By Intel's own admission, the chip maker's Core brand has a "mind boggling array of derivatives," a problem the company plans to solve by rebranding chips and simplifying its Core lineup. Going forward, the Core family will fall into one of three tiers: Core i3 (entry-level), Core i5 (mid-level), and Core i7 (high-level).
"It is important to note that these are not brands but modifiers to the Intel Core brand that signal different features and benefits," spokesman Bill Cader wrote in a post on Intel's website.
Cader went on to say that Intel's upcoming Lynnfield processors will be labeled as either Core i5 or Core i7 depending upon the feature-set and capability. Meanwhile, Clarksfield (mobile) will have the Intel Core i7 name, Cader wrote.
"In the back half of this year you'll begin to see Core i5 and more Core i7s coming to market," said Deborah Conrad, vice president and director of corporate marketing at Intel. "Then by the first part of next year you'll begin to see Core i3, and i5, i7. Then the old names will get retired as those products get phased out."
Intel's upcoming 32nm Arrandale (mobile) will initially fall under Core i3, but will later spread to both Core i5 and i7. Celeron will still exist as a brand for entry-level computing at affordable price points, Pentium for basic computing, and Intel's Atom nomenclature isn't going anywhere. However, the Centrino moniker will be phased out as a PC brand and instead be used as a name for WiFi and WiMAX products.
Sun spent the past five years touting its Rock chip project. The Rock project has only yielded delays till now and the much vaunted UltraSparc server chip with multiple cores is still nowhere to be seen. But according to an unconfirmed report, which quotes sources privy to the sensitive details of the project, Sun has finally decided to cancel the Rock chip project. Sun had time and again claimed that the 16-core UltraSparc chip would turn the tide in its favor in the high-end server chip segment. One popular belief is that Oracle, which will soon acquire Sun, may have ordered the cancellation. The cancellation will help Sun trim its R&D budget.
Not long after their acquisition of SiliconSystems, Western Digital has finally released their own line of high end SSDs.
The SiliconDrive III range of SSDs are primarily aimed at the aerospace, communications and military markets, and only come in sizes up to 120GB. But, they do feature SiSMART, will come as 2.5-inch SATA/PATA or 1.8-inch Micro SATA devices, and will feature native SATA 3Gb/s or ATA-7 interfaces. They’ll feature read and write speeds of 100MB/s and 80MB/s respectively.
Yesterday, the largest USB flash drives on the planet checked in at 64GB. Today, Kingston claims the capacity crown with the release of its DataTraveler 200 (DT200), the world's first 128GB USB flash drive that's twice the capacity of yesterday's biggest thumb drives.
"The new DT200's robust storage capability lets consumers store complete libraries of music, photos, and videos.," said Andrew Ewing, USB business manager at Kingston. "It is also a great tool for business users who carry around large databases or files."
Also available in 32GB and 64GB capacities, the DT200 series boasts read and write speeds of up to 20MB/s and 10MB/s, respectively. Other features include a capless design and password protection.
No word yet on availability, however pricing has been set at $120 (32GB), $213 (64GB), and $546 (128GB). Ouch!
Good news for Gigabyte fans who like to tweak their systems but fear one bad move (or BIOS flash) could ruin the whole experience. The motherboard maker has begun offering its DualBIOS technology on its entire lineup of motherboards and not just the high-end boards.
Gigabyte refers to its DualBIOS as a "hot spare" for your system, and that's essentially what is. DualBIOS boards contain two BIOS chips. Should the primary chip fail for any reason -- say a power outage during a BIOS update, or a particularly nasty virus infection -- the secondary BIOS automatically kicks in the next time you boot your system.
Gigabyte initially only offered its DualBIOS technology on premium boards, but look to see it on both entry- and mid-level mobos going forward as the company tries to increase its market share.
Most chip manufacturers are busy readying the move to a 32nm manufacturing process, including Toshiba, which back in April of this year said it would begin mass producing 32Gb (gigabit) chips from the shrunken process by next month. But forget about 32nm - Toshiba says it has made a breakthrough in the use of strontium germanide (SrGex) that will make 16nm possible sooner than expected.
