In addition to Intel's announcement of new Xeon processors, the company is launching three new Atom-series processors for servers later this year. The new processor lineups include the Intel Atom S12x9 family for storage applications, Rangeley processors for networking gear, and Avoton SoCs for low-power micro-servers.
The Intel Atom S12x9 family takes the existing S1200 processors and makes a few tweaks to optimize the SoCs for storage servers and other storage appliances. For reference, the Intel Atom S1200 series of processors feature sub-9W TDPs, 1MB of cache, and two physical CPU cores clocked at up to 2GHz. However, Intel did not list the individual S12x9 SKUs or specifications, so it is unknown if they will also be clocked at up to 2GHz. The new Atom S12x9 processors will feature 40 PCI-E 2.0 lanes (26 Root Port and 16 Non-Transparent Bridge) to provide ample bandwidth between I/O and processor. The SoCs also feature hardware RAID acceleration, Native Dual-Casting, and Asynchronous DRAM Self-Refresh. Native Dual-Casting allows data to be read from one source and written to two memory locations simultaneously while Asynchronous DRAM Self-Refresh protects data during a power failure.
The new chips are available now to customers and will be available in OEM systems later this year. Vendors that plan to release systems with the S12x9 processors include Accusys, MacroSAN, Qnap, and Qsan.
Intel is also introducing a new series of processors --- codenamed Rangeley -- is intended to power future networking gear. The 22nm Atom SoC is slated to be available sometime in the second half of this year (2H'13). Intel is positioning the Rangeley processors at entry-level to mid-range routers, switches, and security appliances.
While S12x9 and Rangeley are targeted at specific tasks, the company is also releasing a general purpose Atom processor codenamed Avoton. The Avoton SoCs are aimed at low power micro-servers, and is Intel's answer to ARM chips in the server room. Avoton is Intel's second generation 64-bit Atom processor series. It uses the company's Silvermont architecture on a 22nm process. The major update with Avoton is the inclusion of an Ethernet controller built into the processor itself. According to Intel, building networking into the processor instead of as a chip on a separate add-on board results in "significant improvements in performance per watt." These chips are currently being sampled to partners, and should be available in Avoton-powered servers later this year (2H'13).
This year is certainly shaping up to be an interesting year for Atom processors. I'm excited to see how the battle unfolds between the ARM and Atom-based solutions in the data center.
Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2013 - 04:14 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xeon-ex, xeon-ep, xeon, server, Intel, HPC, haswell
Intel officially announced its next-generation Xeon processors at IDF Beijing today. The new lineup includes the Haswell-based Xeon E3 1200 V3 family on the low end, and the Ivy Bridge-EP Xeon E5 and Ivy Bridge-EX Xeon E7 aimed at the mid-range general purpose and high-end HPC markets respectively. Intel did not disclose pricing or details on the new chips (such as core counts, cache, clockspeeds, number of SKUs etc.). However, the x86 chip giant did state that the new chips are coming later this year as well as teasing a few tidbits of information on the new Xeon chips.
The upcoming Xeon E3 processors will be part of the Xeon E3 1200 V3 family. These chips will be based on Haswell and are limited to one socket per board. Thanks to the Haswell architecture, Intel has managed to reduce power consumption by approximately 25% and increase video transcoding performance by about 25%. There will be at least one Xeon E3 1200 V3 series chip with a 13W TDP, for example.
Intel is also releasing a new media software development kit (SDK) for Linux and Windows machines that will provide a common platform for developers. It has allowed Intel to maximize the use of both the CPU and GPU for HD video transcoding as well as increasing the number of simultaneous video transcodes over previous generations. The new Xeon E3 1200 V3 (Haswell) chips will be available sometime before the end of 2013.
The next-generation Xeon E5 chips will be based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge-EP architecture. They will be positioned at general purpose computing in data centers (and possibly high-end workstations), and will be limited to 2 sockets per motherboard. The new Xeon E5 processors will incorporate Intel Secure Key and OS Guard technologies. OS Guard is the evolution of the company's existing Intel Execute Disable Bit security technology. Intel is also including AES-NI (AES-New Instructions), to improve the hardware acceleration of AES encrypt/decrypt operations. These mid-range Xeon chips will be available in Q3 2013.
