Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 C1 Stepping Coming in March

The first 45nm 3.0GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9650 CPU is set to undergo a few updates as Intel is preparing a new stepping for later this quarter. Planned to be available from March 3rd on, the C1 stepping CPUs will feature new SSPEC and MM numbers and a new CPUID - 0x00010677. The rest of the specifications of the C1 stepping remain unchanged from C0, but motherboard makers will still have to release new BIOS versions in order to support it.

Intel to Retire Seven Merom Core 2 Duo Processors

Intel has entered a range of Core 2 Duo processors with Merom core into its product discontinuance program. According to a product change notification (PCN) published today, the models T5500, T5600, T7200, T7600 and LV L7200 will see final shipments on July 27, 2009. The T7400 and LV L7400 versions will ship until July 26, 2009, according to the published schedule. Boxed versions of these processors will ship until August 26 of this year. Orders for these CPUs are possible until May 26, 2008. Also affected by the PCN are the Celeron M models 520 and 530, which also can be ordered until May 26 and will continue shipping until January 26, 2009.

NVIDIA to Launch nForce 790i Chipset in 2Q

NVIDIA is planning to launch the next generation nForce 790i chipset in the second quarter of this year. The chipset adopts NVIDIA's C73 northbridge and MCP55 southbridge, and will support Intel processors with FSB up to 1600MHz. The chipset will also feature 3-way SLI, Hybrid SLI technology and support DDR3 memory. Motherboard makers generally expect DDR3 memory pricing will start to drop in the third quarter of 2008. The nForce 790i is positioned by NVIDIA as a high-end product and so the motherboard should attract high-end gamers who will be willing to pay a premium for DDR3 memory. The nForce 790i will be released in two versions, nForce 790i Ultra SLI and nForce 790i SLI. The difference between the two is that the former has better overclocking ability and will support SLI memory modules up to DDR3 2000.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

AMD to base Fusion on Phenom - Dual-Core Fusion CPU's Coming In 2009

Advanced Micro Devices gave further details of its upcoming Fusion processor, saying it will be based on the design of a microprocessor used in the desktops currently shipping to enthusiast PC users such as gamers. The Fusion chip, which will combine a graphics processing unit and CPU on one chip, will be a redesign of the company's current Phenom processor, said Patrick Moorhead, vice president of advanced marketing at AMD, in an interview. However, the Fusion chip will witness significant design changes from the current iteration of Phenom, Moorhead said. The first Fusion chips will be released as dual-core CPUs for notebooks, followed by quad-core CPUs for notebooks, Moorhead said. The dual-core notebook processors will be available in the second half of 2009, said John Taylor, an AMD spokesman. The company didn't provide a timeline for the quad-core chips.

The Fusion chip, code-named Swift, will be shrunk from the Phenom core and be optimized for use in a notebook, Moorhead said. The optimization will focus on making the chip more power-efficient while increasing graphics capabilities, Moorhead said. The graphics processing unit on the Fusion chip will include multiple "mini-cores" that breaks down code from a program, like 3-D games, to process data faster, said John Taylor, an AMD spokesman. Fusion's graphics processor will be based on a graphics card AMD plans to release in the near future, Taylor said, declining to give details.

Friday, January 25, 2008

DirectX 10.1 goes to $49


Radeon HD 3450 is out

ATI's cheapest DirectX 10.1, Shader model 4.1 part will sell for $49 and its primary goal is to give Nvidia hard time with Geforce 8400GS.
ATI's chip is based on RV620, 55nanometre process and works at 600MHz and is enough to fight Geforce 8400GS performance in both games and Video.
Furthermore, if you are not happy with 600MHz clock, for $59 you can go for ATI Radeon HD 3470 that will work at 800MHz which we believe it might be the absolute record for entry level chip.
At least in some games and 3dmark 3470 is faster than Nvidia's Geforce 8500GT.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

AMD HD 3870 X2 Launch -January 28th

I'm afraid that all potential ATI HD 3870 X2 buyers will have to wait one more week until they get their hands on the new cards. TweakTown alerts that the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics card has been pushed back to January 28th. AMD's new dual GPU graphics card was supposed to launch tomorrow but for unknown reasons, the launch has been pushed back. One possible version could be due to the fact that AMD is looking to have good stock quantity for this launch as it probably is a product that could do well for the struggling company.

AMD Tests 45nm Microprocessors, Plans Revenue Shipments in 2008

Advanced Micro Devices said during a conference call with financial analysts that it was pleased to receive and test its 45nm quad-core central processing units (CPUs). Despite of doubts by analysts and observers, the world’s second largest maker of x86 microprocessors is on track to release its chips made using 45nm process technology in 2008.

