VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Dec 2011 Issue 2


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VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries. Our inquisitive team of journalists cover key international events like CES, CeBIT, MWC, Computex and local exhibitions like CommunicAsia, IT SHOW, PC SHOW, COMEX and SITEX.

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Dec 2011 Issue 2

  1. 1. December 19th, 2011 Published by: VR-Zone extract more performance out of it, Microsoft now has a kernel patch for for its client and server OS. Ever wondered why some benchmark results on Bulldozer and its server version, Interlagos, look not just too low but outright weird? Part of the explanation was that the fancy modular architecture, where two integer and one FP block share one L2 cache and instruction scheduler, wasnt really supported that well by the current operating systems. Add to it the Pentium 4- style long pipeline and high latencies, and you got a problem.Google first unveiled its self-driving car in Oct 2010 andthe company has applied for a patent on a "landing strip"technology which allow the cars to go into auto mode as well asto find parking spots. The patent has been approved by the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office on 13 December. According to Microsoft now has a kernel update solution that solvessources, the "landing strip" is more than an embedded sensor one part of the problem, at least - if you go to http://in the ground, be it radio, QR code, or some other means of support.microsoft.com/kb/2592546/ knowledge base page,transferring information to the car. The key is the information youll notice that there is a patch for Windows 7 and forand how the car uses it. Although Googles self-driving cars use Windows Server 2008 R2.GPS technology to orient themselves, but in certain situationsa GPS signal may not be obtainable. The patent also suggeststhat user could give a set of instruction to the vehicle that This patch updates the thread management logic in the OScommands it to drive itself to specific location. at the kernel level for the Bulldozer, and - interestingly - proclaims it as a multithreading feature. With this update, Windows sees each BD dual core block as A SINGLE MULTITHREADED CORE, contrary to AMDs official positioning. Therefore, BD is seen as a 4-core, 8- thread chip, rather than a fully 8-core processors. This update, nevertheless, brings a definite single-digit % performance jump in lightly threaded applications, but it is still good though as it helps the CPU fight higher speed grades of Intel processors in benchmarks. So, naming or no naming confusion, go ahead and have it, if youre one of the early Bulldozer users.Microsoft comes to AMDBulldozer rescue: WindowsUpdate speeds up thingsSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-comes-to-amd-bulldozer-rescue-windows-update-speeds-up-things/14256.htmlDecember 19th, 2011AMD Bulldozer is, to say so, unusual in its modular dual-coreblock architecture compared to the current X86 processors. To 21
  2. 2. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneVR-Zone.com | Stuff for the Geeks! The question is how much life MHL has now since the USB- VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication IF announced the audio/video devices class, as this allows covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. you to do everything that MHL does, but presumably without the need of extra chips on the mobile device side. That said, MHL is already a somewhat established standard, but as weSilicon Image team up know, its never clear cut which standard will end up beingwith Onkyo to deliver MHL the dominant one and its not always the best one thats the winner.equipped A/V receiverSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/silicon-image-team-up-with-onkyo-to-deliver-mhl-equipped-av-receiver/14331.html Intel said to be droppingDecember 22nd, 2011 Sandy Bridge CPU prices Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-said-to-be-dropping-sandy- bridge-cpu-prices/14330.html December 22nd, 2011New connectors and interfaces always cause problems whenit comes to hardware compatibility and the Mobile High-definition Link or MHL is one of those interfaces that is farfrom widely adopted on anything but smartphones to date.That seems to be set to change, as Silicon Image, one of the With Intels upcoming Ivy Bridge processors expected todriving forces behind the MHL standard has teamed up with launch in April of next year, it appears that Intel is alreadyOnkyo to deliver A/V receivers with MHL support. concerned about having too much stock of its current Sandy Bridge processors and is as such planning on reducing the price on at least is mobile Core i3 and Core i5 processors. WhatNew connectors and interfaces always cause problems when isnt clear is if Intel is planning on doing the same for theit comes to hardware compatibility and the Mobile High- desktop parts or not.definition Link or MHL is one of those interfaces that is farfrom widely adopted on anything but smartphones to date.That seems to be set to change, as Silicon Image, one of the With Intels upcoming Ivy Bridge processors expected todriving forces behind the MHL standard has teamed up with launch in April of next year, it appears that Intel is alreadyOnkyo to deliver A/V receivers with MHL support. concerned about having too much stock of its current Sandy Bridge processors and is as such planning on reducing theIn practical terms the MHL interface is a combination of price on at least is mobile Core i3 and Core i5 processors. WhatHDMI and USB 2.0 and the advantage it has over a pure HDMI isnt clear is if Intel is planning on doing the same for theinterface is that the device you connect up a smartphone desktop parts or not.equipped with MHL to can power your smartphone. So farits mainly HTC, LG and Samsung that has adopted the MHL Digitimes is reporting that Intel has apparently told itsinterface while Samsung and Toshiba have a handful of TV notebook partners that the company is about to drop themodels that supports it. The downside is of course that you processor pricing by some 10 to 15 percent depending onneed a dongle to connect your phone to an HDMI port, but it model, although for some reason the high-end Core i7s arelooks like this might just start to become less of an issue. apparently not part of this discount deal.Onkyo didnt reveal a lot of details in the press release about its As to how much of an impact this will have on the finalnew receivers as the company is planning on unveiling them product is a different matter, as many notebook makers areat CES in a few weeks time. What we do know though is already offering very cheap notebooks with Core i3 and Corethat Onkyo is using Silicon Images latest MHL chipset with i5 processors and although were expecting that some of thissupports something called InstaPrevue. This is a picture-in- discount will be passed on to consumers, we dont think wellpicture solution for HDMI and MHL which allows a small see an equal reduction in price of the final product.preview window of other attached devices to be overlaid over Even so, it might be worth hanging on for Ivy Bridge if yourewhatever is being displayed on the TV, must as you can do not in a rush to get a new notebook, as the new processors dochannel previewing on some TV sets. offer some advantage over Sandy Bridge, although most are not CPU performance related. As weve seen in the many leaks 1