Finally, the top-end Xeon E7 processors will be based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge-EX architecture. The upcoming processors are intended for high performance server and supercomputing applications where scalability and performance are important. The Ivy Bride-EX chips are compatible with motherboards that will have between 4 and 8 sockets and up to 12TB of RAM per node. Further, Intel has packed these processors with new RAS features, including Resilient System Technology and Resilient Memory Technology. The RAS features ensure stability and data integrity in calculations are maintained. Such features are important in scientific, real-time analytics, cloud computing, and banking applications, where performance and up-time are paramount and any errors could cost a company money. Intel has stated that the new Xeon E7 CPUs will be available in the fourth quarter of this year (Q4'13).
While I was hoping for more details as far as core count, clockspeeds, and pricing, the approximate release to market timeframe for the chips is known. Do you think you will be upgrading to the new Xeon chips later this year, or are your current processors fast enough for your server applications?
More information on the upcoming Xeon chips can be found in this Intel fact sheet (PDF).
Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2013 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Project Scorpio, Intel, idf 2013, idf, Avonton
Intel talked about their Project Scorpio at IDF, similar to HP's Project Moonshot which has just become available. Instead of a new Atom server being a complete system installed in a rack there will be a housing into which self contained server modules can be added and will communicate with the other modules via fabric switch. That way you can pick how many modules you need based on your usage and purchase only that many, with upgrades being as easy as sliding in another module and configuring it. Lego for admins!
They also showed off information on the new Avonton Atom as well as some information on the next family of Xeon processors which you can read more about at The Tech Report.
"Intel kicked off IDF Beijing with a keynote address that revealed a number of new server processors in the Atom and Xeon families. The chip maker also discussed its rack scale architecture, which aims to make next-generation servers more flexible and efficient through modular components."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Mm.. you like RAID? Ooh, you want flash. Try this super-Hadooper @ The Register
- Intel hints at server processor plans for the rest of this year @ The Register
- Intel Xeon 2013 update - A bit later, but a bit better too @ VR-Zone
- Free Anti-Virus Comparison Review @ OCC
Subject: Mobile | April 10, 2013 - 08:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: zte, geek, Android, android 4.2, clover trail, Intel, idf, atom z2580
The ZTE Geek is not quite ready for release, but the internals are now official. Specifications include a dual core Intel Atom Z2580 processor clocked at 2GHz (HyperThreading allows 4 total threads), an integrated SGX 544MP2 GPU clocked at 533MHz, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. A 2300 mAh battery provides power for the device and can be recharged wirelessly in the ZTE Geek.
Engadget goes hands-on with the ZTE Geek at IDF in Beijing, China.
On the outside, The ZTE Geek features a 5" capacitive multi-touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720 and Gorilla Glass protection. There is a 1MP fixed focus webcam above the display, and an 8MP camera with auto-focus and LED flash on the rear of the device.
The Geek smartphone is compatible with the following wireless connections:
- GSM: 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
- UMTS: 900 / 2100 MHz
WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n at 2.4GHz
- DLNA, Wireles hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, and Wi-Fi Display
- Bluetooth 3.0 LE
- GPS (AGPS)
It also offers up an accelerometer, proximity, ambient light, compass, and gyro sensors. Engadget reports that the device on display at IDF is merely a prototype, and the glossy white finish and chassis material is subject to change. Naturally, there is no word yet on pricing, or when it will be released. The smartphone will likely not see an initial US release, however (if past Atom-powered phones are any indication).
What do you think about the ZTE Geek's design and specs? Personally, I'm still pining for the Lenovo K900 (another Clover Trail+ powered smartphone) to see a US release heh.
Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2013 - 02:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, thunderbolt, falcon ridge, DSL4510, DSL4410
As promised, the new Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt controller will be arriving soon, bringing improvements to Thunderbolt. There will be two different updates supplied by Intel, the first is a doubling of bandwidth to 20Gbit/s which will significantly outpace eSATA and may help drive adoption of the new standard. Less attractive for the consumer but interesting to businesses is a new revision of the current 10Gbit/s standard which will require less power to do the same job as the current controller. The Inquirer also mentions that Intel is still looking to replace the copper with fibre optics, though what that will do to the already high price of Thunderbolt cables is unknown as of yet.
"CHIPMAKER Intel has announced an update to its Thunderbolt bus boosting bandwidth to 20Gbit/s while introducing 10Gbit/s controllers with lower power consumption."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Ubuntu 13.04 Linux Can Outperform Apple OS X 10.8.3 @ Phoronix
- Synthesizing graphene in your basement laboratory @ Hack a Day
- TTexas Instruments previews H.265 codec on eight-core Keystone DSP @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft's security apps still trip up on Windows 8 @ The Register
- Website Problems With Internet Explorer 10? Switch Modes @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech, Storage | April 8, 2013 - 04:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: thunderbolt, nab 13, Intel, falcon ridge, DSL4510, cactus ridge
Way back in July of 2012 Tim Verry wrote a news story on PC Perspective discussing the upcoming Falcon Ridge and Cactus Ridge Thunderbolt controllers, due out in 2014 and 2013 respectively. It appears this is coming to fruition at the NAB Show 2013 this week in Las Vegas, with two new variants of Thunderbolt on display by Intel.
