Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

A New Chip for a New Year

When Intel launched the Sandy Bridge-E platform in November, there were three processors listed on the specification sheet.  The Core i7-3960X is the flagship, 6-core processor with the ~$1000 price tag, the Core i7-3930K still had 6-cores but a much lower cost and similar clock speeds and the Core i7-3820 was the only quad-core option and was listed for a Q1 release.  We reviewed the Core i7-3930K in December and found that it offered nearly the same performance as the more expensive unit at about half the price. 

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Today we are getting a preview of the Core i7-3820 that will be released likely in early February and will come with a much more reasonable price tag of $285 to fill out the LGA2011 socket.  The question that we must ask then is can the quad-core Core i7-3820 compete against the currently available quad-core Sandy Bridge parts that fit in the widely available LGA1155 socket?  We not only have to consider performance but also the features of each platform as well as the total cost. 

Same Feature Set, New Die

While most of the features of the Core i7-3820 are going to be identical to those of the previous SNB-E processors we have seen, there are some important differences with this chip.  Let's see what is familiar first.  The Core i7-3820 is based on the Sandy Bridge-E design that works on the LGA2011 socket and the X79 chipset and motherboards currently on the market.  It includes a quad-channel memory controller and 40 lanes of PCI Express that are actually capable of PCIe 3.0 speeds.  HyperThreading is still enabled so you are getting the benefit of being able to run twice as many threads as you have cores. 

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There are some very important changes on this CPU as well though starting with a quad-core design.  This directly pits this Sandy Bridge-E part against the currently existing Sandy Bridge processors running on the Z68/P67 chipset and LGA1155 socket.  Also, the L3 cache on the Core i7-3820 is at 10MB, 5MB less than the Core i7-3960X and 2MB less than the Core i7-3930K.  We are basically talking about a processor that bridges the gap between the original SNB and newer SNB-E parts and it creates some interesting battles and comparisons. 

Continue reading our review of the Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E CPU!!!

Intel moves on the server room with 40 processors due for release

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: Intel, server, cpu, Romley, Ivy Bridge-H2, xeon e3, xeon e5

The server room will be getting an update over the next year thanks to Intel releasing numerous CPU models based on different architectures.  First up comes Romley with a total of seven 8-core Xeons, a half dozen 6-core Xeons including both the E5-1660 and 1650 as well as the E5-2640 and relatives, five 4-core Xeons and a single dual core CPU.  That will take us until close to summer.  By then Intel will be working on eleven different Ivy Bridge-H2 series CPUs including the Xeon E3-1290v2 as well as seven more higher end processors including Xeon E5-2470, which will take us towards the end of 2012.

In addition to the regular lineup, DigiTimes also lists four low power Xeons which will arrive in 2012 including the 8-core Xeon E5-2650L.

serverroomimages.jpg

"Intel is set to launch 40 new processors including those for its upcoming Romley platform, in the first half of 2012 with the company to release 20 models each quarter, according to sources from server players."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #183 - AMD Radeon HD 7970, HDD Price Analysis, a 4K Display, GTX780 Rumors, and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 29, 2011 - 02:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, Intel, hdd, amd, 7970, 780

PC Perspective Podcast #183 - 12/29/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the AMD Radeon HD 7970, HDD Price Analysis, a 4K Display, GTX780 Rumors, 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

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

Program length: 1:13:37

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:30 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. 0:02:08 Galaxy GeForce GTX 570 MDT X4 Overclocked Graphics Card Review
  6. 0:12:33 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Graphics Card Review - Tahiti at 28nm
  7. 0:29:25 SSD and HDD Price Analysis: End of Shortage In Sight?
  8. 0:37:15 The EIZO DuraVision FDH3601 is a 4k x 2k Display, and We Want It
  9. 0:41:53 GeForce GTX 780 Leak
  10. 0:45:47 Battlefield 3 Frame Rate Drop Issue with GeForce GPUs
  11. 0:49:42 AMD Refreshes the A-Series APUs for the New Year
  12. 0:53:40 Richard Huddy is now Intel Inside. Well I'll be d'AMD.
  13. 0:55:40 Intel Releases New Cedar Trail Atom Processors
  14. 0:57:35 http://www.pcper.com/news/Processors/Intel-Medfield-x86-SoC-Targets-Android-Phones-and-Tablets
  15. 1:04:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: AIDA64
    2. Jeremy: Ice Machine
    1. Josh: If you haven't bought one before...
    2. Allyn: Google Voice to PSTN (OBi100)
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

Source:

Intel Releases New Cedar Trail Atom Processors

Subject: Processors | December 28, 2011 - 07:15 PM |
Tagged: pine trail, netbook, Intel, cedar trail, atom, 32nm

Intel has been pumping out quite a few new processors lately, with new Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, a new Sandy Bridge i7 2700K processor coming out, and now a new line of Atom CPUs sneaking in the news right before the new year!  Not to mention, they are also working on Ivy Bridge.

