[Beowulf] [gregory.brittelle at kirtland.af.mil: Re: Intel?]

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Thu Jun 9 05:50:07 PDT 2005

I have been refraining from commenting on these cross posted threads for 
a while.  An interesting point that the Apple folks might be missing though:

Robert G. Brown wrote:

>>And you have not to forget the fact that right now Apple is biting dust
>>with their Powerbooks. Intel has got a clear edge here over AMD with
>>their P-M (which, btw, it looks like will be the future for Intel's x86
>>processors). And P-M will move, soon, to the desktop, too. Intel only
>>needs to add SSE2/SSE3, maybe HT, a faster bus and definetely dual cores
>>to their P-M line and they've got a killer cpu. Faster than most x86 out
>>there, and drawing a lot less current...

I would argue that they need to get rid of the bus.  Look, for a number 
of years SGI was able to get by with a weak chip and an amazing computer 
design.  That design is still good today, though SGI seems to still make 
mistakes in chosing its target chip.   Regardless, that design is 
effectively nodes interconnected with a really high speed switching 
fabric in a hypercube topology.

The first thing Intel needs to do is to ditch the northbridge design of 
a memory controller not tied to each CPU.  The next thing is to 
implement a nice thing just like HyperTransport.  Once that happens they 
will be quite competitive.

> I'm not writing Intel off by any means.  I'm just noting that for
> several years now AMD has blown the pants off of Intel on the HPC scene,
> and that I have some doubts about their CURRENT picture of multicore
> (after having seen roadmap presentations from Intel, AMD and Sun, BTW,
> so I've actually looked a bit at what they claim they'll being doing
> ahead).  All I can say is that thermal issues and throttling and the
> like are still very much on everybody's mind as they try to cram ever
> more stuff on ever less real estate.

Actually the need to cram more computing power in less space is leading 
to an interesting bifurcation in the market.  First you have the 
compatible variants being ever more tuned and tweaked (AMD64, et al). 
Then you have the non-compatible variants which have also bifurcated 
between very low electrical power/heat load and very high power 
(computational, with moderate electrical/heat load).

What survives will be quite interesting to see.


>>Support, a better OS (compared to Windows), a way better and much more
>>consistant windowing system (compared to Linux). 
>>See, you have to consider Apple's target market. Most Mac users out
>>there are in the image/photography industry (well, maybe not most, but
>>quite a lot of them ;)). Macs have quite an edge there over anything
>>else. Not because of the hardware (in fact, they're lagging quite a bit
>>behind x86s in that compartment), but because of a superior OS/software


> All software.  Yes, yes, yes.  Apple is a software company.  With a
> hardware arm that has been an anchor around their corporate neck
> forever, largely the legacy from Steven Jobs, who (after all) cofounded
> a COMPUTER company not a SOFTWARE company.

And here is the point that Apple is missing.  I would ditch windows in a 
second if OSX runs on my laptop.  I will not however, ditch my laptop 
for a far more expensive version, running on a slower processor.

I hope Apple takes this to heart.  Their huge market that they have been 
looking to tap into is not for their hardware.

I am sure Microsoft is aware of this as well.  As I run linux as my 
primary desktop OS, with Microsoft as the one I boot into when needed, 
think of what a good OSX could do for me.  I get the Unix I need, with 
the office stuff I also need.  I can run Acrobat without rebooting my 

However, this machine is an AMD64 based laptop from HP, that they will 
have to pry from my cold dead fingers.  If the choice comes between 
spending $4000 for a new laptop with about the same features, 
functionality, and 1/2 the bits as this bad boy at $1500, versus 
spending $300 for a new OSX to run on this bad boy, guess which one I 
will do ...

OSX on every laptop should be the goal.  Not OSX on Apple laptops.


>>All these things make me wonder if IBM will be effectively able to
> Look at IBM's CELL partners.  Hmmm, BIG japanese chip foundries, hmmm.
> Not so good for the USA's industrial sector, but I have faith that they
> can deliver numbers of demand for numbers materializes, and Japan can
> likely deliver a good chunk of the Asian market pushed by IBM.  IBM
>>>is<< a hardware company (unlike Apple:-).  They "invented" the only PC
> that really counts.

Actually, for the past decade, IBM has been slowly transmogrifying into 
a services company with a small hardware division... :(   There is 
little hard research being done at T.J. Watson anymore (and that is one 
cool building to go to work in, so it is a bitter shame).

Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 734 786 8452
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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