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899 results for intel
AMD with three new Phenom CPUs at opposite ends of market in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The raw specs are 140W TDP for the 9950 at 2.6GHz and 65W for the 9350e at2.0GHz and 9150e at 1.8GHz. The prices are $235, $195 and $175 respectively, andthe sharp-eyed among you will notice that the 9950 costs exactly what the 9850does. That is because in a week, on July 7, the 9850 will drop to $205. Bothwill remain 'Black', but the 9950 will be blacker because, before the end of theyear, the 9850 will fade from black, and go back to a locked part.
You have to wonder why AMD is bothering to lock Phenoms at all, with theBlack parts selling at effectively no premium, why not just let people have fun.Anything AMD can do to foster the enthusiast market at this point is probably agood thing, and if you don't have the raw speed, play up the features.
In any case, the interesting part of the bunch is the 9350e. It isn't a barnburner, but for media center boxes, coupled with a 780G board, or better yet a790GX, it could be a pretty solid media/casual gaming rig. This part fills ahole in the market, there aren't any sub 95W Intel quads out there formainstream consumer use, but there could be quite easily if the 9350e is a hit.
In any case, hardcore gamers will probably turn up their noses at the lowclock speeds in the -e parts, but as long as you are not trying to eke out thelast FPS, these parts would make a dandy low-noise desktop.
So, how did they do? Using the same exact setup as the we did with theoriginal780G review, the numbers lined up quite well. To recap, that is a GigabyteGA-MA78GM-2SH mobo, Corsair DDR2 1066 memory and a PC Power and Cooling/OCZSilencer 750W PSU. Power draw was measured at the wall with an Extech True RMSPower Analyser. The same caveat as last time needs to be said, the PSU isunderworked and far less efficient that it would be if we were pulling 500+ W,so knock about 20+ per cent off the wall power to get power used by the boarditself.
We ran our usual power draw test, 3DMark06 under XP SP3 patched to current asof June 28. Just for fun, we threw in the 4850e and the X4 9600 from the lasttest, as well as the 8750 X3. So now you can compare a K8, X3, X4 B2 and a X4 -ein terms of power. It looks like this.