The new Atom CPUs are of the Cedar Trail variety and succeed the older Pine Trail-M Atom processors.  Currently, there are three Cedar Trail chips that will be available as soon as January in OEM systems including the N2600, N2800, and D2700 CPUs.  Further, the new chips are 32nm and have a 22x22mm package size.  These little chips are destined to power netbooks, tablets, embedded devices (think medical devices, ruggedized tablets, machinery).  Yes, Intel still believes in netbooks, and feels as though emerging markets will keep the market alive and growing as people want for cheap computers that are able to get them on the web.  While the netbook is losing popularity in the US, Intel expects the South American, Eastern European, and African markets to see great interest in the netbook platform.  Their netbook plans involve three price tiers with accompanying use cases including netbooks at $200 with minimal features and a price to match that enables people to access the web all the way to $400+ netbooks with lots of features that would fill out the market up to where the Ultrabook territory begins at around $900.

Intel_Netbook_Outlook.png

The new Cedar Trail processors improve upon the previous gen Atom chips by quite a bit, according to Intel.  The graphics aspect in particular has been improved such that 1080p HD Youtube and HD Netflix streams are playable at at least 24 FPS.  Something that early netbooks using Intel's integrated graphics will never be able to do.  Intel further estimates a 50% lower TDP and a 28% processor performance increase over the Pine Trail chips.  Further, the new Cedar Trail chips have more cache at 2 x 512 L2 cache(s), higher clockspeeds, lower TDP, higher C-State (C6 vs C4E)/lower power usage in sleep mode, a 200MHz higher clocked graphics card (400MHz vs 200 MHz), and increased memory speeds (DDR3 800 and 1066 vs DDR3-667).  The fastest Nxx chip, the N2800 manages a .2GHz clock speed increase while also knocking off 2 watts from the TDP versus the previous top N570.

Needless to say, Cedar Trail is looking very good, on paper at least.  The individual chip specifications are listed below.

  CPU Clock Speed Graphics Clock Speed TDP
N2600 1.60 GHz 400 MHz 3.5 W
N2800 1.86 GHz 640 MHz 6.5 W
D2700 2.10 GHz 640 MHz 10 W

What are your thoughts on the new Cedar Trail chips, do you think they will provide enough "oomph" to make new netbooks desirable again?  Some more information can be found here and straight from Intel here.

Intel_PineTrail_vs_CedarTrail.png

Richard Huddy is now Intel Inside. Well I'll be d'AMD.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 28, 2011 - 05:04 PM |
Tagged: Intel

There are a few individuals in the video game industry who attract news articles when their employers change; Richard Huddy is one. Experience with 3DLabs and executive positions at NVIDIA and ATI/AMD firmly suggests that he is in touch with graphics processing. Huddy completes his tour of the current PC GPU triangle by signing on with Intel. Given said GPU background, it would be interesting to speculate what plans Intel has for their presence in the graphics market -- and some already are.

intelwho.png

Matrox… isn’t a part of that triangle…

KitGuru speculates that Intel realizes their attempts in developing graphics accelerators, such as Larrabee and their integrated GPUs, are lackluster; I personally believe that is a fairly safe speculation to make. Hiring the person who has dealt with developer relations throughout Europe for NVIDIA and worldwide for AMD would give you a good sense of what directions you need to be heading as a company. KitGuru also speculates that Intel desires to be placed in the consoles -- while developing a console GPU would be desirable for Intel as there would be no pressure to get huge numbers in random benchmarks, I doubt that is a core focus of Intel. If I was to speculate, and I am, my personal expectation would be to keep up with AMD and NVIDIA in the GPGPU war as well as tablet GPUs.

If you were to speculate: what do you think Intel’s motives are? Sane or crazy -- if it's legal, comment away!

Source: KitGuru

Atom cannibalizes our market! Move it to someone else’s!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | December 28, 2011 - 02:33 AM |
Tagged: intel atom, Intel, atom

Intel’s Atom processors were created as a tier below their Celeron product line. Netbooks, then running VIA Nano processors, have started to gain popularity since their introduction in late 2007. Intel’s Atom processors took the place of the VIA parts since that time. In 2009, Intel has stated that they have seen approximately twenty percent of their sales of notebook processors replaced with sales of their cheaper Atom processors. Intel still maintains the Atom processor line, but apparently with new goals in mind.

atom.png

Up and ATOM!!!

