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Nov 23, 2011

Intel to Detail 22-nm Ivy Bridge CPUs at ISSCC




At the 2012 ISSC (International Solid-State Circuits) conference, that is scheduled to take place in February of next year, Intel will disclose additional details about its upcoming Ivy Bridge processors based on the 22nm fabrication process.

The talks will focus on an entry-level Ivy Bridge desktop or notebook processor which uses four IA-32 cores, a graphics-processing core, memory and a PCI Express controller, all built on the 22nm fabrication node, according to EETime’s findings.

Other details about this chip were not released, but we do know that the Ivy Bridge presentation will be accompanied by another Intel talk dedicated to a low-power CPU.

This will be built using the 32nm process technology and consumes just 737 mW at 1.2V while running at 915MHz.

Ivy Bridge is the code name used for the 22nm die shrink of the current Sandy Bridge chips and features basically the same architecture, but with a few minor tweaks and improvements.

This includes a new on-die GPU that will come with full DirectX 11 support as well as with 30% more EUs than Sandy Bridge, in order to offer up to 60% faster performance that current Core CPUs according to Intel.

In addition, the processor cores have also received some minor tweaks as their AVX performance was slightly increased and Intel has updated the integrated PCI Express controller to the 3.0 standard.

In the mobile version of Ivy Bridge, all these improvements are paired with a configurable TDP design, which enables the CPU to greatly surpass its maximum thermal design power when additional cooling is provided (like when placed on a notebook cooling stand).

According to some previous rumors, Intel should be already shipping the first Ivy Bridge QS (qualification sample) chips to its partners. The retail version of Ivy Bridge is expected to arrive in March or April of 2012.

Fujitsu ARROWS Kiss F-03D Android Phone Is Here for the Ladies




Fujitsu has just announced the upcoming availability of a rather unusual phone aimed at women, the Fujitsu ARROWS Kiss F-03D, which will be available in Japan beginning November 25.

However, the smartphone will be exclusively available through NTT DoCoMo carrier for a price that will disclosed in due time.

According to Fujitsu, the ARROWS Kiss F-03D is a “smartphone with 'gem-cut' buttons that sparkle like actual jewelry.”

Aside its 3.7-inch LCD WVGA touchscreen that supports 480 x 800 pixels resolution, the smartphone is delivered with a stylus that provides users with an alternative to touch-based control. In addition, the stylus makes it easier for user to write complex Japanese characters.

Even though this is a women-centric phone that looks more like a toy, it boasts an 8.1-megapixel rear photo snapper, as well as a secondary 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera.

Although the word “smartphone” is often used by Fujitsu when describing the ARROWS Kiss F-03D, there's no mention of Android or any other mobile operating system. However, the press shots show that this is indeed an Android device.

Fujitsu ARROWS Kiss F-03D comes with all sorts of services and special features that are so appealing for Japanese consumers. For example, the smartphone is delivered with one-segment TV broadcast, mobile wallet (Osaifu Keitai), and infrared communication function.

Furthermore, the device is water-resistant, but also retains the elegance needed to be tagged as a women-oriented fashionistas phone.

There's also a range of funny and useful apps, such as Beauty Body Clinic, which 'senses' and monitors the user's body posture and recommends stretching and training exercises. Sukkiri Alarm app wakes up users when it detects they are 'ready' by combining body movements and breathing patterns.

Furthermore, a pedometer is also included that graphically shows the number of steps users take daily and also offers health-related advices.

Most likely this one won't reach outside Japan, but it's an interesting handset overall.


Intel May Release Unlocked Xeon E5 CPUs in 2012




Encouraged by the success they had with the unlocked version of the Westmere-based Xeon 5600 processors among overclocking enthusiasts, Intel is now rumored to be considering coming up with an unlocked version of the Xeon E5 too.

These chips would primarily target enthusiasts who are interested in building a dual-socket LGA 2011 system based on motherboards such as EVGA’s recently announced SR-3, according to VR-Zone.

Paired with two eight-core CPUs from the Xeon E5-2600 series and eight channel memory, a system based on this platform should be able to deliver almost half a teraflop of peak FP double precision power if using AVX coding.

Furthermore, this would be able to deliver well over 100 GB/s of memory bandwidth while also feeding 8 GPUs via the 80 PCI Express 3.0 lanes available from the two processors.

Of course that such a system will also have its downsides, such as the huge power consumption and the high heat output of the two overclocked CPUs, but it’s entirely doable.

Intel’s Xeon E5 processors are based on the company’s Sandy Bridge-E architecture that is also used in the desktop Core i7-3960X and 3930K processors launched by Intel at the middle of this month.

However , since these no longer have to fit inside the 130W of their desktop counterparts will come with all of the eight computing cores available in the architecture enabled as well as with up to 20MB of L3 cache memory.

In addition these chips will also get dual 8 GT/s QPI channels enabling them to communicate with each other when used in multi-socket motherboards.

A firm release date for these chips hasn't been mentioned, but Intel said recently that it has already starting sampling Xeon E5 processors to select number of cloud and HPC computer vendors, with mass availability expected in Q1 of 2012.