  3. 3. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zoneto date, the overall platform as a whole is better than Sandy consumer boom in the cloud led by Apple, high consumerBridge and the cost isnt expected to be any higher than what demand for natural user interfaces, and potential micro-a Sandy Bridge equivalent product costs today. segmentation of the industry that will lead the way to more individualised marketing strategies.AMD marketing chief stepsdown, offers predictions for ASUS sued over "Transformer2012 Prime" trademarkSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-marketing-chief-steps-down- infringementoffers-predictions-for-2012/14329.html Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-sued-over-transformer-prime-December 22nd, 2011 trademark-infringement/14325.html December 22nd, 2011AMDs Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice PresidentNigel Dessau is leaving the chipmaker to work on a book, buthe has made some interesting predictions for the year ahead.AMDs Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President ASUS is now in trouble for using the name "Transformer" andNigel Dessau is leaving the chipmaker to work on a book, but "Transformer Prime". Toy maker Hasbro has filed a lawsuithe has made some interesting predictions for the year ahead. against the Taiwanese company over the trademark on the name that are more known for the toys, cartoons and movies.Dessau said that he is excited about the prospects for AMD,and with the upcoming Radeon HD 7970 and its all-starreviews we are just as excited. However, he said that he hadreached a crossroads and decided to pursue the next phase ofhis career outside of the company.This next step will focus on a book based on his website, the3 Minute Mentor, where he delivers career advice in threeminute podcasts. The new ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android tablet was showcased at the AsiaD: All Things Digital event in Hong Kong, and has garnered great popularity from the name it bears, but this has apparently also brought along some troubles. Toy manufacturer Hasbro has sued ASUS for the use of the name which they had trademarked, and stated that they will defend their brand. While the two companies and their products may be targeting different market, Hasbro does have a series of video games and accessories for PC and Xbox 360 game console which are under the name “Transformer”, thereby providing the toy company with adequate relevancy to be concerned that consumers may be misled into thinking Hasbro had endorsed the ASUS product. As for now, Hasbro is requesting for an injunction against ASUS, and a 21 day period for them to respond.Dessau has worked at AMD for four years, leading the Elpida to begin merger talksmarketing team that has helped keep AMD in a prominentposition within the industry. He will stay on to help in the with Nanya Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/elpida-to-begin-merger-talks-with-transition to a new head of marketing. nanya/14328.htmlBefore he departs from the company he made a numberof predictions about what will happen in 2012, including a 2
  4. 4. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneDecember 22nd, 2011 December 22nd, 2011Elpida Memory is to begin talks in January with rivalDRAM maker Nanya Technology on a possible merger as Sony has developed a battery prototype that generatesthe companies struggle to cope with falling prices and tough electricity from shredded paper, an achievement that couldcompetition. lead to more environmentally-friendly electronic products.Elpida Memory is to begin talks in January with rival Sony has developed a battery prototype that generatesDRAM maker Nanya Technology on a possible merger as electricity from shredded paper, an achievement that couldthe companies struggle to cope with falling prices and tough lead to more environmentally-friendly electronic products.competition. Sony unveiled the technology at the Eco-Products exhibition inThe Japanese and Taiwanese chipmakers have been losing Tokyo, where a fan was powered by scrap paper and cardboardsubstantial market share to larger rivals like Samsung, which dropped into a mixture of water and enzymes, which was thennow rules 45 percent of the market, making it difficult for the shaken.smaller companies to survive, particularly with DDR3 DRAMprices dropping from $1.50 in July to just $0.90 in October. The bio-batteries turn waste paper into sugar by using the enzyme cellulase, and when the resulting glucose sugar isA report in the Nikkei Business Daily suggested that the two combined with oxygen and other enzymes it turns it intocompanies would begin merger talks next month in a bid to electrons and hydrogen ions, which are used to generaterestore profitability and curb their shrinking market share. electricity.Elpida denied it had made any formal announcement in thisregard, however, and said it was considering multiple options,including refinancing debt and requiring advance payment forproduct orders. "Using a fuel as simple as old greetings cards - the sort of cards that millions of us will be receiving this Christmas - theElpida is in third place in the DRAM market with a 12.1 percent bio battery can deliver enough energy to power a small fan,"market share, behind Hynix 21.5 percent, while Nanya is in said Yuichi Tokita, senior researcher at the Sony Advancedfifth place with just 3.6 percent. Elpida saw a revenue decline Material Research Lab. "Of course, this is still at the veryof 29.8 percent in the third quarter, while Nanya experienced early stages of its development, but when you imagine thean even larger revenue drop of 36.7 percent. possibilities that this technology could deliver, it becomes very exciting indeed."However, the possibility of a merger could be held up bylegal battles between the two companies over the alleged The technology could give people another incentive to recycleinfringement of patents, not to mention a partnership between paper, cut down electricity costs, and help move the industryNanya and Micron, another rival to Elpida. towards renewable and sustainable power, but it will likely be years before a powerful enough bio-battery is developed for use with, for example, mobile phones. However, the potential to recharge your smartphone with a bit of newspaper while onSony develops paper-powered the go is an interesting and useful possibility.battery prototypeSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-develops-paper-powered-battery-prototype/14327.html 3
  5. 5. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneScientists make self-repairing Intel Shows Its Atom-basedchip breakthrough Android Smartphone andSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-make-self-repairing-chip-breakthrough/14326.html Tablet Prototypes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-shows-its-atom-based-android-December 22nd, 2011 smartphone-and-tablet-prototypes/14321.html December 22nd, 2011Researchers are close to developing self-repairing electronicchips, which could revolutionise the technology industry andeven lead to safer space travel. Faced with continuous decline of its Atom series of processors,Researchers are close to developing self-repairing electronic the semiconductor giant from Santa Clara is showcasingchips, which could revolutionise the technology industry and concept smartphone and tablet designs for 2012.even lead to safer space travel. By all standards, Intel had a dream year - the company achieved record revenue and record profits. However, there was one dark spot on otherwise, a spotless record: Atom lineScientists and engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana- of products.Champaign succeeded in creating a circuit that, when cracked,heals itself by releasing a conductivity-restoring liquid metal,which brings the circuit back online in less than a second.The technology works by housing the healing liquid within thechip, and if the chip is damaged it should also damage theliquid container, releasing the liquid so that it can fill in anygaps and restore the flow of electricity. Intel Atom was introduced in 2008 as a byproduct of Intel receiving back the P55C core from US Army. The second byproduct of that heavily modified and optimized core was Larrabee graphics core, which got canceled and is now known as a HPC-accelerator Knights Bridge / Knights Corner. Intel Atom enjoyed a lot of success in 2008-2010, with a lot ofTests using gold and glass circuits with