According to Digitimes, the demand for Intel’s Atom processors has declined recently. Intel, in response, decided to market that tier of parts to embedded and server customers for use in network-attached storage devices and very low-end servers. Intel is also rumored to have plans to shrink the process size of Atom in 2013 to 22nm and again shrink process size to 14nm in 2014. The upcoming 32nm Atom processor is expected by the second quarter of 2012.

Source: Digitimes

Intel Medfield x86 SoC Targets Android Phones and Tablets

Subject: Processors, Mobile | December 26, 2011 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Medfield, Android, x86, SoC

Intel hopes that 2012 will finally be the year they see mainstream phones with Intel inside.  Despite Intel's attempts to tell us otherwise for the past several generations, the upcoming Medfield design is the first truly serious attempt to enter the phone and tablet market currently dominated by the many ARM-based partners of phone manufacturers all over the world.  A recent post over at Technology Review discussed the advantages that Medfield offers over previous Intel Atom-based designs with Steve Smith, Intel's VP of Architecture.

First shown at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this past September, a Medfield-based reference design has many believing in what some thought was impossible but what others thought was inevitable: Intel x86 cores in a phone that matters.  Why the change from many in the analyst space?  Medfield is the first option from Intel that is truly a single-chip solution, removing design space concerns and power consumption issues that previous Atom-architecture solutions were saddled with. 

intel_phone_x616.jpg

Intel showed Technology Review the Android-based reference phone running Gingerbread.

The phone prototype seen by Technology Review was similar in dimensions to the iPhone 4 but noticeably lighter, probably because the case was made with more plastic and less glass and metal. It was running the version of Google's operating system shipping with most Android phones today, known as Gingerbread; a newer version, Ice Cream Sandwich, was released by Google only about a month ago.

Intel has a lot of experience in the consumer markets though it took a shift inside the company to really put the focus on phones and tablets over netbooks and convertible-notebooks.  At the recent showing not only did they have the reference design phone but also an iPad-like tablet device running Ice Cream Sandwich, another key to the consumer's dollar.  And as you can clearly see in the diagram below, there is a lot of money being made that Intel wants in on.  A LOT.

intel_phone_chart.jpg

Source: Technology Review, IDC

Intel will also enjoy a process technology advantage over the competition with current Medfield SoCs built on the company's internal 32nm process and the upcoming 22nm technology promises even more power consumption advantanges.  ARM designs are built at different foundries including Samsung and TSMC and while they are competitive, no one can keep up with Intel on this front. 

Anandtech also had some interesting information to share from an investor conference earlier this month about the power consumption and performance levels of Medfield. 

intel_phone_power.png

Source: Anandtech.com

The diagram shows that power consumption on Medfield should be competitive with the current ARM-based SoC leaders in the market today.  Areas like 3G standby, basic audio playback and video playback should be accomplished with minimal power draw in order to have battery life extended to at least current expectations.  The performance graphs here on Browser Mark and "Graphics" are impressive as well though obviously we have a TON of missing information to really make the graph meaningful.  Anand puts it well:

Barring any outright deception however, there seems to be potential in Medfield.

I tend to believe that Intel is too smart to misjudge a product to investors, but remember how impressive the initial performance results of Larrabee were for years? 

I am hopeful and excited for Intel's mobility plans in 2012 as other information we have seen looks impressive.  Let's see what CES has to offer.

Podcast #182 - Intel Core i7-3930K, AMD 7000 Series rumors, a new low price SSD from OCZ and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 15, 2011 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, ocz, nvidia, macbook pro, Intel, hdd, gigabyte, dell, apple, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #182 - 12/15/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the Intel Core i7-3930K, AMD 7000 Series rumors, a new low price SSD from OCZ 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: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

