The past few months we've watched SSDs gain momentum and attract the focus of both manufacturers and consumers. From larger capacities to faster performance, traditional hard drives suddenly find themselves on the verge of obsolesence. Or do they?
One of the biggest concerns surrounding SSDs continues to be long-term reliability, but there might even be a bigger stumbling block. Because many SSDs use industry-standard NAND flash chips designed for handheld gadgets, physical security becomes a potential issue. Jim Handy, director of semiconductor research and consulting firm Objective Analysis, points out there's nothing to prevent a hacker from unsoldering NAND chips from an SSD and extracting the data using a flash chip programmer. "There's really nothing sophisticated about this process," Handy said.
But that's not the only method. A hacker could use an ultraviolet laser to wipe out lock bits (encryption locks) from fuses on chip that secure SSDs. The data can then be read without any special software.
Is Jim Handy right to be concerned? Hit the jump to post your thoughts.
Intel fans be polite and stifle those snickers, but at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, members of AwardFabrik.de managed to breach 4GHz on an AMD Phenom 9950 processor using liquid nitrogen cooling. Not without controversy, the feat failed to pass CPU-Z's validation.
Running at precisely 3952MHz, the team recorded a 19.954 second SuperPi 1M time, setting a new record for AMD processors. Other hardware used in the endeavor included a Foxconn A79-S motherboard and an OCZ 1KW power supply.
On a related side note, SuperPi may find itself being replaced as processor technology moves forward. While the world record for AMD CPUs now sits at just under 20 seconds, the record for an Intel processor is 7.14 seconds using an E8600 overclocked to 6376MHz, leaving little headroom for future record breaking attempts.
Some rumors just refuse to die, and one that refuses to stay buried is that Nvidia might be looking to enter the CPU market. On the surface, such a move would seem to make sense, as both AMD and Intel offer integrated CPU and GPU platforms. Speculation that Nvidia might develop a platform of its own has been particularly strong the past few months, and chairman Jen-Hsun Huang, a co-found of the company, only fueled the fire at his press conference on the opening day of NVISION, saying "we believe in x86...we believe in heterogeneous computing."
But while Huang has been hesitant to stomp on the rumor outright, Chris Malachowsky, another co-founder and senior vice president, went on the record with PC Pro as strongly denying the graphics chip maker would make such a move.
"That's not our business," Malachowsky said. "It's not our business to build a CPU. We're a visual computing company, and I think the reason we've survived the other 35 companies who were making graphics at the start is that we've stayed focused."
Malachowsky also pointed out Intel's marketshare dominance and financial strength in the CPU market as reasons why the Nvidia would be wise to steer clear.
Do you believe Malachowsky, or do you think the company will have a change of heart once Intel's Larrabee and AMD's Fusion start shipping?
Cnet posted an article saying that Nvidia is now offering what it calls "native" licensing of SLI to its partners and system builders. Native licensing will not require the use of Nvidia's nForce 200 bridge for the Core i7 and X58 motherboards. That is right, no chip. The difference between native and the nForce 200 is that native SLI allows for more “common configurations”. There were no details on what “common configurations” could mean.Only the boards certified by Nvidia will be Nvidia will be able to enable SLI.
Pure speculation on my part is that it might mean only dual cards in SLI, not 3 or more on the native solution.
We can hope that this is a sign of a thaw in relations befween Intel and Nvidia. Of course Nvidia board certification may not make motherboard manufactuers very happy at the prospect of another hoop to jump through.
In any case, we can at least be assured of having a helping of SLI with our Core i7.
While high end gaming cards like ATI's 4870 and Nvidia's GTX 280 hog all the spotlight, not everyone can afford (or needs) a top of the line card. Picking up the slack at the other end of the spectrum, Nvidia this week silently launched its entry-level 9400 GT graphics card.
The 9400 GT comes with 16 processor cores clocked at 1400MHz, a 550MHz graphics clock, and 512MB of memory chugging along at 400MHz. And thanks in part to the 128-bit bus, Nvidia claims the 9400 GT will run twice as fast as the comparable 8-series graphics card.
Nvidia has set the MSRP to $59, which buys support for DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.1, CUDA general-purpose parallel computing, and hardware HD video acceleration. A cursory glance around the web shows the 9400 GT as being a respectable overclocker, but even after pushing the clocks, it looks to be best suited for HTPC and light gaming duties.
Western Digital today announced the addition of 750GB and 1TB RE3 SATA hard drives to its enterprise lineup. The new drives boast a beefy 32MB cache buffer, enhanced vibration and shock tolerance, and what the company claims are "new electronics to increase performance approximately 20 percent and by as much as 60 percent in high-vibration environments."
Rounding out the feature-set are a several marketing buzzwords, including StableTrac (reduces system-induced vibration and stabilizes platters), dual processor (better processing power), RAFF technology (corrects linear and rotational vibrations), IntelliSeek technology (calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise, and vibration), and several more.
Western Digital has the MSRP on the 750GB and 1TB models at $199 and $249 respectively. The drives are available now and carry a five-year limited warranty.
Forget about your swank two-monitor setup, word on the tech block is that Intel's 4 Series chipset for desktop and notebook displays will support four monitors at the same time. DisplayLink is providing its technology through a license model, and Intel has jumped first in line as a major customer.
Two of the displays will come courtesy of conventional outputs, while the other two can be connected via USB 2.0. Previous to this, DisplayLink support was only provided to displays that included the company's DP-120/160 chips. Also prior, enthusiasts wanting a four-display setup had to rely on graphics cards outputs.
But what about the performance impact? TGDaily noted up to 30 percent CPU utilization with the DP-120/160 chips, so it will be interesting to see how the G45 chipset handles DisplayLink chores.
Intel is going to need to start dressing up in a tricked out leisure suit with lots of bling and a plumed hat if it keeps pimping SSD technology. On the last day of IDF 2008 Intel wanted to hammer home the reason why hardcore gamers should be interested in its mainstream and Extreme SSDs and it worked to dispel the myths that have sprung up with SSDs.
Chris Saleski from the Storage Technologies Group showed off some pretty spectacular benchmarks with 500 GB, 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda drives in a RAID array, that were getting just under 550 IOPS versus a single 80GB X25M Mainstream SSD that was posting 44,000+ IOPS. Holy frack! I have to wonder just how accurate that figure is and I’ll keep an eye out for independent verification.
Falcon Northwest’s general manager Bradd Berdelman did another demo. He put a pair of identical FragBoxes together with one containing two of the vaunted 10,000 RPM WD Velociraptors in RAID, and the other FragBox ran an SSD setup. The SSD system turned in 32.65 FPS versus 16.76 FPS for the Velociraptor system.
Intel is preaching to the choir here. System enthusiasts like SSDs and we want to buy them, but when a single modern game can hog 6GB of drive space, we aren’t going to buy them in 80GB sizes for a king’s ransom. Put the products in our hands and if they start turning in those sort performance scores and we see a size increase/price decrease you’ll get us to buy them in droves. No pimping required.
Nvidia contnues to feel the pressure from a suddenly competitive ATI and will once again tweak one of its mainstream videocards. Back in June, Nvidia took its 9800GTX card based on the immensely popular G92 core and shrank the core from 65nm to 55nm, pushed the core, memory, and shader clockspeeds, and dubbed the resulting product the 9800GTX+. This time around its the GTX 260 that will undergo a revision.
Citing an un-named source, Expreview reports Nvidia will add another Texture Processing Cluster (TPC) to its GTX 260, bringing the total up from 8 to 9. By doing so, the revised card will sport 216 shader processors instead of the 192 found in the original GTX 260. As far as Expreview knows, core, shader, and memory clockspeeds will remain the same.
If the report holds true, look for the updated card to arrive in September.
We've already had some hands-on time with Bloomfield, Intel's high-end Nehalem part (officially named Core i7). But we know that not everyone's going to make the jump on board this new platform when it's released later this year. Bloomfield pricing hasn't been announced yet, but we expect it to be in the high-end enthusiast range -- ie. only affordable for price un-conscious buyers.
For mainstream system builders, Intel's solution will be Lynnfield, a socket 1160 CPU that'll have its own motherboard configuration. Lynnfield processors will be incompatible with X58 motherboards sporting socket 1366 -- though Intel assured us that they won't phase out the Bloomfield platform once Lynnfield is released in Q1 of next year (unlike what happened with AMD's socket 940 platform). Another difference: Lynnfield's motherboard will run two-channel DDR 3 memory, as opposed to the highly-touted tri-channel setup in Bloomfield.
We were lucky enough to snap up a few spy shots of an early Lynnfield motherboard, shown below:
Can you spot the differences between a Lynnfield and Bloomfield motherboard? Take a closer look after the jump.