microcapsules analysts writing stories about the rise of netbooks and howcontaining the metallic liquid eutectic gallium-indium showed netbooks will mark the end of PC as we know it. Soundsa drop of voltage to zero when cracked and a return to almost familiar, right?full voltage within one millisecond. These devices retained Fast forward to third quarter of 2011: Intel posted excellenttheir conductivity for months after the damage and repair. sales and profit results, but the company also marked a 32% decline in sales of Intel Atom platform. Indeed, when we look at Atom as a whole, the product actually declined by over 60%The breakthrough could affect every sector of technology, during 2011 alone - as tablets took over the hearts and mindsresulting in super long-lasting products. The scientists also of consumers, sales of netbooks came to a screeching halt.believe it can help with satellites and space travel, since this isan area where manually repairing and replacing electronics is Intels answer to tablets is known for quite some time:extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Intels second SoC design codenamed Medfield (first one being Cedarview, D2x00 Series). Medfield is manufactured in 32nm process node and is consisted out of single Atom core operating up to 1.9GHz clock, integrated graphics subsystem (it is not known which one, but current Atoms utilize PowerVR SGX545), Image Signal Processor, memory controller and 4
  6. 6. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zonechipset features. Do note that SGX545 is more powerful than year, even ahead of its move to killing off the Ericsson partSGX543MP2 used inside the Apples A5 Dual-core chip. of its brand name. Details of an upcoming model called the LT28at have leaked courtesy of the Bluetooth SIG and it looks like Sony Ericsson is planning to launch at least one seriously high-end handset next year. Sony Ericsson has had its fair share of troubles this past year, but it looks like the company is about to rebound come next year, even ahead of its move to killing off the Ericsson part of its brand name. Details of an upcoming model called the LT28at have leaked courtesy of the Bluetooth SIG and it looksOn IDF Fall 2011, Intel showed its prototypes of smartphone like Sony Ericsson is planning to launch at least one seriouslyand tablet designs, but the Android operating system was not high-end handset next year.ready for the limelight. Few months after, Android 2.x and 3.xlong gone and the company is optimizing for Android 4.x Ice The expected spec of what will be an as yet un-namedCream Sandwich operating system. Xperia handset targeted for AT&T in the US includes a 4.55- inch Reality display with 1280x720 pixel resolution, LTE, aYou can expect the first smartphone and tablet designs coming 13Megapixel backside illuminated camera sensor and a 720pin the first half of 2012. Second half of 2012 will see the front facing camera for video calls. Other features includeappearance of Windows 8 tablets, where Intel will argue 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, although only 2.1 + EDRcompatibility with full set of applications on Windows 8. Bear and strangely enough support for the Chinese TD-SCDMAin mind that ARM-based tablets wont be able to run software standard.compiled for the X86 instruction set. According to the Xperiablog we can expect to see a 1.5GHz dual core processor of unknown origin. The Xperiablog also managed to track down a few photos snapped in what appears to be San Francisco by the LT28at and although they’re not at full resolution, they’ll give you a good idea of the kind of quality you can expect from the 13Megapixel BSI camera. Hopefully there will be a non US version of the LT28at and there’s really no reason as to why Sony Ericsson wouldn’t have a version with similar spec without LTE. The Xperiablog is expecting theStill, Medfield is just the introductionary part and were LT28at to be unveiled at CES, so we’ll just have to wait and seenot surprised ARM vendors are sound asleep at the market what will happen in a few weeks’ time.acceptance. Real headache for every member of ARM In related news, Sony Ericsson has announced that it’ll beecosystem is coming on CES 2013, the 22nm Silvermont - rolling out its Android 4.0 updates for this year’s Xperiacompletely new Atom architecture, which will go hand in hand handsets from late March next year with some models gettingwith the next-generation 22nm Haswell architecture for high- the updates a bit later in April or May. Full details can be foundperformance computers. on the Sony Ericsson product blog.The Bluetooth SIG leaks Sony Canon Singapore announcesEricsson LT28at details CanonSGLens, free iOS app forSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-bluetooth-sig-leaks-sony-ericsson-lt28at-details/14324.html digital SLR photographersDecember 22nd, 2011 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canon-singapore-announces- canonsglens-free-ios-app-for-digital-slr-photographers/14323.html December 22nd, 2011Sony Ericsson has had its fair share of troubles this past year,but it looks like the company is about to rebound come next 5
  7. 7. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneWith this iOS app, Canon photographers can now access - Depth of Field calculatorall the information including specifications on digital SLRlens, learn about the physics behind capturing an picture - In-depth topic with interactive simulators explaining howetc. The CanonSGLens app is free to download and is available aperture and shutter speed affect exposure, depth of field, andon the Apple iTunes App store. motion blur in the various exposure modes CanonSGLens is available on the Apple iTunes App store - http://itunes.apple.com/sg/app/canonsglens/ id490527073?ls=1&mt=8 Nikon Singapore launches two new Facebook applications Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nikon-singapore-launches-two-new- facebook-applications/14322.html December 22nd, 2011Canon Singapore has unveiled CanonSGLens, the companysfree iOS app for digital SLR camera users. Available fromtoday on the Apple iTunes App store, the app features detailedlens specifications of all Canon digital SLR lenses that are Nikon Singapore has announced the launch of two Facebooksold in Singapore. The application also contains a unique applications “Where’s the 1?” and "Psychd by Nikon” contestsinteractive simulator that allows users to compare the field whereby users stand to win attractive prizes including Nikonof view between two camera-lens combinations, using the COOLPIX camera and Nikon 1 J1 with the 1 NIKKOR VRcurrent list of Canon EOS digital SLR cameras and lenses. The 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 lens.CanonSGLens is designed to help beginners and professionalphotographers. Beginners can learn more about the physicsbehind capturing an photo, while professionals can make useof features like the depth-of-field calculator to help themachieve optimum focus.App Features- Highly visual interactive simulators- Bookmark your favourite pages- Add your own notes to any page- Content optimized for both portrait and landscapeorientations- No Internet connection requiredFeatured Content- Detailed lens specifications of all Canon EF and EF-S lenses “Where’s the 1?” is a contest whereby you only have to answersold in Singapore four questions correctly by looking for the hidden Nikon 1 in the picture. If you have spotted all four cameras correctly,- Compare lens specifications side by side, with differences you stand a chance to win the Nikon 1 J1 and 1 NIKKOR VRindicated 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 lens. However, note that there is no lifeline in this game, and you can only play it once a day. There will be a- Compare high resolution MTF charts new set of questions and cameras for you to search every week, and you can play up to once a day to increase your chances- Compare high resolution lens construction diagrams to win the Nikon 1 J1 camera. The contest runs now till 19 January 2012.- Field of View simulator featuring multiple photos takenof the same scene in Singapore using different camera-lens "Psychd by Nikon" was launched in the beginning ofcombinations December, and the app is an easy-to-play contest to find out which Nikon COOLPIX suits you. Just answer a few simple- Depth of Field simulator questions and you can discover the Nikon COOLPIX camera that best suits your needs and lifestyle, and find out if it is true to your personality. One lucky winner with the most referrals 6
