Asus has been showing off its cool and quirky Marine Cool concept motherboard at CeBIT, and it's like nothing you've ever seen before. We say 'cool' in a literal sense, as the board's underbelly comes equipped with a backplate the company says utilizes "micro-porous ceramic" technology. According to Asus, the backplate provides "aerospace-grade thermal dissipating," while also adding to the board's structural integrity. Combined with the metal heat-pipe module covering the chipset and PWM, Asus says "these revolutionary designs improve heat dissipation by up to 2 fold."
The prototype board also boasts an onboard UPS consisting of a built-in polymer battery in the gray portion of the backplate, providing backup power and preventing damage in the case of a blackout. But the quirkiness comes in the form of SO-DIMM memory slots typically found on notebooks. We suppose the space-saving slots might have made sense on paper, but that's probably where it should have stayed. However, we do dig the built-in Failover Memory, which Asus says guarantees the system will boot when using incompatible or faulty memory.
Thoughts on the Marine Cool motherboard? Hit the jump and sound off.
Netbooks have become so wildly popular that we could hardly blame Intel if it decided to focus solely on its Atom processors. Rest assured that's not the case. According to UK news and rumor site Channel Register, Intel will soon release mobile Penryn-based processors clocked at 3GHz and higher.
The faster processors will be part of Intel's Montevina Plus platform, which will focus more heavily on HD capabilities. Quoting Intel''s mobile marketing director Karen Regis, Channel Register reports the rollout also means Intel will expand its ultra low voltage (ULV) technology into mainstream markets. These include systems just above the netbook sector typically running between $600 and $1,000, Regis said.
Look for Montevina Plus to show up in the second quarter of this year.
If you're not yet ready to make the the jump to DDR3 memory but are itching to upgrade nonetheless, MSI has you covered, and it doesn't matter if you're an AMD or Intel fan. The motherboard maker has released a pair of hybrid motherboards, one for each camp, supporting both DDR2 and DDR3 RAM.
On the AMD side, MSI's AM3-based 790GX-8D supports both DDR2-1066 and DDR3-1333 memory when paired with an AM3 processor, and also works with AM2+ CPUs with DDR2 memory. Four slots of each are crammed onto the PCB, however you can't use both memory technologies at the same time. Moving away from the memory, the board also comes with two PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and a single standard PCI slot. Using the onboard graphics, gamers can also set up a CrossFireX hybrid configuration.
Switching gears to Intel, MSI's P45-8D sports four each DDR2 and DDR3 slots as well, though it remains a generation behind as an LGA775 board with support for Intel's Core 2 processors. On the expansion front, the P45-8D comes outfitted with a one PCI-E x16 slot, one PCI-E x1 slots, and three standard PCI slots.
The P45-8D is available now for around $170 street. No word yet on price or availability for the 790GX-8D.
Integrated graphics has run its course and will soon become virtually extinct, according to a new report by Jon Peddie Research (JPR). The prediction? In just four years time, IGPs won't even make up 1 percent of all GPUs shipped.
That's in stark contrast to 2008, in which integrated graphics accounted for 67 percent of all graphics chips shipped. But JPR sees IGPs stronghold weakening to just 20 percent by 2011, resulting in a significant gains for both the discrete GPU market and emerging CPU+GPU technologies.
If JPR is correct, it will be interesting to see how Intel fares in an IGP-less world. The No. 1 CPU chip maker also accounts for roughly half of all desktop and notebook graphics, a position made possible due to the demand for IGP chipsets. Both Intel and AMD (Fusion) are working on CPUs with embedded graphics, which JPR believes will be a strong segment starting sometime between 2010 and 2012. For Intel's part, the company thinks it will be ready to serve the desktop (Clarkdale) and notebook (Arrandale) markets with CPUs with embedded graphics cores by the end this year, and AMD's Fusion is expected sometime in 2011.
Will IGP chipsets all but vanish completely in the next four years? Hit the jump and post your predictions.
A-DATA this week launced its 512GB XPG 2.5-inch solid state drive (SSD), which it claims is the highest capacity SSD to date. The new drive will be pitched to both laptop and desktop users.
Balancing capacity with performance, A-DATA says its 512GB XPG reads data at up to 230MB/s and writes up to 160MB/s. By comparison, Intel's highly touted X-25M boasts read and write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s, respectively, giving A-DATA's a sizable paper-spec advantage in write speeds and a slight disadvantage in read bandwidth.