Cactus Ridge, now known as the DSL4510 and 4410 controllers will add support for DisplayPort 1.2 when connected to native DisplayPort displays while also improving power management and lowering the implementation costs for hardware designers.
Maybe more exciting is the prototype of next-generation silicon for Thunderbolt, code named Falcon Ridge, that runs at 20 Gbps, double that of current Thunderbolt implementations. Intel promises that this will enable 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously. As expected, production will start in late 2013 with ramping in 2014.
Thunderbolt's integration into the consumer market has been slower than expected but professionals are seeing more and more uses for this kind of extreme bandwidth as the video production pipeline prepares for large scale 4K distribution. We are using Thunderbolt internally at PC Perspective for our Frame Rating capture based graphics testing running at nearly 800 MB/s we have been happy with the results.
Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2013 - 03:13 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, intel hd, Intel, hd 4000, hd 2500
Intel recently released an updated graphics driver for Ivy Bridge processors sporting either HD 4000 or HD 2500 GPUs. The new 126.96.36.19971 (or 188.8.131.52.3071 for those running a 64-bit OS) driver features several under-the-hood optimizations to reduce CPU overhead and improve the driver architecture itself.
The driver architecture improvements have also led to improved game performance. Intel claims up to 10% better performance in StarCraft II, Batman: Arkham City, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (among others).
The chip giant also notes that the new driver supports OpenCL 1.2 for GPGPU calculations. The graphics driver update is only for Ivy Bridge hardware, and is compatible with Ivy Bridge hardware and both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you are running Intel's Driver Update Utility, you should get the new driver automatically.
Otherwise, you can grab the new driver from the following link, depending on your OS.
Unfortunately, these drivers are generic Intel HD graphics drivers. If your OEM computer is running Windows with an OEM-customized version of Intel's drivers, you are out of luck. You will need to wait for your OEM to update its driver package in order to take advantage of the performance improvements.
Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2013 - 02:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: haswell, Intel, usb 3.0, oops
Hardware.Info has recently had confirmation of the rumours we have heard about Intel's USB 3.0 chipset in Haswell; the problem exists and it will cause delays. Many readers may find this remeniscent of the issues with the Marvell 88SE9123 SATA controller from back in the days of P55 boards. This time however the issue has been caught before a single board was sold and while it is upsetting that we will be waiting even longer for Haswell perhaps it is better to get a working product late. It could be quite annoying to lose all your peripherals every time your machine goes into S3. Follow the links from their post for more details.
"Intel now officially admits there is a problem with USB 3.0 in Haswell products, and that solving the issue will affect delivery times of various products"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- High speed circuit design for quantum physics light sensing @ Hack a Day
- Has Europe finally passed Peak Disk? @ The Register
- Bitcoin-mining malware ENSLAVES computers @ The Register
- Litecoin, the GPU Mining Alternative to Bitcoin @ hardCOREware
- Open source 3D patches appear for Nvidia's Tegra SoC @ The Inquirer
- ActiveX Filtering In Internet Explorer 9 and 10 Kills Flash Player @ TechARP
- How To Install Windows 8 Guide @ OCC
- How to Enable 64-bit Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 7 @ NGOHQ
Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2013 - 10:59 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: lga 2011, Ivy Bridge-E, Intel, 22nm
Many enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting the next generation of Intel processors to use LGA 2011, which is supposed to be Ivy Bridge-E. Especially after seeing rumors of a 10 core Xeon E5-2600 V2 Ivy Bridge-EP CPU, I think many users expected at least an eight core Ivy Bridge-E part.
Unfortunately, if a slide posted by VR-Zone China is any indication, LGA 2011 users will not be getting an eight core processor any time soon. The slide suggests that Intel will release three new Ivy Bridge-E CPUs in the third quarter of this year (Q3'13). However, the top-end part is merely a six core CPU with slight improvements over the existing Sandy Bridge-E 3960X chip.
Specifically, the slide alleges that the initial Intel release will include the Core i7 4820, Core i7 4930K, and the Core i7 4960X. An Ivy Bridge-E equivalent to the SB-E 3970X is noticeably absent from the lineup along with several of the other rumored (higher core count) chips.
