AMD Socket F (1207) Opteron owners have reason to rejoice, as it looks like the chip maker's upcoming Istanbul chip is on target for a 2H 2009 release and won't require any new hardware. A 6-core chip built on a 45nm manufacturing process with 6MB of L3 cache, Istanbul will go head-to-head with Intel's 6-core Dunnington-based Xeon released in September 2008. AMD had some heavy criticism for Dunnington following its release, saying it's just a glued together triple-dual core processor with 50 percent more cores than the quad-core and costing 50 percent more, among other complaints.
We'll have to wait for Istanbul's release to see how it stacks up against Intel's 6-core solution, but in the meantime, AMD did demonstrate a 24-core Istanbul configuration pitted against a 16-core Shanghai rig using the same parts, both with HyperTransport 3 enabled. With 50 percent more cores, the Istanbul machine produced almost double the bandwidth at 42,000 MB/s versus 25,000 MB/s for the Shanghai setup.
No pricing information or release date has yet been given, although AMD is planning on offering both lower-power HE and high performance SE models.
If Marvell has its way, plug computers will soon become commonplace. The company today announced its Plug Computing initiative, which seeks to make always-on computing not only more flexible and easy-to-use than it is today, but also more environmentally friendly compared to a typical desktop or laptop PC.
A plug computer is essentially a small embedded computer that plugs into a wall socket and hooks into your home network via an Ethernet cable. It can then run network-based services that would typically be handled by a desktop or laptop. Marvell's SheevaPlug platform, for example, comes equipped with a Kirkwood embedded processor based on an embedded 1.2GHz Sheeva CPU, 512MB of flash memory, and 512MB of DDR2 memory.
Nvidia showcased its bantam Ion platform during CES 2009. The Ion platform basically combines Intel’s Atom CPU with the GeForce 9400M GPU. Ion-toting netbooks are expected to be head and shoulders above today’s netbooks - that make a meal of even the simplest graphical tasks - in terms of graphics.
Silicon Power announced this morning that they have plans to release a 2.5-inch SATA II SSD that will weigh in at a sizeable 256GB.
Doubling the size of their already notable 128GB SSD released previously, the new 256GB version will feature faster read speeds of 165MB/second and write speeds of 98MB/second. Sadly, the drive has a Jmicrion JMF602 controller, which doesn’t play well with SSDs unless it ships with revision B of the very same chip. No word yet on whether or not this is the case.
According to Silicon Power “Customers can easily install the SSD in laptops, PCs or other devices that support SATA II SSD. Silicon Power 2.5” SSD with SATA II or IDE interface is fully compatible with RoHS requirement, with capacities ranging from 8GB to 256GB.”
According to a report published by review site PCPerspective, Intel's advanced sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithm used in the company's X25-M SSD is causing the drive to suffer serious performance degradation over time. In some cases, the site noted reads had been reduced to a pokey 22MB/s. The only solution PCPerspective could come up with to restore the once speedy SSD back to its original performance level was to use a dated version of HDDErase.
Not so fast, says Intel in response to PCPerspctive's claim that the X25-M had become, well, not so fast. Despite the review site having found a drop in performance in all three of its SSDs, Intel claims it has not seen the same type of degradation in its own labs.
"Our labs currently have not been able to duplicate these results," Intel said. "In our estimation, the synthetic workloads they use to stress the drive are not reflective of real world use. Similarly, the benchmarks they used to evaluate performance do not represent what a PC user experiences."
Intel went on to say that it's completely normal for a PC's drive, whether it be an HDD or SSD, to exhibit reduced performance when filled up, but that PCPerspective's results are higher than what Intel would generally expect. Hence the reason why Intel questions the methodology that was used.
Any SSD owners, Intel-brand or otherwise, notice any performance slowdowns over time? Hit the jump and let us know what your experience has been.
Most of us take for granted the inner workings of a Google search and all we're concerned about is receiving near instantaneous results to our query. And just as well, because Google hasn't been one to pony up much specifics on the hardware it uses to sift through oodles of web pages. That is, until Google Fellow Jeff Dean gave a keynote talk at ESDM 2009.
According to Dean, a typical Google search might consume the processing power of 1000 machines. Talking about Google's growth in the past decade, Dean said search queries have gone up by x1000, and so too has the company's processing power (# machines * speed of the machines). In addition, Dean claims query latency has dropped from under 1000ms to normally under 200ms, as well as dropping the update latency by a staggering x10000, so that crawler updates have been reduced from several months down to just a few minutes.