The raw numbers
The lowest idle number is of course the 4850e, and it beats the quads byalmost 20W, the really odd part is the greater than 20W gap from there to the8750 X3. Lose one core, gain 20W? Binning problem, or binning opportunity? Thedual core 4850e also takes the bottom of the loaded power charts, and there is abig 33W gap to the 9350e. From there, the 8750 and 9600 are almost on top ofeach other.
Performance is about where you would expect it to be, the 4850e taking up thebottom with sub-1200 scores, and the others right on top of each other at1540+/-2. A quick overclock of the 9600 to 2.8GHz barely moved the score, so3DMark06 looks pretty GPU bound here.
In the end, with the new parts are priced pretty low, but won't challengeIntel for supremacy. For the high end 9950, you gain 100MHz for a few watts somake sure your mobo can handle the extra. In a week, it will not cost you anymore than a 9850, so you might want to hold off for a few days.
The 9350e and the 9150e look to be solid and inexpensive workhorses for theHTPC/SFF/quiet office PC set. You give up 200MHz for 30W, not a bad trade. Theyare solidly mid-range parts that won't stun any gamers, but they plug gaps inthe market, and do so quite nicely.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:15 am
Games Industry Movers: Trion, 38 Studios, Kongregate & M in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
his past week, 38 Studios (the developer founded by Red Sox pitcherCurt Schilling) announced that Thom Ang was appointed Director of Art.He will oversee the direction and management of 38 Studios' artisticdevelopment, including the MMOG codenamed Copernicus, whileworking closely with Todd McFarlane and R. A. Salvatore. Ang willreport to Vice President of Creative Development, Scott Cuthbertson.
"38 Studios' creative teams have been meticulously crafting thesignature look and feel for our upcoming MMOG over the past 18 months,"said Brett Close, CEO and president. "Thom's extraordinary talent andexperience will be key in driving the vision and quality of our OnlineEntertainment Experience."
Ang has been working as a director for notable franchises and brandsfor over 15 years. He's worked as a senior artist at DisneyInteractive, working on titles like Toy Story II and Tarzan. Ang also created illustrations for TV shows, including The X-Files and was a storyboard artist for Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star TV Animation programs, which include Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles and Max Steel.He then moved on to be art director at EA LA, where he headed up artproduction, team management and visual concept development for the Medal of Honor franchise. In his last position, Ang was art director at THQ, managing more than 25 titles.
"38 Studios is absolutely committed to the next evolution of MMOGs, andevery team member has great pride in the value of what they do,"remarked Ang. "I am excited to contribute to this vision and become apart of an extraordinary team."
Lisa Jablonsky - Kongregate
Kongregate announced this past Friday that Lisa Jablonsky will open thecompany's New York ad sales office. She will work with Kongregate'sChief Revenue Officer Lee Uniacke to secure high-profile advertisingpartnerships based on the site's reach and appeal to young men, ages 13- 34.
"With high user engagement and a growth rate of over 25 percent monthover month, Kongregate provides the ideal medium for advertisers tryingto reach this hard-to-pin-down demographic," stated Uniacke. "As webuild our sales force to address these opportunities, Lisa's proventrack record in developing successful partnerships across a range ofyouth-driven digital consumer brands will add tremendously to theexpertise of our team."
Jablonsky has worked in the New York advertising scene for 21 years andshe was as an early proponent of the digital advertising arena. Amongher projects, she has conceptualized and implemented ground-breakingfilm contests for Intel and Kohl's, and created one of the first mobilecontests for Alltel. Jablonsky helped create games for McAfee Softwareand the National Guard, as well as construct an editorial integrationprogram for Coke's NBA March Madness Flash game. She was most recentlyan account executive with MTV Networks, where she successfully droveadvertising and integrated sponsorships for Comedy Central,,, and AtomFilms.
"Kongregate is an advertiser's dream as it attracts young men betterthan virtually any other site on the Web and puts them in a cool, edgyenvironment where our audience can really interact with their brand,"commented Jablonsky. "At over 3 million unique users today, a highgrowth rate, and just being named one of Time Magazine's Top 50 sitesfor 2008, we're on track to give advertisers the big reach that theyneed to effectively target the young male demographic this fall."
Trion World Network - Glen Van Datta
Trion World Network announced recently that Glen Van Datta has beenhired as Vice President of Engineering and General Manager of TrionWorld Network Austin. He will oversee day to day operations at Trion'sAustin studio and supervise all customer service, quality assurance,operations and other support activities with relation to the Trionplatform.
"Glen is a tremendous hire for Trion and an excellent addition to ourworld class technical organization", said Nicholas Beliaeff, VicePresident of Product Development & Head of Trion World Network SanDiego. "Glen's vision, leadership, and deep history maturing andproductizing compelling online game technology will help Trion take ourserver based game technology to the highest levels while helping us andour partners get to market more quickly."
Notably, Van Datta has worked for over 22 years in softwaredevelopment, including the past dozen in game development. He wasco-founder and Vice President of Engineering at RTIME, where he oversawthe development, design and testing of the RTIME SDK online, in-gameand player matching platform. Van Datta most recently worked at SCEA asDirector of Online Technology, where he oversaw a team of more than 80employees that developed SCE-RT SDK to enable online games for PS2, PS3and PSP games, including Singstar, Warhawk, Resistance, Home and GT5 Prologue.
"For more than 12 years I've believed that online games, online socialnetworks and online media distribution were the future ofentertainment," said Van Datta. "Trion's innovative, dynamic platformand content are the next generation in the online entertainment space."
IGN Entertainment – Jamie Berger
IGN Entertainment announced recently that senior vice president ofconsumer products and technology Jamie Berger will start overseeingbusiness development for the company. He will continue managing IGN'ssubscriptions, digital distribution, and e-commerce portfolio includingIGN's Direct2Drive and GameSpy Technologies.
Berger has over 16 years of professional brand management and marketingexperience from within the online gaming industry. He began hisprofessional career as an Account Manager with the NCR Corporation.Berger spent six years in the consumer products division of The WaltDisney Company before joining IGN Entertainment. He currently helpsextend the IGN brand by creating and leading partnerships thatdistribute content and drive revenue.
AMD - Emilio Ghilardi
AMD, which runs the ATI graphics card business, announced this pastweek that Emilio Ghilardi has been appointed senior vice president andgeneral manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He will beresponsible for all sales and marketing operations within EMEA,starting in mid-August 2008. Ghilardi will report to AMD chief salesofficer Gustavo Arenas.
"Emilio adds tremendous global sales and marketing leadership to AMD inEMEA which we expect to help strengthen and grow relationships with ourend-user customers, OEMs and distribution partners," said Arenas.
Ghilardi comes to AMD from HP, where he started as vice president ofConsumer PC Clients in EMEA. He then moved on to be vice president andgeneral manager of Commercial Hardware within the Imaging and PrintingGroup. Ghilardi was most recently vice president and general manager ofHP's EMEA Consumer Business Unit, managing the business for consumerPCs and Imaging and Printing products.
AMD added that Alberto Macchi, corporate vice president of Sales andMarketing for EMEA, is departing the company "to pursue newopportunities."
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution - Jacqueline Jourdain Hayes
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) recently announced thatJacqueline Jourdain Hayes has been named Senior Vice President Businessand Legal Affairs. She will manage legal issues around new digitalbusiness models (such as distribution of Warner properties on Xbox Liveand elsewhere) globally, oversee the negotiation of Warner and electronic sell-through licenses across multipledigital platforms, and provide legal counsel to the Company's seniormanagement on the acquisition, distribution and protection of contentfor digital platforms and other digital initiatives.
"Jackie has been working on our digital business for quite some time,her expertise in this area is unparalleled," said Clarissa Weirick,General Counsel, WBDD. "The digital business is still one of thoseareas where you are often making the rules as you go along, whichrequires someone like Jackie who is confident and creative innegotiating this new terrain. We are extremely fortunate to have hercontinued expertise as our digital business moves ahead."
Hayes has worked as an Associate in the Corporate Departments of TroopMeisinger Steuber & Pasich in Los Angeles, of Goulston and Storrs,P.C. in Boston, and of Moses & Singer in New York City. She joinedWarner Home Video in 1998 as Counsel, and was promoted to VicePresident Business and Legal Affairs of WHV in 2000. Hayes joined theWarner Bros. Digital Distribution division in July 2006.
TC Digital Games – Andi Smithers
Recently, TC Digital Games announced that it appointed Andi Smithers tothe new position of Director of Technical Development. He will overseedevelopment of the company's digital services, including mediatechnology and format strategy as well as interoperability of digitalservices and devices.
"Andi joins our team at a pivotal moment in the evolution of Chaoticand TC Digital," said Bryan C. Gannon, President and CEO of TC DigitalGames. "He will become an integral part of our efforts to enhance theChaotic online experience and further develop our digital services.Andi's expertise in developing technology, his extensive background increating computer game software and his vision for emerging technologymake him a perfect fit to lead this innovative game play convergence."
Smithers has held several executive roles and technical positionsthroughout his 20-year career, having worked for Microsoft, Activision,Psygnosis, LucasArts, and Midway. He was most recently with Sony OnlineEntertainment where he served as Senior Engineer in the Research andDevelopment group. Smithers pushed advanced physics and graphicstechnologies forward to ensure their quality and was responsible foroverseeing the strategy and development for a cloth simulator.
Microsoft – Michael Delman
As we previously reported, Microsoft this past week appointed MichaelDelman to the position of corporate vice president of global marketingfor the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) in the Entertainmentand Devices Division. He takes over the role for Jeff Bell who left thecompany earlier this month. Read more about the move here.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:42 am
Why the PC is the future (from VALVE) [FEATURE] in Gaming
When Valve summoned a handful of US and UK journalists to itsSeattle headquarters at the end of last month, it promised to talkabout the future of Steam, its digital distribution system. That itdid, revealing the ambitious Steam Cloud service for remote storage of game data, and boasting that it would soon be making more money selling games digitally, all the while remaining untroubled by piracy.
Valvemastermind Gabe Newell and his cohorts had an ulterior motive forbringing reporters together, however, and unusually for an ulteriormotive, it wasn't a wholly self-interested one. It was this: toevangelise the PC as the games platform of the future.
"Thisreally should be done by a company like Intel or Microsoft, somebodywho's a lot more central to the PC," says Newell, pointing out thatcompanies like Blizzard, PopCap and GameTap would have just as much tosay as Valve about how PC gaming is leading innovation in technology,business models, and community-building. But, notwithstandingMicrosoft's occasional promotionof Games For Windows - an initiative Newell refrains from attackingdirectly, but exudes disdain for - that support has not beenforthcoming.
Where console platforms have merciless andwell-funded PR armies poised to combat any criticism, negative storiesabout the PC - mostly publishers, or developers like Crtyek,complaining of rampant piracy and flat sales - run unimpeded. Salesdata that focuses solely on boxed copies sold at retail appear to backthem up. Valve has had enough. "There's a perception problem," saysNewell. "The stories that are getting written are not reflecting whatis really going on."

