Intel Atom Processors Will Not Use Intel Graphics, PowerVR GPUs Planned

Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Mobile | May 9, 2011 - 09:07 PM |
Tagged: PowerVR, Intel, gpu, atom

In a surprising move, Intel plans to move away from using it's own graphics processors with the next "full fat" Atom processors. Intel has traditionally favored its own graphics chipsets; however, VR-Zone reports that Intel has extended it's licensing agreements with PowerVR to include certain GPU architectures.

These GPU licenses will allow Intel to implement a PowerVR SGX545 equivalent graphics core with its Cedarview Atom chips. While the PowerVR graphics core is no match for dedicated GPUs or likely that found in Intel's own Sandy Bridge "HD 3000" series, the hardware will allow Atom powered systems to play video with ease thanks to hardware accelerated decodding of "MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, VC1, WMV9 and the all-important H.264 codec."  VR-Zone details the SGX545 GPU as being capable of "40 million triangles/s and 1Gpixles/s using a 64-bit bus" at the chips original 200mhz.

Intel plans to clock the mobile chips at 400mhz and the desktop graphics cores at 640mhz.  The graphics cores will be capable of resolutions up to 1440x900 and supports VGA, HDMI 1.3a and Display Port 1.1 connections for video output.  DirectX 10.1 support is also stated by VR-Zone to be supported by the SGX545, which means that the net-top versions of Atom may be capable of running the Aero desktop smoothly.

This integration by Intel of a GPU capable of hardware video acceleration will certainly make Nvidia's ION chipsets harder to justify for HTPC usage.  ION chipsets will likely reliquish marketshare to cheaper stock Intel Atom platforms for basic home theater computers, but will still remain viable in the more specific market using ION + Atom chips as light gaming platforms in the living room.

Source: VR-Zone

NVIDIA acquires baseband and RF technology maker Icera

Subject: General Tech, Chipsets, Mobile | May 9, 2011 - 10:56 AM |
Tagged:

NVIDIA is really making moves towards providing the mobile industry with the computing power to bring on better and faster phones.  They took a big hit losing the DMI/QPI license from Intel, though the $1.5 billion court settlement took some of the sting from that loss, the battle essentially spelled the end for NVIDIA's motherboard chipset line.  Only being able to make motherboard chipsets for their main GPU competitor, AMD, might be amusing in an ironic sense but not an economically sound decision. 

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Tegra saw a change in NVIDIA's target market, suddenly they provided a mobile chip that provided very impressive computing power and did not absorb a huge amount of power.  With the acquistion of Icera they now have a team designing the chips most necessary for a phone to have, RF and baseband transmission.  Perhaps they've a big enough foot in the door of the mobile market that they won't be going anywhere soon.

Icera’s baseband and RF technologies span 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Joining them with our Tegra mobile super chip will result in a powerful combination. Tegra has secured a number of design wins across the mobile device spectrum, and we have extensive relationships across the industry, from device manufacturers to carriers. In short, we can scale Icera’s great innovation. For additional context on Icera’s industry-leading technology, check out this report from Strategy Analytics.

Our OEM partners will reap the benefits of faster time-to-market, better integration and enhanced performance. The deal will also open up a new market to NVIDIA. The $15 billion global market for baseband processors is one of the fastest-growing areas in the industry.

Looking ahead, Icera’s programmable baseband processor architecture will allow NVIDIA and its OEM customers to innovate and adapt signaling algorithms in the rapidly evolving mobile telecommunications market — network responsiveness is critical to delivering on the promise of untethered wireless visual computing. Icera’s highly efficient architecture makes it possible to cleanly integrate their baseband processor into system and software platforms rapidly and, ultimately, into the super chip itself, if that’s the best product approach.

Source: NVIDIA

Gigabyte Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Motherboard Pictured

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | May 9, 2011 - 09:11 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z68

The slueths over at VR-Zone have come across some photos of the upcoming Gigabyte Z68 motherboard option, the Z68MX-UD2H-B3.  The VRM setup is a 6+1 design which is pretty basic though the inclusion of three full-size PCI Express slots should allow for at least dual-card configurations of SLI and CrossFire and possibly even three cards.  

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VR-Zone has more info on the configuration options as well:

Moving on we have a header for two front USB 3.0 ports via an Etron host controller, no less than five headers for 10 USB 2.0 ports, seven SATA ports of which three are SATA 3Gbps and four are SATA 6Gbps and for some reason a serial port header.

Around the back we have four USB 2.0 ports, another two USB 3.0 ports using another Etron controller, an eSATA port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a PS/2 port, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a set of four display ports consisting of a D-Sub, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort.

For those of you that love the mATX form factor seeing reasonable designs like this one are good indicators that the Z68 market is going to have just many options as the P67 one did.

