Intel is still playing coy when it comes to 7W SDPs

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2013 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: Intel, SDP, 7 watt, core i5, 3339Y, Ivy Bridge

One of the biggest controversies coming out of CES 2013 was Intel's redefining of TDP as SDP so that they could rate their new Ivy Bridge processor at 7W.  Scenario Design Power is a measurement of the power consumed in certain specific usage situations, which Intel refuses to disclose the specifics of.  From what The Inquirer found out, there will actually be a spectrum of SDPs which consumers can choose from, though again Intel is not saying much about the specifics of the workloads or of the chips themselves.  You can check out what little we know here, though until we have more details it is hard to decide if this will obfuscate the actual power draws of chips or become a new useful metric in the future.

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"CHIPMAKER Intel remains coy about the precise definition of the workload used to calculate its scenario design power (SDP) metric that it has applied to its Y series Core processors.

Intel quietly introduced the new SDP metric at CES where it revealed a 7W Ivy Bridge chip and received some criticism for relying on a new metric to hit its headline figure. When The INQUIRER asked Intel to define the scenario in which the Core i5 3339Y chip hits the 7W figure, the firm said it was "not prepared to talk about the workload at this time"."

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Source: The Inquirer

CES 2013: Intel Haswell HD Graphics Compared to GeForce GT 650M

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 12, 2013 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, hd graphics, haswell, geforce, dirt 3, ces 2013, CES, 650m

While wandering around the Intel booth we were offered a demo of the graphics performance of the upcoming Haswell processor, due out in the middle of 2013.  One of the big changes on this architecture will be another jump up in graphics performance, even more than we saw going from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. 

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On the left is the Intel Haswell system and on the right is a mobile system powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M.  For reference, that discrete GPU has 384 cores and a 128-bit memory bus so we aren't talking about flagship performance here.  Haswell GT3 graphics is rumored to have double the performance of the GT2 found in Ivy Bridge based on talks at IDF this past September. 

While I am not able to report the benchmark results, I can tell you what I "saw" in my viewing.  First, the Haswell graphics loaded the game up more slowly than the NVIDIA card.  That isn't a big deal really and could change with driver updates closer to launch, but it is was a lingering problem we have seen with Intel HD graphics over the years. 

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During the actual benchmark run, both looked great while running at 1080p and High quality presets.  I did notice during part of the loading of the level, the Haswell system seemed to "stutter" a bit and was a little less fluid in the animation.  I did NOT notice that during the actually benchmark gameplay though. 

I also inquired with Intel's graphics team about how dedicated they were to providing updated graphics drivers for HD graphics users.  They were defensive about their current output saying they have released quarterly drivers since the Sandy Bridge release but that perhaps they should be more vocal about it (I agree).  While I tried to get some kind of formal commitment from them going forward to monthly releases with game support added within X number of days, they weren't willing to do that quite yet. 

If AMD and NVIDIA discrete notebook (and low cost desktop) graphics divisions are to push an edge, game support and frequent updates are going to be the best place to start.  Still, seeing Intel continue to push forward on the path of improved processor graphics is great if they can follow through for gamers!

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CES 2013: Prototype Intel TV System Spotted at Imagination Suite

Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, Intel, tv, intel media, imagination, PowerVR

While visiting with the folks at Imagination, responsible for the graphics system known as PowerVR found in many Apple and Samsung SoCs, we were shown a new, innovative way to watch TV.  This new system used an impressively quick graphic overlay, the ability to preview other channels before changing to them and even the ability to browse content on your phone and "toss" it to your TV. 

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The software infrastructure is part of the iFeelSmart package but the PowerVR team was demonstrating the performance and use experiences that its low power graphics system could provide for future applications.  And guess what we saw was connected to the TV?

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With all of the information filtering out on Intel's upcoming dive into the TV ecosystem, it shouldn't be a surprise that find hardware like this floating around.  We aren't sure what kind of hardware Intel would actually end up using for the set top box expected later this year, but it is possible we are looking at an early development configuration right here. 

