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Jul 19, 2012

AMD Bolton Power Consumption Just 7.8 Watts

We’ve just reported on AMD’s Richland APU here and now it seems some information about the supporting chipset has surfaced on the internet. The new chipset will use only 7.8 watts and will bring RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 support to the FM2 platform.

We’ve also reported here that AMD’s Richland will be compatible with the current FM2 socked, but hardware experts at Fudzilla.com has uncovered some more info about the new chipsets AMD will be launching next year. The FM2 platform will be somewhat renewed with the Bolton FCH. In AMD talk, FCH is short for Fusion Controller HUB, as Fudzilla report.

AMD’s next generation chipset will consume exactly the same amount today’s A75 chipset uses and will pack 4 USB 3.0 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports and 8 SATA III connectors. CrossFire support is still there and the users will be able to match a modest video card with the HD 7000 iGPU inside AMD’s Richland.

AMD Fusion APU marketing Shot
Image credits to AMD

AMD Client and Graphics Roadmap
Image credits to AMD

16-Core Oracle SPARC Processors

After buying Sun back in 2010, Oracle continued Sun’s work on the SPARC T processors and now it is getting ready to present the new SPARC T5 processor at this year’s Hot Chips conference.

Japanese company Fujitsu is also preparing to talk about its own SPARC architecture implementation during the same event, as we reported hereBack when Sun was trying hard to recover from the 2000 dot.com bubble burst, the company gave up on high thread performance microprocessor development and chose to concentrate on high throughput. The first-generation SPARC T1 processor has 8 cores able to handle four threads each. It only has a single FPU unit and it was not suited for HPC use, but rather specialized on HTC use. Sun adopted Fujitsu’s high-performance SPARC64 processors for its HPC servers and the combination was quite a successful one.

Later on, Sun wanted to give the T series more thread performance and thus brought 8 FPUs and 8 threads per core in the T2. The T2 Plus managed to achieve over 65 times the performance of a 2001 SPARC III Sun processor. Sun’s T3 was a 16-core design with 8 threads per core and the current SPARC T4 dropped the number of cores from 16 to just 8, but it greatly improved the per-thread performance. The initial T1 was years ahead of its time. We’re still waiting for applications that would know how to best use a 8-core / 8-thread processor now, in 2012. Back in 2005, a 32-thread CPU was quite difficult to be put to good use.

The T4 has 300% to 500% single thread performance of the previous generations and the new T5 is promising to improve on that. Oracle’s T5 has already taped out at TSMC late last year and the company has been working on the chip and servers ever since. Besides offering considerable single-thread performance improvements, the T5 will be the second Out-of-Order processor in the T series after the T4 and will also integrate special, per-core encrypting units along with database accelerating features. The T5 is built on 28nm technology and will feature memory versioning, in memory columnar database acceleration, hardware decompression and other database specific compute units.

Oracle|Sun Server Based on Oracle|Sun SPARC T4 Processor
Images credits to netmgt.blogspot.com
Click for larger images

Intel 22nm CPU Technology Fastest to Ramp in History

The 22nm manufacturing process technology has earned praise from Intel, and not because of the performance of the processors built on it, although that certainly played a part.

The performance level of Core i 3000 series chips is what enchanted so many customers and persuaded them to buy them. Still, while this did drive the adoption of CPUs, ultimately leading to them accounting for 25% of all shipments, there was another important factor: mass production. As opposed to GPU makers NVIDIA and AMD, whose 28nm chip supply is insufficient (in no small part because of Qualcomm), Chipzilla doesn't have any supply issues. In fact, the 22nm technology ramped faster than the 32nm node, faster than Intel's own plans really, hence them making up a quarter of the CPU volume. 

"Our technology and manufacturing group once again delivered fantastic results," said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer of Intel, during the quarterly conference call with financial analysts (the one that also had thoughts on Atom tablets and phones). "Our 22nm process health is ahead of where out 32nm process health was at the same point in its ramp, and ahead of our own plans. That enabled us to ramp up Ivy Bridge to nearly a quarter of our PC volume, our fastest ramp ever."  The company is getting ready to upgrade some of its fabs, while some have already been refined. Currently, there are five producing 22nm wafers.

For consumers, the best news is that all this was part of the early stages, and later manufacturing stages always become less straining on costs. Hopefully, this will let Ivy Bridge processors sell for less in Q3 and Q4. "As we move into Q3, we have the phenomenon where cost comes down rapidly on Ivy Bridge, which was about a quarter of our volume in Q2 and we are going to more or less double that volume in Q3. Hence, keeping in mind this phenomenon where cost come down, but the volume doubles, I see some cost good news in Q3, it is between half a point to a point, and then I get more cost good news in Q4, as that ramp starts to flatten out a bit," said Stacy Smith, chief financial officer of Intel.

Intel Core i7 CPU
Image credits to Intel

SilentMaxx Sandy Bridge-E System Cooled Without Fans

We may be dramatic in our articles from time to time, but there isn't really much that can phase us on the desktop market nowadays, which makes it all the more amazing, to us anyway, that SilentMaxx managed it.

