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Worldwide PC Microprocessor Revenues in 2013 to Rise 1.6% Compared to 2012

Worldwide revenues for microprocessors designed for mobile PCs, desktop PCs, and PC servers will grow 1.6% to $40.7 billion in 2013 according to a new forecast report from International Data Corporation (IDC). The IDC report, Worldwide PC Microprocessor 2012–2016 Forecast, also forecasts that worldwide unit shipments for PC microprocessors will grow 3.2% to nearly 384 million units in 2013.

"Economic and technological inhibitors that took the PC microprocessor revenue down about 2.4% in 2012 will continue through the first half of 2013," said Shane Rau, vice president for PC and server semiconductor and enabling technologies research at IDC. "Macroeconomic uncertainty has forced OEM and IT customers to reduce orders and focus on execution, and reduce expectations after the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system in late October. Delays in PC purchases caused by Windows 8 and the encroachment of media tablets on low-end PCs have further cut into PC microprocessor demand growth."

VIA Enables Medical OEMs to Take Advantage of Exciting Growth Opportunities in Medica

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient computing platforms, today announced tit enables medical OEMs to take advantage of the exciting growth opportunities in the medical market by offering the widest selection of low-power x86 and ARM based solutions on the market. VIA provides fully customizable application ready platforms together with extended software and firmware services which medical OEMs can leverage for a wide range of medical usage models and applications including ultrasound, diagnostics, POC (Point of Care) terminals, patient monitoring, therapeutic, as well as exercise and fitness equipment.

With a long history as a full-service medical OEM solutions provider to many of the top industry players, VIA provides a robust medical roadmap which includes a full range of COM Express, ETX and QSeven system on modules, embedded mainboards in Mini-ITX and Pico-ITX form factors, and embedded systems based on VIA AMOS and VIA ARTiGO designs, as well as a full line of medical-grade touch displays with the VIA ALMA-3000 series. VIA also offers unparalleled longevity support for increased lifecycle management, support for a wide range of software and board operating systems and support for critical medical standards including UL-60601, EN-60601 and medical QMS (Quality Management System) ISO-13485. This enables customers to deliver products with unique feature-set advantages and a faster time-to-market.

Razer Posts Specs of "Project Fiona" Gaming Tablet

Development of Razer's "Project Fiona" appears to be chugging along. CEO Min-Liang Tan posted its specs that were compiled after a lot of feedback from its Facebook community. The company even used the social networking site to gauge public interest to begin its development.

Project Fiona is an x86 Windows 8-based tablet that's optimized for gaming, with its game controller that latches on to its either sides. According to Razer, we're looking at the following specs:
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 or Core i7
  • GPU: Mid-range discrete GPU, brand not mentioned, should be sufficient for its 720p resolution
  • Size/weight: "about double the weight and thickness of an Apple iPad"
  • Detachable controllers
  • Price: In the neighbourhood of US$1,299-US$1,499

Futuremark Posts New 3DMark "Cloud Gate" Game Test Screenshots

Following last week's reveal of next-generation 3DMark game test "Fire Strike," which is designed to make even the fastest consumer graphics setups sweat, Futuremark revealed screenshots of its second game test, titled "Cloud Gate." Going with Futuremark's "one benchmark for all platforms" strategy, Cloud Gate is designed to test DirectX 10 hardware capabilities. It uses DirectX 11 engine that's limited to feature level10_0. The lighter game test will be able to put notebook GPUs and entry-level DirectX 11 desktop GPUs to test.

Cloud Gate will see Futuremark's artists going back to space-opera mode, something we missed in 3DMark 11. Screenshots reveal what appears to be a giant machine hovering over a moon, with its parent gas-giant in the background. Perhaps it's a terraforming machine? An ion-drive spacecraft scooping up fuel? The test appears to make use of several of D3D10's illumination and bloom effects. In related news, Futuremark told us that the new 3DMark won't make it to the markets this year, and instead it will be launched for Windows PC (x86) platform in January, 2013. The Android, iOS and Windows RT versions will launch after a little more beta testing and approvals from their respective app stores.
More screenshots follow.