You want figures? There are 260 million online PC gamers, a marketthat dwarfs the install base of any console platform, online oroffline. Each year, 255 million new PCs are made; not all of them forgaming, it's true, but Newell argues that the enormous capitalinvestment and economies of scale involved in this huge market ensurethat PCs remain at the cutting edge of hardware development, andconsoles their "stepchildren", in connectivity and graphics technologyespecially. Meanwhile, Valve's business development guru, JasonHoltman, notes that without the pressure of cyclical hardware cycles,PC gaming projects - he points to Steam as an example - can groworganically, over long periods of time, and with no ceiling whatsoeverto their potential audiences.

More pertinent, perhaps, are thefigures directly relating to games revenue that the retail charts -admittedly a stale procession of Sims expansions and under-performingconsole ports - don't pick up. "If you look into the future, there's animportant transition that's about to happen, and it's going to happenon the PC first," says Newell.

At its heart, he explains, is a shift from viewing games as aphysical product, to viewing them as a service - something that is alsohappening in other entertainment media. Digital distribution is part ofthat; more fluid and varied forms of game development, with games thatchange and engage their communities of players over time, are another;as is, naturally, the persistence and subscription (or otherwise)revenues of MMO games. None of this is reflected in the sales chartsanalysts, executives - and gamers - obsess over.
Valve sees 200per cent growth in these alternative channels - not just Steam, butincluding the likes of cyber-cafes as well - versus less than 10 percent in bricks-and-mortar shop sales. Steam has a 15 million-strongplayer-base with 1.25 million peak concurrent users, and 191 per centannual growth; none too far off a console platform in itself. The PCcasual games market, driven by the likes of PopCap, has gone from nextto nothing to USD 1.5 billion dollar industry in under ten years, andhas doubled in size in just three. Perhaps most surprisingly, Valve hasfound that digital distribution doesn't cannibalise retail sales - infact, a free Day of Defeat weekend on Steam created more new retailsales than online ones.

And then there is the game that many claim has been the death of PCgaming, but that Valve sees as its greatest success story, and itsfuture. "Until recently, the fact that World of Warcraft was generating120 million dollars in gross revenue on a monthly basis was completelyoff the books," Newell says. "Essentially, [Blizzard is] creating a newIron Man every month, in terms of the gross revenue they're generatingas a studio. Any movie studio would be shouting about that from therooftops. But it was essentially invisible."
Newell thinks thatWOW is "arguably the most valuable entertainment franchise in any mediaright now", and also believes, rightly, that it could only ever havehappened on the PC. He also tips his hat to South Korea's Nexxon forits enormous success with free-to-play, microtransaction-driven gameslike Kart Rider and Maple Story, soon to be aped by EA's BattlefieldHeroes.

There is another reason for the gulf between theperception and the reality of the games market, Valve thinks, and it'sa geographical and linguistic one. The dominance of the Englishlanguage gives the US and UK games markets, where the PC is weakest,undue prominence. In several major Western markets - notably Germanyand the Nordic countries - the PC performs much better. What's more, inthe emerging markets of China, Korea and Russia, where gaming is seeingunprecedented, explosive growth, console install bases are negligible,and the PC is king. Valve thinks that there's a silent majority ofglobal gamers who are skipping the console era entirely, the way thesedeveloping nations already skipped dial-up internet.

Steam isavailable in 21 languages for this reason, and Valve reckons that itsspeedy localisation and lack of physical distribution is an effectivecounter to the piracy common in these markets. It's also allowing Valveto get games to players in regions traditional channels don't support."PC's are everywhere in the world," says Holtman simply. "PC's are thesame all over the world. All of sudden, if you can open up emergingmarkets and go somewhere like Russia or South East Asia, you've goneway further than you can go with a closed console. There are 17 millionPC gaming customers in Russia alone."

A key shift in this brave new world of games as services rather thanproducts - and one that runs contrary to the traditional image of PCgaming - is a move away from graphical fidelity being the yardstick ofprogress. "As a company that's really proud of the job we do withgraphics it's funny to say this," Newell says, "but we get a betterreturn right now by focusing on those features and technologies thatare about community, about connecting people together."
He citeseasy uploading of gameplay videos to YouTube as a bigger source ofentertainment value than marginal improvements in graphics. "I thinkthat people thinking about how to generate web hits on their serversare a lot closer to the right mentality for what's going to besuccessful in entertainment going forward, than somebody that's used tohaving conversations about how to get end caps at Best Buy."
Therevolution in distribution and business models also offers a major newopportunity for smaller games - and smaller games developers - tothrive. The demands of retail - the logistical problems of gettingboxes to shops, and the budgetary drain of huge marketing campaigns -mean that bigger is necessarily better in the traditional games market.
Notso on Steam and its equivalents, says Valve, pointing to the hugesuccess of indie darling Audiosurf, as well as its own Portal. "As youmove away from that huge first weekend, big blockbuster mentality,"says Newell, "you're getting back to an area where smaller and smallergroups can connect with customers. I think you're going to find thatthe enjoyment of being in the game industry as a developer on the PC isa lot greater than outside of it."

He's backed up by an actual indie, Audiosurf creator Dylan Fitterer.This one-man development, created without financial backing -impossible on consoles, due to the cost of development kits - was thebest-selling game on Steam full-stop at its release, outclassing manybig-budget titles. "I didn't have to ask anybody if I could release it,except for my wife," Fitterer says. "It took a few years, and I waspretty darn tired by the time it was ready. Something likecertifications? No thanks." He also points out the tight limitations ofconsole servers versus PC servers for online gaming; Audiosurf'sscoreboard for every song ever recorded would be out of the question ona closed platform.
Holtman argues that Steam and Steamworks - thesuite of free tools it offers - revolutionise the environment fordevelopers and publishers. The auto-updating system means that a gamecan be developed right up to release and beyond. It eases painfulcrunch times, and allows game makers to respond to their audiences,publishers to develop their titles as continuously evolving franchisesrather than finite products.
"All of a sudden, PC games becomethis thing that's reliable and up-to-date," says Holtman. Team Fortress2 designer Robin Walker weighs in, noting that the PC version of theshooter has had no less than 53 updates since its release last year -something that certification cost and time have prohibited for onconsole - and that this "ship continuously" ethos is a key component tothe success of the best multiplayer titles. Steam, he says, makes thatprocess fast and transparent.
"I don't want anyone between me andmy customers," says Walker. "I want to write code today and I want allmy customers running it tomorrow." Possible on the PC - Steam inparticular, naturally. Not possible on consoles. For his part, Fittereradded achievements to Audiosurf in a total of two days. This constantiteration creates a feedback loop between developer and customer that,reckons Walker, can only improve the quality of the game. "The more Italk to my customers, the better my decisions will be. Without a systemof talking to my customers, I will make bad decisions."

