Subject: Storage | November 28, 2012 - 07:32 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If you have a newer version of the SSD Toolbox, F9 will be listed as "Total NAND Writes", and list that value in MB.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.
Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2012 - 10:03 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gpgpu, amd, nvidia, Intel, phi, tesla, firepro, HPC
The skeptics were right to question the huge improvements seen when using GPGPUs in a system for heavy parallel computing tasks. The cards do help a lot but the 100x improvements that have been reported by some companies and universities had more to do with poorly optimized CPU code than with the processing power of GPGPUs. This news comes from someone who you might not expect to burst this particular bubble, Sumit Gupta is the GM of NVIDIA's Tesla team and he might be trying to mitigate any possible disappointment from future customers which have optimized CPU coding and won't see the huge improvements seen by academics and other current customers. The Inquirer does point out a balancing benefit, it is obviously much easier to optimize code in CUDA, OpenCL and other GPGPU languages than it is to code for multicored CPUs.
"Both AMD and Nvidia have been using real-world code examples and projects to promote the performance of their respective GPGPU accelerators for years, but now it seems some of the eye popping figures including speed ups of 100x or 200x were not down to just the computing power of GPGPUs. Sumit Gupta, GM of Nvidia's Tesla business told The INQUIRER that such figures were generally down to starting with unoptimised CPU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel reportedly speeds up development of low-power processors @ DigiTimes
- Firefox and Opera squish big buffer overflow bugs @ The Register
- Hexing MAC address reveals Wifi passwords @ The Register
- Cisco Linksys EA6500 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- Camera shootout: Samsung Galaxy S III vs S III mini @ Hardware.info
- Black Friday Tech Deals @ TechReviewSource
- Lawrence 'Empire Strikes Back' Kasdan to pen future Star Wars script @ The Register
- Win Corsair AX860i, AX760i, AX860 & AX760 power supplies @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | November 22, 2012 - 10:18 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, CEO
Intel has not had any financial or directional problems nor have they experienced a revolving door in upper management, at least to my knowledge. Paul Otellini was expected to remain at the helm of the chip giant until he turned 65 at which point he would enjoy a wonderful retirement. He would have commanded the company for a full decade.
Intel recently announced that Otellini will leave the company and retire at 62.
Possibly the most important part of the story might be the non-story piece: there does not appear to be any reason for him to leave. The board apparently did not want him to go. ARM holds a large lead in momentum over Intel, during Paul’s watch, in the mobile market but even then the future looks promising with early commentaries about Clover Trail. If I had to guess I would posit that his decision to step down is entirely for personal and possibly sudden circumstances. That was just a guess, however.
To further speculation about its abruptness, Intel does not seem to have anyone in mind as a replacement in just 6 months’ time. For the first time Intel will consider fulfilling the position from outside the company.
In related news, Intel’s stock made a slight dip in value after the abrupt announcement. While the decline was slight it does echo the reluctance mentioned earlier and shows that even the stock market approved of Intel’s performance over the last eight years.
Subject: Systems | November 21, 2012 - 03:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nuc, Intel
Intel's rather poorly named Next Unit of Computing is much more impressive than it sounds. In a 4" x 4" x 2" box is a Core i3-3217U on a QS77 Express motherboard, two DDR3 DIMMs, a mini-PCIe Intel 520 Series SSD and a WiFi card which gives you performance far above any Atom powered micro machine. Connectivity includes Thunderbolt, HDMI and up to 5 USB 3.0 ports and it is powered by a small 65W external brick. The Tech Report were impressed by the overall performance, especially when trying out PC Perspective's favourite shooter from 2004. At an MSRP around $300, this is a great choice for someone who needs more power than an Atom based machine but doesn't want to pay the premium for a full laptop.
"Intel has crammed a pretty capable PC into a box that will fit into the palm of your hand and dubbed it the "Next Unit of Computing." With its Ultrabook guts, we think it should've been called the Ultrabox. Whatever you call it, though, the NUC offers a possible glimpse at the future of desktop PCs"
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Intel Next Unit of Computing Kit DC3217BY @ SPCR
- Giada A51 Mini PC @ SPCR
- Lenovo ThinkStation D30 Workstation Review: 16 Cores and 32 Threads Under Your Desk @ AnandTech
- 6 Preloaded Linux PCs For Your 2012 Holiday Wishlist @ Linux.com
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 20, 2012 - 10:47 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Creative, SoC, ziilabs
Ziilabs might not be a name you recognize now, but it is one you were likely familiar with at one time. That is the current name of 3DLabs which was purchased by Creative back in 2002 and is now responsible for SoC development at Creative, especially integrating the StemCell media processor into the ARM chips which make the basis of the mobile processors. Intel paid $30 million for physical resources and assets along with $20 million for patents, giving them the ability to move from their current solution for Atom processors, PowerVR to the StemCell architecture. Could it be possible that with a stronger Atom that Intel might be able to power more cell phones and take a larger share of that market as well? Check out more at The Inquirer.
"CHIPMAKER Intel will license patents from Ziilabs and purchase assets from the UK based chip designer.
