Sunday, March 29, 2009

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Using the same Wolfdale core as the mainstream E8200, the value-priced E7200 is scaled down in several respects. Clock speed drops from the 2.66 GHz to 2.53 GHz, FSB data rate from 1333 MHz to 1066 MHz, and Level 2 cache from 6 MB cache to 3 MB. Intel physically disables the missing cache, making it the only part that can’t be restored through simple BIOS manipulation.

We don’t expect much change regarding overclock capability, but the reduction in cache, though unrecoverable, should have only the slightest impact on most benchmarks. Given the large number of 3D benchmarks in our test suite, the $50 we saved by not choosing the pricier E8200 will probably be put to better use in the graphics subsystem.

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The AMD Phenom Processor has had its fair share of problems lately and we all know about them, but Intel is loving every second of it. We spotted one Intel employee that asked not to be named or shown wearing a T-Shirt under his sport coat that had a very interesting print on it.
The shirt showed the Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core processor on it with the words "The Only Phenomenal Processor". I'm sure that this has no connection to AMD's Phenom processor series!

AMD's Phenom processor is by far one of the biggest dissapointments in the industry in many years, but hopefully AMD will be able to improve performance on the next stepping and get back into the swing of things. For now though it's fun to hear everyone talk about what is going to happen to AMD and even see some people going as far as making custom t-shirts!

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The economic slowdown is hurting everyone, but if you are a chip company with deep pockets, the recession can be your friend.

Intel announced Tuesday that it plans to accelerate its production of 32-nanometer processors and cancel some of its 45-nm integrated graphic chips in a bid to increase its lead over rival AMD. At the same time, Intel is cutting prices, betting the move will coax reluctant consumers to open their wallets. The two moves are a one-two punch that AMD, whose annual revenues are one-sixth of Intel's, will have a hard time matching.

"It's a form of stimulus package for the worldwide demand for processors," says Shane Rau, an analyst with research firm IDC. "Intel is showing that it can invest through the downturn and be ready when the demand returns."

Intel is reportedly cutting prices up to 40 percent on its older processors, a move that many have interpreted as a sign of economic pressure.

That's just one part of the strategy, say Intel executives, touting the chip giant's plans to invest $7 billion to upgrade its 32-nm–chip manufacturing facilities in the United States. And it has accelerated its schedule to have those chips for notebooks and desktops in production in the fourth quarter of the year, says Steve Smith, vice president at Intel.

Worldwide microprocessor shipments fell significantly in the fourth quarter and are likely to decline further in the first half of this year, says IDC.

Intel has felt the pain. In January, the company said it will close four assembly and test facilities internationally and lay off about 6,000 people. But analysts such as Rau see those announcements as Intel's short-term reaction to slowing demand.

Intel's long-term bet is its decision to scrap its 45-nm processors with integrated graphics, codenamed Havendale and Auburndale, in favor of more-advanced and faster 32-nm processors.

Intel started shipping its 45-nm chips more than a year ago. In November the company said it is set to release a desktop version of the 45-nm chip called Core i7.

Now Smith says Intel has "de-prioritized" the 45-nm technology family and will instead focus on 32-nm products, whose family codename will be Westmere. The first 32-nm chips will be in production later this year, including the dual-core chips codenamed Clarkdale and Arrandale. Intel also plans to have 32-nm quad-core chips (Lynnfield) next year.

"We are hoping consumers will be motivated to buy these," says Smith. "It is good products that lead us out of the recession."

AMD won't have a desktop chip comparable to the 45-nm Core i7 until next year, and its 32-nm chips are not expected until 2011.

"By transitioning to 32 nm aggressively Intel is pressing its advantage competitively," says IDC's Rau. "Now instead of competing against AMD or others, Intel is effectively competing against itself and the market forces."

See also:

AMD Fields New Chip, Battles for Survival Against Intel

Photo: Jon Snyder/

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This one delves pretty deep into head-scratching territory, but it looks like the folks at Invisible Things Lab have discovered an exploit that could open the door to some potentially serious attacks on certain Intel CPUs paired with some popular motherboards. Of course, the exploit that they've actually released is completely harmless, but it demonstrates that the CPU cache can be "poisoned" to let folks read and write into the otherwise protected SMRAM memory. As NetworkWorld notes, that could lead to some more nefarious folks developing a SMM rootkit, which would be all the more perilous considering that the user of the infected computer would have no way of detecting the attack. For its part, Intel is apparently well aware of the problem, and it has already fixed the vulnerability on some newer boards like the DQ45, but others still in widespread use (like the DQ35 pictured above) have seemingly been left hanging waiting for a fix of some sort.