The implication is a striking one: sporadic, excessively controlledupdating means that console multiplayer games will never reach theheights of their PC counterparts. There is a counter-argument - that PCgames descend into a poorly-defined, indistinct mess of constantpatching - but it is effectively squashed by the fact that, if you lookfor a multiplayer game with the longevity and massive popularity of aWOW or a Counter-Strike on console, you won't find one (with the veryarguable exception of Halo).
Auto-updating is the reason Valvecreated Steam in the first place. It's the reason it now finds itselfin an odd position for a developer: semi-publisher, leadingdistributor, market analyst, agony uncle and technocrat - not tomention defender of a platform that's still being proclaimed dead, whenall signs point to the very opposite.
At the end of the day, PCgaming's health - and its trickiest challenge - comes down to a bottomline that even the format's detractors can't refute: there are just somany of the damn things. "We think the number of connected PC gamers weare selling our products to dwarf the current generation of consolesput together," states Newell. "There are tremendous opportunities infiguring out how to reach out to those customers.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:22 am
Official: Windows 7 date is confirmed (Windows Vienna) in Microsoft / Windows
Bill Gates may have only just saidhis goodbyes, but the Microsoft machine keeps on running with thecompany announcing information about the release of Windows 7.
Thepaint may not have even dried on the Windows that is Vista, but itseems that Microsoft is already looking to launch its successor withinthe next two years.
In a letter to enterprise and businesscustomers on Tuesday, vice president of Microsoft Bill Veghte announcedthat the approximate launch date for Windows 7 is January 2010.
Seventh heaven
Inthe letter, Veghte wrote: "Our plan is to deliver Windows 7approximately three years after the January 2007 general availabilitylaunch date of Windows Vista.
"You've also let us know you don'twant to face the kinds of incompatibility challenges with the nextversion of Windows you might have experienced early with Windows Vista.
"Our goal is to ensure that the migration process from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is straightforward."
Well,if Intel is anything to go by, it won't be the migration from Vista toWindows 7 that will be the problem, it will be the migration from XP toWindows 7 that most computer users will be worried about.
Milestone 1
The first known build of Windows 7 was identified as a "Milestone 1(M1) code drop" according to TG Daily with a version number of6.1.6519.1. It was sent to key Microsoft partners by January 2008 in both x86 and x86-64 versions. Though not yet commented on by Microsoft, reviews and screenshots have been published by various sources.The M1 code drop installation comes as either a standalone install or one which requires Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, and creates a dual-boot system.
On April 20, 2008,screenshots and videos of a second build of M1 were leaked with aversion number of 6.1.6574.1. This build included changes to WindowsExplorer as well as a new Windows Health Center.
A standalone copy of build 6519 was leaked initially to private FTPsby BETAArchive on June 10, 2008, which quickly spread to many torrenttrackers.

Later builds
According to TG Daily article of January 16, 2008, the Milestone 2(M2) code drop was at that time scheduled for April or May of 2008. User interface appearance changes are expected to appear in later builds of Windows 7.
Milestone 3 (M3) is listed as coming in the third quarter, with the release to manufacturing in the second half of 2009. The release dates of a beta version and a release candidate are "to be determined".
Bill Gates commented in a press conference in April 2008 that a new version [of Windows] would come "in the next year or so".According to additional clarification by Microsoft, he was onlyreferring to availability of alpha or beta versions of Windows 7.

The Windows 7 user interface was demonstrated for the first time at the D6 conference during which Steve Ballmer acknowledged a projected release date of late 2009.The build of Windows 7 that was on display had a different taskbar thanfound in Windows Vista, with, among other features, sections dividedinto different colors. The host declined to comment on it, stating "I'mnot supposed to talk about it now today".
Windows 7 has reached the Milestone 1 (M1) stage and has been made available to key partners.According to reports sent to TG Daily, the build adds support forsystems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards and a new versionof Windows Media Center New features in Milestone 1 also reportedly include Gadgets being integrated into Windows Explorer, a Gadget for Windows Media Center, the ability to visually pin and unpin items from the Start Menu and Recycle Bin, improved media features, a new XPS Viewer, and the Calculator accessory is multi-line featuring Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion.
Reports indicate that a feedback tool included in Milestone 1 lists some coming features: the ability to store Internet Explorer settings on a Windows Live account, updated versions of Paint and WordPad, and a 10 minute install process. In addition, improved network connection tools might be included.
A new feature in build 6574, Windows Health Center, allows the user to monitor all of their PC's health problems, and concerns in one place. It allows turning User Account Control on and off, and monitoring 3rd party anti-virus programs, firewalls, etc.
In the demonstration of Windows 7 at D6, the operating systemfeatured multi-touch, including a virtual piano program, a directionsprogram and a more advanced paint program.
Windows Server 7
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:43 am
AMD CPU shoot-out: Phenom X3 and X4 in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
If I were AMD I'd drop the whole Phenom idea.  It became a complete failure IMO and its the only thing that gave Intel bragging rights.  I'd like to hear about the quad core Opterons, I'm a bit excited about those, I feel they can make a difference.  AMD ought to take the easy way out like Intel until they can develop a true quad core like the Phenom except actually successful.  When it comes to dual cores, I'm supporting AMD but if I ever get a quad core (which is unlikely) I'm going with the either Intel or Sun.  Its a shame ATI is holding back AMD's funds, it must be hard for them to catch up on multiple projects.
Posted by schmidtbag Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:37 pm
RM launched its new Windows XP-based RM Asus miniBook in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
RM dumped the Eee name, as it feels the connotations of the letter in between of D and F with drug misuse/abuse wouldn’t fit all that well with kids and the Education market sector.

So fresh from rehab comes a 8.9-inch RM Asus Minibook for schools. The firm expects to see 50,000 units sold by the year end. This is compared to the 7-inch original model launched at the Handheld Learning Conference in London October 2007, which has sold 23,000 to date.

Specifications for the education aimed lite-laptop are exactly as the ASUSTeK 900 model itself, with this SKU shipping with 12GB SDD and a 1GB memory. When querying an Asus spokesperson at the event about which battery will be shipping with said units, we were informed that the new models will soon have the standard extended one that’s seen elsewhere in the world. Saving the local education authorities the £11.75 they are currently charging for swapping out the old one for the new.

