Podcast #156 - AMD FirePro V7900 and V5900, MSI R6970 Lightning, Intel i7-990x and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 26, 2011 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: R6970, podcast, nvidia, Intel, firepro, amd, 990x, 990fx

PC Perspective Podcast #156- 5/26/2011

This week we talk about the AMD FirePro V7900 and V5900, MSI R6970 Lightning, Intel i7-990x,Viewer questions 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!

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Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:02:44

Program Schedule:

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Maingear

Introduction and Design

maingear15-4.jpg

Viewed from a bird’s eye, gaming laptops seem to be a homogenous bunch. Although there are rare exceptions like the Alienware M11x, most are 15.6” or 17” models with quad-core processors and discrete mobile graphics, most frequently the Nvidia GTX 460M. The two gaming laptops we’ve most recently reviewed, the ASUS G53 and MSI GT680R, most certainly fit into this mold. 

Upon closer inspection, however, the market for gaming laptops begins to expand and multiply into a wide array of options. While the big players like ASUS, Toshiba and MSI are happy to offer their pre-configured models with roughly similar hardware, customized rigs are as numerous as stars in the sky. Everyone has heard of Alienware, of course, but you may not have heard of companies like Origin, Falcon Northwest, AVADirect, AFactor Gaming, Malibal, Digital Storm and Maingear, just to name a few (or if you have, you may have only heard of their desktops). 

Maingear’s eX-L15 is a stereotypical example of a custom gaming laptop. It’s big and it’s bulky, but its appearance is not much different from your average laptop. Inside, however, there is a buffet of high-end hardware.

Shrinking the Xeon with Westmere-EX

Subject: Processors | May 25, 2011 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: xeon, server, xeon x7, x7 4870, Intel

 AnandTech got their hands on four of the the brand new 32nm Intel Xeon X7 4870, 10 cores clocked to 2.4GHz; perhaps a delayed 'Tick" but a tick nonetheless.  Not only did they test the new chips they also had a chance to test it with Load Reduced DIMMs (LR-DIMM) as opposed to the old Fully Buffered style (FB-DIMMs) we were used to in days gone by.  That spells higher capacity which is good considering the testbed they used can support up to 2TB of RAM to keep the 4 CPUs fed.  This is a high end server part, not really competeing against AMD as a similar Opteron system would cost about 1/2 as much with performance reduced about the same as well.  Check out this beast, but keep in mind a single CPU will set you back more than you paid for your whole system.

anand_xeon4870.jpg

"Only one year later, Intel is upgrading the top Xeon by introducing Westmere-EX. Shrinking Intel's largest Xeon to 32nm allows it to be clocked slightly higher, get two extra cores, and add 6MB L3 cache. At the same time the chip is quite a bit smaller, which makes it cheaper to produce. Unfortunately, the customer does not really benefit from that fact, as the top Xeon became more expensive. Anyway, the Nehalem-EX was a popular chip, so it is no surprise that the improved version has persuaded 19 vendors to produce 60 different designs, ranging from two up to 256 sockets."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: AnandTech

Intel Extends 320 SSD Series' Warranty To 5 Years

Subject: Storage | May 20, 2011 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, 320

Intel is so confident in their new Intel 320 series solid state drives that they are extending the warranty from three to five years. The 320 series use 25 nm NAND flash memory, and have a claimed MTBF (mean time before failure) of 1.2 million hours.

Intel320ssd.jpg

According to the new warranty, Intel states that: "if the Product is properly used and installed, it will be free from defects in material and workmanship, and will substantially conform to Intel’s publicly available specifications for a period of five (5) years beginning on the date the Product was purchased." Naturally, it does not cover physical or other accidental damage. As SSDs are still relatively new technology, it is hard to gauge reliability in consumer systems over the long term, so it is nice to see that Intel is confident enough in it's 25nm flash technology to extend the warranty. Hopefully, this will influence other manufacturers to adopt longer warranties. You can read the full warranty details here.

Source: Intel

PC Perspective Podcast #155 - MSI GT680R Notebook, Corsair 650D chassis, VIA Nano Quad Core and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 19, 2011 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: pcper, podcast, msi, VIA, Nano, quad core, corsair, 650d, Intel

PC Perspective Podcast #155 - 5/19/2011

This week we talk about the MSI GT680R Notebook, Corsair 650D chassis, VIA Nano Quad Core 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 43:49

Program Schedule:

Source:
Author:
Manufacturer: Intel

The fast get faster

Introduction

With all the news and excitement about the Sandy Bridge architecture, platform and processors from Intel since their launch in January, it is easy to overlook the Nehalem architecture that continues to sell and be integrated into the fastest consumer PCs available. Remember Nehalem and its three digit model numbers? You really have to stretch that memory as it was before the CPU/GPU combo of Sandy Bridge and even before the Clarkdale / Lynnfield processors that began the move towards lower cost dual-channel memory based processors.