The new drive comes enclosed in a "dashing, durable, lightweight aluminum casing" and boasts a shock resistance rating of 1500G/0.5ms. In other words, it could probably survive an accidental drop or three, even if the rest of your laptop doesn't.
With the introduction of four new specialized Atom processors (as well as two new system controllers to accompany them) Intel is looking to put their wildly popular Atom processor into more platforms. Notably, they’re making a push for internet-pones and in-car devices.
The processors, which are made from the same 45nm manufacturing process as their siblings, aren’t too different from the others that already exist. The processors, which will clock between 1.1GHz and 1.6GHz will consume very little power, and fit perfectly into a whole myriad of industrial options.
So who knows, perhaps in the coming years not only your computer, but your car might have Intel inside.
Call it the dawn of a new era or the beginning of the end, but however it turns out, AMD has officially closed the deal to finalize its processor manufacturing spinoff. Previously coined The Foundry, the new company will now be called Globalfoundries and led by former AMD executives.
"With the close of this historic transaction, AMD and its committed partners have conceived two strong industry-leading companies capable of charting future courses that will dramatically improve the technology industry,” said Dirk Meyer, president and chief executive officer of AMD. "Our ‘Asset Smart’ strategy is about more than providing AMD with long term access to world-class, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing that is foundational to our growth strategy. It is about transforming the industry."
The finalized deal improves AMD's cash position by about $825 million, and as previously reported, the spinoff will be responsible for AMD's manufacturing needs. Globalfoundries also said it will offer an expanded roadmap of technologies to third-party customers, giving them early access to volume chip production when traditionally new technologies would be limited only to high-end microprocessor makers.
A new $4.2 billion manufacturing facility at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, NY is also being planned. The facility will focus on 32nm and smaller technologies, and according to Globalfoundries, it will be the only independently-managed, advanced semiconductor manufacturing foundry in the U.S.
This looks to be a good year for the Network Attached Storage (NAS) market. Western Digital this week announced its new WD ShareSpace NAS with a massive 8TB capacity, and at CeBIT, Acer's showing off its Atom-based Altos easyStore NAS box with support for four hot swappable hard drives, meaning it too should be able to hold 8TB.
Inside the little box sits an Intel Atom 230 embedded processor using Intel's 945GC chipset. Other specs include a single PCI-E x4 slot, five USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, and a single eSATA port.
Not much else is known about Acer's upcoming easyStore, including when it will be available or at what price point(s). However, Engadget has a bunch of pictures for you to ogle at, which you can view here.
During a Q&A session at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco earlier this week, Nvidia revealed intentions of getting into the x86 business, saying it was a matter of 'when', and not 'if.'
"I think some time down the road it makes sense to take the same level of integration that we've done with Tegra," said Michael Hara, Nvidia's senior VP of investor relations and communications. "Tegra is by any definition a complete computer on a chip, and the requirements of that market are such that you have to be very low power, very small, but highly efficient. So in that particular state it made a lot of sense to take that approach, and someday it's going to make sense to take the same approach in the x86 market as well."
For the here and now, Nvidia is content to pair its Ion platform with Intel's Atom processor, but for how long? Hara explained that it might make sense to approach the x86 market in two or three years, and while he wasn't willing to offer a more concrete timeframe, he did say "there's no question it's on our minds."
No doubt Intel's x86 license is also on Nvidia's minds, as the two companies tussle over whether or not Nvidia is allowed to build chipsets for Nehalem. How the current dispute plays out could play a big role on how Nvidia approaches the CPU business.
Do you like the idea of Nvidia building CPUS? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
If you’ve tried to research the differences between Intel’s top-end Core i7-965 Extreme Edition and the midrange 940 and budget 920 parts, you’re probably as confused as us. And we even have direct access to Intel. But the technical differences between these parts are enormously important for system builders when you consider the price disparity -- $1000 for a Core i7-965 compared to under $300 for a Core i7-920.
What we do know is that the Core i7-965 has unlocked multipliers going up and down (although we have to point out that we have not seen any motherboards with multipliers that let you actually set it higher. You can only do that by increasing the Turbo Mode ratio.)
One other known fact is that you cannot set the Turbo Mode ratios on the 940 and 920. OK fine. But what else is different? Intel told us as recently as two months ago that the QPI was locked at 4.8GT/s to prevent you from running it at the Extreme’s 6.4GT/s speed. Memory ratios, however, are supposed to be unlocked.