AMD Announces Opteron 4300 and 3300 Series Processors

AMD today unveiled nine new mid-range and entry-level AMD Opteron 4300 Series and 3300 Series server processors increasing performance per watt versus the previous generation to maximize compute capabilities in power-constrained environments1, while delivering outstanding value to cloud providers and web hosts. The AMD Opteron 3300 Series processors provide enterprise-class features in a low power envelope at a desktop processor price, making it ideal for web hosts and small- and medium-sized businesses.

The AMD Opteron 4300 Series processors offer up to 15 percent better performance versus the prior generation, based on SPECint benchmark results2. And SPECpower results show up to a 24 percent improvement in performance per watt. As with the AMD Opteron 6300 Series processors, these are socket compatible with the previous generation processor, providing an effortless upgrade path for customers.

ASUS Announces x86 11.6-inch VivoTab Windows 8 Tablet

ASUS, a global leader in the new digital era, today announces VivoTab, a thin and light tablet featuring Windows 8. With an MSRP starting from US$799, VivoTab has an 11.6" multi-touch HD display, Wacom digitizer stylus and Intel Atom dual-core processor for an excellent combination of performance and energy efficiency. Its optional Mobile Dock offers increased productivity too, thanks to its full keyboard and a built-in battery that gives up to 19 hours' mobile use.

ASUS VivoTab has a 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 dual-core processor with enhanced performance and incredible energy efficiency allowing Windows 8 to run both, the latest software and legacy applications, giving users a wide choice of software for every need. VivoTab's 11.6" multi-touch display has a pin-sharp 1366 x 768 HD resolution with vibrant colors, wide viewing angles and superior outdoor visibility, thanks to the amazing brightness of its Super IPS+ technology. ASUS TruVivid technology enhances image clarity still further by reducing the display thickness, while scratch-resistant Corning Fit glass with anti-fingerprint coating keeps the screen crystal-clear.

Haswell-ULT Processors Could Use 24 MHz BClk, New C-States, and MCM to Cut Power Draw

Going into 2013, Intel's tough balancing act between keeping a low power/thermal envelope, and advancing performance, all while staying on the 22 nm silicon fab process, will be care of its Core "Haswell-ULT" processor. The chip will feature some radical changes to traditional Intel processor design, which will help it achieve its design goals. According to a deck of leaked slides scored by Expreview, Intel plans to use additional C-states that drop the processor's base clock, and redesign the processor package to accommodate the PCH silicon, reducing the board footprint.

To begin with, Haswell-ULT will be designed to support 24 MHz base clock speed, which running in "deep" energy-saving idle states. Modern processors with FSB replacement interconnect technologies such as QuickPath Interconnect and HyperTransport need a base clock to time other components on the processor, and for low-level communications, while a bulk of the data is transported by the primary interconnect. Intel found a way to turn off the 100 MHz base clock signal (which is also used to time the PCI-Express root complex and integrated graphics core), and replace it with a 24 MHz clock, when the processor is idling. As the processor returns to lower (more active) C-states, the 100 MHz base clock is reapplied. The 24 MHz base clock is activated by three new power states, C8, C9, and C10, introduced by Haswell-ULT. The third slide below details what happens to the various components in the new C-states.

Future Itanium and Xeon Processors Socket-Intercompatible

In what could be the very first time two different machine architectures share a platform, future versions of Intel's Xeon and Itanium processors could be socket-compatible. Intel Itanium is based on the Itanium64 (IA64) machine architecture, while Xeon is x86-64 based. Intel plans to implement its common platform strategy with the next generation models of the two, that's "Kittson" Itanium, and "Haswell" Xeon.

