IDF 2011: Other Foundries Falling Further Behind Intel Technology

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 06:07 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, idf 2011, idf, GLOBALFOUNDRIES

While learning about the intricacies of the Intel tri-gate 22nm process technology at the Intel Developer Forum, Senior Intel Fellow Mark Bohr surprised me a bit by discussing the competition in the foundry market.  Bohr mentioned the performance advantages and competitive edge that the new 22nm technology offers but also decided to mention that other companies like TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung and IBM are behind, and falling further behind as we speak.

22nm18.jpg

When Intel introduced strained silicon in 2003, it took competition until 2007 to implement it.  For High-K Metal Gate technology that Intel brought into market in 2007 it wasn't until 2011 that AMD introduced in its product line.  Finally, with tri-gate coming in 2011, GlobalFoundries is talking about getting it implemented in the 2015 time frame.

Obviously those are some long delays but more important to note is that the gap between Intel and the field's implementations has been getting longer.  Three years for strained silicon, three and a half for high K and up to four years for tri-gate.  Of course, we could all be surprised to see tri-gate come from a competitor earlier, but if this schedule stays true, it could mean an increasing advantage for Intel's products over AMD's and eventually into ARM's. 

This also discounts the occasional advantage that AMD had over Intel in the past like being the first to integrate copper interconnects (on the first Athlon) and the first to develop a Silicon-on-Insulator product (starting with the 130nm process); though Intel never actually adopted SOI. 

Source: PCPer

Look at the AMD overclocking results, not the Intel Developers Forum

Subject: Processors | September 13, 2011 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, amd fx, bulldozer

Although the record was set a few weeks ago, we didn't have a chance to see it until today.  A group of overclockers pushed a new AMD FX 8150 Bulldozer chip up to 8.429GHz which breaks the old record for highest CPU frequency set with a Celeron 352.  You need liquid helium to manage this so do not expect to see that kind of result with air cooling.  If you check out [H]ard|OCP 's video coverage you will see the performance of water, phase change and LN2 with the FX8150, though you probably know about it already since you have watched Ryan's coverage.

H_bulldozer.jpg

"If you are wondering how well the new AMD FX CPU will overclock, you are not alone. AMD let us have some behind-the-scenes access a couple of weeks ago and is now allowing us to show off the results. We shot a lot of video and show you AMD FX overclocking on water, phase change, and liquid nitrogen."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

IDF 2011: Intels Shows a PC Running on Solar Power

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: solar power, solar cell, idf 2011, idf

While on stage during today's opening keynote at the Intel Developer Forum, Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed of a prototype processor running completely on a very small solar cell.

keynote06.jpg

Paul on the left, Windows 7 in the center, prototype ultra-low power CPU on the right

Running Windows 7 and a small animated GIF of a cat wearing headphones, the unannounced CPU was being powered only by a small solar panel with a UV light pointed at it.  Though Intel didn't give us specific voltages or power consumption numbers they did say that it was running at "close to the threshold of the transistors".  Assuming we are talking about the same or similar 22nm tri-gate transistors used in Haswell, we found this:

threshold.png

My mostly uneducated guess then was that they were able to run Windows 7 and this animation on a processor running somewhere around 0.1-0.2v; an impressive feat that would mean wonders for standby time and the all-day computing models.  This is exactly what Intel's engineers have been targeting with their transistor and CPU designs in the last couple of years as it will allow Haswell to scale from desktop performance levels all the way to the smart phone markets on a single architecture.

Keep in mind only the CPU was being powered by the solar cell; the rest of the components including the hard drive, motherboard, etc were being powered by a standard power unit.

keynote07.jpg

You can see the solar panel and UV light on the right hand side of this photo.  Interestingly, when the presenter moved his hand between the light source and the panel, the system locked up, proving that it was indeed being powered by it. 

Source: PCPer

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.  

keynote05.jpg

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

AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!