Nvidia Tesla GPUs Power World’s Greenest Supercomputer




Nvidia has just announced that for the second year in a row, the Tsubame 2.0 system powered by Nvidia Tesla GPUs has become the most energy efficient petaflop-class supercomputer in the world according to the TOP500 list.

Tsubame 2.0 is a heterogeneous supercomputer (combining both CPUs and GPUs) used to accelerate a range of scientific and industrial research in Japan.

This is installed at Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Global Scientific Information Center (GSIC) and went live in 2010.

According to Nvidia, the supercomputer has a sustained performance of 1.19 petaflops per second while consuming 1.2 megawatts of power, which after a simple calculation reveals that it can deliver 958 megaflops of processing power per watt of energy.

This makes it 3.4-times more energy efficient than its closes rival, the Cray built Cielo supercomputer installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which delivers 278 megaflops per watt.

The Tsubame 2.0 is comprised of HP ProLiant SL390 servers with 1,400 compute nodes based on Intel’s six-core Xeon 5600-series CPUs accelerated by no less than 4,200 Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs. These Nvidia Tesla accelerators deliver more than 80 percent of the supercomputer’s performance.

The Nvidia-powered Tsubame 2.0 supercomputer isn’t the only system to retain its position in this newest edition of the TOP500 list as the Japanese "K Computer” also managed to hang on to its number one spot in this list, a first for the TOP500 organization.

The supercomputer has just recently reached its final configuration which is comprised of 864 racks including a total of 88,128 interconnected CPUs making it able to deliver 10.51 petaflops in the LINPACK benchmark used for calculating the power of HPC systems.

The Japanese-built K Computer is actually so powerful that its performance is four times greater than that of its nearest competitor, and about nine times more powerful than the Tsubame 2.0.


HP Itanium Servers Sell Less and Less




HP may be paying Intel to keep making Itanium processors, and is supposed to keep doing so for years, but it might soon come to pass that this isn't a viable marketing tactic anymore. 

For those who don't know or remember, Oracle, earlier this year (2011) said it was no longer making new software for Itanium servers.

This immediately sparked outrage, especially on HP's part, leading to even lawsuits, or one of them at least.

Nevertheless, despite its efforts (it even admitted it has been paying Intel to keep Itanium alive, sort of), HP isn't seeing the long end of the stick, so to speak.

According to the earnings call with financial analysts, the company has been forced to cope with dwindling sales of Itanium-based servers.

Mission-critical servers are used by very large corporations, but said customers don't like to risk the future of their operations.

Buying Itanium platforms when Oracle, the main provider of software for them, doesn't want to support them anymore is definitely one such risk.

Oracle officially said it would stop platform support because the Xeon processors can fill that spot easily, but others, HP included, believe this is a means for Oracle to promote Sun SPARC servers.

This, ultimately, has little bearing, however, as the effect on the industry is real.

"As we mentioned last quarter, we are seeing the macro slowdown impact Industry Standard Servers. Revenue in ISS declined 4% year over year. Revenue in business critical systems [BCS] declined 23% year over year primarily due to a decline in our Itanium-based servers,” said Meg Whitman, chief executive officer of HP.

“Our ability to close deals has been impacted by Oracle's Itanium decision, and we are working diligently to enforce the commitments that Oracle has made to our customers and to HP."

HP and Oracle will probably keep arguing over this for months, maybe years. Such high-profile quarrels tend to take long, after all.

iPhone 5 Display Even Denser, Developed by Sharp - Report




The same Peter Misek who earlier wrote to investors about the rumored iTV also says there will be at least one exciting new feature in Apple’s next iPhone and iPad - the display.

The analyst, working with Jeffries, reportedly learned of a partnership between Sharp and Apple that resulted in modified IGZO -- or indium, gallium, zinc -- technology to reach 330 dots-per-inch screen resolution. The current Retina display in Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S does 326 dpi/ppi (also designated 'pixels-per-inch').

The technology reportedly eliminates the need for IPS (in plane switching) technology to accommodate viewing angles, and does not require dual-bar LED backlighting, thus draining less power from the iPhone’s battery.

"In our view, this should lead to several design advantages, namely the device can be thinner, battery life should be longer, and the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved," Misek wrote in his research note.

According to AppleInsider, the analyst expects the technology to be featured in a new sixth-generation iPhone (considering that the iPhone 4S is the fifth iPhone to come out of Cupertino) featuring high-speed LTE networking (or 4G) in 2012.

"The IGZO technology is perfect in that it offers near-OLED power consumption while having a lower cost and thinness that is only 25% greater than OLED, based on our checks," Misek wrote.

If the technology proves successful, Sharp already has plans to start work on the larger version for iPad, as well as other tablets, and even TV sets.

The Japanese electronics company is said to be trial testing a new technology that "prints" an OLED panel onto a film that ultimately gets deposited onto a glass surface.

"The yield improvements have been enormous and have enabled some trial runs to produce commercial yields," Misek wrote. "We expect Sharp/Apple to have a line testing this by the middle of 2012 with 2013 output possible."

