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Oct 4, 2012

French Company Presents 256-Core, 28 nm Processor

Consumers who think six or 8 cores are many in a processor probably never had a reason to look up parallel chips and digital signal processors (DSP), but French company Kalray may change that. 

What they've announced is a DSP chip which, thanks to its 256 individual cores (yes, that many) can perform 500 billion operations per second (200 GigaFLOPS). One would think that something like that would require a lot of power, but that does not apply here. The processor actually makes do with 4W, less than the average mobile chip. For comparison, a mighty Tesla series GPU has a performance of 1,030 to 2,280 (single-precision). A factor of 5-10 isn't bad at all really. Granted, being a digital signal processor, Kalray's chip (MPPA 256) has a narrower range of uses (accelerating multimedia codecs and filters) than, say, CPUs (can process pretty much anything) and GPUs (are best at parallel tasks).

To make things even more interesting, the newcomer is manufactured on the 28nm manufacturing process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the same foundry that makes those Tesla chips mentioned above, and all the other GPUs that NVIDIA uses. Still, that doesn't change the fact that this is one strong chip that may endanger other many-core projects, like Adapteva's Parallella “supercomputer.”  "Kalray's technology has been developed with many OEM partners across several vertical markets, as well as through partnering with third party software vendors,” says Joël Monnier, CEO.

“Our first processor achieves a global processing power of 500 billion operations per second, along with a much lower power consumption than competitive solutions. Embedded designers will get the benefit of high processing power, low power consumption and high level programming to develop innovative applications in the fields of image processing, signal processing, control, communications and data security. The access cost of MPPA processors makes them optimum for all low to medium volume applications.” Kalray expects to have customers from the fields of image processing, signal processing, control, communications and data security. Go here to read more.

Kalray MPPA 256
Image credits to Kalray

AMD FX-4130 Zambezi Quad-Core CPU Shipping

Though AMD is releasing Trinity-based Athlon II X4 CPUs with no integrated graphics, people may not like the idea of an FM2 socket motherboard being equipped with them. After all, that defeats the purpose of having video outputs wired to the CPU socket.

That means that, should people decide against buying an A-Series APU system for some reason, they should have means to build a different sort of quad-core PC. AMD is offering that means: the FX-4130 quad-core Zambezi CPU. With a frequency of 3.8 GHz and 8 MB total cache memory, it is up for order online at last, at TigerDirect.

The price is of $119.99 though (119.99 Euro), higher than the tags of the Athlon II X4 700-Series and, to add insult to injury, the same as that of the stronger FX-4170.

AMD quad-core FX CPU
Image credits to AMD

MeeGo-Based OS Handset for November Confirmed by Jolla

Next month, we’ll have the chance to have a better look at the future of MeeGo, the Linux-based operating system that Nokia dropped from its plans not too long ago.

The company has just confirmed plans to showcase the Jolla user interface for the platform next month in Helsinki, Finland. The company’s interface is based on the Sailfish alliance OS and will be demoed at the Slush event on November 21-22. Moreover, the company announced plans to unveil more info on the Jolla SDK at the event, and that it will also talk the application ecosystem with developers. The first handset running under the OS was already expected to become official before the end of this year, and now Jolla confirmed that it would unveil all on it before Christmas. Peter Vesterbacka, a founder of Slush, commented: “Slush has grown up to be the biggest entrepreneurship event in Northern Europe. It’s great to see hot new startups like Jolla use Slush as the venue for their major announcements. New business creation and innovation is alive and kicking at Slush and in the region”.

At the same time, Jolla announced a separate, in-depth session aimed at detailing the user interface, as well as a Q&A session with the press. The user interface is meant to be included in the aforementioned Sailfish alliance software. The UI has been scaled based on the MeeGo user experience to provide support for multiple device categories, the company announced. The development has finally reached the point in which the Jolla user interface can be showcased, so that the world becomes aware of the changes it brings when compared to existing mobile UIs, the company said.

“Jolla is a great example of what happens, when you combine the extreme technical talent found in Finland with the right attitude and ambition level of companies like Rovio,” Mikko Kuusi, CEO of Startup Sauna, said. “I’m thrilled to finally be able to show the user interface we have been working on, and it will be exciting to open the developer story with SDK and applications to the public,” Jussi Hurmola, CEO of Jolla, added.

Jolla logo
Image credits to Jolla

AMD Athlon II X4 700-Series Trinity Processors

Since AMD has to do something with all those chips who come out of the factory with faulty GPUs, it is releasing them as Athlon II X4 CPUs.

One UK online store lists two Athlon X4 central processors of this type: AMD Trinity Athlon X4 740X and AMD Trinity Athlon X4 750K. Both of them have 4 MB of L2 cache, but their clock frequencies differ. The former is a 3.2 GHz chip but, when Turbo Core technology activates, it jumps to 3.7 GHz. The latter has a base core clock speed of 3.4 GHz and can reach 4 GHz in a pinch.

Needless to say, both are compatible with Socket FM2 motherboards, but they will let the video ports wired to the CPU socket go to waste, since they, as we already said, lack the integrated Radeon HD 7000. On that note, their prices of £46.95 ($75 / 58.45 Euro) and £53.50 ($86 / 66.61 Euro) don't help them much, not with full-featured A-Series Trinity so cheap.