Subject: Processors | September 13, 2011 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: video, overclocking, FX, bulldozer, amd

There is a sub-culture in the computing world that is more or less analogous to the world of NHRA drag racing: liquid nitrogen overclocking.  And if you are really serious, liquid helium.  During a press event in Austin, TX in August to discuss the upcoming Bulldozer processor, a team of overclockers pushed the new architecture to frequencies well beyond safety and well beyond where they should be.  Without giving away the whole story yet, AMD was able to set a new frequency world record...

amdoc1.png

Sami Mäkinen and his team hit 8.429GHz on liquid nitrogen and liquid helium with a near-production FX processor sample.  This bests the reigning record of 8.308 GHz that was hit on a Celeron processor with LN2. 

amdoc2.png

You can read AMD's take on the accomplishment by hitting up the AMD Blogs website or looking up Simon Solotko's directly.

On August 31, an AMD FX processor achieved a frequency of 8.429GHz, a stunning result for a modern, multi-core processor. The record was achieved with several days of preparation and an amazing and inspired run in front of world renowned technology press in Austin, Texas. This frequency bests the prior record of 8.309GHz, and completely blows away any modern desktop processor. Based on our overclocking tests, the AMD FX CPU is a clock eating monster, temporarily able to withstand extreme conditions to achieve amazing speed. Even with more conservative methods, the AMD FX processors, with multiplier unlocked throughout the range, appear to scale with cold.  We achieved clock frequencies well above 5GHz using only air or sub-$100 water cooling solutions.

I was in attendance for the event and have to say that group put on a spectacular show and anytime you can play with liquid helium running at near absolute zero temperature, it's worth paying attention!  In fact, I put together a video of the event that you can see below and if you haven't participated or seen something of this nature, it is worth checking out!!

Now I need to temper some dreams right now - the chances of you or I reaching these types of clock speeds on the Bulldozer CPUs upon release are pretty close to nil.  What was more interesting was the casual overclocking we saw pushing upwards of 4.8+ GHz without breaking a sweat and that is what we will be investigating with our review of the processor later this year.

Update: Here is the screenshot from the official HWBot frequency rankings as well as a different video created by AMD themselves summarizing the event.  

amdoc4.png

Source: AMD

IDF 2011: Intel Developer Forum Coverage Coming Soon!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | September 12, 2011 - 10:22 AM |
Tagged: Intel, idf 2011, idf

It is once again time for our annual pilgrimage to the land of the Golden Gate to spend a few days with our friends at Intel and the Intel Developer Forum.  IDF is one of the most informative events that I attend and I am always impressed by the openness and detail with which Intel showcases its upcoming products and future roadmap.  This year looks to be no different.

idf02.png

What do we have on the agenda?  First and foremost, we expect to hear all about Ivy Bridge and the architecture changes it brings to the Sandy Bridge CPUs currently in the market.  Will we see increased x86 performance or maybe increases in the likelihood of us recommending the integrated graphics?  More information is set to be revealed on the 22nm tri-gate transistor as well as the X79 chipset and the Sandy Bridge-E enthusiast platform.  SSDs and Ultrabooks are also set on the docket.  It's going to be busy.

But what would a week in downtown San Francisco be without visits from other companies as well?  We are set to meet with Lucid, MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, Corsair, HP and of course, AMD.  I expect we will have just as much to say about what each of these companies has on display as we do Intel's event.  

I am planning on live blogging many of the sessions I will be attending so stay tuned to PC Perspective all week for the latest!!

Source: Intel

Podcast #169 - SSD Decoder Update, Antec SOLO II, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Ultrabook news and a Drobo contest!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Storage, Mobile | September 8, 2011 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd, podcast, eee pad transformer, drobo, decoder, asus, antec

PC Perspective Podcast #169 - 9/08/2011

Join us this week as we discuss the MARS II combo on Newegg, an update to the SSD Decoder, the new Antec SOLO II chassis, our review of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer tablet, news on Ultrabook development and even announce a new contest partnership with Drobo!

