In case you missed it, Intel earlier this week officially released its Dunnington-based 7400 server CPUs. Dunnington has garnered attention in the press for being a six-core processor, and also for being the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores come on a single die. Dunnington's predecessor, the 7300 series Tigerton, was a quad-core processor two dual-core chips wedged onto a single slice of silicon.
But Dunnington is no big deal, according to AMD. Jon Fruehe, worldwide market development manager for the rival chip maker, dubbed Dunnington as nothing more than a "benchmark chip" and a "placeholder" until Intel can move away from an external memory controller.
Fruehe also huffed at Intel having the first six-core CPU, 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, but only offering 30 percent more performance. He also pooh-poohed the 130W TDP rating (early reports indicate first run Core i7 processors will also be rated at 130W), and downplayed Tigerton's success, saying market share gains can be attributed to AMD being late with Barcelona.
Is Fruehe's criticism of Intel's Dunnington architecture valid, or did someone just take a whiz in his Wheaties?
Arguably no other company is doing more to push SSDs into the mainstream than OCZ, who earlier this year released its Core Series SATA II SSD drives, undercutting the competition in price and hurdling past in performance. Now the company is at it again, slashing prices one more time.
It was just a week ago that OCZ's 32GB Core SSD dropped down to just $99 after mail-in-rebate, and now the company's 64GB model is receiving similar treatment. Newegg is now selling the bigger model for the same price after a $70 mail-in-rebate, which means you can now get double the storage space for a single C-note than what you could have received last week.
It's not all peaches and cream, though, as the price cuts come on the heels of heavy criticism by Anandtech, who faulted the drives for random write issues resulting in "horrible stuttering/pausing/lagging."
Is the new low price per gigabyte enough to make up for SSD technology's shortcomings?
Have better things to do than to surf your videocard maker's website every day to check for updated drivers? That's okay, because we've done the legwork for you and found new drivers, so go ahead an hightail it over to ATI.
The just released Catalyst 8.9 driver package applies to both Windows XP and Vista in 32- and 64-bit trim. Home theater buffs should be particularly interested in the new drivers, as 8.9 introduces a 1080P @ 50Hz custom display mode for HDTVs. On the extreme gaming front, ATI's OverDrive overclocking utility now supports quad CrossFireX configurations, giving gamers the ability to overclock each card using manual controls or via the auto-tuning option.
Other goodies include OpenGL 3.0 extension support and several bug fixes for a variety of games, including recent releases Age of Conan and Spore.
We've said it before and we'll say it again - it's a great time to be a PC gamer. While ATI and Nvidia continue to go at each other's throats, it's the consumers who benefit with faster cards for less money than has traditionally been the case. Now the situation looks to get even better.
With a focus on the budget market, ATI's HD 4600 series looks to offer reasonable gaming performance for an even more reasonable sub-$100 price tag. The HD 4650 will carry an MSRP of just $69, which buys a 512MB frame buffer, 320 stream processing units, a core clockspeed of 600MHz, and a 500MHz memory clockspeed. Naturally with a price so low, cuts had to be made somewhere and the 4650 will sport just a 128-bit memory bus.
For $10 more, the HD 4670 carries the same specs, but faster core and memory clockspeeds of 750MHz and 1000MHz, respectively. Unfortunately for overclockers, overclocking the 4650 won't put it on par with the 4670, as the former uses GDDR2 and the latter GDDR3.
Both cards also continues ATI's focus into the living room with HTPC friendly features such as the company's Unified Video Decoder (UVD), Avivo HD technology, and support for 7.1 surround sound through HDMI.
Looking back to when Intel's Core 2 architecture was still a blip on a roadmap, enthusiasts were cautiously optimistic over the promised performance gains. And rightfully so, considering the burn that the chip maker's hot running Penryn put on end users. But as we now know, it turns out Intel was every bit justified in hyping its new architecture, putting a (perhaps temporary) end to AMD's Cinderella story.
And so here we are again eagerly anticipating Intel's next architecture, only this time we're slightly less apprehensive regarding the company's ability to deliver now that Netburst has been nixed. Unfortunately, the chips formerly known as Nehalem are still under lock and key, but that hasn't stopped details on the Core i7 lineup from making its way to the web. According to reports, three processors are slated for a November 2008 release:
Core i7 920 (mainstream) - 2.66GHz
Core i7 940 (performance) - 2.93GHz
Core i7 965 (extreme) - 3.20GHz
Differences in clockspeeds aside, all three models will be quad-core parts built on a 45nm manufacturing process with 256KB of L2 cache per core and 8MB of shared L3 cache. Each one also comes with a 130W TDP rating, so don't be surprised if they run hot, assuming the rumored specs hold true.