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CES 2013: Lian-Li Shows Off Brushed Aluminum PC-N1 Chassis for Intel’s NUC

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2013 - 09:50 AM |
Tagged: nuc, Lian Li PC-N1, Lian Li, Intel, ces 2013, CES

The crew over at Overclockers Club stopped by the Lian Li booth to check out the company's latest cases at this year's CES. One interesting addition to Lian Li's case lineup is the PC-N1 which is a third party replacement chassis for Intel's NUC motherboards. Specifically, the PC-N1 case is designed to host Intel's D33217CK and D33217GKE boards. The chassis is constructed of aluminum and features a black burshed aluminum design. A recessed, silver colored, power button is on the top of the case, a single USB port is on the front, and the standard rear IO layout for NUC board is on the back of the case. That includes a DC power jack, two USB ports, two HDMI outputs, and a RJ45 Ethernet jack. Notably absent is s cutout in the case for a Thunderbolt port (perhaps there is a PC-N2 case on the way?).

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The PC-N1 meaures 122 x 40 x 108mm. Because it is completely aluminum, it may help with keeping the NUC components cool like the many HTPC cases on the market with heatpipes that draw heat from the processor into the chassis. No word yet on pricing or availability, unfortunately. In my opinion, it looks really nice, though I've always been partial to look of Lian Li's brushed aluminum cases (I have one sitting under my desk as I type this heh). Overclockers Club has additional photos of the PC-N1 as well as several other upcoming PC cases that are worth a look.

Read the full review of Intel's Next Unit of Computing platform at PC Perspective.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2013: Intel Announces Three Future NUC Systems, Coming Later This Year

Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 02:06 AM |
Tagged: CES, nuc, next unit of computing, Intel, htpc, haswell, core i5, celeron 847, ces 2013

Intel released its first Next Unit of Computing system last year, and it seems that the 4 x 4-inch computer was enough of a success that Intel is ready to introduce new models. The Tech Report managed to talk to Intel on the CES show floor, and the x86 chip-maker is planning as many as three new models for release later this year.

Intel is reportedly planning a cheaper model as well as two higher-performance models. The former is a NUC system that switches out the current-generation’s Core i3-3217U processor for a cheaper Celeron 847 chip. While the Core i3-3217U is a dual core part with HyperThreading clocked at 1.8GHz. It is a 22nm, 17W part with 3MB of cache. On the other hand, the Intel Celeron 847 CPU that will allegedly be at the heart of the next NUC is an older 32nm chip with two physical cores, no HyperThreading, 2MB of cache, and a clockspeed of 1.1GHz. It does retain the same 17W TDP, but it is an older and slower part (and cheaper as a result).

This new NUC is said to be available for around $220 with a Thunderbolt port or $190 without Thunderbolt. That makes it as much as $100 cheaper than the current-generation NUC that we reviewed in December 2012.

In addition to the Celeron-powered model, Intel is also ramping up the performance with a Core-i5 powered NUC due in April 2013. There is no word on pricing but it should be available for purchase sometime in April 2013. It will have USB 3.0, triple monitor, and vPro support. The article in question was not clear on whether the Core i5 NUC will keep the Thunderbolt port in addition to USB 3.0 or if it will simply be swapped out. One concern I have is heat as the Core i5 chip will be faster and run hotter than the Core i3-3217U. With the current generation NUC, there were issues of heat that caused the system to hard lock during large file transfers over the network. Granted that particular issue is thought to be caused from heat generated by the NIC and SSD heat causing a component to overheat, but any new/additional heat (like that of a faster CPU) in the same NUC form factor may be problematic. Here’s hoping that Intel has found a way to resolve the overheating issue with the new 2013 models.

Finally, Intel is reportedly also planning to release a Haswell-powered processor in Q4 of this year. IT seems that Intel is preparing a trifecta of NUCs aimed at lower cost, higher performance, and higher efficiency (Haswell) respectively.

