Two new nettops based on Nvidia's Ion platform have been unveiled in Taipei this week, one by ASRock and the other by Pegatron Technology. ASRock's Ion 330 trades in the oft-used single-core Atom processor for a dual-core variant, the Atom 330 CPU (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus). Not much else is known about the PC, other than it comes with an integrated DVD optical drive.
Taking up a slimmer form factor, Pegatron's Cape 7 comes encased in white plastic and has four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, and a power connector for an external power brick. It doesn't come with an optical drive, nor are there any details regarding the processor.
While these are some of the first dual-core Atom 330 based nettops to be spotted in the wild, they won't be the last. According to web rumblings, Nvidia expects around 40 Ion platforms to show up on the markt by the end of the year, some of which are bound to come with dual-core Atoms.
Most parts of the country aren't expected to see any more snowfall until next winter, but the relationship between Nvidia and Intel couldn't be any more chilly. At odds with each other over Nehalem licensing, netbook platforms, and other tech related spats, the two sides seem all to happy to take digs at one another when the opportunity arises. For Nvidia, that means calling to question Intel's claim that its Core i7 processor can improve game performance by up to 80 percent.
"I have a copy of Intel’s latest deck that they share with press and customers, and on there they have a slide that is called The Intel Core i7 920 Processor, where they claim that gaming performance goes up by 80 percent when you use a Core i7, said Tom Peterson, Nvidia's technical marketing director. "Now, I was impressed by that claim, and I was trying to figure out how they could possibly say such a thing, and it turns out that Intel is basing that claim on only 3DMark Vantage’s CPU test."
Peterson went on to point out that the synthetic benchmark's CPU test doesn't actually measure game performance, and to say otherwise would be disingenuous. To drive his point home, Peterson showed Nvidia's own benchmarks of a Core 2 Duo E8400 machine outfitted with a GeForce GTS 250 videocard. The PC averaged 41.6 FPS in Nvidia's testing, and only increased to 42.4 FPS after upgrading to a Core i7 965. But after upgrading to a pair of GeForce GTX 260 videocards, that number jumped to 59.4 FPS.
"In real gaming, there's no difference between a Core i7 and a Core 2 Duo," Peterson concluded.
In a press release issued yesterday, AMD laid out a few surprises in its server platform roadmap that the company says are "game-changing," and perhaps indicative of a new-look AMD focused on design without the burden of manufacturing. We have to admit we like what we're seeing, starting with the announcement that the new monolithic six-core Opteron, code named Istanbul, will be released this June months ahead of schedule. But that's only the beginning.
AMD also announced a new integrated memory controller technology, Direct Connect Architecture 2.0, which it says will support up to 12 cores initially, offer improved memory and I/O capabilities, near native virtualization performance, and a range of full-featured power bands that place a priority on low power consumption.
But wait, there's more! In 2010, AMD says it will ship the Opteron 6000 series for 2P and 4P servers. The Magny-Cours processors will come in 8-core and 12-core flavors debuting on the G34 socket and the Maranello platform. And then in 2011, AMD will introduce the Interlagos 12- and 16-core processor based on the Bulldozer core and built on a 32nm manufacturing process.
Here's hoping AMD will show this same aggressiveness on the desktop.
AMD faithful and bargain hunters alike have a pair of new toys to play with starting today, as AMD launches two new processors for its socket AM3 platform, the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition and 945. Both parts boast compatibility with AM2+ (DDR2) and AM3 (DDR3) motherboards, while the Phenom II X4 955 BE supplants the AM2-based 940 as AMD's new flagship entry in its Phenom line.
Coinciding with the launch, AMD has also overhauled its Dragon Platform Technology, saying "every aspect of the platform has been improved and the overall value is impressive." And we'd have to agree, considering both new chips are being priced below $250.
Hit the jump to get all the nitty-gritty details on AMD's new AM3 processors and Dragon Platform refresh.
Intel this week slashed prices on several Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors by up to 20 percent. The chip maker also introduced a pair of new processors, the Core 2 Quad Q8400S and Q8400 for $245 and $183, respectively. This month's price cuts break down as follows:
Core 2 Quad Q9300: $213 down from $266
Core 2 Quad Q9550S: $320 down from $369
Core 2 Quad Q9400S: $277 down from $320
Core 2 Quad Q8200S: $213 down from $245
Core 2 Duo SP9400: $284 down from $316
Core 2 Duo SU9400: $262 down from $289
Intel's latest round of price cuts come well timed, as AMD today launched its AM3-based Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition processor. While the 955BE serves as AMD's new flagship part, the company is aggressively pushing the chip as the best quad-core in the market within its $245ish price range.
