With Intel's quad-core mobile chip soon coming to a laptop near you, some are wondering if a four-core chip might be overkill for a mobile platform. The answer is a resounding 'No' and anyone who thinks otherwise automatically loses 100x4 points of geek cred.
Okay, that might be a bit harsh, particularly since there are compelling reasons to support such blasphemous thoughts. While it's difficult to fathom ever having too much computing power, even desktop owners are still waiting for that killer app that will make everyone ditch their dual-core processor in favor of a quad. Moving to a mobile platform, wasted horsepower becomes even more of an issue as OEMs try to deal with heat dissipation, battery life, and the grand-daddy of them all, cost.
Nevertheless, there will be a market for four-core chips. Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest, says quad-core mobile chips are "definitely not" overkill, noting that the boutique OEM has been "putting quad-processors in (laptops) for a long time."
Details about some of Intel's upcoming quad-core mobile chips - like the Core 2 Extreme X9100 - are floating around the web, but others have yet to go public. Citing un-named sources, Cnet claims system vendors may start disclosing more details as soon as August 11. Will anyone care, or is dual-core still good enough for a laptop?
Have you ever run into an old ex-girlfriend only to realize she's nothing the way you remembered? Or fired up that retro-game and wondered what you found so appealing about it in the first place? Every once in awhile a blast from the past (like bringing WarGames back to theaters) will make a worthwhile comeback, but more often than not, old relics are best left buried, and Albatron might be finding this out.
Earlier this month the company let it be known it would be bringing Nvidia's 8-series videocards in 8400, 8500, and 8600 trim to the PCI bus, but those plans have hit a snag and it might be awhile before we see another PCI videocard. Even though the PCI bus has been around since close to the dawn of time, not all motherboards stick to the same signaling implementation for the PCI interface, and Albatron fears that compatibility with different motherboards could become a problem.
Sam Nada, Albatron's International PR representative, says the company's engineers are working on optimizing the BIOS to ensure a smooth rollout, but it will be a couple of weeks before the new Retrotechnology cards make a debut. But what's a couple of weeks if you've already staved off the upgrade bug for this long?
While the rest of the computing world inexplicably refuses to see a market for performance hard drives spinning faster than 7,200RPM, Western Digital is finding new segments for its flagship 10,000RPM Velociraptor. The company announced today it's shrinking the stupid-fast drive down to a 2.5-inch form factor for use in blade servers and 1U and 2U servers.
"WD is bringing to enterprise customers what PC enthusiasts already appreciate about the WD Velociraptor: a combination of high performance and high capacity for hard drive storage," said John Rydning, IDC's research director for hard disk drives.
Because server environments tend to be more mission critical than the average desktop, Western Digital claims its new enterprise model will be up to the job with the "highest available reliability rating of any SATA drive at 1.4 million hours MTBF."
The shrunken Velociraptor will come in both 300GB and 150GB capacities. Will anyone else join them?
With ATI having finally jumped back into the ring with Nvidia, the two companies have been taking performance jabs at each other in tit-for-tat fashion. One of those jabs came last month as Nvidia tweaked its 9800GTX with a die shrink (65nm to 55nm) and clockspeed boosts culminating in a new card dubbed the 9800GTX+. So does that mean BFG's newly announced 9800GTX+ OC can be considered an overclocked, overclocked 9800GTX? Holy redundancy, Batman!
However you label it, BFG's 9800GTX+ OC ranks as one of the fastest G92-based videocards on the market:
Core Clockspeed: 760MHz (vs 738MHz)
Shader Clockspeed:1,890MHz (vs 1,836MHz)
Memory Clockspeed: 2,250MHz (vs 2,200MHz)
Also supported are the usual assortment of goodies, including PhysX support, 3-way SLI, HybridPower technology, DirectX 10, dual-link HDCP, and a bevy of other marketing bullets. The card also comes backed by BFG's 24-hour tech support and lifetime warranty (be sure to register online within 30 days of purchase).
But for all that it includes, BFG still doesn't allow end-users to overclock its videocard, nor are they trusted to swap out the stock cooler for a third-party solution without voiding the warranty (Boo!), a pair of liberties given to XFX and Evga owners.
You've heard of Paper Mario, but a paper processor? That might be taking things a bit too far, but a team of Portuguese scientists have created the first Field Effect Transistor (FET) made with cellulose fiber-based paper. The new approach takes a common sheet of paper and uses it as the dielectric layer on oxide FETs, with devices fabricated on both sides of the paper sheet. And while other teams have reported using paper as the physical support (substrate) of electronic devices, this method is the first one that also allows the paper to be used as the interstrate component as well. In other words, it's really cool.