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: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:23:36

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. MARS II Combo  for $4000!
  6. SSD Decoder Update
  7. Kingwin Stryker 500W Fanless Power Supply Review
  8. Video Perspective: Antec SOLO II Chassis Review
  9. ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Review: Assemble!
  10. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  11. Zotac Releases New ZBOX Nano AD10 Series Mini PCs
  12. Toshiba Unveils Portege Z830 Ultrabook Series
    1. Acer Unveils Super Thin Aspire S3 Ultrabook at IFA in Berlin
    2. Silly Intel, the high price and limited availability were the parts your Ultrabook was supposed to drop
  13. Bulldozer Infused Trinity APU Specifications Confirmed
  14. Intel Unveils 16 New 32nm Processors
  15. AMD Ships Bulldozer for Revenue- Interlagos though- will write up after the podcast and post on front page.
  16. Magma Unveils the First Three-Slot Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis
  17. Drobo contest
  18. Email from Wes about GPU selection
  19. Email from Chris about GPU whine
  20. Email from Lee about SSD security
  21. Email from a mystery writer about GPU stuttering
  22. Finally, a VIDEO QUESTION from David!
  23. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Blackmagic Intensity Pro
    2. Jeremy: Coil gun revolver with laser sty ((sight?) so there)
    3. Josh: Thermaltake eSports Shock Spin Diamond Black
    4. Allyn: Surefire LED flashlights
  24. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  25. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  26. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  27. Closing

Source: PCPer

AMD Introduces A4-3300 and A4-3400 Desktop APU To Expand Brilliant HD Lineup

Subject: Processors | September 7, 2011 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: amd, A4-3400, A4-3300

AMD today announced availability of the AMD A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) A4-3300 and A4-3400 desktop processors, bringing the entry-level desktop APU price down to just $70 (U.S. suggested retail price) for consumers who want PCs with brilliant HD graphics, advanced performance, and fast application and connectivity speeds.

The AMD A4-3300 and A4-3400 desktop APUs each combine two x86 CPU cores with 160 Radeon cores, enabling powerful DirectX 11-capable discrete level graphics and dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. These dualcore APUs enable responsive and energy-efficient performance for everyday PC productivity and multitasking, as well as an amazing gaming experience.

In addition to leading-edge graphics and competitive compute power, the AMD A4-3300 and A4-3400 APUs support:

  • AMD Steady Video for instant removal of shakes and jitters when rewatching video, so content looks steady and smoothing.
  • AMD Dual Graphics for a visual performance boost when paired with select AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series graphics cards .
  • Integrated USB 3.0 controller for rapid transfer and storage of digital content.
  • AMD VISION Engine Software to provide users with regular updates to help improve system performance and stability, and to introduce new software enhancements.

APU.jpg

With a suggested retail price of $70.00 (U.S), the AMD A4-3300 APU operates at 2.5GHz (CPU) and 444MHz (GPU) with 160 Radeon Cores, 1MB of L2 cache and a TDP of 65W.

 With a suggested retail price of $75.00 (U.S), the AMD A4-3400 APU operates at 2.7GHz (CPU) and 600MHz (GPU) with 160 Radeon Cores, 1MB of L2 cache and a TDP of 65W.

(No sign of them on NewEgg as of yet)

All AMD A-Series processors are designed for use with FM1 motherboards. AMD A4 APUs require the AMD Vision Engine Control Center 11.8 driver release or later releases.

Source: AMD

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.

Intel.png

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

Bulldozer Infused Trinity APU Specifications Confirmed

Subject: Processors | September 3, 2011 - 12:07 AM |
Tagged: trinity, llano, bulldozer, APU, amd

AMD has not only started announcing quite a few future processors, but has also gone a bit crazy with all of the code names for said products. Admittedly, when the news broke that Trinity APU specifications were revealed, I had to do a bit of digging to figure out just what the Trinity APU was (exactly). In the end, the APU (accelerated processing unit) is similar in composition to Llano except with a bulldozer based CPU core and upgraded GPU. The bulldozer core aspect is what threw me for a bit of a loop in that I had a difficult time figuring out how the CPU core could be based on bulldozer when bulldozer hasn’t even been released ;).  Hopefully that long introduction helps somewhat in clearing up what Trinity is.