This level of convergence could make it easier for companies to deploy select amounts of Itanium and Xeon processors in their data-centers, to suit specific tasks, and save money on buying common platforms for both. Itanium processors are typically preferred for in mission-critical environments, where there's close to zero margin for error (think military, medical, and space-exploration); while Xeon is good at handling heavy serial processing loads (think servers, database management, cloud). Introduction of the converged platform is expected in the 2013-2015 time range, using Xeon "Haswell" launch as a point of reference.

Source: X-bit Labs

Enhanced HP Integrity Portfolio Triples Performance for Mission-Critical Environments

HP today strengthened its mission-critical Converged Infrastructure portfolio with innovative and enhanced HP Integrity systems, HP-UX software and services to triple performance, boost resiliency and deliver investment protection for critical workloads deployed into the next decade. Based on HP enhancements and the Intel Itanium processor 9500 series, transactions are processed up to three times faster than previous generations, while using 21 percent less energy. As a result, clients can realize a 33 percent savings in total cost of ownership (TCO).

Today's announcement delivers against HP's commitment to industry-leading innovations for the HP Integrity platform. With advancements in availability and reliability, HP's mission-critical Converged Infrastructure will continue to enhance established HP Integrity platforms supporting HP-UX, HP NonStop and OpenVMS operating systems. Over time, these advancements will cascade to mission-critical x86 platforms delivering a single, unified infrastructure for UNIX, Windows Server and Linux environments.

VIA Unveils the World's Smallest x86 Quad Core System, ARTiGO A1250

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient computing platforms, today announced the world's smallest x86 quad core system, the VIA ARTiGO A1250 slim system, featuring a 1.0 GHz VIA QuadCore processor and the latest VIA VX11H media system processor (MSP), in chassis the size of a paperback novel. The ultra-compact VIA ARTiGO A1250, is suitable for a myriad of applications in the home or office, including home server, home automation, hotel management, media streaming, digital signage and surveillance as well as medical and healthcare applications.

The VIA ARTiGO A1250 leverages the VIA VX11H MSP to deliver an immersive multimedia experience complete with 3D stereoscopic and HD display support in a low power envelope, which a typical power consumption of a mere 32W TDP. The VIA ARTiGO A1200 can fit easily into any environment, whether it is behind a monitor or on the wall with a 10 x 10 cm VESA mount or placed alongside other home media devices. For system developers, VIA provides third party software security through a unique hardware/software design.

AMD Powers Superior Windows 8 Experience Across More Than 125 PC Designs

AMD today announced its collaboration with Microsoft Corp. for more than 125 Windows 8-based PC designs from leading OEMs including ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and more. With a hardware accelerated user interface, Microsoft and AMD have collaborated to design Windows 8 to unlock the high performance graphics capabilities found in AMD accelerated processing units (APUs) and discrete AMD Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs) to deliver the best HD video, gaming and app experience consumers want with the always on, always connected, touch-driven interface with great battery life they need.

"There is a lot of exciting innovation happening in the marketplace today -- from the new Windows 8 graphics-accelerated user interface and apps, to ultraportable and sleek hardware designs -- and AMD's CPU, GPU and APU technology designed for Windows 8 helps enable a no-compromise solution," said Stefan Kinnestrand, director of Product Management, Windows Division at Microsoft.

AMD Could Place x86 and ARM Cores on the Same Silicon: Report

Following last week's 15% workforce cut that came with the company's Q3 2012 results, AMD plans to consolidate its workforce and eliminate "bureaucracy." According to a VR-Zone report, the company plans to announce its future strategy next week, on October 29. This strategy could ride heavily on recent moves the company made in the area of "heterogeneous computing," and a working alliance it built with the likes of ARM, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Samsung and TI, under the heterogeneous system alliance (HSA).

According to the report, AMD's future looks to be heading towards building highly versatile SoCs for devices in the post-PC era. It's not far-fetched to imagine, for example, that AMD could integrate ARM IP onto APUs with x86 cores, with the ARM cores based on recent micro-architectures such as Cortex-M5, performing specific kinds of tasks (such as data-encryption). Down the line, AMD could also integrate baseband components into the APU, beating Intel to the punch on similar efforts.