One of the clear reasons why RM has gone down this route with Microsoft is the simple fact that most educational software is designed to run on Windows. This in turn makes it easier for schools to add their favourite curriculum software to the RM Asus Minibook.

“The Minibooks have proved a popular choice since launch and we are very excited to be expanding our range to include the Windows version. At around the £200 mark these devices mean that no pupil in the UK should be disadvantaged by not having access to the very best learning and the very best technology.” said Tim Pearson, CEO of RM

Tim let slip that he could be breaking an NDA over the following information – there’s a £25 price difference between the Linux version and the Windows XP. This came across that there’s an additional cost to customers from choosing the vole version over the penguin, but their product manager cleared this up later. The CEO was just referring to an internal cost for Asus and that’s all. RM will continue to offer the original Minibook models with Linux applied, just in case you were worried.

Although the model we saw was still Celeron based, they are planning to introduce an Intel Atom version after the summer school holidays – just in time for the Autumn school term.

The Minibook does arrive initially with Windows XP Home installed and they’re leaving it to schools to upgrade to XP Pro if needed, although they do offer factory-ordered customisation for a cost. The price for the 8.9-inch Minibook is just £285 and the reason behind the low cost, is solely down to schools not getting charged VAT (thanks Emil).
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:09 pm
AMD CPU shoot-out: Phenom X3 and X4 in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The birth of AMD’s quad-core Phenom processor was plagued withproblems. After a gestation period more akin to an elephant than a CPU,the new silicon popped out puking and bawling but was clearly a bit ofa runt.
The problem was the now-infamous TLB error that crippled performanceand reduced clock speed with the result that the B2 stepping of Phenomwas only available in two models.

AMD's Phenoms: (clockwise from top left) 9600, X3 8750, X4 9750, X4 9850

Neither the 2.2GHz Phenom 9500 nor the 2.3GHz 9600 delivered enoughperformance to trouble Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600, which was a directcompetitor at the same price. As an added kick in the teeth, Phenomwould barely overclock while the Intel processor could manage a clockspeed of 3GHz without breaking a sweat.
AMD fixed the TLB problem with its B3 stepping and also got a bitcreative with the model codes that it used. Phenom X4 9x50 denotes aquad-core B3 that effectively replaces the original Phenom. The PhenomX3 8x50 is also a B3 but is unusual in that it's a tri-core processor.Phenom is similar to Core 2 Quad in many respects but there is onesignificant difference as Phenom is a native quad-core design with allfour cores on the same die. By contrast Core 2 Quad is a dual-coredesign, so Intel uses two processor dice to cobble together itsfour-core CPUs.
Naturally, AMD touts this difference as a major advantage for Phenomas it allows HyperTransport to strut its stuff, while Core 2 istheoretically crippled by a lousy communication path through thefrontside bus and then off to the northbridge of the chipset to thememory controller.

It was time for the Phenom X4 9850, and we weren’t surprised to seethat performance was a distinct improvement on the X3 8750 in everyrespect with the exception of pure graphics tests that only stress thegraphics card. The X4 draws 40W more than the X3 which makes it fairlyeasy to deduce how much power each core in a Phenom requires. Thequad-core overclocked slightly better than the tri-core but neither wasimpressive in that department.
The thing that caused us some surprise, however, is the similarityin price. You only pay £10 more for the X4 so why on Earth would youchoose the X3?

Finally, we come to the Phenom X4 9850, which only runs 100MHzfaster than the X4 9750 - 2.5GHz - but there are a couple of otherchanges. The X4 9750 has a TDP of 95W and HyperTransport speed of1.8GHz while the X4 9850 has a TDP of 125W and a HyperTransport speedof 2GHz which rather suggests that the X4 9850 is buzzing along at thelimits of the B3 architecture.
We had heard great things of the X4 9850, with at least one reviewerclaiming a clock speed of more than 3GHz. However, we had nothing likethat degree of success. With the 200MHz clock raised to 225MHz weimmediately suffered a blue screen after Windows had loaded, and thatwas with a clock speed just over 2.8GHz.
The system was pretty much OK with a clock speed of 220MHz (2.75GHzCPU speed) although 3DMark Vantage refused to run however the X4 9850required more cooling than the other Phenoms. Indeed we had to removethe add-in fan controller from the CPU cooler to get the fan speed highenough to cool the CPU properly.