“It is exciting to point out too that at the same time, we’ve had silicon of a quad-core 45nm product. We’re pleased with the results and look forward to being able to ramp 45nm [process technology] aggressively in the second half of this year,” said Hector Ruiz, chief executive of AMD, during the most recent conference call with analysts.

Advanced Micro Devices said many times in the past that it plans to release processors made using 45nm process technology commercially in 2008, however, AMD’s track-record in the last two years as well as market rumours made many observers to express doubts regarding AMD’s capability to fulfill its promise.

“We’re trying to ramp as quickly as possible 45 nanometer, starting on Fab 38 and we continue to try to execute as quickly as possible to get new products out there, so we’re making those appropriate investments and as prudently as possible,” said Robert Rivet, chief financial officer of AMD.

AMD originally promised to start shipments of its 45nm processors in mid-2008, which means that the company would be about six months late with its new generation process technology compared to market leader Intel Corp., which started revenue shipments of its 45nm breed in late 2007.

The chief executive of AMD did not reveal when exactly the company plans to release its quad-core processors produced using 45nm fabrication process. Typically, “second half of the year” means late fourth quarter for Advanced Micro Devices, at least, judging by the recent track record of the chipmaker.

“We’ve got internal samples of our 45 nanometer microprocessors, we’re putting them through their paces currently and we’re on track to, the plans we talked about in the past which is to start our ramp in the first half of this year and ship revenue product in the second half of this year,” said Derrick Meyer, president and chief operating officer of AMD.

AMD Plans to Release ATI RV770 Graphics Chips in Mid-2008

ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, reportedly aims to release its next-generation code-named R700-series graphics processing units (GPUs) in mid-2008. The news comes as a surprise, as earlier it was revealed that the ATI R700-series chips are only due either in late 2008 or early in 2009.

According to a news-story by Chinese news-paper Commercial Times (which article was partly translated by DigiTimes web-site), AMD’s code-named ATI RV770 GPU is due to be commercially released in late Q2 2008. Two of such chips are projected to power AMD’s new high-performance ATI R700 graphics card.

The new graphics solutions, which official name is likely to be ATI Radeon HD 4000, are expected to feature new architecture, which will be more efficient compared to current ATI R700-series.

The first ATI RV770 chips have been reportedly delivered to graphics cards makers, however, there is no information regarding performance or feature-set of the new series of graphics products. The new family of ATI’s GPUs is expected to boost competitive positions of AMD on the market and help to fight back the lost market share from Nvidia Corp.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Voice Controlled Bluetooth Headset: BlueAnt V1: CES 2008

For the past year or so, we have been lucky enough to use some very cool communication products from Australia’s own BlueAnt Wireless.  Since moving to expose more of their products to North America and Europe, BlueAnt has released some of the best Bluetooth communication devices that we have seen here at Legit Reviews. 

Like most compainies, BlueAnt was showing off their next generation of Bluetooth headsets here at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  We have already been impressed with the lightweight and technically advanced Z9 Bluetooth Headset and they take the Z9 concept a step further with the introduction of the new V1 Bluetooth Headset. 

BlueAnt's V1 Voice Controlled Headset

BlueAnt is touting the V1 as the world’s first “voice-controlled headset” that allows users the capability of controlling most functions by voice commands. The headset is the first to incorporate the BlueGenie Voice User Interface to control almost every function of the headset.  Sensory, Inc. is one of the leaders in speech technologies in consumer products, and they are the architects and driving force behind the voice control interface. 

BlueAnt's V1 at CES

The size and weight put it directly on par with the BlueAnt Z9.  If you look closely, the body still has seems to have multiple buttons like the look to be used for volume up, volume down, and a multifunction button like the Z9.  The V1 will also have a dual microphone and advanced DSP to help isolate the unwanted background noise for the caller.  BlueAnt will equip the V1 with Bluetooth 2.1 and its talk time should be around 6 hours with over 200 standby hours.

What clearly will set this unit apart from the rest is the user’s ability to give the headset voice commands.  This is perfect for those of us who have a hard time remembering the right combination of buttons to push to pair the headset with a device, or put a caller on hold, etc.  In fact, check out the partial list of voice controlled functions the V1 will have out of the box:

  • Answer Call
  • Ignore Call
  • Redial
  • Call Back
  • Call Favorites
  • Call Home or Office
  • Enable Pair mode
  • Check Battery
  • Check Connection
  • Activate Phones Voice Dial
  • Help Menu
  • Settings


BlueAnt V1 & Desk Charger

Slated for release this Spring, the $119 BlueAnt V1 measures 41mm x 17.5mm x 11.2mm (1.6" x .7" x .5") and weighs under .5 ounces.  By the looks of things, the V1 will also ship with a sweet desktop charger in a variety of colors.

