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7 mm Won't Cut It, Intel Wants 5 mm-Thick Drives for Ultrabooks

Custodian of the Ultrabook specification, Intel pushed the storage industry to churn out slimmer devices to go with increasingly slimmer Ultrabooks sold by the various partner ODMs in the ecosystem. Even as HDD and SSD makers have only just come up with 7 mm-thick storage devices, Intel has a fresh list of changes it wishes to see with storage devices in the very near future, to be able to make it to the constantly-evolving Ultrabook specification. Intel wants near-future storage devices (SSDs and HDDs) to be no thicker than 5 mm.

Further, it wants to see the standard SATA host interface changed from "around" (out of) form, to "along" (inside) form host interface, which further slims down the drive compartment. These proposals were floated at IDF, Beijing. While coming up with slimmer SSDs was never really a tough task for SSD makers, as SSDs are essentially just millimeter-thick printed circuit boards with millimeter-thick components (controller logic, NAND flash memory, and ancillaries), it posed a huge technical challange to mechanical HDD designers, who have had to slim down key components that work to maintain inertial motion of spinning platters. This new proposal for 5 mm-thick HDDs could pose a newer, tougher desgin challenge.

Source: VR-Zone

Intel SSD 910 Series PCI-Express Launch Imminent

Intel is on the brink of launching its new line of enterprise PCI-Express SSDs, codenamed "Ramsdale", carrying the market name "SSD 910 Series". The new SSD 910 series is coming to existence leapfrogging SSD 710 series, which was also codenamed "Ramsdale", but never made it to the market. The original Ramsdale SSD 720 was meant to be primarily based on SLC NAND flash memory with the probability of an MLC variant, Intel decided against launching it, probably because it was hedging its bets on 25 nm HET-MLC NAND flash, which provides endurance levels closer to SLC, while offering the capacity-advantage of MLC. The SSD 910 implements this new NAND flash standard that attempts to offer the best of both SLC and MLC.

The new SSD 910 will be available in two capacity options: 400 GB and 800 GB. Built as a PCI-Express expansion card, the SSD 910 consists of three stacked PCBs that hold SSD subunits and HET-MLC NAND flash chips, lots of them. Each of these subunits interfaces with the core logic over SAS. The core logic connects to the host over PCI-Express 2.0 x8 bus interface. The 400 GB variant provides sequential read speeds up to 1 GB/s, and up to 750 MB/s writes. The 800 GB variant provides up to 2 GB/s reads, with up to 1 GB/s writes.

Intel Developer Forum: 'Collaborative Innovation' Key to Growth for Intel and Chinese

Throughout Intel Corporation's developer forum that starts today, company executives emphasized the importance of collaborating with China's government and industry to help create new business and innovation opportunities for Intel and its 14 million developers worldwide. The management team detailed its vision of how such collaborations could potentially spawn the next-generation of advances in business, consumer electronics and many more industries around the globe.

"The impact of major global trends, such as the rapidly growing middle class as well as the explosive growth of connected, mobile Internet and cloud computing traffic, is playing out ten-fold in China," said Sean Maloney, executive vice president of Intel Corporation and chairman of Intel China.

That Dodgy Intel Ivy Bridge DX11 'demo' at CES 2012

That Dodgy Intel Ivy Bridge DX11 'demo' at CES 2012 (UPDATED)

Word has been flying round the internet about Intel's dodgy Ivy Bridge DX11 'demo'. Intel's Mooly Eden, VP, PC Client Group was attempting to demonstrate a racing game on a prototype laptop – 'ultrabook' - fitted with an upcoming 22 nm Ivy Bridge processor with a racing wheel attached and allegedly rendering DX11 graphics. However, as is very apparent at the start, it's actually a video, because the control panel for the free VLC video player pops up for a few seconds. Eden then 'drives' a car and after a few seconds puts up one hand and then the other, because as he says "they are driving it from backstage". However, there was no one driving the game "backstage", as it was just a video and Eden doesn't say anything about this at any point in the presentation.

