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Nov 2, 2011

Intel Plans 22nm 8-Core Atom CPU for 2013 Launch Says Report

Even though some of you may be quick to write off Intel's low-power Atom processors, the chip maker apparently still has plans for this architecture as recent reports suggest 2013 will mark the introduction of a new eight-core Atom processor.

According to information received by Semi Accurate, the chip will be called Avadon or Abadon and will be built using the 22nm fabrication process.

Information about the architecture used in these processors is scarce at this point in time, but it appears that it will use a 2 pipe, “mildly” out-of-order design with 25% better performance than that of the current Pine Trail platform.

The first Intel Atom processors to use this architecture should make their appearance in late 2013, at about the same time with a series of prototype servers based on ARM's v8 core with support for 64-bit instructions.

DotA Guide: Dirge - Undying Introduction

DotA is the most popular custom made map for Warcraft III. To allow players a better understanding of this complex and sometimes complicated game here is a hero guide.

Even if it's considered to be a Strength hero, Dirge has lots of Intelligence attributes. He is not a solo hero and will rely on his team even from the start. In late game he can become a real killer. You can recruit him from the Scourge Strength Tavern.

Let's learn how this hero got his powers: "Considered to be an exceptionally filthy and despicable specimen by all who encounter him, including his fellow zombies, Dirge has wandered in from the wastes outside to serve the Lich King in hopes of finally obtaining a place of acceptance amongst the Undead masses.

While he is still considered to be unpleasant as ever by the rest of the Scourge, his horrifying abilities, which include raising self-replicating lesser ghouls and spreading vile, rapidly communicable plague throughout the enemy ranks, are unquestionably powerful and may just give the Scourge the edge they need to complete their unholy conquest once and for all."

With low attack speed and average damage, Undying relies a lot on his spells:

Decay (Shortkey D) - Allows the Dirge to snatch 4 strength from an enemy hero for a short period of time while also doing damage: 40/80/120/160.

Soul Rip (Shortkey R) - A useful spell that can damage multiple opponents or heal multiple allies. With each level the number of the units healed/damaged increases: 5/10/15/20. Unfortunately it will not be able to heal or damage buildings.

Tombstone (Shortkey T) - Using his mighty undead powers, Dirge creates a tombstone that spawns zombie minions. The zombie random attacks units and will not deal damage to buildings. The tombstone can be repaired using Soul Rip.

Flesh Golem (Shortkey F) - The ultimatum spell will turn the hero into a plagued monster that has more attack damage (20/25/30%) and slows his victims movement speed. During this state, Undying will feed on souls of killed units. The effect can be amplified if the Aghanim's Scepter artifact is used.

Besides these useful skills, Dirge will also have to rely on various items in order to become the ultimate killing machine that we know and love. I recommend you try: Linken's Sphere, Guinsoo, Aghanim's Scepter, Necronomicon, Ghost scepter, Force staff or Orchid Malevolence.

If you have any other suggestions please let all the DotA fans know in a comment.

Upcoming 16-Core AMD CPU Already Chosen by Supercomputers

AMD made an official announcement in which it reveals that both existing and upcoming processors are being used in high-performance computing applications.

Since HPC applications, supercomputers as it were, have become the core of any and all research efforts, AMD, naturally, wants to get contracts for as many as possible.

Its latest press release says that this goal was achieved in at least some measure.

HECToR is one of the supercomputers based on AMD chips, Operated by the University of Edinburgh, UK, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Another is CSCS, Located in Manno, Switzerland, as is NAMEM (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) and HLRS, the High Performance Computing Center at the University of Stuttgart (Germany).

These, along with conglomerates from Cray Inc. (Titan) are making liberal use of AMD Fusion APUs (accelerated processing units) and AMD Opteron 6100 Series CPUs (central processing units).

What's more, AMD already reached agreements involving the upcoming "Interlagos" chip with 16 cores.

"ORNL is deploying more than 25,000 of AMD’s ‘Interlagos’ processors over the next few months as we upgrade Jaguar to the new Titan system," said Buddy Bland, project director of ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility.

"Our users are excited about the increase in performance over previous-generation processors, and our sponsors are delighted with the power savings that will make Titan one of the world’s most powerful and efficient research tools."

For people who want to know of more recent developments, Penguin Computing made the first AMD A8-3850 APU-based cluster in Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM.

"HPC is not a one-size-fits-all environment, and requires new technologies to keep pace with customer demands," said Paul Struhsaker, corporate vice president and general manager, Commercial Business at AMD.

"Whether it’s our upcoming 'Interlagos' processor or our energy-efficient APU, AMD’s unique x86 and world-class graphics IP place us at the heart of some of the fastest systems as we push well beyond the petaflop towards the exaflop."

AMD Fusion APU Powered HPC Cluster Built by Penguin Computing

HPC system expert Penguin Computing has just announced that the company has finalized the installation of the world's first HPC cluster powered by AMD Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The system is comprised out of 104 servers that are interconnected through a QDR InfiniBand fabric capable of delivering a peak performance of 59.6 TFLOPs.