Intel's Menlow :The Baby Centrino Revealed

Menlow is the name of this new ultra mobile platform that Intel is working on.  In Intel's terms the platform refers to the CPU + chipset, much like how Centrino is a combination of an Intel CPU, Intel chipset and Intel wireless adapter. 
The Menlow project began back in 2004, so what you're hearing about today is much like what Centrino was back in 2003.  We're on the verge of something very big (I could insert a pun here about how Menlow is actually very small and it's ironic that it's also something very big, but I won't; you can thank me later). 
Menlow consists of the Silverthorne processor and the Poulsbo chipset.  If you're in dire need of yet another codename, the core used in Silverthorne is also known as Bonnenn. 
Silverthorne is a brand new architecture, highly simplified from current Core 2 chips (thus reducing die size and power consumption) but still compatible.  Silverthorne is an x86 chip, meaning it can run the same applications as your desktop and notebook; and it's technically ISA compatible with Merom (65nm Core 2 Duo), meaning it has support for up to SSE3 but lacks SSE4 instructions.
Read the full story HERE

Saturday, January 12, 2008

AMD RS780 on 23 Jan 2008-for China only

AMD will officially announce the new DX10 IGP on 23rd Jan 2008. To all international readers, this is a bad move by AMD as the launch is only for the China.

Boards will go on sale right after 23rd while other regions in the world will have to wait for an official launch at CeBIT 2008 on 5 March 2008.

Although AMD is set to launch on 23rd Jan in China, drivers supporting the Hybrid CrossFire (they call it Hybrid graphics technology) driver will not be ready. It is said that the driver will be available as early as FEB or MARCH.

It is also speculated that the product will have a name Radeon HD 3250 (unconfirmed), as it is to be paired up with cards namely the Radeon HD 3450 and HD3470 for best DX10 experience in Hybrid CrossFire.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Crytek releases patch verson 1.1 for Crysis

Today, Crytek released the version 1.1 patch for Crysis. NVIDIA let us know that this patch improves 3D performance in single and SLI mode. For optimal SLI performance with the patch, you will need to use the v169.28 graphics driver. The driver weighs in at 139MB, which is decent sized. This patch has been needed for some time as it improves overall rendering performance in both DX9 and DX10.

The first Crysis patch is finally available, updating the game to version 1.1. A 139mb download, the patch offers bug fixes, gameplay tweaks and performance improvements for DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 rendering modes.

File Shack

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Radeon HD 3870 X2 gets benchmarked


And appears in the nude

A Taiwanese forum has scored the first pictures of the Radeon HD 3870 X2 in the nude, as well as the first benchmark figure ever, although at first look 9,573 doesn't look that great in 3DMark 06.
However, the test was not run at standard settings, but rather at 2,560x1,600 and the CPU was a Core 2 Duo E6600 at stock clocks with 2GB or RAM, so this is hardly a monster system.
It looks like the real deal and the drivers are reporting PCI Express 2.0 x8, which should be correct for each of the GPUs, as they're sharing a x16 slot. The card has 1GB of GDDR4 memory, but there was no screen shot of any clock speeds. However, the author of the post claims the GPU's are clocked at 770MHz with the memory at 2,250MHz.


You can find the original post here but you have to register to see all of the pictures.

Dual-Core Celeron E1200- Overclocks as Twice

Today I'm gonna unveil you a few details about the new Celeron E1200 (1.6 GHz). Accurately the processor will be available in the market ( this month ),  with wholesale price $53.
Celeron E1200 box

Concrete copy has the marking SLAQW, it is packed in Malaysia on 28 December, 2007.

Celeron E1200

This dual core processor LGA 775 operates at 1.6 GHz frequency , It is equipped with 512 KB cache in the second level, it supports 800 MHz bus, maximum vcore is equal to 1.35 v.

Celeron E1200 overclock

Using the motherboard on base of chipset Intel X38 , this processor overclocks up to 3.2 GHz, which is already twice as the default frequency .

Celeron E1200 overclocked @ 3.2 GHz
The processor is based on M0 stepping , its overclock successes will depend on FSB wall value and motherboard abilities .

