Expect to see quite a few netbook and nettop deals this holiday shopping season, especially if Intel forges ahead with plans to fast track the introduction of its upcoming Pine Trail platform.
"Intel is planning for a fast transition to Pine Trail. To generate excitement for the platform ahead of launch, Intel is planning a press release in late December publicly disclosing the details of the platform," X-bit Labs claims to have read in an Intel document.
Should Intel aggressively push Pine Trail ahead of its launch, consumers could see a fair number of pre- and post-Christmas day sales on older Atom platform-based netbooks and nettops. And look for plenty of coverage at next year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Intel's Pine Trail platform will include a bunch of next-gen Atom Pineview processors, which will come with an integrated graphics core, a built-in DDR2 memory controller, a new core-logic set, and other goodies.
Nvidia's chipset business has taken a PR beating in the past 12+ months. It all started when Nvidia's notebook GPUs began failing at an "abnormal" rate, then there was the whole SLI licensing fiasco. Now Nvidia is saying it plans to halt development of future chipsets that might work with Intel's Core i5 and i7 architecture.
According to Nvidia, it doesn't have much choice in the matter.
"We will continue to innovate integrated solutions for Intel's FSB architecture," wrote Ken Brown, a spokesperson for Nvidia. "We firmly believe that this market has a long healthy life ahead. But because of Intel's improper claims to customers and the market that we aren't licensed to the new DMI bus and its unfair business tactics, it is effectively immposible for us to market chipsets for future CPUs. So, until we resolve this matter in court next year, we'll postpone further chipset investments for Intel DMI CPUs."
As Arstechnica explains it, Nvidia has a license to Intel's frontside bus protocol, but there is no frontside bus in the P55 platform. The CPU now talks to the I/O hub using the same DMI bus that in previous platforms was used by the MCH. Nvidia has so far been unable to get a DMI license from Intel that would allow them to continue to making chipsets, prompting Nvidia to take Intel to court.
Nvidia was a bit more dodgy when it came to setting the record straight with regards to future chipsets on the AMD platform. At least one report suggests Nvidia has also halted development on the AMD side, and Brown didn't confirm or deny the report, saying only "we continue to sell a higher quantity of chipsets than AMD itself."
We're all about a hardcore naming scheme that eschews the now overused 'Extreme' nomenclature, so we applaud Asus for its new TUF (The Ultimate Force) series, at least in title.
Kicking off the TUF series is the Sabertooth 55i. Based on Intel's P55 chipset and built around Asus' own 'Marine Cool' concept unveiled at CeBIT earlier this year, the Sabertooh comes equipped with the new CeraMIX heatsink. Through the use of ceramics and a microfin surface texture, the CeraMIX heatsink purports to dissipate heat more rapidly than traditional anti-oxidant compounds, Asus says.
Other TUF attributes include direct memory cooling by way of a CoolMem fan frame that encloses most standard 40mm or 50mm computer fans and fits directly below the memory slots, military-certified capacitors and MOSFETs, E.S.P. (Effcient Switching Power. Drat! We were hoping for a board with a sixth sense), a 12+2 power phase design, and other goodies.
More proof that Intel's P55 platform packs enough punch to satisfy power users and mainstream users alike, MSI's P55-GD80 motherboard helped Taiwan overclocker Coolater set a new Core i7 overclocking record. Using the aforementioned board, Coolater was able ramp up his 2.8GHz Core i7 860 CPU all the way to 5.39GHz.
"The MSI P55-GD80 owes much of its outstanding overclocking ability to its equipped MSI-exclusive technologies, such as the one second auto-overclocking feature OC Genie, the SuperPipe cooling system that effectively drops the operating temperature by 50C, and 1>4 phase total DrMOS power supply design," MSI said in a related statement.
According to the validated CPU-Z screenie, Coolater ran a 245.39MHz bus speed with a 3926.2MHz frontside bus and a 1.672 vCore. And of course at nearly 5.4GHz, LN2 was involved in keeping the proc cool.
The summer hasn't been particularly kind to Silicon Integrated Systems, who saw its revenues for August tumble 25.8 percent on year to $413.4 million. However, that figure also marks the eighth consecutive month of growth for the entry-level and IGP chipset maker.
