Podcast #191 - ASUS AMD GPU Roundup, IMFT Flash, and tons of news from MWC!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 29, 2012 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: vengeance, tegra, podcast, nvidia, MWC, Intel, corsair, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #191 - 02/29/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our ASUS AMD GPU Roundup, IMFT Flash, and tons of news from MWC!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes 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 Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:05:06

Program Schedule: 

  1. 0:00:32 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:38 Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  6. 0:03:35 SilverStone TJ08-E Micro-ATX Tower Enclosure Review
  7. 0:05:00 Asus DirectCU and DirectCU II for AMD: 6850, 6870, 6950, and 6970 Boards Under the Microscope
  8. 0:16:15 AMD Updates the FX Line: Some Thoughts on Future Moves for AMD
  9. 0:22:55 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:23:45 Intel Ivy Bridge delay is confirmed essentially
  11. 0:27:30 GPU sales look a little down in the month
  12. 0:31:13 Could this new research lead to light speed RAM?
  13. 0:33:45 Just Delivered: Corsair Vengeance K90, K60, M90, M60 Keyboards and Mice
  14. 0:36:30 Intel / Micron Flash Technology Venture Expands, Micron Assumes Two Plants
  15. 0:40:30 Qualcomm Shipped Most Smartphone and Tablet GPUs in 2011
  16. 0:42:20 MWC 12: Samsung to compete with Tegra on quad-core CPU
  17. 0:45:20 MWC 12: Huawei enters the mobile SoC world with quad-core K3V2
  18. 0:47:00 Nokia World's Largest Windows Phone OS Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2011
  19. 0:49:00 MWC 12: Intel branded, Atom-powered smartphone to be sold by Orange
  20. 0:51:30 MWC 12: ASUS Unveils Infinity Tablets, Dockable Smartphone
  21. 0:55:00 MWC 12: Lots of industry support for NVIDIA DirectTouch
  22. 0:56:55 MWC 12: NVIDIA Roadmap Outlines Tegra's Future Including 4G and Die Shrink
  23. Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  24. 1:00:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: A phone that shows pictures of hotels
    2. Jeremy: Audio steganography
    1. Josh: If you do wanna go AMD... cheaply
    2. Allyn: CircuitLab
  25. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  26. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  27. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  28. Closing

Source:

Just Delivered: MSI Z77A-GD65 Motherboard Preview

Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | February 29, 2012 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: just delivered, z77a-gd65, Z77, sandy bridge, msi, Ivy Bridge, Intel

In preparation for Intel's 3rd generation of Intel Core microprocessor architecture (can you see we are dancing around things already), MSI has started showing a new line of motherboards.  While at CES in January we saw the Z77A-GD65 option that will be available soon and offers some interesting new specs and features. 

IMG_6094.JPG

The Z77A-GD65 sports Military Class III components as well as support for a host of new items including PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0.  While we can't share much more than that in terms of details I thought it might be worth showing off a few shots of the upcoming motherboard from our friends at MSI.

IMG_6096.JPG

IMG_6097.JPG

IMG_6099.JPG

See more photos of the MSI Z77A-GD65!!

Intel / Micron Flash Technology Venture Expands, Micron Assumes Two Plants

Subject: Storage | February 28, 2012 - 05:40 PM |
Tagged: micron, Intel, imft, flash, fab

Earlier today we caught some news of Intel and Micron extending their joint agreement to develop and create flash memory under the IMFT name. Along with this extension came some rearrangements to the current plan. Intel will be selling off their stake in two of the smaller fabs, located in Singapore and Manassas, VA. The sale is for $600 million, half of which will stay with Micron as a credit that Intel can use to later purchase NAND flash produced from those factories.

The 'tip of the spear' IMFT fab located in Lehi, Utah, will remain jointly owned and operated. This makes good business sense as the Lehi fab is the first to shift to smaller process nodes. IMFT announced 25nm flash memory production at this very fab in early 2010.

IMFT.jpg

PC Perspective toured IMFT Utah during the 25nm launch announcement.

