Tough times continue to plague AMD and its employees. While Intel gears up for its Core i7 launch in just ten days, AMD is busy crunching numbers trying to figure out how to get its finances in order following almost two years of losses. Unfortunately for the chip maker and its employees, the despairing numbers add up to more job cuts.
AMD has already reduced its workforce by 10 percent earlier this year, and now the company says it will be cutting another 500 jobs to reduce costs and be more competitive with Intel. Once the pink slips are handed out, AMD will be left with a global workforce 15,000 strong.
"Today's announced headcount reduction is an unfortunate but necessary part of this process," AMD spokesman Micheal Silverman said, "to help us align our people with the focused programs that achieve our objectives, eliminate duplication of efforts, and allow us to operate more efficiently."
Silverman went on to hint that more job cuts might be forthcoming, saying the chip maker "will continue to assess AMD's programs, activities, and staffing needs" in 2009.
For some time now, word on web has been that Intel will launch its first Core i7 processors on November 17, and according to eWeek.com, that word is now official. The news site reports that the launch will take place during an event in San Francisco.
While Intel will target high end desktops and gamers with its first set of Core i7 chips, eWeek says the chip maker will zone in on business buyers and enterprises shortly after with new processors designed for workstations and dual-core server systems. These should be available by the end of 2008, followed by Core i7 parts designed for corporate clients and notebooks in 2009.
Also in 2009, we'll start to see processors sporting integrated graphics on the silicon die appear in desktop systems.
"Some of these new processors will have integrated graphics built into the processor and our partners will see this as an efficient use of the processors socket and the memory for both compute power and graphics," Intel VP Steve Smith said.
Anyone planning a Core i7 build in time for the holidays? Hit the jump and tell us about it.
Who says thin is in? Not Palit, who has just introduced a massive three-slot graphics card based on AMD's dual-GPU ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. Dubbed the Revolution 700 Deluxe, the new card owes its wide load to a giant heatsink consisting of a two-fan cooling solution outfitted with heatpipes and a plethora of connection options.
The Revolution 700 Deluxe comes equipped with DisplayPort, HDMI, Dual-Link DVI, and D-Sub (VGA) connections, so while you might have to worry about how you're going to cram this card inside your case, you at least won't face any problems connecting it to nearly any type of display.
Other specs include 2GB of GDDR5 slightly overclocked at 3800MHz (compared to 3600MHz reference), 750MHz core clockspeed, DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1 support, and a 512-bit memory interface resulting in 2.4 teraFLOPS of graphics horsepower.
No price has yet been set for the mammoth videocard, but according to TGDaily, Palit spokesman Darren Polkowski said it sell in a similar price range as other 4870 X2 cards.
Is three slots too much? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
If solid state drives (SSDs) continue to march into the mainstream market, 2008 might very well one day be looked at as the start of the SSD era. But for that to happen, the performance numbers have to improve and users have to be convinced that the technology can be reliable on a long-term basis. Performance, which is supposed to SSD's strong point, has come under fire amid real-world benchmark comparisons, and as far as SanDisk is concerned, Vista is to blame.
Taking matters into its own hands, SanDisk has developed a new file system, ExtremeFFS, which the company claims has the potential to increase write performance by up to 100 times in SSDs over existing systems.
"To maximize random write performance, SanDisk developed the ExtremeFFS flash file management system," the company wrote in a press release. "This operates on a page-based algorithm, which means there is no fixed coupling between physical and logical location. When a sector of data is written, the SSD puts it where it is most convenient and efficient. The result is an improvement in random write performance – by up to 100 times – as well as in overall endurance."
ExtremeFFS allows NAND channels to work independently of each other, so while some might be reading data, others can be simultaneously writing. The technology also purports to "learn" user patterns and eventually localize data, which sounds a lot like advanced defragging routines. Admittedly, SanDisk senior VP and GM Rich Heye's concedes that it might not make a difference in benchmarks, but believes "it is the right thing to do for end-users."