Having completed its metamorphosis into separate design and manufacturing firms, AMD probably feels as though a major weight has been lifted from its shoulders. However, the company still has some financial ground to make up. On the bright side, AMD's first quarter revenue of $1.77 billion remained flat (rather than tumbling backwards) compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. However, it also represents a decrease of 21 percent compared to the first quarter of 2008.
"AMD’s sequential microprocessor unit and revenue growth in difficult economic conditions demonstrate we can grow in an environment where customers are looking for maximum value," said Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO. "We delivered on a number of important priorities in the first quarter. We launched GLOBALFOUNDRIES, maintained our cadence of new product and platform introductions, and made solid progress on our restructuring activities. The result is a more nimble AMD, capable of achieving long-term success based on our strengths designing and integrating industry-leading computing and graphics technologies."
Despite turning in a $416 million first quarter loss, Meyer said AMD is "well positioned" as people have become more discerning for paying only what they need. Moving forward, the chip maker plans to switch over completely to 45nm this quarter and expects a positive cash flow for the second half of 2009.
If the latest web chatter turns out to be true, then Santa won't be stuffing any 6-core Intel chips in anyone's stockings this year. Instead, news site HKEPC tells us Intel's roadmap for for its 6-core Gulftown chip has been pushed back from Q4 2009 / Q1 2010 to sometime in Q2 2010.
From what we know so far, Gulftown will be worth the wait. Built around the Core i7 architecture, Gulftown will purportedly support HyperThreading, turning those 6 cores into 12. It will also come with two QuickPatch Interconnects (QPIs), 12MB of L3 cache, and hardware encryption support. Perhaps best of all, Intel's 32nm Gulftown likely serve as a drop-in replacement for LGA 1366 socket motherboards and work with current X58 chipsets.
IBM this week announced that members of its Bulk Process Alliance -- Globalfoundris, Chartered Semiconductor, Sasmung Electronics, ST Microelectronics, Infineon Technologies -- have begun jointly developing 28nm, high-k metal gate, low-power bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor process technology (forgot about saying that three times fast, try doing it just once!).
"Clients can begin their designs today in leadership 32nm HKMG technology and then transition to 28nm technology for density and power advantages, without the need for a major redesign," IBM said. "By assuring a path from 32nm to 28nm technology, this migration methodology offers clients lower risk, reduced cost, and faster time-to-market."
The move to 28nm is an important one that purports to provide 40 percent better performance than current 45nm parts, while also reducing power consumption by 20 percent. Moreover the HKMG technology offers better power leakage characteristics for longer battery life, which added altogether will be a boon for mobile devices.
Believe it or not, your terrifically fast Core i7 fresh off Intel's assembly line contains DNA that dates back over three decades. The same is true if you roll with AMD's latest silicon, the Phenom II X4. We're of course referring to the longstanding x86 microprocessor architecture that has dominated the desktop and mobile scene since before some of you were even born, and will probably be a mainstay still yet for many more years to come.
Invented by Intel in 1978, the x86 architecture has evolved through the ages, not only getting faster, but increasingly flexible as more and more extensions and instruction sets accompany each new release. It's been a wild ride the past 30 years, and whether you lived through it all or have only recently picked up your first processor, we invite you to join as we look back at not only the most popular x86 CPUs in its history, but ones you may never even have heard of.
Buckle up, sit back, and join us after the jump for a look back at the x86 timeline.
For some time now Intel has been working on a Linux-based operating system (now in its alpha stage of testing), named Moblin. The goal of Moblin is to provide the Atom CPU a light and fast OS that is far less demanding than a full version of Windows.
According to those in the alpha test, Moblin can offer two second boot times (with some optimization). If all this were true, then it would give us the fastest booting OS available. Intel’s Open Source Technology Center director Imhad Sousou is very much on board as well, stating, “We think that two second boot is possible.”
A two second boot would provide an ideal platform for mobile systems (such as netbooks and MIDs) to operate on. For many, having a system in sleep mode (which drains the battery) is preferable to booting the system each and every time they want to use it. The concept of a two second boot would eliminate the need for this.
So, given the concept of a two second boot, would you be willing to ditch Windows and give Moblin a try? Let us know in the comments!