Cooler Master Redesigns the CM690 II Case, Adds USB 3.0 Support




Cooler Master has just announced that it will soon out a redesigned version of its popular CM690 II case that now comes with a series of new features as well as with USB 3.0 support for connecting high speed storage devices.

The case will be available in two versions, called the CM690 II Plus and the CM690 II Advanced, but both of these will share a similar set of features and are just as roomy.

In fact, according to Cooler Master, the cases can house without any problems AMD’s Radeon HD 6990 graphics card, while they also come with enough space for mounting a pair of 120x240mm radiators, one at the top and one at the bottom of the case.

Additionally, users can also install up to 6 internal storage devices, either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch, and four external 5.25-inch drive bays that can be used for adding various optical drives or fan controllers.

All these feature tool-free installation, while the CM 690 II Advanced also includes an external SATA dock.

Utilizing the user feedback received from the initial CM690 II, Cooler Master’s engineers improved the design of the case by increasing the CPU mounting hole size to accommodate larger fans, and also added a series of rubber grommets to the cable routing holes placed along the motherboard’s tray.

Compare to the previous versions of the chassis, the two new CM690 II cases will get USB 3.0 connectivity, the Plus model coming with one such port, while the Advanced version packs two USB 3.0 connectors.

Cooling wise, users can install up to 10 fans, with enlarged mesh design for better ventilation, and the case also comes pre-fitted with a series of water cooling holes for an external radiator.

The improved CM 690 II Advanced model will be available for €99.94 ($134 US). Time of availability will vary based on region.


HIS Redesigns the Radeon HD 6770 Fan 1GB GDDR5




HIS has one of the most extensive graphics card ranges out there, but this hasn't stopped the company from periodically updating its portfolio with new solution based on AMD Radeon HD designs the latest such card to make its appearance being the Radeon HD 6770 Fan 1GB GDDR5.

This new HIS creation is a slightly simpler version of the initial HD 6770 Fan that HIS outed back in April when AMD introduced this re-branded Juniper GPU in the consumer market.

Aesthetically, the card doesn't differ too much from its predecessor as it uses the same black plastic shroud that covers most of its PCB, but the heatsink placed underneath has been modified to make it cheaper to produce.

Gone are the two copper heatpipes that were responsible for directing the heat away from the GPU and into the aluminum radiator as this setup was now replaced by a simpler circular all-aluminum heatsink.

The rest of the graphics card's specifications were left unaltered, meaning that the new Radeon HD 6770 Fan 1GB GDDR5 has its GPU running at the same 850MHz as its predecessor while the memory is clocked at 1200MHz (4800MHz).

The video output configuration was also left untouched as both models pack HDMI and full size DisplayPort connectors, as well as two dual-link DVI-D video outputs.

No details regarding the pricing or the availability of the Radeon HD 6770 Fan were made public by 3Dnews.ru, the website which uncovered the card, but knowing HIS this HD 6770 should arrive in retail stores really soon.

As most of you already know, the Radeon HD 6770 is nothing more than a re-branded previous generation HD 5770, which has now received support for HD3D by including an HDMI 1.4a video output.

Otherwise, the card sports the same specifications as the Radeon HD 5770, meaning that it includes 800 streaming processors, 40 texturing units, 16 ROP units and a 128-bit memory bus, which is usually connected to 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

Corsair and AMD's FX-8150 Establish New Memory Frequency World Record




When it comes to setting world records, no processor seems to be a match for AMD's Bulldozer-based FX-8150, which was recently used by an overclocker together with a pair of Corsair Dominator GT DDR3 modules to set a new WR memory frequency of 1733.8MHz (DDR3-3467). 

The record was achieved by Jake "Planet" Crimmins a renowned overclocker that is employed by Corsair to test and showcase the power of its memory solutions to other computer users.

The system was built around an AMD FX-8150 processor and an Asus Crosshair V Formula motherboard, which was paired with a 2GB dual-channel Corsair Dominator GTX6 memory kit.

Both the memory and the CPU were cooled with liquid nitrogen (LN2) which has a boiling point of -196°C (-321°F).

As with all the previous world records set by AMD's FX-8150 processor only one of the four modules present in the chip were active during these overclocking tests.

"Breaking overclocking world records requires skill, ingenuity, and the right equipment," said Jake Crimmins.

"I've broken several records using Dominator GT memory. It's reliable, it has amazing headroom, and it's never let me down," concluded the overclocker.

This is not the first time that AMD's FX-8150 processor was used for taking the memory world record crown as the previous top DDR3 frequency was also set by this CPU a little more than a week ago when a pair of ADATA memory modules went to 3311MHz.

Previously, the AMD CPU was used to surpass the WR for the highest frequency ever achieved by a computer processor.

The best result was reached at the start of this month and stands at an impressive 8584.8MHz, 123.3MHz more than the previous record also achieved by an FX-8150 CPU. This beast of a chip was cooled using liquid nitrogen and had a little more that 2v pushed through its core.



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