The breakthrough involves the development of a gate stack and interlayer with high carrier mobility that can be applied to metal-insulator-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MISFETs), ElectronicsWeekly.com reports. Today's MSIFETs use silicon for the channel, however the substance is reaching its design limit in terms of current handling capabilities.
Germanium presents design challenges too, namely the development of thin gate structures. According to Toshiba, it can get around these challenges by combining SrGex, a compound of strontium, and germanium, for use as an interlayer between the high-k insulating layer and the germanium channel.
The details get even geekier, but you'll have to wait for Toshiba to present the technology at the 2009 VLSI Symposia in Kyoto, Japan later this week.
Citing un-named sources at motherboard makers, news site DigiTimes says Intel plans on releasing a bevy of new processors before the year is up, including another Core i7 chip. Specifically, Intel will launch the Core i7 960, a 3.2GHz part, in the fourth quarter. If true, this would fly in the face of lingering rumors that Intel plans on riding into the Core i7 sunset with only the 975 Extreme and upcoming 6-core Nehalem, while discontinuing everything else.
In addition to the Core i7 960 part, Intel will also launch a bunch of Celeron chips, including a new 45nm Celeron E3000 series aimed at the entry-level market. Intended to replace the existing Celeron E1000 series, the 3000 series will initially consist of the E3200 (2.4GHz) and E3300 (2.5GHz), with each one sporting 1MB of L2 cache, an 800MHz frontside bus, and a 65W TDP.
And finally, a pair of new Atom chips is expected for early 2010. These will include the single-core Atom D410 and dual-core Atom D510.
We've heard rumors that Nvidia was planning on refreshing its GeForce GTX 295 videocard with a second, single-PCB version, and it looks like EVGA is the first to offer the new design.
"EVGA is proud to announce the latest and fastest in high performance graphics accelerators, the EVGA GTX 295 CO-OP Edition," EVGA wrote. "This card combines two GPUs onto a single PCB, a clear indication on why this card is called CO-OP!"
Core clockspeed will remain at 576MHz -- the same as EVGA's previous GTX 295 videocards -- however the company has goosed the memory clockspeed up from 1998MHz to 2016MHz.
EVGA also plans to sell separately a waterblock for the new card called the Hydro Copper. The full-cover copper waterblock ships with both 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch barbs and includes "an extreme high flow path design with a unique, integrated, pressure point."
In what's fast become a crowded lineup, OCZ has released yet another SSD series, this latest one called the Agility. The 2.5-inch SATA II SSD is being aimed at mainstream desktop and notebook users not looking to spend a fortune on solid state storage.
"The new Agility Series of SSDs are the latest addition to the OCZ lineup of solid state drives and are designed for cost-conscious consumers seeking the performance and reliability benefits of SSDs at an aggressive price," said Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management at OCZ.
On the surface, that sounds like another way of saying the new drives will be slow, but that isn't the case, OCZ says. Helped in part by a 64MB cache buffer, the 60GB and 120GB models will offer read, write, and sustained write speeds of up to 230MB/s, 135MB/s, and 80MB/s respectively. The 30GB model will check in a little slower at 185MB/s, 100MB/s, and 60MB/s for its read, write, and sustained write speeds.
While Asus ambitiously prides themselves on being innovators in design akin to Apple, they’re taking aim at Nintendo in the video game console market as well.
According to Jonathan Tsang, the Vice Chairman of Asus, they have “polished off” a video game system that they claim will rival the Wii. “We have a product we think is better than the Wii. But the content is complicated,” stated Tsang in an interview.
Asus’ problem isn’t with the hardware currently, but rather with the software. They have plenty of ways to design and produce a system, but their support on the software side is lacking. A console with no games isn’t bound to be very successful.
“Sometimes it is a chicken-and-egg problem,” Tsang continued. “We don’t have the chicken, so cannot have the egg.”