Subject: Processors | June 26, 2012 - 05:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, cortex-a9, e-350, i7-3770k, z530, Ivy Bridge, atom, Zacate
Taking a half dozen PandaBoard ESes from Texas Instruments that have a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor onboard, Phoronix built a 12-core ARM machine to test out against AMD's E-350 APU as well as Intel's Atom Z530 and a Core i7 3770K. Before you you make the assumption that the ARM's will be totally outclassed by any of these processors, Phoronix is testing performance per Watt and the ARM system uses a total of 31W when fully stressed and idles below 20W, which gives ARM a big lead on power consumption.
Phoronix tested out these four systems and the results were rather surprising as it seems Intel's Ivy Bridge is a serious threat to ARM. Not only did it provide more total processing power, its performance per Watt tended to beat ARM and more importantly to many, it is cheaper to build an i7-3770K system than it is to set up a 12-core ARM server. The next generation of ARM chips have some serious competition.
"Last week I shared my plans to build a low-cost, 12-core, 30-watt ARMv7 cluster running Ubuntu Linux. The ARM cluster that is built around the PandaBoard ES development boards is now online and producing results... Quite surprising results actually for a low-power Cortex-A9 compute cluster. Results include performance-per-Watt comparisons to Intel Atom and Ivy Bridge processors along with AMD's Fusion APU."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD FX-8120 Black Edition CPU Review (with Asus M5A99X EVO) @ Kitguru
- Intel Core i7-3720QM: Mobile Ivy Bridge @ Techspot
- Sandy Bridge for servers: Intel Xeon E5-2600 review @ Hardware.Info
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
Introduction, Design, User Interface
In August of 2011 I reviewed the Acer AC700-1099, one of two Chromebooks available in the North American market. The review was almost entirely negative. The hardware wasn’t great and the operating system was a bit of a mess–capable of only the most basic tasks.
Since then, the small surge of hype that surrounded the Chrome OS release has receded. You could be mistaken for thinking Google has abandoned it, but they haven’t. In typical Google fashion it has been slowly, quietly improved. Performance tweaks have allegedly improved web browsing, a proper file manager has been added and Google has just launched Google Drive, its cloud storage service.
Such enhancements could address a lot of the concerns I had with the Acer rendition. Do they? That’s what we’re here to find out. Let’s start with the basics - what’s inside?
The hardware inside the Samsung Series 5 is nearly identical to what was inside the Acer AC700-1099 that we reviewed late last year. We’re talking an Atom processor that must rely on its own IGP, two gigabytes of RAM and a tiny–but quick–16GB solid state drive.
While the equipment is the same, the pricing has changed. When we reviewed the Acer Chromebook it was $349.99. That has been slashed to $279.99. The Series 5, which used to be priced at $429, is now sold for just $299.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 29, 2012 - 11:33 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z2670, windows 8, dell, clover trail, atom
In a leaked slide posted by Neowin.net, details of Dell's upcoming Latitude 10 tablet are coming to light, including hardware specifications like the Intel Atom Z2670 "Clover Trail" SoC.
This 10.1-in Windows 8 based tablet will include a 1366x768 display with a capacitive multi-touch screen and an optional stylus accessory. Weighing in at just over 1.5 pounds, the Latitude 10 is just slightly heavier than the latest generation of iPad (1.46 pounds).
Intel's upcoming Atom processor, the Z2670, will be at the core of the design and will be based on the "Clover Trail" design, a slightly faster and updated version of "Medfield" we have seen implemented on mobile phones early in 2012. With dual-cores capable of HyperThreading, and the ability to enter into "Burst Mode" which offers "quick bursts of extra performance when called upon", the Atom Z2670 should be capable of presenting a reasonable Windows 8 experience.
Other specifications include 2 GB of DDR2-800 lower power memory, up to a 128 GB SSD, 2 and 4 cell swappable batteries and front plus rear facing cameras.
With Computex 2012 right around the corner in Taipei, Taiwan, we expect to see quite a few more tablets and hybrid machines based on Windows 8 including Intel Atom-powered devices as well as ARM-based devices running Windows 8 RT.