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It seems odd to think that today we are taking a step BACK in time to review the new Core i7-990X processor and a very nicely upgraded X58 motherboard from Intel in the form of the DX58SO2. The Core i7-990X is a Gulftown (6-core) processor that in many cases becomes the fastest consumer processor on the market and flagship CPU for Nehalem and the “Extreme Edition” suffix. Replacing the i7-980X, the 990X will fill that $999 processor segment for extreme enthusiasts and high end system builders.

Intel Talks Finances And Growth At Investor Meeting 2011

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2011 - 05:29 PM |
Tagged: revenue, Intel, cagr

Intel held its annual Investor Meeting today, where the chip maker talked software, the state of the business, as well as new hardware and leveraging microarcitecture leadership. This installment focuses on the business growth and financial aspects.

With 43,905 United States employees and a rank of 62 on the 2010 Fortune 500 list, Intel is a huge company.  And with an over $10 billion dollar Q1 2011, Intel is doing quite well.

During the investor meeting, Intel's CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Stacy Smith took the stage to talk about the company's financial performance and how the company is growing. One of the first points that he talked about was Intel's design and manufacturing advantages. Intel spends a great deal of it's capitol on R&D (research and development). and this investment in itself and the amount of research that is completed, allows the chip maker to maintain it's x86 market leadership. The company has also started acquiring other companies in an effort to differentiate itself from its competitors. For example, the recent McAfee acquisition has brought security and software engineers to Intel's portfolio, and will allow them to create security software solutions that can easily be paired with their hardware.

intelgrowing.png

Intel also stated that it is growing, and expects to sell even more hardware thanks to emerging markets and the rise in "cloud computing" requiring larger and more numerous data centers.  The chart above shows Intel's CAGR (compound annual growth rate), which is a number created by taking the nth root of the total percentage growth rate with "n" being the total number of years calculated.  It is a way for companies to describe the rate of investment growth if it grew at a steady rate (which is unlikely to happen in real life due to a dynamic and constantly changing market).  Including the company's projections for 2011, Intel is looking at a 12% CAGR for revenue and a 35% CAGR in EPS or earnings per share.

Paul S. Otellini, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Intel reaffirmed Intel's growth by stating that 74.5 quintillion transistors shipped in 2010.  This rapid rise in growth can be attributed to cloud computing demands for more data centers, emerging markets adopting more computers, and Intel's interest in the mobile market.

The historic part of the graph above shows the rise in traditional servers from 1995 to its highesd point in 2010 as the Internet becomes further adopted and more and more applications execute server side.  The right side of the graph; however, shows Intel's projections for the future from 2010 to 2015.  They expect to see a massive increase in processor growth for data center market thanks to an influx of new cloud computing applications and networked storage.  Intel also stated that the company's latest Xenon processors are no longer second to Itanium for mission critical applications, and thus Intel expects a rise in Core processors for mission critical servers.  In 2010 alone, the company had $8.4B in revenue and $4.4B of operating profit.  In 2013, Intel forecasts a 15% growth in revenue with operating margins at ~50% for the data center group.

From the PC Client Group, which encompasses both desktops and laptops, Intel had almost $7 million dollars for Q1 2011 revenue, which is at least $1 million more than Q1 2010.  Further, their reported Q1 revenue for 2011 is the highest that it has ever been between Q1 2008 and Q1 2010.  Their operating margins have also increased compared to 2008, with a 17% CAGR.  Intel also revisited the issue of high R&D budgets, and showed that the overall cost across platform segments have declined since 2008.  As research cost for new technologies increase, the cost to make wafers decreases.  Intel forecasts that for the Performance, Mainstream, and Atom platforms, the costs will continue to decrease into 2011 and 2012 while the Value platform will see a slight increase in 2011 and remain stable into 2012.

Emerging markets are also responsible for the company's growth.  Intel stated that "you will see a rapid increase in PC penetration rates in China, Latin America, and Eastern Europe."  Both Brazil and Eastern Europe are projected to reach 80% PC penetration in 2015, for example.  China is expected to attain a 40% penetration rate, while India will have 10%.  Intel stated that this is possible thanks to falling prices in computers along with rising incomes worldwide.  Once a country's incomes reach a level where 4 to 8 weeks is enough to purchase a PC, the penetration rate sees a rapid increase.  Currently, Intel has determined 4.2 WOI (weeks of income) are necessary to purchase a PC worldwide, which is much lower than the 9.9 weeks of income necessary the previous year.  In 2014, Intel projects that only 2.3 weeks of income will be necessary.  Inside the worldwide WOI spectrum, North America has the lowest WOI each year, followed by Japan and Western Europe.  India and China have historically had the highest WOI; however, Intel projects that by 2014, the countries will have greatly reduced their WOI at 10.3 and 2.6 respectively.

