Is there no such thing as bad news or is no news good news?
From ATI’s point of view, it’s no news. Speaking Thursday at AMD’s analyst day, ATI’s graphics chief, Rick Bergman said it would continue with a steady as she goes path. That’s no surprise as ATI has recently seen a resurgence in market share, revenue and reception by power users.
Next year, Bergman said ATI would build on its “sweet spot” strategy. Instead of building huge monolithic graphics cards as Nvidia does, it would continue to concentrate on great $200 to $300 parts and combine them to take on Nvdia’s high-end parts.
With no firm hardware to reveal, Bergman took a few shots at Nvidia’s widely reported mobile GPU failures and lack of DX10.1 support which, he said, is the easiest way for developers to get to DX11 next year.
ATI also expects to be the first to get to 40nm with its graphics and chipset parts, Bergman said. He noted that ATI was the first to 65nm, 80nm and 90nm for graphics parts. What isn’t clear is where those 40nm parts would be fabbed. Although strongly hinted that ATI’s graphics chips and chipsets would made on AMD’s recently spin-off fabs, neither Bergman nor Doug Grose, the new senior VP of The Foundry Company, would commit to it. Grose did say that in 2009, The Foundry Company would have the capability to produce those 40nm parts.
Depite the lack of hardware news, Bergman said ATI would have an early present for its users; in December, the company expects to release a free GPU-based encoder that runs on modern Radeon cards. Based on the company’s new Stream API, the Avivo Video Encoder uses the parallel processing power of the GPU to transcode or encode video. Similar functionality has been available for Nvidia products under its CUDA API for months but the encoder is not free and published by Elemental Technologies.
Bergman also said that Avivo Video Encoder with a mid-range Radeon HD 4870 card will actually outperform Nvidia’s top-end GeForce GTX280 card in encoding tasks using Elemental’s Badaboom Media Converter. ATI’s Free Avivo Video Encoder will run on any 4000-series Radeon HD card.
AMD will dub the 45nm die shrink of its consumer enthusiast CPU as Phenom II X4 and laid out plans for its first CPUs with integrated graphics core.
The Phenom II X4 is on tap for late this year and will follow the company’s smaller, faster 45nm Opteron chips. The new chip will feature 8MB of cache and support both DDR2 and DDR3 in the AM3 and AM2+ sockets. Phenom II X4 will be part of AMD’s “Dragon” platform that combines the new chip with DX10.1 graphics, the company’s new Stream GPU processing, OverDrive and Fusion for gaming utility.
AMD also announced plans for a 32nm family of chips as early as 2011. On the top end, a quad-core Orochi with 8MB of cache and DDR3 will hopefully keep enthusiasts happy. Orochi is part of AMD’s Bulldozer family that mysteriously disappeared from the company’s roadmap earlier this year. Until Orochi is available, the 45nm Phenom II X4, previously codenamed Deneb will hopefully fight off Intel’s Core i7 chips.
The move to 32nm will also see the Llano chip. The CPU will feature four cores, 4MB of cache, DDR3 and an integrated graphics core. AMD, meanwhile, confirmed it would be taking on Intel’s Atom chip with its Conesus CPU next year. Conesus will be dual-core, feature 1MB of cache and DDR2. In 2010, Conesus will give way to Geneva which doubles the cache to 2MB.
In some alternate world, Fabrik’s SimpleTech Redrive is winning a Kick Ass award from Green PC—Maximum PC’s eco-conscious sister publication. This is the most environmentally friendly external storage device we’ve ever tested. From its packaging, to its construction, to its guts, the Redrive is designed with a single purpose in mind: saving the planet. As a byproduct of this, the drive saves you energy and, consequently, money.
Sharp, LG, and Chunghwa have each agreed to plead guilty to a price-fixing conspiracy related to LCD display panels and will pay $585 million in criminal fines, the Justice Department said. The plea agreements were filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California.
"These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of America consumers who use computers, cell phones, and numerous other household electronics every day," said Thomas Barnett, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the Justice Department n Washington.
