publicity or, possibly, an offer to buy them: “Here we are you Santa Clara guys, if you want low power, come and get us.”

  2. Legless in Arms

    Searching on the net suggests thay they did hold a presentation. Strangely noone seems to have reported anything from this event. More searching suggests thay they aimed for low power comsumption early on, straight into ARM’s territory.

    Still, a 16/32 bit ISA ith 64 bit features to enter the 8 bit market seems strange. Would it be too conspiratorical to think they were purposedly flying under the radar the last 5 years?

  3. Yes indeed! Had never heard of Andes till now. Thanks for flagging them up. They seem to have done really well – 200m cores shipped. The choice betwen an Andes core and a discrete Intel processor for low-power control of radio is a no-brainer – Andes wins.

  4. Legless in Arms

    Wouldn’t you say the new cores from Andes Technology are more relevant than whatever Intel can come up with?

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