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  1. 1. Personal Computer Club October 2005 Microtivities Newsletter Where to find… Topic Page Executive Committee Directory 1 Meeting Dates 2 President’s Message 2 Executive Committee Meeting Minutes 2 Internet Users 3 In the Public Domain 4 Note: Due to different printer setups the page numbers may not be exactly right. Top Executive Committee Directory Club Function Name Phone E-mail address President John Janes 651/483-1637 jjanes4@yahoo.com Vice-President Hank Kaszynski 612/822-8286 kazsr@pro-ns.net Secretary Jerry Paulson 952/888-2111 ghpaulson@qwest.net Treasurer Gary Hottman 651/493-1978 gary@Hottmancomputers.com Newsletter Editor Al Lloyd 952/546-2651 alang331@aol.com Retirees Interface John Janes 952/546-2651 jjanes4@yahoo.com Printer Ribbon Re-inker John Hunkins 952/956-5203 john.hunkins@gd-ais.com Membership/Publicity PublicityJim Schlaeppi 612/327-0090 dyboom@pro-ns.net General Dynamics Bob Bogott 952/921-6298 robert. bogott@gd-ais.com Technical Resource Maintenance Support Tuan Huynh 952/853-4050 tuan.huynh@ceridian.com Public Domain Writer Rich Radtke 952/854-6038 RERadtke@aol.com Member At-large John Malakowsky 952/445-1425 JolaineWellness@att.net Member At-large Vern Castle 952/881-4158 verncastle@juno.com TCPC Interface Ross Held 952/835-3704 RHELD83745@AOL.COM 1
  2. 2. Top Meeting Dates Monthly Club Meetings Executive Committee Meetings Generally held the 4th Monday of each month from 4 - Generally held the 1st Tuesday of each month from 6 p.m. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. @ Denny’s Restaurant - Watch for notice of meeting location 1200 W. 98th St., Bloomington, MN 55431 2005 Club Meeting 2005 Exec Comm October 24 November 1 November 28 December 6 Top President’s Message by John Janes Microtivities Web Site: www.microtivities.com This is a hard column to write at this time. If you look at the Executive Committee Meeting Minutes from October 4th you will see that the Executive Committee has voted to recommend to the club members that the club be dissolved. We will take a vote of the attendees at the October 24th main meeting to finalize the club future. I know many of you would like to see the club continue but no one is willing to take on the leadership of running the club in the future. It has been a lot of fun and a pleasure being president of the club for the past 15 years. The time has come for me to retire from the position and as a result others on the board have decided to also retire. While the club membership has continued to go down every year the attendance at the meeting has stayed pretty constant. If it wasn’t for your attendance at the meetings we would have looked at ending the club years ago. As you may recall it was discussed several years ago but it was decided to continue. In today’s world there are lots of alternatives for getting the information that is provided to the club. The Internet has definitely changed the way people look at technology and how they can find out information with a few keystrokes on one of the popular search engines. I would like to wish all of you the best in the future and if you have a question don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail. I look forward to seeing you at the next couple of monthly meetings. This month we are going to have Mike from National Camera back for a presentation. Next month we will have Ray Kleinow talking about Genealogy. Top Executive Committee Meeting Minutes – October 4, 2005 By Hank Kaszynski John Janes opened the meeting at approximately 11:45 A.M. CDT. Those in attendance were: Bob Bogott; Vern Castle; Ross Held; Gary Hottman; Tuan Huynh; John Janes; Hank Kaszynski; Al Lloyd; John Malakowsky; and Jim Schlaeppi. Meeting was held at DENNY”S Restaurant, 1200 W. 98th St., Bloomington, MN. Hank Kaszynski acted as secretary in the absence of Jerry Paulson. Reports: The minutes of the September meeting were approved. The Treasurer’s report was also approved. Membership reported registration at approximately 61 Registered Members. Program Planning: 2
  3. 3. October session: National Camera; November session: Genealogy. Old Business: Jim Schlaeppi reported that in polling the membership the search committee could not find anyone to assume leadership of the club. Consequently, the board will recommend, to the membership, that the club be dissolved as of the end of the year 2005. And, that those club funds remaining at the end of the year be transferred to the Ceridian Retiree Club. Suggestion was made that the Retiree Club be approached to sponsor Computer Seminars periodically. Jim to research this further. New Business: December 6th Executive meeting to be canceled. November 1st Executive meeting to be held at Houlihan’s Restaurants (66th and Lyndale, Bloomington, MN). November 28th meeting to include a $3.00 to $4.00 light