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Asustek to push WiMAX-based notebooks in 2008

Asustek Computer will cooperate with Intel and Sprint Nextel to push WiMAX technology by launching WiMAX-based notebooks in 2008, announced Asustek chairman Jonney Shih, at CES 2008.
Asustek is planning to adopt WiMAX technology in its mainstream and performance level notebooks plus low-cost PCs, including the VX2 and U6 notebooks, the enterprise-based V1, UMPC R50A and mainstream F88 notebook, with the company's next generation Eee PC to also feature built-in WiMAX technology, noted Shih. WiMAX-based products will account for 15% of the company's own-brand notebook shipments, noted the chairman, adding that prices will start from US$999.
The company is optimistic that 20% of notebook users will start using WiMAX technology before the end of 2009. However, due to the faster build up of WiMAX infrastructure in the US, Asustek will initially focus its WiMAX lineup in the US, detailed Shih.
The growth of the notebook market in 2008 will still depend on factors such as the worldwide gasoline prices and the US subprime mortgage crisis, noted Jerry Shen, president of Asustek. Shen added that even in the worst scenario, Asustek's notebook shipments will still see a 20% on-year growth and possibly even 30%.
In related news, Shih revealed that Asustek's second generation Eee PC, which will feature 8- and 8.9-inch display panels, will be launched in the second quarter of this year.

Not interesting for Sri Lankans still though :P

AMD introduces ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series for notebooks

AMD has announced the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series, a new family of discrete graphics solutions for high-definition gaming and video on notebook PCs. The initial offerings consist of the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 series and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3600 series both of which are optimized for AMD's upcoming Puma notebook platform, according to the company.

The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series offers support for DirectX 10.1 enabling a higher level of visual quality through new lighting and rendering techniques designed to enhance the realism and quality of 3D games. New PCI Express 2.0 support enables faster throughput and greater overall system performance as compared to PCI Express 1.1. Notebook users can play the latest Blu-ray and HD DVD movies in 1080p resolution using ATI Avivo HD technology, which frees the CPU for other tasks. With a choice of digital outputs, notebook users can connect to a variety of displays featuring DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort support on a notebook platform. These new notebook graphics chips provide battery efficiency and greater performance-per-watt, delivering exceptional battery life for enthusiast users, according to AMD.

The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series also features ATI PowerPlay Technology which dynamically delivers the optimal balance between performance and power to suit performance requirements for extended battery life and superior performance-per-watt operation.

The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 and 3600 series are currently shipping in notebooks from Asustek including the M50 and F8 series. Additional products in the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series are scheduled for availability from notebook manufacturers in the first half of 2008.

AMD announces that it's still alive

APPARENTLY CONCERNED that the rumours of its demise are premature, AMD has announced something called AMD LIVE!TM

The Sunnyvale, California chipmaker's new branding will cover both hardware and software, AMD said in a statement released today.
AMD LIVE! Ultra stickers will adorn new high-definition media centric desktop and notebook PCs powered by AMD chipsets codenamed "Spider" and "Puma" and running AMD's multi-core Phenom desktop and Turion notebook processors with ATI Radeon graphics. Systems bearing the AMD LIVE! tags are expected from the likes of Acer, Asus, Alienware and other PC OEMs sometime in 2008.
To go along with the new AMD LIVE! Ultra PCs, there will also be the AMD LIVE! Explorer media library software application.
In its press release AMD said, "AMD LIVE!TM Explorer offers an immersive, 3D approach to browsing a PC's complete digital media library while also enjoying a video, TV program or Internet access in the same window."
Yay, AMD lives!
That's great and all, AMD. But all your fans will be a lot happier if you'll get back on the stick and turn out some seriously faster and more powerful CPUs

Monday, January 7, 2008

Nvidia Formally Unveils Hybrid SLI, New Integrated Graphics Processor.

Nvidia Corp. formally announced on Monday its highly-anticipated Hybrid SLI technology. The new feature is projected to balance power consumption and computing power requirements of high-end personal computers and improve graphics performance of mainstream machines. Unfortunately, half a year after the first official mentioning, Nvidia does not provide availability timeframe for certain Hybrid SLI features.

Nvidia’s new Hybrid SLI technology will have two modes and that will target different applications: the HybridPower, which will switch off discrete graphics core and use only integrated graphics engine when high performance is not needed, whereas GeForce Boost will make integrated graphics processor (IGP) to assist discrete graphics processing unit (GPU) and boost performance when it is required.

For typical games and 3D applications, GeForce Boost can kick in automatically, resulting in a greatly enhanced consumer experience, as technically Nvidia GeForce Boost is nothing more than an SLI configuration. However, currently there is no driver that can automatically switch between discrete and integrated graphics processors transparently to end-users. While Nvidia promises that transparent transition “will be available in a future software driver” for HybridPower, it does not indicate their availability date. According to some media reports, currently switching to or from discrete GPU requires system restart.

“From the introduction of programmable GPUs to the rapid adoption of our multi-GPU SLI technology, Nvidia has repeatedly pioneered and innovated to solve difficult problems for the industry. We believe Hybrid SLI technology is one of the most important innovations we’ve come up with to date,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia.