While data centers, emerging markets are responsible for the majority of Intel's projected growth, Intel also has both the embedded and software and services group.  On the embedded side, Intel is expecting a 11% CAGR between 2010 and 2013.  In 2010, the embedded group saw $1.5 billion dollars in revenue, and Intel projects almost $2 billion dollars in revenue in 2011.  Intel has stated that they are "making significant investments in SoC, tablet, and smart phone R&D" and that they "expect market segment share gains and growing businesses in tablets, smart phones (application and base band processors), and connected CE (consumer electronics) devices."

The Software and Services Group also accounts for a small portion of Intel's revenue.  The company's software acquisitions include McAfee, Wind River, and Havok among others.  The group is a rapidly growing part of Intel, with a projected $3 billion dollars of revenue in 2013 compared to $330 million dollars in revenue in 2010.  The group is an "upside opportunity as we embed additional security features into hardware and software," according to Intel.

Further, Intel showed a glimpse of it's NAND Solutions Group, and indicated that it forecasts a slightly increased operating profit for 2011 which coincides with Intel lowering the Cost/GB of NAND based devices (such as SSDs) compared to the industry leader.

As a company that diversifies it's products, leads the x86 markets, and invests heavily in itself with acquisitions and R&D, Intel is a profitable company that shows no signs of slowing it's growth.

Source: Intel

Intel Talks Software And Demos Local File Syncing, Standby, And Hibernate Tech At Investor Meeting 2011

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2011 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: sync, mobile, lan, Intel

Intel held its annual Investor Meeting today, where the chip maker talked software, the state of the business, as well as new hardware and leveraging microarcitecture leadership. This installment focuses on the software side of things.

softwareintel.PNG

 During the various keynotes that were held throughout the day for the Investor Meeting 2011, one ideal seemed to present itself in some form or another, and summarized the message Intel presented to the world.  The idea was that of a consistent user experience across every computing platform accomplished by leveraging Intel software applications with Intel hardware advancements to deliver a productive and easy to use computing experience whether it is on a cell phone or a dual CPU production workstation.  Intel is a market leader in micro-architecture and x86 processors, as well as in sold state drives and high performance computing.  Soon, thanks to advancements in transistor technology, Intel will also have a large presence in the mobile market with low power x86 SoCs.  Their dominance in desktop computing hardware, along with their good relations with many software developers allows the chip maker a great deal of influence in the technology industry.  On the software side of things, Intel has a team of engineers who work inside Microsoft's closely with their software engineers to ensure that the popular operating system delivers a solid experience for x86, and specifically Intel, powered computers.  Intel is also heavily invested in open source software and has helped in creating open source operating systems and applications.  In the mobile market, Intel is still a proponent and developer of MeeGo, for instance.

This influence and investment in both hardware and software research and development has made Intel a leader in the technology industry.  Intel plans to leverage this influence to deliver the most consistent user experience across all platforms, and the process has already begun.  Intel has several software technologies that are capable of harnessing their architecture technology to make computers easier to use and more productive.  They showed off three (new) pieces of such software during one of their keynotes, including PC Sync, and Fast Flash Standby which encompasses an active standby/sleep mode and fast recovery hibernation modes.

Intel quick sync in action.png

PC Sync is a program much akin to Dropbox in that it promises to keep all of the files that you select in sync between all of your different devices.  David Perlmutter and a co-worker showed PC Sync working live as they synced files between two computers.  The program differs from Dropbox; however, in the fact that it only works over your local network, and thus it is inherently more secure and faster than services that must first sync files to an Internet server before downloading to the target computer(s).

The other interesting software demonstrated was Intel's Fast Flash Standby technology.  This software improves upon the traditional sleep and hibernation modes in Microsoft Windows.  The standby mode will put the computer to sleep by saving the system state to RAM and entering a low power mode just like the standard Windows' affair; however, the software will also automatically wake up the system at periodic intervals to download updates such as email, tweets, and Facebook messages, and then will return the computer to its sleep state so that once the computer is woken, the system is already updated and ready to go.  Intel has also improved upon the hibernation sleep mode by utilizing flash memory to greatly reduce the time necessary to enter hibernation and resume from the sleep mode.  In the demo, the system state was saved to a fast flash drive, and not only did the computer quickly hibernate but it resumed from hibernation in 5 seconds.

Intel also talked about mobile software.  Android and MeeGo are both software platforms that Intel is interested in powering with its mobile processors.  The 7" tablet and concept smart phone they showed off were both running android.  Intel's Senior Vice President and General Manager for its Software & Services Group, Renée J. James stated that Intel is well positioned to create an application ecosystem when it enters the mobile market, and that developers have stated that they plan to develop for them.  Further, Renée stated that 90% of Android applications are a run-time and can easily be made to run on Intel's mobile devices.

