Maybe when the dust finally settles, we'll see an Nvidia chipset supporting Intel's Nehalem architecture, after all. During an interview in Tokyo, Nvidia's normally outspoken and candid CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said the two embattled companies asked a Delaware court to postpone a trial originally scheduled for December 6, 2010.
"The two of our companies decided to postpone the court hearing until early next year," Huang said. "And we're always in talks. Our two companies are always in talks.
Huang ended it there, saying there was no other news on the matter. There's also no nForce chipset for Intel's Core i3/i5/i7 series on the horizon, as Intel contends that its licensing agreement with Nvidia, which dates back to 2004, doesn't include its Nehalem architecture. As far as Intel is concerned, the licensing agreement doesn't apply to the DMI (Direct Media Interface) communications bus found in Nehalem, while Nvidia believes it should be allowed to build chipsets around processors with an integrated memory controller.
By this time next year, Intel will likely have released its Sandy Bridge processors, the current codename for Nehalem's architectural successor. The initial versions will be aimed at the desktop and laptop markets, not servers, and everything appears to be right on schedule, if not slightly ahead.
"We began volume shipping [of Sandy Bridge processors] in Q1, shipping thousands of samples to a broad range of customers and we are planning volume production later this year," said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer and president of Intel.
From what we know of Sandy Bridge so far, the first chips will sport 2 or 4 cores with Turbo Boost and Hyper Threading technology. But the biggest change compared to Nehalem is that Sandy Bridge will feature integrated graphics on the same die as the x86 cores.
According to Intel, Sandy Bridge will also likely center around Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX). This extra bit of code will help supercharge floating point math performance and help with media rendering and other processor intensive tasks. AVX should also help with energy efficiency, Intel says.
Forget that six-core Gulftown Core i7. There’s a new Intel Xeon chip on the way with a whopping eight cores of processing goodness. Surely you can utilize eight cores in your home system, right? Well, maybe not, but the Nehalem-EX chip is likely to spice things up in the server sector when it launches later this month.
The Nehalem-EX will be a Xeon part built on Intel’s 45nm process technology. The chip will have hyperthreading, meaning up to 16 threads per processor. Clock speed is currently unknown. Being a server part, scalability is important and the Nehalem-EX won’t disappoint here. Thanks to the 4QPI links per chip, the new part will be scalable to eight sockets. So that’s 64 physical cores, or 128 threads. We’re pretty sure the benefits for Crysis 2 drop off around 48 cores or so.
Intel is promising big performance gains over the previous generation of Xeons, with nine times the memory bandwidth of the old chips. The part seems aimed at holding back AMD’s Magny-Cours six-core server parts due out soon. One way or another, servers are about to get a lot faster.
The new Core i5 and Core i7 mobile CPUs are already finding their way into some products. Panasonic has announced that the Japanese version of the Toughbook laptops, known there as Lets Note, will be getting some speedy new Nehalem-based processors. The new rugged (and a little ugly) offerings will come in four flavors.
The S9, N9, and F9 will have a Core i5-520M CPU. Screen sizes range from 12.1 inches (S9 and F9) up to the 14.1 inch screen on the F9. This screen will probably look quite nice with a resolution of 1440 x 900. The real gem here is the R9 model which will have a Core i7-620M, 250GB HDD, and 2GB of DDR3 RAM crammed into a chassis the size of a netbook. A 10.1 inch screen with that kind of power makes for a desirable ultraportable computer.
A Japanese launch is scheduled for February 17th. No word on if these PCs will find their way here. If you were able to get one of these, what would you pay for it?
There’s sort of a guilty pleasure in seeing the ‘masters of the universe’ knocked down a notch or two. So the news that the record for calculating Pi, set by the T2K Open Supercomputer, was not just broken but smashed by a lowly Core i7 machine was warmly received.
The feat was performed by Fabrice Bellard. He pieced together a system built around a Core i7 CPU running at 2.93 GHz, 6 GB of RAM, and five 1.5 TB Seagate Barracudas. His operating system of choice was the 64-bit version of Red Hat Fedora 10, along with a software RAID-0 and ext4 file system. He then started up a Pi algorithm based on the Chudnovsky formula and let it rip. One hundred and three days later he had Pi calculated out to 2.7 trillion decimal digits, blowing by the old record of 2.5 trillion decimal digits. The resulting number took 1137 GB of storage space.
Bellard made use of this single CPU for the initial calculation, but did get some help from 'friends' when verifying his calculation. Using the Bailey-Borwein-Plouffe algorithm and a network of nine computers, he validated his result in 34 hours. (Using the PC would have taken 13 days--time Bellard didn’t want to use in case his record was broken before he got a chance to announce it.)
Low power consumption is the name of the game in the server market, and Intel thinks it has a winning hand with its upcoming two-core 'Clarksdale' processor. The low-power slice of silicon comes rated at just 30W and is being aimed at "microservers," a new form factor Intel began pushing at IDF.
"We're looking to define a new form factor that allows companies to come up with a uni-processor [machine] that's reasonably capable and cost-effective and easy to deploy," said Jason Waxman, General Manager in Intel's Server Platforms Group. "We want this to become a new building block for the types of applications where you have lots of Web servers or a hosting type of environment or something where you need many images of a server."
Initially, Clarksdale will come clocked at 2.26GHz and take advantage of Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture. This will replace the chip maker's current reference system consisting of hardback-sized PCBs running a 1.86GHz, 45W quad-core Lynnfield chip.
Looking longer-term, Intel will attempt to reduce the power consumption footprint down to just 25W when idle, and no more than 75W under a heavy load.
So much in life is unknowable. Will the economy rebound? Hard to say. Will oil prices skyrocket? Maybe, maybe not. Will Brangelina add to their brood? Frankly, we don’t care. But one thing’s for sure: Technology is ever-changing and each year guarantees new advances for the PC user.
As we do every year around this time, we got on the horn with our industry contacts—experts in their respective fields—and pressed them for details about what new and exciting hardware power users can look forward to in 2010. Some of what we learned was expected (SATA speeds will double), some came from out of left field (six 30-inch panels on a single videocard?!), and some just plain make sense (like a Nehalem chip for the masses).
Read on to find out how your personal computing landscape stands to be altered in the year ahead.
More cool things coming out of the Intel Developers Forum. Intel showed off an upgraded stock cooler for its upcoming six-core Nehalem processor, codenamed Gulftown. Generally speaking, stock coolers are barely more than adequate when it comes to noise, cooling power, and overclockability.
However, Intel’s latest cooler takes steps to change some of that. It features an updated tower design, additional fins on the heatsink and four copper heatpipes. Obviously, overclocking enthusiasts will seek out after-market solutions, but this should be a nice change for those looking to save a buck.
Intel’s i9 six-core processor was expected to be released in the fourth quarter of this year, but has since been delayed until early of next year.
Nehalem for everyone! That simple sentence best explains Intel’s brand-new series of CPUs, which is sure to please budget users everywhere while confounding power users.
Why would a new CPU that gives you the best bang for the buck in town be greeted nervously? Because Intel’s new CPU brings with it a new socket as well as a new infrastructure. This new infrastructure is essentially a fork in the road that forces users to make a difficult choice: Save money today but get locked out of the high-end, or splurge today knowing that the budget CPU is damn near as good as the top-end part.
For the details on Intel’s new budget monster, savor our full report, consume the specs, and then digest the benchmarks to see just which path your next PC should take.
They demonstrated Windows 7’s frugal power management by running a DVD on two identically configured ThinkPad T400s. The T400 running Windows 7 only consumed 15.4 watts, while its Vista-toting twin hogged 20.2 watts. The executives claimed that this translates into an additional battery life of 1.4 hours.