Some may see this as Intel taking a step away from flash memory, but I see it as quite the contrary. Micron has always tended towards being a bulk producer of memory products, while Intel are the promary innovators in the arena. This move allows Intel to focus on the bleeding edge plant while Micron handles the particulars of cranking out those technologies developed at the Lehi Plant. It is likely that the highest grade flash comes from the Lehi plant, and Intel's half of the output is more than enough to supply their SSD production lines.

Click to view full article for the press release.

Source: Micron

Intel Ivy Bridge delay is confirmed essentially

Subject: Processors | February 26, 2012 - 10:38 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Ivy Bridge, delay

If you hadn't heard yet, last week we talked about a potential delay to the release of Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processor.  Well pretty much everything we feared was "kind of" confirmed by Intel's Sean Maloney when he said:

“I think maybe it’s June now."

Huh.  It's gets worse though as Maloney apparently was "blaming the push back on the complexity of the new manufacturing process."  That process in particular was the 22nm tri-gate technology that Intel has been touting as one of its biggest developments in recent years. 

haswell2.jpg

Is this completely altered now??

The EETimes story gets more specific with date quotes from Jim McGregor of In-Stat. 

Jim McGregor of In-Stat told EE Times that according to his industry sources in Taiwan, Intel's Ivy Bridge server parts were only delayed from April 8 until April 29, though the dual core i5 and i7 parts for notebooks had been pushed out from a planned May 13th launch to June 3.

Last week we were hearing that Intel would still launch Ivy Bridge parts in April but wouldn't send out the mass shipments until June, and while that is still possible, that seems much less likely after hearing Maloney's words today. 

And if you haven't had enough bad news for today, there is this comment that pretty much backs up my thoughts that I laid out in our 190th episode of the PC Perpsective Podcast last week:

“It doesn’t really matter because there’s not really any compelling competition right now,” said one industry analyst on condition of anonymity, referring to AMD’s recent lag in the market.

AMD, we need you in our lives so badly.  Please don't leave us here...alone...

Source: EETimes

MWC 12: Intel branded, Atom-powered smartphone to be sold by Orange

Subject: Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 08:06 PM |
Tagged: z2460, SoC, smartphone, orange, MWC 12, MWC, Intel, atom z2460

Reuters is reporting that European cell phone carrier Orange will be selling a reference design Medfield smartphone under the Intel brand name.  The Atom Z2460 SoC will find its first major distributor to be one of the world's largest service providers - this could potentially be a big opening for Intel in a market it desperately wants to compete for.

intelorange1.png

I find it very interesting that not only has Intel developed a processor that has finally garnered attention for the mobile market but the team at Intel has built a reference design that was fine tuned enough to direct sell to consumers.  Will the company avoid becoming a typical, low margin SoC company by focusing on vertical implementations like this one?  It is an interesting thought and no other vendor has really done it, with possibly the exception of Samsung that owns the entire device process already.

Anandtech has the major specifications of the phone, codenamed "Santa Clara":

intelorange2.png

These are basically identical to the reference design we saw at CES with only some minor changes to the form factor.  Ice Cream Sandwich isn't included out the gate but we are hoping the upgrade will get pushed soon since Intel showed ICS on the Atom SoC in January.

I haven't been able to find anything about availability or pricing yet but I'll be sure to report it when I find it.  The mobile market continues to intrigue...

Source: Reuters

Podcast #190 - PCAudioLabs system giveaway, the future of NAND Memory, potential Ivy Bridge delays and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 23, 2012 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: Thinkpad, podcast, piledriver, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gpu, cpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #190 - 02/23/2012

Join us this week as we talk about a PCAudioLabs system giveaway, the future of NAND Memory, potential Ivy Bridge delays and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes 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 Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:24:53

Program Schedule: 