As the title has no doubt made it more than clear already, SilentMaxx has created a high-end desktop that does not use any active cooling whatsoever. One might say this is not such a big deal, until they realize that even the “normal” Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge CPUs carry an entire cooling industry on their backs alone. Hardware makers and consumers are usually looking for the best and biggest cooler they can find. Passive cooling is the stuff of the HTPC and nettop market. Not anymore though, and what makes SilentMaxx even more of a shocker is that it didn't even settle for the already overpowered Sandy Bridge. The Sandy Bridge-E line is what we are looking at (Six-Core i7-3960X). The name given to the machine is Fanless I-850, not exactly the most catchy of monikers but one that encompasses its nature perfectly.

A custom-made and enormous Twin-Max CPU cooler is used to keep the processor at manageable temperatures, and that is not all. The high-end system also boasts a passively-cooled Radeon HD 7770 graphics adapter from Advanced Micro Devices. Moreover, prospective buyers can go one step higher than even that and acquire a Radeon HD 7970, also passively cooled. As for the rest, SilentMaxx decided on multiple SSDs in RAID configuration (for storage), up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR3-1600 MHz RAM (random access memory) and the full set of connectivity and I/O. You can find and configure your Fanless I-850 here.

SilentMaxx Fanless I-850
Image credits to SilentMaxx

SilentMaxx Fanless I-850
Image credits to ComputerBase.de

RIM Releases BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Update

Today, Canadian mobile phone maker RIM announced the availability of a software update for the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices that developers use now for creating apps for the upcoming platform release.

The new release, 10.06 Bundle 362 (Platform, can be downloaded today from RIM’s servers, the company announced. For that, developers will need to connect their devices to a Windows PC and have the BlackBerry Desktop Software Bundle 33 installed on it.

Developers will receive notifications on their handsets as soon as the update is available for them. They can also perform manual checks to find and download the new update. For a complete list of instructions on how to update the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, head over to this page on RIM’s website.

BlackBerry logo
Images credits to RIM

Wait for First Nokia Windows Phone 8 Device? Wait for September 7

Nokia announced earlier this year that its yearly Nokia World event will be split in several smaller events over a one- or two-month period.

The first event is set to take place on 5-6 September, but the Finnish company did not reveal anything that might be announced at this event. However, the folks over at MyNokiaBlog have been tipped on a possible launch event at the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki, Finland. According to the picture below, “SOMETHING AMAZING IS COMING…” NOKIA 7.9.2012, one day after the first Nokia World event ends.

There’s no telling exactly what the Finnish handset maker plans to announce, but the picture shows a Windows Phone device that has a barcode on the display. This clearly indicates that Nokia plans to launch its first WP8 device in the first week of September. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Nokia ad
Image credits to MyNokiaBlog

Axigon GeForce GTX 680 Temple Edition Comes with Arctic Accelero Xtreme Plus

Axigon is a less known Chinese video card manufacturer, but it seems like the company is planning or getting better aquatinted with 3D enthusiasts as it’s preparing a custom designed Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 card.

The new toy is designated Axigon GeForce GTX 680 Temple Edition and, although we don’t have any definite info on the working frequencies or the price, it seems to be targeting the high-end market, as it comes with high-quality components and custom cooling, videocardz reported. The Accelero Xtreme Plus is a triple-slot cooling solution known for its high efficiency and low noise.

The PCB uses a 8 (for the GPU) + 2 (for the memory) phase power design and comes with CHiL’s CHL8318 power controller, DirectFET filters and tantalum capacitors. There’s no info on pricing or availability, but we know that there will be a 2 GB and a 4 GB version.

Axigon GeForce GTX 680 Temple Edition
Image credits to videocardz.com

Axigon GeForce GTX 680 Temple Edition
Image credits to videocardz.com

Axigon GeForce GTX 680 Temple Edition
Image credits to videocardz.com

Axigon GeForce GTX 680 Temple Edition
Image credits to videocardz.com

Axigon GeForce GTX 680 Temple Edition
Image credits to videocardz.com

Accelero Xtreme Plus
Image credits to Arctic

Accelero Xtreme Plus
Image credits to Arctic

Accelero Xtreme Plus
Image credits to Arctic

Accelero Xtreme Plus
Image credits to Arctic
Accelero Xtreme Plus
Image credits to Arctic

Wheezy Raspbian: Debian for Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Foundation managed to deliver their own Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi hardware, called Raspbian, based on Debian.

Until now, the developers of Raspberry Pi have recommended a Debian Squeeze distribution for their platform, which worked great, but now they have built their own distro that seems to work really great. Raspbian “Wheezy” is the first Linux distribution to take advantage of the Raspberry Pi’s floating point hardware for, amongst other things, much faster web browsing. At least this is what the developers are saying.

Raspberry Pi relies on an ARM processor with a clock speed of 700 MHz, 256 MB of RAM, an SD card slot and a 5V Micro USB connector that supplies the power. It also features RCA and HDMI ports. Download Wheezy Raspbian 2012-07-15 right now.