At the heart of the HPC cluster stands Penguin's new Altus 2A00 compute platform that relies on consumer AMD Fusion APUs based on the Llano architecture.

As many of you know, AMD's Llano chips include two or four x86 computing cores, Radeon HD graphics cores with a maximum of 400 stream processors as well as a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller and a PCI-E interface.

Penguin Computing hasn't revealed any additional information regarding the hardware used in the Altus 2A00 machines, but it did point out that AMD's Fusion APUs feature a simpler programming model than conventional GPU server architectures.

The reason has to do with the fact that parallel multiprocessors share the same physical memory space with CPU cores, which removes data movement bottlenecks between GPU and the main system memory as well as data duplication.

"We are interested in research on next generation computer architectures and look forward to collaborating with Penguin and AMD to advance power-efficient computing strategies," said James Ang, Manager of the Scalable Computer Architectures department at Sandia National Labs.

"This first of a kind cluster of Altus 2A00 servers will support our exploration of advanced programming models like OpenCL, which seamlessly map MPI applications to the CPU and GPU cores, and research into system software support for advanced data movement capabilities," concluded the company's rep.

Penguin Computing hasn't mentioned if it was contracted by other organizations to build similar HPC systems based on AMD's Fusion APUs.

Noctua Outs Special Edition NH-D14 for Intel LGA 2011 CPUs

Cooling specialist Noctua has just announced that the company will soon introduce a special version of its popular high-performance NH-D14 CPU cooler which will include out-of-the-box support for Intel's upcoming processors using the LGA 2011 platform.

The new SE2011 version will be shipped together with the company's SecuFirm2 mounting system that Noctua is currently delivering free of charge to its clients who have purchased a Noctua cooler since 2005 and who also plan to get an LGA 2011 board or CPU.

In addition to the new mounting system, the NH-D14 SE2011 is also bundled together with the new PWM controlled versions of the NF-P12 and NF-P14 fans.

According to the company, these use a custom designed NE-FD1 PWM integrated controller that features the Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) technology, making them quieter at lower speeds.

Outside of these changes, the NH-D14 SE2011 employs the same design as that used for its predecessor with six heatpipes that draw the heat away from the CPU base and into a dual radiator heatsink.

Together with the two fans, the Noctua cooler weights 900 grams (1.98 pounds) and the maximum noise produced while operating is estimated at an impressive 19,8 dBA.

"Our flagship model NH-D14 has earned a reputation as one of the finest high-end quiet coolers on the market, so we thought that this should be a perfect match,” said Roland Mossig, Noctua CEO.

“The new special edition for LGA 2011 will keep your Sandy Bridge-E CPU cool no matter what you throw at it, and it will do so at minimum noise levels, thus appealing to overclockers and quiet enthusiasts alike," concluded the company's rep.

Noctua's NH-D14 SE2011 will be available soon at a recommended retail price of EUR 74.90 or USD $84.90, depending on which side of the pond you happen to live.

Upcoming Features of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) is taking place these days (October 31st - November 4th) in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is scheduled for release on April 26th, 2012. As you know, Ubuntu 12.04 will be a 5-year LTS (Long Term Support) release, therefore we believe that the following features should be present in the final release:

  • Linux kernel 3.1;
  • UEFI Linux Kernel support;
  • X.Org Server 1.11;
  • Mesa 7.12;
  • DDX Drivers;
  • Wayland;
  • Enhanced DKMS;
  • PackageKit integration;
  • systemd integration;
  • Nokia Qt 5;
  • Xen 4 support;
  • Old Mesa 7.11 drivers;
  • Optional initrd images;
  • U1DB synchronized database system for Ubuntu One;
  • ARM A15 QEMU/KVM support.

Also, don't miss Mark Shuttleworth's keynote at UDS-P, were he says that Unity is here to stay and everyone should embrace it.

About Ubuntu
Ubuntu is a Linux distribution for your desktop or server, with a fast and easy install, regular releases, a tight selection of excellent packages installed by default, every other package you can imagine available from the network, and professional technical support from Canonical Ltd and hundreds of other companies around the world.

Ice Cream Sandwich Brings Hardware Acceleration, Faster Apps

Applications running on devices based on the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system should be both faster and better looking than before, Google says. 

This is due to the fact that Google packed the new Android release with hardware accelerated graphics, something that was announced ever since Android 3.0 Honeycomb arrived on the first tablet PCs out there.

Starting with Android 4.0, hardware acceleration will be on by default for all of the applications that have been installed on the device, which results in a far better experience for all users.

“Earlier this year, Android 3.0 launched with a new 2D rendering pipeline designed to support hardware acceleration on tablets. With this new pipeline, all drawing operations performed by the UI toolkit are carried out using the GPU,” Romain Guy and Chet Haase, Android engineers, explain in a blog post.

“You’ll be happy to hear that Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, brings an improved version of the hardware-accelerated 2D rendering pipeline to phones, starting with Galaxy Nexus.”

