The timing couldn't be worse on this one for ATI, who has crawled its way back into contention with Nvidia's best silicon, and received a further consumer boost while enthusiasts remain weary over Nvidia's GPU problems. Now the rumor mill is spinning in ATI's direction, and citing "industry sources," TG Daily says that Diamond Multimedia have have shipped upwards of 20,000 defective HD 3800 series videocards. That's a lot of GPUS.
But it gets even worse. According to the rumor, Diamond Multimedia knew about the problem all along but decided not to pull the faulty cards from store shelves. Allegedly all HD 3850 512MB cards shipped between January and July suffer the manufacturing defect, while a "substantial number" of HD 3870 512MB and X2 videocards also show signs of poor soldering and integrated memory problems.
The issue supposedly came to light when Alienware returned its graphics cards it had purchased from Diamond Multimedia after finding failure rates to the tune of 10 percent, or so the sources say. Seemingly giving the rumor some merit, TG Daily claims Bruce Zaman, CEO of Diamond Multimedia, confirmed that there has been an isolated issue "with one vendor."
Give Ebay some credit - its union with StumbleUpon, which it acquired in May 2007, has lasted longer than some marriages. But now it appears Ebay wants out of its $75 million relationship, assuming Tech Crunch's sources prove reliable.
The news site claims Ebay has hired Deutsche Bank in hopes of stumbling upon a buyer, though the asking price remains unknown, and it's anyone's guess whether or not the auction site can get back what they invested in StumbleUpon. From July 2007 to July 2008, StumbleUpon has dropped from boasting 4.4 million worldwide visitors and 31 million page views to 1.1 million visitors and 25 million page views. Oddly enough, registered users continue to grow and now sits at over 6 million strong, a 20 percent increase over what it was just 5 months ago.
Looking back to when Intel's Core 2 architecture was still a blip on a roadmap, enthusiasts were cautiously optimistic over the promised performance gains. And rightfully so, considering the burn that the chip maker's hot running Penryn put on end users. But as we now know, it turns out Intel was every bit justified in hyping its new architecture, putting a (perhaps temporary) end to AMD's Cinderella story.
And so here we are again eagerly anticipating Intel's next architecture, only this time we're slightly less apprehensive regarding the company's ability to deliver now that Netburst has been nixed. Unfortunately, the chips formerly known as Nehalem are still under lock and key, but that hasn't stopped details on the Core i7 lineup from making its way to the web. According to reports, three processors are slated for a November 2008 release:
Core i7 920 (mainstream) - 2.66GHz
Core i7 940 (performance) - 2.93GHz
Core i7 965 (extreme) - 3.20GHz
Differences in clockspeeds aside, all three models will be quad-core parts built on a 45nm manufacturing process with 256KB of L2 cache per core and 8MB of shared L3 cache. Each one also comes with a 130W TDP rating, so don't be surprised if they run hot, assuming the rumored specs hold true.
Pricing on the 920, 940, and 965 in thousand unit quantities looks to be $284, $562,and $999 respectively.
Move over Acer, Asus, BenQ, Dell, ECS, Everex, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and everyone else, and make room in the netbook bandwagon for Toshiba and Samsung. Citing un-named "sources in the notebook industry," Digitimes says both companies will soon jump into the ultraportable fray.
Later this year, Toshiba is expected to launch its 8.9-inch Satellite NB105. Like many netbooks, the NB105 will come equipped with an Intel Atom processor. Other specs include a modest 1GB of memory and 120GB hard drive, with Windows XP at the helm.
Slightly bigger at 10.2 inches, Samsung's nameless model will also sport an Intel Atom chip and 1GB of memory with Windows XP, but will come with either an 80GB or 120GB hard drive. Europe will get first crack at the new netbook next month.
Digitimes points out an interesting side note, in that looking at the top 10 notebook vendors, only Apple and Sony have yet to enter the netbook market.
The report that cites unnamed sources – no surprises – further claims that Microsoft has supplied some of its most intimate customers and partners with alpha builds of the OS designated M1 and M2 (M stands for milestone); M3 is in the works per the sources. A beta release by the end of this year will almost ensure the release of Windows 7 in late 2009 or early 2010; therefore, this delay won’t have a huge impact on Windows 7 release plans.
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).
Integrated graphics are typically of little interest to power users, but as onboard GPUs continue to develop, such solutions quickly become tempting for a secondary rig, kids' PC, or any other setup that has no aspirations for playing Crysis. If you fall into one of those latter categories, you may want to hold off for a couple of weeks before shelling out for a motherboard.
According to DigiTimes, Nvidia will launch its MCP7A IGP chipset by the end of the month, which will bring an integrated GeForce 9-series graphics core to the table. Two versions are being planned, with the MCP7A-U featuring a GeForce 9400 GPU and the MCP7A-S coming equipped with a GeForce 9300 GPU. Both GPUs will be identical in architecture, except the 9400 will come with a core clockspeed of 580MHz and shader frequency of 1,500MHz, whereas the 9300's core and shader will come clocked at 450MHz and 1200MHz respectively.
On the chipset front, the MCP7A chipset brings support for a 1333MHz frontside bus, up to 6 SATA ports, up to 12 USB ports, and RAID 0/1/0+1 and 5. Some motherboards will also support Nvidia's Hybrid technology when paired with a third party videocard.
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.
It won't be long before single-core processors will seem as antiquated as single-speed CD-ROM drives, and the case could be made that we're already there. Dual- and quad-core processors rule the landscape, and while Intel's upcoming Core i7 has enthusiasts frothing at the mouth, the chip maker may have something even more mouth watering in the very near future.
If the latest rumor turns out to be true, expect a replacement architecture for Nehalem in 2010 which will double the number of cores per die to eight. Codenamed Sandy Bridge, alleged leaked slides suggest the new architecture will also support hyperthreading, giving the eight-core chip a generous 16 threads to work with. Also look for 16MB of L3 cache to find its way onto the chip.
But for all the hardware goodness, it's the software that may end up playing the biggest role in performance improvements. Intel will reportedly introduce a new instruction set called Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) that will eventually supersede SSE. AVX will double the size of instructions to 256 bits and will be capable of performing up to four calculations in a single instruction.
With over a year to go before the supposed new architecture makes a debut, will developers be ready by then to take advantage of the additional cores and new instruction set?
CrunchGear reports that the 177.79 Forceware driver release is going to have the drivers to activate PhysX on the GPU for GeForce 8000, 9000, and 200 series videocards. The estimated release date is August 12th, although these drivers are available in beta here. I was not able to verify this in the release documentation. No mention was made of PhysX support. The CrunchGear story is based on a TechReport article about the first look at on GPU PhysX acceleration. Unfortunately, I am limping along on my 7600GT, which is not supported for PhysX under CUDA yet.
Have any brave souls jumped into the beta drivers with a Geforce 8000 or better video card to test the PhysX waters? Tell me what you think about it below!