More than a proof of concept, the team envisions its new paper transistors being used in disposable electronic devices like paper displays, smart labels, smart packaging, bio-applications, RFID tags, and more. Full details will be published in the September 2008 issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters, but until then, you'll have to wade through translated text.
With the all the brouhaha surrounding solid state drives (SSDs), there remains a question of exactly how big of a performance advantage flash memory really holds over today's hard drives. On paper, most SSDs scream ahead in both read and write speeds, but real-world benchmarking paints a different picture. So why the discrepancy? At SandDisk, they're blaming Vista. The company's CEO, Eli Harari, says SSD "performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs. Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disks."
It's not hard to find fault with Vista, but blaming the OS for underperforming SSDs qualifies as a new one that even Apple hasn't yet exploited in its many mocking commercials. To be fair, Harari made the statement as part of a pitch to improve SSDs' next generation controllers, which he says "need to compensate for Vista's shortfalls." Because of this need, the company claims it is behind schedule bringing competitive SSDs to market.
Is SanDisk justified in pointing the finger at Vista?
Love him or hate him, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel has managed to get his branding slapped onto nearly every PC component it takes to build a computer, leaving only hard drives and processors left to conquer. Don't believe it? Have a look for yourself. Motherboard? Check. Videocard? Check. Case, soundcard, mouse, keyboard, and headset? Check, check, and check ad nauseum. And thanks to a recent partnership with OCZ now coming to fruition, Fatal1ty can notch both DDR2 and DDR3 memory into his belt too.
"OCZ worked closely with Fatal1ty and his team to desin new memory kits that pair perfectly with the top selling motherboards for a superior gaming experience," commented Alex Mei, cheif marketing officer of OCZ.
Hit the jump to find out why OCZ's excited about the partnership, and whether or not you should be too.
It seems like every company is jumping onto the recent Netbook craze, but will it turn out to be a passing fad? No one knows for sure, and it's because of this uncertainty that AMD will sit this round out.
"We are not saying it's not an important segment and we're not saying it's not a growing segment. What we are asying is that we are a smaller company and we have to focus on what we do well at this point. We are watching that segment rather than playing in it, but as it matures we'll see where it goes," said Nigel Dessau, AMD's chief marketing officer.
Dessau's comments fall in line with AMD's recent commitment to refocusing its business strategies, but could the company be preparing to strike? Hit the jump to learn more.
Earlier this month, we ran a feature showing you which parts to buy if you wanted to build an affordable-yet-kick-ass $1300 lean machine. This week, we’re moving up from budget PC recommendations to our power user picks. But with great power, comes great cost. Monetary costs, that is. Our Power User’s PC costs $2500 without a monitor of peripherals – the high end of what we’d expect a PC enthusiast to spend when pieceing together a new rig. We also want to clarify what we mean by Power User’s PC. We see the Power User as someone who maximizes his PC’s processing potential. This person encodes media files, burns high-definition discs, and manipulates image, audio and video files. Gaming is important to the Power User, but this isn’t someone who demands 120 frames per second in multiplayer shooters – he’d rather shave precious seconds off of his video encoding times while multitasking in Photoshop.
Click through to see if our $2500 Power User's PC is right for you!
AMD's struggles have been well documented ever since forfeiting the performance crown to Intel, but perhaps all the company needed was a swift kick in the rump. That appears to be what the company's getting with newly inaugurated Dirk Meyer at the helm serving as AMD's CEO, who had no qualms announcing that his company has initiated a pilot production of microprocessors using a 45nm fabrication processor. That puts the Santa Clara chip maker on track to deliver shipping products in volume in early fourth quarter.
"We are well on track with the 45nm plan as we have been telling this group about in the past. We have actually started production late last quarter and are on track to start buying shipments early in Q4," said Dirk Meyer during the conference call.
That has to be good news to nervous investors, who earlier this month saw their stock fall by as much as 7 percent following news that AMD would take a near billion dollar charge in the second quarter. And while Hector Ruiz's subsequent departure just days later might have signaled to some that the end was near, Meyer's confidence in AMD's ability to stay on schedule with its 45nm plans has to be appreciated by anyone pulling for the Intel competitor (which should be everyone). Before the announcement, analysts were expecting 45nm shipments to start in late Q4, and nobody seems to know what exactly AMD has planned as part of its refocusing strategy. A compelling alternative to Nehalem, perhaps? Let's hope so.