Source: VR-Zone

AMD Announces 2012 FX "Vishera" Line of Performance Desktop Processors

AMD announced the 2012 FX "Vishera" line of eight-core, six-core, and quad-core desktop processors. Based on the new "Piledriver" CPU micro-architecture, the new processors feature increased performance and an updated instruction set, over the previous generation. To begin with, the processors are based around the "Vishera" silicon, built on the 32 nm HKMG process at Global Foundries. With a transistor count of 1.2 billion and a die area of 315 mm², Vishera packs four Piledriver modules, with two cores each, 2 MB L2 cache per module (8 MB total), and 8 MB of L3 cache. Eight-, six-, and four-core models are carved out by toggling the number of modules between four, three, and two.

The Vishera silicon also features an updated CPU instruction set, which includes SSE/2/3/S3/4.1/4.2/4A, AVX, AES-NI, FMA/FMA2/FMA3, XOP, and F16C. An x86 processor by design, Vishera features the AMD64 x86-64 instruction set. Its updated integrated memory controller supports up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory, with a standard speed of DDR3-1866 MHz, and more possible with overclocking. The memory interface is single, monolithic 128-bit, unlike the dual 64-bit IMC approach of the "Stars" micro-architecture. Built in the same socket AM3+ package as the previous generation FX, the new chips are compatible with existing AM3+ motherboards with a BIOS update. The 2012 FX processor lineup includes a total of four models, the FX-8350 flagship eight-core, FX-8320 performance eight-core, FX-6300 mainstream six-core, and FX-4300 value quad-core. All models feature unlocked base-clock multipliers, making each of them fit for overclocking. Their specifications and target SEP pricing are tabled below. Market prices could be about 5~10% above the SEP prices.

AMD Third-Generation APUs to be Built on 28 nm Process

A leaked company roadmap slide revealed that AMD's third-generation performance APU, codenamed "Kaveri," will be built on the 28 nm silicon fabrication process. The chips will be built by Global Foundries. Kaveri combines AMD's next-generation CPU architecture codenamed "Steamroller" with Graphics CoreNext GPU architecture.

In addition to Kaveri, AMD will introduce a major update to its low-power APU lineup with "Kabini." A true successor to "Brazos," Kabini features x86-64 cores built on the energy-optimized "Jaguar" architecture (which succeeds "Bobcat," on which Brazos APUs are built). It is also mentioned that Kabini will be a true system-on-chip (SoC), with integration of the FCH chipset into the APU silicon. Such an integration could increase die size and complexity, but could also minimize the board footprint of the platform, making it possible to use the SoC in thin tablets, and COMs.

Quanmax Announces QBOX Mini-1000 Series

IPC, digital signage, and panel PC maker Quanmax announced the QBOX Mini-1000 series of pocketable based on Intel x86 platform. Measuring just 130.11 x 83.06 x 19.2 mm (DxWxH), weighing 174 g, or roughly the size and weight of a portable hard drive, the QBOX Mini-10x0 is driven by an Intel Atom E640T embedded processor clocked at 1.00 GHz, with 512 KB cache, and 3.5W TDP; up to 1 GB of DDR2 memory; featuring D-Sub (QBOX Mini-1000) or HDMI (QBOX Mini-1010) display outputs, up to three USB 2.0 ports, stereo audio with line-in/mic, and mPCIe and mSATA slots for expansion. This pocket-sized PC is sufficiently powered to serve as a nettop.

Source: FanlessTech

MSI Outs AE1921 All-in-One PC

MSI announced the AE1921 series entry-level all-in-one (AIO) PCs. Available in pearl-white and piano-black color options, the AE1921 derives its model name from its 19-inch (18.5-inch, to be precise) screen, which packs 1366 x 768 pixels resolution, matte surface, 5 ms response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and 250 cd/m² brightness. Under the hood is an Intel Atom D525 dual-core processor clocked at 1.80 GHz, featuring 1 MB cache, HyperThreading, and x86-64 instruction set. The system features two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, which is loaded with a 2 GB module.