luncheon, for those in attendance. Hank to make necessary arrangements. Future Meeting Topics: No future meetings, after the November 28th meeting, anticipated! Meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:55 P.M. CDT Newsletter and Label Deadline: October 17, 2005 Microtivities Meeting: October 28, 2005 Microtivities Executive Committee Meeting: November 1, 2005 Top Internet Users by John Janes I didn’t have time to put anything together for this column Note: Type the Web addresses exactly as shown. Not every Web address begins with “www”, and sometimes that final “/” is crucial. The site addresses listed above were all correct at the time the newsletter was published. Some links may get wrapped when you view them. I apologize if they don’t work when you try them. Top In the Public Domain By Rich Radtke RERadtke@aol.com I know you haven’t heard from me for a few months. I’ve been busy… among other things. One of the more notable things that happened to me in the recent past is a bout with a nasty bacterial infection, Bartonella helsenae, which is officially known as Cat Scratch Disease (CSD), but which is better known as Cat Scratch Fever (thanks to Ted Nugent’s song of the same name, back in 1977). Yes, I got it from a cat. I was “cat-sitting” for my son while he was on vacation. He had just moved into a new apartment before leaving on vacation, and had moved part of his stuff into the new apartment (on the second floor of a big house in south Minneapolis), and the two women who had previously occupied the apartment were still in the process of moving out and cleaning up. Someone left the back door of the apartment standing wide open, and one of his two cats scooted down the back stairway into the basement. (The other one was still curled up comfortably in its box in the apartment.) I looked in the basement for the runaway, but it was a big old basement, with four large rooms used for storing the apartments’ occupants’ excess belongings and other paraphernalia. And in the entire 3
  4. 4. basement there were only 2 60-watt lights that I could get turned on. And I saw no sign of the cat. (You try finding a black cat in a dark basement at night!) I left the back door to his apartment open, in case the wayward cat got hungry or thirsty. (Anyone getting into the apartment would have had to first get through the locked outside door.) I came back the next evening, and found that the missing cat had indeed returned to the apartment, but now the other cat, which I had hoped would stay in the apartment, had disappeared into the basement. I made sure the back apartment door was closed, making sure that the one cat that was in the apartment would have to stay here. I finally spied the gray cat in the basement, crouched down behind the chimney. There was no way that I could reach the cat, so I sat down on the floor, in sight of the cat, and proceeded to try to lure the cat out from his secure spot. I had brought some things that I thought might entice him, including some “kitty treats”, a can of meaty (and, hopefully, good-smelling) cat food, and a couple of his favorite toys. It was the scent of the cat food that finally drew him out, and as he sat there nervously eating it, I was stroking his back, trying to get him to relax, and to accept me as not being a danger to him. After about 15 minutes of this, I was finally reaching the point of getting my right hand underneath him, to lift him up and let him get used to being in my arms. Just as I was lifting him up, someone upstairs trompsed by overhead, wearing what must have been the biggest army boots he/she could find. Needless to say, the cat “went ballistic”, clawing and biting me in his efforts to get out of my grasp. I had numerous scratches, and one tooth puncture, on my right wrist, but I thought nothing of it. I had up grown up on a farm, and we always had 1 or 2 dogs, and a varying number of adult cats, ranging from 6 to 12 or more. They were a necessity for keeping the rodent population down on our grain farm (corn and soybeans). And I had been scratched or bitten by the cats hundreds of times. I left the cat in the basement and went home. I didn’t go back the next night. By about noon of the day after that, one spot where I had gotten scratched was red, a little bit swollen, and sensitive to the touch. By the next morning, the spot had grown to about 2”x3”, and was quite puffy and tender. I made an appointment at our clinic, and a doctor took a look at it, gave me a tetanus shot and another one of an antibiotic, and told me that if it got any larger, or sorer, or anything, to go into the emergency room. The next morning it looked about the same as the day before, but during the morning I watched the red area expand beyond the marked lines of the preceding day. By noon the area had reached about 4”x6”, so I left work and stopped at the clinic again. The