  1. 0:00:31 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:45 Intel, PCAudioLabs and PC Perspective Rok Box System Sweepstakes!!
  6. 0:03:45 How We Review Laptops At PC Perspective
  7. 0:05:30 MSI Graphics Card Division Interview: Alex Chang Takes our Q's
  8. 0:09:10 Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Review: Kickin' It Old School
  9. 0:12:00 NAND Flash Memory - A Future Not So Bleak After All
  10. 0:27:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  11. 0:28:30 Mass Effect 3 is Coming, Pre-Order Now and Get Battlefield 3 (PC) Free
  12. 0:31:00 Intel may delay shipments of Ivy Bridge processors
  13. 0:35:10 VIA teams with Tensilica to roll their own SSD controller
  14. 0:40:53 HP dates NVIDIA on Valentine's Day. We get Z1 workstation.
  15. 0:46:30 Wi-Fi on Rosepoint SoC die. Intel flexes before ARM wrestle.
  16. 0:51:15 Of Near Threshold Voltage and Atomic Transistors
  17. 0:55:15 AMD and Cyclos reduces clock power usage with Piledriver
  18. 1:04:00 Intel becomes a 22nm foundry -- yes, for other people.
  19. 1:11:35 Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  20. 1:11:55 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: IKEA DIODER + HOLY AWESOME https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-LmEQUm1PUXU/T0W8e-KQz0I/AAAAAAAAYNA/XB64fVxgLvo/w402/engagement.jpg
    2. Ken: SUPAboy
    3. Jeremy: Hardware Leaderboard
    1. Josh: Get it while you still can!
    2. Allyn: Nintendo 1982 Game & Watch Donkey Kong (counter to Ken's pick)
  21. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  22. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  23. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  24. Closing

Source:

Intel becomes a 22nm foundry -- yes, for other people.

Subject: General Tech | February 22, 2012 - 08:51 PM |
Tagged: Intel, foundry

It is news like this which leads to Apocalypse theories. Intel has announced that they will become a foundry for customers looking to manufacture chips using Intel’s 22nm process with trigate transistors. Current competitors in this industry include TSMC, UMC, IBM, Samsung, and GlobalFoundries each with varying degrees of commitment.

intel-cmon.png

Well this just happened…

Only two customers of Intel’s manufacturing process have since gone public with their foundry choice. Achronix Semiconductor manufactures field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) for users to install in their products to give them relatively basic logic functions compared to a full CPU. Tabula also designs FPGAs, but has specifically announced that they will be using Intel’s 22nm process with 3D trigate transistors.

It is not clear at this point how deeply Intel will jump into the business of developing chips for other companies. Both of the current customers of Intel’s manufacturing process do not really compete with Intel’s own products at all.

Now if we ever, for instance, see NVIDIA announce partnership with Intel foundries for a GPU launch… then John Cusack might have a concern on his hands.

Source: ExtremeTech

Wi-Fi on Rosepoint SoC die. Intel flexes before ARM wrestle.

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 20, 2012 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: Rosepoint, ISSCC 2012, ISSCC, Intel

If there is one thing that Intel is good at, it is writing a really big check to go in a new direction right when absolutely needed. Intel has released press information on what should be expected from their presence at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference which is currently in progress until the 23rd. The headliner for Intel at this event is their Rosepoint System on a Chip (SoC) which looks to lower power consumption by rethinking the RF transceiver and including it on the die itself. While the research has been underway for over a decade at this point, pressure from ARM has pushed Intel to, once again, throw money at R&D until their problems go away.

Intel could have easily trolled us all and have named this SoC "Centrino".

Almost ten years ago, AMD had Intel in a very difficult position. Intel fought to keep clock-rates high until AMD changed their numbering scheme to give proper credit to their higher performance-per-clock components. Intel dominated, legally or otherwise, the lower end market with their Celeron line of processors.

AMD responded with series of well-timed attacks against Intel. AMD jabbed Intel in the face and punched them in the gut with the release of the Sempron processor line nearby filing for anti-trust against Intel to allow them to more easily sell their processors in mainstream PCs.

At around this time, Intel decided to entirely pivot their product direction and made plans to take their Netburst architecture behind the shed. AMD has yet to recover from the tidal wave which the Core architectures crashed upon them.

applebattery.jpg

Intel wishes to stop assaulting your battery indicator.

With the surge of ARM processors that have been fundamentally designed for lower power consumption than Intel’s x86-based competition, things look bleak for the expanding mobile market. Leave it to Intel to, once again, simply cut a gigantic check.

