IDF 2011: Intel Haswell Architecture Offers 20x Lower Standby Power

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: tri-gate, sandy bridge, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf, haswell

The first keynote of the Intel Developer Forum is complete and it started with Paul Otellini discussing the high level direction for Intel in the future.  One of the more interesting points made was not about Ivy Bridge, which we will all see very soon, but about Haswell, Intel's next microarchitecture meant to replace the Sandy Bridge designs sometime in late 2012 or early 2013.  Expected to focus on having 8 processing cores, much improved graphics and the new AVX2 extenstion set, Haswell will also be built on the 3D tri-gate transistors announced over the summer.

Otellini describes Haswell's performance in two important metrics.  First, it will use 30% less power than Sandy Bridge at the same performance levels.  This is a significant step and could be the result of higher IPC as well as better efficiency thanks to the 22nm process technology.  

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Where Haswell really excels is apparently in the standby metric: as a platform it could use as much as 20x less power than current hardware.  Obviously Intel's engineers have put a focus on power consumption more than performance and the results are beginning to show.  The goals are simple but seemingly impossible to realize: REAL all-day power and more than 10 days of stand by time.

Source: PCPer

Intel Unveils 16 New 32nm Processors

Subject: Processors | September 5, 2011 - 09:52 PM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, pentium, Intel, cpu, Core, celeron, 32nm

Intel today released a price list which included 16 new 32nm processors. The new additions fill in gaps in the Celeron, Pentium, and Core product lines. The new additions are then further broken down into the desktop and mobile camps. On the desktop front, there are four Celeron models ranging from $47 to $52, three Pentium models ranging from $70 to $86, and four new Core i series processors ranging from $127 to $177. Within that range, there are three hyper-threaded dual core Core i3 part and one quad core Core i5 processor.

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The mobile additions include one low end and four high end models. On the low end is the dual core Celeron B840 at 1.9GHz with 2 MB L3 cache and 35W TDP. On the high end are four Core i7 chips. The Core i7 2640M is a $346 part and is a hyper-threaded dual core chip at 2.8 GHz, 4 MB L3 cache, and 35W TDP. The Core i7 2760QM is a hyper-threaded quad core part at 2.4 GHz, 6 MB L3 cache, and a 45W TDP. As another 45W TDP part, the Core i7 2860 QM is also a hyper-threaded quad core at 2.5 GHz with 8 MB L3 cache. The highest end mobile chip addition is the Core i7 2960XM, which is a hyper-threaded quad core at 2.7 GHz, a 55W TDP, and 8 MB of L3 cache.

As you can see, there are quite a few new additions filling out the product lineup at various price points and performance segments. See the chart below for the full list and specs.

  Processor Clockspeed Cores/Threads L3 Cache TDP Price
Desktop            
  Core i5-2320 3.0 GHz 4/4 6MB 95W $177
  Core i3-2130 3.4 GHz 2/4 3MB 65W $138
  Core i3-2125 3.3 GHz 2/4 3MB 65W $134
  Core i3-2120T 2.6 GHz 2/4 3MB 35W $127
             
  Pentium G860 3.0 GHz 2/2 3MB 65W $86
  Pentium G630 2.7 GHz 2/2 3MB 65W $75
  Pentium G630T 2.3 GHz 2/2 3MB 35W $70
             
  Celeron G540 2.5 GHz 2/2 2MB 65W $52
  Celeron G530T 2.0 GHz 2/2 2MB 35W $47
  Celeron G530 2.4 GHz 2/2 2MB 65W $42
  Celeron G440 1.6 GHz 1/1 1MB 35W $37
Mobile            
   Core i7-2960XM  2.7 GHz  4/8  8MB  55W  $1,096
   Core i7-2860QM  2.5 GHz  4/8  8MB  45W  $568
   Core i7-2760QM  2.4 GHz  4/8  6MB  45W  $378
   Core i7-2640M  2.8 GHz  2/4  4MB  35W  $346
             
   Celeron B840  1.9 GHz  2/2  2MB  35W  $86

 

Source: Tech Connect

Toshiba Unveils Portege Z830 Ultrabook Series

Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2011 - 01:08 AM |
Tagged: z830, ultrabook, toshiba, sandy bridge, portege, Intel

There has been quite the buzz over ultrabooks for the past few weeks, and it seems as though Toshiba is ready to grab their slice of the news pie (actually, can we have cake?) with the announcement of their Portege Z830 series of, you guessed it, ultrabooks.

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Powered by Intel Sandy Bridge processors, the ultra (slim) book is housed in a magnesium alloy chassis measuring 15.9mm (0.63 inches) thick. Slated to be 20% lighter and 40% thinner than their previous ultraportable Portege R830 series, the company has reinforced the chassis with a honeycomb ribbing (I’m sure Josh is making a joke out of that right now) and some new internal shock dampening structures.  The company stated that the Z830 would weigh less than 2.5 lbs, though the number may vary depending on the specific configuration.  Because the notebook is so thin, they needed to go metal for the chassis to prevent serious warping and bending of the computer (and is coincidentally one of the items that caused manufacturers to complain about the sub-$1,000 requirement). Other chassis features include a full size LED backlit and spill resistant keyboard.

