Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2011 - 08:34 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: transcoding, quick sync video, nvidia, Intel, badaboom
When we first met Elemental Technologies Badaboom video transcoding accelerator it would only work with NVIDIA CPUs. Ryan tested version 1.1 of the program, taking various movies and recorded TV and transcoding it into formats able to play on Blackberrys, iPhones, YouTube and a wide variety of other formats.
The testing showed nice improvements when utilizing an NVIDA GPU and the ability to use multiple GPUs, each able to do their own transcoding simultaneously would help anyone who needed a couple of Blu-ray movies transferred to their mobile device in a hurry. The quality of the transcoding was of high quality and Ryan did not see any of the issues that were present when using AMD's Avivo, as there is little point in quickly transcoding video if it ends up painful to watch.
We hadn't heard much else about Badaboom until today, when it was announce that version 2.0 will support Intel's new Quick Sync Video as well as NVIDIA's cards. We don't have any benchmarks to show you how effective Sandy Bridge parts will be at accelerating transcoding but you can see the long list of pre-processing filters and learn a bit about Intel's media SDK on this page at Intel.
"Intel Quick Sync Video, built right into 2nd generation Intel Core processors, is breakthrough hardware acceleration that lets the user complete in minutes what used to take hours. Create DVDs or Blu-ray discs, cover video files for your media plater, and convert video for upload to your favorite social networking sites - all in a flash.
Badaboom uses Intel Quick Sync Video technology to transcode video files in just minutes. Why do videos need to be transcoded? In order for a video to play back on a device such as a smartphone or a tablet, it needs to be formatted to correct specifications. With so many different devices out there, odds are low a video from a camcorder will automatically play on all of them. That's where Badaboom comes in: it transcodes video files to play on hundreds of the most popular devices available today-and it does so quickly and easily."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Rootkit Infection Requires Windows Reinstall @ Slashdot
- Firefox update policy: the enterprise is wrong, not Mozilla @ Ars Technica
- Ask Ars: Help! I need VoIP service for my virtual office!
- Intel to continue working on MeeGo, despite Nokia exit @ DigiTimes
- Hackers pierce network with jerry-rigged mouse @ The Register
- Canon Exilim EX-ZR100 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ZOTAC Factory Tour in Dongguan @ Bjorn3D
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | June 24, 2011 - 10:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, Ivy Bridge, Intel
Back when Sandy Bridge launched, Intel had some difficulty with Linux compatibility due to their support software not being available long enough ahead of launch for distribution developers to roll it in to their releases. As a result, users purchasing Sandy Bridge hardware would be in for a frolic in the third-party repositories unless they wished to wait four or five months for their distributions to release their next major version. This time Intel is pushing code out much earlier though questions still remain if they will fully make Ubuntu’s 11.10 release.
You mean there's Intel... inside me?
Intel came down hard on themselves for their Sandy Bridge support. Jesse Barnes, an open-source Linux developer at Intel, posted on the Phoronix Forums his thoughts on the Sandy Bridge Linux issue:
"No, this is our job, and we blew it for Sandy Bridge. We're supposed to do development well ahead of product release, and make sure distros include the necessary code to get things working … Fortunately we've learned from this and are giving ourselves more time and planning better for Sandy Bridge's successor, Ivy Bridge."
Now, six months later as support for Ivy Bridge is getting released and rolled into their necessary places, Intel appears to be more successful than last time. Much of the code that Intel needs to release for Ivy Bridge is already available and rolled in to the Linux 3.0 kernel. A few features missed the deadline and must be rolled in to Linux 3.1 kernel. While Phoronix believes that Fedora 16 will still be able to roll in support in time it is possible that Ubuntu 11.10 may not unless the back-port the changes to their distribution. That is obviously not something Intel would like to see happen given all their extra effort of recent.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 04:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel
Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.
The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"
Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy
The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.
You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.
