Podcast #181 - Hybrid Storage Roundup, the ASUS US36SD-XA1 notebook, News of the week and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 8, 2011 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: revodrive hybrid, podcast, nvidia, notebook, Intel, hybrid, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #181 - 12/08/2011

Join us this week as we talk about our Hybrid Storage Roundup, the ASUS US36SD-XA1 notebook, News of the week 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: 1:03:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 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. 0:02:05 Hybrid Storage Roundup: Seagate Momentus XT vs. OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid vs. Intel Z68
  6. 0:15:20 ASUS U36SD-XA1 Notebook Review: The Battery That Never Dies
  7. 0:21:00 Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Intel Core i3-2105 Gaming Comparison
  8. 0:24:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:25:12 ASRock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review
  10. 0:27:15 Asus GeForce Direct CU II Series Reviews
  11. 0:28:16 Intel, Micron double single-chip flash capacity
  12. 0:33:46 Mobile madness minus benchmarks; new mobile GPUs from AMD & NVIDIA
  13. 0:40:39 Ivy Bridge should be here by the spring
  14. 0:46:05 Chrome passes Firefox and is now the 2nd most used browser
  15. 0:49:50 It's a bit early for 11.12, but how about Catalyst 11.11c?
  16. 0:51:15 Memorieeessssss lots of memoriesssss
  17. 0:55:06 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Twine ... so called physical computing; made easy
    1. Josh: Treat yourself for Christmas with a new vid card and game
    2. Allyn: Ready Player One - (Audiobook)
  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

Source:

Intel won't be the only one with 3D transistors for long

Subject: General Tech | December 8, 2011 - 09:24 AM |
Tagged: fujitsu, suvolta, Intel, transistor, tri-gate, ddc, deeply depleted channel

Fujitsu and SuVolta, a designer of custom CMOS chips, have announced the fruits of a recent joint project aimed at developing a 3-dimensional transistor to match Intel's FinFET.  As we have seen with Ivy Bridge, this advancement in transistor technology significantly reduces the power needs of a chip which utilizes them.  The current prototypes utilize a 65nm process but the companies claim it will easily scale to 32nm.  SemiAccurate also reports that the Deeply Depleted Channel shows an advantage over Intel's Tri-gate transistor design  as DDC is capable of handling variable threshold voltages; Intel's requires that all threshold voltages match.  It will be a while before we see these implemented at Fabs but it is nice to see competition in the next generation of transistor technology.

SA_SuVolta-transistor.jpg

"During the IEDM conference in Los Altos earlier today Fujitsu presented a paper jointly authored by SuVolta. The paper describes how a newly developed transistor with a deeply depleted channel can achieve the same power savings as those announced by Intel that has launched a FinFET-transistor, which the company calls a 3D transistor."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

GSkill Heard You Like Memory…

Subject: Memory | December 6, 2011 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: x79, SB-E, Sandy Bridge E, Intel, gskill, DDR-3 2400, DDR-3, bulldozer, amd, am3+, 64 GB

So they are giving us as much, and as fast, as we could possibly handle.  GSkill has announced their latest Ripjaw-Z kits specifically aimed at the latest Intel Socket 2011 chips on the X79 platform.  These kits range from 4 x 8GB @ 2100 speeds with 1.5 v up to 8 x 8GB at 2400 speeds at 1.65 v.  For those wishing to push clock speeds up higher, they offer a 4 x 4GB kit at 2500 speeds at 1.65v as well.

64G_Red.jpg

Red is the new black.  This is what 32 GB of memory looks like now.

The past few months I have been using a few sets of GSkill memory with the latest Llano based chips from AMD.  These are 4 x 4 GB 1866 products that run at 1.5v, and they have been pretty phenomenal for me.  Now that we are moving into new CPU architectures from both manufacturers, memory speeds have become important again.  For quite some time people could easily get by with DDR-3 1333 modules and not experience any kind of performance bottleneck.  The reasons for this were due to CPU designs (quad core CPUs rarely required more than 12 GB/sec of bandwidth in most applications) as well as the non-integrated nature of graphics for the most part.

Read the full post here.