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Other hardware details about the computer are scarce in that Toshiba has not released much. The ultrabook will contain a 128 GB solid state drive and DDR3 memory. From photos of the ultrabook, the computer supports (likely Gigabit) Ethernet, USB, and HDMI ports. Stereo speakers by Waves Audio, Toshiba’s High Speed Start and USB Sleep and Charge technologies are also featured.

The Protege Z830 ultrabook series will be available in November 2011, and will carry a MSRP of less than $1,000 USD. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more ultrabook coverage.

Source: Toshiba

A Sapphire and platinum motherboard; gaudy or a work of art?

Subject: Motherboards | August 31, 2011 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: x68, sandy bridge, sapphire pure platinum

Sapphire has been busy making a name for themselves as a high end motherboard maker in addition to their graphics card models.  The Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 is their first foray into SandyBridge and comes with a long host of features common to the Z68 platform as well as features common to Sapphire's GPUs such as a dual BIOS.  Hi Tech Legion had a great time overclocking with this board both manually and with the help of Sapphire's TriXXX software, getting a i5-2500K all the way to 4.74GHz.  Read on to see this impressive board in action.

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"The Pure Platinum Z68 is the Sapphire's first entry for the Z68 chipset of Intel, which is capable of technologies such as Smart Response and Virtu. The Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 includes 4 DIMM slots with support of up to 16GB of RAM with speeds of up to 1600+MHz. For network connectivity, the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 has a Marvell chip controlled Gigabit LAN port and wireless capability via a Bluetooth 2.1 receiver. Storage options are many in the Pure Platinum Z68, with 8 total SATA ports; 4 SATA II with RAID 0,1,5,10 and AHCI controlled by the Z68 chipset, while there are 2 SATA III ports also controlled by the Z68 and the last 2 are controlled by Marvell's controller. Peripherals on the Z68 Pure Platinum are 2 USB 3.0 with up to 12 total USB 2.0 ports (including the USB headers), with 4 on the rear panel."

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Intel Will Drop Prices On Sandy Bridge CPUs in Q3 2011

Subject: Processors | August 17, 2011 - 02:13 PM |
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.

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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?

Source: CPU World

Gateway Introduces Updated ID and NV Series Notebooks

Subject: Mobile | July 8, 2011 - 03:15 AM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, notebook, mobile, gateway, AMD A series

Gateway recently unveiled two new updated notebooks from their ID and NV series. Featuring HDMI, USB 3.0, LED backlit displays, and powered by Intel Sandy Bridge (2nd generation Core) processors, the ID47 and NV57 (and NV55) notebooks bring a welcome refresh to their lineup. The updated notebooks further feature 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, a 1.3MP webcam, and battery lives of 8 hours for the ID series and 4 hours for the NV notebooks.

An interesting addition to the traditional laptop layout of speakers, keyboard, and touchpad is a number of hot keys that launch social widgets to access the various social networks including Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. Users are then able to post updates and upload images and videos in addition to viewing the social network’s feeds.

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The ID47 notebook with brushed metal design

The Gateway ID47 is a traditional 13” chassis that holds a 14” LED backlit HD display with full edge to edge glass. The chassis itself comes into two designs, either an “Infinity Blue” or a “Brushed Platinum” look that Gateway claims resembles tranquil water and an industrial look respectively. Regardless of which design one chooses, the top right of the aluminum notebook lid features a stainless steel laser-engraved logo.

Further, a revamped keyboard, 20% larger trackpad, integrated DVD drive, and a mesh speaker bar. The notebook’s full dimensions are 12.97 (width) x 8.95 (depth) x .85 to 1.13 (height) inches. Gateway claims that the notebook is comfortable to carry and easily portable.

In Canada, certain ID series notebook models will be available with a 15.6 in HD widescreen LED backlit displays, and will be further powered by NVIDIA GeForce GT graphics and will use NVIDIA Optimus switchable graphics technology.

On the other hand, the NV series is a 15.6” form factor, and has a 15.6” HD LED backlit display. The new notebooks also come in two design flavors, including a geometric pattern or a digital wave pattern on the matte chassis lid. The chassis further features a chiclet keyboard and geometric or digital wave pattern on the palm rest. The NV series is then further broken up, into the NV57 and NV55 series. The NV57 notebooks are powered by Intel Sandy Bridge processors and Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 128 MB of dedicated system memory for the processor-integrated GPU. In contrast, the NV55 laptops are powered by AMD A series processors.

