Subject: Storage | October 7, 2012 - 12:44 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Thecus, qnap, NAS, Intel, atom d2550, atom d2500, asustor
Earlier this week, Intel announced that two of its Cedar Trail Atom-series processors would be powering several upcoming Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. Intended to be used in devices for home and small business users, they will feature either the Intel Atom D2500 or D2550 processor. Centralized content vaults, so-called personal clouds (internet and LAN-accessible storage), and security systems are all possible uses of the Intel Atom CPU-powered NAS boxes.
Both 32nm chips have a 10W TDP, 1MB of L2 cache, and are clocked at 1.86GHz. The D2500 has two cores while the D2550 is a dual core part with HyperThreading for a total of four threads. Both processors have an integrated northbridge and a PowerVR SGX545 GPU. The D2500 has the integrated GPU clocked at 400MHz while the Atom D2550’s SGX545 GPU is running at 640MHz.
|Cores (with HT)||2 / 2||2 / 4|
|Clockspeed||1.86 GHz||1.86 GHz|
|L2 Cache||1 MB||1 MB|
|Graphics Clock||400 MHz||640 MHz|
|TDP||10 W||10 W|
The Intel-powered NAS boxes will have anywhere from two to eight hard drives and offer up a number of features. For example, the storage devices will be able to integrate the McAfee AV SDK to run virus scans on your media files on the NAS itself. And thanks to the GPU, platforms with storage and the Atom chips will be able to support up to two external displays. The example Intel provided is a security system where the D2500/D2550 can power a computer with lots of attached storage and up to output up to four HD video stream on up to two displays thanks to GPU acceleration.
The Thecus N5550 NAS using the Intel Atom processor.
NAS boxes from QNAP, Asustor, and Thecus will be available at launch, with additional devices from other manufacturers coming in the future. The Thecus device is available for purchase now for around $600 without hard drives pre-installed.
On the small business side of things, Intel has announced that Mostor and Dane-Elec have also jumped on board to provide optimized software for the hardware used in business environments.
Read the full press release on Intel's website.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
It's been a couple months since we've had a chance to evaluate a Z77-based motherboard, so we are taking this opportunity to throw ASUS's P8Z77-V Deluxe on our test bench to put it through our comprehensive real-world and synthetic benchmarks. This $279 board has been available for several months and supports the LGA 1155 platform that includes Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors.
Courtesy of ASUS
There are many features to drool over about the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe, but my favorite ones include the board's unique power management features, Wi-Fi functionality with remote access, and customized UEFI BIOS. This board also includes other enhancements that focus on support for faster USB 3.0 and PCIe 3.0 integration as well as extra SATA 6GB/s ports that provide double the bandwidth of current bus systems.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 5, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, w700, tablet, ssd, Ivy Bridge, Intel, acer
First announced at Computex 2012, Acer is finally ready to share all the details (including pricing) on its upcoming Iconia W700 Windows 8 tablet.
For the uninitiated, the W700 is the top-end tablet in its Iconia W series. It will be based on an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3 or Core i5 processor, 64GB or 128GB SSD, HD4000 graphics (intel processor graphics) and a battery that allegedly provides up to 8 hours of usage. That hardware is powering a 11.6” IPS display with 10-point multitouch and a resolution of 1920x1080. It further features a rear 5MP camera with autofocus and 1080p video recording and a front-facing webcam capable of recording 720p video.
The tablet also includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi as well as various sensors for map applications including a(n oddly named) “G-sensor,” accelerometer, and an E-compass. [No mention of a GPS chip though, so it’s unclear how useful the other map technology will be…]
External I/O includes three USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt port, micro HDMI port, headphone output jack, and DC power jack.
Because of the Ivy Bridge CPU, the tablet has ventilation slots along the top edge of the tablet. It is less than half an inch thick and weighs in at 2.3 pounds.
Also relevant is that the Acer Iconia W700 will have an accessory dock that will hold the tablet in portrait mode at 70 ° for reading or 20 ° for an angled touchscreen. The dock can also hold the W700 tablet in portrait mode for reading ebooks and the like. A Bluetooth keyboard and micro-HDMI to VGA adapter are also available as bundled accessories.
Engadget takes a tour of the Acer ICONIA W700 Windows 8 tablet.
As far as new information goes, the W700 will be available on October 26 (Windows 8’s release day). There will be several SKUs with different levels of hardware (ie. Core i3 vs Core i5). MSRPs of the W700 tablet will range from $799.99 to $999.99 depending on the particular hardware configuration. Further, if you are an Acer corporate customer, you will be able to get the W700 tablet with an extended two year warranty and Windows 8 Pro for $1,049.99. You can find read the full press release on the Acer website.
