Subject: Processors | December 5, 2012 - 05:33 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: socket, Intel, BGA, amd
Over the past week or more we have been seeing a lot of news about Intel's rumored move to leave the world of socket-based processors behind after the pending Broadwell parts are released as BGA - ball grid array - and are soldered to motherboards directly. I would highly encourage everyone to read Josh's thoughts on the subject that are not nearly as damning as others might have you believe.
However, we got this official note from AMD earlier in the week that I thought I would share:
AMD has a long history of supporting the DIY and enthusiast desktop market with socketed CPUs & APUs that are compatible with a wide range of motherboard products from our partners. That will continue through 2013 and 2014 with the “Kaveri” APU and FX CPU lines. We have no plans at this time to move to BGA only packaging and look forward to continuing to support this critical segment of the market.
As the company that introduced new types of BGA packages in ultrathin platforms several years ago, and today offers BGA-packaged processors for everything from ultrathin notebooks to all-in-one desktops, to embedded applications and tablets, we certainly understand Intel’s enthusiasm for the approach. But for the desktop market, and the enthusiasts with whom AMD has built its brand, we understand what matters to them and how we can continue to bring better value and a better experience.
Obviously AMD is trying to persuade PC builders that not only is its path the safest in the future but maybe that supporting AMD today might help make sure it can arrive to the future well enough to continue the enthusiast path.
If Intel even starts to heavily side with BGA processors, is a move to AMD in your future again? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | December 4, 2012 - 07:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, arm, apple
Hopefully I did not make your head hurt too much with that title.
Intel announced early in the year the opening of their fabrication labs to certain other developers, none of which competing with anything Intel does. We joked about how this is the end of the world as we know it although we feel fine. As it turns out, the world might end December 2012: RBC rumors that Intel might fulfill orders of ARM processors taking away that responsibility from Samsung.
Of course, there will always be a catch. It is possible that Intel will allow Apple to manufacture their ARM-based processors at Intel if Apple switches their tablets to x86-based products. No-one said the apocalypse must be an irrational event.
When pigs fly? Challenge accepted.
If this rumor comes to fruition - and that is a mighty large if - we finally know that a line of apathy exists within Intel. Intel fabricating an architecture that they directly compete with is a big deal, ignore their motive.
Intel has allegedly made a compromise, definitively this time. We debated fairly heavily whether Intel made a compromise when they allowed FBGAs to be manufactured at their facilities. This time there is no question about whether Intel will make a concession to better its company as a whole.
I have no doubt that Intel desires to stomp competing platforms but we should all doubt that Intel would never step into some middle ground. After all, Intel is not even suffering at this point by any measure. Imagine if the situation actually begins to look dire.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of EVGA
Sometimes, good things do come in small packages. The latest board on our test bench from EVGA proves that fact, the EVGA Z77 Stinger. The Z77 Stinger is a micro-ITX form factor board based on the Intel Z77 chipset, but don’t let its size fool you. This board is packed with features and delivers the performance that we’ve come to expect out of its full-size brethren. At a mere $199.99 base price, the EVGA Z77 Stinger would be at home in any enthusiast’s full tower case or HTPC build.
Courtesy of EVGA
Even with its small stature, the EVGA Z77 Stinger promises to pack some power. It features support for the following: SATA 2, SATA 3, eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 type devices; two different network types featuring an Intel GigE NIC and an Atheros Bluetooth adapter; PCI-Express x16 3.0 and m-PCIe ports; and HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.1a style video ports. With the addition of an m-PCIe adapter, the board can support onboard Wi-Fi as well.
Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2012 - 04:51 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-c847n, ga-c807n, celeron 807
Gigabyte recently announced two mini-ITX form factor motherboards. In an interesting twist, instead of an AMD platform like many of the mini-ITX boards released this year, the Gigabyte GA-C807N and GA-C847N motherboards are based on the Intel NM70 chipset and come with integrated Intel Celeron 800-series processors.
Both motherboards come with Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable 4 Classic design and feature set. Two DDR3 (1333 MHz) DIMM slots, a single legacy PCI expansion slot, 5.1 channel audio controller, and a UEFI DualBIOS are all included features on the motherboards.
The GA-C807N has three SATA II 3Gbps ports and one SATA III 6Gbps port. It further includes an Intel Celeron 807 processor that features a single physical core clocked at 1.5GHz.
External IO on the GA-C807N includes:
- 2 x PS/2 ports
- 1 x Parallel printer port
- 1 x COM port
- 1 x VGA port
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet jack
- 3 x analog audio outputs
On the other hand, the Gigabyte GA-847N motherboard has two SATA II 3Gbps ports and one SATA III 6Gbps port. It also bumps up the processor to a dual core Celeron 847 clocked at 1.1Ghz.
