The DRAM industry is facing its toughest time in the past 15 years with not much of a light at the end of the tunnel. Most memory companies have already reduced production and scaled back the workforce, but it has done little to change the fact that DRAM prices have already dropped close to cost. Could a government bailout be the answer?
That's exactly what ProMOS chairman ML Chen wants to see happen. Chen, whose company has already suffered losses adding up to US$675 million in the first three quarters of 2008, is calling for the Taiwan government to keep the industry afloat. Total losses for the entire industry currently sit at US$2.73 billion, a number which is expected to grow in the fourth quarter.
Chen, who said it would be a pity of the government gave up on DRAM makers who have given so much to the nation's semiconductor industry, would like to see some fundamental changes occur, like the development of home-grown technologies. Chen also said that the government should offer aid programs and restricted bank loans, which could only be used for technological research and development and not for capacity expansion.
Should the Taiwan government step in? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Intel's Core i7 release hasn't just changed the processor game, it's also ushered in a new era of memory choices. Up until Core i7, power users found themselves pondering whether to slap a 2GB or 4GB kit of RAM into their system, but that was before triple-channel memory. Now the choice (for upgraders and new builders) comes down to 3GB or 6GB, and Corsair looks to shed some light on the decision by performing some in-house benchmarking.
The tests, which were performed using an Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard, Core i7-965 Extreme Edition CPU, two Nvidia 280 GTX videocards in SLI, and two Seagate 320GB 7200.10 hard drives in a RAID 0 array, heavily favored the 6GB kit. Corsair's results were sometimes significant, with the minimum frame rate in World of Conflict jumping by 50 percent when upgrading from 3GB to 6GB, and netting over a 3-fold increase in Crysis Warhead. Even game loading times saw a boost.
"The analysis shows that 3GB of system memory is insufficient to run modern games, such as Warhammer Online and Crysis Warhead, resulting in poor performance," Corsair wrote (PDF). "The lack of memory when using 3GB of RAM results in increased hard disk drive access, sometimes called thrashing. This causes in-game stuttering, which reduces the minimum frame rate."
This isn't the first time Corsair has released internal benchmarks. Previously, the memory maker found that upgrading from 2GB to 4GB provided "significant performance benefits." This time around, Corsair says "the message to enthusiasts who are looking to build a Core i7 system for gaming is clear - installing 6GB of memory will provide significantly higher frame rates and a considerably smoother gaming experience."
Thoughts on Corsair's testing methodology or results? Hit the jump and let us know.
Storage that uses flash memory is quite unlike the hard disk drives used to hold your computer’s data. The latter rely on speedy actuators to read and write information on spinning magnetic platters. SSDs use electrical charges to read and write the state of individual flash memory cells. An SSD’s flash memory is nonvolatile: Unlike your computer’s RAM, an SSD drive retains your data when you switch the power off. And since the handshake is electric, SSDs can access that data in a fraction of the time it takes a mechanical hard drive to do so.
Sounds ideal, right? Actually, the performance potential of SSDs needs to be weighed against some significant drawbacks. We’re going to outline the pros and cons of the technology and how it compares to traditional hard disk storage. We’re also going to put seven leading solid state drives to the test and let the benchmark numbers do the talking. At this stage in the storage race, an SSD is a big investment; we want to help you maximize your return.
How big a deal is Intel’s entry into the solid-state-drive game? The announcement of the company’s new X-25M SSD, and a faster version for enthusiasts, all but overshadowed details of the company’s next-generation CPU at its fall developer conference.
After testing Intel’s entry-level SSD, we can understand why. The X-25M offers the fastest read speeds we’ve ever seen from a single SSD or hard drive.
How fast? The 10,000rpm Western Digital Velociraptor (reviewed September 2008) offered sustained transfer speeds of 98MB/s. The $1,500 MemoRight MR25.2-32/64S GT from our SSD roundup (November 2008) turned in read speeds of 112MB/s. The Intel X-25M hits 206MB/s read speeds.
When it comes to AMD, the tech world is currently focused on the chip maker's Shanghai processors, which have started showing up at online resellers. Initially planned for a January 2009 release, AMD bumped up the launch of its first 45nm CPUs. But AMD isn't ahead of schedule across the board and the company's 45nm Fusion chip finds itself pushed back once again.
Initially planned for a 2009 release, AMD previously moved the tentative launch date to sometime in 2010 but has now canceled it altogether in its 45nm form. Instead, AMD's senior VP Randy Allen said the CPU/GPU combo won't materialize until 2011 in a 32nm version with the company's Llano core. Llano will sport four cores, 4MB of cache, DDR3 memory support, and an integrated GPU.
On a related note, AMD will actually start producing 32nm chips in 2010, but products won't start to hit the market in any quantity until 2011 starting with the Orochi core, another four-core chip but with 8MB of cache and aimed at the enthusiast desktop sector.
Concerned about the delay? Hit the jump and let us know.
Samsung’s 2.5-inch SSD packs 64 gigabytes of storage into an above-average package. Granted, the SLC-based drive delivers sustained read transfer rates that are slower than those of nearly all the SSDs reviewed here. But the drive makes up for this inadequacy by posting write speeds that match those of the fastest SLC-based drives in this roundup.
Our real-world experience with the drive followed suit. The Samsung SSD turned in a Premiere time of 8:43, nearly 2 minutes slower than Memoright’s GT-series 64GB SSD, but a mere 10 to 20 seconds behind the rest of the non-MLC drives we tested. The Samsung’s PCMark Vantage scores were within 4 percent of Memoright’s SSD, even though the latter crushes theSamsung by nearly 6 milliseconds in its random access write measurement.
RiData’s 64GB SSD uses an MLC design to pack more data onto its flash memory chips. We like how that makes the drive cheaper than the majority of SSDs on the market. What we don’t like is how the Ultra-S Plus illustrates the performance losses wrought by using this technology instead of a speedier SLC design.
The Ultra-S Plus was able to overtake the fastest hard drive we’ve tested—Western Digital’s Velociraptor—in two of our benchmarks: a random access read measurement and the overall PCMark Vantage score. Neither win came as a surprise. Because hard disk drives suffer lag while the drive arm moves to the proper location on the disk, flash memory consistently outperforms magnetic storage in random access read speeds. This helped in PCMark Vantage because the app’s eight individual benchmark traces favor read performance and random access reads.
Microsoft lobbed another artillery shell towards brick and mortar retailers on Thursday with the debut of its new U.S. online marketplace. Microsoft has been slowly expanding its direct to consumer sales channel over the past several months and launched its first pilot program in the UK and Germany back in July. Currently the online marketplace offers everything from Mice and Keyboards to Xbox games and consoles. Landmark PC software products such as Windows and Office will also naturally be made available.
A disproportionately large percentage of our readers have been shopping on Newegg and Tiger Direct for years. And the idea of buying items online isn’t all that unique to most of us. Perhaps the most interesting new feature of the online marketplace however, is the option to download software and install it without the need for the physical media. Downloaded software can be burned by the customer to a DVD, but this process is optional. Microsoft will also allow repeat downloads of its software, and offer remote access to product keys. According to Microsoft’s Trevin Chow; "There is no longer any need to pay for shipping costs and waiting for the big brown truck to drive across the country."
We all know that online software distribution is hardly a novel concept, and people have been downloading productivity software and OS’s such as Open Office and Linux for years. Despite these facts however, this is still a huge step for the Redmond based software giant and a further reminder that internet distribution is here to stay. Let’s just hope they find new ways to compress this stuff. I’m not sure how much more of this my bandwidth cap will take!
It may have been little more than a cruel mistake, but Newegg certainly got our hopes up by showing Core i7 CPU’s for sale a whole three days before the official launch. The offending links and advertisements were quickly pulled from the site and now, little more than a handful of screenshots exist as evidence.
Core i7 is currently slated for launch on November 17thand it appears as though we’ll have to wait until then to place our orders. Normally, this incident wouldn’t classify as news, but the Newegg slip up does give us a pretty good idea of what the retail pricing will be on the three new SKU’s. The site was offering the 2.66GHz entry level part for $319.99, while the 2.93GHz and 3.2GHz models were priced at $599.99 and $1069.99 respectively. UK customers are seeing similar pricing and power users the world over are waiting with egger anticipation to embrace the new architecture.This isn’t surprising given that early benchmarks have the entry level Core i7’s mopping the floor with pricier, and higher clocked Core 2’s.
OCZ uses rebadged Samsung SSD drives for its SSD storage offerings. While we’re confident that OCZ hasn’t done any internal tweaking to the drives, it’s nevertheless interesting to see that a slight performance difference exists between the twins.
In our tests, the Samsung and OCZ drives ran neck and neck in our sustained transfer read and write benchmarks, but the Samsung edged out the OCZ by 1MB/s to 2MB/s in both scenarios. The two drives posted similar results in random access tests, with the Samsung again taking the upper hand in random access write tests.