Not only would users be able to benefit from this new feature, but developers as well can now build applications that can take advantage of accelerated graphics, the said blog post explains.

For those devs who created apps that need to display OpenGL or video content, Google came up with a new widget called TextureView, one that is based on the hardware accelerated 2D rendering pipeline, as well as on SurfaceTexture.

At the same time, Google notes that the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS flavor brings along improvements to a series of animations that were included in Android 3.0, and that there are also a series of other graphical changes that developers might be interested in.

All the above, along with a series of other enhancements and new features, are being detailed in the aforementioned blog post on the Android Developers website here.

Ubuntu and HP Will Power ARM Data Centers

After yesterday's announcement of HP's Project Moonshot, a programme that will accelerate the use of ARM low-power CPUs in data centers, Canonical also announced today that it will be involved in the Moonshot project.

HP's announcement includes the launch of the Redstone development platform which harnesses low-power CPUs (both x86 and ARM), the Pathfinder partnership programme, and the HP Discovery laboratory in Houston.

Canonical has just released the first Ubuntu Server for ARM edition, along with the Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) release, and the company thinks that Ubuntu is the perfect choice for big data, web and cloud infrastructure workloads.

Not to mention that movies, such as Avatar, were rendered on Ubuntu. The Apache Hadoop software framework also runs on Ubuntu, and big companies like HP and Rackspace are using Ubuntu Server for their cloud offerings.

"The good news is that Canonical has been working with ARM and Calexda for several years now and we released the first version of Ubuntu Server ported for ARM Cortex A9 class processors last month." - was stated in Canonical's blog announcement.

Because of HP's Moonshot announcement, in six months, Canonical will optimize and benchmark Ubuntu Server ARM edition.

"As HP stated today, this is beginning of a journey to re-inventing a power efficient and less complex data center. We look forward to working with HP and Calxeda on that journey." - said Canonical.

VIA Enters New Fanless Dual Core Mainboard with USB 3.0 Support

VIA Technologies has just announced the introduction of a new Em-ITX form factor motherboard, dubbed the VIA EITX-3002, which comes configured with the company's latest dual-core processors as well as with USB 3.0 connectivity.

Users have the option of choosing between two board revision, one PACKING a 1.2GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series processor, while the the other comes with a low-voltage 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 CPU.

Both of these include two processing cores and are paired with the company's VX900H media system hub sporting hardware acceleration support for various HD video formats, including MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1, WMV9 and HDCP for Blu-ray content.

The EITX-3002 mainboard also sports support for up to 4GB of system memory via a single SO-DIMM socket and also packs a SATA 3Gps port.

Throughout the board PCB, VIA has also placed various other headers for a 24-bit LVDS interface, four USB 2.0 ports, a 5-wire resistive touch sensor, and an 8-bit digital I/O. 

The rest of the required ports and connectors are spread around the sides of the EITX-3002 and these include HDMI and VGA video outputs, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual COM ports, two USB 2.0 ports, as well as a pair of USB 3.0 ports.

"With the VIA EITX-3002 we're offering a full-featured board with industry leading power efficient dual core computing ideal for slim, fanless and rugged devices," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. 

"The superior versatility and reliable slim design of the VIA EITX-3002 and VIA AMOS-5002 combination has already been implemented in a number of luxury hotel automation systems," concluded the company's rep.

Users also have the option of pairing the EITX-3002 with the AMOS-5002 modular industrial chassis kit. The board is designed to provide absolute stability at temperatures ranging from -10⁰C to 65⁰C.

Asus Transformer Prime May Be Available in Both Gold and Silver

There isn't that much time left until the Transformer Prime tablet will be officially launched by Asus, so it isn't at all surprising to see that some details about this tablet have already started to show up in a series of leaks.

The latest of these come from a Taiwanese e-tailer which has listed the Transformer Prime on its online store revealing that the tablet will be available in at least two colorways, Gold and Silver.

We have already seen the Silver edition of the Prime being showcased by Asus' chairman Jonney Shih at the AsiaD conference and also other more recent photos, but this is the first time we hear about a Gold version being in the works.

One should however take this latest info with a bit of salt, as the Transformer Prime listing on the Taiwanese online store does raise a couple of question signs since the specs listed seem a bit off (they list a Tegra T250 as the SoC powering the tablet and not an Nvidia Kal-El chip).

No details regarding pricing were provided, but Notebook Italia suggests that the Transformer Prime will retail for about 600 EUR ($826) including VAT.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 Emerges in New Photos

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion is expected to bring to the market in the not-too-distant future a new BlackBerry device in the popular Bold series, one that would sport the name of Bold 9790, and which can be admired now in a new leaked photo.

This is not the first time the smartphone makes an appearance into the wild, and the new leaked seems set to confirm that RIM is indeed set to launch the device soon.

Rumors has it that it will be a smaller handset when compared to the new Bold 9900 smartphone, but that it will pack similar specs and features, and that it will be similarly powerful.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 is expected to become available for purchase before the end of November, or at least to make an official appearance during this month, so stay tuned for more info on the matter.

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