This gives conspiracy theorists lots of ammunition, as perhaps the game was actually played on a high powered desktop PC with NVIDIA or AMD discrete graphics cards? What game was it? Eden doesn't say. "IB can't really do these graphics!" they cry and so on. Sure, man 'didn't' go to the moon, either... However, we believe that while yes, there was a bit of deception going on, it was nothing more than a white(ish) lie. Why? Because Ivy Bridge comes out in April and people aren't going to forget this demo. They will immediately put IBs DX11 graphics to the test with similar games and if it doesn't deliver, Intel will have a lot of egg on its face. Here's what Intel had to say about this demo in an official statement:

Finally, Gigabyte Goes UEFI

Gigabyte surprised many last year, when it broke its decade-long tradition of blue-colored PCBs to unveil its first black ones. Pictures of the first black PCB Gigabyte boards were first dismissed as Photoshop jobs, but after some confirmation, news posts carried quite some shock-value. It's such small things that Gigabyte has known to be quite particular about. Not that it's bad, Gigabyte is the second biggest motherboard vendor because many of its rigid design policies paid off, but some of these could work against the company.

One such has been the company's reluctance to use UEFI firmware on its motherboards. With socket LGA1155 and AM3+, we saw motherboard vendors of all shapes and sizes, including much smaller ones such as BIOSTAR adopt UEFI. Besides allowing vendors to deploy mouse-driven graphical user interface for the CMOS Setup program, UEFI addresses many glaring limitations of legacy BIOS, which hasn't changed much over decades. UEFI allows you to boot from volumes bigger than 2.2 TB in size. Eventually, storage volumes several terabytes in size will become mainstream, and that's when the ticking time-bomb that is BIOS, will blow.

LucidLogix Injects HyperFormance to Virtu Software for Faster, More Responsive Gaming

LucidLogix demonstrated today for the first time at Intel Developer Forum 2011 (IDF) the injection of HyperFormance technology into its Virtu Universal GPU virtualization software for outstanding gaming responsiveness, visual quality and frame rates.

"Games are all about creating a suspension of disbelief and a more immersive overall lifelike experience," said Offir Remez, president and founder of Lucid. "HyperFormance technology provides a more responsive game interaction together with a clean visual image, making for a more pleasurable experience."

Intel Displays Self-Branded Water Cooling Solution for Sandy Bridge-E

Back in August, it was reported that the retail packages of some, if not all, Intel's Sandy Bridge-E Core i7 LGA2011 processors will not pack the certified cooling solution like Core i7 LGA1366 processors do. It was also reported that Intel will sell its own-branded cooling solutions separately. It became a little obvious right then, that Intel won't selling dinky-little heatsinks that cost a couple of dozen Dollars. At the ongoing IDF event, Intel displayed its first retail-packaged cooling solution that's not only LGA2011-compatible, but also supports older socket types such as LGA1155, LGA1156, and LGA1366.

The cooling solution is a closed-loop (self-contained) liquid cooler made by water cooling OEM Asetek. Called the RTS2011LC, the cooler is rated to cool processors with TDP of up to 130W. The cooler consists of an exposed-copper block that also houses the pump, tough and flexible tubing that runs to the radiator assembly, which houses a reservoir, and a fancy-looking 120 mm fan. Along with the fan, the Intel logo on the block lights up blue. The radiator used looks similar to that on the Hydro Series H70, a popular cooler by Corsair, which is also made by Asetek. Expected to be available around the same time as Core i7 LGA2011 processors, the Intel RTS2011LC could command a price over $99.

Source: LegitReviews

18W AMD Fusion Beats Intel Core i5 at Graphics Performance

As with every IDF event, AMD camped nearby at hotel suites, showing off its latest. Even as Intel is busy selling Sandy Bridge to the press, AMD has some goods of its own. The green team displayed a notebook development platform built around the Fusion "Zacate" APU, which a dual-core APU based on the Bobcat architecture, with a DirectX 11 compliant GPU embedded into it. A more interesting specification is its TDP, just at 18W, with a more energy-efficient die suited for netbooks, at just 9W (codenamed "Ontario". The test platform was pitted against an Intel Core i5 processor-driven notebook, and the two were tested on casual gaming a run of City of Heroes, and HTML5 web-rendering performance using Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 test suite.