Windows Logo.png

Intel also addressed the shareholders' concerns of how Windows 8 on ARM would affect Intel.  The Windows 8 SKU for ARM will be a ARM focused operating system, and will run ARM applications.  The SKU will be well suited for ARM powered mobile devices where mobile and cloud applications can be used.  On the other hand, there will also be a "full" Windows 8 with Windows 7 mode that will offer the full featured Windows experience, including backwards compatibility with legacy applications--which the ARM SKU will not offer.  Because of this full featured Windows 8 operating system version is tailored for x86, Intel believes that it will have the "best of both worlds" for the consumers in being able to have the full fledged OS and ability to use existing Windows applications made for x86.  Renée remained confident in Intel's continued position despite an OS version for ARM chips.

Further, Intel recognized its McAfee acquisition.  The president of McAfee then took the stage to explain that the company was committed to delivering security products across the Intel line.  He also stressed that with the ever increasing presence of malware on the Internet, the current method of security programs using "blacklisting" techniques was not sustainable.  The cloud, he surmised, was both a security concern as well as a resource for security programs, and that he expects to have software that is backed by large Internet databases cataloging malware definitions to be the standard in the coming years until a technique stronger than blacklisting becomes usable.

For a hardware company, Intel has also delved heavily into software by working with developers and acquiring software companies.  They recognize that it takes more than hardware to create a quality computing experience and only with the right balance of both hardware and software is a consistent user experience across all of their devices possible.

Source: Intel

Intel Talks Mobile Hardware And Shows Off 32nm Medfield Android Smart Phone At Investor Meeting 2011

Subject: Mobile | May 17, 2011 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: mobile, Medfield, Intel, Android

Intel held its annual Investor Meeting today, where the chip maker talked software, the state of the business, as well as new hardware and leveraging microarcitecture leadership.  This installment focuses on the mobile hardware aspects.

Partway through the Intel Investor Meeting 2011, David Perlmutter stepped on stage for his keynote speech.  As the Vice President and General Manager of the Intel Architecture Group, he delved into the advancements that Intel has made in smaller transistor manufacturing, and how those advancements will help Intel to break into the mobile and handheld computing market with low power and high performance SoCs (System on a Chip).  During the meeting, Intel stated that it has always been known for performance, but not necessarily for being low power.  With their recent advancements in moving to smaller manufacturing nodes; however, Intel has positioned itself to have power efficient processors that are low power and with power to deliver a fluid user experience in mobile devices.  David explains that power efficency follows along with Moore's Law in that as the transistors get smaller (and with Intel's advancements such as 3D transistors), the chips become much more power efficient.  With each successive shrink in manufacturing nodes, Intel has seen higher transistor switching speeds and lower current leakage compared to previous generations:

energy efficiency.png

What as these new power efficent chips amount to, is Intel's new ability to break into the mobile market and become extremely competitive with the ARM architecture(s).  David showed off two examples during the Investor Meeting 2011 in the form of an Android smart phone and 7" tablet powered by 32nm Medfield mobile chips.

Intel_Medfield.png

The Medfield powered Android smart phone.

IntelX86Tablet.png

An Intel powered Android tablet that will be available to developers soon.

The phone is a hyper threaded, 32nm Intel Medfield mobile processor that runs the Android 2.x operating system and is poised to compete with the current dual core ARM powered smart phones.  A dual core version of the mobile SoC is also planned in the future.  When questioned if the rumored quad core ARM smart phones would pose a problem for Intel's planned single and dual core phones, David responded that the number of cores is only one aspect of performance, and is a measurement "much like megahertz was in the '90s" and hinted not to count Intel's processors out even when competing against quad core ARM processors.

The tablet did not recieve as much attention as the concept phone; however, we do know that it is capable of running Android Honeycomb, is 7", and will be powered by a very similar 32nm Medfield chip.

projectedpower.png

Intel projects that by 2015, not only will they have passed 14nm manufacturing nodes (which are planned for 2014) but the SoCs will have 10 times the graphics and computational power as their chips released this year.

From the keynotes at this year's meeting, Intel is both enthusiastic and confident in their ability to finally dive into the mobile market in force and become a heavywieght competitior to ARM.  Their plans to bring the x86 instruction set and power sipping chips to the handset and netbook markets is a bold move, but if their projections hold true may result in a massive market share increase and further innovation in an even more competitive mobile market.

Source: Intel

Podcast #154 - Intel Z68 Chipset release, Intel SRT SSD caching technogy, OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3 and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 12, 2011 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: z68, ssd, srt, solid, smart response technology, smart response, podcast, ocz, Intel, agility

PC Perspective Podcast #154 - 5/12/2011

This week we talk about the Intel Z68 Chipset release, Intel SRT SSD caching technogy, the OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3, Viewer Questions 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:15:39

Program Schedule:

Source: