Mobile DDR4 arrives from Samsung

January 3, 2014 - 11:56 AM |
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Samsung just release the first DIMMs fully compliant with the new DDR4 standard.  The 8Gb LPDDR4 sports 1GB dies and is reported to handle up to 4,266 million transfers per second which if true doubles DDR3's theoretical maximum.  Not only are these DIMMs faster they are also designed to use much lower voltages than the previous generation of LPDDR, a boon to battery life on mobile devices and possibly a hint at possible overclocking potential when they arrive on the desktop.  There isn't a huge amount of info on these new chips but you can keep your eye out for updates here and at The Inquirer.

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"DDR4 is said to offer twice the speed of DDR3, but because it works at lower voltages DDR4 can significantly reduce the power consumption of devices. This is significant because it can lead to increased battery life, which remains the holy grail of handheld equipment designers."

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Source: The Inquirer

Qualcomm tries to play matchmaker between Samsung Electronics and Globalfoundries

November 18, 2013 - 09:44 AM |
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Qualcomm is looking to diversify their supply chain and move away from dependence on TSMC and their 28nm node.  They have some qualifications for their suitor to meet and being one of the larger customers means that they just might get it.  Their requirement is for the rumoured Samsung and GLOBALFOUNDRIES partnership to become stable and for Samsung to use GF as a sub-contractor to make chips for Apple.  If you believe all the hints we are getting the partnership could grow and it would give Qualcomm a supplier who is financially stable and still has enough free resources to fab Qualcomm's chips in the desired volume.  This is the news out of DigiTimes this morning.

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"Qualcomm reportedly hopes Samsung Electronics and Globalfoundries can form an alliance, as the fabless IC vendor seeks to reduce its reliance on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for its advanced chips, according to industry sources."

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Source: DigiTimes

IFA 2013: Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 3 Smartphone

September 9, 2013 - 01:35 AM |
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Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 3 at IFA this month with updated hardware and software. The Galaxy Note 3 measures 151.2mm x 79.2mm x 8.3mm and weighs just under 0.37 pounds (168 grams). The smartphone will be available for purchase on September 25 in three colors: jet black, classic white, or blush pink.

The Galaxy Note 3 features a large 5.7” Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The smartphone features thin bezels on the left and right of the display, and a single button below the display. A Samsung logo, speaker, and 2MP webcam sit above the touchscreen. The back of the Note 3 has “delicate stitching” that has a soft textured leather-like finish. A Samsung logo and 13MP camera with Backside illuminated sensor, auto focus, smart stabilization technology, and LED flash sit on the top half of the back cover. Of course, the Galaxy Note 3 comes equipped with Samsung's S-Pen digitizer.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3.png

Samsung is powering the Note 3 with either a 2.3GHz quad core or Octa core SoC depending on the market. The 8-core chip uses ARM's big.LITTLE architecture and pairs a 1.9GHz quad core and a 1.3GHz quad core. Samsung did not specify the exact chips, but they are likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and Exynos 5 Octa. The smartphone will come with LTE or 3G cellular radios, depending on market (and this is where the CPUs differ, with the LTE version getting the 2.3GHz quad core SoC).

Other specifications include 3GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Beyond the cellular radio, the Galaxy Note 3 supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and GPS/GLONASS radios. Samsung has packed the smartphone with sensors, including gesture, accelerometer, geo-magnetic, gyroscope, RGB, proximity, barometer, temperature, humidity, and Hall effect.

The standard battery is a 3,200 mAh Lithium Ion battery pack.

Samsung is using Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for the Galaxy Note 3's base operating system. On top of the Android base, Samsung has added a slew of its own software including various applications and interface tweaks that work with the S-Pen. Users can use handwriting to search for content, annotate screenshots, write notes, and issue commands to the smartphone. There is a hover and action menu tied to the use of the S-Pen, as well.

The Galaxy Note 3 smartphone in three colors and colorful windowed flip covers will be available on September 25th. Pricing has not yet been announced. More information can be found on this Samsung web page.

