Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 02:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows on arm, windows 8, microsoft, arm
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been out for a few weeks now, and despite the controversy around the new interface it does seem to be coming along nicely as far as development and bug testing is concerned. While the Windows On ARM has received much less attention and Microsoft has publicly released very little about it, we can only assume that the company is working hard on getting it up and running on upcoming ARM tablets.
There have been several reports on release time frames, and the general consensus for the Windows 8 release will be Q4 2012 at the latest. Alternatively, if Bloomberg's sources "with knowledge of the schedule" are to be believed, the public will be getting both Intel and ARM versions of Windows 8 a bit earlier than expected. Specifically, Microsoft has chosen their upcoming operating system to "go on sale around October." Microsoft will also be releasing more specific dates during an event for its hardware partners in April.
Apparently, Microsoft has been rather strict with device makers in regards to hardware configurations allowed for launch devices that are to be powered by the Windows on ARM version of Windows 8. Of the ARM launch devices, only three of them will be tablets. Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows business, has stated that both the ARM and Intel/AMD versions of Windows 8 will be released at the same time, and that “I wouldn’t be saying it’s a goal if I didn’t think we could do it.” Microsoft restricting the designs is likely the reason they are able to get WoA out of the door at the same time as the tried and true x86 and x64 versions.
More information on Windows 8 can be found around the site:
- Set up Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a virtual machine
- Windows on ARM details
- No more Start Button in Windows 8
- Windows 8 Defender at risk of anti-trust violation?
- Windows 8 news via the "windows 8" tag!
Subject: Systems | March 15, 2012 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htpc, patriot, patriot PBO Alpine, arm
The new Patriot PBO Alpine is an ARM powered, Android 2.2 device which promises to deliver 1080p video and Dolby Surround sound from a box measuring 4.5" x 4.5" x 1". It sports HDMI and S/PDIF audio out, an ethernet port as well as two USB ports which is a good thing as you will want to use a mouse and keyboard as opposed to the bundled remote which was [H]ard|OCP's least favourite thing about this media streamer. Apart from that one disappointment, the PBO Alpine walked away with a Gold Award thanks to great video quality and some extras that Patriot tossed in to make this HTPC stand out in the crowd.
"On the heels of its Box Office success, Patriot Memory has a brand new HD media player coming to market that is powered by an ARM926 processor and running Android 2.2. Could the PBO Alpine the next edition to your HD home entertainment experience? With a tremendous feature set inside a tiny footprint, we think it is worthy."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Zotac ZBOX ID80 Plus Mini-PC Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Actiontec MyWirelessTV Multi-Room HD Video Kit Review @ OCIA
- nMedia HTPC 7000B SFF Chassis Review @MissingRemote
- Hands on with the StreamHD from Warpia @ Techwarelabs
Subject: Processors | March 14, 2012 - 06:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: RISC, embedded systems, cortex-m0+, cortex-m, arm, 32-bit
ARM has recently announced a new 32 bit processor for embedded systems that sips power and is one of the lowest power designs yet. This new ARM processor is a new entrant to the Cortex M lineup and has been labeled the ARM Cortex-MO+. The chip features a full 32-bit RISC instruction set and is manufactured using the older, and low cost, 90nm process.
The magic happens when we look at the power draw, and according to ARM it will sip power at a mere 9µA (9 microamps) per Megahertz (MHz). It can further run any code designed for (existing) Cortex-M series processor including the Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4. The new Cortex-M0+ is intended to be used in embedded systems and as microcontroller applications controlling larger machinery.
There is no word yet on pricing or availability; however, support has been promised by the Keil Microcontroller Development Kit and third part software such as Code Red, Micruim, and SEGGER. Freescale and NXP Semiconductor further have been named licensees of the technology thus far. In the case of NXP Semiconductor, they plan to replace existing 8 bit microcontrollers with the ARM Cortex-MO+ in devices such as their UPS units, active cabling, and touchscreens. Freescale, on the other hand, plans to develop their own version of the Cortex-MO+ in the form of the Kinetis L series processor. They will further use the low power chip to operate appliances, portable medical systems, and lighting (among others).