AMD Athlon II X4 Trinity processors
Image credits to AMD

Transcend 32GB DDR3 RDIMM and Very Low Profile Modules

Well-known memory company transcend has just announced two new DDR3 DRAM modules. The first one is a Registered dual inline memory module (DIMM) with a capacity of 32 gigabytes and the second one is a 16 GB DDR3 Registered DIMM with a very low profile PCB.

The Transcend TS4GKR72V3P 32 GB DDR3 1333 MHz RDIMM includes the professional thermal sensor that such modules usually have and enables medium servers such as IBM's System x3850/3950 X5 and BladeCenter HX5 to achieve RAM capacities up to 2 TB.

The Transcend TS2GKR72V6PL 16 GB DDR3 1600 MHz Very Low Profile RDIMM includes the professional thermal sensor that TS4GKR72V3P also has and will enable a lower power consumption inside the server and better air flow, thus resulting in better overall cooling. Both models are backed by Transcend’s usual Lifetime warranty and work at the standard 1.5V.

Transcend DDR3 Memory Modules
Images credits to Transcend

AMD Trinity Overclocked to 7.3 GHz

AMD’s new A10-5800K APU seems to be capable of great things. The mature 32nm manufacturing technology from GlobalFoundries and the new Piledriver cores using the clock mesh technology from Cyclos Semiconductor enable the processor to reach beyond the 7 GHz mark.

As the company’s processors suffer from lack of single-threaded performance, AMD has decided to enable very high frequencies. Having a $122 APU clock beyond 4 GHz is an impressive feat in itself and it is also something Intel has never been able to do; but when extreme cooling is applied, the A10-5800K can go up to an amazing 7.3 GHz, Fudzilla reports.

When getting down to earth and using simple air cooling, but certainly not the reference cooling that ships with the CPU, AMD’s A10 goes beyond 5 GHz, which is quite nice. A 25% overclock on a $122 (95EUR) processor is really nice and this will surely put it ahead most of Intel’s sub-$200 processors.

AMD Trinity Marketing Shot
Image credits to AMD

Adlink Matrix MXE-1300 Fanless Computer Powered by Intel Atom D2550

Taiwanese company Adlink has just launched a new mini computer that comes with interesting features, improved performance and a completely silent and fanless design. The Matrix MXE-1300 system comes with lots of connectivity options and even a full-sized 3.5” HDD.

The bad news is that, although faster than previous models from the company, the Matrix MXE-1300 is powered by Intel’s Atom D2550 dual-core processor and this means that its performance characteristics are completely inferior to an AMD Brazos dual-core processor. USB 3.0 is also completely missing as Intel’s Atom doesn’t have such a capability and 3D graphics are only good for Minesweeper. On the other hand, the Matrix MXE-1300 is very well-built and will work in environments with temperatures ranging between -20 degrees and 70 degrees Celsius.

Connectivity is well endowed with six USB ports, 4 serial COM ports, 4 digital I/Os, 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and one each Mini-PCIe and USIM slots for wireless operation. The numerous COM ports make the Adlink Matrix MXE-1300 a very good solution for industrial applications and the three Gigabit LAN connectors could transform it into a powerful network gateway.

Adlink Matrix MXE-1300 Fanless Computer powered by Atom D2550
Images credits to Adlink

PowerColor Dual-GPU HD7990 Graphics Card

Seeing a vendor of branded video cards announcing a new dual-GPU graphics adapter would come across as impressive most of the time, but PowerColor's move isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Sure, there is no doubt about whether or not this is a dual-Tahiti XT video adapter, but the fact remains that there is nothing actually new about it. Long story short, it is, for the most part, a rebranded Devil 13 HD7990, which was launched back in August (thus, not all that long ago). The Tahiti XT GPUs operate at a frequency of 900 MHz, while the 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM are clocked at 1,375 MHz (5.5 GHz effective). Coupled with the memory interface of 384 bits x2 (one for each set of 3 GB memory), that leads to a very high performance level. And here is where the single relevant difference kicks in (not counting the looks): PowerColor's Devil 13 HD7990 is designed with a dual BIOS function, whose special switch can put the secondary BIOS in charge. The GPU speed is pushed to 1 GHz when the setting is chosen. The new PowerColor HD7990 jumps only to 925 MHz.

Moving on, the cooler is big (triple-slot), due to the three fans needed to keep in check the heat produced by two overworked GPUs and a bunch of RAM chips. Fortunately, many high-end motherboards of today, which support CrossFireX multi-GPU setups, have the primary two PCI Express x16 slots far enough apart to still allow that capability to be used. The multi phases design, UHB, digital PWM and PowerIRstage technologies contribute to the stability of the voltage as well, even at high loads. Finally, PowerColor HD7990 possesses a thermal design power of 550 Watts and, for EyeFinity setups (up to six monitors used at once), an extensive set of video outputs: HDMI, Dual-Link DVI, single-link DVI and two mini DisplayPorts.

PowerColor HD7990 graphics card
Image credits to TechPowerUp

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