Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ATI Radeon HD 5970 Review: Dual-GPU Graphics

As we discussed in our preliminary Radeon 5870 review, on ATI's horizon ATI was a follow-up to the Radeon HD 4870 X2, code-named "Hemlock XT", which in essence would put together a pair of Radeon HD 5870 GPUs on a single PCB.

Today AMD is officially unveiling the Hemlock as the new ATI Radeon HD 5970, hoping to expand its current dominance in single-GPU performance with the fastest single-slot graphics card on the market -- a title that until today was reserved for Nvidia's dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295.

The Radeon HD 5970 looks to be well suited for the job. The GPUs used in this card use exactly the same configuration found on the Radeon HD 5870, while core and memory frequencies match those of the Radeon HD 5850. This provides the HD 5970 with an unmatched memory bandwitch of 256GB/s.

Source: TechSpot

Sunday, November 15, 2009

AMD's 2010 - 2011 Roadmaps: ~1B Transistor Llano APU, Bobcat and Bulldozer

It’s got roughly one billion 32nm transistors, fabbed at Globalfoundries. Four CPU cores and a single graphics core. It’s what AMD calls an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). And we’ll see it in 2011.
Unfortunately that’s a bit late. The APU, codenamed Llano, was originally scheduled for 2010 but got pushed back. In 2009/2010 Intel will be the first to deliver on-chip graphics with Clarkdale/Arrandale, and in late 2010 Sandy Bridge will have on-die graphics.

The first die shot of AMD's 32nm Llano APU based on 32nm Phenom II cores
Above is what I believe to be a die shot of AMD’s first APU. The CPU doesn’t use AMD’s next-generation microarchitecture, that’s only for the server and high end in 2011. The first APU will use the existing Phenom II architecture on the same die as DX11 graphics, but at 32nm. Sandy Bridge will use a brand new microprocessor architecture on 32nm but with updated Intel integrated graphics. It looks like Sandy Bridge will have the CPU advantage while Llano might have the GPU advantage, assuming Intel can't get their GPU act together by then. Llano is on schedule to debut in 2011 with OEM sampling happening before the end of the year.
Also on schedule is AMD’s next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed Bulldozer. AMD listed its client PC goals for 2010 at this year’s Financial Analyst Day, one of them is to start sampling its next-generation microprocessor next year - in 2010. If the chip is ready for OEMs by the end of 2010, that means it’ll go on sale as early as 1H 2011.

Unfortunately AMD isn’t talking much about Bulldozer architecture, I suspect we won’t see that disclosure until mid to late 2010. It’s not to keep things secret, we already have many estimates of what Bulldozer’s architecture is going to look like. And if the public already knows, then Intel is also well aware of what AMD has coming in 2011. Updated: AMD has given a high level overview of its Bulldozer and Bobcat architectures here
A major focus is going to be improving on one of AMD’s biggest weaknesses today: heavily threaded performance. Intel addresses it with Hyper Threading, AMD is throwing a bit more hardware at the problem. The dual integer clusters you may have heard of are the route AMD is taking...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Radeon HD 5970 detailed in advance

While AMD is gearing up to release it, the Radeon HD 5970 card has made a stealthy appearance online, exposing its likely final specifications. Made by Sapphire, the listed Hemlock card, which is most likely an all-stock product, has two 725 MHz-clocked Cypress 40nm GPUs, each with 1600 Stream Processors, and 2GB of GDDR5 memory set at 4000 MHz, both frequencies being at HD 5850 level.

The dual-GPU, dual-slot card also has a 2x256-bit memory interface, DirectX 11 and CrossFireX support, and dual-DVI outputs plus one mini DisplayPort connector (no HDMI like for the HD 5800 cards). The Radeon HD 5970's pricing and release date are still unconfirmed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekend Open Forum: Have you upgraded to Windows 7 yet? What is there to like/not?

Inevitably the past few weeks have been a lot about Windows 7. We have contributed our fair share of information and resources in the process, from nifty tips and tricks for those of you coming as far back as the first public beta, to a complete round-up of information to get you up to speed if you are upgrading to Windows 7 just now.

But what makes Windows 7 different from previous releases? First of all, Windows 7 has proved in a relatively short time span that it’s no dog, and no Vista for that matter. Vista suffered all the incompatibilities and supposedly necessary transition needed to open the path for a next generation OS. In the process, the average PC also became much faster.

Furthermore, consider this… over 90% of PCs worldwide rely on Windows. A big chunk of those computers
are still running XP or even older versions. A majority of businesses didn’t go for Vista and are now showing more willingness to move to 7 eventually, which will also require more modern hardware. Finally, in the consumer end, a majority of the PCs currently running Vista came with the OS pre-installed, and that hardware is more than capable to handle 7, one less obstacle that is showing in preliminary sales statistics for retail boxed versions of the new OS.

In this edition of our weekend open forum we ask you: Have you upgraded to Windows 7 yet? If yes, what’s your favorite feature so far? If not, what’s keeping you from doing so?

By Julio Franco, 

Latest AV-Comparatives Test (October) Fresh !

Here you find the the Removal-Test results of av-comparatives (released this month).

This tests focuses only on the malware removal/cleaning capabilities, therefore all used samples were samples that the tested Anti-Virus products were able to detect. It has nothing to do with detection rates or protection capabilities. Of course, if an Anti-Virus is not able to detect the malware, it is also not able to remove it.
The main question was if the products are able to successfully remove malware from an already infected/compromised system. The test report is aimed to normal/typical home users and not Administrators or advanced users that may have the knowledge for advanced/manual malware removal/repair procedures. A further question was if the products are able to remove what they are able to detect.