The extent of the losses as a result of the alleged price fixing conspiracy remains unknown, but Barnett said he expected to outline the damages at the time of sentencing. According to the Justice Department, LG Phillips, who plead guilty to participating a conspiracy from 2001 to 2006 to set LCD panel pricing worldwide, will be hit the hardest and ordered to pay $400 million. That ranks as the second highest criminal fine ever imposed for price fixing.
Sharp will pay $120 for its alleged role in three separate conspiracies with unnamed partners who sold price-fixed panels to Dell for monitors and laptops, Motorola for Razr phones, and Apple for use in iPods. Chunghwa will pay $65 for participating with LG and other unnamed co-conspirators.
The Justice Department warned that the investigation is ongoing, meaning more charges could be brought against individuals from each firm or from other firms.
You want power? You got it. The beastly Benchmark Crusher from Digital Storm provides stellar performance and a workout all in one package. A few bench presses with this machine will whip you into tip-top shape in no time. Inside this hefty package are enough high-end performance parts to make any hardcore gamer wet his pants.
Hitachi’s latest, the Travelstar 5K500.B mobile hard drive is next in line to offer built-in data encryption. With the increasing popularity of this trend, the big H has also managed to make it relatively easy to encrypt any valuable data you might have laying around. Thanks to a private security key, the user can encrypt and decrypt data as they see fit.
The new drives also include TCG Storage Security, which supports pre-boot authentication, and up to four different data ranges with multiple user and administrative authentication options.
And while the data encryption options are certainly nice, what really ices the cake is the drastically lowered power consumption. Using only 1.4 watts during various read/write processes, the drive will only consume 10% of the power that an average 3.5” 500GB drive does.
The Travelstar is reportedly going to be shipping worldwide in December, with an enterprise focused version designed for applications that run 24x7 shortly after.
Nvidia looks to take on both Intel and Apple and make a bid for the mobile device market with its Tegra chip. The low powered "computer on a chip" boasts an ARM based processor core, HD video decoder capable of 1080p playback, a variation of the GeForce graphics core, an integrated media processor, and more.
Right now the chip is in the development phase, which company president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says is going exceedingly well. Barring any snags, Huang says we can expect to see Tegra shipping sometime between April and June of 2009. The launch would likely kick off with the Tegra 600 running at 700MHz, Tegra 650 running at 800MHz, and the Tegra APX runing at 600MHz.
It remains unclear which partners plan to utilize Tegra, but given the specs, it shouldn't be hard to find willing manufacturers.
Dell has decided to pass on releasing their MP3 player this holiday season. With no real reason cited for the delay, it looks like Apple can sit back and let their iPod dominate the sales charts once again.
While the release of the MP3 player has been put on pause, their work on the planned entertainment software, Zing, has continued and is expected to release sometime this fall. Zing is purported to organize downloaded music and movies on PCs.
With any luck, this will give Dell more time to finely tune their product. Jumping into an Apple dominated market isn’t something that… anyone has succeeded at. But with 2003’s DJ Ditty failure behind them, perhaps Dell has learned their lesson.
Installing Thermalright’s beefy IFX-14 CPU cooler is incredibly complex. Assembling the troublesome amalgam of parts, pieces, screws, and brackets made us long for the snap-lock mechanism of standard Intel coolers. That said, the IFX-14 delivers massive cooling when it’s up and running. But there’s a caveat: It doesn’t include any fans. Thus, its performance depends on the type of fan you attach to one or two sides of the device. Our benchmarks are based on the use of two generic 12cm fans we pulled from a box in the Lab.
Intel's Atom processor has become almost synonymous with low power netbooks and nettops, but there are other players eager to make their presence known. Chief among them is VIA, whose Nano processor might even be faster than Intel's Atom, clock for clock. Obtaining vendor support has been a problem for VIA, but that could change as Acer gears up to launch a low-cost and low-power nettop in early 2009.
Acer says it will likely surpass its goal of 12-13 million Aspire one netbooks shipped in 2009. The high demand has the company thinking about alternatives to Intel's Atom processor for its upcoming nettop so as not to eat into its Atom processor supply. Both VIA and AMD are being considered, says DigiTimes, though the company also hasn't ruled out sticking with Intel's Atom chip.
Acer's indecision doesn't stop at the processor. The company is also mulling which manufacturer it wants to produce the nettop. The three possible options include Quanta Computer, Wistron, and MSI.