Pricing on the 920, 940, and 965 in thousand unit quantities looks to be $284, $562,and $999 respectively.
Wondering what exactly AMD has in store for 2009? So is everyone else, which would explain the sometimes conflicting speculation making the rounds on the web. But for the real scoop, TomsHardware claims it has "some confirmed information thanks to [credible] inside sources."
If the sources prove accurate (and THW feels confident they will), AMD's upcoming socket AM3 platform is being designed to exclude AM2 and AM2+ parts. AM3 will support DDR3-1333 memory, and expect a move away from Diode based thermal monitoring to Thermal Sense Interface (TSI) monitoring.
Also on tap for 2009 are two new AM2+ Deneb chips shown as launching in January. THG also reports that an AM3-based Deneb chip will launch sometime in February, with tri-core AM3 chips making a debut by April or May of next year.
If you haven't heard, ATI's HD 4870 kicks some serious gaming ass. Nvidia's received the message loud and clear, so the company's gone back to the drawing board and now plans to release a revised version of its GTX 260 videocard. The tweaked GTX 260 pushes the number of stream shaders from 192 up to 216, expected to result in a 5-10 percent performance increase. To prevent confusion in the market place with existing GTX 260s, speculation suggests the new card may carry a 'Gold' moniker.
This isn't the first time in recent memory that Nvidia has revised an existing SKU, with the company earlier this summer shrinking the 9800 GTX's core from 65nm to 55nm and boosting clockspeeds, which resulted in the 9800 GTX+. But this time around, DigiTimes reports graphics card makers are voicing concerns that the Gold release will leave them with an oversupply of original GTX 260 cards that no one wants. Whether those fears prove founded or not depends on how Nvidia plans to price the new release, which so far has not yet been announced.
There's no official word yet, but there's speculation that Intel might release it's six-core Dunnington chips next week at VMWare's VMWorld conference in Las Vegas. Dunnington isn't being aimed at the desktop crowd and will instead target the server market, so if Intel was looking to make a splash with its new CPUs before Nehalem debuts, VMWorld would be the place to do it.
For those that missed our coverage earlier this month, Intel's Xeon 7400 series Dunnington processor will not only be the first six-core CPU, but also the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores will come on one slice of silicon. Current generation chips feature multiple cores in one package. Despite being monolithic in nature, Dunnington will still use an external memory controller, which Intel hopes to offset with a generous amount of cache. The six cores will share a beefy 16MB of L3 cache, and 3MB of L2 cache (9MB total).
Integrated graphics are typically of little interest to power users, but as onboard GPUs continue to develop, such solutions quickly become tempting for a secondary rig, kids' PC, or any other setup that has no aspirations for playing Crysis. If you fall into one of those latter categories, you may want to hold off for a couple of weeks before shelling out for a motherboard.
According to DigiTimes, Nvidia will launch its MCP7A IGP chipset by the end of the month, which will bring an integrated GeForce 9-series graphics core to the table. Two versions are being planned, with the MCP7A-U featuring a GeForce 9400 GPU and the MCP7A-S coming equipped with a GeForce 9300 GPU. Both GPUs will be identical in architecture, except the 9400 will come with a core clockspeed of 580MHz and shader frequency of 1,500MHz, whereas the 9300's core and shader will come clocked at 450MHz and 1200MHz respectively.
On the chipset front, the MCP7A chipset brings support for a 1333MHz frontside bus, up to 6 SATA ports, up to 12 USB ports, and RAID 0/1/0+1 and 5. Some motherboards will also support Nvidia's Hybrid technology when paired with a third party videocard.
Oops! Elsa, a supplier of Nvidia-based graphics cards, recently showed some slides during a press event outlining Nvidia's enthusiast product roadmap, one of which has been leaked and is spreading through the web. The slide appears to show Nvidia readying two new high end GPUs set to launch later this year and in Q1 '09.
The GT212 looks to replace the GTX280 on the top of the GPU food chain, with the GT206 replacing the GTX260. What's interesting about the new cards is that the naming schemes would appear to position them below the cards each one is replacing, but the leaked slide clearly shows both higher up on the performance scale. Speculation suggests the new cards will likely see a die shrink
The slide also shows another 9800GTX+ (HDV version) to be released this quarter, but like the others, specifics so far remain scarce.