The Intel HD graphics embedded intro the Intel Core i5 managed just 6~7 fps @ 1024 x 768, while the Fusion "Zacate" managed close to 5 times that, around 30 fps, which made the game playable. Next up, the two setups were compared with MSIE9 HTML5 demos. In one such graphics-intensive demo that shows a virtual bookshelf from which you can pick up books, read a teaser, and then buy it off Amazon.com, the Fusion "Zacate" was able to deliver smooth animations, while that from the Core i5 looked choppy. Lastly, a close look at the demo board reveals that Fusion is indeed a 2-chip solution (APU + chipset). Compared to current AMD mobile platforms, it will significantly cut down board area, letting manufacturers build faster, and smaller ultraportables and netbooks. A video of the demo can be watched here.

Sources: TechReport, Netbooknews

OCZ Shows off RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD

At the ongoing Intel Developer Forum event, OCZ Technology showed off its upcoming RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD. For those unfamiliar with RevoDrive, it is a PCI-Express addon card that holds a couple of SandForce-drive SSDs in an internal (abstract to OS) RAID 0. The SATA bandwidth bottleneck is eliminated, as the drive connects to the system bus over PCI-Express x4. The RevoDrive X2, uses no less than four SandForce-driven SSDs in an internal RAID. The drive connects to the system over PCI-E x4, and is bootable. According to OCZ's internal testing, the drive offers read speeds of up to 740 MB/s, writes of up to 730 MB/s, and 4K random write performance of up to 120,000 IOPS. An IOMeter session running on the demo rig measured 107,124 IOPS live.

Source: HotHardware

Intel DP67BG Extreme Series Desktop Board Pictured

If you recall, at this year's Computex event held in Taipei, almost every motherboard vendor scuffled to show of their first motherboards based on the Intel P67 and H67 chipsets, that support new socket LGA1155 socket processors based on the next-generation Sandy Bridge architecture. The Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2010 event is presenting many of them a second chance, and we're beginning to see some new designs that didn't make it to Computex. Intel's own Desktop Board division came up with a new Extreme Series motherboard, the DP67BG "Burrage". As with every other Intel Desktop Board, this one looks clean, and well spaced-out. While there's nothing fancy about the heatsinks, the glowing skull is there, and this time it's positioned properly.

The processor is powered by a 4+2 phase PWM circuit, it's wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots for dual-channel memory support. Among few of its kind, the Burrage makes room of all seven expansion slots in the ATX specification. There are two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8, x8 when both are populated), three PCI-E x1, and two PCI. Apart from six SATA 3 Gb/s ports from the P67 PCH, there's an additional Marvell-made SATA controller that drives an eSATA port. Connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, a number of USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, and eSATA. After being neophobic toward USB 3.0, Intel has finally embraced it on its Desktop Board brand, an NEC/Renesas controller gives out two ports on the rear-panel. This feature-set should put rest to rumors of Intel embedding USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s into its chipset. The DP67BG from Intel should be out when the first-wave of LGA1155 processors make it to the market.

Source: Legit Reviews

Rambus and Kingston Co-develop Threaded Module Prototype for Multi-core Computing

Rambus Inc., one of the world’s premier technology licensing companies specializing in high-speed memory architectures, and Kingston Technology, the independent world leader in memory products, today announced a collaborative development of a threaded module prototype using DDR3 DRAM technology. Initial silicon results show an improvement in data throughput of up to 50 percent, while reducing power consumption by 20 percent compared to conventional modules.

As demand grows for throughput-intensive computing in notebooks, desktops and servers, the performance requirements on DRAM memory subsystems rises dramatically. As a result, multi-core computing requires more bandwidth and higher rates of random access from DRAM memory.

Intel Developer Forum to Mix Business with Pleasure in San Francisco

Intel Corporation's largest technical conference returns to San Francisco on Sept. 22-24. Registration is now underway for the Intel Developer Forum, featuring 3 days of vision, learning and collaboration at Moscone Center West. In its 12th year, IDF focuses on Intel's technology and platform roadmap directions for the next year and beyond in the areas of digital enterprise, mobility, digital home, software, manufacturing and research.

Intel Displays Larrabee Wafer at IDF Beijing

Earlier this week, Intel conducted the Intel Developer Forum (IDF): Spring 2009 event at Beijing, China. Among several presentations on the the architectural advancements of the company's products, that include Nehalem and its scalable platforms, perhaps the most interesting was a brief talk by Pat Gelsinger, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, on Larrabee. The term is Intel's first "many cores" architecture used to work as a graphics processor. The architecture will be thoroughly backed by low-level and high-level programming languages and tools by Intel.