External IO on the GA-847N includes:
- 2 x PS/2 ports
- 1 x Serial port
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x eSATA
- 1 x HDMI
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 3 x Analog audio jacks
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability of the two Mini-ITX motherboards. With that said, the GA-C847N in particular looks like a neat motherboard. The dual GbE ports would make it a good DIY router+firewall or server box. As far as the Gigabyte GA-C807N, the parallel printer port is an odd included feature, but otherwise it looks like a decent entry level Mini-ITX board+cpu combination.
Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2012 - 02:20 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: vector, ssd, socket, podcast, ocz, LGA, layoffs, Intel, Indilinx, BGA, amd, 3550p
PC Perspective Podcast #228 - 11/29/2012
Join us this week as we talk about Intel Socket Controversy, a new OCZ SSD, GPU-less Ivy Bridge and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:22:57
Podcast topics of discussion:
- 0:01:20 Never Settle Contest Part 2 is running!
- Week in Reviews:
- 0:40:30 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
News items of interest:
- 0:41:30 Intel Broadwell goes BGA Only; Desktop is dead?
- 0:56:00 More AMD Layoffs coming?
- 0:58:45 Intel CEO is leaving too
- 1:00:00 Western Digital 4TB Black HDD
- 1:02:00 Fujifilm working on 1TB optical discs
- 1:06:00 Jon Peddie Q3 GPU Results
- 1:08:00 Microsoft sells 40 million Windows 8 licenses
- 1:09:45 Rumored 'Blue' Subscription based Windows OS
- 1:12:00 Intel Updates SSD Toolbox, 335 Firmware
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Motherboards | November 29, 2012 - 01:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, amd, Intel, Z77, z75, h61, a85, a75, A55
City of Industry, California, October 28, 2012 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today launched its latest HD series motherboards, bringing unprecedented dual digital display support, including HDMI and DVI, to a range of value segment motherboard models.
The new GIGABYTE HD motherboard series defies the current ethos that means true digital display outputs are reserved for upper mainstream models, adding both HDMI and DVI ports to a range of motherboard models at attractive and affordable price points. All DIY enthusiasts can now enjoy true HD display capability using the most commonly integrated digital output technologies on today’s HD displays and TVs.
“The new GIGABYTE HD motherboard series means our customers can get much more bang-per-buck from their value segment motherboards,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “Adding dual digital display ports to this segment really sets GIGABYTE apart from the competition, raising the bar for value segment motherboard design.”
HD_WhiteMaking Digital Display Support a Standard Feature
Digital output technologies like HDMI are becoming the de-facto standard on most HDTVs and PC monitors, with the advantage of carrying both HD audio* and video signals over a single cable. As well as offering higher screen resolutions than analog display outputs, digital display outputs also offer support for the latest 3D media content as well as access to protected content via HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).
Having access to dual digital displays is also a great way to increase productivity, offering much more on-screen real-estate than entry-level motherboards typically provide. GIGABYTE HD series motherboards are ideal for a range of business, office and education scenarios where adding an additional digital display or projector is paramount.
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Classic
GIGABYTE HD series motherboards integrate GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 4 Classic technology with built-in features that prevent common malfunction threats. Protection against humidity, electrostatic damage, power failure and high-temperatures is achieved using a range of technologies and features including glass fabric PCB technology, Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, anti-surge ICs, solid capacitors and GIGABYTE Dual BIOS™.
You learn more about GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Classic technology here: http://www.gigabyte.us/microsite/297/images/overview.html
Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2012 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pentium, celeron, Intel, 22nm, G2130, G2020, G2020T, G1620, G1610, G1610T, Ivy Bridge
There won't be any new Intel desktop processors for Christmas and even in the New Year it will be the entry level lineup that is first refreshed. Six older Pentium and Celeron models will hit EOL and be replaced with new Ivy Bridge based 22nm models, likely with similar specs and reduced power consumption. The news for mobile processors is a little better with the Core i7-3687, Core i5-3437U, Celeron 1037U, 1007U, 1020M and 1000M all slated for the first quarter of 2013. DigiTime also mentions a new 20nm member of the 530 series of SSDs should be arriving at the same time.