Nvidia plans to release a full lineup of Hybrid SLI-capable graphics and motherboard products in 2008. New Hybrid SLI-capable products include the upcoming Nvidia nForce 780a SLI, nForce 750a SLI, and nForce 730a core-logic sets for AMD microprocessors, which will be released next month, as well as the new GeForce 8200-series chipsets that feature built-in DirectX 10 IGP. Nvidia Hybrid SLI notebooks as well as desktop products designed for Intel microprocessors will be available next quarter.

“Hybrid SLI delivers new multi-GPU technology to a large segment of the PC market, delivering consumers a level of PC graphics performance and power efficiency never before seen,” Mr. Huang added.

Meet Intel Wolfdale: Core 2 Duo E8500, E8400 and E8200 Processors Review

These days Intel refreshes their dual-core Core 2 Duo processor lineup. The new CPUs manufactured with 45nm process boast a lot of advantages compared to their predecessors. We would like to offer you our extensive write-up about them...

Not so long ago we thought that in early 2008 we will be focusing on comparing the new AMD Phenom processors against the refreshed Intel Penryn manufactured with 45nm technological process. However, these expectations didn’t come true, and both – AMD and Intel – should be blamed for that.

It is true, at this time AMD cannot deliver mass quad-core processors working at competitive frequencies. The currently available Phenom models lose even to previous generation quad-core Intel processors, not to mention the more advanced CPUs. It is quite logical that Intel doesn’t have any significant stimulus to refresh their quad-core processor line-up, because there are simply no worthy competitors to the pretty successful Core 2 Quad on old 65nm cores these days. That is why the launch of new Core 2 Quad processors known as Yorkfield has been postponed for an indefinite period of time, at least until February or March 2008. And although Intel has found an excuse – an alleged problem in the upcoming processors caused by EMI in 1333MHz front side bus when these CPUs are used in hypothetical mainboards with 4-layer PCB design – it doesn’t sound convincing at all.

As for us, we have to state to our disappointment that it doesn’t make sense to compare Phenom against Penryn, because the former is uncompetitive, and the latter is still illusive and remains only an upcoming solution for the time being.

Nevertheless, there are more than enough interesting topics for discussion in the today’s processor market. Although Intel decided to postpone the launch of their quad-core processors on 45nm cores, the Core 2 Duo processor lineup will be refreshed with a few new models. They are going to announce three new processor models with Wolfdale codename within the next few days. They will be Core 2 Duo E8500, E8400 and E8200. These CPUs are based on the revised core manufactured with 45nm process and belong to the same Penryn family as the postponed Yorkfield CPUs. We certainly can’t disregard the arrival of mass Wolfdale processors, which promise to raise the performance bar for Intel’s dual-core solutions to a totally new qualitative level. They feature higher clock speeds, larger L2 cache and a number of other improvements. And the most pleasing thing about them is their cost, set at the same level as that of older Core 2 Duo solutions.So, in the second half of January 2008 Intel is going to massively update their dual-core processor lineup in $160-$260 price range. This particular event became the main topic of our today’s article that will dwell on the new promising Intel processors and the changes they will bring to the mainstream desktop market.

Read the Full Story HERE

NVIDIA Details GeForce 9600 GT

NVIDIA's D9M makes its first appearance on corporate roadmaps

NVIDIA's newest mid-range processor,
codenamed D9M, will make its official debut as the GeForce 9600 GT.
Corporate guidance from NVIDIA lists the initial GeForce 9600 GT
shipments come stock with a 650 MHz core clock and a 1625 MHz unified
shader clock.  Unlike the G84 core found on GeForce 8600 GT, D9M will
feature a 256-bit memory bus interface.  Coupled with a 900 MHz memory clock, NVIDIA calculates the memory bandwidth at 57.6 GB/s. 
The texture fill rate is estimated at 20.8 billion pixels per second. 
The company would not indicate how many shaders or stream processors
reside on the D9M core. Late last year, NVIDIA confirmed the D9 family will use TSMC's 65nm process node.  The company introduced its first 65nm processor shrink
in November 2007: the G92.
Other details of the D9M family have already surfaced.  ChileHardware published slides yesterday claiming the GeForce 9600 requires a 400W power supply that requires 26A on the 12V rail.  Unlike previous mid-range GeForce cards, the D9M
will require a 6-pin supplementary power connector.
NVIDIA publicly confirmed other details of D9M: DirectX 10.1 support,
Shader Model 4.0, OpenGL 2.1 and PCIe 2.0 support just to name a few. Further documentation from NVIDIA claims the 9600 GT will also support the Quantum Effects physics processing engine. Like all NVIDIA processors, the GeForce 9600 is also HDCP compatible,though final support still depends on vendor implementation. 
NVIDIA declined to comment on expected price of GeForce 9600. A representative for NVIDIA would comment that the performance increase between GeForce 9600 and GeForce 8600 is "almost double."

