Intel waited until CES to formally introduce its 5th Generation Intel Core processor family, essentially a die shrink of Haswell built on a 14nm manufacturing process. These are the Broadwell parts you've been waiting for -- yes, we've already seen the Broadwell architecture manifest in Intel's Core M processors released last year, but those CPUs were mostly intended for fanless 2-in-1 hybrid tablet devices.
Coming up with new CPU designs isn't quite as easy as coming up with new flavors of ice cream. First, you need to figure out exactly what you want the core to accomplish, along with what critical components are needed to meet that goal. Then, after that's sorted, the process moves to a second stage called "design implementation" -- basically, figuring out how to actually make the CPU the architectural engineers dreamed up. It's a long, laborious procedure, but now North Carolina State University researchers claim they've developed a tool to quickly automate the design implementation process.
Just in time for the holiday season, Nvidia’s rolling out a new promotional GPU in select markets (read: US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Russia and the Nordic countries). The GeForce GTX 560 Ti With 448 Cores – and yes, that’s its actual name – is built around a toned-down version of the same GF110 GPU that powers the higher-end GTX 570 and GTX 580, rather than the GF114 GPU that the traditional GTX 560 Ti runs on. Its 448 CUDA cores places the promotional GPU squarely between the normal GTX 560 Ti (which has 384 cores) and the GTX 570 (which has 480 cores).
Desktop users aren't the only ones who stand to benefit from Intel's 32nm Clarkdale processors. Fujitsu on Thursday announced plans to outfit at least two new entry-level, single-socket Primergy servers with Intel's new chips.
"The flexibility and power of [the two servers] make them ideally suited for general all-around use, and they are affordable enough to be very attractive to clients in the small and mid-sized market sector," Richard McCormack, senior vice president of Fujitsu's Server and Solutions Business, said in a statement.
The announcement comes on the same day Intel officially lifted the curtain on Clarkdale, which took an investment of $7 billion in four fabs to make possible.
Fujitsu's Primergy TX150 S7 tower system and RX100 S6 rack server are the two models that will use the new chips, and both are aimed at small and medium businesses. According to McCormack, they can also be used in non-mission-critical scenarios, such as Web server farms.
Intel's Core processor lineup (the parts formerly known as Nehalem) are a stone's throw away from release, and in preparation of the launch, Intel is cutting prices on a pair of existing chips and adding a few more to its lineup.
The price cuts affect two of Intel's higher end offerings, with the Core 2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz) and Xeon X3360 both dropping a generous 40 percent from $530 to $316. The new price points represent 1,000 tray units, so expect to pay slightly more through your favorite online vendor.
New models will also find their way into the lineup, including the Core 2 Quad Q9650 (3.0GHz) and Core 2 Quad Q9400 (2.66GHz) priced at $530 and $266 respectively. A trifecta of new Xeons will also make their way into the lineup: Xeon X3370 (3.0GHz) priced at $530, X3333 (2.66GHz) priced at $266, and the E3120 (3.16GHz) priced at $188.
It might be awhile before other popular chips in Intel's lineup see another price drop, as the company has stated its initial Nehalem parts, the Core i7, will be geared towards high-end PCs.
Not everyone is sold on SSDs, but that isn't stopping almost everyone from trying to sell you one. Competition has started to heat up, and it looks as though OCZ and Super Talent are lining up for a race to see which company can offer the fastest SSDs at the lowest price point. Super Talent kicked things off with its MasterDrive MX line, offering 120MB/sec read and 40MB/sec write speeds in 30GB, 60GB, and 120GB sizes for as low as $299, but OCZ joined the race just a few months later with a low cost line of its own. OCZ's Core series drives upped the ante with a hat trick that includes slightly more storage space, better read and write speeds at up to 143MB/sec and 93MB/sec respectively, and lower price points. Game, set, match?
Not quite. Super Talent doesn't appear ready to concede the mainstream market, and to prove it, the company has revised its MX series SSDs to offer faster speeds. Both the 15GB and 30GB models now sport read speeds of 120MB/sec and write speeds of 60MB/sec, while the 60GB and 120GB boast the same read speed but increases the write speeds to 80MB/sec. "Our expert engineering team is constantly discovering new ways to improve our proudcts, and this is one improvement that will be well received by power laptop users," said Super Talent director or marketing, Joe James.
The tweaked SATA-II SSDs still trail behind OCZ's Core series, but to make them more competitive, Super Talent has begun offering a $40 rebate (PDF) when purchased through Newegg. Is it enough to make you consider a SSD?