That’s all well and good but just take a look at our test resultsfor Core 2 Quad Q6600. On its stock speed of 2.4GHz it wiped the floorwith Phenom and when we overclocked it to 3.0GHz it made the AMDsilicon look rather limp.
VerdictThe B3 stepping of Phenom is a distinct improvement over theoriginal B2 but that’s not saying much. Intel has cut the price of Core2 to such an extent that there is no compelling reason to buy a Phenombeyond the fact that you might not like Intel very much. Fair enough,we'd say, but for everyone else, Intel has grabbed the initiative. Overto you, AMD.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:54 pm
CoolIT’s latch-on liquid CPU cooler in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security is reviewing CoolIT’s Eliminator Liquid CPU cooler and it’sso easy even your granny could hook it up. This piece of kit has everythingbuilt-in and you needn’t stick stuff outside the case. The whole unit justlatches onto your CPU socket (and weighs less than most high-end coolers) andall you need to do is screw it in and connect a power molex. Self-contained andeasy to setup – we weren’t expecting that. Downside? Don’t expect to daisychain stuff into the water cooler - it’s for the CPU and that’s about it.Coolit here.
German website Notebook Journal has managed to capture a Puma in the wild andput it to the test in the lab. It’s a pre-sample sample based on the Pumaplatform, with a ZM-84 (2.3GHz Turion X2 Ultra) and it uses an HD3400 part with256MB of DDR2. While specs aren’t final, the performance numbers do give us anidea of what to expect. In this case, the new Puma does outperform the previousTurions, but it still has a lot of catching up to do with Intel’s Core 2s. PowerXpress seems to be going well, tho’.Here forthe original, orherefor Googlenglish
Benchmark Reviews is poking around inside a Silverstone Kublai KL03B-W midtower case. Silverstone is usually known for its outrageously expensive HTPCcases, but now they seem to have taken the battle to the desktop PC’s arena.It’s spacious enough to handle even the freakiest of cooling setups, and you caneven stick a redundant PSU inside. It’s also very quiet, we hear... or not. Readabout the casehere.
Samsung is moving forward in its HD storage business with a couple of unitsbased on the F1_3D design. The company has sent off a 750GB and 1TB unit toSilent PC Review where Mike the Chin. They are both 32MB cache units and offeridentical read/write speeds – which pretty much sums up the review – identicalperformance through and through. Good performance, that is, and some pretty goodacoustics. The price is right, too...readit here.
OCC is testing the ZEROTherm Zen FZ120 CPU cooler; that’s a really tallheatpipe+cooler, but with a smaller fin surface to which they hook up a 120mmfan. It’s got a 4pin header, meaning you get PWM (a bit more control over thefan) and copper base and heatpipes. For $39.99 this seems pretty affordabletoo. The temps are pretty hot if you don’t plug in the fan, though. Catch thecoolerhere.
After Gigabyte’s slight mishap with Asus, the Gigaboys gave TweakTown a tourof the Nan Ping factory while they were attending Computex 2008. Now, it isn’tusual for manufacturers to let hacks like us take photos and vids of theirfactory’s entrails, but that was the case. So now you too can get an inkling onhow a P45 mobo comes into existence. It seems Gigabyte has put the Asus incidentbehind it.Catchthe tour here.
If you’re relatively new to the rat race and are trying to set up your owngaming rig on a budget, you might want to take a look at this articlehere.Bit-Tech, together with Scan, compiled an article on the subject. The secret isto find the right components, put them all together and then tweak them abit... that’s value for money. Cheap CPU... check. Cheap mobo... check. Cheapgraphics card... check. OC all round... check. Yes, that’s an E2160 running at2.9GHz with a 9600GT running at 775MHz (75MHz above spec) – the whole systemracked up a sub £400 bill at Scan. Not bad.
What do you get when your marketing department gets behind productdevelopment and forgets to talk to the engineers? An Intel DX48BT2. Why? Becauseit is the upper high-end of single-CPU desktop mobos, warranting the “Extreme”branding and it won’t let you overclock decently. That’s what XBit found out, atleast, and we can’t say it’s surprising. Despite Intel’s claims of being thegreatest chip show on Earth, they haven’t (or won’t) had the will the let youtake their CPUs to outrageously high OC values. Xbit considered it might be thecrappy BIOS (1521) but after a quickie update (1523) the OC problems were stillthere. No fun.Readabout the hole.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:14 pm
Intel focuses on graphics and games in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
In a statement, Intel said, "Supporting the new Intel 4 Series chipset familyintroduced at Computex, Intel has launched theIntelVisual Computing Developer Community, a technical resource to enabledevelopers... to create innovative graphics and video applications."
Intel's 4 Series chipset line includes the G45 Express chipset and the GMAX4500HD graphics accelerator that support Microsoft DirectX 10 gaming graphicssoftware technology and Blu-ray 1080p high-definition video viewing.
Chipzilla's new graphics developers' resources website will push its newLarrabee graphics technology effort and offers videos, white papers, discussionforums, weblogs and wikis. µ
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:11 pm
AMD to pair CPUs, GPUs with Intel's physics tech in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
AMD is partnering with Intel to improve the way its graphics chips can handle physics and other scientific calculations.
Well, sort of. AMD's actually working with Intel subsidiary Havok,which the chip giant acquired last year. Havok operates separately fromIntel to develop its Havok FX physics processing API, which allowsdevelopers to code up such algorithms to run on GPUs rather than CPUs.
It's main rival was Ageia, developer of a similar API and adedicated chip, PhysX, to run the calculations. Ageia, however, is nowpart of Nvidia, which is understandably playing down PhysX whilepromoting Ageia's software technology as a way of running physicscalculations on its own GPUs.

All this stuff is going to run on discrete graphics chips, so itmakes more sense for AMD to partner with an Intel company, which isn'tcompeting with it - yet - in the discrete GPU market.
The partnership will ensure that Havok FX can take full advantage ofthe idiosyncracies of AMD's Radeon GPU architecture and of its x86processors.
Games, in particular, are increasingly incorporating algorithms thatcan model complex interactions between players and the worlds theyinhabit. Traditionally, these calculations have been handled by theCPU, but they're better suited to the GPU's parallel-processing design,which whizzes through them while the general-purpose CPU wouldstruggle.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:57 pm
Spore's minimum specs are surprisingly low in Gaming
The latest news on Will Wright’s magnum opus, Spore, is that the minimum PC (and Mac) specifications required to run the game are surprisingly low.

This is great news for the majority of casual PC gamers who don’t tend to spend an inordinate amount of time and money constantly upgrading their PCs and graphics cards.

Maxis/EA has also released the Sporepedia on the official site to whet the appetites of those PC and Mac gamers looking forward to Wright’s immense and hugely ambitious game.

The Specs required to run Spore on your PC or Mac are as follows:

Windows XP 2.0 GHz P4 processor or equivalent 512 MB RAM A 128 MB Video Card, with support for Pixel Shader 2.0 At least 6 GB of hard drive space

Windows Vista 2.0 GHz P4 processor or equivalent 768 MB RAM A 128 MB Video Card, with support for Pixel Shader 2.0 At least 6 GB of hard drive space

Mac OS X Mac OS X 10.5.3 Leopard or higher Intel Core Duo Processor 1024 MB RAM ATI X1600 or NVidia 7300 GT with 128 MB of Video RAM, or Intel Integrated GMA X3100 At least 4.7GB of hard drive space for installation, plus additional space for creations.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:51 pm
WWDC 08 Live Coverage: iPhone SDK 2.0 in Apple
Ok, Scott, we love what you've done here, but we're yawning. Thenagain, the thousands of devs in the audience are probably stoked --those that haven't used the SDK anyway.

Demo time! "I want toconcentrate on how we construct a UI..." making an app called NearbyFriends. Accesses the contacts database and Core Location to filter allcontacts with contacts within 10mi. Building the UI with InterfaceBuilder. Dragging and dropping interface elements.

Going over debungging and Xcode, instruments -- all the stuff from the March iPhone roadmap event.

10:20AM PT - "Wetop it all off with Cocoa Touch -- our UI object oriented framework,which makes building an app for our fullscreen touch interface anabsolute breeze. We have a great set of APIs. On top of this we have areally powerful set of tools."