Friday, January 4, 2008

SAPPHIRE Announces AGP HD 3850

SAPPHIRE Technology has just announced support for legacy PC systems using the AGP graphics bus with a new product in its HD 3000 series which brings the latest graphics architectures and features to this industry standard platform.

The SAPPHIRE HD 3850 AGP is available with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, running at 846MHz (1.7GHz effective) and has a core clock speed of 700MHz. It is a standard ATX format card, compatible with the industry standard AGP interface and with its slim fan assisted cooler the card occupies only a single expansion slot in the PC.

The SAPPHIRE HD 3850 AGP shares the 320 stream processors and 512-bit internal ring bus memory controller of the latest PCI-Express models together with multiple rendering units and a programmable tessellation unit. This new product's unified shader architecture with support for Shader Model 4.0 and the forthcoming DirectX 10.1 combine to deliver the most outstanding graphics performance ever available to AGP users.

Now manufactured in a new 55nm process technology, the GPU in the HD 3000 series delivers high performance with lower power consumption than previous generations. A new feature known as ATI PowerPlay actively reduces power consumption depending on loading. On the AGP model, additional power is required via the 8-pin PCI-Express connector fitted, which can be provided from a standard power supply with an adapter cable (supplied).

The SAPPHIRE HD 3850 AGP incorporates the latest ATI Avivo HD Technology for enhanced Video display and features a built in UVD (Unified Video decoder) for the hardware accelerated decoding of Blu-ray and HD DVD content for both VC-1 and H.264 codecs, considerably reducing CPU loading. Two independent display output controllers provide support for two dual link DVI displays as well as TV-out and HD TV options. HDCP is supported.

SAPPHIRE HD 3000 series graphics cards are Microsoft Windows Vista Premium certified and supported by the ATI Catalyst suite of software, ensuring customers have ongoing access to software updates for performance, stability and added features.

Specifications: SAPPHIRE HD 3850 AGP

BiTMICRO Introduces 832GB SATAII SSD for CES 2008

BiTMICRO, developer of flash disk, solid state disk (SSD), network storage and file cache solid state drive solutions is about to make strong appearance at CES this year. According to a press release, the company is introducing a new, 2.5-inch solid-state drive with the whoppping 832GB of space. The SATA II drive comes as a new addition to the company's E-Disk Altima line, and utilizes a technology the company calls multi-level cell (or MLC) memory, which apparently doubles the number of bits stored per memory cell when compared with single-level cell (SLC) NAND. The drives are expected to ship Q3 2008 in capacities ranging from 32GB to 832GB.

Nvidia Readies Dual-Chip, Single-Chip High-Performance Graphics Cards.

Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2, GeForce 9800 GTX, GeForce 9800 GT Approaching

Nvidia Corp., the world’s largest designer of discrete graphics processing units (GPUs), reportedly plans to update its lineup of expensive graphics cards with at least two new offerings later in the quarter. The most powerful of the novelties will carry two graphics chips, whereas another will feature single-chip designs.

The new top-of-the-range graphics card by Nvidia is called GeForce 9800 GX2 which is based on two yet unknown 65nm graphics chips with 128 unified shader processors inside. The board, according to [H]ard|OCP web-site, will be 30% faster compared to Nvidia GeForce 8800 Ultra and will enable 4-way multi-GPU configurations. The novelty will have 256 stream processors in total, but will rely on driver support to demonstrate its potential, just like any multi-GPU solutions.

The least expensive solution – Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX – is projected to be released in late February or early March and is claimed to be based on one GPU. The new model 9800 GTX will replace existing GeForce 8800 GTX, thus, should offer performance on par with GeForce 8800 Ultra and support 3-way SLI configuration. In addition, there will be a the least expensive version of GeForce 9-series called GeForce 9800 GT and due in March or April.

Based on information reported earlier, Nvidia GeForce 9800-series graphics processors will support DirectX 10.1 feature-set along with powerful video encoding engine and post-processor.

Even though the new GeForce 9800 GX2 is projected to offer performance only 30% higher compared to Nvidia GeForce 8800 Ultra, whereas the new GeForce 9800 GTX should outperform the 8800 GTX by a similar margin, the new lineup represents a great threat to ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2.