The prices do seem to be on the high end for a Windows 8 tablet, but ASUS’ leaked Windows 8 tablet prices are not far off.
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2012 - 01:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Intel, price cuts, stagnation, stats
While complaining that chip prices just don't fall like they used to with the advent of the new generation replacing them is a long standing past time of enthusiasts everywhere, we don't often research the historical data to prove or disprove our claims. The Tech Report were brave enough to do exactly that, ignoring the risk that the data might prove us all wrong and lead to the possibility of not having a leg to stand on when talking about the good old days. Vindication is ours, especially when talking about Intel processors and the blame seems to fall right on AMD's shoulders and the lack of competition they've offered, especially on the high end. While some of Intel's processors do drop in price a bit over the 50 week period that The Tech Report, the only ones with a noticeable percentage drop were the lower end Core i3's which compete directly with AMD's FX and A8/6 series processors. Check out the charts showing the difference between AMD's price drops and Intel's over the same time period here.
"We've crunched three years of historical pricing data and made some interesting discoveries about the current state of the x86 processor market. Come take a look."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- OEMs call Intel’s Haswell pricing, “Absurd” @ SemiAccurate
- The Blackberry Playbook gets a software update @ The Inquirer
- IBM launches Power7+ chips in three Unix servers @ The Inquirer
- Apple Acknowledges iPhone 5 Camera Flaw @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 2, 2012 - 04:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, haswell, told you so, fail
We've not been kind to the idea of Ultrabooks here at PC Perspective, even some of the models we reviewed were rated very highly. The product is nice for those who want an ultra-light, ultra-thin computer with instant resume from sleep and a very long battery life and frankly, who wouldn't like that. The problem was in the implementation of the design, in order to meet the hardware requirements and the materials required to make a sturdy yet thin device the price soared well above the $600 price point that Intel originally reported an Ultrabook would sell for. In order to meet all the specifications from the original PR, the price was over $1000 which significantly shrunk the number of consumers willing to purchase an Ultrabook. Some manufacturers chose instead to compromise and not include all of the hardware originally listed, often the SSD but in other cases we saw lesser LCD panels used or a less sturdy chassis, which lowered the price but also made less consumers interested in purchasing an Ultrabook.
The Ultrabook dream has taken a big hit today as those in the market who predict sales have finally admitted they vastly overestimated the success of the Ultrabook. Most of these companies sales predictions, such as the iSuppli numbers referenced by The Register, have been sliced in half. Instead of admitting the numbers were inflated they referenced the growing tablet and smartphone market, neither of which devices can manage any task an Ultrabook could apart from the mobility. An Ultrabook was originally touted as a full computer, not a low powered mobile device.
From what DigiTimes heard Intel is convinced that Haswell will change all of that somehow, with the new processor making the Ultrabook much more attractive to customers. Of course they don't mention the pricing, which may fall a bit over the next year thanks to the dropping prices of SSDs but it is doubtful that Haswell will be cheaper than its predecessors. It is unknown at this point if Intel will continue to provide the cash incentives to manufacturers that they have over the past year but if they want any hope of manufacturers producing the next generation of Ultrabook. As it stands many major vendors are not interested in designing a new generation of Ultrabook as it is not a product that they made much profit on during the first generation. SemiAccurate also harbours the same doubts about next generation Ultrabooks they had for the first generation, with more numbers to back up their beliefs. The analysts still think that the next generation of Ultrabook will do well though ... for some strange reason.
"The basic problem for Ultrabooks at the moment is one of price, Stice explained. Intel's original vision for the platform was for a price point of around $600, but even with the $300m in support and subsidies that Chipzilla is pushing out to manufacturers, prices are much closer to a grand – and at that price, customers aren't biting."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 120: Borderlands 2, iOS 6, and the problem with staged releases
- Windows System Center 2012: The review @ The Register
- Globalfoundries 28/32nm foundry capacity hits as high as 80,000 wafers @ DigiTimes
- AMD, Oracle tag-team on GPU acceleration for Java apps @ The Register
- Mid Ohio Comic Con 2012 @ LanOC Reviews
- AMD launches Android app store for Windows PCs @ The Register
- Hard drive shipments rebound to record level in 2012, says IHS @ DigiTimes
Ahead of the release of Windows 8 and the onslaught of Windows 8-based tablets that will hit the market next month, Intel is taking the cover off the processor that many of these new devices will be powered by, the Intel Atom Z2760 previously known by the codename of Clover Trail. Intel is claiming that the Atom Z2760 is the beginning of a completely new Atom direction, now a complete SoC (system-on-a-chip) design that lowers power requirements, extends battery life and allows Intel's x86 architecture to find its way into smaller and more portable devices.