Source: GSkill

Ivy Bridge should be here by the spring

Subject: Processors | December 5, 2011 - 10:48 AM |
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel, i3-3200, i7-3700, i5-3500, i5-3400, 22nm, tri-gate

Good news for those of you who have been waiting to upgrade in the hopes that Ivy Bridge will be arriving on time.  It seems your patience has paid off but you will have to wait a while longer before you can get your hands on Intel's next tick.  You can look forward to more PCIe 3.0 lanes, just like those who've jumped onto the new Sandy Bridge E chips and a bump on the GPU portion of the chip.  X-bit Labs doesn't have any pricing for the new chips, but they do list all of the models you will be able to buy.  One thing you should note are the impressive TDPs, they may not count as low power CPUs but they're certainly lower than other Intel and AMD chips currently on the market.

intel_ivy_bridge_roadmap.jpg

"Intel Corp. has notified its partners about its decision to introduce of its next-generation code-named Ivy Bridge processors in the second quarter of 2012. Previously the company planned to release the Core i 3000-series central processing units (CPUs) for desktops in March - April timeframe, which left a possibility to unveil the chips in the first quarter."

intel_ivy_bridge_specifications.png

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: X-Bit Labs
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Various

Introduction

Back in 2006, storage tech talk was intermittently buzzy with a few different innovations. One was wrapped around the pending release of Windows Vista, particularly two bullets on its feature list: ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive. In parallel with all of the Ready_____ talk, many tech pundits asked why it would be necessary to have the flash talk to Windows through special drivers. Why couldn't the flash memory just act like a larger RAM cache already present on?

samsung.jpg

A prototype ReadyBoost-enabled HDD by Samsung.

The answer, which nobody was aware of at that time, was that management of flash memory was a tricky thing to do successfully. It would not be until several years later that SSD's would (mostly) beat the issues of Long Term Performance and other issues that crop up when attempting to store randomly written data onto a device that can only be erased in relatively large blocks.

ReadyDrive required a special 'Hybrid' disk drive to be connected to and recognized by Windows Vista, containing both spinning platters and flash memory. Vista would then place frequently used small files on the flash. Since flash memory has negligible access times when compared to seek times of a HDD, the drive overall would boot significantly faster. Other tasks using those cached system files also saw a benefit. While ReadyDrive looked great on paper, there were very few devices ever released that could take advantage of it. Seagate was the earliest to release such a drive, and their Momentus 5400 PSD laptop drive did not see the light of day until Vista was nearly a full year old.

Continue reading our roundup of the best hybrid storage solutions on the market today!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

P1050190.JPG

Ultrabooks are now on store shelves, but that doesn’t mean the more traditional ultraportables are dead - not by a long shot. Thin may be cool, but the high price premium attached to ultrabooks means that they will, at least for now, be a niche product. Meanwhile, the workhorse 13.3” ultraportable will remain popular. 

One of the most accomplished manufacturers of this type of laptop is ASUS, which has been building U-Series ultraportables for several years now. We’ve generally given them high marks here, but now there is a new model to check out, the updated U36. Unlike the stylish U33 Bamboo, this model is a tough, simple laptop that seems to take ques from Lenovo’s ThinkPads. Has this compromised the series? Let’s find out.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS U36SD-XA1 Ultraportable notebook!!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Features

Introduction

icon1.jpg

Courtesy of ASRock

Our test bench has seen a flood of Z68-based enthusiast motherboards this fall and ASRock added their flagship Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 board to the top of the pile for testing. The Extreme 7 Gen 3 pulls out all the stops for extreme enthusiasts and ultra overclockers by arming this board with next-gen PCI-E 3.0 support and an NVIDIA NF200 chip to allow users to run dual graphics cards at PCI-E x16/x16 mode and three graphics cards at x16/x8/x8 respectively.

icon2.jpg

Courtesy of ASRock

This $275 board brings with it a lot of features that users have been begging for like a graphical Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), Intel's Smart Response techology, dual gigabit LAN capabilities, and support for six USB 3.0 and six SATA 3 devices. They also didn't skimp on the power components by adding premium gold caps that are made in Japan and considered by many to be luxury capacitors. 

