You've heard of Paper Mario, but a paper processor? That might be taking things a bit too far, but a team of Portuguese scientists have created the first Field Effect Transistor (FET) made with cellulose fiber-based paper. The new approach takes a common sheet of paper and uses it as the dielectric layer on oxide FETs, with devices fabricated on both sides of the paper sheet. And while other teams have reported using paper as the physical support (substrate) of electronic devices, this method is the first one that also allows the paper to be used as the interstrate component as well. In other words, it's really cool.
More than a proof of concept, the team envisions its new paper transistors being used in disposable electronic devices like paper displays, smart labels, smart packaging, bio-applications, RFID tags, and more. Full details will be published in the September 2008 issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters, but until then, you'll have to wade through translated text.
AMD's struggles have been well documented ever since forfeiting the performance crown to Intel, but perhaps all the company needed was a swift kick in the rump. That appears to be what the company's getting with newly inaugurated Dirk Meyer at the helm serving as AMD's CEO, who had no qualms announcing that his company has initiated a pilot production of microprocessors using a 45nm fabrication processor. That puts the Santa Clara chip maker on track to deliver shipping products in volume in early fourth quarter.
"We are well on track with the 45nm plan as we have been telling this group about in the past. We have actually started production late last quarter and are on track to start buying shipments early in Q4," said Dirk Meyer during the conference call.
That has to be good news to nervous investors, who earlier this month saw their stock fall by as much as 7 percent following news that AMD would take a near billion dollar charge in the second quarter. And while Hector Ruiz's subsequent departure just days later might have signaled to some that the end was near, Meyer's confidence in AMD's ability to stay on schedule with its 45nm plans has to be appreciated by anyone pulling for the Intel competitor (which should be everyone). Before the announcement, analysts were expecting 45nm shipments to start in late Q4, and nobody seems to know what exactly AMD has planned as part of its refocusing strategy. A compelling alternative to Nehalem, perhaps? Let's hope so.
Good news for system builders and upgraders alike: Intel has cut processor prices (PDF) by as much as 31 percent. And these aren't price cuts on chips that nobody cares about either, but they include some overclocking favorites in both dual and quad-core trim:
Q6600, $224 to $193 (14% drop)
E8500, $266 to $183 (31% drop)
E8400, $183 to $164 (11% drop)
E7200, $188 to $113 (15% drop)
A handful of Xeon processors have also been marked down, but the real treat here is for overclockers. All four desktop processors have become extremely popular chips in the overclocking community due to their reputation for ramping up in clockspeed with minimal effort, and save for the E8500, each one could have been considered a bargain before the price cut. Now the price-to-performance ratio looks even better, enough so that those holding out for Nehalem may be tempted to pull the trigger now rather than wait. But on which one? Here's a refresher if you've been out of the loop for awhile:
Q6600 (2.4GHz, 8MB, 1066MHz, x9 multiplier)
E8500 (3.16GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz, x9.5 multiplier)
E8400 (3.0GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz, x9 multiplier)
E7200 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 1066MHz, x9.5 multiplier)
Prices represent 1,000 unit trays, so expect to pay a little bit more at your favorite vendor. Still, who can complain, and at these price points the question of the day is, build now or wait?
eWeekreports that AMD, which has been running at a loss over seven consecutive quarters and has just switched CEOs, is planning to refocus its business on processors and graphics and will divest itself of the consumer electronics division that was part of its acquisition of ATI.
Some analysts predict that AMD will aim for the mid-market (a strategy it first used in positioning its ATI HD 2xxx GPUs) by stressing features rather than processor benchmarks. What do you think? Put on your prognosticator's beanie, stare deeply into the depths of your processor's heatsink, try not to become hypnotized by the cooling fan, and tell us what you think AMD should be doing now.
Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini had a bounce in his step going into his shareholder briefing on Tuesday. Intel’s continued dominance over AMD and a solid earnings report has left his investors glad they placed their money in hardware rather then software. Investors on the other hand are nothing if not fickle. The conference call quickly turned into a debate over the shortage of Atom processors and weakness in Intel’s flash memory business. Put on the defensive Paul Otellini hinted that Atom isn’t the chip maker’s primary focus. "(Atom) is less than a third the performance of our Centrino (processor). You're dealing with something that most of us wouldn't use," he said. He further goes on to clarify that Atom is aimed at the emerging Netbook audience and is a way that Intel can grow without cannibalizing its other processor offerings. He continued to reassure investors that Intel has plenty of Atom chips in stock and back end improvements to testing as well as increased production of chipsets should solve the problem. Intel has been steadily increasing its production capacity of the popular CPUs since November.