Raspberry Pi
Image credits to Raspberry Pi Foundation

Biostar Hi-Fi A85X AMD FM2 Trinity Motherboard Gets Windows 8 Compatibility Certificate

Veteran motherboard company Biostar has decided to get back in the high-end computer mainboard market segment and launched back at Computex 2012 a new line of AMD FM2 “Trinity” mainboards. The most capable model is the Biostar Hi-Fi A85X, which has received a Windows 8 compatibility certification from Microsoft.

The motherboard comes with four DIMM slots able to handle up to 32 GB or DDR3 2400 MHz + memory. There is a total of three PCI-Express x16 slots, but when all of them are occupied, the first two will be set in x8 mode and the third is an x16 slot connected to the FCH that only has 4 PCI-Express lanes available for data transfer. AMD’s FM2 socket is powered by a 10-phase VRM which can only improve overclocking results. There are seven internal SATA III ports and an eSATA port on the I/O panel. We will also find a DVI connector, a VGA port, HDMI and DisplayPort, on the same I/O panel. There is also the Hi-Fi audio panel, four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connector and a legacy PCI slot.

Biostar wants to reinvent itself on the high-end market and has designed the entire Hi-Fi motherboard line with lots of useful quality features. The Hi-Fi line from Biostar comes with a high SNR CODEC likely manufactured by Realtek and with OPAMP circuitry that uses higher grade electrolytic capacitors. The entire audio circuitry uses a separated PCB base and is isolated from the ground layer of the rest of the mainboard. This will help lower the interference from other components on the motherboard like most high-end audio solutions require. Another useful feature is the special set of capacitors that are able to handle any electrostatic discharge of up to 15,000 volts.

Biostar has proudly announced that Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) have certified its Hi-Fi A85X AMD FM2 Trinity mainboard for complete Windows 8 compatibility, on its official website.

Biostar Hi-Fi A85X
Image credits to Biostar

MSI Liquid-Cooled AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card

Well-known mainboard manufacturer, maker of the world’s fastest Ivy Bridge notebook, Taiwanese company MSI is teasing a liquid-cooled AMD Radeon HD 7970 video card on its Facebook page. This card is the likely embodiment of AMD’s “Tahiti 2” or GHz Edition design and is gunning for the reference GTX 680 cards out there.

Seeing how frequency-scalable their architecture is, AMD decided to up the ante and introduce a higher-clocked GPU based on the same architecture, PCB and even the same cooling system. This is an important achievement for AMD, as it clearly shows that the Radeon HD 7900 series are well-engineered and reliable.

When adding water cooling in the mix, the results can be amazing as AMD’s Tahiti is responsible for numerous world benchmarking records like we reported here.

MSI Liquid Cooled AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card
Image credits to MSI

Intel 8-Series Chipset Scheduled April 2013

Even though Intel's tablet efforts aren't going to pay off this year, the core of its business continues to experience a great success, so it stands to reason that nothing but optimism surrounds the 8-series chipsets and Haswell CPUs.

We've known, for some time, that Haswell processors and their corresponding chipsets, would be released in the first quarter (or at least first half) of 2013. Now we know the exact month when the big reveal will happen, courtesy of Digitimes: April. Then again, it's not exactly a shock. After all, the 7-series chipsets were introduced in April 2012. The first processors out, from the Haswell line, will be the mainstream and high-end, coupled with the Z87 and H87 platforms. They will replace the teams made by Ivy Bridge and Z77, Z75 and H77 chipsets. The only 8-series core-logic that will come later is the H81, for the entry-level market. It will only take the place of the H61 in June 2013. All things considered, Ivy Bridge is shaping up to be the shortest-lived notebook (and even desktop) platform in recent years.

Had the 8-series been backwards compatible with the LGA1155 platform, upgrades would have been an easy enough matter. Unfortunately, Haswell-based units built on the 22nm manufacturing process will have a better architecture but a different socket: LGA1150. We've already seen our share of complaints about this in fact. Few people are glad about having bought a new high-end motherboard only to find out they won't be able to use it with next-generation CPUs. This may also be one of the reasons PC demand is rather weak at the moment. Some prospective buyers are already delaying new PC purchases until they have hope that they won't be stuck with just a one-year wonder (again). Nevertheless, market watchers continue to think the peak for Intel Ivy Bridge demand will be in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Intel logo
Image credits to Intel

Nokia Asha 308 and Asha 309 Emerge in Leaked Document

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia might be getting ready for the release of new devices in its already popular Asha lineup, two of which have already emerged online.

We’re referring here to the Asha 308 and Asha 309, two devices that were spotted in a leaked document over at tieba.baiduAsha 308 is said to be a dual-SIM device, while the Asha 309 will pack a single SIM, along with Wi-Fi connectivity capabilities.

We should expect full touch capabilities on at least one of the two, but the rest of the specifications remain shrouded in mystery for the time being. This couple reminds us of the Asha 305 – Asha 306 pair, and some suggest that the new devices might be new flavors of the old ones. No info on when these might land on shelves has emerged for the time being.

Nokia Asha 308 and Asha 309
Images credits to tieba.baidu

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