Source: Samsung

Podcast #265 - XSPC GTX 680 Waterblock, ASUS's DirectCU II Refresh, V-NAND SSDs and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2013 - 11:54 AM |
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PC Perspective Podcast #265 - 08/22/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the XSPC GTX 680 Waterblock, ASUS's DirectCU II Refresh, V-NAND SSDs 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
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:17:41

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: Logitech Z506 5.1 Surround Speaker System 75W on sale for Canucks or not quite as good for 'muricans
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

*Due to upload issues on YouTube's side today, the video may take substantially longer than usual to be available

Higher than High Definition ... we need a better name for 2560 x 1440

Subject: Displays | August 22, 2013 - 11:40 AM |
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Hardware.info had a chance to review 14 different 2560x1440 displays of which all but three they could find for sale; prices ranged from $500 to $950.  That price range is interesting as all of the displays reviewed were 27" models, so the disparity is not caused by larger screens.  Gamers may want to head straight to their findings on Response Time and Input Lag but you should spend the time to read the whole round up if you are more interested in the colour accuracy.

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"Most IT product categories tend to evolve rapidly, but developments in computer monitors have been decidedly slower. Although larger screens are slowly becoming more affordable, the most common resolution remains 1920x1080 pixels. Nonetheless, this year we're seeing more and more manufacturers release WQHD monitors. Hardware.Info collected 14 different models of these very impressive monitors and tested them to find out which is the best one to get."

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Samsung Open Sources exFAT File System

August 20, 2013 - 06:41 PM |
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But Linux distributions still cannot officially use it... sort of?

Samsung added support for exFAT on Linux, in kernel, with one of their tablets. At some point code was leaked on GitHub. At some other point the Software Freedom Conservancy determined certain GPL-dependent modifications were published in binary form alone. Eventually Samsung properly released their source code under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

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I am still unclear about how Samsung was allowed to do so, however. Copyright was never the main concern with exFAT but rather the patents Microsoft holds over the file system. The GPL mandates that code it covers must come with a non-exclusive worldwide and royalty-free license for applicable patents except under certain conditions. I would be curious how this license was accomplished unless Microsoft granted Samsung a patent license prior to March 28, 2007 (or some loophole like that).

I understand how people might be sympathetic to Microsoft and others asserting software patents because they are a for-profit business but that does not apply everywhere. You need to be careful when you apply a license to something as upstream as a file system or a kernel as everything downstream relies upon your decision.

Just imagine if you were separated from the contents of your SDXC card because, somehow, this patent found its way into the portfolio of a troll firm?

Current implementations of the file system are in user space until Samsung's in-kernel module. The Software Freedom Conservancy praised Samsung -- not only for their source code contribution -- but also for how open and public their response was.

Source: Phoronix

Samsung Launches First V-NAND SSD For Enterprise Market

August 14, 2013 - 07:11 AM |
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Last week, Samsung announced that it had started producing a new stackable NAND flash memory called V-NAND, or vertical NAND. The new 3D V-NAND would initially be available in 128Gb (Gigabit) chips, but could eventually scale into as much as 1 Tb (Terabit) per chip by stacking additional dies vertically. Doing so allows Samsung some flexibility in scaling to higher capacities without going to increasingly expensive and difficult to manufacturer smaller manufacturing processes, which has been the traditional method of attaining denser flash.

The company has now announced the V-NAND SSD, which is its first Solid State Drive to use the Vertical NAND technology. Aimed at the enterprise server market, the V-NAND SSD will come in 480GB and 960GB capacities. The 2.5” form factor drives are 7mm thick and come equipped with a SATA III 6Gbps controller. On the high end, the 960GB model uses 64 MLC 3D V-NAND 128Gb dies for a total physical capacity of 1TB. However, user-accessible capacity will be only 960GB. Unfortunately, Samsung did not reveal how many physical chips the drives use, so its hard to say how those 64 128Gb dies are distributed (4 high in 16 chips or 8 high in 8 chips, etc).

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The 960GB Samsung V-NAND SSD spotted by Engadget.

