Intel is going to need to start dressing up in a tricked out leisure suit with lots of bling and a plumed hat if it keeps pimping SSD technology. On the last day of IDF 2008 Intel wanted to hammer home the reason why hardcore gamers should be interested in its mainstream and Extreme SSDs and it worked to dispel the myths that have sprung up with SSDs.
Chris Saleski from the Storage Technologies Group showed off some pretty spectacular benchmarks with 500 GB, 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda drives in a RAID array, that were getting just under 550 IOPS versus a single 80GB X25M Mainstream SSD that was posting 44,000+ IOPS. Holy frack! I have to wonder just how accurate that figure is and I’ll keep an eye out for independent verification.
Falcon Northwest’s general manager Bradd Berdelman did another demo. He put a pair of identical FragBoxes together with one containing two of the vaunted 10,000 RPM WD Velociraptors in RAID, and the other FragBox ran an SSD setup. The SSD system turned in 32.65 FPS versus 16.76 FPS for the Velociraptor system.
Intel is preaching to the choir here. System enthusiasts like SSDs and we want to buy them, but when a single modern game can hog 6GB of drive space, we aren’t going to buy them in 80GB sizes for a king’s ransom. Put the products in our hands and if they start turning in those sort performance scores and we see a size increase/price decrease you’ll get us to buy them in droves. No pimping required.
The Gateway FHD2401 hits a ball or two out of the park, but we’re not terribly impressed by this 24-inch panel’s overall performance.
The display’s grayscale performance favors the darker side of the spectrum. The FHD2401 is able to distinguish among shades of gray against a black background, but a below-average showing in lighter grayscales hurts overall performance.
Intel’s CTO, Justin Rattner, delivered a pretty phantasmagoric keynote at the IDF in San Francisco. Invariably most keynotes by tech honchos are about future technologies. But Rattner just didn’t concern himself with the imminent future – the Nehalems and Larrabees - but he allowed his imagination take unbridled flight. He pictured what the world might be like in 2050, where computers would be smarter than us frizzled, frayed Homo sapiens.
“There is speculation that we may be approaching an inflection point where the rate of technology advancements is accelerating at an exponential rate, and machines could even overtake humans in their ability to reason, in the not so distant future,” Rattner said.
Rattner even demonstrated a couple of personal robot prototypes, which employ razor-sharp sensing technologies, though only crude precursors to the “2050 machines”. The first robot – a robotic arm actually - was equipped with electric field pre-touch technology that allows it to sense objects before even touching them. And, just for your knowledge, fish are bestowed with this capability. The second robot is capable of recognizing faces and performing simple tasks as commanded.
IOGEAR, makers of connectivity products that link up USB, video, and networking devices, has just announced their latest KVM Switch. KVM (short for Keyboard, Video, and Mouse) is a hardware and software technology solution that allows you to control multiple computers from one set of peripherals. This new USB Laptop KVM switch connects to any two computers via USB (laptop-to-laptop, PC-to-PC, or laptop-to-PC), so you can control one system from the other as a console. The software embedded in the Switch's firmware adjusts for desktop resolution scaling and also facilitates drag-and-drop file transfers via a shared temporary window. An extra USB 2.0 port on the switch allows for extra device sharing, such as with an external hard drive. No extra power supply is required, and the entire cable stretches a total of nine feet (three feet on one end, six on the other). The USB Laptop KVM Switch goes on sale today for $129.95.
Click through for the full release and more photos
We've already had some hands-on time with Bloomfield, Intel's high-end Nehalem part (officially named Core i7). But we know that not everyone's going to make the jump on board this new platform when it's released later this year. Bloomfield pricing hasn't been announced yet, but we expect it to be in the high-end enthusiast range -- ie. only affordable for price un-conscious buyers.
For mainstream system builders, Intel's solution will be Lynnfield, a socket 1160 CPU that'll have its own motherboard configuration. Lynnfield processors will be incompatible with X58 motherboards sporting socket 1366 -- though Intel assured us that they won't phase out the Bloomfield platform once Lynnfield is released in Q1 of next year (unlike what happened with AMD's socket 940 platform). Another difference: Lynnfield's motherboard will run two-channel DDR 3 memory, as opposed to the highly-touted tri-channel setup in Bloomfield.
We were lucky enough to snap up a few spy shots of an early Lynnfield motherboard, shown below:
Can you spot the differences between a Lynnfield and Bloomfield motherboard? Take a closer look after the jump.
Intel is currently busy renovating its Classmate notebook by adding a few cool features. The diminutive notebook will receive more than a trivial facelift as the revamped version will feature a touch-screen and tablet functionality. That is not all, the notebook will now feature an Intel Atom – it currently employs a Celeron M with a primeval clock speed of 900 MHz. The Classmate PC is primarily designed for students, especially in emerging countries. The Classmate PCs that run on different Linux versions or Windows XP Professional are produced and marketed by OEMs and not Intel.
ViewSonic’s VX2240w is unwatchable at its factory default setting—the screen’s brightness is cranked beyond the point of acceptable image quality. Fortunately, we were able to tweak the display’s settings to produce an image that was at least similar in quality to the Gateway HD2201’s. While the VX2240 matched the HD2201 tit for tat in its ability to produce lighter shades of gray on a solid white background, the former exhibited better color saturation in the lighter shade levels.
We control the horizontal; we control the vertical after the jump.
How the world turns. Mention overclocking ten years ago at IDF and a Pinkerton would escort you off the show floor to a room where three Intel engineers would beat you with old Pentium Pro motherboards. Today, Intel is actually actively promoting overclocking, but big blue is calling it Turbo Mode.
Turbo Mode is just one of the several groundbreaking features in Nehalem, but it’s also certainly one of the most head-turning. But how exactly does it work and how do you control it? Walk with us as we decode Intel’s Turbo Mode, show you how you’ll set it up in the BIOS (with first photos), and tell you what you should expect from your next heatsink.
Want to take a look at the Nehalem BIOS? Of course you do.
DreamWorks Animation and Intel announced at IDF that, beginning next year, films under the DreamWorks banner will all be in next-gen 3D. Last month, the studio had announced that it was going to replace its AMD hardware with Intel’s future chips with multi-processing cores. Now it has been confirmed that Intel’s upcoming Larrabee (codename) graphics chip will form the crux of the partnership. The two partners even unveiled a 3-D movie image brand called InTru 3D. The technology is also targeted at the video games industry and the internet. AMD has also been touting its Cinema 2.0 tech that it claims will pulverize the wall between movies and games.
We don't like taking on the role of enforcer, nor do we like bullying those ill equipped to defend themselves. But sometimes, for the greater good of all involved, as PC users we feel obligated to step in and lay the smack down when our Mac brethren come asking for it. In a way, we feel like Billy Madison did when he told a bunch of first graders "Now you're all in big, big trouble" before proceeding to pummel them in dodgeball.