The ID and NV series are available for purchase now at retailers around the US and Canada with a MSRP starting at $699.99 US and $799.00 CAD for the ID series and $529.99 US and $499.00 CAD. On the bundled software side of things, the notebooks come with Windows 7 Home Premium, a backup program called MyBackup, in addition to “useful extras including Nook for PC, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Reader, WildTangent Demo Games, Skype, Norton Online Backup, and Microsoft® Office 2010 (preloaded for online purchase).”

Source: Gateway

Intel is attempting to revive their CULV with the Ultrabook

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 4, 2011 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, culv, ultrabook, Ivy Bridge, sandy bridge, ultramobile

You can't really blame the failure of Intel's CULV form factor on just the name, though it is very awkward, since at the same time Intel was trying for that type of ultraportable we saw netbooks catch on.  The netbook was easier to market than the CULV which was being trumped by the Macbook Air on one side and the surprising popularity of netbooks in general.  Sure the Atom powered midgets couldn't do much, but they were just so cute.

We heard of the new Intel Ultrabooks at CES 2011 during Intel's keynote speech, and Ryan saw an example of one, the ASUS UX21 which sports a nice brushed aluminium shell.  It was powered by a Sandy Bridge Core i7 and was 1.7cm at its widest and weighed only 1.1kg fully loaded, sported SATA 6Gb/s and can boot in 5 seconds with ASUS' Instant On feature.  It should be available by September of this year and in theory will be a sub-$1000 Ultrabook.

DigiTimes today reported on Intel's plans for the release of their first Ultrabook and the future models, which they hope will together net Intel about 40% market share by the end of 2012.  The strategy sounds familiar, those who remember what they did with the chipset for their Atom processor.  DigiTimes reports that Intel is planning on "providing a significant budget to support its partners launching Ultrabooks".  Now that is not very specific as to the support that Intel will be offering, but with Llano's decent performance and incredible price, it will be had for 1st tier vendors to be attracted to selling Ultrabooks that are faster but cost three times as much.  Hence Intel's announcement about support for any vendors willing to build and sell their new form factor.

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"Intel has recently started planning a new marketing strategy for its Ultrabook concept and has invested heavily into the related budget and resources hoping to attract first-tier notebook vendors into developing Ultrabooks, according to sources from downstream notebook players.

Due to the failure of Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage-based (CULV-based) ultra-thin notebooks in 2009, while the notebook market has been severely impacted by tablet PCs, most notebook vendors are taking a conservative attitude toward Intel's Ultrabook concept and Intel is hoping its heavy investment will be able to attract these vendors to launch Ultrabook products, the sources noted.

Intel announced its Ultrabook concept in June with a goal of having 40% of the global consumers notebooks using its Ultrabook concept at the end of 2012. Asustek is already set to launch its first Ultrabook concept-based notebook, UX21, in September."

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Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Architecture Details

Introduction

Just a couple of weeks ago we took the cover off of AMD's Llano processor for the first time in the form of the Sabine platform: Llano's mobile derivative.  In that article we wrote in great detail about the architecture and how it performed on the stage of the notebook market - it looked very good when compared to the Intel Sandy Bridge machines we had on-hand.  Battery life is one of the most important aspects of evaluating a mobile configuration with performance and features taking a back seat the majority of the time.  In the world of the desktop though, that isn't necessarily the case. 

Desktop computers, even those meant for a low-cost and mainstream market, don't find power consumption as crucial and instead focus on the features and performance of your platform almost exclusively.  There are areas where power and heat are more scrutinized such as the home theater PC market and small form-factor machines but in general you need to be sure to hit a homerun with performance per dollar in this field.  Coming into this article we had some serious concerns about Llano and its ability to properly address this specifically. 

How did our weeks with the latest AMD Fusion APU turn out?  There is a ton of information that needed to be addressed including a look at the graphics performance in comparison to Sandy Bridge, how the quad-core "Stars" x86 CPU portion stands up to modern options, how the new memory controller affects graphics performance, Dual Graphics, power consumption and even a whole new overclocking methodology.  Keep reading and you'll get all the answers you are looking for.

Llano Architecture

We spent a LOT of time in our previous Llano piece discussing the technical details of the new Llano Fusion CPU/GPU architecture and the fundamentals are essentially identical from the mobile part to the new desktop releases.  Because of that, much of the information here is going to be a repeat with some minor changes in the forms of power envelopes, etc.  

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The platform diagram above gives us an overview of what components will make up a system built on the Llano Fusion APU design.  The APU itself is made up 2 or 4 x86 CPU cores that come from the Stars family released with the Phenom / Phenom II processors.  They do introduce a new Turbo Core feature that we will discuss later that is somewhat analogous to what Intel has done with its processors with Turbo Boost.

Continue reading our AMD A-series Llano desktop review for all the benchmarks and information!

One H61 iCafe motherboard please; hold the cream

Subject: Motherboards | June 22, 2011 - 02:51 PM |
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.

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"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!"

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Intel Updates ULV Lineup With Four New 17W Processors

Subject: Processors | June 21, 2011 - 12:51 AM |
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.

Source: Maximum PC