ATI has been eerily quiet regarding the company's first 40nm-based graphics release, code named RV740, and instead letting rumors swirl around the web. That's okay, because review site Guru3d managed to snag a sample of an as-yet un-named RV740-based videcoard and has put it through a variety of DX9 and DX10 benchmarks.
On the hardware front, Guru3d says the new part comes equipped with 640 shaders, 32TMUs, and 16 ROPs. If this sounds familiar, it's because these are the same specs as those found on the RV770LE, only the RV740 bumps up both the core frequency from 575MHz to 650 MHz, and memory frequency from 1800MHz to 3200MHz. The wide gap in memory frequency can be attributed to the use of GDDR5, compared to RV770LE's GDDR3. But are the higher frequencies enough to make up for the smaller 128-bit memory bus on the RV740?
According to Guru3d, the answer is yes. The new card fell in between in the Radeon HD 4830 and HD 4850 in every benchmark the site published, no matter whether it was tested at 1280x1024 or 2560x1600. Not at all bad for a card that is expected to sell for under $100, however there's been no official word yet on price.
During a phone interview with InformationWeek, Dirk Meyer, CEO of AMD, said the chip maker is on track to deliver 32nm CPUs by the middle of next year, with testing of the new chips to be complete by the end of this year and volume production to begin in Q4 2010. This would put AMD roughly a year behind Intel in shifting to the smaller manufacturing process, as AMD's rival chip maker is expected to produce 32nm chips by Q4 of this year.
AMD closes its deal with the Abu Dhabi government tomorrow for the creation of AMD's manufacturing spinoff, the Foundry Co., who will create the new chips. Once finalized, the deal will lift about $1.1 billion in debt out of AMD's books, freeing the company to concentrate on designing new parts.
It remains to be seen if AMD will also integrate major graphics in a 32nm process through the Foundry Co. as well.
There has been some renewed excitement over AMD's triple-core Phenom X3 processors after at least one user claims to have been able to unlock the fourth core. The post appeared on Korean website Playwares.com backed by what appear to be legitimately looking screenshots. Using a Bisotar TA790GX motherboard, all it supposedly took was changing the "Advanced Clock Calibration" in the BIOS to 'Auto,' which reportedly unlocks the disabled core.
Citing un-named motherboard makers, DigiTimes says the report has caused an upsurge in demand for AMD's Phenom X3 chips. Those same sources also described the credibility of unlocking reports as very high, but cautioned that it might only apply to specific batches of CPUs and not the whole tri-core lineup.
Not surprisingly, AMD isn't commenting on whether or not the disabled cores can be re-enabled. And until we see it for ourselves or from a reputable source, we remain skeptical that it can be done.
In what the company claims is a first (and as far as we can tell, they're right), Palit Microsystems has released a GeForce GTX 285 videocard outfitted with 2GB of memory. Every other GTX 285 currently ships with 1GB.
Whether or not the additional memory buffer proves a worthwhile investment remains to be seen, but it's worth noting the GTX 285 is Nvidia's fastest single-GPU solution available, second in speed only to the dual-GPU GTX 295. We've often seen graphics partners outfit lower end cards with additional memory, which is almost always of dubious value, but that isn't the case here.
Palit also lays claim to offering the first custom designed GTX 285. Deviating from the reference heatsink/fan assembly, Palit has outfitted its GTX 285 series with two PWM fans and four heat pipes.
"Conceived for two GPUs, the two PWM fans are able to provide sufficient air flow to cool GPU on the graphics quietly," Palit wrote in a press release. "The PWM fan created for both fans can adjust the fan speed depending on the GPU's temperature."
Palit also offers the GTX 285 in a more standard 1GB configuration. No word yet on pricing or availability for either model.
Slumping demand continues to take its toll on the memory chip industry. Micron, the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, said earlier this week that it has been particularly affected by decreased demand for specialty DRAM products, and as a result it plans to phase out 200mm wafer manufacturing operations in its Boise, Idaho facility.
"This action will reduce employment at Micron's Idaho sites by approximately 500 employees in the near term and as many as 2,000 positions by the end of the company's fiscal year," Micron said in a statement. "The company has sufficient manufacturing capacity remaining and does not expect any disruption in product supply required for customer needs."
Micron went on to say that these latest job cuts were not anticipated and not part of the 15 percent global workforce reduction it announced last October.
The chip maker said it will continue to operate its 300mm research and development fabrication facility at the Boise site. Financially, Micron expects cash restructuring charges to be in the vicinity of $50 million, which Micron says will generate a gross annualized operating cash benefit of $150 million.
This past Friday Lian Li announced their PC-V351 Desktop HTPC case, a pure aluminum chassis that’s meant for the HTPC minded builder out there.
