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Old 09-02-2008, 01:33 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Atom Demand High, Intel Unable to Keep Up

From our front-page news:
One problem with a new product being so successful is that it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the sheer demand, especially if you don't have the factory power to back it all up. Take Nintendo's Wii for example. Despite the fact that it was released two years ago, it's still in short demand, and the only way to guarantee a console is by 'knowing someone' who works at a retailer that carries them.

Well apparently Intel is suffering a similar issue with Atom. The demand is so high, that they are simply unable to build enough, even though they yield close to 2,500 per wafer. Thank ASUS, I guess, for kicking off the netbook PC revolution, because since they released their Eee PC, at least ten other companies have followed suit with their own mini-notebooks. Slowdown? Not going to happen for a while.

What could result from Intel's inability to keep up with demand might be extra sales for VIA, of their Nano processor. Nano has its own caveats, but when Atom supply is limited, some companies are going to have to look elsewhere. As Ars Technica mentions, HP is the first company to pick up on Nano for their own netbook, but it wouldn't be surprising to see other companies offer special models. This could be resolved if Intel converted one of their fabs to push out Atom, but that would of course affect another product line. Tough decisions at Santa Clara, it seems. Who said success was easy?


If anyone benefits from Intel's constraint, I'd expect it to be VIA, but I also expect Santa Clara to keep a very close watch over Atom's growth. If the company feels that it is losing important sales due to production constraints, it might very well decide to take a (small) hit in another processor family in order to establish Atom's presence in as many first-generation netbooks as possible.


Source: Ars Technica
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:16 PM   #2
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Anyone (and quite a few people did) see this coming from a mile off...

But I have to say it is just funny. Intel wouldn't get a hundred chips or so per wafer, but thousands. One quote was 2500 Atoms per wafer!
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
Anyone (and quite a few people did) see this coming from a mile off...

But I have to say it is just funny. Intel wouldn't get a hundred chips or so per wafer, but thousands. One quote was 2500 Atoms per wafer!
Are you saying 2,500 chips per wafer is not possible? I'm confused. That number came from the article I linked to. I could see it being possible on such a large wafer... I think an equivelent sized wafer can produce 500 Quad-Cores, but my estimates may be way off.
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:44 AM   #4
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No, I was saying that they DO get 2,500 per wafer (I actually hadn't read the article, I'd read a different one already) so I found the fact that demand was so high that they STILL couldn't meet it to be very amusing.

Leave it to Ars to address all relevant sides of the issue though, I should have figured they'd include yield numbers.

Not sure if it is a straight comparison or not, but Atom is 25mm˛. A Penryn die is 107mm˛. So taking 2500/4.28 nets a guess of 584 Penyrns per wafer... half that for Quads.

Number is a bit higher that I would have thought, but I guess it helps to not count the defunct chips.
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