Introduction and Design
Achieving smaller, thinner profiles is a long-standing goal of laptop manufacturers, but there’s been a particular obsession with ultra-thin laptops ever since Apple introduced the MacBook Air by taking it out of a manila envelope. Since then, tablets and smartphones have only increased the appeal of thin laptops. Consumers are becoming used to the idea of their electronics tightening their waistlines, and there’s no sign that this trend will stop.
The manufacturer response to this demand has been a lackluster. Laptops like the Dell Adamo came and went, but didn’t seem to put much dent in the market. That wasn’t terribly surprising, because making a laptop thin is expensive, and the Windows laptop brands generally struggle to bring in customers for products priced over $1000.
One of the most successful responses to the Air was arguably Lenovo’s ThinkPad X series. The X series had always been thin-and-light, but was never targeted towards the average consumer. Still, these laptops – particularly the X301, which had a display size similar to the MacBook Air – seemed reasonable competition. Then Lenovo pulled the plug on the X301, leaving a 13 inch thin-and-light shaped hole in the roster. Today’s we’re looking at the plug for that hole.
Continue on and read our full review of the Lenovo X1 notebook...
PC Perspective Podcast #159 - AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo and more!
Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 11:39 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x79, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, fusion, APU, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #159 - 6/23/2011
This week we talk about the AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo and more!
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
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 0:00:30 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:01:50 AMD A-Series Llano APU Sabine Notebook Platform Review
- 0:05:00 AMD Fusion System Architecture Overview - Southern Isle GPUs and Beyond
- 0:33:24 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:34:00 AFDS11: AMD Demonstrates Trinity Powered Notebook
- 0:35:45 AFDS11: ARM Talks Dark Silicon and Computing Bias at Fusion Summit
- 0:41:30 AFDS11: Microsoft Announces C++ AMP, Competitor to OpenCL
- 0:45:45 New Rumor Indicates X79 Chipset Will Support Both 1366 and 2011 Sockets
- 0:49:49 Microsoft is probably laughing as AMD speculates the unlikelihood of Intel buying NVIDIA
- 0:54:45 Larrabee rides again, almost ... meet Knights Corner the new Many Integrated Core design
- 0:58:35 What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters
- 1:05:20 Crysis 2: Cry Harder (with DX11 and High Res textures)
- 1:06:00 *Allyn Show and Tell*
- 1:12:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
- 1:13:17 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 1:25:45 Closing
Subject: Motherboards | June 22, 2011 - 11:51 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: h61, sandy bridge, Intel
Overshadowed by the release of the high end X68 boards was the release of the Intel H61 Express chipset, the polar opposite of the enthusiast board. The board is a full sized ATX instead of the mATX you might expect though you only get 4 + 1 phase power which does keep the production costs down. You are also limited to DDR3-1333 though SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 are available as well as a selection of audio and video out on the back panel and even a UEFI BIOS. Think Computers rather liked the budget ASRock H61iCafe Intel H61 motherboard; check it out for yourself.
"With Intel’s introduction of its second generation Core processors the main chipsets you have been hearing about and we have been covering are the P67, H67 and Z68. These chipsets are the mainstream and enthusiasts chipsets that give you everything you would ever want on a motherboard, but what if you are trying to save money? Or just build a simple machine? ASRock has you covered with the H61iCafe motherboard. This board is of course based on the Intel H61 Express Chipset. This board features USB 3.0 connectivity, Graphical UEFI BIOS, and support for Intel’s second generation processors. Let’s check it out!"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 @ Bjorn3D
- ASUS P8Z68-V Motherboard Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Intel Socket 1155 Roundup June 2011 (H67, P67 and Z68) @ HardwareHeaven
- GIGABYTE X58A-OC @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte A75-UD4H FM1 (AMD A75) Motherboard Preview @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD 990FX: Prepping for Bulldozer @ Hardware Secrets
- ASUS M5A99X EVO @ Tweaktown
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 11:36 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: VIA, sysmark, nvidia, Intel, benchmark, bapco, amd
It seems that all the tech community is talking about today is BAPCo and its benchmarking suite called Sysmark. A new version, 2012, was released just recently and yesterday we found out that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA have all dropped their support of the "Business Applications Performance Corporation". Obviously those companies have a beef with the benchmark as it is, yet somehow one company stands behind the test: Intel.