AMD_logo.jpg

Specifically, the new Trinity APU will debut with AMD’s new “Piledriver” (more code names!) architecture, and include a Radeon HD 7000 series GPU and Bulldozer based CPU core. Futher, the Trinity APU will come in both notebook and desktop flavors titled “Comal” and “Virgo” respectively. AMD notes that the improvements in the CPU and GPU cores will result in up to a 50% performance increase over the current Llano A Series APUs. While the 50% number is measuring pure gigaflop performance, even if the real world speed increase is not as noticeable in everyday usage, it is still a nice bump in performance.

On the availability front, AMD has slated the processor for release in 2012; however, Semi Accurate believes that the APU may well debut much sooner than expected. The site further quoted sources who stated that “CES is a distinct possibility for a soft launch, and maybe more.” More tidbits of information can be had here.

Checking A8-3850 overclocking capability 7 times

Subject: Processors | August 30, 2011 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: a8-3850, amd, llano, overclocking, APU

Legit Reviews decide that they really wanted to be able to show the overclocking results you can expect from the AMD A8-3850, so they picked up eight of the chips to test each for overclocking ability.  There have been examples in the past of chips with a wide variety of overclocking limits which was often decided by the chip revision but not in all cases.  The test results show that all but two of the chips hit a stability issue when being pushed beyond 3679.5MHz, so you can take that as the most likely result that your chip will provide.  The two outlying chips will be exceptional, in one case in a bad way which you can see in the full review.

BR_a8-3850-apu-tray-1.jpg

"When AMD released the 'Lynx' desktop platform back in June 2011, our motherboard reviewer ran into some bad luck when overclocking the processor. When you get a new platform setup for the very first time you really don't know what to expect and it does take some time to learn all the quirks and nuances of a new processor and motherboard. We recently ordered in six more processors and then overclocked all seven of them to see what the best one would be for our test system!"

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Llano on Linux, good but not good enough

Subject: Processors | August 22, 2011 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: amd, linux, llano, a8-3850

Phoronix is still satisfying their curiosity about the performance of Llano under Linux.  To that end they assembled an A8-3850 with Gigabyte's GA-A75M-UD2H motherboard, 2GB of DDR3 memory, and a 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD and installed Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, GNOME 2.32.1, X.Org Server 1.10.1, and an EXT4 file-system.  To power the system they had a few choices but unfortunately the one they were most interested in, AMD's Open64 4.2.4, failed to compile.  That left them with two versions of GCC and Clang to test in a variety of benchmarks.  There is still some work to do to bring all of the power of Llano to Linux, but for now this will give you a good idea which to use.

phoronix_llano.png

"Last week were a set of AMD Fusion A8-3850 Linux benchmarks on Phoronix, but for you this week is a look at the AMD Fusion "Llano" APU performance when trying out a few different compilers. In particular, the latest GCC release and then using the highly promising Clang compiler on LLVM, the Low-Level Virtual Machine."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: Phoronix

AMD Adds Three New Fusion APUs to Mobile Lineup

Subject: Processors | August 22, 2011 - 10:53 AM |
Tagged: mobile, fusion, E-Series, APU, amd

AMD today announced three new Accelerated Processing Units (APU) to bolster up the mobile lineup. Specifically, two new E-Series and one new C-Series APU are inserting themselves into the lineup. The new chips bring enhanced graphic capabilities, HDMI 1.4a, and DDR3 1333 support. "Today's PC users want stunning HD graphics and accelerated performance with all-day battery life and that's what AMD Fusion APUs deliver," said Chris Cloran, vice president and general manager, Client Division, AMD.

