AMD, once on top of the world with its Athlon 64 lineup, has been hit hard by Intel ever since the rival chip maker abandoned its infatuation with Netburst and began pushing its Core architecture to much fanfare. Phenom hasn't been the phenomenal success AMD had hoped it would be, and it appears the company has finally reached a crossroads for future operations.
Rather than continue on with business as usual, AMD has chosen another path, one in which the chip maker will be split into two companies, with one staying focused on designing processors and the other setting its sights on manufacturing them. Giving the separated companies a boost, AMD says it will receive at least $6 billion from two Abu Dhabi investment firms, which will mostly go towards financing a new chip factory near Albany and to upgrade the company's Fab in Dresden, Germany.
AMD will own 44 percent of the new entity, which will temporarily be known as the Foundry Company, with the Abu Dhabi government formed Advanced Technology Investment Company owning the rest. ATIC will invest $2.1 billion in the venture right way, with $3.6 billion to $6 billion to be injected later on.
"We generally believe this deal is a game changer for the industry," said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chief executive of Mubadala. "It's bold, and I think it's smart."
AMD's Dirk Meyer agrees, saying the split will make AMD a financially stronger company. And there's no doubt AMD could use financial relief, who at last count reported it carried a $5.3 billion debt while maintaining only $1.6 billion in cash.
Could this be the boost AMD needs to finally go toe-to-toe with Intel, or is this the beginning of the end? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Recording to Blu-ray media looks to get a big boost from Sanyo, who announced the development of a new blue laser diode the company says is capable of burning 100GB of data in as little as 10 minutes.
Current Blu-ray media tops out at 50GB of storage space (dual-layer), but Sanyo's 5.6mm diode can emit a beam of 450 milliwatts, or roughly twice that of Sanyo's currently highest power laser for Blu-ray devices. The high power laser makes it possible to read and write data on up to four layers at a 12x speed. To put that into perspective, Sanyo says one disc could record up to 8 hours of high-definition content.
It will be awhile before the new diode finds its way into consumer products. Sanyo says it will be another 2 to 3 years before production takes place, and by then, who knows what the state of Blu-ray will be like.
Commercial wireless systems, which top out at hundreds of megabits per second, still have a ways to go before being on the level of optical fiber, which boasts tens of gigabits per second. Looking to close that gap, engineers at Battelle, a research and development firm based in Columbus, OH, have found a way to send data through the air using millimeter-wave technology.
Achieving faster speeds by harnessing the millimeter-wavelength frequency of the wireless spectrum isn't new, but it is both expensive and complex due to the equipment involved to generate the signal. Or at least it used to be. The Battelle team has taken off-the-shelf telecommunication components and, by modulating data on two low-frequency laser beams, has been able to create a pattern of interference that acts as a 100GHz signal (millimeter-wave technology operates on frequencies between 60GHz and 100GHz). By doing so, the team demonstrated a 20 gigabit-per-second signal in its lab.
While the research looks promising, a shipping product could still be years away. Putting the system together using existing components has helped to break through the cost barrier, but the new challenge will be to create a smaller device that's less unwieldy.
Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform may throw a curveball to anyone swinging sticks of high performance DDR memory. According to news and rumor site The Inquirer, running memory voltage any higher than a modest 1.65V on an X58-based motherboard outfitted with a Core i7 processor could damage the CPU.
The limitation came to light thanks to an admin on the XFastest forums who posted pictures of the unreleased Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard in retail trim. A closeup of the DIMM slots reveals a warning label which states "According to Intel CPU SPEC, DIMMs with voltage setting over 1.65V may damage the CPU permanently. We recommend you install the DIMMs with the voltage setting below 1.65V.
If true (and The Inq claims Asus has confirmed the limitation), it would mean that several of today's high end DDR3 memory could potentially be rendered useless on the new platform. It's not uncommon for RAM manufacturers to require higher voltages at stock settings, and even many DDR3-1333 kits call for more than 1.65V. Apparently the problem lies with having the CPU and memory voltages on the Core i7 platform run synchronously. That's a major bummer for anyone who may have tried to future-proof their current build, but if you haven't jumped on the DDR3 bandwagon yet, expect to see appropriately spec'd kits start to surface with the Core i7 platform in mind. In the meantime, buyer beware.
Series originator Warren Spector may be out and about not making Deus Ex 3, but if we had a copy of UK mag PC Zone, and if we didn't know that Warren Spector wasn't slaving away on Deus Ex 3, we'd be hard-pressed to think that he wasn't. tl;dr: The game sounds pretty cool.
According to CVG's copy of PC Zone, Eidos Montreal is developing Deus Ex 3 as a prequel to the rest of the series. Set in 2027, the game follows "average joe" Adam Jensen, a security officer doling out his particular brand of uniformed justice at a lab specializing in biomechanical augmentations -- aka, nanotech's predecessor. Fortuitously, however, Jensen's life takes a turn for the interesting when a team of "black ops commandos" storms his company's base of operations, snatches a security plan penned by Jensen himself, and uses the plan to guard a fortress kill people.
From then on, the security officer with a penchant for doomsday plans embarks on an action-packed mission full of Deus Ex's trademark fusion of RPG and FPS gameplay conventions -- with a twist. In Deus Ex 3, your stats won't directly affect your gunplay. Instead, stats will manifest themselves through "a vast array of fully upgradeable and customisable weapons," as well as weapon upgrades and character augmentations. So yes, the game is still very much an RPG.
Fortunately, the game, even in its early state, has been given a big thumbs up from Warren Spector, with members of the original Deus Ex team in consultative roles on the project.