  8. 8. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zonevia share will stand to walk away with a Nikon COOLPIXcamera.Does PCIe 3.0 matter fortodays GPUs? We test withthe Radeon HD 7970Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/does-pcie-3.0-matter-for-today-s-gpus-we-test-with-the-radeon-hd-7970/14306.htmlDecember 22nd, 2011For months now, certain smaller motherboard manufacturershave been hyping up PCI Express 3.0 compatibility andbenefits to ignorant users, even going to the point of bashingone another with libelous advertisements (lol hammer smashmotherboards into bits). Since the latest Intels Sandy Bridge-E processors and AMDs Radeon HD 7970 officially supportsthe new signalling standard, we put that to the test to see if itdoes improve things.The following is rephrased and quoted from Wikipedias PCIExpress entry:The much delayed PCIe 3.0 standard is supposed tobring signal transfer bitrates to 8GT/s (double that ofPCIe 2.0) and a number of optimizations for enhancedsignaling and data integrity, including transmitter andreceiver equalization, PLL improvements, clock data recovery,and channel enhancements for currently supported topologiesThe BIOS on our favourite ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (X79)allowed us to select the PCIe signalling standard for our tests(Editors note: yes we did use the latest 1004 bios which hasthe CPU Microcode and PCIe 3.0 fixes) PCIe 2.0 Benchmarks:PCIe 3.0 Benchmarks: 7
  9. 9. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneOur conclusions? Only a <1% miniscule benefit thanks totighter clock timings and PLL improvements - todays highend GPU like the HD7970 and GTX590 barely even saturatePCIe x8 lanes (4GB/s). Perhaps we might see a different storywith decent solid state storage setups and CPU interconnects. Testing with FurMark - with the fan left at auto, it was still spinning silently and temperatures maxed out at a comfortable 86 degrees celciusAMD Radeon HD 7970 Review[Part 3/3]: Overclocking,Benchmarks and ConclusionSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-radeon-hd-7970-review-part-33--overclocking-benchmarks-and-conclusion/14308.htmlDecember 22nd, 2011In the final part of our review, we look into the overclockingabilities of the 28nm Tahiti XT GPU, run extensive butrelevant performance tests, and give an objective conclusion The updated GPU-Z 0.5.7 allows you to read card informationof the AMD Radeon HD 7970. off the 7970s SMBIOSOverclockingThe overclocking potential of the Radeon HD 7970 has beenmuch vaunted in the recent leaks and it certainly didntdisappoint. Even without any software or hardware voltagemods, we managed to bring the CPU core from the default925MHz up to the maximum 1125MHz that CCC would allow.We also turned memory up to 1500MHz and Power Control to+20% to prevent throttling. 8
  10. 10. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zone PCI-SIG approved 8+6 pin power connectors for up to 300W of power consumptionEvery increment on the way, we went the extra mile to ensurethat there was actually scaling (and not bs throttling). Withclocks like these on stock voltages and cooling, youll wonderhow much higher it can go when software or hardware voltagemodifications together with better cooling are applied to thiscard. Looks like the 28nm process die shrink did pay off... No PCB Backplate on this reference card - hopefully the actualCheck also retail units will have them as they do provide some shielding against accidental metal contact short circuitsAMD Radeon HD 7970 Review[Part 2/3]: The Card Design(Hardware Components andCooling)Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-radeon-hd-7970-review-part-23--the-card-design-hardware-components-and-cooling-/14286.htmlDecember 22nd, 2011The AMD Radeon HD Tahiti XT 7970 features a redesignedPCB, 3GB of GDDR5 384bit memory ring bus configurationand an optimized heatsink design. More than a dozen screws binding the card to the heatsink - which was a nuisance when we disassembled itThe dashing looking Radeon HD 7970 measures 11.5 incheslong (29.21cm), which should fit in most modern day gamingcases 9
  11. 11. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zone December 22nd, 2011 After a year of less than stellar CPU launches (Bulldozer) and the fallout from the massive company-wide layoffs and manufacturing delays, AMD and their fans finally have something to cheer about this holiday season. Built on the radical 28nm Graphics Core Next architecture and numerous another innovations, the US$549 Radeon HD 7970 flexes it considerable muscles in the high end enthusiast GPU market.3-way Crossfire connectors are still present, as are the dual In the first of a three part review, supercomputing expert andBIOS Switch for flash experiments in-house Serbian Nebojsa Novakovic gives his take on what the new architecture will bring.. When AMD unveiled its GCN - Graphics Core Next - new generation graphics processor architecture as a part of its FSA - Fusion System Architecture - at the last Junes Fusion Developer Summit in Seattle, it was quite a surprise: the next-in-line future GPU was to be transformed into a general purpose compute coprocessor, with far more flexibility and aim at wider range of applications well beyond graphics only - and, not to forget, easier memory space sharing with the CPU. Half a year later, the first implementation of this new architecture already sees the light.Dual-link DVI, HDMI and Mini-DP ports for up to 6displays. The half-height exhaust grill design from 58xx/69xxcards is gone and replaced with a full height panel, whichshould help reduce air turbulance. The Radeon HD7970 is the fastest single GPU card today in most of 3-D graphics runs, but its compute power impresses, too: 3.8 TFLOPs peak single precision FP and,Check also more importantly, 947 GFLOPs double precision FP at the defauly 925 MHz clock. Since the card overclocks easily by another 10% or so without even changing any voltages, you can, for the first time, easily have a true (peak) Teraflop DPAMD Radeon HD 7970 Review FP engine in the PC. The 384-bit GDDR5 memory path with 3 GB RAM gives some 260 GB/s bandwidth to feed all that[Part 1/3]: Meet Tahiti XT from performance, with sufficient local memory for larger datasetsthe Southern Islands than before. And, in those moments when the GPU doesSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-radeon-hd-7970-review-part-13-- nothing, the idle power drops to below 3 Watts - not bad at all.meet-tahiti-xt-from-the-southern-islands/14307.html 10