"Intel is set to upgrade its entry-level desktop Pentium and Celeron product lines in the first quarter of 2013 with the launch of Ivy Bridge-based 22nm Pentium G2130, G2020 and G2020T and Celeron G1620, G1610 and G1610T processors, while its existing Sandy Bridge-based 32nm Pentium G870, G645 and G645T as well as Celeron G555, G550 and G550T will be phased out of the market starting the end of 2012, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Ten weird Chinese mobile phones @ The Register
- RIM reveals Blackberry 10 Dev device with physical QWERTY keypad @ The Inquirer
- Samsung printers have secret admin account @ The Register
- Electrical Applications for Infrared Thermometers @ TechwareLabs
- Protect Your Home from Burglary & Vandalism: There’s an App for That @ TechwareLabs
- Win a Nokia Lumia 820 Windows 8 Phone With Scancom @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage | November 28, 2012 - 10:32 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd toolbox, Intel, firmware, 335
A quick note to users of Intel SSDs - specifically for owners of the 335 Series. Intel has updated their SSD Toolbox app to v3.1.2. This app is used for various tasks on Intel SSDs, such as secure erasure, performance optimization under Windows, and TRIM through RAID-0 under Intel RST / ICH / PCH motherboard SATA controllers. This update is significant in that it can in turn update the firmware of the Intel 335 Series SSDs to correct a bug in how those drives report wear. This bug was initially discovered by Kristian Vättö, over at Anandtech.
If you have a newer version of the SSD Toolbox, F9 will be listed as "Total NAND Writes", and list that value in MB. The issue with the original 335 firmware was that it incorrectly calculated the wear (the Wearout Indicator - E9 above) such that it would list the drive as worn out after ~1,000 total flash cell erase cycles (i.e. 1,000 x the capacity of the SSD). The firmware update corrects this value to ~3,000 cycles, which is more appropriate for the rating of IMFT 20nm flash. Updating should be non-destructive, but you should backup just in case. The update is not urgent, in that it only corrects how the drive does the math to calculate E9. The Wearout Indicator will change to the correct value after the update, regardless of when it is applied. Additionally, if the MWI reaches 0 prematurely, it should have no impact on operation of the SSD.
Grab the update here.
Moving Towards BGA Only?
The sky is falling. Does this mean that Chicken Little is panicking for no reason or is Chicken Little the Cassandra of our time? It has been widely reported that Intel will not be offering the next generation Broadwell architecture as a LGA based product. Broadwell is a 14 nm product that will integrate southbridge functions into the chip, making it essentially a SOC. It will be offered only as a BGA only product, which means that it will be soldered onto a motherboard with no chance of being able to be swapped out. Broadwell is the successor to the upcoming Haswell, itself a 22 nm product that features many architectural changes to both the CPU and graphics portion as compared to the current 22 nm Ivy Bridge.
Will Broadwell be the death of the desktop industry and enthusiasts? Will LGA become as scarce as chicken teeth? Will we ever see a product with a swappable CPU after 2014?
Broadwell is aimed at TDPs ranging from 10 watts to 57 watts. Current high end Ivy Bridge parts max out at 77 watts and do not feature any southbridge type functionality. So that means that another 5 to 7 watts are added in for the chipset when discussing basic system TDPs. So we are looking at around 87 watts for a top end product when including SATA and USB functionality. 30 watts is a pretty big deal in OEM circles. We see right off the bat that Intel is aiming this architecture at a slightly different market, or at least a changing marketplace.
The unease that we are seeing is essentially this; Intel appears to be trying to take more profits from this setup and pass more costs onto the motherboard industry. This is not necessarily new for Intel, as they did this when transitioning to the LGA socket. LGA sockets are more expensive and more troublesome for the motherboard manufacturers as compared to a more traditional pin based interface. AMD continues to use pin based chips as this lowers the cost that is incurred by the motherboard manufacturers, and it also lowers overall support issues. LGAs are pretty solid, but it is very easy to bend one or more of those contacts so that they in fact do not create a solid connection with the CPU. This is something that is uncommon with pin based CPUS, but the downside of pin based is that it is more expensive to produce the CPU in the first place as compared to a LGA chip which only features the pads on the substrate of the CPU.
Ivy Bridge without the HD Graphics
The processor market is kind of stale these days; there aren't a lot of releases and the dominance of Intel in the high-end CPU market kind of makes things uninteresting. We still have lot of great AMD processors in the low and mid-range markets but if you want a $200+ card part you will probably find your way into the world of Intel.
Today's processor review cuts across segments with a unique twist. The Intel Core i5-3350P can be picked up at Newegg.com for $189 putting it right in the price point of the AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) and the AMD FX-8320 (Vishera). It also undercuts the very popular Intel Core i5-3570K by $50 or so while still offering some impressive performance results.
The only catch: this Ivy Bridge based processor does not include any integrated graphics.
The Intel Core i5-3350P
Intel recently released a couple of Ivy Bridge based processors that have disabled the integrated graphics completely, the 3350P being one of them. This allows Intel to sell processor die that might have a defect on the GPU portion to increase the relative yield rate of their 22nm process and also gives them another weapon to fight off any pricing competition from AMD.
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