Rumored Ivy Bridge-E chips:
|Clockspeed||Core Count||L3 Cache||Manufacturing Process||TDP|
|Core i7 4960X||3.6GHz (4GHz Turbo)||6||15MB||22nm||130W|
|Core i7 4930K||3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo)||6||12MB||22||130W|
|Core i7 4820K||3.7GHz (3.9GHz Turbo)||4||10MB||22||130W|
Existing Sandy Bridge-E equivalents:
|Clockspeed||Core Count||L3 Cache||Manufacturing Process||TDP|
|Core i7 3960X||3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo)||6||15MB||32nm||130W|
|Core i7 3930K||3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo)||6||12MB||32nm||130W|
|Core i7 3820||3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo)||4||10MB||32nm||130W|
All of the chips allegedly have 130W TDPs, 40 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, support for quad-channel DDR3-1866 memory, and are built on Intel's 22nm manufacturing process. The low end i7 4820 is a quad core chip clocked at 3.7 GHz base and 3.9 GHz turbo with 10MB L3 cache. The i7 4930K is an unlocked six core part with 12MB L3 cache and clockspeeds of 3.4 GHz base and 3.9 GHz turbo. Finally, the Core i7 4960X is rumored to be the highest-end chip Intel will release (at least, initially). It is also a six core part clocked at 3.6 GHz base and 4 GHz turbo. It has 15MB of L3 cache. These chips are the Ivy Bridge-E equivalents to the 3820, 3930K, and 3960X chips respectively. The new processors feature higher clockspeeds, and are based on 22nm 3D transistor technology instead of SB-E's 32nm manufacturing process. It seems that Intel has extended unlocking to the lower-tier LGA 2011 chip, as it is listed as the Core i7 4820K. Having an unlocked multiplier is nice to see at the low end (the low end of the enthusiast platform, anyway). Curiously, the TDP ratings are the same, however. That suggests that the move to 22nm did not net Intel much TDP headroom, and the higher clocks are bringing them up to similar TDP numbers. At least the TDP ratings are not higher than SB-E, such that you motherboard and HSF should have no problems accepting an IVB-E CPU upgrade (with a BIOS update, of course).
It will be interesting to see how the new Ivy Bridge-E chips stack up, especially considering Intel may also be unveiling the consumer-grade Haswell processor this year. On one hand, Ivy Bridge-E offers up a CPU upgrade path for existing systems, but on the other hand pricing and the performance of Haswell (and lack of higher core count Ivy Bridge-E chips like previous rumors suggested) may see enthusiasts instead opt for a motherboard+CPU overhaul instead of simply recycling the LGA 2011/X79 motherboard. At this point, if this new slide holds true it appears that Ivy Bridge E/LGA 2011 will become even more of a niche solely for workstations that need the extra PCI-E lanes and quad channel memory. I say this as someone running a Lynnfield system who is itching for an upgrade and torn on going for the enthusiast platform or waiting for Haswell.
What do you think about the rumored Ivy Bridge-E chips, are they what you expected? Do you think they will be worth a CPU upgrade for your LGA 2011-based system or are you leaning towards Haswell?
Read more about Ivy Bride-E at PC Perspective, including: Ivy Bridge-E after Haswell: I think I've gone cross-eyed.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 31, 2013 - 04:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nuc, Intel, impactics, europe, d1nu
Impactics is the latest company to launch its own small form factor case for Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) platform. More heatsink than chassis, the new D1NU chassis sandwiches an Intel NUC motherboard and other internals between two aluminum fin heatsinks. The D1NU measures 170 x 114 x 67mm and weighs 1380g.
The D1NU supports Intel's D33217GKE and DCP847SKE motherboards. The motherboard and other components are attached to a solid piece of precision milled 99.99% electrolytic copper (220g), and then to an aluminum heatsink.
The case seals the components between a top and bottom heatsink and then a 4mm aluminum front bezel and a rear chromium steel bezel with EM shield. The D1NU case/heatsink supports a 25W TDP, and has an MSRP of 99 euros. The front bezel hosts a power button with blue LED and space for a single USB port. The rear of the case can support the outputs of either Intel's Golden Lake or Ski Lake boards. A VESA mount is also in the works. The D1NU comes in silver or black.
According to Fanless Tech, the passive NUC case is now available in Europe for €100 Euros from Case King or £87 pounds from Systo.co.uk. No word yet on whether it will show up on this side of the pond, but (although it is a bit pricey) it is certainly a cool NUC heatsink/case (heh)!