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Nov 18, 2011

ARM Creates New GPUs and CPUs at New Factory

ARM has been doing a lot of things lately, but the latest act on its part, or one of them, was the setting up of a new production facility. 

ARM is said to have announced the opening of a new factory in Taiwan.

One thing the new design center will do is tighten the relationship with ARNM's Taiwan-based partners.

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is the oldest, main collaborator in the region.

Some time ago, the two made a deal which implied that TSMC would be developing physical IP, like memory products and standard cell libraries, on the 28nm and 20nm process technologies.

Now, ARM has entered an agreement with UMC as well (United Microelectronics Corporation), which will also offer access to physical IP on the 28nm node.

These two companies are just part of the reason ARM actually opened the new facility.

However, the real purpose of the new R&D center at the Hsinchu Science Park, northern Taiwan, is to develop physical intellectual property products like CPUs and GPUs.

That's Cortex-A Series central processing units and the new Mali-T600 Series graphics processing units.

“The center will enable even closer interaction with local ARM partners and serve as an important focal point in the region for advanced technology engineering,” ARM said in a statement.

“Product development is now underway at the center for 28nm and 20nm technologies, targeting advanced ARM Cortex-A Series processors and Mali-T600 Series GPUs.”

ARM used to not be any sort of competitor to Intel, and vice-versa, but then tablets showed up and NVIDIA created the Tegra 2 platform.

Now, ARM has more or less become a direct competitor to NVIDIA as well, since it built the new and improved Mali-T600 Series graphics chips.

2012 will bring Windows 8, which supports both x86 and ARM platforms. There is going to be a fierce competition on all sides when that happens.

Galaxy Works on Quad-Display GTX 580 Graphics Card

Multi-monitor enabled GeForce graphics cards seems to gain ground among Nvidia's partners as Galaxy has just unveiled that it is now working on a new quad-display solution based on the high-performance GTX 580 core.

Little is known about the card at this point in time other than what we can make out from a series of pictures provided by HardOCP, but this solution will most probably be released into the company's MDT series.

Outside of the outrageous cooling system that packs no less than three large diameter fans and a massive heatsink, one can easily see that the card comes equipped with no less than four display outputs.

Three of these are mini-HDMI and are able to support full 1080p resolution on up to three displays in order to form a single 5760x1080 surface, while the fourth DP port can be used to drive an additional desktop display.

The GeForce GTX 580 graphics card is based on the GF110 core and features 512 stream processors, 64 texturing units, 48 ROP units as well as a 384-bit memory bus that is connected to 1.5GB of GDDR5 frame buffer.

The stock operating frequencies of Nvidia's card are set at 772MHz for the core, while the memory is clocked at 1002MHz (4008MHz data rate).

Galaxy hasn't yet made public the frequencies that its GTX 580 creation will run at, but this could be clocked slightly higher that Nvidia's stock frequencies. Information regarding the release date or the pricing of this graphics card also wasn't provided.

This GTX 580 powered solution is by no means the only muti-display capable graphics card to be released by Galaxy as the company already has three such models in the market.

The GTX 580 will however be the fastest of these as the remaining models in the MDT series are based on the GeForce 210, the GTX 560 Ti and the GTX 570 designs.

Next Xbox Coming in 2012, Sony Studio Already Working on PlayStation 4, Report Says

A brand new report has surfaced focusing on the next generation of consoles, with Microsoft rumored to prepare the debut of its new Xbox, the so-called Xbox 720, in late 2012, while Sony has already tasked one of its internal studios to work solely on a game for the PlayStation 4.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have been around for quite some time and, even if the two companies behind them, Sony and Microsoft, respectively, have said time and time again that they'll still be around for a few more years, some serious rumors about their successors have begun floating around the web.

After quite a lot of speculation concerning the next Xbox console, the oft-rumored Xbox 720, Edge arrives with another report about the Microsoft device, which backs up details we already heard throughout the year.

According to the magazine, Microsoft has already shipped early devkits to studios like Ubisoft Montreal or Electronic Arts, but final versions of the console's hardware will be sent to most developers at the end of this year.

Considering these things, Microsoft is expected to present the new console at CES 2012, which takes place early next year, and will launch it onto the market at the end of 2012, in order to once again gain an advantage over competitors like Sony, just like it did with the Xbox 360.

Sony isn't sitting idly, however, as the magazine also says that the Japanese company has tasked one of its internal studio with developing experiences just for the PlayStation 4. No word yet on which studio is actually doing this, but teams like Uncharted developer Naughty Dog or Killzone creators Guerrilla Games are being rumored, especially since the latest installments in both franchises pushed the PS3 to its limits.

As of yet, however, neither Sony north Microsoft have commented on these reports, so the only company expected to launch a new device next year is Nintendo, with its Wii U.

LSI Demos 12 Gbps SAS Expansion Card, Reaches 3106.84MB/s Transfer Speeds

With the performance delivered by today's SSD, there comes the need for newer and faster transfer interfaces to be implemented, so LSI has just showcased the industry’s first 12Gbps SAS expander IC during a recent company event.

The SAS expander uses a series of chips to distribute that bandwidth among current-generation storage devices, in the case of the solution demoed these drives being 32 Seagate Savvio 15.3K RPM hard drives.

The SAS expander gets connected to the system through an x8 PCI-Express 3.0 add-on card that can support up to 44 SAS or SATA devices and up to 2048 SAS addresses.

During the event, LSI was showcasing this solution running IOMeter, where the 32 hard drives achieved a transfer speed of 3106.84 MB/s and over 1.01 million IOPS (the hard drive cache performance was measured).

“12Gb/s SAS components provide the opportunity to extend existing investments in 6Gb/s drive infrastructure while maximizing storage performance for I/O-intensive applications, cloud datacenters and virtualized server environments,” said Bill Wuertz, senior vice president and general manager, RAID Storage Division, LSI.

“With PCI Express 3.0 platforms on the horizon and enterprise adoption of solid state drives on the rise, 12Gb/s SAS will be essential to unleashing the full performance potential of next-generation server platforms.”

According to industry estimates provided by LSI, 12Gb/s SAS market adoption will begin with the release of individual SAS components and devices, and gain momentum as tier-one OEMs begin production-volume shipments of 12Gb/s SAS-enabled servers and external storage systems.

Production-volume shipments of 12Gb/s SAS-enabled servers are estimated to occur by early 2013, followed by the availability of external storage systems by mid-to-late 2013.

LSI hasn't provided any information regarding the release schedule of its own 12Gb/s SAS controllers.

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