French website Hardware.fr took a timely snap off a webcast of the event, showing Gelsinger holding a 300 mm wafer of Larrabee dice. The theory that Intel has working prototypes of the GPU deep inside its labs gains weight. Making use of current-generation manufacturing technologies, Intel is scaling the performance of x86 processing elements, all 32+ of them. As you can faintly see from the wafer, Larrabee has a large die. It is reported that first generation of Larrabee will be built on the 45 nm manufacturing process. Products based on the architecture may arrive by late 2009, or early 2010. With the company kicking off its 32 nm production later this year, Larrabee may be built on the newer process a little later.

Source: Hardware.fr

Intel Calls Off IDF Taiwan 2009, Cites Cost-Reduction Reasons

The Intel Developer Forum (IDF) serves as a platform for technologists to discuss Intel technologies and products based on or around Intel technologies. With China and Taiwan being almost the epicenters of consumer electronics manufacturing and development, Intel began holding annual events in the two countries, apart from the event at San Fransisco, United States. The IDF schedule for 2008, for example, included events in Shanghai, China and Taipei, Taiwan.

Fresh news emerging from Taiwan, sourced by industry observer DigiTimes suggests that Intel canceled IDF Taiwan 2009, originally slated for November, later this year. The company is holding this as part of its cost-reduction efforts to counter the global economic slowdown. The move comes as a surprise to Taiwanese computer hardware firms affiliated with Intel technologies, as the company has been hosting the IDF Taiwan event since the year 1996. Additionally, the company plans to restructure the IDF Beijing event scheduled in April from a two-day event to a one-day event focusing on China. Intel however clarified that it will continue to maintain its cooperation with the Taiwanese to sustain the country's industrial growth, which it hopes to achieve through presence at the Computex event. The main event held in San Fransisco, however, will not be affected. The company hopes to maintain the event in the same proportions as it was, in the past.Source: DigiTimes

2009 Intel Developer Forum Dates Announced

Intel Developer Forum, in its 11th year as Intel Corporation's largest technology conferences, returns to China, the United States and Taiwan in 2009. Beijing will host the first IDF on next year's schedule, April 8-9 at the Beijing International Convention Center. Next is San Francisco, Sept. 22-24 at Moscone Center West, followed by Taipei, Taiwan, Nov. 16-17 at the Taipei International Convention Center. Spanning the worlds of mobility, digital home, digital enterprise and technology and research, IDF focuses on Intel's directions for the next year and beyond. The events collectively draw more than 10,000 system developers, engineers, implementers and architects, among other technical audiences annually. More than 1,250 journalists and analysts covered this year's IDFs in Shanghai, San Francisco and Taipei.
Further information is available at http://developer.intel.com/idf.

Source: Intel

USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Demonstrated

USB 2.0 has been around for quite some time now, it's already become a serious bottleneck with storage devices where its "up to" 480 Mbps speed limits transfer-rate significantly compared to what today's devices demand. External-SATA had proven to eradicate that bottleneck by providing speeds for external storage devices on par with internal fixed drives. A newer standard of the USB is in the works, this newer interface on paper promises 10-times the amount of bandwidth USB 2.0 did, that's 4.8 Gbps, more than three times over that of e-SATA, 1.5 times over e-SATA II.

At the ongoing Intel Developer Forum (IDF) event, prototype USB 3.0 boards and cables were shown transferring at 307+ MB/s. The USB 3.0 coalition proclaims this is fast enough to transfer a 27 GB HD in just 60 to 70 seconds. This interface is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 (HiSpeed) and USB 1.1 (FullSpeed), and will be referred to as SuperSpeed. A representative from Ellisys said current flash memory and hard drive storage capacities are outstripping USB 2.0 transfer speeds.Source: TG Daily

Intel Demonstrates Centrino 3 Mobile Platform

We are barely months into having Centrino 2 laptops at the store, following delays of six weeks with its launch owing to last minute glitches with its integrated graphics (IGP), and Intel has already demonstrated a Nehalem-based mobile computing platform at the ongoing Intel Developer Forum (IDF). This mobile computing platform for now can be loosely called a prelude to the successor of Centrino 2, it is codenamed Calpella.