Intel 21

Intel has announced a major update to its 32nm next-generation processor plans, revealing substantial new details on its chip roadmap and outlining a $7bn investment in new plant.

The first 32nm processor, code-named Westmere, will be in production by the fourth quarter of 2009. It will arrive in a dual-core, four-thread format suitable for desktops and notebooks, the company said in a conference call on Tuesday.

The design initially will also include a 45nm integrated graphics and memory controller as part of a multichip package, with this component moving to 32nm — and possibly fully integrated — in 2010. The same year will see the arrival of Gulftown, a six-core, 12-thread chip for desktops, as well as the first Westmere-based Xeon server chips.

Intel announced that as well as moving integrated graphics and memory into the main processor, it was moving all remaining chipset functions into a single chip, the Intel 5 series. With the Intel 5, motherboard makers could build PCs with all the logic components in just two chips.

"We have excellent health on Westmere," an Intel spokesperson said. "We were thrilled with the first silicon, and were able to boot and run applications on the very first wafers. We have enough confidence that we're accelerating the 32nm ramp in the mainstream."

The spokesperson also said that a version of the chip would be demonstrated later on Tuesday in San Francisco.

Intel said the 32nm process was the first to use immersion lithography, a new technique where some production takes place in water, with design patterns shrunk by refraction.

Westmere is substantially the same architecture as the existing 45nm Nehalem chip, shrunk to the new 32nm process. Seven new instructions have been added, the company said, to support accelerated encryption and decryption suitable for communication and hard disks. The next major update, Sandy Bridge, will have a new architecture that will span the next process transition to 22nm.

In support of these moves, the company said it was spending $7bn (£4.8bn) over two years across four chip-production sites in the US.

Intel 19

The testing for the new Intel X25-M has been completed for a couple of weeks now, but I have been putting off writing the article. Reviewers are faced with tough decisions from time to time; generally it is because we had found a fatal flaw and try to work with a company to correct the issue. This time the flaw is simply that the drive is too good. Intel is saying that their first entry into the consumer SSD market is able to read up to 250 MB/s, while other products are claiming a maximum of 175 MB/s. Honestly, who in their right mind would want to send over a consumer SSD for us to review knowing that it would be compared to the Intel X25-M? - Where do I sign up for unemployment because my job is gone?

The good thing is that Intel has left us a couple of back doors and has not totally disrupted the market. The first and foremost is price. We are starting to see 128GB MLC based drives with decent performance break the 300 Dollar barrier. The new Intel X25-M just showed up at Newegg for a little over twice that amount for the 80GB version we are looking at today. I may be saved after all, but information about rapid price drops are starting to leak out. The last I heard from the rumor mill is that the X25-M will get a new price of 530 USD before the year is out; still a lot more than some of the others, but clearly not out of range for enthusiasts.

Intel strategically let slip their intention to enter the SSD market last year and the world has patiently waited for the 500 pound chipzilla to enter the fray. Intel brings with them the resources to not only make exceptional products but also the ability to do it quickly, drawing on their decade’s worth of experience with memory products. For most users Intel is a processor company, but the truth is Intel has branched out into many semiconductor fields, NAND Flash being one of them. It was only a matter of time before Intel entered the SSD market, so let’s take a look and see just how good the new Intel X25-M really is.

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Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) held a Web-based press conference Aug. 15 to formally attack Intel Corp. prior to the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) in San Francisco next week.

When AMD invited me to listen to a webcast regarding the IDF forum, I expected to hear some news; maybe their 45nm processor Shanghai would be coming out earlier than expected to make up for Barcelona’s delay? That would be big and would help AMD make up some ground in the processor product release wars against Intel.

Instead, the conference served as a means for AMD to plant the seeds of skepticism in the minds of IDF attendees before the conference. AMD executives spent the hour call marketing their existing processing and graphics technologies and bashing Intel.

Allen also touted AMD’s virtualization assist technology, AMD-V with Nested Page Tables, which recieved high praise from a VMware engineer recently, and he noted that quad-core Opteron is being used in a total of seven of the top performing systems in the most recent Top 500 Supercomputers list, including the No. 1 IBM’s RoadRunner.