  12. 12. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zone In addition to compute units, there are still dedicated processing elements for 3-D graphics. Dual Geometry Units, as well as eight render back ends, plus the usual video acceleration hardware, complete the chip here. And yes, the system interface is PCIe x16 v3, finally. Now, how does GCN in HD7970 achieve, as AMD claims, much better actual use of the underlying resources compared to the previous generation? First, youll notice that the chip architecture looks far more symmetric and simpler to understand than the GPUs of the past, which should translate to the programs being able to use it more efficently. Also, the separate dual asynchronous compute engines helpHow did it achieve all this performance? The first schedule multiple tasks in parallel with the graphics commandimplementation of GCN is based on the same Compute Units processor, while dual direct memory access (DMA) enginesthat we described post-AMD Summit in June, 32 of them help in fetching and sending data fast, able to saturate 16 GB/in this chip. Each compute unit, able to execute code from s over PCIe 3 to the system itself.multiple kernels at once, is a processor by itself, in a sensea full-fledged core, the way we describe cores in general In some tests, like AES256, the resulting improvements inpurpose processors. So, each compute unit has a vector and actual performance are over four times, but even many othersstandard scalar processor core, plus a texture block with have speed jumps higher than the theoretical FP speed boostfiltering and fetch units, all this with local registers, 64 KB from the 6970 to the 7970. Two times is a regular occurencedata share memory and 16 KB L1 cache with 64 bytes/clock in many GPU compute benchmarks here. And, very critical forbandwidth. The branching and scheduling units complete the the computing usage, the FP here is fully IEEE754 compliantpicture. while, if aiming for workstation or compute server use, you have ECC protection all the way, for both DRAM and SRAM memory. The new architecture should finally enable easy GPU multitasking, not just many processes on one GPU, but also one task being spread across multiple GPUs, something that HPC users would welcome a lot - and high end PC users as well, since, say, 4 GPUs in Quad CrossFire could be used for more than just gaming FPS. In summary, GCN in AMD Radeon HD7970 went a step further than Nvidia did in its current Fermi GeForce generation in getting the GPU to become a more versatile system compute coprocessor. There are still further steps toThe cache hierarchy is intriguing here: each set of four take in getting the GPU even closer to the CPU, including thecompute units shares an extra 32 KB scalar data cache plus 16 memory sharing and interconnect, however the improvementsKB instruction cache, backed by a common L2 cache, which seen in this brand new chip should be a good note tototals 768 KB in the HD7970 chip across all compute units. both Nvidia and Intel, the latter with its Knights CornerThis L2 then interfaces to the memory controller. A Global accelerators, on the way forward.Data Share unit is there to enable sync among all computeunits at the L1 cache level. This is far more complex cachearchitecture than what youll see in todays general purpose Check alsoCPUs, by the way. ASRock launches Atom D2700 and D2500 mini-ITX motherboards Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asrock-launches-atom-d2700-and- d2500-mini-itx-motherboards/14316.html December 22nd, 2011 11
  13. 13. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneThe ASRock related news arent over quite yet, as alongsideits high-end boards, the company has also unveiled three newentry level Atom mini-ITX motherboards, all with Intels newD2x00-series of Atom processors. One of the new modelssports the 1.86GHz Atom D2500, while the other two comeswith the 2.13GHz Atom D2700.The ASRock related news arent over quite yet, as alongsideits high-end boards, the company has also unveiled three newentry level Atom mini-ITX motherboards, all with Intels newD2x00-series of Atom processors. One of the new modelssports the 1.86GHz Atom D2500, while the other two comeswith the 2.13GHz Atom D2700.Starting at the bottom we have the AD2500B-ITX which is a The third and final board is the most interesting of the threerather plain, almost dull looking board with a large passive and its called the AD2700-ITX, a confusing similar name, butheatsink covering the CPU and a really tiny one covering the an entirely different board in many ways. Although youd beNM10 chipset. The board has, rather unusually a pair of SO- forgiven for thinking its yet more of the same if you take aDIMM slots, although as the new Atoms can accept up to 4GB quick glance at the top down view of the board, ASRock hasof RAM, albeit in single channel mode, the two slots are at least overhauled the rear I/O entirely.somewhat useful. Here were looking at a single PS/2 port, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a D-sub, DVI and HDMI port. The general board layout is otherwise mostly the same, although theres a pin-header for a parallel port and a serial port not present on the first two models, but thats the only difference we can spot. We checked the manual quickly as we wanted to find out about the display connectivity and the good news is that both the DVI and HDMI port can be used simultaneously. The manual also suggested that there might be a version with the Atom D2500 of this board, although without USB 3.0 and with slower 10/100Mbit Ethernet.Theres also a pair of SATA 3Gbps ports, a single PCI slotand a pair of headers for four USB 2.0 ports. The rear I/Oconsists of a range or ports that feel more like 1991 than 2011with two PS/2 ports, a serial port, a parallel port, a D-subconnector, four USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100Mbit Ethernet portand 5.1-channel audio via three jacks. Overall not the mostimpressive board weve seen recently.Moving up we have the AD2700B-ITX which swaps in theAtom D2700 over the D2500, but its not the only change.Although the board layout remains identical to the AD2500B-ITX, the AD2700B-ITX was upgraded with both GigabitEthernet and a pair of USB 3.0 ports making it an interesting One funny thing in ASRocks specifications is with regardsboard for a home server. to the GPU which ASRock lists as “Built-in Intel PowerVR SGX545” which isnt entirely true as the GPU is by Imagination Technologies and Intel calls it the GMA 3650 or GMA 3600 depending on which processors were talking about. If nothing else, ASRock has at least triple confirmed things for us. Once again we dont have any word on availability and pricing, but wed expect these boards to be out shortly. 12
  14. 14. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zone get two front USB 3.0 ports rather than four, again a non-issueASRock does more affordable for most people.8-DIMM X79 motherboard Looking at the rear I/O we have two PS/2 ports, four USBSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asrock-does-more-affordable-8-dimm- 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, an eSATAx79-motherboard/14315.html port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, 7.1-channel audio with opticalDecember 22nd, 2011 and coaxial S/PDIF out and a clear CMOS button. The difference here is very minor as the only missing feature is the secondary Gigabit Ethernet port compared to the X79 Extreme7. However, because the X79 Extreme6/GB come bundled with the Game Blaster, you get a second Gigabit Ethernet port through it, if you chose to install it.Were not quite sure were following ASRocks X79motherboard line-up as the company has introduced the X79Extreme6/GB, a model inferior to the X79 Extreme7, yetsomehow packing more features and a bundle. The bundle isASRock Game Blaster, the same card that comes with the X79Extreme9.Were not quite sure were following ASRocks X79motherboard line-up as the company has introduced the X79Extreme6/GB, a model inferior to the X79 Extreme7, yetsomehow packing more features and a bundle. The bundle isASRock Game Blaster, the same card that comes with the X79Extreme9.The X79 Extreme6/GB is a peculiar board and were not quitesure what ASRock was thinking about when the companydesigned the board. So ok, it "only" has three x16 PCI Express It might sound stupid to suggest that you shouldnt, but dueslots compared to five for the X79 Extreme7, but at least all of to the slightly moronic slot layout of the X79 Extreme6/GB,the ones on the X79 Extreme6/GB are usable. There are also a if youre using all three x16 PCI Express slots, then its verysingle x1 PCI Express slot and two PCI slots, although strictly likely that you wont be able to use the Game Blaster card,speaking, only one of the PCI slots can be used if you have a as it requires a x1 PCI Express slot. That said, not that manypair of graphics cards with dual