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.
Just as motherboard sales have fallen because of the recession, so too has CPU sales, and it's finally caught up with Intel. According to new data from iSuppli, Intel's four-quarter growth streak has come to an end with the No. 1 chip maker seeing a decline in both sales and market share, much to the delight of AMD.
"After losing share to Intel on a sequential basis during three out of four quarters in 2008, AMD managed to reverse the trend in the first quarter of 2009," said Matthew Wilkins from iSuppli. "AMD increased its allocation of global microprocessor revenue due to strong performances in each area of its microprocessor portfolio, particularly in its notebook products."
Intel's market share fell by two and a half points for Q4 2008 while its shares of the global processor revenue inched backwards from 81.6 percent to 79.1 percent. Nearly all of it went to AMD, whose market share grew by 2.3 points.
Almost every top tier motherboard maker has been feeling the economic crunch, save for MSI, the only major mobo player to see its monthly revenues go up. Asus, ECS, and Gigabyte all slid in the opposite direction, with Asus hit the hardest after posting consolidated revenues of $428.55 million for May. That's a drop of 20 percent on month for the popular motherboard maker, and 22 percent down for the year.
Tough times for memory chip makers continue, but relief may soon be coming, if not for just a short period of time. According to Simon Chen, chairmen of A-Data Technology, DRAM prices have a very good chance of returning to cost levels in the third quarter of 2009, DigiTimes reports.
The comments came during the Computex Taipei trade show, in which A-Data has been showing off new memory products, including overclocked DDR3 memory kits and SSDs. However, Chen did caution that while pricing may soon go up, a full recovery isn't likely to take place until 2010. Contract pricing for June will be a telltale sign of things to come, Chen said, and DRAM chip makers would be wise to closely monitor and control their inventory.
For those of you not familiar with BFG's Trade Up program, registered owners of qualified videocards have 100 calendar days from the date of purchase to trade their card in for a faster, more expensive model and pay the price difference. Now you'll be able to do the same with BFG-brand power supplies, assuming you meet the criteria.
"This program only applies to BFG power supplies purchased after June 1, 2009," BFG states. "This program may not be available to all customers, and rules/restrictions may apply. The Program is currently only available in the U.S. and Canada."
For a limited time, BFG is extending the offer to include PSUs purchased as far back as January 1, 2009. The company doesn't say how long the offer will remain valid.
We're still waiting for AMD to go gunning after Core i7, but in the meantime, the No. 2 chip maker announced plans to expand its Athlon and Phenom processor lines. The new chips include the Athlon II X2 250 and Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition.
Zipping along at 3.0GHz, the Athlon II X2 250 will take its place as the fastest Athlon processor in AMD's lineup. Other vitals include a 45nm manufacturing processor, 65W TDP, and an AM3 package allowing it to support both DDR2 and DDR3 memory. Perhaps best of all, the new chip is being priced at a budget-friendly $87.
As for the other processor, the Phenom II X2 550 BE will rank as the company's "fastest ever dual-core processor" clocked at 3.1GHz. It will come with an HT Link of 2.0GHz, a 7MB cache, and the same AM3 package as the aforementioned Athlon II. And it won't cost much more, either - look for a $103 price tag.
According to Intel, there are now more than 1 billion Intel processor-based desktop PC motherboards worldwide, a milestone the chip maker says is indicative of a thriving PC business.
"Intel congratulates the Taiwan tech industry on reaching ths historic milestone," said Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. "This milestone is another signal that the desktop PC is not dead and that computer users continue to crave the processing power, graphics, and storage capabilities that desktop PCs provide."
This in addition to the exploding netbook market, which is so far dominated by Intel silicon and presumably not included as part of the "desktop PC" shipment milestone. At last count, worldwide PC shipments had reached 80.6 million units in Q3 of 2008, spurred in large part by netbooks.
Maloney is expected to further discuss the milestone tomorrow during his Computex keynote.
Stop surfing the internet for a minute (we know, a tall order) and go get your last cable or satellite TV bill. Back? Good. Now skim to the bottom and look at the total amount of money you paid for TV last month. Do you feel like you got a reasonable amount of entertainment for that $60, $80, or even $100-plus? Are you happy about the money you spend for the privilege of watching TV? We’re not. The vast majority of TV we watch is available for free, over the air. Sure, we’ll occasionally watch an episode of Flight of the Conchords on HBO or a documentary on Discovery, but most of the TV we watch is on one of the big over-the-air networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, the CW, and NBC. So we started looking for alternatives.
It turns out that the vast majority of new TV shows are available online, either as part of an ad-driven website like Hulu or TV.com, or available for sale on iTunes or Amazon’s Unbox service. However, having a PC in the living room has traditionally sucked. After all, you don’t want to hear a big, noisy PC when you’re enjoying a movie or a TV show, and using a mouse and keyboard as the primary interface just doesn’t cut it when you’re kicking back on the couch. But times have changed. These days, it’s easy to build a PC that’s quiet enough to be virtually unheard, yet powerful enough to play all the high-definition video that’s currently available.
And making the proposition even more appealing, there are software frontends like Boxee and the new Hulu Desktop that let you harness all that hardware power in an easy-to-use, remote-friendly interface that combines the massive library of streaming video on the web with the DRM-free content you rip from discs or purchase legally on the web. We’ll introduce you to a couple of the options, then help you configure our favorite. By combining a few hundred bucks’ worth of hardware with a free software app and your broadband connection, you can reduce the money you spend on entertainment from $100 a month to $100 a year.