Storage features of the AE1921 include a 320 GB 5400 RPM HDD, a DVD SuperMulti drive, and a 4-in-1 memory card reader. Connectivity includes 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, gigabit Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, 8-channel HD audio with built-in 6W stereo speakers, and a 1.3 MP web-camera. Measuring 476 x 365 x 49 mm (WxDxH), the AE1921 weighs about 7.7 kg. USB mouse and keyboard come included. Prices vary by region.

HP Details Turnaround Strategy, Provides 2013 Outlook

At HP's (NYSE: HPQ) annual Securities Analyst Meeting, being held today in San Francisco, the company's leadership is mapping out strategic priorities for the future and providing a detailed multiyear roadmap to turn the company around.

During her keynote, HP's president and chief executive officer Meg Whitman outlined progress made over the past year to stabilize the business and lay the foundation for a multiyear turnaround. The operating and organizational models have been integrated, centralized and streamlined, and a talented executive team is in place to execute the strategy.

AMD Announces Second-Generation A-Series Desktop APUs

AMD announced the second-generation A-Series desktop APU lineup, based on the "Trinity" silicon. The silicon combines four x86-64 cores spread across two "Piledriver" micro-architecture modules, with a Radeon HD 7000 series graphics core with 384 VLIW4 stream processors, an integrated northbridge, and a dual-channel DDR3-1866 MHz integrated memory controller. Various models are carved out in the series by handling the numbers of CPU cores and stream processors.

The company kicked off the lineup with two A10-5000 series quad-core models, which are fully-loaded with all components enabled. These are followed by two A8-5000 series models, which have four x86-64 cores, but just 256 stream processors for the GPU component. Just behind is the A6-5000 series dual-core APUs with 192 stream processors. Trailing the pack is the A4-5000 series dual-core APUs with 128 stream processors. Model numbers and specifications are tabled below. Prices range between $70 - $140.

AMD A-Series "Trinity" Desktop APUs Set for October 1 Launch

According to an OCWorkbench report, AMD will officially launch its second generation A-series desktop APUs on the very first day of Q4 2012, October 1. The launch will include a contingent of socket FM2 motherboards from various manufacturers, based on AMD A55, A75, and A85X chipsets. Among the A-series socket FM2 models launched on October 1, are A10-5800K, A10-5700, A8-5600K, A8-5500, Athlon X4 750K/740, A6-5400K and A4-5300. Built on the 32 nm HKMG process by Globalfoundries, AMD A-series "Trinity" APUs combine up to four x86-64 CPU cores based on the "Piledriver" micro-architecture, with a Radeon HD 7000 series GPU core, with up to 384 stream processors based on the VLIW4 architecture.

Source: OCWorkbench

Intel "Rosepoint" Atom Combines x86 Cores with WiFi Transceiver

At IDF 2012, Intel showed off an experimental SoC codenamed "Rosepoint," targeted at low power mobile consumer devices. Built on the 32 nm process, the tiny chip combines a full-featured dual-core Atom processor with a WiFi transceiver. This could eliminate the need for external transceivers on Atom-powered devices, reducing the platform's board footprint, and of course, power draw.

The current chip comes with its share of limitations. It supports just 2.4 GHz radio band. According to Intel's Justin Rattner, the chip should scale with Moore's Law, and future versions could have greater capabilities, including cellular data, and built-in antennae. Production versions of the chip aren't due for another two years, so it's safe to assume that Rosepoint is just a development milestone.

Source: Guru3D

Lenovo Announces New ThinkPad Tablet 2 for Windows 8

Lenovo today unveiled its first tablet specifically designed for Windows 8, the ThinkPad Tablet 2. The multi-use tablet boasts differentiators that matter, including an optional digitizer and pen for precision input, 3G wireless with Lenovo Mobile Access pay-as-you-go plans and 4G models, along with security features like a Fingerprint Reader, IT manageability technologies, and corporate-level service and support.

