Intel's Power-Saving Chips at Computex Help Fight PC Slump
Comment of the Day

June 04 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Intel's Power-Saving Chips at Computex Help Fight PC Slump

This article by Ian King and Dina Bass for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section
From the start, Haswell was designed with mobility in mind. Intel streamlined manufacturing for this chip and built it to maximize power gating, a technique that turns off transistors that aren't in use and revives them only when needed. With on-chip power management and voltage regulation, Haswell has 20 times the energy efficiency in standby mode that Intel achieved with a processor released two years ago.

“The massive reduction in power does not come at the expense of compromised performance,” said Rani Borkar, a vice president of Intel's architecture group. While Haswell will bring mainstream laptops closer to tablet performance in terms of battery life and thinness, Intel is also readying the Silvermont mobile-processor design to go directly into smartphones and handheld machines. Silvermont will deliver three times the performance and is as much as five times more power-efficient than its predecessor, Intel said May 6.

Eoin Treacy's view The advent of the tablet computer brings us that much closer to the standard of living many dreamed of when watching Star Trek. However even as sales of portable computers continue to set new highs, the microchip sector has set its sights on another under exploited market. ARM Holdings made more money in the fourth quarter of 2012 from embedded processing than mobile devices. Intel is hot on ARM's heels with its own suite of low energy / high efficiency chips.

Embedded processing is the practice of introducing computing power, sensors and transmitters to industrial machinery. This greatly improves their utility and lowers maintenance costs. The rapid pace of development in this sector has been dubbed "Industrialising the Internet" bt General Electric. (Also see Comment of the Day on March 25th).

Intel (DY 3.49%) found support in the region of $20 from December which represents the lower region of its decade long base. It is now mid-range and a sustained move above $30 would confirm a return to medium-term demand dominance.

ARM Holdings posted a large downside weekly key reversal three weeks ago and has fallen back to test the region of the 200-day MA. The 900p area represents a potential area of support but some consolidation is probably required before the medium-term demand dominated environment can be reasserted.

Elsewhere in the chip sector Qualcomm continues to range with an upward bias. Seagate Technology is becoming increasingly overextended relative to the 200-day MA. Symantec is currently unwind ing an overextension relative to the 200-day MA.

Broadcom, Texas Instruments, Cisco Systems, STMicroelectronics, Micron Technology, CA Inc., Xilinx, Linear Technology, Akamai Technology and Fairchild Semiconductor have all firmed within their respective lengthy bases and continue to represent some of the companies most likely to benefit from demand growth for high efficiency chips.

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