At it's heart, Clover Trail is based on the same Saltwell CPU core design that was found in the Medfield processor powering a handful of smartphones over in Europe. That means the Atom lineup remains an in-order architecture with a dual-issue command structure - nothing incredibly revolutionary there.
Unlike Medfield though, the Atom Z2760 is a dual-core design that still enables HyperThreading for four-threaded operating system integration. The cores will run at 1.8 GHz and it includes 1MB of L2 cache divided between the two cores evenly. Memory is connected through a dual-channel 32-bit bus to low power DDR2 memory running at 800 MHz and capacities up to 2GB.
Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2012 - 01:46 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: tlc, ssd, Sea Islands, Samsung, PSU, podcast, nvidia, IOPS, Intel, evga, amd, 840 pro, 840, 1500W
PC Perspective Podcast #220 - 09/27/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the Samsung 840 Pro SSD, a 1500W PSU from EVGA, AMD GPU leaks, 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano
Program length: 1:07:28
Podcast topics of discussion:
- Week in Reviews:
- 0:23:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
- News items of interest:
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2012 - 12:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: widi 3.5, widi, miracast, Ivy Bridge, Intel
Intel has been developing its WiDi wireless display technology for a few years now, and with Sandy Bridge and WiDi 2.x Intel had a workable platform for streaming video – despite it not being as reliable or as responsive as running a video cable. Today, Intel announced an update to its WiDi specification that brings the technology up to version 3.5 and makes it better than ever.
WiDi is a wireless transmission technology pre-loaded on mobile devices such as ultrabooks and other Intel CPU powered laptops like the Lenovo S series shown off at IFA 2012. Devices that have either a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Intel processor will be eligible for the 3.5 update and will see several improvements.
The most important update is a reduction in latency. Intel has managed to get WiDi latency down to 250ms on Sandy Bridge, and an impressive 60ms for computers running Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors. At 60ms, the user interaction with the OS is going to become noticeably more responsive. Thanks to this latency reduction, Intel is announcing support for not only running its WiDi software on Windows 8, but the operating system’s touchscreen interface as well. While using a touchscreen with a WiDi display might have felt less-than-responsive with older WiDi implementations, by bringing the latency down to sub-100ms levels, the action of touching UI elements and getting feedback in the form of display output should be fairly fluid.
Some other big changes with the latest WiDi update include support for streaming 3D video and compatibility with the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Miracast wireless display technology/standard. The Santa Clara-based company made it clear that it does not want to fight the Wi-Fi Alliance over which implementation of wireless display should be the 'industry standard.' Intel has stated that it wants to complement Miracast rather than compete with it. The company’s WiDi equipped devices with the 3.5 update will happily stream to Miracast certified receivers. The only potential issue is that Intel does not guarantee latency when using Miracast receivers. In that respect, Intel sees WiDi as being Miracast + its additional feature set on top that provides some additional functionality and certification beyond the base standard. There was no mention of AMD’s proposed wireless display technology, however.
Intel has further reduced battery consumption when using WiDi, and when using WiDi 3.5 users should see some incremental battery life improvements versus the previous generation. CPU utilization while streaming video has also been reduced to less than 10% on both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs.
The final major additions to WiDi 3.5 are on the receiver end of things. Thanks to Miracast support, WiDi-equipped computers will be able to stream to a wide variety of devices in addition to using Intel WiDi dongles. And while previous generation WiDi receivers were around $80, this time around receivers should be a bit cheaper. In the late 2012 to early 2013 time frame, new WiDi 3.5 receivers will be available for purchase. A new Neo TV box will cost $69.99 while a more traditional WiDi dongle from Netgear will retail for $59.99.
Some interesting new capabilities of the receiver units include the ability for dongles to be powered by the USB port on the TV (rather than needing a wall power adapter). Also, WiDi 3.5 will support USB ports located on the receivers (pending hardware manufacturer implementation) that will allow you to keep HID class USB devices plugged into the receiver. Those input devices (keyboard, mouse, track pad, game pad, basically anything that is classed as a Human Interface Device under the USB standard) will then control your WiDi connected computer over the same wireless link that is streaming video to your TV.
