We've already had some hands-on time with Bloomfield, Intel's high-end Nehalem part (officially named Core i7). But we know that not everyone's going to make the jump on board this new platform when it's released later this year. Bloomfield pricing hasn't been announced yet, but we expect it to be in the high-end enthusiast range -- ie. only affordable for price un-conscious buyers.
For mainstream system builders, Intel's solution will be Lynnfield, a socket 1160 CPU that'll have its own motherboard configuration. Lynnfield processors will be incompatible with X58 motherboards sporting socket 1366 -- though Intel assured us that they won't phase out the Bloomfield platform once Lynnfield is released in Q1 of next year (unlike what happened with AMD's socket 940 platform). Another difference: Lynnfield's motherboard will run two-channel DDR 3 memory, as opposed to the highly-touted tri-channel setup in Bloomfield.
We were lucky enough to snap up a few spy shots of an early Lynnfield motherboard, shown below:
Can you spot the differences between a Lynnfield and Bloomfield motherboard? Take a closer look after the jump.
How the world turns. Mention overclocking ten years ago at IDF and a Pinkerton would escort you off the show floor to a room where three Intel engineers would beat you with old Pentium Pro motherboards. Today, Intel is actually actively promoting overclocking, but big blue is calling it Turbo Mode.
Turbo Mode is just one of the several groundbreaking features in Nehalem, but it’s also certainly one of the most head-turning. But how exactly does it work and how do you control it? Walk with us as we decode Intel’s Turbo Mode, show you how you’ll set it up in the BIOS (with first photos), and tell you what you should expect from your next heatsink.
Want to take a look at the Nehalem BIOS? Of course you do.
We don't like taking on the role of enforcer, nor do we like bullying those ill equipped to defend themselves. But sometimes, for the greater good of all involved, as PC users we feel obligated to step in and lay the smack down when our Mac brethren come asking for it. In a way, we feel like Billy Madison did when he told a bunch of first graders "Now you're all in big, big trouble" before proceeding to pummel them in dodgeball.
Do you subscribe to Maximum PC magazine? If so, turn to page 11 in the recently released October issue (everyone else scroll down to the 2-free trial issuesl order form, or jump straight to the subscription page). In the sidebar, Tom Halfhill discusses how AMD isn't too big to fail, and should they fall, it would leave Intel as the sole provider of x86 chips to the high end consumer market. Even staunch Intel fans can recognize this to be a bad thing, and as Halfhill points out, "AMD's demise would [overnight] create a monopoly that's almost impossible for another company to break." Or would it?
According to one of the hotter rumors making the rounds on the web, Nvidia might be doing more than just looking to get into the x86 market, they might already be working on it. Preposterous? Maybe not. Few would consider Intel's and Nvidia's relationship to be a warm and fuzzy one, and as the divide between GPUs and CPUs look to close, it's at least within the realm of possibility that Nvidia could be hashing out a x86 chip.
Intel adds a few processors and drops a few prices this month in it’s CPU line up. There doesn’t appear to be any shakeups from Intel’s expected plans.
Intel's Core 2 Extreme Quad Core line remains unchanged, but in the standard line, the Q9650 joins the line up at the top, while the Q9550 drops 40% from $530 to the Q9450 previous level of $316. The Q9400 is also new, and enters at the same price as the Q9300 and Q6700 (a 65nm process CPU) at $266.
The only other prices changes were in the Xeon line, with the new X3370 coming out and the X3360 dropping 40% to $316.
All prices are in 1000 tray units.
We will certainly see more changes when Intel ships Bloomfield sometime in Q4.
All eyes continue to be glued to Intel and its upcoming Core i7 (Nehalem), but AMD has a product release in the wings too, this one for the server market. The struggling chip maker said it's planning to release a new server platform in the second half of 2009 currently code named Fiorano. Built to take advantage of AMD's upcoming 45nm Shanghai processor, Fiorano represents the company's first foray into the server chipset market instead of using chipsets from Nvidia and Broadcom.
The Fiorno platform will fully support the company's chip-to-chip technolgy called HyperTransport 3 while also offering a new virtualization technology called IOMMU, which allows for the virtualization of the system's I/O traffic. Support for the second generation PCI-Express will also be included, but the same can't be said for DDR3 because of cost concerns.
"it will hit once the price of DDR3 comes down," said John Fruehe, who handles worldwide channel market development for AMD's Server and Workstation Division. "The back half of next year is about the time the process changes in DDR3 will happen that will allow the prices to come down."
The first AMD platform to use DDR3 memory will be called Maranello (previously known as Piranha).
We did not expect this. When we first got our hands on Zalman’s CNPS9300 AT, we assumed the company had pulled a “Honey, I Shrunk the CPU Cooler” on its flagship product, the bulky CNPS9700. That’s certainly true if you consider the tale of the tape: The CNPS9300 is 80 percent smaller than its big brother, and its total thermal dissipation area has been nearly halved, from 5,490cm2 to 2,583cm2.
Logic only dictates that this cooler should perform far worse than the Zalman CNPS9700. But the built-for-silence CNPS9300 AT nearly matches its big brother’s performance—as well as that of our top cooler, Thermaltake’s DuOrb (reviewed July 2008).
Instead of a god of the sea, Gigabyte’s midtower Poseidon 310 chassis is a petite prince. But that’s merely a reflection of this case’s size, not its prowess. It clocks in at 7.75”x17”x20”—small enough to fit into that nook in your desk or the space under your bed.
Even given its small size, the Poseidon supports up to five 5.25-inch devices. We’re unsure why this case—or any case, for that matter—still bothers with multiple external 3.5-inch bays. You get two helpings of them on the Poseidon. We would have rather sacrificed these and an additional 5.25-inch bay in favor of more internal hard drive space. Though we’re not complaining about what we get for internal storage: three hard drive bays with included rails.
Full review (with a verdict and everything!) after the jump.
It won't be long before single-core processors will seem as antiquated as single-speed CD-ROM drives, and the case could be made that we're already there. Dual- and quad-core processors rule the landscape, and while Intel's upcoming Core i7 has enthusiasts frothing at the mouth, the chip maker may have something even more mouth watering in the very near future.
If the latest rumor turns out to be true, expect a replacement architecture for Nehalem in 2010 which will double the number of cores per die to eight. Codenamed Sandy Bridge, alleged leaked slides suggest the new architecture will also support hyperthreading, giving the eight-core chip a generous 16 threads to work with. Also look for 16MB of L3 cache to find its way onto the chip.
But for all the hardware goodness, it's the software that may end up playing the biggest role in performance improvements. Intel will reportedly introduce a new instruction set called Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) that will eventually supersede SSE. AVX will double the size of instructions to 256 bits and will be capable of performing up to four calculations in a single instruction.
With over a year to go before the supposed new architecture makes a debut, will developers be ready by then to take advantage of the additional cores and new instruction set?
Indilinx has completed the development of their Barefoot (IDX22) high-performing solid state drive controller with 90nm process technology which shows an impressive fastest read speed of 230MB/s and supports a capacity of up to 512GB with multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash. Indilinx claims “phenomenal performance at a competitive price”.
Barefoot supports native SATA 2.0 interface and provides maximum read and write speed of 230MB/s, 170MB/s with SLC NAND flash, and 200MB/s, 160MB/s with MLC NAND, respectively. It uses Indilinx’s unique architecture and technology, including independently operating 4 channels and external DRAM buffer and it enhances stability and reliability by using two types of hardware error-correcting code (ECC).
Those improvements are coming by leaps and bounds in SSDs. It's not clear if this will be competing with Intel’s controller directly. No mention if this is targeted at portable or stationary (or both) PC market.