Read our entire review of the ASRock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 motherboard!

Podcast #180 - NVIDIA GTX560 Ti 448 Core, OCZ Octane 512GB SSD, Battlefield 3 Laptop performance and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 1, 2011 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, ocz, Octane, nvidia, Intel, battlefield 3, amd, 560ti 448

PC Perspective Podcast #180 - 12/01/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the NVIDIA GTX560 Ti 448 Core, OCZ Octane 512GB SSD, Battlefield 3 Laptop performance 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

Program length: 1:17:32

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:54 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. 0:01:23 Did you listen to our The Inside Perspective?  Send us your feedback?
  6. 0:02:35 Battlefield 3 Laptop Performance Review: Road Warrior?
  7. 0:04:00 Video Perspective: Antec P280 Case Review
  8. 0:09:30 OCZ Octane 512GB SSD Full Review - Indilinx Has Returned With Everest
  9. 0:20:40 Amazon Kindle Fire Review: Can $200 Buy a Great Tablet?
  10. 0:22:30 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Limited Edition Graphics Card Review
  11. 0:31:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  12. 0:32:45 Thermaltake Frio OCK Universal CPU Cooler Review
  13. 0:34:00 Seagate says hard drive industry will take a year to recover
  14. 0:42:20 Video Perspective: CyberPower Gamer Ultra 2098 System
  15. 0:44:00 Batman: Arkham City DX11 Stuttering Issue
  16. 0:46:00 TSMC finds its 28nm dance card a little overbooked
  17. 0:52:28 AMD Releasing Branded DDR3 Memory To Compliment Desktop Platforms
  18. 0:58:20 Gear Up with MSI: Win Intel Motherboards, GeForce Graphics Cards
  19. 1:01:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Skyrim?  Level 11!
    2. Jeremy: Let's here it for PC Gaming
    3. Josh: Arkham City for $25... last Friday on Origin.
    4. Allyn: A possible free 50GB cloud storage investment
  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:

Ivy Bridge Delayed Further Into 2012

Subject: Processors | December 1, 2011 - 08:50 AM |
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel, delayed, 22nm

Although Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge successor, Ivy Bridge, was slated for a January 2012 launch, the situation is now looking more bleak. According to these slides over at BSN, Intel is delaying Ivy Bridge until at least April. While the top end Core i7 3770 Ivy Bridge processor might be available as soon as Q2 2012, it is also the most expensive part, and usually not the one that the majority of enthusiasts are waiting for. Rather, the important processors to watch for are the mid range and overclocker-friendly Core i5 series which will be available in Q3 2012 at the earliest if the current road-map holds true. The i5 3550 part may come out in Q2 2012 along with the top end i7 CPU; however, the majority of i5 processors will be released as soon as Q3 2012.

Further, the budget Core i3 Ivy Bridge parts are in the same boat as the i5 processors, with at least one (possibly) becoming available along with the top end Core i7 part in Q2 2012 and the rest slowly trickling out over the remainder of the year. While it is generally the case that the top end processor(s) are released first, followed by the lower end and less expensive parts, the delay has pushed back a April release for some of the budget parts to a Summer release. Needless to say, it is less than ideal for those consumers eagerly waiting for certain chips to go on sale. Not to mention that for those adventurous few that were willing to pay top dollar for the top end i7 chip this January now have to wait even longer.

INTC_BusinessRoadmap_689.jpg

The delay is likely due to Intel wanting to get as much money as possible out of the Sandy Bridge platform, and the lackluster launch of AMD’s Bulldozer products. Intel is likely taking the extra time to refine the new chipsets and the PCIe 3.0 support (that is also not technically rated for PCIe 3.0 speeds, sort of (heh)). On the other hand, Bright Side Of News speculates that the delay may be in part due to various retirements throughout the company requiring more development time in addition to needing more time to flesh out the graphics drivers for the GPU portion of Ivy Bridge processors.