Samsung claims that the V-NAND SSD offers up to 20% increased performance and a 40% reduction in power consumption versus previous SSDs. Further, the 3D NAND using Samsung’s Charge Trap Flash technology is rated at 35K program erase cycles. Samsung rates the V-NAND memory itself as being twice as fast in writes and between two and ten times as reliable versus traditional 19nm floating gate NAND (the alternative to CTF NAND).

Samsung's 128Gb V-NAND die.

Samsung stated in a press release that it started production of the V-NAND SSD earlier this month. While it is introducing V-NAND into enterprise drives first, the technology will eventually trickle down into consumer drives. I’m interested to see this drive benchmarked for performance and write endurance to see if the 3D flash lives up to its potential.

Source: Engadget

I see your 4K TV and raise you a curved 55" OLED screen

August 13, 2013 - 10:01 AM |
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Tomorrow for a cool $9000, which is cheaper than predicted, you can get your hands on the Samsung KN55S9C.  That is a 55" OLED TV which is curved to offer you a more natural viewing experience, or for anyone who can dream a way to have multiple displays curve around you instead of placing flat panels at a slight angle.  They do not state a resolution nor really any details apart from the price and size, hopefully tomorrow someone will have gotten their hands on one to get the proper specifications.  Check out Gizmodo for a brief explanation on how two people can simultaneously watch two different shows with certain 3D glasses.

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"The new display comes with Samsung's famed Multi-View feature, which means two people watch two different programs at once, thanks to the included active 3D glasses. And even though it seemed like we might never see the day, you can actually pick one up for your very own at select retailers for a cool 9K."

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Source: Gizmodo

Samsung Mass Producing Vertical NAND With Higher Performance and Reliability

August 5, 2013 - 10:56 PM |
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Today, Samsung announced that it has begun mass production of a new kind of 3D NAND flash memory that offers up higher reliability and write performance versus traditional 2d “planar” technologies. The so-called VNAND (Vertical NAND) is currently being used in 128Gb (Gigabit) flash chips (matching current 2D flash chips), but the technology has the potential to go much further in terms of capacity.

The VNAND combines an updated version of Samsung’s Charge Trap Flash (CTF) technology (originally developed in 2006) with a vertical stacking and interconnect technology that uses special etching techniques to punch holes and electrical connections down from the top of the highest die to the bottom die.

Samsung VNAND Chip 128Gb.jpg

Samsung claims that its proprietary interconnect technology is (currently) able to support up to 24 layers of flash memory. The resulting VNAND offers up to twice the write performance and between 2-times and 10-times higher reliability versus traditional 19nm floating gate NAND (the alternative to CTF NAND) developed on planar processes.

With traditional NAND flash, as flash density increases (such as the move from 25nm to 19nm NAND flash), inter-cell interference also increases due to thinner walls and increased leakage. Samsung is hoping to solve that problem with its vertically-stacked NAND by allowing density to increase without dealing with shrinking the individual layers. Further, each layer is separated by a dielectric (electric insulator) that is currently 50nm and constructed of Silicon Nitride (SiN). The company notes that there is a limit to the height at which flash can be stacked before it becomes un-economical, but that is still a ways off compared to where NAND flash is now as far as densities seen in the wild.

Samsung’s new 128Gb VNAND chip is expected to scale to at least 1Tb depending on consumer demand. The technology is aimed at both embedded NAND and SSDs, but the former is likely to make use of 3D vertical NAND first. Standard 2.5" SSDs could also benefit but modern SSDs are already bottle-necked by the SATA III 6Gbps bus much less by faster write speed potential. Mobile devices, however, could benefit from faster single-chip VNAND packages immediately with faster write speeds and higher reliability (and potentially, density) versus 2D NAND chips.

It is definitely a technology with potential that is worth keeping an eye on.

The full press release can be found over at Engadget.

Source: Engadget

Podcast #262 - Live from QuakeCon 2013!

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2013 - 10:35 AM |
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PC Perspective Podcast #262 - 08/01/2013

Join us this week as we discuss NVIDIA SHIELD, the Samsung 840 EVO, Viewer Q&A, and much more LIVE from QuakeCon 2013!

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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  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:19:01