At present Nvidia sells GeForce 8800 Ultra for $849 in retail, whereas the GeForce 8800 GTX costs about $549 - $649. Provided that the new solution by graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices offers performance of the GeForce 8800 Ultra, AMD’s new dual-chip graphics card will have to cost the same amount of money as the new GeForce 9800 GTX. Unfortunately, dual-chip configurations offer performance advantages over a single-chip ATI Radeon HD 3870 only in cases when its driver can take advantage of multi-GPU ATI CrossFireX technology. Therefore, in all other cases the GeForce 9800 GTX will be faster compared to ATI’s dual-chip solution, making it very hard for ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 to finds its place on the market.

Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

HP Begins Selling PC With AMD Quad-Core Phenom Chip

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has begun selling systems based on the AMD quad-core Phenom processor at Wal-Mart, according to the retailer's website. HP becomes the first top-tier U.S. computer vendor to offer systems using the Phenom processor. Smaller vendors, such as Falcon Northwest and iBuypower, have been offering systems for a number of weeks. The HP M8330F Pavilion Desktop comes with the Phenom 9500 Quad-Core Processor (2.2GHz), a 640GB (2x 320GB) 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive, 3072MB of PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM memory, and Windows Vista Home Premium. The system is priced at $959.99. Other large retailers, such as Sears, are also offering the system. The Phenom 9500 and 9600 processors, generally available now, contain a bug that can cause system instability in certain rare overload situations. The bug can be fixed with a workaround. AMD is also in preparation of a new "B3" revision processors that should fix the TLB bug.

Hitachi and ASUS Collaborate to Deliver the World’s First One Terabyte Notebook PC

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) today announced that ASUS has integrated Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K500 hard drive into its new M50 and M70 notebook PCs, the latter of which delivers up to 1TB of storage capacity in a two-drive configuration. The companies are breaking new ground in personal computing by combining industry-leading storage capacity – exceeding that of a typical desktop system – with the portability of a notebook PC. One TB of storage capacity translates to 1,000 hours of video, or more than 350 feature length movies or 250,000 four-minute songs.

As a world leading notebook PC brand, ASUS continues to develop cutting-edge products that offer the best solution in great designs. With the new multimedia notebook series, the M50 and the M70, ASUS aims to provide a high-definition audio and video experience. The HD experience starts with a sleek LCD cover made by exclusive ASUS Infusion technology. Upon opening the notebook, users are greeted with a multimedia console-like design with an ergonomic full-size keyboard and a separate numerical keypad. To further enhance the entertainment enjoyment, the dual-mode touch pad allows easy access to playback controls.

ASUS selected Hitachi Travelstar drives for its M50 and M70 series notebooks because they allow users to store more digital content than any other mobile drive on the market today. Consumers expect their notebook PCs to be entertainment powerhouses, storing and providing easy access to massive libraries of high-definition movies, music and photos. The new Travelstar 5K500 addresses these requirements with the features, design innovations and technologies that enhance the entertainment experience.

The Travelstar 5K500 features Hitachi’s Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS) technology to mitigate any adverse impact on system performance from unexpected vibrations or shocks to the system enclosure. RVS serves as an “early warning” system for the drive, enabling it to sense a possible vibration in advance and take the necessary steps to stabilize the drive head. RVS is particularly important for many of today’s full-featured notebooks that include premium speakers for enhancing a user’s experience with movies, music and games. When played at maximum volumes, notebook speakers can inadvertently cause vibrations that may not be noticeable to the user.

“Digital entertainment on-the-go is growing rapidly and notebooks are being used to run more powerful, memory-intensive applications,” said Tony Chen, General Manager of ASUS Notebooks Business. “Our notebooks with the Hitachi Travelstar 5K500 provide the answer to users who demand systems that combine large storage capacities with desktop-class performance and features.”

“One TB represents a major advancement in notebook computing and we are pleased to be at the heart of this industry milestone,” said Larry Swezey, director, Consumer and Commercial HDD, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. “We will continue to deliver the best that storage technology has to offer, solidifying Hitachi’s position as the segment and technology leader in 2.5-inch hard drives.”

Since entering the 2.5-inch segment in 1991, Hitachi has led innovations in the form factor for every measurable category: areal density, performance, power management, acoustics, shock tolerance, reliability and breadth of product options. Hitachi Travelstar drives continue to be the most popular 2.5-inch hard drives on the market today.

Please check the regional ASUS branch for the M50 and M70 availability.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

GeForce 9800 GTX Speculated

VR Zone has some speculations about the specifications of NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce 9800 GTX (G100) graphics card:
    - Codenamed G100
    - 65nm process
    - 256 shader processors
    - 780MHz core clock
    - 3200MHz memory clock
    - 512-bit memory width
    - 2048MB (256X8) GDDR5 chips
    - GDDR5 @ 0.25-0.5ns
    - Dual DVI-out
    - Supports DX 10.1, VP3
    - 15-25% lower TDP than 8800GTS

This is just a speculation and to know its real existence in the roadmap of NVIDIA we have to wait and look.