According to MaximumPC, the new E-450 APU takes the top slot, bringing two CPU cores clocked at 1.65GHz, a Radeon HD 6320 GPU clocked at a base of 508MHz and maximum of 600MHz, and a power sipping TDP of 18 watts. The second new E-Series APU carries the same 18 watt TDP and dual CPU cores as the E-450; however, it is clocked at a lower 1.3GHz. Further, the chip’s Radeon HD 6310 GPU is clocked at 488MHz.  The new E-Series APUs feature battery life increases to the tune of up to 10.5 hours of Windows idle time.

FusionAPU.jpg

The new C-Series APU is the C-60, and is a 1GHz dual core chip with a Radeon HD 6290 GPU. The APU is able to turbo its CPU cores to a maximum of 1.33GHz, while the GPU has a base clock of 276MHz and a maximum clock speed of 400MHz. Further, the chip has a 9 watt TDP, and boasts 12.25 hours of “resting battery life,” which AMD benchmarked using Windows Idle on a C-60 based netbook.

Currently, AMD has shipped more than 12 million APUs, and more than five million of the C-Series and E-Series processors in Q2 2011. More information on the specific benchmarking metrics AMD used can be found here.

Source: AMD

Intel returns to upgrade cards for more of their crippled parts

Subject: General Tech, Processors | August 20, 2011 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: upgrade, Intel

It has almost been a complete year since Intel decided to sell $50 upgrade cards for their processors. Ryan noted that the cost of upgrade between the two processors was just $15 (at the time) which made the $35 premium over just outright purchasing the higher-end CPU seem quite ludicrous. Whether or not you agree with Intel’s methodology is somewhat irrelevant to Intel however as they have relaunched and expanded their initiative to include three SKUs.

intelupgrade.jpg

DLCpu: Cash for cache!

Ryan was deliberately trying to pose the issue in question-form because it really is business as usual when it comes to hardware companies to artificially lock down higher SKUs for a lower price-point. The one thing he did not mention was that this upgrade seems to be designed primarily for processors included in the purchase of a retail PC where the user might not have had the choice of which processor to include.

As for this upgrade cycle there are three processors that qualify for the upgrade: the Pentium G622 can be upgraded to the Pentium G693, receiving a clock-rate boost; the Core i3-2102 can be upgraded to the Core i3-2153, receiving a clock-rate boost; the Core i3-2312M can be upgraded to the Core i3-2393M, receiving both a clock-rate boost as well as extra unlocked cache. There is no word on if each SKU would have its own upgrade card or even the cost of upgrading apart from the nebulous “affordable”. Performance is expected to increase approximately 10-25% depending on which part you upgrade and what task is being pushed upon it, the Pentium seeing the largest boost due to this unlock.

Do you agree with this initiative?

Source: Intel

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.

cpu1.jpg

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

AMD Announces New Sub-$100 Triple Core A6-3500 APU

Subject: Processors | August 17, 2011 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: APU, amd radeon, amd, A6-3500

AMD announced today a new desktop APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). The A6-3500 processor combines three x86 CPU cores with 320 Radeon GPU cores. The new A6-3500 APU comes with a full sweep of AMD technology, including Turbo Core, Steady Video image stabilization technology, DDR3 1333 support, HDCP compatibility, and AMD VISION Engine software. Following its predecessors, the new three core APU is able to pair with select AMD Radeon HD 6000 series discrete graphics cards.

plat00.jpg

This FM1 socket awaits an A Series APU like the new A6-3500

The three core APU operates at 2.1GHz (2.4GHz with Turbo Boost active) on the CPU side and 444MHz on the GPU side of things. Further, the APU features 3MB of L2 cache, a TDP of 65 watts, and is designed for use with FM1 motherboards.

The APU is now available for purchase at various online retailers and system builders with an MSRP of $95 USD. AMD states that the processor “delivers a compelling, affordable desktop experience for consumers and gamers.”