The platform will be using dual-core and quad-core CPUs codenamed Auburndale and Clarksfield respectively. Intel set-up a Clarksfield validation platform with the mobile Nehalem in situ. The size of the active cooler explains a lot, and that's a quad-core chip we're talking about. It wouldn't be too far sighted telling that by this time, next year high-end laptops will be equipped with an 8-thread-capable Nehalem mobile CPU.

Source: Hexus.net

Intel Announces 6-core Enterprise CPU, Sheds Light on Nehalem

During the ongoing Intel Developer Forum (IDF) event, Intel has announced its first 6-core processor codenamed Dunnington. It will be branded as the Xeon X7460 and is expected to become available in servers beginning next month. Intel claims that systems using this chip already broke performance records, including an 8-socket 48-core IBM System x3950 M2 server, which became the first platform to break the 1 million tpmC barrier on the TPC-C benchmark.

Intel has also shed some light on the upcoming fleet of processors based on the Nehalem architecture. The first wave would only include quad-core, HyperThreading-enabled processors based on the Bloomfield core, also said is that they are planning to manufacture a second server derivative designed for the expandable server market (Nehalem-EX). Later, desktop processors based on the Havendale (dual-core) and Lynnfield (quad-core) processors, while the notebook/mobile platform will be offered the dual-core Auburndale and Lynnfield quad-core parts.Source: TG Daily

Intel to Debut Ultra-Fast 180GB SSDs Next Week at IDF

Trying to keep up with the competition in the eyes of Micron and its recently introduced RealSSD drives, Intel declared readiness to debut new SSDs too during IDF next week. With the SSD market heating up, Intel's new storage agents will offer bumped read/write speeds and double the SSD storage capacity we're used to see. The drives will be available in 1.8" and 2.5" format factors and offer a bandwidth of 240 MB/s read and 70-170 MB/s write. Capacities will range from 32GB and 64GB to the rather unusual 80GB and 160GB. No pricing information is available, but big toys always come with a price so don't expect them to be cheap.

Source: TG Daily, Expreview

Nehalem's Successors Caught on Slides at IDF

French website CanardPlus published slides from Intel covering its future plans and product evolution model called the "tick tock" model in which an architecture is released every time frame and improvised following it, where the fabrication process is shrunk and some features added. Les nouveaux CPU suivront donc le schéma de développement « The new CPU release will follow the pattern of development "Tick-Tock", ie a new architecture every two years (Tock), followed by a die shrink (Tick) to increase the fine print.

IDF 2008 Day 1: Intel Nehalem Working at 3.2GHz Pictured

I promissed more details on Intel Nehalem yesterday, and now it is time to keep my word. During the first day of Spring IDF 2008, the guys over at HEXUS.net have pictured the first working sample of a quad-core Intel Nehalem processor operating at 3.2GHz (revision A1). The 1366-pin, 731M-transistor 45nm native quad-core model, utilizes 256KB of L2 cache for each core, as well as 8MB of L3 cache. The CPU also integrates triple-channel DDR3-1333MHz memory controller and SSE4 instructions. Like the new 533MHz Silverthorne-based Atom processors, Nehalem will also incorporate Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) which is also known as Hyper-Threading (HT). Each physical core in a single Nehalem processor is paired up with its own virtual core. As a result, the quad-core processor will be detected to have eight cores (on the picture). Predictions say that this new architecture will offer around 30% better performance, on a clock-for-clock basis, when compared to Core 2, in a heavily-multithreaded environment - HPC and low-end servers, mainly. Current Intel roadmaps list the Nehalem launch date for Q4 2008, with a simulteanous rollout across servers and desktops.

Source: HEXUS.net, DailyTech

Intel 45nm Nehalem CPU Die Pictured

Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shanghai, China, officially opens its doors from April 2nd to April 3rd. Topics set to be covered at IDF Shanghai include Netbook, Nettop, Bloomfield (Nehalem), solid-state drives, QuickAssist (accelerators), system-on-chip (Tolapai), and USB 3.0. The pictures below are from one of these topics, the new quad-core Nehalem CPU, or more specificly its core. Intel's future Nehalem will bring a totally new system architecture and a next-gen platform architecture. It will come in new socket, and will be the first processor to have up to 8 cores and integrated DDR3 memory controller. Expect more details tomorrow.

Source: ComputerBase, CNET Blogs, VR-Zone
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