Are you excited about the Next Unit of Computing form factor? 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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Source: Tech Report

CES 2013 Video: Intel Demonstrates Power Efficiency of Clovertrail, Tegra 3 and Krait

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2013 - 11:18 AM |
Tagged: video, tegra 3, qualcomm, power, nvidia, krait, Intel, clovertrail, ces 2013, CES

One of the more interesting demonstrations from CES thus far has come from Intel in the form of power consumption comparisons between three of the current tablet SoC solutions.  Intel pits the Clovertrail SoC against NVIDIA's Tegra 3 and Qualcomm's Krait in a battle of power efficiency during video playback.  What you'll see is that Intel's test shows the Clovertrail processor able to not only run near but surpass the power efficiency of the ARM-based processors shown.

This is an incredibly powerful collection of tools that Intel has presented and we are hoping to be able to dive into a similar level of detail in the future.  By utilizing direct monitoring of power VRMs on the processor we could even see the power consumption of the CPU cores in comparison to the GPU cores and even against the L2 cache in some instances. 

Intel is on a mission to prove that they are not only competitive today in the tablet SoC market but that they are a leader in the market.  More to follow!!

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CES 2013: Lenovo Shows Off Clover Trail+ Powered K900 Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2013 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: CES, smartphone, Lenovo, k900, Intel, clover trail, Android, ces 2013

Lenovo has shown off a new Android smartphone at CES. However, in an interesting twist the new Lenovo K900 is powered by an Intel Atom processor rather than an ARM SoC. The K900 smartphone is constructed of a stainless steel alloy and poly-carbonate material. Lenovo has managed to pack all the hardware in a 6.9mm thin chassis that weights 162 grams. It will come in one of four colors, including gold, silver, and grey in a brushed aluminum pattern and one that has a diamond-plate design on the back cover.

The K900 features a 5.5” IPS touchscreen display protected by Gorilla Glass 2 and with a resolution of 1920x1080. The chassis also hosts a front-facing webcam with an 88-degree field of view and a rear 13MP (F1.8) camera with a dual LED flash.

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The outside is neat, but it is the internal specifications where the Lenovo K900 gets interesting. The smartphone is powered by an Intel Clover Trail+ SoC. While Intel is not yet providing details on the new processor, Engadget speculates that the SoC will be the Intel Atom Z2580, which is a dual core Clover Trail successor running at up to 2GHz. The K900 will also include 2GB of RAM and between 16GB and 64GB of internal storage (plus a microSD card slot). The phone will be running Android along with Lenovo’s Le Phone skin on top (though it can reportedly be disabled).

All in all it looks like a really slick smartphone from the specifications list. Battery life and performance are still unknown, but I’m excited to see benchmarks of this once it is released. Unfortunately, it is not headed to the United States at this time. Instead, the Lenovo K900 will be available in China starting in April of this year. Pricing should be available closer to the product’s release date. Engadget has the full press release along with hands on videos with the hardware.

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Source: Engadget

Doing laps 'round Las Vegas

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2013 - 12:17 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, amd, nvidia, Intel, gigabyte

With so much to see at CES 2013 and with the vendors so far away from each other it is impossible to see it all in the limited time available, which is why it helps that there are other sites covering CES who might catch something Ryan and the boys didn't get to.  For instance The Tech Report had a chance to look at Gigabyte's new ultra thin GA-H77TN and GA-B75TN mini-ITX boards which will work in cases much thinner than a conventional board.  They also saw both AMD's upcoming roadmap and a tablet from Vizio using one of AMD's APUs while Intel showed off new Atoms and 7W Ivy Bridge CPUs.  They also weigh in on NVIDIA's new gaming box and the new Zbox.  Keep your eyes peeled on our front page as our coverage will be picking up as Las Vegas begins to come alive for another day of CES.