SiS said it expects growth to continue to the tune of 20 percent for the third quarter, and they're probably right. The growth in August can mainly be attributed to rising sales of entry- and mid-level PC chipsets, as well as Xbox 360 southbridge chipsets, the company said. And with the Xbox 360 recently receiving an attractive price cut, SiS could potentially do very well in the console sector.
SiS currently supplies budget chipsets to Asus, ECS, and Clevo, among other less recognizable brands.
For motherboard manufacturers, it's 'out with the old and in with the new,' whether they're ready for the change or not. Citing un-named sources sitting in mobo trenches, DigiTimes says Intel plans to slash the proportion of its G31 IGP chipeset shipments in half, reducing the number from 50 percent to 25 percent in the fourth quarter.
At the same time, Intel also plans to raise the proportion of its G41 shipments to 25 percent, but it remains to be seen how this will play out in terms of sales. According to DigiTimes, motherboard makers appear unwilling to jump on the pricier G41 bandwagon, which costs $7 compared to $4-5 for the G31.
Meanwhile, there already exists a suppy gap of around 20 percent for G31 chipset-based boards, which could reach as high as 50 percent in the fourth quarter. Asrock, ECS, Foxconn, and MSI are expected to suffer the most, as they ship more entry-level boards than Asus and Gigabyte.
Acer's overhauled Aspire Revo 3600 nettop picks up where its predecessor left off. Like the original Aspire Revo, the new 3600 model supports HD video courtesy of Nvidia's Ion platform, but the latest iteration trades in the comparatively anemic single-core 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor for a 1.6GHz dual-core Atom 330.
Right off the bat, doubling up on cores will come as a boon to anyone, um, aspiring to do more than basic tasks with the Aspire Revo. Other specs include 4GB of DDR2-533 memory, an HDMI port, and VESA mount compatibility.
Citing un-named sources in the motherboard industry, news and rumor site DigiTimes says Intel will officially announce its new socket 1156-based desktop platform on September 8, 2009. This includes the Core i5 750, Core i7 860, and Core i7 870 processors, as well as the P55 motherboard chipset.
With anticipation for the new platform running high, motherboard makers expect sales to jump by 15 to 20 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter. P55-based boards are expected to account for 20 percent of all mobo shipments by the end of the year.
Still no word yet on pricing, although much to the chagrin of Intel, its upcoming platform has already been spotted in retail channels in Taiwan and China. The Core i5 750 was seen selling for $206, while the Core i7 860 and 870 were listed at $303 and $575, respectively.
As Intel's socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors inch closer to an official release, look for motherboard vendors to start rolling out new mobos built around Intel's P55 chipset. That's exactly what Foxconn has done, who over the weekend unveiled its Inferno Katana motherboard as part of the company's Quantum Force series.
There's a lot to like about the Inferno Katana, at least on paper. Power user features are aplenty, including a 12 phase hybrid PWM and DirectFET MOSFET technology, 2 phase for VTT and memory, and a "Fuzzy Equalizer," which is an LED indicator light for displaying the PWM loading status.
Other specs include support for up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3-1800, 8 SATA ports, 7.1 channel onboard audio with Dolby DTS, 3 PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, 8 USB 2.0 ports, and "performance comparable to if not better than the C/P ratio of the Core i7."
Nvidia on Monday announced that Intel and leading motherboard manufacturers have licensed the graphic chip maker's SLI technology for use in Intel's P55 Express chipset. This will include boards from Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI.
"Nvidia technology is a perfect complement to the processing prowess of our new Core i7 and Intel DP55KG desktop brand," said Clem Russo, VP and General Manager of Intel Client Board Division. "Nvidia and Intel share a combined passion for furthering the PC as the definitive platform for gaming, and this combination will surely be attractive to anyone building or purchasing a brand new PC this fall."
By adding the P55 chipset under SLI's licensing umbrella, SLI is now available for all consumer PC platforms, including the Intel Core i7, Core i5, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Duo processor, in addition to those based on the AMD Phenom II CPU, Nvidia points out.