In related news, SanDisk has also come up with a performance metric it is calling vRPM, or virtual RPM. The metric has been designed to let users know how fast a typical hard drive would need to spin to match the performance of an SSD, which would also allow for a performance comparison between SSDs.
When most computer users think of folding at home, the image that comes to mind is that of folding proteins in hopes of ultimately coming up with a cure for common diseases. But the term is about to become literal with Asus' announcement of its Vento TA-F foldable chassis.
The main benefit of a collapsible chassis lies in its portability. According to Asus, with a fully folded dimension of 434 x 87 x 434 mm, vendors can cut back on transportation costs by upwards of 30 percent. Presumably this would translate into reduced costs for the end users who often find themselves paying anywhere from $15 to $25 or more to have a case shipped. But are there any other benefits?
"This [space saving design] also allows DIY enthusiasts to carry the chassis back home or to the office without having to contend with the conventional bulk of a normal chassis," Asus explains in its press release. "Once the user arrives back home or at the office, the TA-F Series can be expanded quickly to use and also be kept away by simply folding it flat."
To do so would require removing installed components and then reinstalling, rinse and repeat. To its credit, the TA-F boasts a tools-free setup to help streamline the process, but we can't imagine system builders opting to tear down their system in order to save some cargo space.
What are your thoughts on a foldable chassis? Hit the jump and let us know.
At long last, power users have a plethora of performance numbers to ponder now that Intel has lifted its NDA on Core i7 benchmarks. But even though the first batch of benches show the new architecture living up to the hype, AMD isn't packing its bags and going home. On the contrary, the rival chip maker has a slew of 45nm chips coming out, starting this month.
Citing sources at un-named motherboard makers, DigiTimes reports AMD will launch a pair of 45nm quad-core desktop CPUs (Deneb) designed for AM2+ systems this month. The Phenom X4 20550 will come clocked at 3GHz and the 20350 at 2.8GHz. A series of 45nm triple-core chips are also on the way, though these won't start shipping until Q1 2009. These chips include the 14x00, 12x00, and 1xx00e series. On the high end, AMD plans to launch six 45nm quad-core Deneb chips and four entry-level Propus chips in the same time frame.
All the new releases could potentially have AMD competing with its upcoming dual-core Athlon X2 processors. To prevent this scenario from playing out, AMD will delay shipping its 45nm AM3-based dual-core parts (Regor) until Q3 2009.
The new processors will also lead to price cuts within AMD's existing product line as the chip maker looks to clear its inventory. If you're an AMD-loyal, keep your eyes peeled for some tantalizing deals on Phenom processors this holiday shopping season and beyond.
With Intel's new Core i7 platform nearing release, expect a deluge of X58 motherboard announcements by various manufacturers. EVGA has already offered a glimpse of its upcoming X58 SLI FTW board, and now Gigabyte follows suit with two boards of its own -- GA-EX58-EXTREME and GA-EX58-UD5 -- based on the enthusiast X58 chipset.
Both boards will sport six DIMM slots for three-channel DDR3 memory and support for up to a whopping 24GB of RAM, but the hardware ménage à trois doesn't end there. Both boards will also come ready for three-way SLI action, or if you prefer ATI brand videocards, you can get your groove on with three-way CrossFireX support. Other traits the two boards have in common include ten SATA 3Gb/s ports, a PATA connector, RAID support, 8-channel onboard audio, three Firewire ports, and a dozen USB 2.0 ports.
The GA-EX58-EXTREME separates itself by adding Gigabyte's "Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2" cooling solution and is being aimed at watercooling enthusiasts. By combining liquid cooling, screen cooling, and an external heatsink, Gigabyte claims users can expect upwards of a 30 percent drop in thermals. The GA-EX58-UD5, on the other hand, sticks to a more traditional air cooling scheme, while also adding LED onboard displays of system vitals.