“We have our swagger back,” Allen said.

He failed to note, however, that AMD’s Opteron chips were used in only 56 systems (11.2%) on the list, which is down from 78 systems six months ago. Intel processors were used in 74.8% of the world’s supercomputers (about 374 systems), up 4% from six months ago.

When a reporter raised this issue during the press conference, Allen said that having Opteron used in the top performing computer and systems high on the list is more notable than the slip in the number of total systems on the top 500.

In addition to hyping AMD products, Allen also spent plenty of time directly attacking Intel, saying the company has an easy time innovating because it simply mimics AMD’s work.

“Intel adopted our power efficiency technology, our multicore technology and you will see them copying the Direct Connect Architecture and HyperTransport technologies we developed five years ago. … Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it is also annoying.”

Surely, IDF conference goers will hear similar hype about Intel products from Intel executives next week and negative remarks about AMD.

The only mention of AMD’s processor on deck, 45-nanometer chip code-named Shanghai, was that it is scheduled for release later this year and will be delivered on time. Shanghai will consume 20% less power at idle than Barcelona and will have 6 MB of L3 cache (compared with Barcelona’s 2MB of L3 cache).

All in all, the press conference simply re-stated old AMD news.

Thanks for the re-cap, AMD. That is an hour of my life I’ll never get back. And if you just finished reading this blog, hopefully it’s only a few minutes of your time that you can never get back.


ONE OF THE MOST significant things Intel is doing this IDF is going unnoticed by many.

It took a friendly fellow pointing it out to open our eyes to the biggest bombshell of the show. Intel is opening up the front side bus (FSB).

Yes, it is. You can now get non-Intel things that plug in to the CPU socket, a first. Think about this. When was the last time you saw something without a blue logo, dropped e or not, in a socket 603/4 or 771?

The magnitude of this should not be underestimated, it is one of the 'thou shalt nots' of the Intel competition manual, how it forced AMD to make their own bus and how it keeps chipset makers in line. The fact that it is opening it is a huge statement as to how seriously it take sTorrenza.

The module itself is a Xilinx Virtex 5, and on the bottom this particular one has 604 pins, perfect for plugging into an Intel Xeon infrastructure. It emulates the FSB with about 10 per cent of its capacity - leaving the rest for user mischief.

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Pentium Dual-Core processor family is the latest Pentium-branded family of budget dual-core desktop and mobile microprocessors. The family was introduced in the first quarter of 2007 and currently (Feb 2009) includes 9 desktop and 11 mobile microprocessors. The Pentium Dual-Core CPUs are based on Core microarchitecture, and include many Core micro-architecture features:
  • 32 KB instruction and 32 KB data cache per core;
  • SSE3 and supplemental SSE3 instructions;
  • Wide Dynamic Execution - each core can execute up to 4 instructions per clock;
  • Advanced Digital Media Boost - ability to execute one 128-bit SSE instruction each clock cycle.
  • Execute disable bit - data memory segments can be marked as non-executable, which prevents external programs to execute malicious program code, that was loaded into system memory as data.

Pentium Dual-Core processors don't include virtualization technology, and have smaller level 2 cache than Core 2 Duo CPUs.

Mobile Pentium dual-core processors include additional power-saving features, and have lower clock voltage, lower Front-Side Bus frequency and ultimately, much lower power consumption than desktop Pentium Dual-core microprocessors

Intel 16

Intel just got finished telling us how great its Atom Z5xx series of chips were, in flavors ranging from 1.1 to 1.86GHz, and how they only needed a miserly 2.2 watts or less of power. They weren't good enough, apparently, as there are two new members now joining the ranks. First is the Z550, featuring a clock speed of 2GHz while still using less than 2.4 watts. Also new is the more frugal Z515, with a dynamic clock speed ranging between 800MHz and 1.33GHz to suit you whether you're playing Solitaire or watching Survivor re-runs. These chips too seem destined for mobile phones and MIDs, but we wouldn't be surprised if Sony releases a (slightly) speedier VAIO P packing a Z550 -- and then refuses to import it to the States.