Everyone you know of is posting about it. My twitter feed "asplode" with comments like this:
AMD quits BAPCo, says SYSmark is nutso. Nvidia and VIA, they say, also. http://bit.ly/kHvKux
AMD: Voting For Openness: In order to get a better understanding of AMD's press release earlier concerning BAPCO... http://bit.ly/kNtKkj
Ooh, BapCo drama.
Even PC Perspective posted on this drama yesterday afternoon saying: "The disputes centered mostly over the release of SYSmark 2012. For years various members have been complaining about various aspects of the product which they allege Intel strikes down and ignores while designing each version. One major complaint is the lack of reporting on the computer’s GPU performance which is quickly becoming beyond relevant to an actual system’s overall performance. With NVIDIA, AMD, and VIA gone from the consortium, Intel is pretty much left alone in the company: now officially."
Obviously while cutting the grass this morning this is the topic swirling through my head; so thanks for that everyone. My question is this: does it really matter and how is this any different than it has been for YEARS? The cynical side of me says that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA all dropped out because each company's particular products aren't stacking up as well as Intel's when it comes to the total resulting score. Intel makes the world's fastest CPUs, I don't think anyone with a brain will dispute that, and as such on benchmarks that test the CPU, they are going to have the edge.
We recently reviewed the AMD Llano-based Sabine platform and in CPU-centric tests like SiSoft Sandra, TrueCrypt and 7zip the AMD APU is noticeably slower. But AMD isn't sending out press releases and posting blogs about how these benchmarks don't show the true performance of a system as the end user will see. And Intel isn't pondering why we used games like Far Cry 2 and Just Cause 2 to show the AMD APU dominating there. Why? Because these tests are part of a suite of benchmarks we use to show the overall performance of a system. They are tools which competent reviewers wield in order to explain to readers why certain hardware acts in a certain way in certain circumstances.
Continue reading for more on this topic...
Subject: Systems | June 21, 2011 - 12:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: supercomputing, mic, larrabee, knights corner, Intel
Silicon Graphics International and Intel recently announced plans to reach exascale levels of computational power within ten years. Exascale computing amounts to computers that are capable of delivering 1,000+ petaflops (One exaflop is 1000 petaflops) of computational horsepower to process quintillions of calculations. To put that in perspective, today’s supercomputers are just now breaking into the level of single-digit petaflop performance, with the fastest supercomputer delivering 8.16 petaflops. It is capable of this thanks to many thousands of eight core CPUs, whereas other top 500 supercomputers are starting to utilize a CPU and GPU combination in order to achieve petaflop performance.
The Aubrey Isle Silicon Inside Knights Corner
This partnering of Central Processing Unit (CPU) and GPU (or other accelerator) allows high performance supercomputers to achieve much higher performance than with CPUs alone. Intel CPUs power close to 80% of the top 500 Supercomputers; however, they have begun to realize that specialized accelerators are able to speed up highly parallel computing tasks. Specifically, Intel plans to combine Xeon processors with successors to their Knights Corner Many Integrated Core accelerator to reach exascale performance levels when combined with other data transfer and inter-core communication advancements. Knights Corner is an upcoming successor to the Knights Ferry and Larrabee processors.
Computer World quotes Eng Lim Goh, the CTO of SGI, in stating that “Accelerators such as graphics processors (GPUs) are currently being used with CPUs to execute more calculations per second. While some accelerators achieve desired results, many are not satisfied with the performance related to the time and cost spent porting applications to work with accelerators.”
