Well that was fast. Just two weeks after launch, AMD has significantly cut pricing on its Phenom II X4 processors. And the chips weren't that expensive to begin with. The Phenom II X4 920 and 940 debuted at $235 and $275 (per 1,000-unit trays) respectively, meaning you could pick up the company's flagship CPU for under $300 when normally a top of the line processor commands a grand. Now the 920 and 940 are being sold on Newegg for $195 and $235 respectively.
While it might seem AMD is being a bit hasty in slashing prices, you can chalk it up to competitive pressure from Intel, who could care less about AMD's financial situation. Not only is Core i7 in no danger of conceding its performance crown, but two days ago Intel announced price cuts on its Core 2 Quad Q9650, Q9550, and Q8200 processors, which now sell on Newegg for $334, $283, and $170 respectively.
Qualcomm has bought AMD’s handset division for $65 million. AMD has disposed of the handset business to exclusively focus on its fundamental businesses. The handset business has only spewed losses and caused despair ever since it fell into AMD’s lap as part of its 2006 acquisition of ATI.
Qualcomm has agreed to retain some of the existing employees involved in the handset division, although the exact figure hasn’t been revealed. Qualcomm will use the technology, which has changed hands as part of the deal, to develop more advanced graphics and audio solutions for mobile devices.
Samsung and Elpida will be introducing new 50nm DDR DIMMs this year that will feature higher densities and speeds, while lowering latencies, power consumption and costs.
Thanks to Elpida’s new 50nm process that uses fluoride immersion lithography with copper interconnect technology; there will be a 25 percent speed boost from the very first generation of these new sticks of DDR3.
Samsung’s process is aimed specifically at making 2GB DDR3 sticks, and is presumed to become their prime creation process this year. They’re reporting a 60 percent increase in productivity over their DDR2 equivalents.
The prices of all this fancy new DDR3 is expected to drop from 100 percent down to only 10 percent by the time Lynnfield and Windows 7 launch in Q3 of this year. And according to the International Data Corporation, DDR3 sales will account for 29 percent of the total DRAM units sold in 2009. From there, it’s expected to boost to 72 percent in 2011.
Citing un-named notebook makers, DigiTimes says Intel will launch its next generation Atom processor, currently codenamed Pineview, in the second half of 2009. The new chip will come in both single- and dual-core flavors, although the dual-core variant will only be used in nettops, DigiTimes says.
The new chip will be built using a 45nm manufacturing process with built-in Northbridge functions, such as an integrated memory controller and graphics. Intel is expected to pair the new chip with its upcoming Tiger Point Southbridge to create a new, lower cost netbook platform currently codenamed Pine Trail-M.
But not only will future netbooks cost less as a result of Pineview, but they might be smaller too. By integrating the Northbridge with the CPU, Pineview requires significantly less motherboard space by up to 60 percent, bringing the total down from 2,174mm squared (Atom N270 + 945GC) to 773mm squared. The new platform will also cut back the amount of PCB layers from six to four, while also reducing maximum TDP from 8W to 7W.
In other words, look for tomorrow's netbooks to be smaller, faster, consume less power, and easier on the wallet.
Move over HP and IBM, and make room for Cisco Systems. Cisco, who has remained focused on routers, switches, and other networking gear and software responsible for the majority of its $40 billion a year in revenue and 65 percent gross profit margins, plans to release a server computer equipped with sophisticated virtualization software within the next few months, according to The New York Times.
"This will be the most important and most talked-about product of the year," said Brent Bracelin, a hardware analyst for Pacific Crest Securities. "There will be massive competitive reactions from both IBM. and HP, and we expect this will lead to a new wave of industry consolidation."
Cisco, who views the move "not as new market, but a market transition," will focus just on virtual applications rather than release a general purpose server. Other details remain sparse and Cisco isn't yet saying what exactly it envisions for its new product, but rumors suggest the company will also bundle networking hardware and virtualization software from Cisco and VMware, the latter of which Cisco owns close to a 2 percent stake.
Look for more details to emerge in the next couple of months.
You know a product is uncommonly designed when each of its successors looks and functions pretty much like the original. Such is the case with the latest revamp of the Sonos multiroom audio system. All the latest changes are inside the product or the software or are related to third-party services linked to the product. But that doesn’t mean they’re insignificant.
Currently all netbook manufacturers are pounding the market with a barrage of netbooks. The intervening lull between successive netbook models is constantly shrinking, leaving consumers spoilt for choice and a tad overwhelmed.
HP is about to launch a new netbook, the Mini-note 2140, in February but a report about its successor has already emerged. Its successor, the Mini-note 2150, will have at least one additional feature in form of a built-in 3G modem, according to Digitimes. The 2150 is rumored to be scheduled for a June launch. Nothing else is currently known about the 2150.
The 10.1-inch Mini-note 2140 will be launched in February with prices beginning at $500.
MSI has been pretty active on the ultra portable PC front, and seems eager to pioneer in an otherwise uninspiring category of computers. After launching the first hybrid storage netbooks a few weeks back, they are now set to debut the first dual core Atom 330 enabled HTPC. The new MSI NetTop D130 will sport 2GB of DDR2 memory and comes standard with a built in DVD burner and 7.1 channel surround sound.
MSI is marketing this as an alternative to stand alone DVD players and are quick to emphasize how easy it is to hook up to modern LCD or Plasma displays. With a peek power consumption of around 35w, it’s defiantly an appealing package. We will have to hold out on passing a verdict however until we see a price and get to play with one in the lab. Currently it is expected to retail in the $200-$300 dollar range but unfortunately MSI has not finalized the pricing.
The Velocity Micro Raptor Z90 is the first production rig we’ve tested that boasts Intel’s new Core i7 microarchitecture—and it really cooks. Velocity cranked the 3.2GHz clock speed on Intel’s quad-core Hyper-Threaded Core i7-965 Extreme Edition to 3.6GHz with nary a hiccup, and cooled the dang thing with air. The machine also features 6GB of DDR3/1600 and dual 512MB Radeon HD 4870s.
HP’s TouchSmart line of all-in-one desktop computers has undergone quite a transformation since we examined the very first model, the IQ770, nearly two years ago. Not only is every change for the better, but HP has managed to slash prices by several hundred dollars.