Ziilabs is a UK based subsidiary of Creative Technology focusing on system on chip (SoC) designs for smartphones and tablets. While the firm has yet to register on the public conciousness, it clearly has been on Intel's radar for a while and announced a $50m asset sale and patent licensing deal."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel roadmap leak shows quad-core Atoms for 2014 @ The Register
- UPHEAVAL as Otellini retires: Will Intel look inside? @ The Register
- Can't wait for Nvidia? Try these Italian baby ARM clusters with GPU options @ The Register
- Bathroom fan that switches itself on when it gets steamy or smelly @ Hack a Day
- HP posts a $6.9bn loss as PC, printer and server businesses tank @ The Inquirer
- TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2012
- Kingston & Techgage Present: Free Kit for Friendship Contest @ Techgage
- Bjorn3D/Diamond Multimedia Holiday Giveaway
Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2012 - 09:34 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, otellini
This may be the most amicable of the recent departures, Intel's leader for the past eight years will be stepping down in Spring. The last eight years have seen a lot of successes at Intel as well as a few projects which did not pan out as hoped. He is the man who oversaw Intel's chip design change from an inefficient architecture which lagged behind AMD's to their current undisputed role in the market today. When he first started at Intel 40 years ago, the company had only been in existence for 5 years, so he has had a large influence on Intel's growth and it will be interesting to see the changes that will occur at Intel under a new leader. Check out who The Tech Report thinks might be the next Intel CEO here.
"Wow, what is it with high-profile tech executives leaving lately? On the heels of Scott Forstall's departure from Apple and Steven Sinofsky stepping down at Microsoft, Intel CEO Paul Otellini has announced that he, too, is going to be leaving his post."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The Not-Ready Btrfs and ExFAT Linux Filesystems @ Linux.com
- Cisco to acquire Meraki for $1.2bn @ The Register
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 Review @ TechReviewSource
- TSSDR GIVEAWAY: Super Talent USB3.0 Express RC8 100GB Windows to Go Flash Drive
Podcast #227 - Golden Z77 Motherboard from ECS, High Powered WiFi from Amped Wireless, Supercomputing GPUs and more!
Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2012 - 11:10 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: titan, thor, tesla, s1000, podcast, nvidia, k20x, Intel, golden board, firepro, ECS, dust, Amped Wireless, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #227 - 11/15/2012
Join us this week as we talk about a Golden Z77 Motherboard from ECS, High Powered WiFi from Amped Wireless, Supercomputing GPUs 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: 1:07:04
Podcast topics of discussion:
- Join us for the Hitman: Absolution Game Stream
- Week in Reviews:
- 0:18:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
News items of interest:
- 0:19:00 A renaissance of game types that have been sadly missing
- 0:24:00 You missed our live Medal of Honor Game Stream - loser!
- 0:26:12 NVIDIA launches Tesla K20X Card, Powers Titan Supercomputer
- 0:30:15 AMD Launches Dual Tahiti FirePro S10000
- 0:38:00 Some guy leaves Microsoft - is the Start Menu on its way back??
- 0:41:40 AMD is apparently not for sale
- 0:46:05 ECS joins the Thunderbolt family with a new Z77 motherboard
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 13, 2012 - 10:17 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Intel, firepro, firepro s10000, HPC, Xeon Phi, 3120A, 5110P, Knight's Corner
AMD's new Tahiti based FirePro S10000 sports a little more than just a GPU upgrade it sports two GPU updates as this is a dual GPU card. According to The Register it should run about $3,600 and need 375W to perform, numbers which make it a more efficient card than the S9000 even though it needs significantly more cash and power to run. It is a 2 slot card, a necessity in the server and workstation world and while it does not support CrossFire it does support EyeFinity with its DVI port and four Mini DisplayPorts.
The Register also got some news about Xeon Phi, Intel's answer to the HPC cards on offer from AMD and Intel. Knights Corner is the evolution of Larrabee into an actual product, in this case two 62 core cards though not all of the cores are active. The passively cooled 5110P has 60 cores running at 1.053GHz, while the 3120A has 57 cores clocked slightly higher at 1.1GHz and sports a fan. Both cards produce just over a teraflop of double precision floating point math, compared to the 1.48 teraflops offered by AMD's S10000 or the 1.3 offered by the Tesla K20x. Check out more on these coprocessors at The Register.
"With the FirePro S10000, not only is the GPU geared down to 825MHz, but the memory is similarly downshifted to 5GHz. The memory interface is 384-bit wide on each GPU, with two blocks of GDDR5 memory yielding a total of 6GB. (This could be a little skinny on the memory for some HPC workloads, given that the S9000 card has 6GB of memory for one Tahiti GPU.) Each GPU can access 240GB/sec of memory bandwidth linking to each 3GB chunk of GDDR5 memory.
Because the card is double-stuffed, it can deliver a very impressive 5.91 teraflops SP and 1.48 teraflops DP in peak floating point oomph."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 123: Incremental improvements
- Microsoft Makes Direct X 11.1 a Windows 8 Exclusive @ Slashdot
- Random Linux Commands to Make Google Talk, Fix Wifi, Find Duplicate Files, and More @ Linux.com
- Microsoft Surface RT may only achieve 60% of forecasted sales @ DigiTimes
- Windows chief Steven Sinofsky leaves Microsoft @ The Inquirer
- Fedora 'Spherical Cow' delayed by bugs, Secure Boot @ The Register
- Microsoft rolls out always-on Skype for Windows Phone 8 @ The Register
- Gaming in Windows 8 vs Windows 7: what's the difference in performance? @ Hardware.info
- Windows 7 vs Windows 8 – The Definitive Performance Guide @ hardCOREware
- How to Change the Start Screen Background in Windows 8 @ TechSpot
- TP-Link TL-WDR3600 and WDR4300 review: two shades of black @ Hardware.info
- Win 1 El'Druin ARPG Gaming Mouse, 2 Hellion Gaming Mice and 1 Aegis Gaming Pad @ NikKTech
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