Subject: Processors | August 17, 2011 - 02:13 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel, sandy bridge, cpu
Intel plans to refresh its entry level and mid-range Sandy Bridge desktop processor lineup with seven new models and accompanying price drops. The new models include the Pentium G630, G630T, and G860 on the low end, and the Core i5 2320 on the high end. Making up the middle ground are the Core i3 2120T, i3 2125, and i3 2130 processors.
CPU-World reports that September and October will both see price reductions in certain Sandy Bridge processor SKUs. September will see price reductions in all mid and low power Core i5 and i7 processors. Specifically, the Core i5 processors will be reduced by as much as $11, while the Core i7-2600S will see a price cut of $12. October will bring price cuts for the low end Pentium and Core i3 processors. The Pentium CPUs will see a price cut of $11 and the Core i3 2120 will be cut by $21.
CPU World has a detailed chart of the individual chip prices which you can check out here. Will these price reductions be enough to entice you to buy into Sandy Bridge, or are you holding off upgrading until Ivy Bridge?
Subject: General Tech | August 16, 2011 - 12:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel
There has been a bit of talk on the PC Perspective front page about Intel's new Ultrabook form factor and if it can profit Intel to release in a market that already has Apple firmly embedded in the minds of consumers as the "thin" guys. First were the complaints from manufacturers that the bill of costs for an ultrabook was in the neighbourhood of $1000, which would put the price of sale above the competitions. Intel then responded with a claim that the 11" and 13" ultrabooks with a thickness of 18mm will be between $493 to $710 to manufacture and the larger 14" to 17: inches, 21mm thick models will run between $475 and $650.
That price disparity seemed a little odd, as there was no explanation from Intel about where the manufacturers got their maths wrong nor an announcement of price drops from Intel to make up the difference. What we did see was a promise by Intel to provide $300 million in funding to those who develop technologies to further the ultrabook form factor, which might help offset some of the costs of manufacturing but certainly not enough to reduce the bill of sales by a third or more.
Now the waters are even further muddied as we hear today from Digitimes that Intel is refusing a request by manufacturers to cut the price of the CPU models which will be found in ultrabooks by half. Instead Intel is willing to drop the price by 20%, along with some marketing subsidies which will help once the product makes it to market but which will not lower the cost of the bill of materials at all. That is not going to help make the ultrabook a good investment for the first-tier manufacturers to develop. Add to that concern the fact that Intel's coming ultraportable Oak Trail platform, with paired Atom Z670 CPUs costs almost four times as much to produce as a Tegra 2 machine, even the discount that Intel refused is not going to make them attractive to sell.
"Intel's Oak Trail platform, paired Atom Z670 CPU (US$75) with SM35 chipsets (US$20) for tablet PC machine, is priced at US$95, already accounting for about 40% of the total cost of a tablet PC, even with a 70-80% discount, the platform is still far less attractive than Nvidia's Tegra 2 at around US$20. Although players such as Asustek Computer and Acer have launched models with the platform for the enterprise market, their machines' high price still significantly limit their sales, the sources noted.
As for Ultrabook CPUs, Intel is only willing to provide marketing subsides and 20% discount to the first-tier players, reducing the Core i7-2677 to US$317, Core i7-2637 to US$289 and Core i5-2557 to US$250.
As for Intel's insistence, the sources believe that Intel is concerned that once it agrees to reduce the price, the company may have difficulties to maintain gross margins in the 60% range and even after passing the crisis, the company may have difficulty in maintaining its pricing. Even with Intel able to maintain a high gross margin through its server platform, expecting Intel to drop CPU prices may be difficult to achieve, the sources added."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hard Truths About HTML5 @ Slashdot
- Heathkit Getting Back In The Kit Business @ Make:Blog
- Shuttered SETI reboots ET pursuit @ The Register
- Two Years With Linux BFS @ Phoronix
We reported a few weeks ago that Intel was able to reproduce the 8MB firmware bug in it's lab and was working on a fix. Officially called the Bad Context 13x Error, the 8MB bug is a rather serious firmware issue that a small percentage of users ran into when their drives unexpectedly lost power due to improper shutdown procedures or power outage at an especially wrong time. Once the drives were powered on again, they reported a capacity of 8MB to its users, who were able to restore the drive using secure erase but not the data.
Fortunately, a fix is on its way very soon, as Computer World quoted Intel in stating "the new firmware update is in final validation testing and is targeted for release on Intel Communities within the next two weeks."
Further, users will be able to apply the firmware fix without needing to secure erase the drive; however, none of the lost data can be recovered. As with any drive, SSD or otherwise, be sure to perform regular backups to mitigate the amount of data one can lose in drive failure. Intel is also recommending that users ensure they shut down their computers properly and to avoid unplugging the SSD from a powered on machine.
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on the Bad Context 13x Error as it develops. Until then, rest assured that a fix is on the way soon.
Subject: Processors | August 15, 2011 - 10:45 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandy bridge-e, Intel, hsf, cooling
We reported a few days ago that AMD is considering bunding a sealed loop water cooling solution with it's high end FX processors. In an interesting development, VR-Zone today stated that Intel will not be including any cooler at all with it's Sandy Bridge-E parts.
Specifically, Intel will not be bundling any processor cooler with its Core i7 Sandy Bridge-E 3820, 3930, or 3960X CPUs. These processors are rated at a 130 watt TDP; however, VR-Zone reports that the processors may in fact be drawing as much as 180 watts at stock speeds. This massive jump in power compared to previous models, if true, would make Intel's move to not include a cooler a good thing, as enthusiasts will almost certainly want a quality third part air cooler at least, and a proper water loop if any overclocking is involved. Enthusiasts especially have always opted to use an aftermarket cooler instead of the included Intel one as they have been notoriously noisy and mediocre in the performance department. While they are decent for stock speeds, overclockers have always demanded more than the Intel coolers could provide.
The situation is made all the more interested when paired against AMD's announcement; Intel has opted to not include any heatsink at all while AMD has opted to ratchet up the cooling performance with a sealed water loop. Personally, I find the two companies' reactions- because they are almost direct opposite solutions- very intersting and telling about the company mindset. Which solution do you like more, would you like the chip makers to ratchet up their stock cooling performance, or do you prefer the hands-off approach where they allow you to grab the cooler of your choice by not bundling anything in the processor box? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Tim Verry. Used With Permission.
Subject: Processors | August 12, 2011 - 01:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandybridge, pentium, G850, Intel
Intel has updated the Pentium processor for the SandyBridge era with the 32nm G620, G840 and G850, all of which cost under $100. All are rated at 65W TDP with 3MB of level 3 cache, an integrated DDR3 memory controller, PCI Express 2.0 interface, Direct Media Interface 2.0, and Intel HD Graphics 2000. Legit Reviews tested the 2.9GHz G850 model and found no surprises, neither good nor bad. The Pentium line remains the workhorse model, perfect for office usage, web browsing and even watching movies. Those who make movies or want to do more than basic gaming are better off looking at an older LGA1156 processor or even a slightly more expensive Intel or AMD chip. If you've a relative that only needs a PC for light duty tasks, consider a system built around one of these new SandyBridge Pentiums.
"After trying out both the Intel Pentium G620 and Pentium G850 we must admit that we are still impressed by what these cost effective mainstream processors can do. Thanks to the powerful Intel 'Sandy Bridge' microarchitecture these dual-core processors don't run too far behind the more expensive offerings from Intel and AMD. You can find some pretty good deals on LGA775 and LGA1156 platforms right now, but the Intel Pentium series for LGA1155 has more features and as you could see in the performance tests they weren't that far behind in the benchmarks..."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- All Core i3 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel Sandybridge 2500k @ XSreviews
- Intel Pentium G620 Sandy Bridge 2.6GHz CPU Review @ Legit Reviews
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- AMD A6-3650 Llano APU Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD A6-3650 APU/Processor Review @ TechwareLabs
- AMD Fusion A8-3850 APU "Llano" On Linux @ Phoronix
Last week we were in Dallas, Texas covering Quakecon 2011 as well as hosting our very own PC Perspective Hardware Workshop. While we had over 1100 attendees at the event and had a blast judging the case mod contest, one of the highlights of the event is always getting to sit down with John Carmack and pick his brain about topics of interest. We got about 30 minutes of John's time over the weekend and pestered him with questions about the GPU hardware race, how Intel's intergrated graphics (and AMD Fusion) fit in the future of PCs, the continuing debate about ray tracing, rasterization, voxels and infinite detail engines, key technologies for PC gamers like multi-display engines and a lot more!
One of our most read articles of all time was our previous interview with Carmack that focused a lot more on the ray tracing and rasterization debate. If you never read that, much of it is still very relevant today and is worth reading over.
This year though John has come full circle on several things including ray tracing, GPGPU workloads and even the advantages that console hardware has over PC gaming hardware.
Subject: General Tech | August 11, 2011 - 02:27 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, pcper, nvidia, msi, Intel, GTX580, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #165 - 8/11/2011
This week we talk about QuakeCon 2011, MSI's GTX580 Lightning, Intel 710 SSDs, Ultrabooks 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
- 0:00:27 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:02:02 Quakecon 2011 and our Workshop - Postmortem
- 0:18:05 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:18:54 MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition Review: What a GTX 580 Should Be
- 0:30:18 Antec High Current Gamer HCG-750 PSU Review
- 0:31:30 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review - The Best Android Tablet?
- 0:32:16 Just Delivered Exclusive: PNY XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580 Combo
- 0:36:40 Let us do some math, shall we? The cost of consoles
- 0:41:46 Intel 710 SSD Prices Leaked
- 0:47:40 ExpressCard trying to pull a (not so) fast one?
- 0:55:30 NVIDIA Outlines Multi-GPU and Cloud Graphics With Project Maximus and Virtual Graphics Technologies
- 1:06:50 Will Intel's Ultrabook form factor come with an integral Achilles Heel?
- 1:09:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 1:23:50 Closing
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 10, 2011 - 10:23 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel
Intel has this little platform that they are attempting to push against the world known as the Ultrabook, a category of ultra-thin and light laptops that range 11-inch to 17-inch screens with high performance and high price. The actual cost of an Ultrabook is somewhat hotly debated between Intel and others. On the Intel side of the fence, the claim for the cost of parts in an Ultrabook range between $475 and $710; this bill of materials comes days after manufacturers discussed component costs around the $1000 mark. To further push the Ultrabook platform, Intel just released a statement announcing a $300 million fund to invest in technologies that further the Ultrabook platform.
Is Intel getting themselves into a jackpot?
Intel described their intents with the fund in this snippet from their press release:
Ultrabooks will deliver a highly responsive and secure experience in a thin, light and elegant design and at mainstream prices. To help realize that vision, the Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund aims to invest in companies building hardware and software technologies focused on enhancing how people interact with Ultrabooks such as through sensors and touch, achieving all day usage through longer battery life, enabling innovative physical designs and improved storage capacity. The overall goal of the fund, which will be invested over the next 3-4 years, is to create a cycle of innovation and system capabilities for this new and growing category of mobile devices.
It looks as though Intel is putting their money where their mouth is. While $300 million is not exactly huge in the scale of Intel revenue it is a substantial sum and equal (less inflation) to what they used to back Centrino over eight years ago. While their last investment went to subsidizing wireless access points, marketing, and similar programs this investment should be mostly focused on the technology itself -- both hardware and software -- with battery, input, and interface specifically mentioned. Part of me muses about Meego in terms of the Ultrabook platform potentially even as a supplement to Windows. We shall see what Intel has in store for the platform that could, and bludgeoned forward with heaps of raw cash when it could not.
Subject: Storage | August 9, 2011 - 09:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, mlc, Intel, hitachi, enterprise
Hitachi recently released a new enterprise class SSD based on Intel's 25nm MLC flash. Dubbed the Hitachi SSD400M, the new solid state drive is aimed at Enterprise users and Cloud data centers. It comes in the standard 2.5" form factor, features a SAS 6Gb/s interface, and will be available in 200GB and 400GB capacities.
As an enterprise drive, the Hitachi SSD400M supports end to end data protection, error correction, error handling and self encryption on certain models compliant with the Trusted Computing Group’s Enterprise A Security Subsystem Class encryption specification. Further showing it's intended usage as an Enterprise drive, the 25nm MLC based drive is rated for 7.3 Petabyte lifetime write, which Hitachi says amounts to 10 full drive writes per day for five years. Coincidentally, the warranty of the drive is a five year limited warranty or until the drive exceeds the maximum rated number of petabyte writes per capacity. Hitachi states that they expect a .44 annual failure rate and have projected a 2 million hour MTBF.
Performance of the drive is much better than that of the previously reported Intel drive, as it delivers 495MB/s sequential reads and 385MB/s sequential writes. The SSD is further rated at 56,000 read IOPS and 24,000 write IOPS.
The SSD400M has already shipped to various OEMs and will be available soon. More information on the new SSD can be found here.
According to VR-Zone, Intel's newest enterprise series 710 Lyndonville solid state drives (SSD) will be launching soon in a mid-august time frame, and will be carrying a price-per-gigabyte metric that only a corporate expense account could love.
The Intel 311. The 710 series will have the same 2.5" form factor.
The new drives will come in 100GB, 200GB, and 300GB capacities and will be priced at approximately $650, $1250, and $1900 USD respectively. Featuring 25mm eMLC HET, the drives feature 64MB of cache, user-controllable over-provisioning up to 20% (which helps drive longevity by reserving more of the drive for replacement of worn out cells), and a SATA II 3.0Gbps connection. The SATA 3Gbps connection is not likely to bottleneck the drive as it will only feature 270MB/s read and 210MB/s write speeds.
The eMLC HET flash chips are higher quality MLC chips that Intel hopes will provide enterprise level SLC enduring without the higher cost of the SLC chips. Interestingly, the drives only carry a 3 year warranty that is then further impacted by the state of the E9 wear level indicator so that the warranty expires once the three years are up or the E9 indicator reaches 1, whichever comes first. The consumer grade Intel 320 drives on the other hand carry a longer 5 year warranty.
My aging X-25 drive remembers the days when Intel pushed for driving down the cost of SSDs; however, does Intel still remember that goal?