ARM today said it has developed a pair of Cortex-A9 hard macro implementations which will enable devices to operate at 2GHz, and beyond. To achieve the additional speed without disregarding power consumption, the new design calls for a 40nm manufacturing process.
"The Cortex-A9 MPCore processor has already been widely accepted as the processor of choice for high-performance embedded applications across a broad spectrum of demanding consumer and enterprise devices," said Eric Schorn, VP marketing, Processor Division, ARM. "ARM’s parallel development of advanced, optimized physical IP components demonstrates a new level of collaborative differentiation while enabling our Partners to expand their penetration into high margin domains traditionally occupied by proprietary architectures."
According to ARM, chips built on the new design should consume just 0.25W per processor. TSMC will likely end up producing the bulk of the 40nm chips, though any company can start licensing the technology.
Where chips based on the new design ultimately end up is anyone's guess. The Archos 5 current uses the Cortex-A8 chip, as does Apple's iPhone 3GS.
Even the Intel fanboys have to hand it to AMD once in a while. After Intel deftly dropped a Core i5 anvil on Phenom II’s head, AMD did a quick drop to floor and now fires back slo-mo style with its own chip: a $99 quad core.
Dubbed the Athlon II X4 620, this 2.6GHz quad core isn’t just leftover parts swept off the factory floor, either. The Athlon II X4 is based on the familiar K10 microarchitecture in the Phenom and Phenom II, but it’s actually a newer, smaller die. In fact, the new chip has less than half the transistors of a Phenom II X4 processor. Much of the shrinkage comes at the expense of cache. While the Phenom II packs 6MB of L3, the budget Athlon II X4 features none.
The TDP of the new Athlon II X4 chips (there are two, but only one is sub $100) is also considerably lower than the top-end Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition chip at 95 watts versus 140 watts. Other than the TDP and lack of L3 cache, the CPUs are essentially the same as their Phenom predecessors.
Read on for our full analysis, review, and benchmarks!
Some sources are saying that, at least internally, Intel is talking about shipping one million Lynnfield processors for desktops by the end of 2009. Should Intel meet its goal, it would put the pressure on motherboard makers to keep up.
Asus and Gigabyte are each on pace to ship 400,000 P55-based mobos by the end of the year, leaving 200,000 units for other manufacturers to pick up the slack. MSI, ECS, and ASRock are expected to ship around that many mobos, but all it takes is for one manufacturer to miss its goal for there to be more CPUs than there are mobos.
Asus looks to be the most active for the rest of the year. According to company VP Joe Hsieh, Asus' expects to ship between 5.5 to 6 million motherboards in the third quarter, 6 million in the fourth, and 22 million total. Going forward, Asus says P55-based boards will account for 10 percent of all shipments.
Its next-generation microprocessors, which are based on its Westmere microarchitecture, are codenamed Clarkdale (desktop version) and Arrandale (notebook version). The “Dales” chips are a multi-chip solution featuring 45nm integrated graphics cores. Intel is also expected to shed light on a new system-on-chip technology, besides announcing transistor improvements. The event might also feature some updates on the company’s Larrabee platform.
Stock cooling is for chumps, but until cooling manufacturers either update their existing coolers with socket 1156 brackets or come out with new products that support the Core i5 platform, you might not have much choice. Enter Asetek, who just launched a liquid cooling system capable of cooling every major Intel socket currently available.
“Asetek’s robust liquid cooling can now easily be configured for any Intel desktop motherboard. A single mounting ring enables flexible manufacturing in both high and low volume PC manufacturing settings,” said Gary Baum, Asetek's SVP of Marketing. "The new retention ring helps our OEM customers reduce inventory costs by providing a single solution to support Intel's entire mix of socket types."
The one-size-fits-all mounting bracket features a single mounting ring and multiple screw inserts so there's no fumbling around the box to find the correct part.
No word yet on price or availability, but if past products are any indication, expect to see Asetek's new liquid cooler used primarily in OEM systems.
Intel has released six new Xeon CPUs based on the Nehalem micro-architecture. Known as the 3400 series, all the chips will have RAID 0/1/5/10 for server operating systems, Error Correcting Code memory, and support for up to 32GB of server system memory. Intel also adds, in marketing-speak, that the 3400 series can "help small businesses grow".
Included in the new lineup is a low power version called the Intel Xeon L3426. The L3426 draws only 45W TDP, making it 188 percent more efficient than the previous generation Xeon X3380.
OEMs seem anxious to get the new chips into servers. Super Micro is already shipping a new line of 1U servers for the Xeon 3400 series. Amax also claims to have 1U server building blocks ready to go. The release coincides with the launch of a number of new MicroATX boards that could be driving adoption.
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.
AMD over the weekend added to its Opteron line with a new series boasting six-cores and a low 40W ACP. That's the same power rating as AMD's quad-core chips released in April of this year.
"Unlike other chips manufactured by the competition [Intel Xeon], our six-core Opteron retains certain, much-loved features that are consistent with AMD's quad-core iteration," AMD spokesperson Brent Kerby told TGDaily. "For example, we have not reduced the memory speed, bus support, hyperthreading, or cache size. As such, deployment of the 40W Opteron will undoubtedly extend well beyond Cloud 2.0 and social media environments."
Remarkably, the wattage breaks down to about 6.67W per core. As John Fruehe, Director of Business Development for Server/Workstation products at AMD, points out in a blog post, single-core processors consumed up to 58W per core just six years ago.
But it's not all about power savings. Compared to AMD's quad-core Opteron, the company claims the new six-core part offers up to 30 percent better performance, while significantly lowering memory investment in Cloud computing servers compared to Intel's Xeon platform.
The CPU wars in the desktop market have grown pretty stale with Intel's Core i7 architecture kicking AMD's tail, but when it comes to the server sector, the battle is starting to heat up.
Enter IBM, who at this week's Hot Chips conference officially unveiled its muscular 8-core Power7 processor. The mighty chip is expected to pack 1.2 billion transistors onto a 45nm die. Each core will boast 12 execution units, as well as 32 threads per chip and advanced pre-fetching data and instruction sets.
"I am sure Power7 will be the fastest processor around, probably faster than Intel's Nehalem in some benchmarks," said Nathan Brookwood, principal of market watcher Insight64.
Other specs include scalability up to 32 sockets, 256KB L2 cache per core, 32MB of on chip eDRAM shared L3 cache, dual DDR3 memory controllers, 100GB/s memory bandwidth per chip, and 360GB/s SMP bandwidth per chip.
Finding a dual-core netbook is a lot like looking for the Loch Ness Monster - you keeping hearing it exists, but no one's been able to prove it. According to a Japanese technology website, not only does it exist (a dual-core netbook, that is), but Shenzhen Weibu Electronics will "soon" have one for sale.
The upcoming netbook ditches the familiar single-core Atom N2xx processor for Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N330 chip with 1MB of cache. And the N330 supports hyper-threading as well. If that weren't enough, the new netbook will be built around Nvidia's Ion platform with integrated Nvidia 9400M graphics, just like those fancy MacBooks boast.
Other specs include 1GB of memory, a 150GB hard drive, webcam, and 802.11 g/b WiFi. And as one would expect, the N10A, as the netbook's being dubbed, will hit the wallet harder than existing netbooks to the tune of 49,800 yen, or about $530 USD. That starts encroaching on traditional 15-inch notebook pricing, but if other vendors follow suit with similarly spec'd machines, the next generation of netbooks could get awfully exciting.