If the netbook was a shooting star, the nettop was an asteroid that never quite entered our atmosphere. Instead it flew silently by, noted by NASA, written about in a handful of articles, and now forgotten.
That doesn’t mean it has ceased to exist, however. It’s still out there, floating in space - and it occasionally swings back around for an encore. So we have the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180.
Of course, simply advertising a small computer as - well, a small computer - isn’t particularly sexy. The Q180 is instead being sold not just as general-purpose laptop but also as a media center (with optional Blu-Ray, not found on our review unit). There’s no doubting the demand for this, but so far, attempts to make PC-based media center computers have not done well - even Boxee, with its custom Linux-based operating system, was fussy. Can the Q180 succeed where others have stumbled? Let’s start with the specs.
It’s been awhile since we tested anything Atom. Since our last look at this line of processors, Intel has updated to the code-name Cedertrail processors, allowing for higher clock speeds. The 2.13 GHz dual-core Atom D2700 looks quite robust in print. But this still the same old architecture, so per-clock performance doesn’t come close to Intel’s Pentium and Core processors.
Also included in AMD’s Radeon HD 6450A, a version of the HD 6450 built for small systems that don’t have room for a typical PCIe graphics card. This makes up for the fact that all Atom processors are still using hopelessly outdated Intel Media Accelerator graphics, which is entirely unsuitable for HD video.
Introduction, Low-Power Computing Was Never Enjoyable
It was nearly five years ago that ASUS announced the first Eee PC model at Computex. That October the first production version of what would to be called a netbook, the ASUS Eee PC 4G, was released. The press latched on to the little Eee PC, making it the new darling of the computer industry. It was small, it was inexpensive, and it was unlike anything on the market.
Even so, the original Eee PC was a bit of a dead end. It used an Intel Celeron processor that was not suited for the application. It consumed too much power and took up a significant portion of the netbook’s production cost. If Intel’s Celeron had remained the only option for netbooks they probably would not have made the leap from press darling to mainstream consumer device.
It turned out that Intel (perhaps unintentionally) had the solution – Atom. Originally built with hopes that it might power “mobile Internet devices” it proved to be the netbook’s savior. It allowed vendors to squeeze out cheap netbooks with Windows and a proper hard drive.
At the time, Atom and the netbook seemed promising. Sales were great – consumers loved the cute, pint-sized, affordable computers. In 2009 netbook sales jumped by over 160% quarter-over-quarter while laptops staggered along with single-digit growth. The buzz quickly jumped to other products, spawning nettops, media centers and low-power all-in-one-PCs. There seemed to be nothing an Atom powered computer could not do.
Fast forward. Earlier this year, PC World ran an article asking if netbooks are dead. U.S. sales peaked in the first quarter of 2010 and have been nose-diving since then, and while some interest remains in the other markets, only central Europe and Latin America have held steady. It appears the star that burned brightest has indeed burned the quickest.
Subject: Editorial | April 23, 2012 - 05:12 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: trinity, Q1, Ivy Bridge, Intel, earnings, atom, arm, amd, 2012
Guess what? Intel made money. A lot of money. This is not surprising. The results were not record breaking, but they did beat expectations. Intel had a gross revenue of $12.9 billion for the quarter, with a net income of $2.7 billion. Gross margins decreased (slightly) to 64%, but the reasons for this are pretty logical as we discover down below. Compared to Q4 2011, results are still significantly down, but this is again expected due to seasonal downturns. In Q4 they had $13.9 billion in gross revenue and $3.4 billion in net income with a gross margin of 64.5%.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 19, 2012 - 11:50 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: atom, Medfield
The new Atom processor, named Medfield, has appeared in a market far, far away. The chip powering Lava's Xolo X900 runs at 1.6GHz and supports hyperthreading, the graphics core is clocked at 400MHz which Intel believes should be enough to allow it to output 1080p video via its HDMI plug. The power efficiency of the new architecture has yet to be tested but the claim by the manufacturer is eight hours of talk time and five hours of 3G web browsing. There are no available benchmarks yet but you can get an idea of the overall capabilities of this phone at The Inquirer.