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

Program length: 1:15:55

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. 0:02:54 Dell Inspiron 14z Notebook Review: A Portable Workhorse
  6. 0:03:57 Gigabyte E350N-USB3 Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review
  7. 0:08:12 Video Perspective: Antec Eleven Hundred Case Review
  8. 0:12:20 Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E Processor
  9. 0:23:27 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:24:15 Some Details About AMD’s 7000 Series Graphics Cards Leak To Internet
  11. 0:27:00 Bad for reviewers, great for gamers ... AMD will allow non-reference Tahiti graphics cards
  12. 0:32:10 How much of PCI-E 3.0 is just marketing speak right now
  13. 0:36:05 OCZ Technology Petrol SATA 6Gbps SSDs Reduce SSD Deployment Costs by Thirty Percent (Hynix flash)
  14. 0:42:30 Two Catalysts from AMD; 11.12 and a highly recommended preview version of 12.1
  15. 0:45:05 Intel Scales Back Sales Outlook Due To Hard Drive Shortage
  16. 0:50:10 Apple May Bring High Pixel Density Displays To MacBook Pro Notebooks
  17. 0:57:56 Voicemail - 3d gaming, special graphics card, what games, etc?
  18. 1:03:54 Voicemail - SSDs - SF drive and Gaming
  19. 1:07:12 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: 4GB to 8GB of memory - do it!!
    2. Jeremy: How have I never thought of this? Also, the 3930K since it proved to be about 95%+ of the performance for about 60% of the cost ... if you can find it
    1. Josh: You Monster!
    2. Allyn: Cheap SSD's for the holidays, do it!
  20. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  21. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  22. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  23. Closing

 

Source:
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

The Low Cost Sandy Bridge-E

In the conclusion to my original story looking at the performance characteristics of the Sandy Bridge-E platform, I wrote this:

I am most interested in the Core i7-3930K (as I think most of you will be), but we are going to have to wait a bit to see if we can get performance and power results for that part.

Well good readers, I am here with that information!  After getting my hands on the Core i7-3930K processor that makes up the other 50% of the available options for the X79 chipset motherboards, I can definitively say that THIS is the processor you want.  Unless you are crazy-go-nuts rich.  

With a clock speed only about 2.5% lower than its bigger brother yet a price that is 44% lower, the LGA2011 socket definitely has its enthusiast favorite. 

The Sandy Bridge-E Summary

I am not going to bother reprinting everything that we discussed about the new Sandy Bridge-E processor architecture, the X79 chipset and platform changes here though if you haven't read about them before today, you should definitely take a look at my earlier article

Here is a quicker summary:

The answer might surprise you, but truthfully not a whole lot has changed.  In fact, from a purely architectural stand point (when looking at the x86 processor cores), Sandy Bridge-E looks essentially identical to the cores found in currently available Sandy Bridge CPUs.  You will see the same benefits of the additional AVX instruction set in applications that take advantage of it, a shared L3 cache that exists between all of the cores for data coherency and the ring bus introduced with Sandy Bridge is still there to move data between the cores, cache and uncore sections of the die.

die.jpg

Turbo Boost technology makes a return here as well with the updated 2.0 version in full effect - there are more steppings in scalability on this part than on the Nehalem or Westmere CPUs. 

Continue reading our review of the Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E processor!!

Intel Scales Back Sales Outlook Due To Hard Drive Shortage

Subject: Storage | December 13, 2011 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: thailand, supply shortage, Intel, Hard Drive, amd

Due to the recent flooding in Thailand, many hard drive and hard drive part manufacturers have had to close down business to conduct repairs. Many technology news sites and enthusiasts speculated that the drive shortages from lost production time would drive the price of hard drives up dramatically as well as decreasing computer sales. The price of drives has indeed skyrocketed; however, it seems as though the fallout on the industry is a bit more widespread that originally thought.

Specifically, the hard drive shortage has even managed to effect semiconductor giant Intel. According to Market Watch, Intel Corp announced that it would be scaling back their sales outlook for the fourth quarter of 2011. While it’s previous sales outlook was an estimated $14.7 billion “plus or minus $500 million,” the company’s revised estimate is @13.7 Billion, with a +/- margin of $500 million. The 1 billion USD reduction may not seem like much for Intel; however, their stockholders have taken note and their shares are down 4 % to a closing price of $24 on Monday (and $23.56 at time of writing). As far as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the decline represents “one of the top decliners.”

hard_drive.jpg

The semiconductor giant is not the only company affected by the drive shortage, however. Arch nemesis AMD’s stock price down 4.3 % for example. The site also cites Applied Materials’ 6.1 % decline. The companies that many assumed would be affected by the hard drive supply shortage included PC OEMs such as Dell and HP whose stock prices have dropped 2.3 % and 1.6 % respectably. Western Digital has begun to spin up production in the area again; however, it is likely too late for the various companies to recover. The article analyst speculates that Intel will continue playing catch-up into the first quarter of next year, and will recover starting in Q2 2012.

The numbers are showing a decline in many technology company’s stock prices likely due to lower than projected profits. It is interesting to see that even Intel felt the waves caused by the shortage. Did you find yourself second guessing computer or hard drive purchases due to increased prices?

Source: Market Watch