"With the SDK in iPhone 2.0 we'reopening the same native APIs and tools we use internally... that meansyou as a dev can build apps for the iPhone the same way we do. Let'sstart by talking about the APIs. The APIs and frameworks on the iPhoneshare extensively with OS X... We use the same kernel in the iPhonethat forms the basis of OS X... almost all of them share the samesource code line-for-line as OS X." He's going over the bits of CoreServices: SQL lite, OpenGL ES, OpenAL

Steve's back on: "That gives you a sense of what we're doing in theenterprise, all this stuff built into iPhone 2.0. Next up is the SDK,to take us where we are there and to show us some really excitingstuff, I'd like to bring up Scott Forstall." Applause.

Still going... the Army sure does love the new iPhone software!

Going over some firms, testimonials style. Great if you care about the petabytes in the datacenters of Disney, we guess!

10:13AM PT -"We've had phenomenal participation from higher education. Again,gotten fantastic feedback. We made a video of these customers, I'd loveto show it to you..." Video time!

"We've had a beta going... 35%of the Fortune 500 has participated in that beta program. The top 5banks, top 5 securities firms, 6 or 7 top airlines, 8 of 10 top pharma,and 8 of 10 top entertainment companies."

"Exchange... as you know, we've done it... push email, calendars,contacts, auto-discovery, global address lookup, remote wipe, all thisstuff built in. In addition we've worked with Cisco to build in theirVPN services... all sorts of security demanded by the enterprise.Everything they told us they wanted, we built in."

"iPhone 2.0 software, there are three parts: enterprise support, SDK, and new end-user features. Let me start with enterprise."

10:10AM PT -"Let's talk about iPhone, the place to start is our new software -- theiPhone 2.0 platform, a giant step forward from where we've been... westarted a dev program in March, which is just 95 days ago. In those 95days we've had over 250k download the free SDK. We've had over 25kpeople apply to the pay developer program... unfortunately we couldn'ttake everybody, so we admitted 4k people to the program..."

"Tohelp me, I'm going to ask Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller to help mewith parts of this. Then... Bertrand Serlet will give you a sneak peakat the next version of OS X called Snow Leopard."

"Let's get started. As you know there are three parts to Apple --the first part is Mac, second part is our music business, iPod andiTunes, and the third part is the iPhone. I'm going to take thismorning to talk about the iPhone."

"I'm sorry for all those folks that couldn't be here... we're goingto have a great week this week. 147 sessions, 85 on the Mac, and 62 onthe iPhone... it's going to be packed! 169 hands-on labs, 1k Appleengineers, iFund and Intel sessions. I think it's going to be one ofthe best WWDCs ever."

10:07AM PT - "Thankyou very much. I'm really glad to be here this morning. We've beenworking hard on some great stuff... thank you for coming to WWDC 2008.We've got a record 5200 attendees -- we wish we could have had more,but we sold out!"

Roar, applause.

Music's over, and here we go... lights all the way down, Steve's on stage!

10:06AM PT - Lights are coming down! Crowd beginning to roar!

Announcer: "Turn off all cellphones, iPhones, PDAs... our program will start in a few minutes."

10:02AM PT - OK, weird, a bunch of attendees just stood up and started clapping -- we don't know why, since it wasn't Jobs (or so we think).

9:51AM PT - Peoplestill funneling in -- this auditorium seats thousands of people, so ittakes a little while. Say, is that Gavin Newsome? Oh, and there's AlGore.

9:46AM PT -We're in! The cattle rush of the media was pretty mellow this timearound. Shockingly enough, they're playing oldies -- not the usualsoundtrack of Gnarles Barkley, Coldplay, Gorillaz, etc.

9:37AM PT - Everybody is crowding up at the closed gates, preparing for the Running of the Media.

9:16AM PT - People are really filing in. You've never heard so many people say the word "iPhone" in your life.

8:43AM PT - We'rein line at the Moscone Center (which is actually pretty spare at themoment), but it's early. The media's got a ton of MacBook Airs. Staytuned for our live coverage of the event.

Already hundreds of devs and attendees are piling up downstairs to get in.

Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:26 pm
Intel prepares $45 Solid State Harddrive (SSD) in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Most of the worlds market is looking onwards towards thenewly-released platforms like Intel’s Atom, Nvidia’s Tegra and Via’s Nano –details on supporting hardware have been scarce.
Scarce, that is, until Intelannounced its Z-P230 PATA drives, for the UMPCand MID market (although theoretically it could also target CE). PATA as it maybe, the Z-P230 comes in 4GB and 8GB flavours (with 16GB to follow by the end ofthe year) and pricing will be an amazingly low $25 ($6.25 per Gig) and $45($5.625 per Gig), respectively. Adding as little as 10g to the device that willsupport it (basically anything with a PATA interface and 1.8-inch connector),the Z-P230 draws just 1.65mW at idle (if there is such a thing in SSD) and 314mWwhilst active.
Performance may be nothing special, or just enough to run some whacky OS andhelp get you through a work day, with a 35MB/s sustained sequential read and7MB/s sustained sequential write speed. That would be enough, though, to readthrough hi-def 1920x1080 60fps video...
Oh. MTBF is 1 million hours – with an average three-year life expectancy.
This really does show just how much faith (and how many Benjamins) Intel iswilling to throw at the UMPC market and just how far they are willingto go. Intel could be making a killing by charging a premium for any sort of SSDthey put out the door, but right now they’ve gone into “enabler” mode wherebymoney is knowingly lost and chalked up to making a platform (Atom) viable.
We wouldn’t be shocked if these things eventually made Via Nanobooks,Tegra-based MIDs viable too. That kind of investment has a nasty habit of bitingyou in the butt-ocks, you know?
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:41 am
Computex 08:PC games on the move: WiMAX, Real time streaming in Gaming
The future of gaming on the move just got a whole lot more exciting.
Just imagine playing World of Warcraft, Crysis or Age of Conan on themove with no compromise in gameplay from playing the same games on ahigh-spec PC at home. According to Intel this is no longer a dream but anear-future possibility.
Inteldemoed the latest streaming software by StreamMyGame at Computex inTaipei this week, which allows the latest high spec PC games to bestreamed and played remotely on mobile devices, with NO compromise ingameplay.
WiMAX is the key
Games weredemoed running on a powerful Intel processor-based desktop PC hostingwhich were then streamed and played remotely on a mobile deviceconnected to the internet, made possible by a combination of powerfulmicroprocessors and a fast WiMAX wireless broadband network.
“Onlinestreaming of video and audio has radically changed the broadcast andmobile industries re-inventing the way consumers purchase and watchmedia,” Intel states in a press release, adding, “StreamMyGame takesthis evolution one step further.”
Real-time streaming
ThePC game's video and audio is captured in real-time and sent over theInternet to a remote device. The keyboard input at the remote device issent back to the PC and used to control the game.
"We areentering a new mobile age where everything from video, audio, softwareapplications and games can be accessed and played on the move" saidRichard Faria, StreamMyGame's CEO.
"Our members can play games installed on their home PCs whenever and wherever they choose.”
StreamMyGame can stream to both Windows and Linux including Ubuntu, Fedora and Xandros. To see more you can watch the webcast of Intel’s keynote online.
Posted by Editorial Team Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:39 am
Nvidia GT200 sucessor out: GT200b: Nvidia face tough summer in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Nvidia's CPU mouthed off about Intel, the firmfollowed it up with the stunning NV5800 'Dustbuster'. This time, he mouthed off,and the successor to the GT200 had already taped out. NV is in deep trouble onceagain.
You heard that right, the successor for the GT200 chip has already taped out,and it too will be nothing special. GT200b, it is nothing more than a 55nm shrink ofthe GT200. Don't expect miracles, but do expect the name to change.
There are several problems with the GT200, most of which are near fatal. Thefirst is thediesize, 576mm^2, bigger than most Itanics. One might trust Intel to make achip that big with decent yields, especially if it is basically an island oflogic in the middle of a sea of cache. Nvidia using a foundry process doesn'thave a chance of pulling this off.
Word has come out of Satan Clara that the yields are laughable. No, make thatabysmal, they are 40 per cent. To add insult to injury, that 40 per centincludes both the 280 and the 260 yield salvage parts. With about 100 diecandidates per wafer, that means 40 good dice per wafer. Doing the maths, a TSMC300mm 65nm wafer runs about $5000, so that means each good die costs $125 beforepackaging, testing and the like. If they can get away with sub-$150 costs perGPU, we will be impressed.
So, these parts cost about $150, and the boards will sell for $449 and $649for the 260 and 280 respectively, so there is enough play room there to makemoney, right? Actually, most likely yes. There are costs though, but not enoughto kill profit for any one touching these.
The biggest cost is memory. The 512b memory width means that they will haveto use at least 16 chips. This ends up making the board very complex when youhave to route all those high speed signals, and that means more layers, morecost, and more defect fallout with the added steps. You also have to solder oneight more memory chips which costs yet more.
To add insult to injury, the TDPs of the 260 and 280 are 182W and 236Wrespectively. This means big copper heatsinks, possibly heatpipes, and high-endfans. Those parts cost a lot of money to buy, assemble and ship. Not fatal, butnot a good situation either. It also precludes a dual GPU board without losing alot of speed.
Basically, these boards are going to cost a lot of money to make, not just tobuy. The $449 price is justified by the cost. The last round of GX2 boardscostOEMs about $425, meaning that NV charges OEMs about 70 per cent of retailfor high-end parts. After packaging, shipping and add-ins, there is almostnothing left for the OEMs, quite possible explaining why one of their biggestone is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, kept alive because NV won't calltheir debt while still shiping to them. Watch for this to melt down once NVloses the high end.
So, you end up with an expensive chip on an expensive board that makes few ifany people money. Fair enough, bleeding-edge parts mean bleeding-edge prices.The problem is that ATI is going to make a chip that competes with GT200, andlines up with it point for point. NV wins big Z Fill, ATI crushes them onShader Flops. What this translates to in the real world is still up in the air,but it looks like the 770 and the 260 will be about equal for most things.
The GT200 is about six months late, blew out their die size estimates andmissed clock targets by a lot. ATI didn't. This means that buying a GT260 boardwill cost about 50 per cent more than an R770 for equivalent performance. TheGT280 will be about 25 per cent faster but cost more than twice as much. A monthor so after the 770 comes the 700, basically two 770s on a slab. This will crushthe GT280 in just about every conceivable benchmark and likely cost less. Why?Because.
So, what is a company to do when it promised the financial world that ATIwas lost, and GT200 would raise their margins by 100 basis points or so? Surelythey knew what was coming a few weeks ago during their financial call, right? Imean, if word was leaking days later, the hierarchy surely was aware at thetime, right?
The answer to that is to tape out the GT200b yesterday. It has taped out, andit is a little more than 400mm^2 on a TSMC 55nm process. Given that TSMC tendsto price things so that on an equivalent area basis, the new process ismarginally cheaper than the old, don't look for much cost saving there. Anydecrease in defectivity due to smaller area is almost assuredly going to bebalanced out by the learning curve on the new process. Being overly generous, itis still hard to see how the GT200b will cost less than $100 per chip. Don'tlook for much cost savings there.
The new shrink will be a much better chip though, mainly because they mightfix the crippling clock rate problems of the older part. This is most likely nota speed path problem but a heat/power issue. If you get a better perf/wattnumber through better process tech, you can either keep performance the sameand lower net power use, or keep power use the same and raise performance.
Given NV's woeful 933GFLOPS number, you can guess which way they are going togo. This means no saving on heatsinks, no savings on components, and a slightlycheaper die. For consumers, it will likely mean a $50 cheaper board, but nofinal prices have come my way yet. It will also mean a cheaper and faster boardin a few months.
The GT200b will be out in late summer or early fall, instantly obsoleting theGT200. Anyone buying the 65nm version will end up with a lemon, a slow, hot andexpensive lemon. Kind of like the 5800. It would suck for NV if word of this gotout. Ooops, sorry.
What are they going to do? Emails seen by the INQ indicate they are going toplay the usual PR games to take advantage of sites that don't bother checking upon the 'facts' fed to them. They plan to release the GT200 in absurdly limitedquantities, and only four AIBs are going to initially get parts.
There is also serious talk of announcing a price drop to put them head tohead with the R770 and giving that number to reviewers. When the boards comeout, the reviews are already posted with the lower numbers, and no reviewerever updates their pricing or points out that the price performance ratio wasjust blown out of the water. There is also internal debate about giving a fewetailers a real price cut for a short time to 'back up' the 'MSRP'.
We would hope the reviewers are able to look at the numbers they were givenon editors' day, $449 and $649, and take any $100+ last minute price drop withthe appropriate chunk of NaCl. Just given the component cost, there is no way NVcan hit the same price point as the 770 boards. "We lose money on each one, butwe make it up in volume" is not a good long term strategy, nor is it a way toimprove margins by 100 basis points.
In the end, NV is facing atoughsummer in the GPU business. They are effectively out of the Montevinamarket, and they are going to lose the high end in a spectacular way. Nvidia hasno effective countermeasure to the R770, the GT200 was quite simply botched, andnow they are going to pay for it. When all you have is a hammer,everythinglooks like a 5800.
Posted by Editorial Team Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:09 am
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