TomsHardware.com is reporting that the originally scheduled launch of Nehalem based Bloomfield processors will be moved up to September. Imagine that, a hardware launch ahead of schedule! The X58 chipsets will launch along with it.
Some early tests of samples of Nehalem show it beating out current processors by 20 to 30 percent. It appears to like overclocking as well with some overclocking tests going to almost 1Ghz over stock. Nehalem ditches the traditional front-side bus (FSB), and instead uses an external multiplier to control the link between CPU core, memory controller, and north-bridge.
This is only going to further mash AMDs toes as their next CPU, Shanghai, doesn’t look promising for catching up to Intel. Unless AMD has a hat trick waiting, we’ll have to wait until San Paolo and Magny-Cours come out in 2010 to see if AMD can catch up. A year and a half is a long time and a lot can happen in the CPU world. With Nehalem looking to come out early, Intel stretches its lead.
Is Nehalem seductive enough to get you to upgrade?
You've heard of Paper Mario, but a paper processor? That might be taking things a bit too far, but a team of Portuguese scientists have created the first Field Effect Transistor (FET) made with cellulose fiber-based paper. The new approach takes a common sheet of paper and uses it as the dielectric layer on oxide FETs, with devices fabricated on both sides of the paper sheet. And while other teams have reported using paper as the physical support (substrate) of electronic devices, this method is the first one that also allows the paper to be used as the interstrate component as well. In other words, it's really cool.
More than a proof of concept, the team envisions its new paper transistors being used in disposable electronic devices like paper displays, smart labels, smart packaging, bio-applications, RFID tags, and more. Full details will be published in the September 2008 issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters, but until then, you'll have to wade through translated text.
AMD's struggles have been well documented ever since forfeiting the performance crown to Intel, but perhaps all the company needed was a swift kick in the rump. That appears to be what the company's getting with newly inaugurated Dirk Meyer at the helm serving as AMD's CEO, who had no qualms announcing that his company has initiated a pilot production of microprocessors using a 45nm fabrication processor. That puts the Santa Clara chip maker on track to deliver shipping products in volume in early fourth quarter.
"We are well on track with the 45nm plan as we have been telling this group about in the past. We have actually started production late last quarter and are on track to start buying shipments early in Q4," said Dirk Meyer during the conference call.
That has to be good news to nervous investors, who earlier this month saw their stock fall by as much as 7 percent following news that AMD would take a near billion dollar charge in the second quarter. And while Hector Ruiz's subsequent departure just days later might have signaled to some that the end was near, Meyer's confidence in AMD's ability to stay on schedule with its 45nm plans has to be appreciated by anyone pulling for the Intel competitor (which should be everyone). Before the announcement, analysts were expecting 45nm shipments to start in late Q4, and nobody seems to know what exactly AMD has planned as part of its refocusing strategy. A compelling alternative to Nehalem, perhaps? Let's hope so.
The shiny, new hatchback you nudge in a street race dents slightly on the driver’s side door. Although you’re playing a PC game, created with beaucoup equations, the bend looks almost real. The 3D renderer sculpts all those numbers into images, with help from the video API (application program interface). However, several completely different rendering techniques can be the source of those images. Currently, the hardware and software industries are debating how to best utilize two graphics-rendering techniques: ray tracing and rasterization.
Hit the jump to see how 3D game rendering is changing with hardware advancements.
Good news for system builders and upgraders alike: Intel has cut processor prices (PDF) by as much as 31 percent. And these aren't price cuts on chips that nobody cares about either, but they include some overclocking favorites in both dual and quad-core trim:
Q6600, $224 to $193 (14% drop)
E8500, $266 to $183 (31% drop)
E8400, $183 to $164 (11% drop)
E7200, $188 to $113 (15% drop)
A handful of Xeon processors have also been marked down, but the real treat here is for overclockers. All four desktop processors have become extremely popular chips in the overclocking community due to their reputation for ramping up in clockspeed with minimal effort, and save for the E8500, each one could have been considered a bargain before the price cut. Now the price-to-performance ratio looks even better, enough so that those holding out for Nehalem may be tempted to pull the trigger now rather than wait. But on which one? Here's a refresher if you've been out of the loop for awhile:
Q6600 (2.4GHz, 8MB, 1066MHz, x9 multiplier)
E8500 (3.16GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz, x9.5 multiplier)
E8400 (3.0GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz, x9 multiplier)
E7200 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 1066MHz, x9.5 multiplier)
Prices represent 1,000 unit trays, so expect to pay a little bit more at your favorite vendor. Still, who can complain, and at these price points the question of the day is, build now or wait?
eWeekreports that AMD, which has been running at a loss over seven consecutive quarters and has just switched CEOs, is planning to refocus its business on processors and graphics and will divest itself of the consumer electronics division that was part of its acquisition of ATI.
Some analysts predict that AMD will aim for the mid-market (a strategy it first used in positioning its ATI HD 2xxx GPUs) by stressing features rather than processor benchmarks. What do you think? Put on your prognosticator's beanie, stare deeply into the depths of your processor's heatsink, try not to become hypnotized by the cooling fan, and tell us what you think AMD should be doing now.
Relative newcomer Danamic looks to jump into the increasingly crowded CPU cooler market with a heatsink of its own, but this isn't like any other cooler you've seen before. Rather than rely on air, water, or phase-change cooling, Dynamic's new LM10 heatsink uses liquid metal, and according to the company, it's the world's first commercially available CPU cooler to do so.
That might be true, but liquid metal isn't an entirely new concept when it comes to cooling processors. Coollaboratory used to market the metalic goo as a thermal paste (Liquid Pro) and now sells a thermal pad it calls Liquid MetalPad aimed at both PC and console owners. Danamic's solution differs in that it's not a paste, but a fully-fledged heatsink solution. A multi-string electromagnetic pump sits atop the LM10 and pushes the liquid metal through a series of heatpipes without using any moving parts. Judging by the available pictures, the LM10 doesn't come with a fan, which would explain why the company can claim a power draw of less than 1W.
No word yet on pricing or availability, which means there aren't any hands-on reviews in the wild either. Have any expectations for this new cooler? Post them below.
The average user would never dream of paying four figures for a processor, and even today's $1,500 budget boxes can end up being very capable rigs with the right parts selection. Even still, there exists a market for high-end silicon, and Intel's Extreme series always command a premium. But this time around, Intel might be looking to give enthusiasts a break.
Rumor has it that Intel will serve up its delicious 3.2GHz Extreme series Bloomfield processor at just $999 in thousand-unit tray quantities. While that might not appear to be a bargain at first glance, it's a full $500 cheaper compared to the current cream of the crop, the Core 2 Extreme QX9700. If the rumor holds true, the new pricing will mark a return to the way Intel used to price its flagship Extreme model.
Intel is also expected to introduce a performance chip clocked at 2.93GHz at a much easier to swallow $562 price point, and a mainstream model at 2.66GHz for $284.
For those that haven't been following, Intel's much anticipated Bloomfield (Nehalem) processors will introduce a new socket with 1366 pins and finally bring an integrated memory controller to the table.
What sort of crafty tricks can AMD be working on to get them out of their slump? A little poking around finds some juicy details in a report from DailyTech.com on a new socket architecture to support AMD’s planned 8 and 12 core CPUs in 2010. Socket G34 has supplanted the planned G3 socket that was to replace Socket F (1207). As far as AMDs documentation goes, G3 ceased to exist in March 2008.
Socket G34 will support AMDs two new 2nd generation 45nm processors, the 8 core San Paolo, and a monster 12 core now named Magny-Cours. Both of these processors will feature four HyperTransport 3 interconnects, 12MB of L3 cache and 512KB L2 cache per core. AMDs current roadmap claims standard support will include speeds from 800 to 1600 MHz.
DailyTech.com also counted 1974 pin connects on a leaked G34 diagram, which is 767 more pins than AMD's current LGA1207 socket.
2010 is a long time away in computer terms, and anything can happen with company roadmaps. As things stand AMD will launch Shanghai and Intel will launch Nehalem by the end of this year. It doesn’t appear that Shanghai will be a serious contender with Nehalem according to leaked documents from Sun (but you never know until you have the CPUs in hand), so I am expecting status quo in 2009, but hoping for better. However, things look to get interesting in the processor wars in 2010, so we definitely have something to look forward to.
What do you think, is 2010 the year for an AMD comeback?
While AMD battles its stock price doldrums and feels the pinch of it’s acquisition of ATI, Intel posted record second quarter earnings of $9.5 billion, operating income of $2.3 billion, net income of $1.6 billion and earnings per share (EPS) of 28 cents.
"Intel had another strong quarter with revenue at the high end of expectations and earnings up substantially year over year," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. "As we enter the second half, demand remains strong for our microprocessor and chipset products in all segments and all parts of the globe."
This is great news for Intel, but serves to highlight AMD’s woes.
AMD’s disappointing Phenom launch and lackluster processor performance combined with Intel’s pressure on processor prices is a heavy rock around AMD’s neck. It’s important to note that AMD hasn’t been idle and has some pretty interesting things in stock. Not the least of which is the catching up with Nvidia in GPUs, but also their Spider platform, and next generation processor. There is no doubt the pressure is on. AMD needs to deliver a hit. They need it and we, the PC enthusiasts, need AMD. Without a serious competitor innovation can stagnate and prices are sure to rise.