Intel 15

We would be delinquent in not noting the impending release of the Rampage Formula's DDR3-based companion, the Rampage Extreme. We anxiously await our chance to bring you an early first-look at what it has to offer. We fully expect that it will best even the most refined X48/DDR2 board. Our experience has always been that the X38/X48 chipsets simply work better when teamed with DDR3 memory. For whatever reason, we find that for absolute ease of overclock and rock-solid stability nothing beats an X38/X48 DDR3 board. Unfortunately, DDR3 prices can be a rather large obstacle for some, especially when dealing with the higher speed bins.

For now, we are happy to report that our early dealings with the ASUS Rampage Formula have been extremely satisfying, especially considering the relatively short amount of time given to BIOS maturity. In fact, we feel there are no significant obstacles impeding the release of this board. Additionally, we must applaud ASUS for the industry-leading effort they have put forth in incorporating a few new settings into the BIOS that give the user the ability to easily unlock otherwise hidden memory performance with just a quick finger twitch.

What are these settings you ask? Simply put, the ability to select a MCH Read Delay (tRD) from within the BIOS, as well as a means for adjusting the timing of each individual memory phase associated with the selected memory divider. You may know this setting by its more common name, often referred to as "Performance Level". While some motherboard makers have been making use of these settings for quite some time, never before has it been as de-obfuscated as it is today.

Hopefully we can finally say goodbye to the frustration of blindly adjusting these settings with the hopes of achieving the desired end goal - an accomplishment we can all appreciate. Our hopes are that other vendors follow suit and work quickly to update their offerings to provide this level of control in a similar manner. For those that are interested, we will touch on the performance improvements that can be seen as well as the other implications involved with making use of these settings a little later on.

With X48, the tier one giants - ASUS included - are gearing up for another round of lightning-fast motherboard releases. It appears as though they are now simply waiting on the green flag from Intel before they release these boards to the world. The fickle-free operation and high probability of success when overclocking that comes with teaming an Intel processor with an Intel chipset makes picking up an ASUS Rampage Formula an easy choice. One thing's for sure, ASUS is on a roll, and they don't appear to be slowing down for anyone.

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The ETX®-PM3 products feature the Intel® Celeron® M Processor or Intel® Pentium® M Processor with the unique Enhanced Speed Step™ technology. The ETX®-PM3 modules offer supreme computing performance at extreme low power consumption. Supporting up to 1Gbyte of DDR- SDRAM technology the memory bandwidth is no longer the performance bottleneck and 2x SATA for high speed drives. The integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 video controller offers resolutions up to 2048x1536 pixel with 2D and 3D acceleration. The JILI display interface technology ensures automatic setting of the video controller parameters for the attached LCD panel. The 4 USB channels support USB 2.0 with full bandwidth for the coming generations of I/O devices.

As all boards in the ETX® product line the ETX®-PM is fully featured with PCI 2.1 bus, audio, ethernet, floppy/ printer, IDE, serial ports and keyboard/mouse interfaces. ETX® modules are like components, plugging into an application- specific baseboard. The ETX® modules supply the core CPU and memory subsystems together with sound, QXGA, Ethernet and standard PC I/O. They connect to the rest of the embedded system through high density, low profile, surface-mount connectors, which carry both ISA (future option) and PCI bus signals as well as dedicated I/O interfaces. ETX® modules are scaleable and interchangeable, and they make possible the rapid development of semi-custom solutions for embedded applications

With Kontron You stay...always a Jump ahead!

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Before its official introduction on the 27th of July the new architecture by Intel, the Conroe, has developed a real hype with hardware enthusiasts all over the internet. More and more benchmarks got leaked onto the web, and it became imminent that the new Intel processor would regain the performance crown.

The reason why this new architecture is so successful is mainly that it is a completely new architecture, Intel seems to have said their farewells to the Netburst architecture, for a complete overview of the new architecture please read this {link} article. The new architecture not only makes the Conroe fast, it also makes it a lot more energy efficient, the new Core 2 Duo’s have a TDP of only 65 Watts, the Core 2 Extreme 95 Watts.


