Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2011 - 03:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, coreboot, uefi, bios, embedded, llano, opteron, s3
A lot of attention is being paid to UEFI, the new graphical BIOS replacement that not only lets you utilize 2TB+ drives as a boot device but will give you mouse control over the games that come integrated with your settings. It does offer quite a few advantages over the old BIOS but adds complexity as well. AMD has gone a different route with their Opteron series with Coreboot (aka LinuxBIOS) a different way of initializing a computer. It does a very minimal hardware initialization and then moves into what is called a payload, which contains the familiar abilities of the BIOS but not integrated directly into the hardware initialization in any way. This is far more useful for server and embedded applications than the latest ROG board, which is why embedded Llano will be receiving support and why Opteron already does. Follow the links from The Inquirer for more.
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced that its upcoming Llano accelerated processing unit (APU) will support Coreboot.
AMD has been pushing development the BIOS replacement initiative Coreboot for many years but has focused on getting support for its embedded and server processors. Now the company has come out and said that all of its future processors will support Coreboot, from Llano onwards."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- WebGL in Chrome and Firefox is a serious security risk @ The Inquirer
- Worried about data caps? Here's how to check your usage @ Ars Technica
- Boffins develop method of driving computers insane @ The Register
- AMD's FM1 desktop test board pictured @ VR-Zone
- New Gigabyte board spotted at eTeknix HQ @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 pictures @ VR-Zone
- Essential Windows 7 Tweaks: Part 3 @ Computing on Demand
- Blackberry App World is finally here @ t-break
- Roccat Apuri Review @ t-break
Subject: General Tech, Chipsets, Mobile | May 9, 2011 - 02:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | May 8, 2011 - 02:51 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: coreboot, amd
When you boot your computer, you probably see a splash screen from whatever motherboard manufacturer or system builder you purchased from. Under that splash screen your computer is busily preparing itself to accept your operating system of choice with a lot of proprietary code. coreboot, formerly LinuxBIOS, is an Free Software project first released over a decade ago designed to replace your aforementioned proprietary BIOS with their own lightweight code. They claim boot times to a Linux console of just 3 seconds.
AMD Embedded: In this article.
Thursday, AMD announced on their blog that they have committed to supporting coreboot for all future products starting with Llano APU. They claim that support will continue for the foreseeable future for both features and products.
We are not expecting our readers to replace their BIOSes with coreboot except for a small segment of hardcore enthusiasts with a decent understanding of C. That said, the motivation of coreboot is not currently in the consumer market: the embedded market is the focus and AMD’s pledge of continued support should mean that cash registers, kiosks, and set-top boxes will have a little more AMD inside driving them.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 6, 2011 - 09:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, kgpu, gpgpu
PC Per has discussed using the GPU as a massively-parallel augment to the CPU for a very long time to allow the latter to focus on the branching logic (“if/then/else”) and other processes it is good at that GPUs are not. AMD and Intel both have their attempts to bundle the benefits of a GPU on to their CPU parts with their respective technologies. Currently most of the applications outside of the scientific community are gaming and multimedia; however, as the presence of stronger GPUs saturates, we are seeing more and more functions relegate to the GPU.
So happy together!
KGPU is an attempt to bring the horsepower of the GPU to the fingertips of the Linux kernel. While the kernel itself will remain a CPU function, the attempt allows the kernel to offload the parallel stuff to the GPU for large speed-ups and keep the CPU free for more. Their current version shows whole multiple speedups of eCryptfs, an encrypted filesystem, in terms of maximum read and write bandwidth by allowing the GPU to deal with the AES cipher.
We should continue to see speedups as tasks that would be perfect for the GPU are finally allowed to be with their true love. Furthermore, as the number of tasks relegated to the GPU increases we should continue to see more and stronger GPUs embedded in PCs which should decrease the fears for PC game developers worried about the number of PCs capable of running their applications. I am sure that is great news to many of our frequent readers.
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 04:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fab, TSMC, 12, inch
At 10 million 8-inch equivalent wafers produced in 2010 and an expected 20 million by 2015 it is a good thing that not only is TSMC not having major production issues anymore but it also ahead schedule with the setup of Fab 15, which will be producing 28nm chips on 12 inch wafers. Moving from 8 to 12 inches should also mean less cost per chip, though whether the savings will be absorbed by the costs of the new fab or if they will be passed straight on to the consumer is a question that cannot be answered until summer next year when they expect to get production capacity up to full speed. DigiTimes has the scoop here.
"Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has begun equipment move-in for the phase 1 facility of a new 12-inch fab (Fab 15) with volume production of 28nm technology products slated for the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the foundry.
TSMC previously said it would begin moving equipment into the facility in June, and expected volume production to kick off in the first quarter of 2012.
Pilot runs at the phase 1 facility of Fab 15 are expected to start in the third quarter of 2011, following by volume production in the fourth quarter, said Jason Chen, senior VP of worldwide sales and marketing for TSMC, at a company event held on May 5. With new capacity coming online, TSMC will see its combined 12-inch capacity top 300,000 units a month."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- USB 3.0 to Debut as Chip Interconnect @ SemiAccurate
- Meet DOCSIS, Part 1: the unsung hero of high-speed cable Internet access @ Ars Technica
- Transistors go 3D as Intel re-invents the microchip @ Ars Technica
- Apple dumps Intel from laptop lines @ SemiAccurate
- What MDS Should Mean to a CIO @ CoD
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 01:20 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sony, Internet, Data Breach, Anonymous
As Sony analyzed the forensic data of the recent PSN/SOE attack, they discovered a text file named "Anonymous" and containing the phrase "We are legion," according to Network World. As a result of this, Sony even went so far as to accuse the hacker group as the responsible party in hacking the Playstation Network (and stealing customers' information) in a letter to the U.S. congress.