Relative newcomer Danamic looks to jump into the increasingly crowded CPU cooler market with a heatsink of its own, but this isn't like any other cooler you've seen before. Rather than rely on air, water, or phase-change cooling, Dynamic's new LM10 heatsink uses liquid metal, and according to the company, it's the world's first commercially available CPU cooler to do so.
That might be true, but liquid metal isn't an entirely new concept when it comes to cooling processors. Coollaboratory used to market the metalic goo as a thermal paste (Liquid Pro) and now sells a thermal pad it calls Liquid MetalPad aimed at both PC and console owners. Danamic's solution differs in that it's not a paste, but a fully-fledged heatsink solution. A multi-string electromagnetic pump sits atop the LM10 and pushes the liquid metal through a series of heatpipes without using any moving parts. Judging by the available pictures, the LM10 doesn't come with a fan, which would explain why the company can claim a power draw of less than 1W.
No word yet on pricing or availability, which means there aren't any hands-on reviews in the wild either. Have any expectations for this new cooler? Post them below.
The average user would never dream of paying four figures for a processor, and even today's $1,500 budget boxes can end up being very capable rigs with the right parts selection. Even still, there exists a market for high-end silicon, and Intel's Extreme series always command a premium. But this time around, Intel might be looking to give enthusiasts a break.
Rumor has it that Intel will serve up its delicious 3.2GHz Extreme series Bloomfield processor at just $999 in thousand-unit tray quantities. While that might not appear to be a bargain at first glance, it's a full $500 cheaper compared to the current cream of the crop, the Core 2 Extreme QX9700. If the rumor holds true, the new pricing will mark a return to the way Intel used to price its flagship Extreme model.
Intel is also expected to introduce a performance chip clocked at 2.93GHz at a much easier to swallow $562 price point, and a mainstream model at 2.66GHz for $284.
For those that haven't been following, Intel's much anticipated Bloomfield (Nehalem) processors will introduce a new socket with 1366 pins and finally bring an integrated memory controller to the table.
ZDNet's ZeroDay security blog reports that software engineering and reverse engineering expert and author Kris Kapersky is ready to prove that bugs in Intel CPUs can be exploited by various types of attacks. Kapersky will be speaking at the 2008 Hack in the Box Security Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Maylasia, in October.
To find out how Kapersky plans to prove his theory, read on after the jump.
Intel's long anticipated Centrino 2 platform (previously codenamed Montevina) makes its official debut this week, and a number of top-tier vendors will begin selling configurations to Centrino 2 specifications. Montevina chips are manufactured using high-k metal gate technology on a 45nm die, and Intel promises faster performance, improved mobility features, and support for high-definition graphics on the Centrino 2 platform.
Centrino 2 chips include Intel's second generation Core 2 Duo processors (Penryn) with speeds expected to range from 2.26GHz to 3.06GHz on a 1066MHz frontside bus. Sipping just 29W, the low power draw should result in both a cooler running chip and longer battery life.
The new platform moves away from the GM965 chipset and now uses Intel's Mobile 45 Express chipset. Other goodies include integrated GMA X4500 graphics, Intel's 5000 series wireless chip with support for WiFi and WiMax, flash memory caching (Intel Turbo Memory), and support for DDR3 memory, the first mobile platform ever to do so.
The release of Centrino 2 might also spark tantalizing price cuts as vendors look to clear out old inventory. Know of any good deals? Post them below!
Marking the first significant update to the SPARC line since 2007, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu are updating their jointly developed line of servers with the SPARC64 VII. Sun and Fujitsu look to position the new processor to compete against IBM's Power processor and Intel's Itanium chip. To help them do that, SPARC64 VII will boast four cores clocked at 2.4GHz or 2.5GHz, with each core sporting two instructional threads for a total of eight per chip, and 6MB of L2 cache. SPARC64 VII will also see a die shrink from 90nm to 65nm.
With an estimated $4 billion to go around in the high-end Unix business, Sun has struggled against IBM and HP, and has had to cut employees in an attempt to offset some of the losses. Even so, Sun and Fujitsu will revamp several of their systems to support the quad-core SPARC VII, including two midrange, rack-mount systems -- the M4000 and the M5000 -- both of which support up to four and eight dual- or quad-core processors respectively. Starting price of the M4000 with a quad-core SPARC VII will check in at just under $35,000.