And, of course, WiDi 3.5 continues to support streaming 1080p video, HDCP2 encrypted streams (Blu-ray), DVDs, and 5.1 surround sound.
The WiDi 3.5 software update is already in the hands of OEMs, and a public download of the update should be available to Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge computer users sometime in October. The updated WiDi computers running 3.5 will be able to stream to Miracast or Intel’s own WiDi receivers. However, if you want the improved WiDi receiver(s) with USB ports, you will have to wait until early 2013 at the latest to get your hands on the hardware.
Also, you can watch a live demonstration of WiDi working on an ASUS Z77 motherboard in the video below.
Subject: Processors | September 18, 2012 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandy bridge, Ivy Bridge, Intel
iXBT Labs wanted to see how the two most current generations of Intel processors compare when running identical tasks. To put the processors under maximum load they used Linpack and Furmark as well as looking at video playback. In the case of the Furmark and Linpack+Furmark tests it might have been nice to see a power versus performance metric, as better performance on the benchmarks could make a slightly less power hungry CPU even more attractive. However the video playback is a great example of what you can expect in the way of power draw as no one wants a faster processor to play their movie back at an increased speed, a 2 hour movie should take 2 hours to play. That makes the second metric a little more valuable for those on battery power. Take a quick peek at their 2 page article here.
"We measured consumed power and energy consumption of four configurations based on the same testbed and four different CPUs belonging to two platforms: Intel Core i7-2700K (Sandy Bridge) and Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge), Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge) and Intel Core i5-3450 (Ivy Bridge)."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Core i5 3470 @ Phoronix
- Ivy Bridge and changing the Thermal Interface Material @ eTeknix
- Intel Core Generations Comparison @ iXBT Labs
- Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2012 - 12:16 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, small form factor, SFF, nuc, Ivy Bridge, Intel, htpc
Earlier this year, Intel showed off a small motherboard and processor combination that piqued the interest of many enthusiasts and attendees. The rather oddly named Next Unit of Computing (NUC) PC was originally intended to power digital signage, kiosks, and embedded systems (car PC anyone?). However, in response to the interest shown by enthusiasts, the x86 chip giant has decided to bring the super-small form factor computers to retail.
The Next Unit of Computing PC’s main attraction is its small size: the motherboard is tiny, measuring a mere 4” x 4.” For reference, the mini-ITX standard is a 6.7” x 6.7” motherboard, and VIA’s Pico-ITX form factor boards measure 3.9” x 2.7.” In that respect, the NUC is not the smallest PC that you can build, but it will be the fastest – and by a significant margin thanks to the bundled Ivy Bridge CPU.
While i3 and i5 editions were allegedly designed, currently Intel is only bringing the i3 to the retail market. Specifically, the CPU powering the NUC will be an Intel Core i3-3217U Ivy Bridge processor, and it will be soldered onto the motherboard. That particular CPU is a 1.8GHz dual core/four thread part with 3MB cache, and Intel HD 4000 graphics (there is no Turbo Boost functionality). Not bad for a small form factor PC!
Image credit: PC Pro.
The boards will have two SO-DIMM slots for RAM, an mSATA port for an SSD, and a mini-PCIe slot for a Wi-FI card. Intel is making two versions of the NUC motherboard that will differ only in IO. One motherboard will have 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 HDMI output, and 1 Thunderbolt port. The other board will have 3 USB 2.0 ports, 2 HDMI outputs, and one Gigabit Ethernet jack. Intel believes that the Thunderbolt-equipped model will be more popular with consumers while the Gigabit-Ethernet and dual HDMI model will be used more by businesses.
Intel is reportedly sourcing several chassis designs for its custom form factor motherboard (there are at least two cases at present), and you will be able to build out a barebones system with one of the custom cases, integrated heatsink, and power supply. Additionally, when spec'ed out with the Intel i3-3217U CPU, 4GB of RAM, Wi-Fi card, and a 40GB Intel SSD, the company expects the entire NUC computer to cost around $399 in the US. The parts will be available for purchase in October, according to Engadget.
Hopefully, we will see OEMs take this form factor and make something cool with it. It's not clear which specific OEMs will be first to bring pre-built systems to market but they should be coming in the future.
Personally, I’m a big fan of small form factor computers, and despite the odd “NUC” name I’m excited to see where Intel takes this platform. If you were looking for a small but powerful computer to drive your next project, it might be worth keeping an eye on the NUC. What do you think of this sub $400, approximately 5” (with case) PC?