Forget about overpriced tickets to the big screen, you can get your fill of drama just by following the tech news. In what could pass as a Hollywood script, ex-Intel engineer Biswamohan Pani has been accused by the FBI of stealing trade secrets from Intel while working for AMD incognito.
According to an affidavit by FBI special agent Timothy Russell, the alleged storyline goes like this: Pani, playing the part of double-agent, informs Intel officials in May of his intention to resign so he can go work for a hedge fund and would utilize accrued vacation time until June 11, which would be his final official day. Here's where the plot twist comes in. There is no hedge fund, and Pani instead begins working for AMD on June 2. With time still left on the table at Intel, the suspected double-agent accesses and downloads 13 secret documents from an encrypted system.
Of course, movie scripts can never be so cut and dry, and so in this feature, Pani no longer works for AMD and denies any wrongdoing, even after a July 1 search of his home turns up eight Intel documents classified as confidential, secret, or the mother of them all, top secret.
Wondering how it ends? So are we. Stay tuned as this one plays out in real life.
There's no official word yet, but there's speculation that Intel might release it's six-core Dunnington chips next week at VMWare's VMWorld conference in Las Vegas. Dunnington isn't being aimed at the desktop crowd and will instead target the server market, so if Intel was looking to make a splash with its new CPUs before Nehalem debuts, VMWorld would be the place to do it.
For those that missed our coverage earlier this month, Intel's Xeon 7400 series Dunnington processor will not only be the first six-core CPU, but also the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores will come on one slice of silicon. Current generation chips feature multiple cores in one package. Despite being monolithic in nature, Dunnington will still use an external memory controller, which Intel hopes to offset with a generous amount of cache. The six cores will share a beefy 16MB of L3 cache, and 3MB of L2 cache (9MB total).
Let's start with the good news. Intel's new SSDs aren't just fast, they appear to be stupid-fast. The chip maker claims read speeds up to 250MB per second and write speeds up to 70MB per second, along with an 85ms read latency. And while Maximum PC has yet to put these numbers to the test, initial reports (BAM, POW) at least look promising.
Now the bad news. While Intel might be helping SSD technology regain its reputation for speed, the company's also pushing SSDs right back into stratosphere pricing tiers at a time when vendors are making a push for higher price/GB ratios. Intel announced its 80GB version will cost $595 (available now), and that's in 1,000 quantities - yikes! The 160GB model will debut later this year for an unspecified amount, but it's probably safe to assume it will command over $1,000.
Anyone think the additional speed is worth the pricing premium?
While the world looks ahead to Core i7, the first processor sporting the Nehalem architecture, Intel continues to tweak its currently shipping CPUs, this time for the server market. The new Xeon X5492 takes its place as the flagship Xeon processor, bumping the clockspeed from the previous high of 3.2GHz to 3.4GHz. The frontside-bus also gets a boost, settling in at 1.6GHz.
Intel also released the X5470, a slightly slower 3.33GHz part on a 1.33GHz frontside-bus. The lower clockspeeds allow the chip to consume a more modest 120W, compared to the X5492's 150W peak power draw. An even lower power L5430 makes a debut too. Aimed at small-profile desktops, the L5430 sips just 50W at 2.66GHz.
All three quad-core chips are available now with large-batch pricing from $562 (L5430) to $1,493 (X5492).
Intel's already popular Atom chip may get a whole lot more interesting next year if a leaked slide turns out to be accurate. The slide comes courtesy of Japanese technology news site PCWatch, and it shows that Intel plans on bringing a next-generation Atom chip to market in Q3 2009. Code named Pineview, the CPU will come in both dual- and single-core versions, according to the report.
But the biggest news with the new Atom is its Lincroft microarchitecture. Lincroft differs from the current Silverthorne microarchitecture by integrating both a GPU core and a memory controller into the chip package. How exactly Intel plans to mesh a GPU core remains a mystery, but such a feat would spark an already booming Netbook market, assuming it would even be made available for Netbook systems.
Making things even more interesting, AMD is reportedly readying its own Atom competitor code named Bobcat, which is expected to be a single-core 1GHz AMD64 processorwith 256kb of L2 cache with an 8W power draw.
Intel has pushed the release of its upcoming chips with integrated graphics core to 2010. According to the company, the move was necessitated due to the “client platform learning and customer feedback” it gained in 2008. These chips - codenamed Auburndale and Havendale -are based on Intel’s Nehalem microarchitecture and have integrated graphics core, memory controller and PCI-Express. They will be locking horns with AMD’s much vaunted APU (accelerated processing unit) that the company has codenamed Fusion. If AMD can release its Fusion in the second half of 2009, as widely speculated, it will have a bit of time to freely plug its APU.
AMD, the one company in a position to give Intel a run for its money, has seen just how hard it is to keep up. Ever since Intel woke up from its Netburst slumber, the mostly two-man CPU market has been dominated by Intel and its Core 2 architecture, and that doesn't look to change any time soon. Is there room for another contender?
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Computing Technology are talking about a new microprocessor they hope will make major headway in China by 2010. Backed by government funding, the chip was developed by more than 200 researchers.
"Twenty years ago in China, we didn't support R&D for microprocessors," said Zhiewi Xu, deputy director of ICT. "The decision makers and IT community have come to realize that CPUs are important."
China knows its getting a late start, but this isn't brand new territory for ICT. The group first began designing a single-core chip back in 2001, with Godson-1, China's first general purpose CPU, making a debut one year later. Now in its third iteration, engineers have added 200 additional instructions to Godson-3 to simulate a x86 chip, which will allow it to run more software than either of its predecessors.
It's worth noting that China's goal with the new processor isn't to take down Intel, a Herculean task by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, Tom Halfhill, an analyst at research firm In-Stat and Maximum PC magazine columnist, points out that "China wants to be independent. They don't want to be dependent on outside countries for critical technologies like microprocessors, which are, nowadays, a fundamental commodity."
On September 15th, Intel is expected to unveil its Xeon 7400 series Dunnington processor. What makes the server chip so special is it will be the first six-core processor, and likely the last Penryn to make a debut before the Nehalem microarchitecture takes over starting with the Core i7.
In another first, Dunnington will be the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores will come on one slice of silicon. By contrast, the Core 2 Quad and four-core Xeon processors to date integrate two dual-core chips in a single package.
In addition to having six cores, the server market hopes to get big performance gains from the large 16MB of shared L3 cache. According to Intel senior vice president Pat Gelsinger, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell will have product announcements related to the Xeon 7400 series in September.
With Nehalem Core i7 nearing release, that means you can expect to find good deals on what's soon to be last generation hardware. But if you're looking to jump onto the Core 2 bandwagon on the cheap, you needn't wait for Core i7. Intel has updated its processor pricing list and added a new Celeron D model.
Taking its place as the second least expensive quad-core processor in Intel's lineup is the 45nm Q8200 priced at $224 (only the Q6600 costs less). Two and a quarter C-notes buys you four 2.33GHz cores running on a 1333MHz frontside-bus, but only 4MB of L2 cache.
For those content with two cores, the 45nm E5200 priced at $84 is now the least expensive Core 2 Duo processor in Intel's lineup. The E5200 comes clocked at 2.5GHz on an 800MHz frontside-bus with 2MB L2 cache.
And finally, making its debut is the Celeron D 450. Priced at a low $53, the 65nm 450 runs at 2.2GHz on an 800MHz frontside-bus with 512K of L2 cache.
Cnet posted an article saying that Nvidia is now offering what it calls "native" licensing of SLI to its partners and system builders. Native licensing will not require the use of Nvidia's nForce 200 bridge for the Core i7 and X58 motherboards. That is right, no chip. The difference between native and the nForce 200 is that native SLI allows for more “common configurations”. There were no details on what “common configurations” could mean.Only the boards certified by Nvidia will be Nvidia will be able to enable SLI.
Pure speculation on my part is that it might mean only dual cards in SLI, not 3 or more on the native solution.
We can hope that this is a sign of a thaw in relations befween Intel and Nvidia. Of course Nvidia board certification may not make motherboard manufactuers very happy at the prospect of another hoop to jump through.
In any case, we can at least be assured of having a helping of SLI with our Core i7.