Were you hoping for an Ivy Bridge upgrade early next year? Because of the further delays, will you spring for a top end Sandy Bridge system or wait it out for Ivy Bridge despite the money burning a hole in your pocket? As someone that is still rocking a 1156 system, I was hoping to skip Sandy Bridge and go for Ivy Bridge (I seem to love near-end-to-life sockets); however, with the delays I’m not sure what I’ll be doing now.

Intel Processors Power The Majority of Top 500 Supercomputers, Looking to Expand With MIC Solutions

Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 25, 2011 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: xeon, SC11, mic, many integrated core, knights corner, Intel

This year saw the 40th anniversary of (the availability of) the world’s first microprocessor- the Intel 4004 processor- and Intel is as strong as ever. On the supercomputing and HPC (High Performance Computing) front, Intel processors are powering the majority of the Top 500 supercomputers, and at this years supercomputing conference (SC11) the company talked about their current and future high performance silicon. Mainly, Intel talked about its new Intel Xeon E5 family of processors and the new Many Integrated Cores Knights Corner Larrabee successor.

220px-Intel_xeon_e7.jpg

The Intel Xeon E5 is available now.

The new Xeon chips are launching now and should be widely available within the first half of 2012. Several (lucky) supercomputing centers have already gotten their hands on the new chips and are now powering 10 systems on the Top 500 list where the 20,000 Xeon E5 CPUs are delivering a combined 3.4 Petaflops.

According to benchmarks, Intel is expecting a respectable 70% performance increase on HPC workloads versus the previous generation Xeon 5600 CPUs. Further Intel stated that the new E5 silicon is capable of as much as a 2x increase in raw FLOPS performance, according to Linpack benchmarks.

Intel is reporting that demand for the initial production run chips is “approximately 20 times greater than previous generation processors.” Rajeeb Hazra, the General Manager of Technical Computing of Intel’s Datacenenter and Connected Systems Group, stated that “customer acceptance of the Intel Xeon E5 processor has exceeded our expectations and is driving the fastest debut on the TOP 500 list of any processor in Intel’s history.” The company further reiterated several supercomputers that are set to go online son and will be powered by the new E5 CPUs including the 10 Petaflops Stampede computer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the 1 Petaflops Pleiades expansion for NASA.

Intel Xeon Top 500.png

While Intel processors are powering the majority of the world’s fastest supercomputers, graphics card hardware and GPGPU software has started to make its way into quite a few supercomputers as powerful companion processors that can greatly outperform a similar number of traditional CPUs (assuming the software can take advantage of the GPU hardware of course). In response to this, Intel has been working on it’s own MIC (Many Integrated Core) solution for a few years now. Starting with Larrabee, then Knights Ferry, and now Knights Corner, Intel has been working on silicon that using numerous small processing cores that can use the X86 instruction set to power highly parallel applications. Examples given by Intel as useful applications for their Many Integrated Core hardware includes weather modeling, tomography, and protein folding.

Intel Many Integrated Core.png

Knights Corner is the company’s latest iteration of MIC hardware, and is the first hardware that is commercially available. Knights Corner is capable of delivering more than 1 Teraflops of double precision floating point performance. Hazra stated that “having this performance now in a single chip based on Intel MIC architecture is a milestone that will once again be etched into HPC history” much like Intel’s first Teraflop supercomputer that utilized 9,680 Pentium Pro CPUs in 1997.

What’s interesting about Knights Corner lies in the ability of the hardware to run existing applications without porting to alternative programing languages like Nvidia’s CUDA or AMD’s Stream GPU languages. That is not to say that the hardware itself is not interesting, however. Knights Corner will be produced using Intel’s Tri-Gate transistors on a 22nm manufacturing process, and will feature “more than 50 cores.” Unlike current GPGPU solutions, the Knights Corner hardware is fully accessible and can be programmed as if the card is it’s own HPC node running a Linux based operating system.

More information on the Knights Corner architecture can be found here. I think it will be interesting to see how well Knights Corner will be adopted for high performance workloads versus graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, especially now that the industry has already begun adapting GPGPU solutions using such programming technologies like CUDA, and graphics cards are becoming more general purpose (or at least less specialized) in hardware design. Is Intel too late for the (supercomputing market adoption) party, or just in time? What do you think?

Source: Intel