Subject: Mobile | March 13, 2012 - 10:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: WOA, windows 8, tablets, nokia, microsoft, arm
Earlier this year we heard talk of several planned Windows On ARM tablets that would run the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, and now more planned tablets have emerged. Asus is planning to release four Windows 8 tablets (two WOA versions), and according to Digitimes, Nokia will be joining the fray with their own WOA tablets.
Allegedly, Nokia will launch a 10" ARM tablet powered by Qualcomm's dual core System on a Chip (SoC) processor. The tablet will run the Windows on ARM version of Windows 8, and their sources have expressed that the Nokia tablet will further fuel the mobile tablet market and provide healthy competition for the iPad juggernaut.
Further, according to "sources at upstream component suppliers," Nokia will be outsourcing the manufacturing of their Windows 8 tablet to Compal Electronics. Also, the sources have stated that the first production batch will consist of 200,000 units.
Don't forget to check out our guide on virtualizing Windows 8 to get an idea of how the new interface works. More information on the Windows On ARM front as it develops.
Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 10:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, computers, arm
It seems that not all is sweets (pie, of course) and celebration for the folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, as the initial batch of their ARM powered Linux computers have experienced what the charity has dubbed a “hiccup” at the manufacturing stage. It seems that while they specified magnetic jacks in the design materials, the wrong RJ45 network jacks for the boards were soldered on accidentally by the Chinese factory. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the dud jacks in question were the result of the manufacturer using non magnetic jacks instead of RJ45 connectors with integrated magnetic connections. They further stated that they had been aware of the problem for four days prior to the announcement, but needed to “do some further tests to make sure nothing else was affected.”
They are currently sourcing the proper network jacks, and are receiving help from their manufacturing and distribution partners RS Components and Premier Farnell. It is not all bad news; however, as it seems they caught the issue quickly enough to maintain the release schedule for the initial batch of Raspberry Pi boards. The issue is a relatively minor one that is easily rectified by desoldering the dud jacks and soldering on the new ones with integrated magnetics. The manufacturing factory is nearly finished with the replacement on the initial batch and they expect the boards to get out to consumers on time. The less than ideal news is that, there may be a slight delay for those waiting on pre-orders of boards outside of the initial batch as they are still trying to source enough networking jacks as mentioned above.
'We are very, very sorry.” they stated in the blog post. In the end, they believe it to be a mere small bump in the road and have promised to keep users updated on the manufacturing status of the eagerly awaited Raspberry Pi computers. More information along with X-rays of the dud networking jacks can be found on their blog.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 25, 2012 - 07:06 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: texas instruments, MWC 12, arm, A9, A15
Texas Instruments could not wait until Mobile World Congress to start throwing punches. Despite their recent financial problems resulting in the closure of two fabrication plants TI believes that their product should speak for itself. Texas Instruments recently released a video showing their dual-core OMAP5 processor based on the ARM Cortex-A15 besting a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 in rendering websites.
Chuck Norris joke.
Even with being at a two core disadvantage the 800 MHz OMAP5 processor was clocked 40 percent slower than the 1.3 GHz Cortex A9. The OMAP5 is said to be able to reach 2.5 GHz if necessary when released commercially.
Certain portions of the video did look a bit fishy however. Firstly, CNet actually loaded quicker on the A9 processor but it idled a bit before advancing to the second page. The A9 could have been stuck loading an object that the OMAP 5 did not have an issue with, but it does seem a bit weird.
About the fishiest part of the video is that the Quad-Core A9, which we assume to be a Tegra 3, is running on Honeycomb where the OMAP5 is running Ice Cream Sandwich. Ice Cream Sandwich has been much enhanced for performance over Honeycomb.