“Customers want a versatile device that fits their lifestyle and the many ways they use technology,” said Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager, ThinkPad Business Unit. “Our new ThinkPad Tablet 2 marries incredible hardware and software to give consumers a great device for office, home or travel while also offering companies and IT managers the oversight they need to help secure and manage their company’s networks and data. “For the next generation of Lenovo PCs, designed to be great with Windows 8, we’re working closer than ever with Microsoft Corp. and our silicon partners. Today we are excited to reveal the fruit of this collaborative co-engineering, the ThinkPad Tablet 2, a joint effort between Lenovo, Microsoft and Intel.”

Lenovo and EMC Team Up in Strategic Worldwide Partnership

Lenovo and EMC Corporation today announced a broad partnership that enhances Lenovo's position in industry standard servers and networked storage solutions, while significantly expanding EMC's reach in China and other key, high-growth markets. The new partnership is expected to spark innovation and additional R&D in the server and storage markets by maximizing the product development talents and resources at both companies, while driving scale and efficiency in the partners' respective supply chains.

"Today's announcement with industry leader EMC is another solid step in our journey to build on our foundation in PCs and become a leader in the new PC-plus era," said Yuanqing Yang, Lenovo chairman and CEO. "This partnership will help us fully deliver on our PC-plus strategy by giving us strong back-end capabilities and business foundation in servers and storage, in addition to our already strong position in devices. EMC is the perfect partner to help us fully realize the PC-plus opportunity in the long term."

TMS Announces Industry's First Bootable Native PCIe Flash Storage System

Texas Memory Systems, Inc. (TMS), provider of The World's Fastest Storage, today announced that TMS RamSan PCIe storage systems, including RamSan-70 products, are now bootable storage devices. This functionality is provided through a new firmware feature that allows most common servers to load operating systems directly from RamSan PCIe Flash storage systems, without requiring the presence of legacy hard drives or RAID controllers.

Launched in 2011, TMS RamSan-70 products have already been adopted by a broad variety of customers in healthcare, banking, e-commerce, and many other industries. Industry-leading bootability further minimizes complexity in such business-critical systems. Newly bootable RamSan-70 products are available with up to 900 GB of SLC Flash storage capacity and capable of 1.5 million I/Os per second (IOPS), 2.5 GB/s of bandwidth, and 30-60 microsecond latency. Bootability is available with the purchase of all new RamSan-70 PCIe storage systems, or as a firmware update with no hardware replacement necessary for existing RamSan-70 PCIe storage customers.

AMD Introduces New Low-Power AMD Embedded G-Series APU, Extending Platform to 2017

AMD today introduced the latest entry to the AMD Embedded G-Series processor family with the AMD Embedded G-T16R Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). The AMD G-T16R is targeted at very low power, small form factor and cost-sensitive embedded designs that require a combination of x86 compatibility and graphics. The optimized design of the AMD Embedded G-T16R sips power, with power consumption of just 2.3 wattsiv on average or 4.5 watts thermal design power (TDP).

Embedded product designers are taking to the industry’s green challenge to design a broad range of next-generation applications for the industrial control, point-of-sale, medical appliance and transportation markets. For example, industrial customers can use the APU to help create greener factories based on more power-efficient factory hardware. Additionally, embedded designers can develop applications like point-of-sale order entry stations and tablets, medical bedside terminals and even solar-powered traffic control devices using the AMD G-T16R.

ECS Announces Full Product Line-up in Readiness for Windows 8

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) today announces that it is the first hardware manufacturer to support the Windows 8 Hardware Program for its entire product line. Including all ECS motherboards, graphics cards, and AIOs currently on the market, ECS' products are optimized to take full advantage of the improved speeds, capabilities and features with the most anticipating technology Microsoft Windows 8, allowing users to fully experience its unique operating system.

After the success of Windows 7, this year Microsoft has revealed it’s another masterpiece-Windows 8. Apart from the old-known operating system, Windows 8 has brought up a brand new image beyond your imagination.
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