And for lapsed fans, distraught by Deus Ex: The Invisible War's, well, everything, you'll be happy to hear that Eidos Montreal has scooped up multiple earfuls of fan complaints, sifted through them, and modified its game accordingly. For example, ammo types will return to Deus Ex's M&M style menagerie of flavors and colors, as opposed to The Invisible War's newcomer-friendly universal ammo.
Oh, the game also brings with it the controversial addition of an auto-regen health system -- ala Call of Duty -- and a cover system that takes a few pointers from Gears of War, but we'd probably post a separate news article if that wasn't the case.
Now let's just hope the game makes it out soon. Otherwise, it might end up looking a tad Jetsons by the time it hits shelves.
In the latest indication that Windows Vista's not one of Redmond's greatest hits, Windows XP (aka "The operating system that will not die") has won another reprieve. Friday, Microsoft confirmed rumors that OEMs bundling Windows Vista Ultimate or Vista Business can continue to order media for downgrades to Windows XP Professional until July 31, 2009 . Meaning, for those paying attention, that Harry Potter could get a Vista system downgraded to Windows XP for his birthday. Previously, the last day for downgrade media was going to be January 31, 2009. 1-31-2009 remains the deadline for system builders (aka "the corner computer store") to buy Windows XP licenses for their systems.
As an OEM product, Windows XP won't quite make it to Windows 7's anticipated release date of January 2010, but it will get closer than anyone could have guessed when it was released in October 2001.
So, what say you? Have you exercised your downgrade rights to send a Vista machine back to XP land? Any tips or tricks to consider? Hit the jump for your chance to sound off.
A machine’s ability to think is something that’s been questioned for nearly half a century, thanks to mathematician Alan Turing. Turing, who helped decipher German military codes during WWII, created a test that is designed to find out if a machine can think on its own. The test consists of a machine attempting to fool a judge into believing that it could be a human by having a text-based conversation on any subject. If the computer’s responses convince the judge that they are speaking with a human, then it has passed the Turing test, and is believed to be capable of thought.
This Sunday, six computer programs will be put through the Turing test in an attempt to win their creator not only an 18-carat gold medal and $100,000, but to prove that computers are capable of thought. The programs competing for the prize go by the names Alice, Brother Jerome, Elbot, Eugene Goostman, Jabberwacky and Ultra Hal. While the names sound like those of rejected VH1 reality show contestant names, they’re far more intelligent, and won’t be spitting on any of their opponents anytime soon.
Should the computers be found to have the ability to think, it’ll raise ethical questions as to how conscious a computer is, and if humans have the “right” to switch them off.
But the Turing test isn’t for everyone. "The test is misguided. Everyone thinks it's you pitting yourself against a computer and a human, but it's you pitting yourself against a computer and computer programmer,” criticizes Professor AC Grayling of Birkbeck College, “AI is an exciting subject, but the Turing test is pretty crude."
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to decipher whether or not you’re talking to a computer? Test your mental mettle after the jump.
Those expecting Mozilla to release its open-source email client Thunderbird 3.0 in Beta 1 form will have to wait a little longer than initially thought. Rather than attach the Beta moniker to the updated version, Mozilla instead is dubbing it Alpha 3.
"Calling something a beta is likely to trigger a bunch of extra press attention that we're not yet in a position to deal with," said Dan Mosedale, who works at Mozilla Messaging. "Some number [of] reviews will be inappropriately pre-judging based on its current state. In the best case, this would be a distraction."
Mosedale also cited a lack of landing several milestones (AutoConfig, GloDa with full-text search, STEEL) as another reason why he's more comfortable calling the lastest Thunderbird 3.0 release an Alpha build instead of a Beta.
No matter what you call it, the latest beta/alpha/unfinished release is available now for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Last Friday the world’s largest computing grid was launched in order to help tackle the nearly 15 million gigabytes of data that will be coming out of the Large Hadron Collider every year. 33 countries are already contributing 140 computer centers to the project, but with that much data, they’ll need worldwide assistance.
Here in the U.S. we’ve got 15 universities and three Department of Energy national laboratories contributing their power to the project (and maybe you, if you’ve decided to contribute your spare CPU cycles to the project). And every last bit of that help will be needed, because when the LHC finally gets up to full speed it will produce enough data to fill six CD’s per second.
Once the data has been processed, physicists from around the world will begin searching for he tiny signals that will lead them to discoveries about the nature of the physical universe. And perhaps then, they’ll be able to explain just why they LHC will rock us in the head.
Startup company G.ho.st is crying foul over Microsoft's new ad campaign, but not because the commercials suck. Instead, the company claims Microsoft's ads violate the startup's trademark, specifically the phrases "life without walls," "imagine without walls," and "imagine no walls." G.ho.st. CEO Zvi Schreiber has sent a letter to Steve Ballmer requesting that the phrases in question be removed from Microsoft's product lineup, website, marketing materials, and anywhere else the software giant might be using them.
Michael Marinello, a Microsoft spokesman, did acknowledge that Microsoft had received the letter, but said in an email "the allegation is without merit." Not so says Schreiber, who claims that G.ho.st has been using the phrase "no walls" in conjunction with its G.ho.st Virtual Computer software, which Schreiber describes as an alternative to Windows.
Going for the gusto, Schreiber not only wants Microsoft to stop using the above mentioned phrases, but wants Microsoft to amend existing ads clarifying that it has not licensed G.ho.st's technology or trademark, as well as mentioning that they do not use the same "features or benefits of the G.ho.st Virtual Computer." All this on top of wanting Steve Ballmer and Co. to negotiate a "good faith" license for past use.
Ready for the kicker? Not only does G.ho.st not yet officially own the allegedly trademarked phrases, but according to PC World, the company filed an application for the trademarks on the same day it sent Microsoft the ceast and desist letter.