At under a $100, the new APU is an attractive option for HTPC usage and starter gaming systems on a tight budget. For more information on AMD’s APU architecture, can check out PC Perspective’s AMD A8-3850 APU review here.

Source: AMD

Sandy Bridge-E Processors: Cooler Sold Separately

Subject: Processors | August 15, 2011 - 10:45 AM |
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.

IntelHSF.jpg

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.

Source: VR-Zone

AMD Considers Bundling FX Processors With Sealed Loop Water Coolers (LCS)

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Processors | August 13, 2011 - 02:53 AM |
Tagged: amd, FX, octocore, water cooling, sealed loop, LCS, hsf

According to Xbit Labs, AMD is considering switching out the usual air cooler (HSF) for a sealed loop liquid cooling solution (LCS) for its high end FX Processors. Specifically, AMD wants to pair their highest end eight core processor (and possibly the next highest end eight core chip) with the sealed loop liquid cooling solution. This information, they believe, comes from a “source with knowledge of the company’s plans.”

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If you are not familiar with the sealed loop water coolers, PC Perspective reviewed the Corsair H70 processor cooler last year and it is a good example. Sealed loop water coolers are similar to the large DIY water cooling loops comprised of a large radiator, copper CPU block, pump, and reservoir all connected in a loop by tubing; however, they usually have smaller radiators and pumps as well as coolant that cannot be refilled (and should not have to be).  This coolant carries heat away from the processor to be dissipated through a radiator.  Corsair in particular has heavily invested in this once very niche product with it’s H series of coolers.

Traditionally, both Intel and AMD have been content in pairing their chips with mid-range but cheap air coolers that did a decent job of keeping the processors within their thermal limits at stock speeds. Enthusiasts, and especially those interested in overclocking, have generally ditched the included cooler in favor of a more powerful and/or quieter aftermarket cooler. Needless to say, including a cooler, especially with high end chips that will likely go to enthusiasts, that’s never even used only serves to add additional unnecessary cost for both consumers and the manufacturer. Thus, this move to bundle a more powerful sealed loop water cooler with its high end chips may be an attempt by AMD to futher appeal to enthusiasts and keep with their traditional image of being friendly to overclockers and hardware enthusiasts. Having and using a water cooler that is supported by the chip maker certainly doesn’t hurt, especially if it ever came down to warranty and RMA situations. On the other hand, enthusiasts can be very picky about which cooler to use in their systems; therefore, bundling a cooler that is sure to add even more extra cost to the package may not be the right move for AMD. At best, consumers are likely to see an extra $50 or so added to the sure to be pricey highest end eight core chips.

Their idea, if true, surely has merit, but is it wise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Source: Xbit Labs

No Intel architecture refresh can be complete without a Pentium model

Subject: Processors | August 12, 2011 - 01:35 PM |
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.

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"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:

Processors

AMD Accelerates APU OpenCL Performance With New SDK

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | August 8, 2011 - 08:28 PM |
Tagged: amd, APU, sdk, opencl

AMD released its new APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) to the masses, and now they are revving the processors up with a new software development kit that increases performance and efficiency of OpenCL based applications. The new version 2.5 APP SDK is tailored to the APU architecture where the CPU and GPU are on the same die. Building on the OpenCL standard, APP SDK 2.5 promises to reduce the bandwidth limitation of the CPU to GPU connection, allowing for effective data transfer rates as high as 15GB per second in AMDs A Series APUs. Further performance enhancements include reduced kernel launch times and PCIe overhead.

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AMD states that the new APP SDK will improve multi-gpu support for AMD APU graphics paired with a discrete card, and will “enable advanced capabilities” to improve the user experience including gesture based interfaces, image stabilization, and 3D applications.

The new development kit is currently being used by developers worldwide in the AMD OpenCl coding competition, where up to $50,000 in prizes will be given away to winning software submissions. You can get started with the SDK here.

Source: AMD