The Core 2 Duo is a new processor, but on the other hand it is not. Just like the Pentium D and Pentium 4 processors its uses the LGA 775 socket, however not all 775 motherboards are compatible with the new processor. Only motherboards with a 975x chipset or a 965 chipset are suitable for the Conroe. The new processor comes in two varieties, the “normal” Core 2 Duo, and the Core 2 Extreme, a successor to the XE series, and mainly aimed at power users, gamers and overclockers. The Extreme version has a higher clock speed, and an unlocked multiplier, which means that overclockers can experiment freely with speeds.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

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The QuickAssist Accelerator ties the SoC into Intel's QuickAssist Architecture, its framework for application-specific co-processors that connect to the host computer's CPU via the standard frontside bus. This is not so very different from what AMD is proposing with its Torrenza programme, which, in part, is about establishing a framework for application accelerators that connect to the AMD CPU via the HyperTransport bus.

Intel's own take on HyperTransport, QuickPath Interconnect, is due to debut late next year as a key element of its 45nm 'Nehalem' processor architecture, and the use of the 'Quick' prefix - QuickPath, QuickAssist - may not be entirely coincidental.

Incidentally, Intel and IBM are working to deliver the same kind of approach, but using PCI Express add-in cards. That project, codename fans, is called 'Geneseo'.

Canmore, of course, doesn't need any of this, so is likely to come to market much sooner than Tolapai, especially if Intel's keeping the enterprise SoC waiting in the wings until Nehalem-based machines debut at the end of 2008.

Intel 11

Intel processors with micro-architecture core use already the system bus 333 (1333) MHz. The scales of new system bus frequency is completely regular and overclocker already reached the frequencies 400 (1600) and 500 (2000) MHz FSB . The minimum multiplier of this new processors remain as previous x7, i.e., So to overclock the new low-end intel processors core 2 Duo e6550 will not be a bit simpler than previous e6300 or E6320.

For those who usually overclock their processor, there is not significant advantages from passage with FSB 333 MHz from 266 MHz , test proved that at equal frequency the performance between the two processor (266 MHz) and (333Mhz) is in the best case 1-2%. The only positive side with the new 333 MHZ processor are : increase in the specific performance, higher processors frequency with 4 MB cache volume in the second level and finally ALL this is proposed on the previous prices.

Let us also note that new processors energy consumption in the rest state was reduced to 8 W : this noticeable in comparison with 12 W in the previous core revisions (30% saving) , but if we recall that the first processors core consumed 22 W, then the new level is simply amazing. However, as main change for us should be recognized the improvement in the overclocking potential. Overclock to 3.6, to 4 GHz and even higher are submitted daily with new processor , the new revisions noticeably improved the overclock result using air cooling even without increase in the default vcore, moreover this improvement is not only for dual core, but also for four core processors .

To check the overclocking capability , we took three processor intel core 2 Duo e6550. They all work on the system bus 333 MHz, their default frequency is 2.33 GHz, they have 4 MB cache in the second level, ALL those processor are assembled in Malaysia and has the marking SLA9X.

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Lately, there has been a lot of excitement with Intels' CONROE processors. Some said it could reach front side bus’(FSB) never before reached. Well, that is good news for both enthusiasts and overclockers alike.

The key to a processor's overclocking success relies heavily on the motherboard. Everybody knows the ABIT name is synonymous to overclocking. Let’s take a closer look at the Intel 975X ABIT motherboard model AW9D. It has all you could want except a fire wire port.

The AW9D is based on Intel's i975X chipset. It supports all LGA775 processors including the latest generation Core2 chips. It has dual DDR2 support and dual PCI-Express X16 slots intended for ATI CrossFire cards. Some of the features include SATA RAID, e-SATA, dual PCI-E Gigabit LAN, and 7.1 CH hi-def audio.

Unique ABIT engineered technologies, such as Silent OTES™ 2 and µGuru™ keep your components healthy while providing total system monitoring and control. The µGuru™ technology puts advanced BIOS-level features like overclocking and fan-control right at the fingertips of the user, making it an easy task to fine-tune your system for the perfect balance between performance and noise. This is simply a super control panel that slip right into an available front 5-1/4” slot. Just make two connections to the motherboard and you are in control.

CPU Support-Intel Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Pentium D and Pentium 4 processors with 1066/800MHz FSB, Intel 2006FMB Conroe CPU
System Bus-FSB 1066
Memory-Dual-Channel DDR2 667/800, up to 8GB
Graphics-Dual PCI Express® slots for Dual ATI CrossFire Graphics
Audio- 7.1-Channel HD AudioMAX™ with optical S/P DIF In/Out
SATAII-CH7R- 4 x SATA2 3Gb/s RAID 0/1/0+1/5 JBOD; Silicon Image:3132- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s, 2 SATA connectors of the same area can support SATA RAID 0/1

There are 2 x PCI-E X16 for Dual ATI CrossFire Graphics, 2 x PCI-E X1, and 1 x PCI slot . There is also the presence of an Audio Riser port for the included audio riser card. An SLI connect card is also encluded.