Dean says the improved performance is a result of switching the holding indexes to now being completely in memory. The result is that it takes thousands of machines to process a search query, but it has made near instantaneous searches possible.
Ruh-roh, Shaggy, it looks as though SSDs might not be all that and a bag of chips after all. Or more specifically, Intel's mighty X25-M SSD may prove a better sprinter than a marathon runner.
One of the major concerns with SSD technology is that the cells are good only for a finite number of writes, at which point they become read-only. Intel address this potential problem using sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithms, but a new report shows it might carry a nasty performance-reducing side effect.
Most wear-leveling algorithms dynamically move frequently-rewritten logical sectors to different physical sectors of the drive, ensuring that no cells are written to more frequently than others. Intel takes it a step further by extending its remap table into individual sectors, which reduces the number of small block writes needed for small files. The problem, according to PCPerspective, is that Intel's method seriously degrades long-term performance. After two of the site's writers noticed that their X25-M SSDs were performing signicantly slower after a length of time, the review site reran the drives through its gamut of benchmarks and found the drives had indeed degraded in performance, and in some cases, reads were reduced to a paltry 22MB/s. Zoinks!
If you own an X25-M and find that your drive has also slowed down considerably, there are fixes in place. According to Intel, one way to restore performance is to use IOMeter to sequentially write content to the entire drive. PCPerspective said it met with limited success using this method, but had much better results using Intel's second suggestion, which is to use a tool to perform a SECURE ERASE command on the drive. Using an older version of HDDErase (v3.3), the site says it was able to restore its X25-M back to its original performance levels.
Check out the article here, then hit the jump and sound off.
BenQ has finally made good on their promises to release an all-in-one computer, and it has come in the form of the nScreen i91.
The screen-based computer has a sizeable 18.5-inch 16:9 LCD screen, with an AMD Semperon 210U processor, 1GB of memory and a 160GB HDD under the hood. To help sweeten the deal they’ve included a 4-in-1 card reader, an integrated webcam, and an average power consumption of just 30 watts.
It’s designed to be as easy to use as possible, with a main selling point that you can simply plug it in, press the volume/power knob, and be on the Internet.
There haven’t been any announcements yet as to when this will be available here in the U.S., but it is currently available in Taiwan for roughly $517.
OCZ has added a backlit keyboard to its Alchemy line of gaming peripherals, but this one comes with a twist. Unlike traditional backlit planks, OCZ's Illuminati lets users switch between blue or red LED backlit keys, erasing the fear that the decor at the next LAN party you attend might clash with your keyboard.
In addition to the user-selectable color scheme, the Illuminati comes equipped with rubber-coated keys, which the company claims will last for more than 5 million cycles. Gamers can also make use of 14 multimedia and internet hotkeys and a curved wrist wrest. What you won't find on the keyboard are any USB ports.
OCZ launched its Alchemy line last year in an attempt to offer gaming peripherals without the high prices that typically come hand-in-hand. The Illuminati is the third keyboard in the company's Alchemy series, with the Elixir and Elixir II having come before it.
To borrow from Jerry Maguire's 'You had me at hello' scene, Maingear's newest product announcement had us 'Core i7,' but lost us when the talk turned to the GPU. The new Prelude 2, as it's being called, combines Intel's Core i7 platform with a Samsung 22-inch LCD monitor and tops it off with Nvidia's 3D Vision Technology, and at under two grand, it sounds like an intriguing proposition. But sticking out like a sore thumb is the inclusion of Nvidia's mid-range 9800GT videocard.
"The fact that Maingear customers will have the ability to play games in 3D stereo is just awesome," said Ujesh Desai, general manager of GPU business at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision is taking the world by storm, and Maingear’s Prelude 2 is going to deliver a mind-blowing experience."
That "mind-blowing experience" will be delivered by Intel's Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) processor nestled into an Asus P6T X58 motherboard, 3GB of triple channel DDR3-1066 memory, a 250GB Western Digital hard drive with 16MB of cache, onboard audio, a 650W power supply, and Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit all stuffed inside a Lian-Li enclosure.
To be fair, this is only a baseline configuration. The Prelude 2 offers plenty of customization options, including up to a 1200W power supply, up to two of the hard to find dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocards, Intel's full lineup of Core i7 processors, liquid cooling, up to 12GB of Corsair XMS DDR3-1333MHz memory, up to four hard drives (including Intel's X25-M 80GB SSD, Western Digital's Velociraptor, and RAID 0), and a host of other goodies.
The Prelude 2 is available now from Maingear.com starting at just shy of $2000 (baseline configuration).