Knights corner will be able to run x86 based software and features 50 cores based on a 22nm manufacturing process. Each core will run four threads at 1.2 GHz, have 8 MB of cache, and will be supported by 512 bit vector processing units. It’s predecessor, Knights Ferry is based on 32 45nm cores and eight contained in a Xeon server and are capable of 7.4 teraflops. Their MIC chip is aimed directly at NVIDIA’s CUDA and AMD’s OpenCL graphics processors, and is claimed to offer performance in addition to ease of use as they are capable of running traditional x86 based software.
It looks like the CPU-only supercomputers will be seeing more competition from GPU and MIC accelerated supercomputers, and will eventually be replaced at the exascale level. AMD and NVIDIA are betting heavily on their OpenCL and CUDA programmable graphics cards while Intel is going with a chip capable of running less specialized but widely used x86 programmable chips. It remains to be seen which platform will be victorious; however, the increased competition should hasten the advancement of high performance computing power. You can read more about Intel’s plan for Many Integrated Core accelerated supercomputing here.
Subject: Processors | June 20, 2011 - 09:51 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ulv, sandy bridge, Intel, cpu, celeron
According to Maximum PC, Intel recently revamped its official price list by adding four new ULV (ultra-low-voltage chips generally found in ultraportable notebooks) processors. The new additions feature three Sandy Bridge based chips and one Intel Celeron processor. The three new Sandy Bridge ULV CPUs include the dual core hyperthreaded Core i5 2557M with 3 MB cache running at 1.7 GHz, Core i7 2637M with 4 MB cache running at 1.7GHz, and the Core i7 2677M at 1.8 GHz with 4 MB cache. Utilizing Turbo Boost, the chips are able to reach 2.7 GHz, 2.8 GHz, and 2.9 GHz respectively. Further, the new Celeron ULV is the dual core Celeron 847 processor with 2 MB cache running at 1.1 GHZ.
The Core i5 2557M carries a pricetag of $250, while the Core i7 2637M goes for $289, and the Core i7 2677M has an MSRP of $317. You can see the entire price list here. The new Sandy Bridge based ULV processors are able to Turbo Boost from between 1.0 and 1.1 GHz depending on model, which should provide plenty of power for mobile devices while sipping battery power with a TDP (themal design power) of only 17 watts.
Subject: Storage | June 20, 2011 - 09:25 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, srt, Intel, kingston, cache
It is a common question with the release of the Z68 series of boards, as people wonder if they really need to shell out the money for an Intel SSD in order to take advantage of Intel Smart Response Technology, which lets you use an SSD of 60GB or less as a cache drive. Techgage took it upon themselves to investigate and compared the performance improvements to a HDD when using an Intel 20GB 311 SATA II SSD and a Kingston 64GB SDnow 100V+ SATA II SSD. As happens all to often lately the answer is not clear cut; the best cache drive depends heavily on the file sizes you commonly deal with.
"When we tested out Intel's 'Smart Response Technology' last month, we liked what we saw. But at $110 for a 20GB SLC SSD, we wondered if a larger, more cost-effective option could still make the best use of the technology. With that, we're pitting Kingston's SSDNow V+100 64GB drive, at $150, against Intel's, to see if we retain SRT's effectiveness."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vertex 3 240GB Max IOPS Edition SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Intel SSD 320 Series Solid State Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
- OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 240GB PCIe SSD Quick Look: This Is Going To Be Fast! @ SSD Review
- OCZ Agility 3 240 GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Patriot Supersonic 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- RAIDON GT5630-SB3 USB 3.0 4 Bay Desktop Data Backup Storage Solution @ Real World Labs
- RaidSonic Icy Box IB-NAS6220 HDD Network Mediaserver Review @ Real World Labs
- ASUS BC-12B1ST Internal 12X BD-Combo Drive Review @Hi Tech Legion
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