We have no doubt that the ARM Cortex-A15 will be much improved over the current A9. The issue here is that TI cannot successfully prove that with this demonstration.
Subject: General Tech | February 22, 2012 - 05:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, fedora remix, Fedora, arm
The Raspberry Pi hardware is coming out at the end of this month, and the folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation are gearing up for the release. On their blog, they shared a video by Chis Tyler that I thought was rather interesting. In the accompanying video, he talked about the Raspberry Pi's Fedora Remix linux operating system.
The new Fedora Remix is being produced by Seneca College, and takes the traditional desktop Fedora Linux distribution and adapts it to run on the ARM platform. It will include several open source applications out of the box including a web browser, word processor, and several other tools for managing the OS and working with files. Mr. Tyler states that the Fedora Remix distro will closely resemble a traditional desktop experience when paired with a keyboard and mouse.
What I found interesting from the video was a statement by Paul Whalen, a software researcher for Fedora on ARM, where he talks about the Fedora licensing requiring applications to be built natively on the hardware that it will be used on. Because of that, they had to go out and construct a build farm of approximately 60 ARM devices including the Guru Plug. They design the software on workstation computers, and then send it to the build farm of ARM powered devices to be built and compiled into a native binary, and then is sent back. I thought that it was strange at first that they had to go about it in such a roundabout way but in the end it should help to have natively built applications performance wise.
In another exciting bit of news, Liz ended the Raspberry Pi blog post with an update on the status of the Linux computer's hardware.
They are still working on manufacturing the Raspberry Pis, and they "hope the Raspberry Pis from the first batch will be out of testing by the end of Thursday (ed: tomorrow at time of writing), and on their way to freight"
The Raspberry Pi is almost upon us! The non profit organization expects the SD card image download for the Fedora Remix distribution to be available in the next few days while the Cambridge Reference File System (Debian Squeeze based OS) image is available to download now.
Raspberry Pi Foundation Clears Up Misunderstanding About Their ARM Linux Computers, Still Coming This Month
Subject: Systems | February 10, 2012 - 04:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, htpc, Education, arm
The folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the organization behind the upcoming ARM powered Linux computer, are having a field day today as they have been flooded with emails from enthusiasts and press worried about the availability and pricing of the Raspberry Pi computer as it seems someone made inferrences that then got blown out of proportion in a typical "telephone game" spiral out of control fashion.
We here at PC Perspective are among the many people who are waiting eagerly to get our hands on the fairly powerful ARM powered computer, so naturally this post by Liz over at the official Raspberry Pi website helped up to take a deep breath and relax. The little Raspberry Pi boards are still coming at the end of this month (February 2012), and they will be priced at or below the previously announced prices of $25 for the base model and $35 for the model with more RAM and Ethernet.
The takeaway from the article is that your plans and/or your desire to get your hands on a Raspberry Pi just because (like me) even if you don't know what to do with it yet are safe. The point of the ARM computers are to bring a low cost, but capable computing platform to the masses for education. Yes, the non profit foundation still needs to make a profit; however, they aren't about to jack up the price just because they can. Liz further stated that the prices of $25 and $35 will not change, unless they can make them cheaper. "Price is such an important part of what we’re doing in trying to change the way people use computers that we’d be totally, totally mad to move the price point." The caveat is that the casing (that will accompany a package aimed at education customers and includes educational software and an outer shell) may add a bit to the price; however, they are going to try not to keep the price the same.
While they have not given a specific date, they state in a rather direct way (even going so far as to bold the text to get the point across- heh) that "You will be able to buy a Raspberry Pi from the end of February, from this website." The misunderstanding, they state, relates to a statement about a different SKU of the Raspberry Pi that is aimed at education and will have a few extra accessories and features including a case to house the board, written support material, and educational software. This version will come later this year (approximately Q3 2012), and was mixed up with the initial release this month.
Are you ready to get your hands on a Raspberry Pi?