Intel is in the process of cutting power wherever possible in their mobile offerings. To remain competitive with ARM, Intel is not above outside-the-box solutions including the integration of more power-hungry components directly into the main processor. Similar to NVIDIA’s recent integration of touchscreen hardware into their Tegra 3 SoC, Intel will push the traditionally very power-hungry Wi-Fi transceivers into the SoC and supposedly eliminate all analog portions of the component in the process.

I am not too knowledgeable about Wi-Fi transceivers so I am not entirely sure how big of a jump Intel has made in their development, but it appears to be very significant. Intel is said to discuss this technology more closely during their talk on Tuesday morning titled, “A 20dBm 2.4GHz Digital Outphasing Transmitter for WLAN Application in 32nm CMOS.”

This paper is about a WiFi-compliant (802.11g/n) transmitter using Intel’s 32nm process and techniques leveraging Intel transistors to achieve record performance (power consumption per transmitted data better than state-of-the art). These techniques are expected to yield even better results when moved to Intel’s 22nm process and beyond.

What we do know is that the Rosepoint SoC will be manufactured at 32nm and is allegedly quite easy to scale down to smaller processes when necessary. Intel has also stated that while only Wi-Fi is currently supported, other frequencies including cellular bands could be developed in the future.

We will need to wait until later to see how this will affect the real world products, but either way -- this certainly is a testament to how much change a dollar can be broken into.

Source: Intel

Intel urges you to program better now, not the same -- later.

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 18, 2012 - 09:06 PM |
Tagged: Intel, mobile, developer

Clay Breshears over at Intel posted about lazy software optimization over on the Intel Software Blog. His post is a spiritual resurrection of the over seven year’s old article by Herb Sutter, “The Free Lunch is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software.” The content is very similar, but the problem is quite different.

The original 2004 article urged developers to heed the calls for the multi-core choo choo express and not hang around on the single core platform (train or computing) waiting for performance to get better. The current article takes that same mentality and applies it to power efficiency. Rather than waiting for hardware that has appropriate power efficiency for your application, learn techniques to bring your application into your desired power requirements.

inteltf2.jpg

"I believe your program is a little... processor heavy."

The meat of the article focuses on the development of mobile applications and the concerns that developers should have with battery conservation. Of course there is something to be said about Intel promoting mobile power efficiency. While developers could definitely increase the efficiency of their code, there is still a whole buffet of potential on the hardware side.

If you are a developer, particularly of mobile or laptop applications, Intel has an education portal for best power efficiency practices on their website. Be sure to check it out and pick up the tab once in a while, okay?

Source: Intel Blog

Podcast #189 - AMD Radeon HD 7750 and 7770, Mechanical Keyboards from Rosewill, Windows on ARM and more!

Subject: Editorial | February 16, 2012 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: WOA, rosewill, podcast, nvidia, Intel, gpu, cpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #189 - 02/16/2012

Join us this week as we talk about AMD Radeon HD 7750 and 7770, Mechanical Keyboards from Rosewill, Windows on ARM and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes 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 Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:18:31

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:29 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:45 AMD Radeon HD 7770 and 7750 Cape Verde GPU Review
  6. 0:20:15 Rosewill Second Generation Mechanical Keyboard Review: RK-9000, RK-9000BR, RK-9000BL, RK-9000RE
  7. 0:23:20 ASUS Transformer Prime TF201 Keyboard Dock Review
  8. 0:25:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:27:45 WOA! We wanted Windows 8 on ARM details. We got them.
  10. 0:31:00 Intel Haswell Processors To Launch In First Half of 2013
  11. 0:37:25 CTO Eric Demers to Leave AMD
  12. 0:41:15 OCZ Launches Z-Drive R4 CloudServ 16TB Solid State Storage System
  13. 0:46:00 Asustek? Your Ultrabook orders are ah pulled.
  14. 0:48:25 Take that Moore! Electron beam etching set to take us to the 10nm process
  15. 1:00:55 Email from James
  16. 1:02:45 Email from Dave
  17. 1:05:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: HINGES!!!  YouTube video 
    2. Jeremy: SilverSands Active Directories Migration tool
    1. Josh: Apparently quite fun.
    2. Allyn: NewerTech Power2U
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing