Motherboard makers have had a tougher than expected time moving boards lately and are hoping Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge architecture will kick-start demand, particularly in the enterprise.
Intel's Sandy Bridge product line is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2011. These will include Sandy Bridge-based Core i7 2600K, 2600, 2600S, Core i5 2500, 2400, and 2390, as well as Core i3 2120 and 2100 CPUs for the desktop. On the mobile front, Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge lineup will include the Core i7 2920XM, 2820QM, 2720QM, Core i5 2540M, and 2520M processors.
There will also be a Sandy Bridge-based Celeron chip built on a 32nm manufacturing process, which will ship in the third quarter of 2011 for about $50 (thousand unit trays).
As details of AMD's Hudson D1 -- the southbridge the chip maker will launch in tandem with its upcoming dual-core 32nm Fusion processors -- begin to trickle out, one thing still up in the air is how USB 3.0 will factor in. According to whispers among some notebook makers, there's a good chance AMD will integrate USB 3.0 into Hudson.
We won't have to wait very long to find out. The Hudson D1 chipset is expected to debut in the fourth quarter of 2010 and will primarily target ultra-thin notebooks and netbooks. USB 3.0 is somewhat of a rarity so far on mobile PCs, and with Intel taking its sweet little time pushing the SuperSpeed spec, something like this could give the Sunnyvale chip maker a leg up in a segment mostly served by Intel.
While nothing is yet decided, there's reason to believe AMD will get this done. AMD is already tapping into NEC to outfit its desktop boards with USB 3.0, and extending that relationship over to notebooks shouldn't be overly challenging.
Reports have begun to surface that Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors are going to be poor overclockers, allowing for only 2-3 percent of OCing headroom before the platform falls flat on its face.
The reason for this is because all of the system buses are going to be tied together in Sandy Bridge, including USB, SATA, PCI, PCI-E, CPU cores, and so forth. The way things work now is you're able to goose additional MHz out of your CPU and memory without affecting other subsets, but that apparently won't be the case with Sandy Bridge, which will use a single internal clock generator linking all the buses together.
As Bit-Tech reports it, at least one Taiwanese motherboard company warned that cranking the Base Clock by just 5MHz is enough to throw a wrench into the whole operation, causing the USB to fail and corrupt the SATA bus.
It's still early, however, and mobo makers could come up with workarounds, but so far it doesn't appear as though Intel is too interested in lending a hand.
During Intel's earnings conference call on Tuesday, company CEO Paul Otellini said demand for Sandy Bridge is already red hot, even though the platform has yet to be released.
"Due to the very strong reception of Sandy Bridge, we have accelerated our 32nm factory ramp and have raised our capex (capital expenditure) guidance to enable us to meet the anticipated demand," Otellini said. "I am more excited about Sandy Bridge than I have been about any product that the company has launched in a number of years."
Sandy Bridge, which is expected to ship later this year, is Intel's successor to Nehalem. It will come with an integrated graphics core along with a "significant improvement in instructions per clock," according to statements made by Intel executive vice president David Perlmutter back in April.
Intel has been shipping samples of Sandy Bridge to customers for the past several months
Lordy. It's hard to spend but a week surfing the Internet without seeing a group of people getting caught up in a situation that they've volunteered themselves into. And it would be remiss of me to go a single sentence further without mentioning the latest elephant in the room--Facebook.
I can't log into Facebook without seeing a growing number of my friends joining those silly little, "Facebook is opening up my entire life and I wish it was like it was back in 2005" groups/fan pages/whatever we're calling them now. But Dave's Comrades aren't the only ones joining in on the fun--tech pundits Jason Calacanis and Peter Rojas, amongst others, are nuking their accounts in protest as well! It's a Facebook meltdown!
Unlike the open-source world, where the concept of "something for nothing" is pretty widely understood and accepted--even by those that just download away and never contribute a single iota of code or absent thought to an application's development--the general Internet populace seems pretty peeved at an otherwise free service's attempts to branch out its offerings. This, in turn, leads to a stronger advertising platform and/or additional service expansions, but mainly the former. Facebook ain't charity, after all--the company has human overhead and server costs, to name a few, and it's not as if every status update magically conjures up a shiny nickel for Mark Zuckerberg.
Apple would have you believe that Adobe's Flash platform just isn't an exciting development for mobile devices. In an open letter to anyone who would listen, Steve Jobs criticized the platform up and down in defense of shunning Flash from the iPhone/iPod/iPad experience. So what's Google's approach? The exact opposite.
It's expected that Google will go public with Android 2.2 during the opening keynote for the Google I/O conference tomorrow, and when it does, Flash integration will be one of the main points of interest. According to TechCrunch, Android users with smartphones eligible for the 2.2 update, such as the Nexus One, Droid, and soon enough the HTC Evo will see a link to an Adobe Mobile website immediately after the upgrade. The site will give users the option to "View Flash enabled websites" or "Get Adobe products," and if you select the former, you'll see a list of portals that work with Flash 10.1.
The site is already live, which you can view here and then compare to Apple's list of iPad-ready sites, which are ones that either don't use Flash or have incorporated HTML5 audio and video in addition to Flash.
With iPhone 4 OS just around the corner and Google backing Flash in a big way, it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out on the mobile battlefield.
In case you missed it, Steve Jobs on Thursday posted an open letter to no one in particular dismantling Adobe's Flash platform with the delicate precision of a hand grenade. Jobs lambasted Flash on a variety of fronts, including reliability, security, and performance, among other complaints. Jobs concluded his tirade by saying that "Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content" and that "Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind." Ouch.
If Jobs seriously thought Adobe would take his recommendation to heart (and surely he didn't), he was wrong. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen responded to criticisms made by Jobs, saying the technology problems he pointed out in his essay are "really a smokescreen."
Hit the jump to find out what else Narayen had to say.
According to a Microsoft representative, Redmond will ship the fourth version of its Silverlight rich Internet browser plug-in platform on Thursday, which will take aim at businesses with things like printing and control capabilities.
"A lot of the corporate accounts that we work with, a lot of the ISVs that we work with, they've been waiting for this functionality," said Eddie Amso, Microsoft general manager for developer platform and tools product management and marketing.
This will be the first Silverlight to officially support Google's Chrome browser. Other features include performance optimizations so that Silverlight 4 apps start quicker and run up to 200 percent faster, multi-touch support, the ability to scroll through long lists using a mouse wheel, drag and drop support for data binding, and more.
Intel's Atom platform isn't just for fun and play, at least not anymore. The No. 1 chip maker on Thursday launched its first Atom processor-based platform designed specifically for home networks and small office/home office (SOHO) storage devices.
"NAS systems have traditionally been found in businesses to manage, store and access data," said Seth Bobroff, general manager, Intel Data Center Group, Storage. "Today, households and small offices have an ever-increasing number of computers, laptops, netbooks and mobile phones that create and consume digital content. This advancement in mobility coupled with the explosive growth of data and media are creating the need for centralized, easy-to-use network storage solutions for the home and small office."
Available in both single core (D410) and dual-core (D510) flavors, Intel says you can expect up to a 50 percent power reduction compared to the company's previous generation Atom processors.
Other features of the new platform include six PCI Express lanes, 12 USB 2.0 ports, a port multiplier function, and eSATA ports.
Life, it seems, is never fair for any developer. Just ask the gurus behind Valve's Steam service. For the past many years, Steam has existed as the dominant digital-download platform of choice for gamers worldwide. While a few improvements have been built into the actual application one uses to access the Steam service, the program in question has remained relatively unchanged in its design for a good chunk of its recent existence. Which, in itself, is a polite way to say that it's been ages since an actual upgrade brought a new look, feel, and functionality to the Steam client.
As I think of the many different "platforms" on the Internet, I'm reminded of just how closed-off the Steam application is for conventional tweaking. Some of this is mandatory--there's only so much Valve wants you to be able to access for fear of somehow disrupting Steam's security techniques and gaining access to the vault of unlocked, free-to-download titles. Take a moment to wipe the drool off your keyboard; I'll wait.
What's stopping Valve from incorporating other open architectures into its service, however? What about Web-wide login protocols? Authentication for third-party services that could offer spin-offs of Steam's built-in stats-tracking? Heck, what about some customized user interface support?
Some might say Steam is too big to be able to successfully navigate open-source and open frameworks. To that, I say hogwash: If Facebook can do it, so can Valve!