AMD has released its new Shanghai platform, signaling a move to 45nm. The first chips out the door are quad-core Opteron parts, which AMD claims will deliver up to 35 percent more performance and up to a 35 percent decrease in power consumption when idle.
"This enhanced AMD Opteron processor represents the most dramatic performance and performance-per-watt increases for AMD products since the introduction of the world's first x86 dual-core processors nearly four years ago," Randy Allen, AMD senior VP for Computing Solutions Group, said in a statement. "Simply put, the quad-core AMD Opteron is the right technology at the right time."
Shanghai, which is essentially a refresh of Barcelona and not an entirely new architecture, supports DDR2-800 memory and comes with a tweaked Direct Connect Architecture. The current batch of 75-watt Shanghai chips will be followed up by a launch of 55-watt Opteron and an SE 105-watt part in Q1 2009. And according to CNet, a desktop platform (codenamed Dragon) consisting of 45nm Shanghai desktop CPUs along with AMD 700 series chipsets and ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics will also see the light of day in the same time frame and attempt to compete with Intel's Core i7 platform.
Will Shanghai get AMD back on track? Hit the jump and give us your take.
Like Samsung and OCZ, Imation has partnered with Mtron to use the latter’s controller technology in its SSDs. As you might expect, the companies’ 64GB drives perform similarly. Still, a few subtle differences exist between the Mtron and Imation SSDs.
Imation’s Pro 7000 squeaks out 2MB/s extra in its sustained read transfer rates yet is 0.4MB/s slower than the Mtron Pro 7500 SSD in write speeds. The two drives offer identical performance in their random access read measurements and differ by a scant 0.2 milliseconds in their random access write timings.
It’s official: People who buy motherboards with mainstream chipsets such as the P45 don’t want to pay for DDR3. At least, that’s what it seems like to us. Asus’s impressive Maximus II Formula is the third P45-based board we’ve tested, and not one of them sports DDR3 slots. But that doesn’t take anything away from the MIIF, the coolest P45 board we’ve encountered.
PC builders continue to jump for joy at the rock bottom prices of memory, leading to an easy decision to go with a 4GB kit in lieu of a 2GB kit of RAM. Never has memory been so cheap, and some say the market for memory makers is the worst it has been in 15 years.
And therein lies the problem. While end users are celebrating low prices, DRAM makers have been cutting back production, reducing workers' hours, and laying off employees all in an attempt drive prices back up and cope with decreased revenue. But it isn't enough, and now it appears that memory makers have reached a crossroads.
"We believe that the DRAM industry has entered the key adjusting stage of 'reduce or retire,'" DRAMeXchange stated. "The big scale reduction is now in progress and even some DRAM vendors will be out of the DRAM market in 2009. This adjusting wave will continue until the demand and supply come to balance."
According to DRAMeXchange, the cash cost of the market's 70nm technology is between $1.3 and $1.5 and is expected to drop to $1.0 to $1.2 as DRAM makers migrate to the 6x nm process. Total 12-inch wafer output continues to fall, with the reduction for November expected to be 125,000 less wafers, which is equivalent to 10 percent of the total 12-inch wafer output. The situation looks to get even worse in December, with another 17,000-wafer reduction expected, with more reductions possible in January.
"We expect the oversupply situation will be eased starting from the end of Q1 2009," DRAMeXchange said. "Therefore, the DRAM price may have a chance to rebound at the end of Q2 09 and Q3 09 with the rising demand of PC OEMS."
The question is, which memory makers will be left standing by then?
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.
Nividia today announced its Quadro FX 5800 videocard calling it "the most powerful professional graphics card in graphics history." To help justify such a big claim, Nvidia slapped a big 4GB frame buffer on the new videocard, more than any other videocard to date.
"The size and complexity of data is growing at an exponential rate," said Jeff Brown, general manager, Professional Solutions, Nvidia. "The challenge for today's professional is to make sense of the mountain of data by distilling it into a form they can comprehend, analyze, and use to make impactful decisions. At stake can be billions of investment dollars, or even people's lives. The Quadro FX 5800 has advanced features to allow massive datasets to be viewed beyond traditional 3D enabling professionals to make fast and accurate decisions."
Nvidia says its new videocard is a perfect match for oil and gas exploration, medical imaging, styling and design, and scientific visualization, all of which can benefit from the large amount of memory and up to 240 CUDA programmable parallel core. Other specs include a memory bandwidth of up to 102 GB/s, a fill rate claimed to exceed 52 billion texels per second, and geometry performance of 300 million triangles per second. The Quadro FX 5800 also boasts true 10-bit color, giving it the ability to enable billions of color variations instead of millions, according to Nvidia.
The Quadro FX 5800 is available now with an MSRP set at $3500. But if it helps, think of it as less than $1000 per GB of memory.
Cooler Master’s newest HAF (High Air Flow) chassis is the company’s magnum opus. It successfully unifies the best bits and pieces from a wide variety of Cooler Master’s previous cases under one roof. But more than that, the HAF features a number of unique and helpful additions that truly raise the bar for case design.
A small group of Maximum PC readers (and editors) tend to glaze over at the mere mention of the Eee PC. For those of you that fall into this category, I’ll do my best to keep it interesting and you’ll be glad to know, this isn’t an ordinary netbook announcement. The now household name that spawned a generation of inexpensive PC’s have unveiled a new form factor that brings the Eee product line closer to being a desktop solution than ever before. First impressions of the product are obvious, it is clearly intended to appeal to the budget conscious crowd who can’t afford an iMac, or simply don’t care to pay the Apple tax. Asus isn’t the first to take on the iMac, but the Eee brand name, and touch screen interface gives it an interesting advantage over its competitors.
The Eee Top will come in two variations, the ET1602 and the ET1603. Both models feature a 15.6” touch screen display, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of Ram, and a 160GB Hard Drive. Other less critical features include 802.11n networking as well as a built in card reader and web cam. The two models are almost completely identical with the one exception being the ET1603’s inclusion of the ATI Mobility Radeon HD3450 for graphics. The ET1602 by comparison will only sport Intel integrated. No pricing has yet been announced for either model, and both systems will feature Windows XP Home with a custom touch screen GUI.
So, is this the form factor of Eee PC you were waiting for?
Seagate earlier this year launched the industry's frist 1.5TB desktop drive, which remains the largest capacity drive available on the market. To accomplish the feat without sacrificing performance, Seagate packed just four platters inside with an areal density of 375GB per platter resulting in what the company claims is a sustained data rate of 120 MB/s. It all sounds great on paper, but could there be something wrong with the high capacity drive?
A jaunt over to Seagate's support forum reveals an 11+ page thread of users complaining that their 1.5TB drives are exhibiting random freezes. Most of the complaints stem from users running a RAID array in Ubuntu, but mixed in are a handful of users claiming the same behavior being displayed in single-drive setups in other operating systems, including Max OS X and Vista.
According to the various comments, support inquiries have ranged from "Unfortunately, we do not support Linux" and "Again, these drives are not meant to be used in a RAID environment so we are not going to be working towards a solution for this environment," to "This is an issue we are currently working on. I know it's a hassle for now, but we're working on it as quickly as we can. As soon as we have information available we'll let you know." Other users claim they're being told a limitation error in Vista might be the culprit and they should try reducing the partition size to 1TB.
Any Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB owners experiencing similar symptoms? Hit the jump and let us know if you're having any issues with your drive.
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.