For many of us, the idea of building your own laptop seems pretty farfetched. But OCZ is looking to change all of that with a recently announced15” DIY gaming notebook. The notebook will be based on Intel’s Centrino 2 processor and ATI’s Radeon HD3650 integrated graphics. According to OCZ, these will “provide a premium gaming experience that lets gamers power through all of today's most advanced and graphic-intensive games and applications with DirectX 10.1 compatibility.”
“At OCZ, empowering the enthusiast end-user in the mobile gaming space is an exciting opportunity for us, and with the powerful technology found in our latest Intel Centrino 2 based notebook we are again at the forefront of this growing market,” states Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management, in OCZ’s the press release. “With OCZ DIY notebooks, end-users have complete control of the cost/performance ratio of key components, giving consumers the opportunity to personalize a true gaming and multi-tasking powerhouse notebook by using a validated component list and our easy to follow step-by-step manual included with every DIY package.”
While the notebook isn’t one that you’ll be building from the ground up, there are plenty of great options to give it a DIY feel. In the box you’ll get the case of the machine, which features a 15” screen, optical drive, and motherboard while the HDD (or SSD), memory and processor are your call. Thanks to some conveniently placed covers, all it takes to install the components is a screwdriver a little bit of know-how. OCZ even provides a catalog of components that work in each slot, so you’ll have a short list of parts to choose from when deliberating on what to use.
For true DIY’ers, this isn’t much to concern yourself with. But if you’re someone looking for a way to get your feet wet in the DIY scene (and it truly is the place to be), this isn’t a bad place to start. Follow the simple instructions and the fundamentals of building a PC are all yours.
Tick tock? More like ding-dong, mutha—shut your mouth. What baby? We’re talkin’ about Core i7.
Our apologies to Isaac Hayes, but if he were alive, we’re almost certain he would have been tapped to hammer out a theme song for Intel’s most significant CPU launch in, well, ever.
Why is this CPU more significant than the 8088, Pentium, or Pentium M? As the second new chip produced after a series of embarrassing losses to archrival AMD, the Core i7 will answer for the world whether Intel is prepared to ride the momentum of its Core 2 launch with another winning chip or if it’s content to rest on its laurels, as it did with the Pentium 4.
Core i7 also represents a major new direction for Intel, which has stubbornly clung to the ancient front-side-bus architecture and discrete memory controller for years. Indeed, with its triple-channel integrated DDR3 memory controller and chip-to-chip interconnect, the block map of a Core i7 looks more like an Athlon 64 than a Core 2 chip.
Intel actually has three quad-core Core i7 CPUs ready: the top-end 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition, the performance-oriented 2.93GHz Core i7-940, and the midrange 2.66GHz Core i7-920. For the most part, all three are exactly the same except for clock speeds, multiplier locking (only the Extreme is unlocked), and QuickPath Interconnect speed. See the chart on page 42 for details.
The bigger issue is how Core i7 performs. To find out, we ran the Extreme 965 against AMD’s fastest proc as well as Intel’s previous top gun in a gauntlet of benchmarks. Read on for the results.
Continue reading for our comprehensive review and benchmarks!
The mini-ITX form factor is still alive and kicking, and to prove it, Zotac has just expanded its mini-ITX lineup with the nForce 630i-ITX WiFi motherboard. As the board's nomenclature suggests, WiFi comes integrated with 802.11b/g support, as does graphics chores, which are handled by Nvidia's GeForce 7100 chipset.
The pint-sized board comes ready for Intel's lineup of Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors with support for a full 1333MHz frontside bus. RAM support, on the other hand, comes somewhat gimped topping out at DDR2-800 instead of DDR2-1066 or DDR3. Other features include:
Eight USB 2.0 ports (four on back panel, four on pin header)
Onboard 10/100 Ethernet
HD Audio 5.1
Dual display ready (VGA / DVI)
Four SATA II ports with RAID Support
Not a bad feature-set for a compact board, particularly if you're in the market for an HTPC build, where the integrated WiFi could end up a major selling point.