slot coolers fitted to them. people are running three way SLI or CrossFireX, so this is most likely not going to affect that many buyers of this board, but its still a peculiar omission in the design by ASRock. Beyond the additional Gigabit Ethernet controller, the Game Blaster also features a Creative Sound Core3D audio chip which adds duplicate set of 7.1-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out, which once more makes us wonder about what ASRock was thinking about when they designed this board. We dont know when the X79 Extreme6/GB will be available, nor how much itll cost, but in theory it should end up being similarly priced to the X79 Extreme7 due to the closeness in features and the additional cost of the bundled card. ASRock set to launch Fatal1ty X79 Professional motherboard Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asrock-set-to-launch-fatal1ty-x79- professional-motherboard/14314.html December 22nd, 2011Moving on were missing a couple of extra SATA 6Gbps ports,but the X79 Extreme6/GB still manages four SATA 3Gbps andfive SATA 6Gbps ports, more than enough for most users. TheVRM heatsink is smaller, but the phase count is the same andthe X79 Extreme6/GB still sports tantalum capacitors. It alsohas two extra DIMM slots over the X79 Extreme7, but you only 13
  15. 15. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneWere still not sold on the whole Fatal1ty brandingfrom ASRock, but the upcoming Fatal1ty X79 Professionalmotherboard from the company is definitely a competitorwhen it comes to high-end X79 motherboards. Its by far notthe most feature rich X79 motherboard out there, but it stillhas enough features to make it an attractive choice for thosethat are digging the colour scheme and branding.Were still not sold on the whole Fatal1ty brandingfrom ASRock, but the upcoming Fatal1ty X79 Professionalmotherboard from the company is definitely a competitorwhen it comes to high-end X79 motherboards. Its by far notthe most feature rich X79 motherboard out there, but it still Around the rear we have a PS/2 port, four USB 3.0 ports,has enough features to make it an attractive choice for those five USB 2.0 ports, a Fatal1ty USB mouse port, two eSATAthat are digging the colour scheme and branding. ports, a FireWire port, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audioThe board hasnt been officially unveiled as yet, but pictures of with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out and a clear CMOS button.the Fatal1ty X79 Professional appeared over at TechPowerUp A bracket for the front USB 3.0 ports is supplied with thegiving us a good idea as to what to expect. The good news is board, but the rest of the bundle isnt clear at this point. Nothat the active cooling fan on the chipset is gone, although word on pricing or availability, but we wouldnt expect it to beunlike other high-end X79 boards, ASRock didnt bother too long.with a heatpipe connecting the chipset heatsink to the VRMheatsinks. Speaking of the VRM, were looking at tantalumcapacitors, although we dont know much else about the design SSD prices are falling fasterof it for now. than HDD Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ssd-prices-are-falling-faster-than- hdd/14312.html December 22nd, 2011 Solid state drives (SSDs) are dropping in price much faster than hard disk drives (HDD), according to figures released by website uptime monitoring firm Pingdom. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are dropping in price much faster than hard disk drives (HDD), according to figures released by website uptime monitoring firm Pingdom. The report shows that average HDD prices fell from $56.30/ GB in 1998 to $0.075/GB in 2011, while average SSD pricesThe board has four x16 PCI Express slots in a dual x16 or quad fell from $40/GB in 2007 to $2.42 this year. The lowest pricesx8 configuration and theres also a single x1 PCI Express slot recorded this year are $0.053/GB for HDD and $1.50/GB forand two PCI slots. ASRock went with a standard four DIMM SSD.layout on this board and there are four additional SATA 6Gbpsports in addition to the two from the chipset, as well as fourSATA 3Gbps ports. Other features includes a header for two While SSDs remain very expensive, the difference betweenfront USB 3.0 ports, a FireWire header, a Post80 debug LED them and HDD prices has dropped considerably over the lastand power and reset buttons. number of years. For example, in 2007 SSDs cost 120 times the equivalent HDD storage, whereas that number has dropped to just 32 times more expensive in 2011. 14
  16. 16. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zone RIMs co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, do not want the company to be bought, however, despite facing plummeting market share as Apple and Android devices continue to grow. They want to sort out RIMs problems internally, including focusing on BlackBerry Messaging and restructuring the company, rather than relying on a more successful company like Amazon to do the job for them.That trend is set to continue, with SSD prices likely to followHDD ones in a downward plummet, likely helped by theshortage of HDDs on the market at the moment. For example,SSD prices are currently the same on a per GB level as HDDprices were in 2002, suggesting were only a few years awayfrom an affordable alternative to HDD. RIM did not rule out licensing deals or commercialPingdom predicts that in 2012 the average price for HDDs partnerships, however, and this could be an area where RIMwill fall to $0.54/GB, a drop of around 28 percent, though it benefits from the growth of other companies. Apparentlycould be artificially bloated by the current market drought. Amazon is still in talks with RIM over this. If Amazon wasSSD prices should drop to $1/GB, a significant decrease of able to push a BlackBerry Kindle for businesses, or some otheraround 33 percent on this years prices. combination of their assets, both firms could reap significant rewards.While SSD prices are unlikely to ever match that of HDD, itlooks like SSDs are as much party to Moores Law as anything Samsung and Microsoft have also considered bids for RIMelse is in the technology industry. at some point, but interest is likely waning as the company struggles to stay relevant, particularly with the lengthy delayBlackBerry maker RIM refused of its BlackBerry 10 platform.Amazon acquisition offerSource: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-maker-rim-refused-amazon-acquisition-offer/14311.html Microsoft wins patent caseDecember 22nd, 2011 against Motorola Mobility Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-wins-patent-case-against- motorola-mobility/14310.html December 22nd, 2011Amazon attempted to buy BlackBerry maker Research InMotion (RIM), but the latter turned down the offer and similarones made by other companies, it has been revealed.Amazon attempted to buy BlackBerry maker Research InMotion (RIM), but the latter turned down the offer and similar Microsoft has won a patent battle against Motorola Mobilityones made by other companies, it has been revealed. over the infringement of a patent used in its smartphone products, which could result in a sales ban in the US.The online bookstore turned tablet computer maker hired an Microsoft has won a patent battle against Motorola Mobilityinvestment bank during the Summer to review a potential over the infringement of a patent used in its smartphonemerger with RIM, according to Reuters, but it ultimately failed products.to make a formal offer. 15