triage nurse took a look at it and said “Emergency Room. Now.” So I drove to Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and went to the Emergency Room. I was given an IV of antibiotics, and my arm was splinted to limit its movement and the spread of the infection, and I was told to try to keep it above my heart as much as I could to keep the blood flowing as freely as possible through it. (I had an interesting time driving home from the hospital, trying to shift my 5-speed manual transmission with my right arm splinted from hand to upper arm.) Even with the beginning of treatment, the infection spread, down to my fingertips and up my arm nearly to my shoulder. During the following week I went to Urgent Care 3 times for more IVs, and paid 3 other visits to my doctor so he could check on the progress of things. In reading up on the condition, I found that if left untreated, it goes away by itself (in 3-5 months), during which time you maintain a low-grade fever and swollen, sensitive skin in the affected areas (my entire right arm). 38-40% of all cats carry the bacterium at some point in their lives, usually just a span of a month or two, and the disease is spread from cat to cat by fleas. The cats don’t get ill from it; they just pass it on. I missed that entire week of work, but I couldn’t really accomplish much on the 3 PCs that I was in the process of building or upgrading at home. I found that the easiest way to keep my arm above my heart was to sit on our couch, and rest my arm on the seatback. The one thing that I did accomplish that week was a lot of reading, finishing 3 novels totaling over 1000 pages. Then I had to go back to work and make up for having missed an entire week on 3 different projects. The Top 500 Supercomputer List (www.top500.org) The list hasn’t changed since June 24, 2005, but I found a few things that I thought you might be interested in. I had downloaded a list of all 500 entries on the list, but after a while, they all start looking the same. I’m a statistics freak, and I like to take a mass of data and derive all the pertinent information that I can from it. You know, things like summaries by CPU type, by manufacturer, by country, by anything you can think of. Lo and behold, there is a spot on the website (www.top500.org/sublist/stats) where you can get all of that information, and more. It lets you summarize the top 500 supercomputer installations by any of the following fields: 4
  5. 5. Architecture Type (Cluster, Constellation, or Massively Parallel Processing) Processor Generation (Pentium Pro, Pentium 4, Pentium 4 Xeon, Xeon EM64T, Opteron, PowerPC, PowerPC 440, etc.) Interconnect Family (Gigabit Ethernet, Myrinet, NUMA Link, etc.) Processor Family (Intel, AMD, Power, PowerPC, Cray, NEC, Alpha, etc.) Processor Architecture (Scalar or Vector) Manufacturer (23 manufacturers, from Angstrom to Visual Technology) Installation Type (Academic, Government, Industry, etc.) Producer Regions (North America, East Asia, Global – rest of the world) Geographical Regions (Sub-continent where system is located – 14 areas) Countries (Country where system is located – 30 of them) Continents (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania) System Family (Manufacturer and line of computer – 29 different) System Model (Manufacturer, line, and model – 69 different) You may assume that the U.S. has the largest number of supercomputer installations, but what country comes in second? (Germany) What manufacturer has the largest number of installations? (IBM, with 259) And so on. The fastest supercomputer in the world is still the IBM BlueGene/L system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA. It is run by the University of California for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). It is composed of 65,536 PowerPC 440 CPUs, each running at a lowly 700 MHz. It can process data at 136.8 teraflops (136.8 trillion floating point operations per second). It is currently being expanded, and is expected to hit double that number by the end of the year. If you enjoy statistics as much as I do, you’ll enjoy wading through all of the data available at your fingertips. What’s Next in the World of Supercomputers? The next milestone in supercomputers is the magical 1,000 teraflops mark (or 1 petaflop; 1 quadrillion floating point operations per second). There are plenty of countries (and companies) that would like to achieve this goal, but you might be surprised at the most outspoken of them: China. Earlier this year the Chinese company Lenovo purchased IBM’s personal computing division, making it the third largest PC manufacturer in the world (after HP/Compaq and Dell). And now China has declared that it will have the fastest computer in the world, one running at 1,000 teraflops, by the year 2010. Lenovo had previously built the DeepComp 3800 supercomputer, which was briefly