Source: VR-Zone

AMD Catalyst 11.4 for Linux Released

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Chipsets | May 3, 2011 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, rhel, Red Hat, opensuse, linux, driver, catalyst, ati, amd

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In a previous article we stated:

"Highlights of the Linux AMD Catalyst™ 11.4 release include: This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems Ubuntu 11.04 support (early look) SLED/SLES 10 SP4 support (early look) RHEL 5.6 support (production)"

AMD introduced a new feature into Linux with Catalyst™ 11.4, PowerXpress.

  • PowerXpress: Will enable certain mainstream mobile chipsets to seemlessly switch from integrated graphics to the dedicated graphics. *note: This only applies to Intel Processors with on chip graphics and AMD dedicated graphics and must be switched on by invoking switchlibGL and switchlibglx and restarting the Xorg server.

If you are running RHEL 5.6 or SLED/SLES 10 SP4 and need the driver you can get it here.

If you are running Ubuntu 11.04, install the driver under the "Additional Drivers" program.

If you are running a BSD variant you must still use the Open-Source driver "Radeon" and "RadeonHD" as AMD has yet to release a BSD driver.

Be sure to check back to PCPer for my complete review of the 11.4 driver and PowerXpress.

Source: AMD

AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets to get NVIDIA SLI Support

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Chipsets | April 28, 2011 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: sli, nvidia, amd, 990x, 990fx, 970

In a move that is long overdue, NVIDIA's Tom Peteresen announced on a blog post that SLI multi-GPU support was finally going to be offered on AMD platforms with the upcoming launch of the AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets.  On previous AMD platforms users have not been able to use multiple NVIDIA graphics cards in SLI because NVIDIA simply did not allow licensing of the technology on them.  As of this month, that policy is changing.

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According to the post, NVIDIA has had a change of heart and wants to "make sure gamers can benefit from the new CPU competitive landscape and ensure they have NVIDIA SLI – the highest performance, most stable multi-GPU solution - to game on!"  The lack of SLI on previous chipsets was the result of Intel being the dominate CPU platform of choice for gamers in recent years. 

ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, and MSI are going to be the first out of the block with motherboard based on the AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets with SLI support according to NVIDIA's Petersen. 

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This doesn't change NVIDIA's stance on the whole licensing and charging motherboard vendors to integrate SLI thing, however.  In an ideal world, NVIDIA would have announced that they were opening up SLI to work on ANY motherboard, future or present, that has enough PCI Express slots on them, just like we see today with AMD's own CrossFire technology.  Despite pressure to do that, NVIDIA is standing by its current formula and expanding into the realm of AMD chipsets.  

Regardless, today is a good day for AMD fans and gamers alike that want more choice and more variety in their system build options for the future.  The AMD Llano and Bulldozer-based processors just got a little more gaming friendly.

Source: NVIDIA

Intel Z68 chipset to offer overclocking, display output and SSD caching

Subject: Chipsets | February 27, 2011 - 07:35 PM |
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According to a story posted over at VRZone this weekend, it looks like Intel has not only started shipping the revised, no-more-SATA-bug B3 versions of the Cougar Point chipsets, but has also started sending out the Z68 variant to motherboard vendors.  This completely new chipset for the Sandy Bridge platform brings quite a few new features to the table.

Source: VR-Zone

Fan boys continue to pummel Intel about its Sandy Bridge problems

Subject: Chipsets | February 15, 2011 - 03:19 PM |
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Even though we are quickly coming upon the fixed B3 revision of the P67/H67 Cougar Point chipsets, Intel continues to be the horse getting the proverbial beating.  This user-created video (or I guess it could be AMD built from the underground) compares the fiasco to the engineering disaster that was the Tacoma Narrow Bridge.  

Legacy technology is source for Intel's chipset woes and recall

Subject: Chipsets | January 31, 2011 - 08:56 PM |
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Anandtech was able to get some information on the Intel 6-series chipset issue that was revealed earlier today and the problem appears to more technical that originally thought.  After some discussion with one of Intel's VPs, the story is revealed.

Source: AnandTech

Intel halts production/shipment of 6-series chipsets with SATA flaw found

Subject: Chipsets | January 31, 2011 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged:

Happy Monday everyone; except those of you that might work at Intel.  It looks like Intel has found (and is readily admitting to) a pretty substantial flaw in the current shipping Intel 6-series chipsets used by the Sandy Bridge processors that were released earlier this month.  What could be so series that Intel is taking the time to publicly out itself and plan for a $700M budget hit for recall / replacement?

VIA Labs Scores USB-IF Certification First for USB 3.0 NAND Flash Controller

Subject: Chipsets | November 10, 2010 - 11:10 AM |
Tagged:

VIA Labs, Inc., a leading supplier of USB 3.0 integrated chip controllers, today announced that the VIA Labs VL750 USB 3.0 to NAND Flash Controller is the first in the world to be certified by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) for SuperSpeed operation, ensuring high quality multimedia and more immersive and compelling applications.

The comprehensive suite of tests conducted as part of the USB-IF Compliance and Certification Program ensures that certified de