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x86 market slows in 3Q as Intel launches standards groups

Nov 1, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Intel dominated x86 chip sales, but lost market share to AMD during the third quarter, according to Mercury Research. Meanwhile, Intel, Dell, EMC, IBM, and Fujitsu formed an SSD Form Factor Working Group to establish a standard for PCI Express motherboard cards, and Intel also launched a new Open Data Center Alliance for standardized cloud services, says eWEEK.

Intel Corp. once again led the x86 processor market, which — despite posting growth that was well below expectations for the season — set a record for revenue in the third quarter, according to a new Mercury Research report.

The average selling price per CPU continued to increase in the third quarter, leading to total revenue of $9.5 billion for the quarter, according to a Michelle Maisto story on the Mercury study in our sister publication, eWEEK.

Intel lost overall chip market share to AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) during the quarter, falling slightly to 80.9 percent, from the second quarter's 81.3 percent, says the story. AMD's share, in turn, rose to 18.3 percent from 17.8 percent the quarter before, and third-place Via Technologies dipped to 0.8 percent share, compared with 0.9 percent the quarter before, says eWEEK.

Mercury: Mobile CPU market weakens

Overall growth during the quarter was just 1.9 percent compared to the past five years' average of 13.5 percent, says the story. Server CPUs were said to have led growth in the market, followed by desktops and then mobile devices.

Stated Mercury Research, "This quarter's results were disproportionately impacted by a weak mobile CPU market, which affected Intel more than AMD as Intel has a much higher share of the mobile market." 

Mercury projects a weak fourth quarter for CPUs, with a likely growth rate of just 2.7 percent, says eWEEK. Normal growth for the season is generally closer to 8 percent. 

In September, Intel executives showed off their upcoming "Sandy Bridge" second-generation Core architecture. The 32-nanometer chips will put CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit) onto a single piece of silicon, and are designed for tasks such as HD video.

On Oct. 19, meanwhile, AMD executives demonstrated the company's new Llano APU (accelerated processing unit), the AMD name for the integrated CPU/GPU hybrid. The Llano chip was designed for use in notebooks, ultra-thin laptops, and desktop PCs.

SSD group to standardize PCIe connections

Intel joined with Dell, EMC, IBM, and Fujitsu to announce an SSD Form Factor Working Group to establish a standard for PCI Express (PCIe) motherboard cards. Key goals for the group are to design a common expansion card connector specification, develop a form factor based on 2.5-inch solid-stated drives (SSDs), and support a hot plug capability, says an eWEEK story by Chris Preimesberger.

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express), currently available in a version 2.1 specification, is designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X, and AGP standards. A key difference between PCIe and earlier buses is a topology based on point-to-point serial links, rather than a shared parallel bus architecture.

In addition to the five "promoter" members listed above, the working group has 11 "contributor" members, including Amphenol, Emulex, Micron Technology, Molex, and Smart Modular Technology, says the story. The working group plans to have its first-draft specification ready for public discussion in Q1 2011, says eWEEK.

Stated Jens-Peter Seick, senior vice president of the Data Centre Systems Product Division at Fujitsu Technology Solutions, during a press call, "We believe that the PCIe Standard Form Factor specification will accelerate the market adoption of PCIe SSDs, offering an electromechanical solution with disk-like handling and true hot-plug capability."

Intel launches data center alliance

Intel joined with 70 of its partners Oct. 27 to announce an Open Data Center Alliance coalition aiming to standardize data center components for cloud services, according to a second Chris Preimesberger story in eWEEK.

The ODCA aims to improve effectiveness in computing, storage, and networking components, with a specific aim of conserving electrical power, cutting carbon waste, and saving physical space in data centers, says the story.

The ODCA intends to establish open standards for interoperable, federated cloud systems, including specifications for automated movement of software applications and resources within various systems, says the story. The goal is to develop PC and device-savvy client-aware clouds that automatically know what processing should take place in the cloud or on the client device, ranging from a PC to a smartphone.

The group's steering committee has an international membership consisting of BMW, China Life, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, National Australia Bank, Shell, Terremark, and UBS, says eWEEK. Intel will serve as an adviser within the alliance, whose initial membership is focused on user companies rather than technology providers.

Intel also announced a second industry group called Intel Cloud Builders, consisting of 20 global-scope hardware and software makers, says the story.


The eWEEK story on Mercury Research's x86 microprocessor report may be found here, and Mercury Research should be here.

The eWEEK story on the SSD Form Factor Working Group may be found here, and the group itself may be found here.

The eWEEK story on Intel's Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) may be found here, and the ODCA site may be found here.

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