Dual Gigabit LAN is provided by the Realtek RTL8111B chips. It enables fast network performance and easy setup of private game servers.

The AW9D also features ABIT’s uGURU technology. µGuru integrates a hardware microchip which interacts with Windows-based software applications to maximize PC performance and stability, while allowing for zero CPU usage. µGuru features ABIT AutoDrive™ overclocking, advanced audio features, auto FAN speed control, self-diagnostic H/W monitoring, one click BIOS updating, and 24 hours e-service. µGuru combines ABIT EQ, OC Guru, FlashMenu and BlackBox applications with a user-friendly interface, providing users perfect environment for performance and stability. For a full understanding of the uGURU technology, go here.

The board provides 7.1 channel audio performance backed by ABIT's AudioMAX technology. With the use of a separate daughter card for audio connectors, ABIT Engineers have greatly reduced the amount of audio noise. The only problem though with this setup is that if you're running dual graphics, you will be forced to use the onboard audio solution. Gamers wanting to use, say, their X-Fi will be highly disappointed.

You will also find a 2 digit LED display attached to the board. It is a diagnostic tool aimed at providing vital information on what’s happening to your board.

Around back the rear IO panel is largely empty, there is just a pair of PS/2 ports, and one network/2 port USB blocks along with a lone eSATA jack.

There's plenty of space between the two Physical PCI Express x16 slots so if you're using videocards that take up more than two slots you're ok. When used with ATI Crossfire, each videocard received 8 PCI Express lanes each. With just one videocard installed, it gets the full 16 lanes of PCIe.

ABIT's Silent OTES 2 uses copper heatpipes to conduct the heat from both the Intel 975X Express Northbridge and ICH7R Southbridge chipsets to the larger MOSFET heatsink in the far corner. The system is totally silent.

ABIT places the second Silicon Image SiI3132 Serial ATA II controller and floppy drive connector at the very bottom of the motherboard. A bad location as the cables will have to wrap around the other system devices.

Intel 9

Over at, Asher Moses sets out to show why the forthcoming update to Intel's Viiv will see the media centre PC move from the living room back into the home office - an argument sadly undermined by his own apparent ignorance.

We wholeheartedly agree with Moses that few people really want to edit Word documents or spreadsheets while curled up on the settee 10ft away from the screen. Similarly, we also reckon that, for most people, the MC PC is best kept out of the living room.

Trouble is, Moses appears to think that the introduction of an updated version of Viiv will bring with it a new type of networking hardware - the digital media adapter. Yes - he means network media players. And yes, these have been around for a few years!

Such adapters, he says,

connect to your existing home theatre components (e.g. your TV, stereo system, etc) and can stream content wirelessly from any Viiv-certified PC.

He goes on to explain,

The existence of digital media adapters will totally remove the need to have a media centre PC taking up space in your living room, unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.

As a result, the PC in your home office will likely act as a digital media hub, distributing content wirelessly throughout your house to various media adapters. And since the Windows Media Center Edition operating system used by all Viiv-enabled machines is virtually identical to Windows XP when it's not in media centre mode, you can go about your regular office-related tasks -- word processing, web browsing, etc -- while others are seamlessly streaming content in the lounge.

Now, while Moses is right to think that good, affordable digital media adpaters do mean there's little need for an MC PC in the living room, he undermines his credentials for saying so by stating, in effect, that they're an all-new Intel innovation when anyone with experience of the digital home knows full well that these adapters - products that we think of as network media players - have been available in one form or another for a good few years, albeit often over-priced and under-spec'd.

What concerns us isn't so much that one journo has written an opinion piece based on a false premise but that this seems to show, once again, that despite the huge wodges of cash that Intel is throwing at Viiv to try to make it stick - or perhaps because of them - Viiv itself remains poorly understood, and not just by the public but by some of the media, too.

Or are we just being miserable scrotes? Comment in the, if you would.

Intel 8

Apple yesterday announced significant updates to their Mac Pro and Xserve lines featuring Intel’s “Harpertown” processor–but what’s in a name?