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"The Consumer Electronics Show is off to a busy start, and we have staffers on the scene in Las Vegas and covering the show remotely. Before the show floor even opened, AMD, Intel, and Nvidia held major press conferences to reveal new products and discuss future plans. We have the goods on AMD's upcoming APUs, Intel's reference design for Haswell convertibles, Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC, and other goodies from not only those companies, but also Gigabyte, Zotac, Lenovo, Vizio, and the USB 3.0 Promoter Group."

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CES 2013: Intel Announces Atom Z2420 Processor for Smartphones

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2013 - 11:28 AM |
Tagged: SoC, smartphones, Intel, atom z2420, atom

Intel recently announced a new Atom-series Z2420 processor aimed at low-cost smartphones.   The new System on a Chip will complement the existing Medfield and Clover Trail+ line – which are for higher-performance devices – by being aimed at the low cost phones in developing markets. The Atom Z2420 combines a CPU, L2 cache, GPU, memory controller, cryptography  engine, image signal processor, and fixed function hardware used for video encoding and decoding. The chip is designed to be low power and is manufactured on Intel’s 32nm High-k metal gate process technology. According to Intel, the Co-PoP package measures 12 mm x 12 mm making it suitable for the intended smartphone form factor.

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Specifications include a single core processor with 512KB of L2 cache running at 1.2 GHz that supports Intel’s HyperThreading, Burst, and low power C6 state technologies. With HyperThreading, it can utilize two threads and with Burst, the processor can dynamically scale frequency to balance power usage and CPU load. The Intel GMA GPU uses PowerVR SGX540 graphics cores clocked at 400 Mhz. It is compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG 1.1. The GPU is rated at 40 MTS peak polygons and a 2000 MPPS peak fill rate. Additionally, the SoC features hardware that can hardware encode/decode 30 FPS 1080p video in H.264, H.263, and MP4. Further, the hardware can hardware accelerate decoding of VC1, WMV9 but it cannot hardware accelerate encoding of those two additional formats. The Atom Z2420 SoC supports dual channel LPDDR2 memory clocked at 400 MHz. The Image Signal Processor (ISP) can support a 1.2MP and 8MP front and rear cameras. The SoC can support 15 FPS burst capture, video image stabilization, and HD video recording.

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Intel has positioned the Atom Z2420 SoC at the Android operating system, and has even built a reference smartphone with the new processor. Acer, Lava, and Safaricom are among the companies lined up to produce future budget smartphones with the new SoC. Unfortunately, Atom Z2420-powered smartphones are not headed to the United States. Intel is sticking to developing markets suchs as India, Latin America, and Africa. Here's hoping next year Intel (finally) feels its mobile (smartphone) hardware is ready to compete with the ARM giants and that it pushes for Atom-powered smartphones in additional countries (including the US). Until then, you can find more information on the current generation Z2420 in the press release (PDF).

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Source: Intel
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Manufacturer: Intel

Ultrabooks 2.0

Intel is a yearly presence at CES and typically have a few interesting things to talk about.  Last year we got to see Will.I.Am on stage telling us all about how the Ultrabook has changed his artistic life.  Oddly enough, things have not changed dramatically for the company.  Ultrabooks have inherited the latest Ivy Bridge processors which were released last Spring.  Medfield is still the primary cell phone processor for Intel.

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The first area they covered  is the cellphone market.  Medfield is still the go-to processor and Intel claims that it has better performance and battery life than even the latest Qualcomm products.  Intel is introducing a new reference phone for emerging markets around the world codenamed Lexington.  Based on the Z2420 and the XMM6265 modem, this budget smartphone will be Android based with certain optimizations instituted by Intel in collaboration with Google.

Intel has achieved more wins throughout the next few months.  Acer, Safaricom, and Lava will all be announcing new smart phones based on Intel silicon.  Details of these products will be released later in the quarter.

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Medfield will be replaced by Clover Tail+ and then further on with their next gen 22 nm product.

Click to read about more of Intel's CES 2013 coverage.