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2012 - 09:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WOA, windows, arm
Microsoft has been ridiculously cagey about the discussion of Windows 8 on ARM. At last month’s CES trade show there was a disturbingly low amount of information. Available information about Windows on ARM was in abrupt demonstrations performed by Microsoft spokespeople or behind glass display cases.
Today Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft released quite a bit of information -- over 8500 words even if you exclude image captions and section titles -- about Windows on ARM (officially named “WOA”). Feel free to read for yourself at MSDN’s blog, or keep on reading for our brief summary.
Actually most of the blog post is about building Windows 8 on ARM.
We reported that Windows on ARM has been classified as stable for approximately two weeks at this point. Our questions about WOA availability were answered, and more: WOA is intended to be released simultaneously as Windows 8 for x86-64. WOA will also not be available standalone and you must purchase a device with it pre-installed.
From the chipset through the firmware and drivers, the work is optimized to be great for WOA. Partners are working hard on creative industrial designs and form factors that will include more than tablets. These are all under development today.
The PC will come with the OS preinstalled, and all drivers and supporting software. WOA will not be available as a software-only distribution, so you never have to worry about which DVD to install and if it will work on a particular PC.
Applications written for Windows on ARM can only be distributed through Windows Update or the Windows Store. Being an advocate of the open PC I find this quite unnerving as it quickly creates situations where art becomes at the mercy of the platform owner similar to what is seen on the consoles. That said, it also seems to suggest that Microsoft is not intending WOA to be fill all the roles of a typical PC.
Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote will be available for WOA as Office 15. The typical file explorer and desktop will also be available for WOA. Mouse and keyboard support is also available for Windows on ARM. These will all be available within Office so the user can control there their files will be stored.
Windows 8 for x86-64 will be released as an open Beta at the end of the month. Microsoft will also release, by invite only, devices for developers. The intent of course is to give developers time to create applications for WOA. You should not expect those devices to be any more than development tools designed to prevent day-one apps from being developed in a single day.
Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2012 - 12:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, Intel, amd, atom, low power, cortex, Medfield, hondo
To revive an old buzzword some of you may have forgotten, ubiquitous computing is the current holy grail of the computing industry. If AMD, Intel, ARM and to a lesser extent NVIDIA, can get the market to prefer one of their low power processors over the competitions there is a lot of money to be made in the mobile market. The way that they are approaching the market is very different however. In Intel's case they pride themselves on the general computation power of their upcoming Medfield processor though that comes at the cost of power consumption and less graphics capabilities. AMD. like Intel, are trying to reduce the power consumption of their chips and though they lag behind in general CPU performance the graphics capabilities are generally considered superior.
Then there is ARM, which is striving to overcome its reputation of providing chips low in power, both electrically and computationally. Their latest Cortex processors are certainly display a vast improvement in performance compared to previous generations. The power consumption may have increased but not to the levels of consumption of the Intel and AMD chips. Intel and AMD need to continue lowering their power consumption without sacrificing power while ARM needs to increase performance without impacting the power consumption before anyone can be considered a clear winner. There is another consideration which DigiTimes points out; right now ARM is winning the price war which could be every bit as important as power consumption or computational power.
"While Intel and AMD have been making efforts to develop low power processors for use in smartphones and tablet PCs, they cannot compete with solutions from ARM in terms of price, according to notebook makers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Android's Chrome finish comes too late for Flash coating @ The Register
- Transactional Synchronization in Haswell @ Intel
- Google touts website prefetching with Chrome 17 @ The Inquirer
- AMD announces FirePro V3900 for entry-level professional graphics @ DigiTimes
- Windows 8 confirmed for February 29th (Beta Queue) @ Kitguru
- Ninjalane Podcast - Basic Casemodding Listener Mailbag Interview with a Top Overclocker
- Samsung NX 200 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Weekly Giveaway #21: Antec LanBoy Air and High Current Pro 750W Power Supply @ eTeknix
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