Intel’s quad-core Xeon 5400-series “Harpertown” processors run at up to 3.2GHz and are based on the new 45-nm Intel Core microarchitecture. The new chips are known for high performance and energy efficiency.

Apple’s previous Mac Pros were equipped with either a) two dual-Core Intel Xeon 5100 “Woodcrest” processors running at 2.0, 2.66, or 3.0GHz, or b) two quad-core Intel Xeon 5300 “Clovertown” processors running 3.0GHz in an “8-core” configuration. More on the whole Xeon family is here.

The biggest benefit over the previous generation Xeons are Harpertown’s 64-bit 1.6GHz dual independent frontside buses (up from 1.33GHz). These buses deliver processor bandwidth up to 25.6GB per second (up from 21.3GB/s). Then there’s 12MB per processor of L2 cache with 6MB shared between pairs of processor cores (up from 8MB per with 4MB shared).

Intel 7

Intel fired back at AMD in rebutting its antitrust lawsuit, saying the company has only itself to blame for not being competitive as a microprocessor supplier, with an inability to ship products on time, which helped to earn the company a bad reputation as a supplier with a poor track record of manufacturing investments:

Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s failure to compete effectively with Intel in the microprocessor market is a "direct result of AMD's own actions or inaction," and weren't caused by any illegal actions by Intel, the microprocessor market leader said in court documents filed Thursday.

The filing in U.S. District Court was Intel's first formal response to AMD's lawsuit filed in June that charged Intel with using bribery and coercion of computer makers and retailers to limit the use of AMD processors.

Intel 6

Chip giant Intel Corp. unveiled a 10-kilowatt solar installation near its New Mexico manufacturing plant this weekend, launching its latest foray into clean energy for power-hungry data centers. While energy generated by the array’s 64 Sharp solar panels will feed into the local electricity grid and tractor-trailer-sized test racks of computers — rather than directly powering the roughly 5,000 servers at Intel’s facility — the company said it hopes solar can eventually boost the data center’s power supply during times of peak demand.

The containers could also lead to solar-powered servers on a larger scale. As Data Center Knowledge explains, solar has made few inroads with data centers because “the large amounts of energy required to power the servers and cooling equipment in modern mission-critical facilities” would demand massive, expensive PV installations. Containers present the option of lower-cost modular systems.

Intel’s new $200,000 project, installed above a parking lot, comes as just the latest trial in the company’s ongoing search for ways to conserve energy and secure more stable sources of power. Intel has placed its chips, so to speak, on going off-grid — and off oil. It installed an $800,000, 100-kilowatt photovoltaic system at its Hillsboro, Ore., campus last month, and the chipmaker’s investment arm, Intel Capital, has taken a shine to cleantech startups with aggressive timelines.

In a time when researchers expect more than 70 percent of U.S. enterprise data centers to face “tangible disruptions related to energy consumption,” rising costs, and growing area needs in less than two years, Intel is hardly the only tech company wrestling with this. Google has been looking at solar thermal, wind, geothermal and even wave power. For both companies, the clock is ticking.

Intel 5

Intel's Core 2 Duo processors have been available for about six months now, and the response has been very favorable for Intel. In fact, many people send us emails asking our views on the best platform for Core 2 Duo systems. Until now the answer has been an Intel chipset, but competition has emerged: Nvidia's nForce 680i SLI core logic wants to be the undisputed champion for Core 2 Duo processors. Of course, we wanted to know whether it really is or not...

First of all, we have to make very clear that although today's chipsets support varying features and target different user segments, you won't notice any difference in performance between a motherboard using a P965, 975X or nForce 680i SLI chipset when you start Windows to attend to your daily business. Only if you belong to the feature-aware, performance-hungry or overclocking-savvy crowds will you appreciate the huge overclocking margins and plethora of tweaking options.

Intel's P965 and 975X chipsets represent the establishment, both because most Intel-based systems are powered by Intel's very own chipsets, and because Intel processors have traditionally run best with an Intel chipset. Although the 975X has been available for over a year, it is still the high-end product - it is paired with the ICH7 southbridge, and thus offers a nice range of interface options. However, the P965 is the latest core logic product, utilizing the ICH8 southbridge family with even more goodies. There is a large variety of 965 and 975 motherboards available today.