  17. 17. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneAn International Trade Commission (ITC) judge gave apreliminary ruling that Motorola had infringed one of sevenpatents that Microsoft made claims for. The ruling will haveto be confirmed in April of next year, but generally speaking Rambus settles stockholdermost ITC preliminary verdicts are given the green-light by afull ITC panel. lawsuit for $10.85 million Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rambus-settles-stockholder-lawsuit- for-10.85-million/14309.html December 22nd, 2011The patent in question relates to several techniques toschedule meetings and synchronise group calendars, aparticularly useful feature for the mobile enterprise sector,which Android has been expanding into. Rambus has settled a lawsuit taken against it by a stockholder for $10.85 million, marking a rare turning of the tables in theMicrosoft had previously filed a similar complaint with the companys frequent legal battles.European Patent Office, but the latter dismissed the case Rambus has settled a lawsuit taken against it by a stockholderas it deemed that the technology in question was obvious. for $10.85 million, marking a rare turning of the tables in theMicrosoft is appealing that decision, and the ITC ruling could companys frequent legal battles.impact on that appeal. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2008 by investor Stuart J. Steele, who claimed that Rambus had not correctly dated and accounted for stock option grants prior to 2006, with the majority of these occuring between 1998 and 2001. The case would have went to court in March 2012, but Rambus decided to settle out of court for $10.85 million instead, suggesting it was not confident of winning. This is an ironic twist of fate for the intellectual propertyThe ruling follows a similar verdict by the ITC yesterday which company, which is usually on the other end of lawsuits. It haswill result in a sales ban on HTC products found to infringe an gained notoriety for its numerous lawsuits against a numberApple patent. While both Motorola and HTC have technically of chipmakers, primarily over patents relating to memorylost their cases, they will be pleased that only one of the technology like DRAM. These included Micron and Hynix, asmultiple claims was validated. well as high profile cases against Samsung and Nvidia, which have usually gone in favour of Rambus.Microsoft already licenses technology to HTC, Samsung andother Android supporters, but the case against Motorola has The payout today is relatively minor in the grand scheme ofpotentially huge repercussions for the rest of the smartphone things, but it will likely put a smile on the faces of those whoindustry using Googles operating system, particularly since believe Rambus is abusing its extensive patent collection toGoogle bought the mobile division of Motorola earlier this secure lucrative licensing deals.year. AMD launching new A-seriesMicrosoft is attempting to get a sales ban put in place against a APUs for desktop and mobilenumber of infringing Motorola phones, including the Droid 2, Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-launching-new-a-series-apus-for-Droixd X and Backflip. However, Motorola could escape such desktop-and-mobile/14305.htmla ban by dropping the feature from its devices. 16
  18. 18. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-Zone MSI announces GT780DXDecember 22nd, 2011 gaming laptop Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/msi-announces-gt780dx-gaming-Not quite in time for the holiday shopping season, AMD has laptop/14304.htmlannounced that it will be launching no less than 13 new APUs, December 22nd, 2011of which five are new desktop models and the rest are mobile.Most of the new models are slight speed bumps, but the longawaited unlocked K SKU for desktop is finally here.Not quite in time for the holiday shopping season, AMD hasannounced that it will be launching no less than 13 new APUs, MSI has recently unveiled their new powerful gaming laptop,of which five are new desktop models and the rest are mobile. which comes in the form GT780DX. The gaming powerhouseMost of the new models are slight speed bumps, but the long claims to pack second generation Intel Core i7 quad coreawaited unlocked K SKU for desktop is finally here. processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 570M discrete graphics card with 3GB GDDR5 memory, as well as SteelSeries keyboardThe potentially two most interesting models for consumers and high-end Dynaudio and THX TruStudio Pro for superbon the desktop side are the A8-3870K and the A6-3670K, system, video and audio performance.both being the first multiplier unlocked APUs from AMD. Weshould point out that the GPU core is also unlocked on thesemodels and were of course looking at a pair of 100W TDPchips here. Neither apparently have a turbo frequency, so itsup to the user to overclock these two APUs if more than stockclock performance is wanted. These models will only be soldin retail box as far as we can tell.The other three desktop models, the A8-3820, A6-3620 andA4-3420 are all 100MHz speed bumps over the current modelsand nothing else appears to have changed. Much the sameapplies to the new mobile APUs, with the only exception beingthe A4-3305M which appears to only have a higher clocked The MSI GT780DX gaming laptop features the latest IntelGPU at 593MHz compared to 444MHz for the A4-3300M, Core i7 quad core processor and latest Nvidias top-endalthough for some reason it has a lower Radeon core (read GeForce GTX 570M discrete graphics card with 3GB GDDR5shader) count at 160 compared to 240, so its likely to have a memory, which boast superior gaming experience, even whenslower GPU regardless of the higher clock speed. running the latest games in high resolution and high detail settings. On top of that, the MSI gaming notebook also sports four DDR3 memory slots that can provide an unprecedented 32GB memory. It also comes with RAID 0 accelerated dual hard disk architecture which doubles hard disk storage capacity, while increasing read-write speed by 70%. Incorporating the companys proprietary Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) technology, just one touch of the luminescent Turbo hotkey located above the keyboard instantly revs up theAs for pricing, well, AMD didnt provide any, but the A8-3870K system performance. The GT780DX also features MSIs ownis meant to have an MSRP of US$135 and the A6-3670K should powerful Cooler Boost technology to rapidly reduce systemretail for around US$115. That said, both models are listed temp to enhance system stability. The GT780DX is equippedfor pre-order on Amazon where the A8-3870K is going for US with 17.3-inch full high definition display and comes with$160 and the A6-3670K for US$137 with a list price of US Cinema Pro technology for a rich, vibrant colors, as well as$149.99 for the A8-3870K and US$129.99 for the A6-3670K, high quality Dynaudio and THX TruStudio Pro to provideso in other words, both models are currently retailing for more crisp, and cinematic-quality audio. In addition, MSI hasthan the list price which is fairly unusual for processors. Both collaborated with gaming equipment manufacturer Steelseriesmodels are expected to arrive on the 26th of December, with to create a keyboard for the GT780DX that is rugged with LEDthe rest of the desktop line-up to follow. The mobile models backlighting. No word as to the pricing and availability for thisare already shipping in various notebook products. gaming monster at press time. 17