You can download here

Source:  AV-Comparatives

Mozilla FireFox 3.5.5 Final

Mozilla Firefox 3.5.5 - Faster, more secure, easier to use and sporting a new look, this latest Firefox release sets a new standard for web browser innovation. Mozilla Firefox project is a redesign of Mozilla’s browser component, written using the XUL user interface language and designed to be cross-platform. It is small, fast and easy to use, and offers many advantages over other web browsers, such as the tabbed browsing and the ability to block pop-up windows.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Toshiba announces 320GB 1.8-inch hard drive

Toshiba has expanded its line of 1.8-inch hard drives today with a new dual-platter model that can hold up to 320GB of data -- a world's first in this form factor. The MK3233GSG features a 3Gbps SATA interface and 16MB cache buffer, produces just 19dB of noise during seeks and spins at 5,400 rpm for a maximum transfer rate of 830Mb/s.

The company is positioning its 1.8-inch line as more suitable for portable media devices and thin Laptop than competing 2.5-inch drives. According to Toshiba, the tiny storage devices can handle non-operational shock up to 1,500Gs and operational shock up to 500Gs, marking respective improvements of 50 percent and 25 percent. They also consume 42 percent less power when seeking than the best 5,400rpm 2.5-inch HDDs.

There's still no word on pricing but the company says the new MK3233GSG will go into mass production in December 2009. The drives will also be available in 250GB and 160GB versions.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Super Talent announces first USB 3.0 flash drive

Even though Intel is expected to delay USB 3.0 support until sometime in 2011, motherboard makers have gone on their own including the new interconnect in select products via third party controllers. Naturally, compatible devices are starting to make their way onto the market as well, and now Super Talent has announced it plans to start shipping the world's first USB 3.0 flash drives as soon as next month.

Available in 32, 64 and 128GB capacities, the new RAIDDrive USB 3.0 series uses what Super Talent calls “multiple pairs of differential serial data lines technology” for optimal NAND flash performance. We can expect 200MB/s transfer rates in USB 3.0 mode and up to a whopping 320MB/s using a separate UAS Protocol driver. USB 2.0 and even 1.1 port compatibility has been preserved, albeit operating at their respective slower speeds.

To put this into perspective, filling up Super Talent's 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive would take a little over 3 minutes at top speed, whereas the same task would take nearly 30 minutes over a USB 2.0 port. There's still no word on pricing, but the company says we can expect retail availability in December from resellers worldwide.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kingston, Paramount to deliver movies on flash drives

Kingston has signed an agreement with Paramount Digital Entertainment to deliver full-length motion picture films on flash devices. The movies will be stored on Kingston's SD and USB flash memory products, and will be available to consumers for a reasonable price -- all things considered. To boot, the companies are offering Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a 4GB Kingston DataTraveler USB drive for $29.99

Assuming the flash drive is reusable, that's not too bad of a deal for $30. That said, being crammed on a 4GB drive naturally means that the films will be in standard definition -- a deal breaker for many, I'm sure. Perhaps HD-friendly films will be offered on larger drives at a later date, but there are few details about the companies' future plans.

It seems to me that the people who would be most interested in this offer, probably already own a Blu-ray player. Would you pay $30 for a film stored on flash memory?

VIA intros Nano 3000 Series processors

VIA has announced its new Nano 3000 Series processors, which are said to offer enhanced digital media performance and less power consumption for ultrathin notebooks and all-in-one desktops. The new line brings strong competition to Intel's Atom CPU, and consists of six 64-bit Isaiah-based chips.
VIA's Nano 3000 processors are clocked between 1GHz and 2GHz with an 800MHz FSB, and feature SSE4 instructions, hardware virtualization, and Windows 7 and Linux compatibility. Along with being 20% more power efficient than current-gen Nano processors, they are also said to be capable of delivering 20% more performance, and are able to play 1080p video.

The latest Nano chips use the same NanoBGA2 package, which should allow hardware vendors to easily upgrade existing systems. Samples are currently available for OEMs and motherboard vendors, and mass production will begin in the first quarter of next year.
Product Name Speed VIA V4 FSB Idle Power
L3100 2.0GHz 800MHz 500mW
L3050 1.8GHz 800MHz 500mW
U3200 1.4GHz 800MHz 100mW
U3100 1.3+GHz 800MHz 100mW
U3300 1.2GHz 800MHz 100mW
U3500 1.0GHz 800MHz 100mW  

Maingear unveils enthusiast-oriented SHIFT desktop PC

Maingear has unveiled the SHIFT desktop PC, which is aimed at the high-end enthusiast market. Referring to the SHIFT as an "everyday supercomputer," the company says it will "reshape the current landscape of high performance computing" -- a bold claim if I ever saw one.

Externally, the SHIFT shows a clean-cut aluminum chassis, which lacks the excessive lighting of other gaming systems. Inside is a vertical airflow system that vents air through the top of the case, and the system can be based on Intel's P55 or X58 platforms.
General hardware includes Intel's Core i7 processor, your choice of Nvidia or ATI graphics (over a dozen configurations), 3GB to 12GB of DDR3 RAM, up to 6 HDDs or 8 SSDs, a liquid cooling system, optional Blu-ray and plenty of other options, like the ability to have your system factory-overclocked.

The base P55 configuration starts at $2,199 and the X58 rig costs $400 more. Out of sheer curiosity, I maxed out the X58 system at just under 19 grand before shipping.