The PC-V351 features dual, front mounted 120mm fans that spin at 1000RPM, as well as a single, rear mounted 80mm exhaust fan that moves air at 1200RPM. This boxy beast measures in at 262mm tall, 279mm wide, and 373mm deep. Plus, you’ll have plenty of room for whatever components you decide to put in. There’s room for two 5.25-inch optical drives, plenty of hard drives, and a micro-ATX motherboard.
Plus, if you’re looking to build a media machine that’ll sit in a room where it has to look pretty, you can get this in black, silver or red.
AMD Socket F (1207) Opteron owners have reason to rejoice, as it looks like the chip maker's upcoming Istanbul chip is on target for a 2H 2009 release and won't require any new hardware. A 6-core chip built on a 45nm manufacturing process with 6MB of L3 cache, Istanbul will go head-to-head with Intel's 6-core Dunnington-based Xeon released in September 2008. AMD had some heavy criticism for Dunnington following its release, saying it's just a glued together triple-dual core processor with 50 percent more cores than the quad-core and costing 50 percent more, among other complaints.
We'll have to wait for Istanbul's release to see how it stacks up against Intel's 6-core solution, but in the meantime, AMD did demonstrate a 24-core Istanbul configuration pitted against a 16-core Shanghai rig using the same parts, both with HyperTransport 3 enabled. With 50 percent more cores, the Istanbul machine produced almost double the bandwidth at 42,000 MB/s versus 25,000 MB/s for the Shanghai setup.
No pricing information or release date has yet been given, although AMD is planning on offering both lower-power HE and high performance SE models.
According to a report published by review site PCPerspective, Intel's advanced sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithm used in the company's X25-M SSD is causing the drive to suffer serious performance degradation over time. In some cases, the site noted reads had been reduced to a pokey 22MB/s. The only solution PCPerspective could come up with to restore the once speedy SSD back to its original performance level was to use a dated version of HDDErase.
Not so fast, says Intel in response to PCPerspctive's claim that the X25-M had become, well, not so fast. Despite the review site having found a drop in performance in all three of its SSDs, Intel claims it has not seen the same type of degradation in its own labs.
"Our labs currently have not been able to duplicate these results," Intel said. "In our estimation, the synthetic workloads they use to stress the drive are not reflective of real world use. Similarly, the benchmarks they used to evaluate performance do not represent what a PC user experiences."
Intel went on to say that it's completely normal for a PC's drive, whether it be an HDD or SSD, to exhibit reduced performance when filled up, but that PCPerspective's results are higher than what Intel would generally expect. Hence the reason why Intel questions the methodology that was used.
Any SSD owners, Intel-brand or otherwise, notice any performance slowdowns over time? Hit the jump and let us know what your experience has been.
Ruh-roh, Shaggy, it looks as though SSDs might not be all that and a bag of chips after all. Or more specifically, Intel's mighty X25-M SSD may prove a better sprinter than a marathon runner.
One of the major concerns with SSD technology is that the cells are good only for a finite number of writes, at which point they become read-only. Intel address this potential problem using sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithms, but a new report shows it might carry a nasty performance-reducing side effect.
Most wear-leveling algorithms dynamically move frequently-rewritten logical sectors to different physical sectors of the drive, ensuring that no cells are written to more frequently than others. Intel takes it a step further by extending its remap table into individual sectors, which reduces the number of small block writes needed for small files. The problem, according to PCPerspective, is that Intel's method seriously degrades long-term performance. After two of the site's writers noticed that their X25-M SSDs were performing signicantly slower after a length of time, the review site reran the drives through its gamut of benchmarks and found the drives had indeed degraded in performance, and in some cases, reads were reduced to a paltry 22MB/s. Zoinks!
If you own an X25-M and find that your drive has also slowed down considerably, there are fixes in place. According to Intel, one way to restore performance is to use IOMeter to sequentially write content to the entire drive. PCPerspective said it met with limited success using this method, but had much better results using Intel's second suggestion, which is to use a tool to perform a SECURE ERASE command on the drive. Using an older version of HDDErase (v3.3), the site says it was able to restore its X25-M back to its original performance levels.
Check out the article here, then hit the jump and sound off.
Time will tell if this proves to be a somber moment or cause for celebration, but AMD on Wednesday announced that it had secured stockholder approval for the creation of 'The Foundry Company.' That means AMD can now officially focus its efforts on the design of new chips and technologies, leaving the burden of manufacturing and associated costs to its Abu Dhabi-based spinoff.
While the split into separate design and manufacturing firms represents a major shift for the No. 2 CPU maker, the original vote had to be postponed after a low turnout by shareholders last week. At the time, 97 percent of the shares voted were cast in favor of the spinoff, but the shares voted represented only 42 percent of its total stock. This time around, AMD managed to scrounge up the majority vote it needed.
Under terms of the deal, AMD stockholders approved a proposal to issue 58 million shares of the company's common stock with warrants to purchase 35 million shares of its common stock and 35 million shares of the common stock upon exercise of those warrants to an affiliate of the Mubadala Development Company PJSC.
The transaction is expected to close by March 2, 2009.