It's hard to imagine anyone being stoked about losing $611 million in a quarter, unless you're part of a group of DRAM makers who were expecting to lose much more.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Taiwan's major DRAM chip makers -- Inotera Memories, Nanya Technology, Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC), and ProMOS Technologies -- will post combined losses of more than NT$20 billion, or roughly $611 million USD, for the second quarter of 2009. As bad as that sounds, market watchers were anticipating losses adding up to NT$30.7 billion, or about $938 million USD.
And it hasn't been all losses for memory chip makers. Both A-Data Technology and Transcend Information continue to see profits for the second quarter, perhaps indicating that the worst might finally be over.
According to Jon Peddie Research, a firm that specializes in tracking the graphics market, AMD is on the up and up when it comes to graphics card shipments, beating out both Intel and Nvidia.
According to their latest report, many graphics vendors stopped ordering new cards and made sure that their inventories were depleted for the first quarter of this year. But, during that same first quarter, improvement was shown for the sales of Intel, Nvidia and most notably, AMD, who had a growth of 41.5 percent.
It’s expected that Q3 of this year is gearing up to be a very healthy one, thanks to Apple’s Snow Leopard, Windows 7, as well as AMD and Nvidia’s 40nm designs, which should bring better performance and aggressive prices.
Is that 1GHz in your pocket or, well, you know the rest. The answer may soon be 'both,' as Samsung and Intrinsity jointly announced a 1GHz ARM processor that will likely find a home in the iPhone and other similar devices. Code named Hummingbird, the co-developed 1GHz chip is very similar to the 600MHz Samsung processor based on the ARM Cortex A8 design that currently powers the iPhone 3G, CNet reports.
"Samsung could drop Hummingbird into the existing S5PC100 design with few or no changes," said Tom R. Halfhill, senior analyst at the Microprocessor Report. "Bingo! A next-gen iPhone that could run at speeds up to 1GHz."
On the design side, getting to 1GHz meant using a 45nm manufacturing process, whereas most other ARM chips currently on the market are built around a 65nm manufacturing process. That represents somewhat of a change in design philosophy from ARM, who previously focused more on power efficiency than it did on high-performance.
Nevertheless, Samsung and Intrinsity say the new chip's multi-Vdd / multi-frequency design methodology ensures Hummingbird can run at a high speed even at the minimum supply voltage of 1.0V.
After being the first to release a 1TB desktop hard drive, Western Digital is at it again with the release of the first 1TB 2.5-inch mobile hard drive.
The drive, known as the Scorpio Blue 1TB, will be accompanied by a smaller 750GB brother as well. These are both already shipping to retailers, and will run you for $189.99 (750GB) and $249.99 (1TB).
Now, it should be noted that this isn’t truly the first drive of this size, given that pureSilicion released a 1TB SSD of this form factor, but kudos to WD on releasing the first 1TB HDD measuring only 2.5-inches.
Solid state drives continue to go through growing pains, and not even Intel can avoid having to beat back bugs in this relatively new market. After some customers reported slowdowns following extended use with the first generation of X25-M SSDs, Intel pushed out a firmware update to fix the problem. Now it appears the company's new 34nm X25-M G2 SSDs are also in need of a firmware update, but for a different problem.
According to OEM system builder Puget Systems, a defect exists in the new drives which causes data corruption if a password is set on the drive in the system BIOS and then is changed or disabled later.
"There was a lot of confusion, but it was clear that something was wrong with these first units - enough so that Newegg and other online vendors had also pulled them entirely from their sites," Puget wrote in a blog. "We too stopped listing them, and began contacting our customers who were expecting us to ship them out this afternoon."
Puget says Intel was able to work out a firmware fix for the problem rather than rework the drives, however the updated firmware won't be available for another two weeks. In the meantime, Intel has stopped shipping the new drives until the fix is fully implemented.
AMD has been talking up its CPU/GPU combo chip codenamed Fusion for some time now, but it might not see the light of day for another three years, according to the latest rumor.
Initially expected in late 2008 or early 2009, Fusion in 45nm form was ultimately scrapped due to design challenges. The same might be happening with 32nm, says news and rumor site Fudzilla, who claims AMD has now decided to wait until it moves to a 22nm manufacturing process, currently scheduled for the second half of 2012.
That sounds like a long time to wait, especially as Intel puts the pressure on with a CPU/GPU chip of its own (Larrabee). For that reason, it's possible AMD may opt to follow in Intel's footsteps and release Fusion constructed with a 32nm IGP and CPU as two separate dies on the same chip. If AMD went this route, it could conceivably have Fusion parts ready by the second half of 2010, Fudzilla says.
Silverstone this week launched the Raven RV02, a "smaller, lighter, and higher performing" chassis than the original Raven RV01, the company claims.
Like the original, the updated design also boasts a 90-degree motherboard mounting layout, however the new version no longer supports Extended-ATX motherboards and "server-level storage capacity." Silverstone says that by sacrificing these features, it was able to make the RV02 more compact and consumer-friendly.
Other features include three 180mm fans, support for liquid cooling radiator mounting, motherboard backplate opening behind CPU socket area for easier installation of third-party heastinks, eight expansion slots, and an updated hard drive suspension system to help reduce drive noise.
The Raven RV02 will come configurable with our without a window, though no word yet on price or availability.
Writing an operating system is no easy task, particularly for Microsoft. Having to design a piece of software that will maintain compatibility across a nearly infinite number of hardware configurations can be a daunting mission. It becomes even more difficult when hardware manufacturers implement new technologies, but the software lags behind.
Determined to not let that happen to Windows 7, Microsoft engineers have reportedly worked side by side with Intel to optimize support for its processors. In a posting made on the new Windows 7 partner blog, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc highlights the results of the collaboration. “Working with Intel, Microsoft implemented a new feature called SMT parking, which provided additional support for the Windows 7 scheduler for Intel Hyper-threading Technology, enabling better performance on hyper-threaded, multi-core Intel processors.”Intel and Microsoft have also been working on optimizing boot/ shutdown/ sleep/ and resume times, which could end up giving the chipmaker a substantial edge in performance for the foreseeable future.
Intel’s rival Nvidia also posted a follow up on the partner blog outlining GPGPU functions in Windows 7, and encouraged upgraders to spring for dedicated graphics cards. Ultimately the Intel announcement is more interesting since the DX Compute found in DirectX 11 will favor both ATI and Nvidia equally and it certainly makes me worry about the growing performance gap between Intel and AMD.
Will this announcement influence your upgrade decision?
It’s official, Windows 7 is in the bag and the first boxed copies have gone out the door. OEM’s arrived in droves on Friday to pickup large bundles containing all the code and supporting documentation they will need to begin integrating Windows 7 into their upcoming hardware designs. OEM’s are typically the first Microsoft customers to receive RTM code as it often takes months to properly tweak their drivers and software to ensure maximum compatibility.
The Official Windows Blog posted pictures of the event for those who are interested. Pictures included representatives from HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, Sony, and Siemens all posing with their debut copies. Officially the focus of the OEM’s at this point is to ensure hardware / software compatibility, but we all know a certain amount of trialware will inevitably be tested and slipped into new machines as well. Microsoft kicked off a new initiative last year in the hopes of educating OEM’s on the danger of over bundling trialware with a new PC, lets just hope they listen.Just in case they don’t, check out our Clean Start Guide on How to decrapify any new machine.
Have you purchased a new OEM build machine recently? Have things gotten any better? Let us know what you think.
We've seen some third-party USB makers toy with adding movies to USB sticks -- PNY being the first by adding Ghostbusters to a 2GB USB thumb drive -- and now Disney is looking to do the same thing, only with microSD cards.
According to news site TGDaily, Panasonic and Disney have inked a deal to distribute Disney movies on microSD cards, the first of which will be the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy this November. Looking longer term, Disney plans to release future titles on DVD and microSD at the same time.
Buyers will be able to view the movies on car navigation systems, mobile phones, and other portable media players with a microSD card slot, as well as some existing Panasonic TV sets that come with card readers already built in.
There are a couple of caveats, however. First, the card/movie bundles will only be available in Japan, at least initially. And secondly, the $53 price tag and included copy protection may scare off some potential customers.