SAN FRANCISCO Intel Corp.'s preview for CES was most notable for what was missing—design wins for the company's TV chips. In an event here, Intel showcased PC processors it will announce in January at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Intel has designed two generations of x86-based system-on-chips geared for digital TVs, but so far the company has yet to gain a single design win. TV makers have long design cycles and are secretive about their component choices, said Eric Kim, a former Samsung marketing executive heading up Intel's consumer electronics efforts speaking in September after the launch of the CE 4100 processor.
Competitors have been less charitable. Intel has misfired with past consumer electronics initiatives such as its attempt to get into LCOS displays for digital TVs.
"This is about the fifth time Intel said it was getting into the consumer business," said Scott McGregor, chief executive of Broadcom Corp. in a press Q&A earlier this week. "The average TV processor sells for about $10" far below Intel's typical chip prices, he added.
Leading with its strength, Intel will announce at CES it is shipping as many as 17 new PC processors, rounding out its Nehalem family. They include two notable integrated processors for desktops and notebooks PCs. Both use a 45 nm graphics and memory controller die paired with a 32 nm dual-core x86 die in a single package.
A notebook version of the chip is dubbed Arrandale; a desktop version is called Clarkdale. Both are shipping to OEMs now, Intel announced.
The graphics core is an upgrade of Intel's 4 series, a 65 nm chip used in Intel's north bridge PC chip sets.
"We have two 32 nm fabs running and are in high volume production to supply OEMs," said Stephen Smith, director of PC client operations at Intel. "That's our single largest investment in the company," he added, noting Intel has two more fabs gearing up for 32 nm technology.
At CES, Intel expects to have OEMs showing systems using its latest 32 nm processors. It will also provide details on as many as 27 new chips for 2010 including an upgraded Wi-Fi/WiMax combo chip and several chip sets.
International Data Corp. estimates consumer PC sales actually grew through the downturn of 2009, though business systems declined. It projects consumer PC sales will continue on a compound double digit growth rate over the next few years.