  19. 19. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneStarHub to offer free preview Chinese high end CPUs areof over 140 TV channels for now in the game - details: Partthe New Year 1Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/starhub-to-offer-free-preview-of- Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-high-end-cpus-are-now-in-the-over-140-tv-channels-for-the-new-year/14303.html game--details-part-1/14302.htmlDecember 22nd, 2011 December 22nd, 2011Good news to those of you who are staying at home thisfestive season, and has a StarHub cable TV box at home. Last weeks report on CPUs, mentioning the Chinese new-The Singapore info-communications provider is offering free generation entries, did raise some waves on various onlinepreviews of over 140 TV channels for customers and their forums. Heres a bit more on some of those processors.families. China has now officially gone deep into the core of high end computing, way to the deepest level - designing and manufacturing its own CPUs - to complete the whole vertical stack from the processor to the application. That includes having own designs covering everything from smartphone to supercomputer, based on three main architectural families: ARM, MIPS and Alpha. Our last weeks report, and its coverage of the Chinese CPUs, has sparked quite a few online comments on various forums, from those of encouragement and seeking more diversified CPU futures, to outright dismissal of these chips as copies or inferior designs, or not having, out of all things, X86 architecture - widely regarded as the worst ever CPUFrom 30 December 2011 (12pm) to 3 January 2012 (6am), architecture from a design point of view - as a proof of trueStarHub customers will have free access to over 140 capability.channels ranging from world news, Chinese infotainment,sports, movies to education, entertainment, kids, lifestyle and Well, lets take a look at the three chosen main architecturesinternational programmes. During this period, StarHub TV here. ARM, MIPS and Alpha are all native RISC architectureswill carry exclusive countdown events such as the Taipei 2012 - meaning simple, symmetric, orthogonal instruction sets withCountdown Party on TVBS Asia (StarHub TVChannel 828) only a few addressing modes and options, uniform instructionthat let viewers usher into the New Year. format and easy scalability to both wide cores, multi-cores and a range of speeds from low power to top performance,Other key highlights include Kim Jong-Il: The Forbidden with much lower gate count required than any X86. SinceBiography on HISTORY (StarHub TV Channel 501), Korean China doesnt want to depend on Western software stack forboy band 2AM Concert on E City (StarHub TV Channel its public and, especially, government use, it doesnt need to825), blockbuster movies such as Inception on HBO (StarHub rely on X86 as this architectures winning chip is softwareTV Channel 601) and Let The Bullets Fl on STAR Chinese compatibility with hundreds of thousands of past applications.Movies (StarHub TV Channel 866). Nickelodeon (StarHub TVChannel314) will also be featuring a Spongebob Squarepants So, why bother with the X86 complexities - both technical and48 hours Marathon Special for the young viewers. legal - then? The internal market is more than good enoughIn addition, all 32 channels on StarHub TV on Mobile will be to, coupled with Linux and other open source stacks, provideavailable to StarHub Mobile postpaid and prepaid customers. complete solutions and the volumes required to justify theseStarHub TV on Mobile customers with the supported handsets processors even commercially over long run.can simply sms <LIVETV> to 6757 for postpaid and <SHTV>to 6757 for prepaid to access the 32 free channels. Viewers can Talking about legality: No, these are not fakes or illegal copiesrefer to www.starhub.com/freepreview for more details. right now. The ARM and MIPS processors made in China are fully licensed by the relevant ARM and MIPS IP owningNote: The free preview is not extended to STAR Chinese consortia, while the Shenwei Alpha-compatible chip is basedMovies 2, STAR Chinese Movies HD, Cricket Group, RediGold, on Digital (DEC) IP that is well over 15 years old now - quiteHorse Racing Channel, On-Demand Channels and Video-On- ironic for a CPU that matches the best current X86 processorsDemand titles. based on 2010 IP and in 2 generations later process. MIPS - Dragons Progeny 18
  20. 20. December 22nd, 2011 Published by: VR-ZoneLoongson (Godson) is the name for the Chinese MIPS Be Quiet Straight Power E9processors, developed by Institute of Computing Technology CM 580W PSU Review(ICT) at Beijings Chinese Academy of Sciences, with Prof Hu Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/be-quiet-straight-power-e9-cm-580w-Weiwu being the design leader. Prof Hu also happens to be a psu-review/14301.htmldeputy at National Peoples Congress, which surely is helpful December 22nd, 2011in gaining support for the overall project. For the past 9 years,the effort is run as a joint venture between the governmentand private enterprises through a company called BLX, apartnership between CAS and Jiangsu Zhongyi Group.There were 3 major generations of these processors up to now,with the latest one - Loongson 3B - being an 8-core 1.05 GHz Be Quiet is company originating from Germany and forCPU, with each CPU having a 256-bit vector FP unit as well. the past several years has been creating computer relatedDespite the low clock and 65 nm process, the efficient 4-way products for enthusiasts. The company offers a very long list ofout-of-order cores and vector units with dual 256-bit FP ops products, yet their primary focus lies on high quality and silentper core per cycle, allow Loongson 3B to reach 16 GFLOPs power supply units. It is a power supply unit that we will put toper core at 1 GHz, some 130 GFLOPs peak FP rate in double the test today, the 580W version of the highly popular Straightprecision at 1.05 GHz clock. For a comparison, the 3.3GHz Power E9 CM series.Core i7 3960X with AVX would achieve some 160 GFLOPspeak in DP, while the Westmere (Core i7 990X) and BulldozerCPUs would be at not more than two-thirds of this - Core i7 Be Quiet is company originating from Germany and for990X is at 90 GFLOPs peak, and AMD FX8150 at some 110 the past several years has been creating computer relatedGFLOPs peak, all in DP. And, oh yes, the Loongson 3B achieves products for enthusiasts. The company offers a very long list ofthis performance at just 40 watts TDP, less than one third of products, yet their primary focus lies on high quality and silentthe above competing CPUs. power supply units. It is a power supply unit that we will put to the test today, the 580W version of the highly popular StraightSomething even more interesting is that Loongson 3B has Power E9 CM series.over 200 extra instructions in a separate box, which doesntaffect the main core integrity, that speed up execution of X86 Manufacturer features and specificationssoftware when using QEMU translator. The benefit of this, at a5% die area cost, is running lots of X86 software at near native · Extremely quiet operation thanks to SilentWingsspeeds - an approach that Alpha perfected over a decade ago Technologywith FX!32 software that enabled Alpha Windows NT to run · Extremely efficient and economical operation - 80PLUSmany X86 titles at the time at high speed. Gold certification for top efficiency of up to 93%.Anyway, since the core is reasonably efficient already, the · ErP ready. Stand-by energy consumption <0.3W.next step for Loongson 3 is a 16-core version in 28 nm · Active clamp + SR technology for highly efficient andprocess, expected sometime in min 2012. The minor core stable operation.improvements will be there in addition to a much higher clockrate, around 1.6 GHz, as well as larger L2 cache, greater than · Four independent 12V rails.the current 4 MB. The 2 x 64 KB per core L1 caches are · Modular cable management system with numerousexpected to stay on. connection options. · Maximum protection of components (OCP, OVP, UVP,What about the software? Several major Linux distros do run OPP, OTP and SCP).- including Debian, Gentoo, Mandriva and Chinas own RedFlag. The BSD OS ports are done quite a while ago, as well · 5 years manufacturer‘s warranty.as Windows CE port. Since there are quite a few consumer Continuous power (W) 580devices based on the previous Loongson / Godson processors, Peak power 500 ms (W) 650who knows, one day we may even see Android and Windows8 ports, although there doesnt seem to be much pressure felt Form factor ATX 12V ATX12V Version 2.31on the Chinese about it. Form factor EPS 12V EPS12V Version 2.92 Modular cable management YesIn the second part, we cover Alpha, ARM and Chinas own Special technology Active Clamp + SRinstruction set attempts. Voltage (Vac) 100 - 240 Frequency (Hz) 50 - 60 Input current (A) 8-5 PFC Active PF Power factor at 100% load 0.99 19