Anonymous responded to the implications brought by Sony today. Network World reports that Anonymous has stated they were not involved in the attack and that "others performed the attack with the intent of making Anonymous look bad." Based on a press release by the hacker group, it's prior victims had motive to irreparably defame the group in the public eye. Anonymous stated that they have never been involved in credit card theft. Further, they claim to be an "ironically transparent movement," and had they truly been behind the attack they would have claimed responsibility for their actions.
The press release goes on to state that "no one who is actually associated with our movement would do something that would prompt a massive law enforcement response." They further claim that the world's standard fare of Internet thieves would have invested interest in making Sony and law enforcement agencies believe it was Anonymous to throw police off of their trail.
The hacker group names such former victims as Palantir, HBGary, and the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce of being organizations that would like to discredit Anonymous. "Anonymous will continue its work in support of transparency and individual liberty; our adversaries will continue their work in support of secrecy and control," they state in their press release "we are anonymous."
As Anonymous, Sony, and spectators the world over debate, the affected public continues to wait for the true identies of the hackers involved in stealing 77 milion Sony customers' private information to come to light.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 03:31 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Netflix, Customer Data, Corporate theft
It seems as though this Spring season is just a bad time for customers' personally identifiable information. Especially in the wake of the Sony PSN and SOE attack fiasco, to have yet another large corporation found to be involved in compromised customer data is rather disheartening for customers who trust companies with their private information.
Update: LastPass has also reported a data breach, resulting in customers' emails being compromised. Luckily; however, users' passwords were salted and hashed so users accounts on other sites should not be compromised in contrast to the Sony case where the passwords were compromised.
Fortunately, in the case of Netlfix, they have determined who the responsible party was and have moved swiftly to address the issue. Maximum tech reports that an un-named call center employee for Netlfix was terminated for accessing customers' information without permission. On April 4, 2011 Netflix discovered that one of their call center employees had been accessing confidential information of a number of customers that he had spoken with over the phone. He was found to have accessed the name and credit card information of two customers in New Hampshire.
According to the article, Netflix is now in the process of notifying the two customers in question.
The amount of private data that customers entrust will be kept private by the companies that they do business with everyday is rather daunting. When large corporations like Sony and Netflix run into problems with keeping information secure, one has to wonder how much compromised information goes under the radar of the majority of people. While there is not much one can do to stop others accessing their data without permission once information has been lost in a data breach or as a result of corporate theft, people do have control over what information is given to compainies to begin with.
It may seem rather paradoxical for me to quote Sony of all people; however, they have definitely seen the consequenses and thus can assuredly recommend that customers stay vigilant and protect themselves from fraud. Using one time credit card numbers (if your bank/card provider offers this) or reloadable visa debit cards with just enough money on them fro the desired transactions can help to protect you from data breaches such as this. Further, only provide the minimum amount of information necessary for a transaction, especially if it's to a company that you're unsure about. While various forms of fraud protection can help, preventing yourself from ever needing to use fraud protection in the first place is the best thing you can do for yourself and your private data. "Remain vigilant."
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 02:58 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ultrasharp, u3011, podcast, Phenom II X4 980, Intel, dell, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #153 - 5/05/2011
This week we talk about the Dell UltraSharp U3011 monitor, AMD Phenom II X4 980, 3D transitors 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 RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
This Podcast is brought to you by MSI
Program length: 1:23:01
- 0:00:35 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:02:13 That's not a monitor, this is a monitor! Meet the Dell UltraSharp U3011 Review
- 0:23:10 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:23:55 AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Review: Last of the Breed
- 0:34:05 Graphics shipments rise 10% despite falling PC sales; NVIDIA share drops
- 0:37:20 AMD's new DX11 compatible embedded E6760 GPU can handle 6 displays
- 0:40:00 Intel and 3D Transistors: A love story
- 0:56:55 Seagate at 1TB per platter
- 1:08:33 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 1:21:33 Closing
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | May 6, 2011 - 02:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: usb computer, Education
In case you did not get enough solder for one day: you are in luck! David Braben, previously known for his work developing such games as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Thrillville, and Kinectimals, created an extremely low cost PC for educational use. His goal is ultimately to have computers like the one he created be accessible such that there would be functionally zero barriers to entry for students to pursue studying computing. A charity was created, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, under these beliefs to distribute this device hopefully sometime within the next 12 months.
Am I the only one who finds it weird that an affordable PC uses HDMI?
Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 10:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: security, lastpass
One of the most important parts of security is authentication. A lot of our methods of authentication online revolve around passwords. There is an expectation these days that you are required to remember large passwords composed of completely random characters including numbers and symbols each unique from each other in the event that one source compromises the password you provide it. This necessity confronts our human nature of having terrible memory. Many programs have made attempts at solutions by storing and generating secure passwords for you.