192GB of RAM in a system, Bay Trail, and Haswell-E—Oh my!
We’ll admit it, it was damned hard to find desktop and enthusiast-related hardware at the 2013 Intel Developer Forum 2013. We almost wondered if the old desktop PC was like the Intel’s crazy aunt living in the basement. Fortunately, the desktop PC and PC enthusiasm was alive at well at IDF—if you looked hard enough.
Click through our photo gallery for the most important PC news from IDF and—gasp!—proof that Haswell-E on desktop lives!
If you've ever dreamed about owning a supercomputer, SGI has your back. During the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) that kicked off today and runs until Thursday, SGI introduced what it describes as a "personal supercomputer" called the Octane III. More than just marketing hype, the Octane III comes ready to accommodate up to 80 high-performance cores and just shy of 1TB of memory.
"This new product takes high-performance computing to a new level by combining the immense power and performance capabilities of a high-performance deskside cluster with the portability and usability of a workstation," SGI said in a statement. "The Octane III is uniquely suited for workplace environments and supports a vast range of distributed technical computing applications."
The Octane III will ship with a pre-installed platform with support for several HPC applications, including fluid dynamics, quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics, CAD, and a bunch of other geeky stuff that has nothing to do with running Crysis or gaming in general.
During a private briefing with Intel at IDF yesterday to talk about Nehalem, we were given a demo of some cool software in development that makes good use of the multi-threaded cores of the new CPU. Francois Piednoel, the Senior Performance Analyst (ie. benchmarking guru) at Intel describes Deep Viewer as a "science project" of sorts. It's an image sorting application that they acquired from an independent software developer that reminds us of Microsoft Live Labs' Seadragon technology (which is used in the recently released Photosynth online app). We're talking about near-infinite scaling of visual data (in this case photos and videos) being processed in real-time on your display.
Monday, we told you about the forthcoming SATA Revision 3.0, also known as SATA 6Gb/s. Given the fact that conventional hard disks still don't saturate the original SATA 1.5Gb/s bus, let alone the mainstream SATA Revision 2.0 3Gb/s bus, why bother with another speedup?
In a word: SSDs. The Inquirerreports that the new Intel solid-state drives introduced this week at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) come very close to saturating the SATA 3Gb/s bus with 250MB/s read speed, while blowing the doors off conventional hard disks and third-party SSDs. And, they're not alone. As we reported Monday, Indilinx isn't far behind, offering the 230MB/s Barefoot SSD drive controller.
To learn more about why some SSD drives are faster than others, and what else SATA-IO is working on for the near future, join us after the jump.
So, what makes some SSD drives faster (or slower) than others? SSD drive performance is affected by two factors: the speed of the controller and the speed of the SSD memory chips. Currently, the fastest SSD drives use single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash, while drives using multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash trade higher capacity for slightly slower performance. As capacities climb and performance zooms, it's going to be an interesting fall and winter in the SSD business.
That's the good news. The Inquirer also reports that the SATA-IO's Power over eSATA initiative, announced in January, is now expected to be released in early 2009 (rather than late this year as was originally expected). Power over eSATA will enable eSATA drives to pull their power from the eSATA port, just as many USB drives get their power from the USB port. Whenever Power over eSATA appears (and let's hope they come up with a cooler acronym than the logical "PoeSATA"), it will be very helpful in getting eSATA to become mainstream.
At yesterday’s Intel Developer Forum keynote, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group discussed new features of the company's next-generation processor family including a new turbo mode. This turbo mode shifts the processor into a higher gear for ‘mind-blowing performance’ without a heat penalty.
On Nehalem based CPUs, Intel has introduced a technology that it calls ‘power gating’. Basically, when one or more of the cores on a Nehalem chip are not in use and powered down, the processor can divert power to the cores that are running by increasing their voltage and clockspeed.
"Our engineers have put together an incredible processing family here that will include a tremendous amount of new processor features all centered on delivering faster computer performance and terrific energy efficiency," Gelsinger said.
This next-generation Core microarchitecture features Intel Hyper-Threading Technology delivering up to 8-threaded performance capability on 4 cores in the initial versions. Nehalem is predicted to offer more cores in future versions. It also contains the much vaunted new QuickPath Interconnect. QuickPath is a technology that connects processors, chipsets and memory together, and delivers up to three times the memory bandwidth of previous generation processors.
It is no wonder that when Gordon Mah Ung did his sneak peek of Nehalem, it was so impressive. I want mine yesterday, please.