Nvidia has been in the chipset arena since 2001. Although its first nForce chipset failed, the nForce2 and following generations were increasingly successful. Today, the nForce 4 and 5 series are considered among the best choices for Athlon 64 solutions, and Nvidia is hoping that the nForce 6 will give it a big share of the Intel market. It is the larger business space, but also more difficult to get into: Nvidia already tried its luck with the nForce 4 Intel Edition, but even though the product was great, it couldn't take significant market share from Intel.

The nForce 6 chipset is supposed to be better than the Intel chipsets in every way: better overclocking, better storage subsystem, better dual x16 PCI Express SLI graphics as opposed to Intel's dual x8 PCI Express Crossfire support, better networking support and better memory auto-configuration. Let's dig into this new chipset and find out if it delivers.

Intel 4

The last generation of socket 370 Celeron processors featured Tualatin core with 256 KB level 2 cache, often called as Tualatin-256. Having twice as much cache as Coppermine Celerons, these microprocessors performed as fast as Pentium III Copermine processors running at the same Front Side Bus frequency (100 MHz). Besides larger level 2 cache, the Celerons also had lower core voltage and power consumption. The package of these processors was modified. It still used Flip-Chip packaging technology, where the processor die was mounted upside down on the top of the plastic package, but on Tualatin Celerons the die was covered by integrated heatsink. Like the Pentium III Tualatin CPUs, the Celerons used new bus interface, and, though the Celerons could fit into older socket 370 motherboards, the processors couldn't work in them. It was still possible to use special Tualatin socket 370 adapters to run Tualatin Celeron processors in old motherboards.

Intel 3

Second generation of socket 370-compatible Celeron processors was based on Coppermine core. Like the Mendocino core, the Coppermine core had level 2 cache integrated on the die. The size of level 2 cache didn't change from older PPGA Celerons - it was 128 KB, or half the size of L2 cache of Pentium III Coppermine processors. The cache itself was improved - it featured 256-bit wide path to the cache and had lower latency than the cache of PPGA processors. Another enhancement in Coppermine Celerons was addition of SSE instructions, which could significantly boost processor performance in SSE-enabled applications. Core voltage of the Coppermine processors was reduced from 2.0 Volt to 1.5 - 1.75 Volt, which resulted in lower power consumption and cooler running processors. New package type of these Celerons, with processor die exposed on the top of the chip, also allowed better processor cooling. Coppermine Celeron microprocessors required revised socket 370 - this socket was mechanically, but not electrically compatible with PPGA Socket 370, which made all Copermine CPUs incompatible with many old Socket 370 motherboards.

Intel 2

All Intel Celeron processors in PPGA package were based on Mendocino core. Mendocino was the first Intel x86 core that integrated level 2 cache with the core (Pentium Pro had level 2 cache on a separate die, and Pentium II processors used external cache chips). The core had only 128 KB of level 2 cache, but smaller cache size was partially compensated by faster cache speed - it was running twice as fast as the Pentium II level 2 cache. The Mendocino core didn't require external cache chips, therefore it could fit on smaller and cheaper Plastic Pin Grid Array (PPGA) package. To work with the Celeron PPGA package Intel designed new 370-pin socket - socket 370, or PGA370.

Intel 1

Even though it's actually version 5

IDF It's official: Intel's 'Montevina' incarnation of Centrino will indeed be branded Centrino 2, as expected.

Up to the release of Montevina, due this coming May, there have been four versions of Centrino. But apart from briefly adding the word 'Duo' to the brand, Intel hasn't to date offered any clear indication to consumers that marked a new version of the platform from its predecessors.

That hasn't played well with notebook vendors and suppliers who have had to fall back on the chip giant's own codenames - 'Santa Rosa refresh', for instance - to differentiate one Centrino generation from another. Clearly, that doesn't tell buyers anything, and laptop makers have been crying out for a new approach that does.

Enter 'Centrino 2', using a simple version number in the tried and trusted way to show product A is generation X and product B is generation Y.

Montevina machines will go out under the Centrino 2 brand. Intel is planning to release some 15 45nm Core 2 Duo processors that tie into its 'Cantiga' chipset, the foundation of Montevina. Cantiga ups the platform's system bus speed to 1066MHz and adds support for DDR 3 memory. As before, Wi-Fi is part of the package, now augmented with WiMax as an optional extra.

Equally optional is the second generation of Intel's Flash cache Turbo Memory technology.

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