"Intel and Indian handset maker Lava announced their intention to ship an Atom smartphone at Mobile World Congress in January. However Lenovo's K800 received all the attention, so Lava's Xolo X900 slipped under the radar to become the first shipping smartphone to feature Intel's Medfield Atom processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel to launch next-generation Xeon processor by the end of 2Q12 @ DigiTimes
- 5th Ave Frogger Uses Real Cars, Spares Frogs @ MAKE:Blog
- Powerline Network Adapter Shootout @ Legit Reviews
- Noctua Joint Contest @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2012 - 12:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microserver, Centerton, seamicro, atom, low power
Microservers are the newest old idea to hit the PR flacks, anyone who remembers the original blade servers already has a good idea what a microserver is. Intel has once again tried to take ownership of a form factor, in this case defining what they feel the market should consider a microserver. In some ways, the single socket design seems to run counter to current low power servers, which tend towards large arrays of low powered APUs but at the same time when you no longer have to worry about the interconnects between those APUs you can drop the price significantly.
AMD has had several forays into this market and while Intel has never put much effort into this segment vendors like Dell and HP have been creating microservers using an Intel processor for some time. This heralds a change in Intel's strategy when taking on ARM and AMD in the server room, with the 6W Atom Centerton chip they announced at IDF. The Inquirer was also told of 10W and 15W parts which would be more powerful although they could also require a bit more space than what the 6W part could survive in. It seems that those looking for inexpensive servers which require very little infrastructure will have a lot of choices to spend their money on by the end of this year.
"CHIPMAKER Intel dropped an Atom bomb on the second day of IDF in Beijing, announcing its 'Centerton' microserver chip that will draw just a miserly 6W of thermal design power (TDP).
It defines a microserver as a computer with one socket, error correction, 64-bit processing, and minimal memory and I/O. The Atom Centerton platform will have two cores, Hyperthreading and support for ECC DDR3 as well as VT-x virtualisation technology. Intel said the Atom Centerton chip will be available in the second half of this year."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel introduces 910 Series PCIe SSD @ The Tech Report
- Intel's SSD 910: Finally a PCIe SSD from Intel @ AnandTech
- Intel expected to bring forward the launch of Ivy Bridge @ DigiTimes
- Malware-infected flash cards shipped out with HP switches @ The Register
- US sues Apple and book publishers for ebook price fixing @ The Inquirer
- WD pushes out super-slim shock-resistant Ultrabook drive @ The Register
- Samsung WB150F Review @ TechReviewSource
- Intel predicts 15 billion connected devices by 2015 @ Kitguru
- Ninjalane Podcast - Server Update Choosing a Video Card HWBot Team Update
- Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Preview @ Techgage
Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2012 - 01:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: valleyview, shark bay, PowerVR, Ivy Bridge, haswell GT3, haswell, atom
Phoronix has been investigating the open source driver code which was recently released, designed to power Intel's Haswell chips. The news is not as good as some had hoped; there were rumours that a Gen8 Haswell GT3 IGP would appear in Haswell but according to the hardware IDs that were found in the code that is not going to be true. Instead you are looking at refined Gen7 Haswell GT1 and GT2 IGPs and so will be an improvement over Ivy Bridge but not a completely new chip. Check out the rest of the secrets revealed by the code here.
"While Intel's Ivy Bridge launch is imminent, and I'm still digging through information concerning today's Intel Valleyview code drop that brings Ivy Bridge graphics to their next-generation Atom as they do away with PowerVR graphics for their SoCs, more graphics driver code to enable Haswell support has landed this evening."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- What's New in Linux 3.3? @ Linux.com
- Japan's once-proud semis learn size DOES matter @ The Register
- Globalfoundries ships 250,000 32nm wafers @ The Inquirer
- First-tier motherboard makers drop 7 series motherboard prices @ DigiTimes
- Intel Valley View: Atom SoC With Ivy Bridge Graphics @ Phoronix
- Weekly Giveaway #24: Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 and Saphira Mouse @ eTeknix
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