AMD May Lead NVIDIA In The Next IGP Battle

AMD's RS780 and Nvidia's MCP 78 IGP chipsets are scheduled to go head-to-head in the first quarter of 2008, however, performance of the MCP 78S is reportedly below that of the RS780, while the higher-end MCP 78U is causing issues due to its higher thermal dissipation giving AMD the advantage over the chipset battle, according to sources at motherboard makers.

The RS780 is reported to have 15-20% better performance than the MCP 78S in 3DMark 05 and 06 tests, while the higher-end MCP 78U cannot function normally with the original passive northbridge heatpipe due to the higher core frequencies of the graphics engine. Adopting a larger heatpipe or fan will cause costs to rise significantly, pointed out the sources. Nvidia is still struggling with the problem, they added.

Additionally, motherboard makers have not yet taken delivery of MCP 78 chipset supplies, which means that the original launch schedule of motherboards might have to be postponed back to the end of January or beginning of February, noted the sources.

On the other hand, motherboard makers have already finished preparations for their RS780 motherboard launches and will be ready to ship in January 23 next year.

AMD has also fixed an issue with the SB700 southbridge caused by a malfunction of the internal clock generator. Although motherboard makers will need to add an external one to solve the problem for now, AMD has notified its partners that the issue will be fixed in an updated SB710 chipset, added the sources.

Nvidia declined to comment on this report saying it cannot comment on unannounced products. AMD did not respond by the time of publication.

Asus EAH3870 TOP Review

Santa must have had some renovations done to his workshop, in order to accommodate all of the new video cards that came out over the last two months. It all started around Halloween, which had a little extra bang to it this year, with the release of NVIDIA's 8800 GT.  While that card might of attracted the lion's share of the spotlight, AMD/ATI released its response, its own 'killer-card' around the mid-two hundred dollar price point, about two weeks later: the HD 3870.

Today we are going to look at a factory-overclocked HD 3870 from Asus: the Asus EAH3870 TOP. A few weeks ago, I was impressed with the combination of performance and price found in PowerColor's HD 3850 Xtreme PCS video card. Maybe the HD 3850 bigger brother will be just as impressive.

Asus EAH3870 TOP left, Powercolor HD3850 Xtreme PCS right.

Alright, let's take a look at this bad-boy. 

The Asus EAH3870 is more on the hefty side of cards, than the slight. It was a double-slot cooler and feels a lot heavier than you'd guess it would, judging from looks. Which much thicker than its nemesis, the 8800 GT, the HD 3870 is about the same length, at a little under 9 inches. You can see some resemblance between the HD 3870 and the HD 2900 XT, but not that much -- in a way, the HD 3870 looks like a 'HD 2900 XT Lite.'

As for the cooler, through the red plastic, you can see a solid block of aluminum fins mounted to the centre of the board. This stretch of GPU-cooling heat-fins are all aligned so that air is expediently pushed through, flowing over the card and out the rear. While the Asus EAH3870 heat sink doesn't have nearly as much metal as a HD 2900 XT, or say, 8800 GTS does, the amount it does have does look substantial enough to provide adequate cooling. Unlike some HD 3850 cards that I have seen, this HD 3870 also has copper-colored aluminum heat sinks on the memory, connected by thermal tape.

A standard-sized fan dominates the right side of the PCB, ready for both duties: cooling the heat sink, and getting air flowing off of the memory as well.

The Asus EAH3870 features a Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts decal on the cooler, on which a German Panzer-commander stares off to the right side of the video card (perhaps dreaming of ledenhosen and blitzkrieg'ing), and a Canadian artillery officer stares off to the left (perhaps dreaming of hockey and incendiary grenades.) Besides the decal, there isn't all that much apparent difference between this Asus video card and the reference board design.

The HD 3870 has 320 stream processors (same amount as the HD 2900 XT), as well as 16 TAUs, and 16 ROPs. Being an TOP edition, Asus has overclocked this video card. The GPU clock is set to 850 MHz, while the 512MB of GDDR4 memory is clocked to 1143 MHZ. Unlike the HD 2900 XT, the HD 3870 has a 256-bit memory interface. A 256-bit memory bus was sufficient to allow for some great performance from the 8800 GT cards, so, hopefully this will hold true for the HD 3870 as well.     

On the back end of the card we have the standard double DVI outputs, which support resolutions up to 3840x2400.

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