the fastest supercomputer in China, with a performance of 4 TFlops. This was followed up by the DeepComp 6800, performing at 4.193 TFlops, and which is still ranked as #72 on the Top500 list. (It was #14 when it was first built, in 2003.) DeepComp 3800 is now being used for complex weather and environmental modeling in support of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Sun / Google “Strategic Relationship” Earlier this month (10/4/05) Sun and Google announced a collaborative alliance between the two companies. Sun’s Java is one of the most important facets of the Internet, being used in thousands and thousands of websites and applications and everything else on the ‘net. Downloads of Java (runtime packages and development packages) have reached 20 million per month, double what it was a year ago. Google, as well, is pioneering new applications and services, and I think the two companies complement each other very well. They each can use what the other company offers. Google has recently announced the new Google Toolbar, which when downloaded and installed, integrates its toolbar into Internet Explorer, and offers the powers of the Google search engine right from the browser, as well as an integrated spell checker, text translator (in 34 languages), and an Autolink function which turns a street address into a link to an online map. As part of the collaboration between the two companies, the Google Toolbar is now bundled with Java, so they can be downloaded together. Another expected, but as yet unannounced, cooperative effort has been nicknamed “GoogleOffice”, and is thought to be light-weight, fast, cheap, web-based version of Sun’s StarOffice. Its target is not necessarily Microsoft Office, but rather the growing collection of MSN services, which will soon be adding a “Kahuna” upgrade to Hotmail and an as- yet-unannounced SMB (small to medium business) collaboration bundle. 5
  6. 6. Keep an eye on these two… they might surprise you. AMD Files Antitrust Suit Against Intel Back in June, AMD filed an antitrust suit against chipmaker giant Intel, accusing it of maintaining its monopoly in the PC processor market by illegally coercing customers around the world into using its products. The suit identifies 38 companies on 3 continents that were allegedly coerced by Intel, ranging from large-scale computer makers to small system builders, wholesale distributors, and retailers. The suit alleges that Intel used illegal subsidies to win sales, and at times threatened companies with “severe consequences” if they used or sold AMD products. In March of this year, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission found Intel guilty of abusing its monopoly power to exclude fair and open competition in the Japanese microprocessor market. Intel’s Japanese subsidiary, though disagreeing with the finding, agreed to refrain from several types of business practices. The European Commission is also investigating Intel for possible antitrust violations, and has been in communication with Japanese authorities. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Intel in 1998, though the charges were a bit different. The FTC accused Intel of using its market dominance to coerce trade secrets from some of its customers. The FTC said that Intel threatened to withhold information about future chip from three vendors: Digital Equipment, Compaq Computer (now part of HP), and Intergraph, unless those companies agreed not to sue Intel over any potential patent violations. The FTC said that such strong-arm tactics were illegal when used by a company as dominant as Intel AMD’s suit lists several examples of Intel’s abuse of its dominant market position:  One example claims that Intel forced several major customers, such as Dell, Gateway, Sony, and Hitachi, into exclusive deals in return for outright cash payments, discriminatory pricing, or marketing subsidies.  Another example details the situation with the European joint venture of Fujitsu Siemens Computers, which had been a major customer of AMD’s components, which powered over 30 percent of Fujitsu Siemens’ PCs produced. In early 2003, Intel offered Fujitsu Siemens a “special discount” on its Celeron processors. Fujitsu Siemens accepted the offer, and in exchange hid its AMD computers on its website and removed all references to the systems from its retail catalog. Fujitsu Siemens is also among the companies that reported being intimidated from participating in the Opteron 64 launch in 2003. (Others include the Taiwanese companies Micro-Star International, Atipa Technologies, and Solectron.) Intel representatives told Fujitsu Siemens’ executives in the weeks preceding the Opteron launch that if they attended, they would be the only tier-one computer maker there, because all of the others would back out. (IBM was the only tier-one manufacturer to attend the launch.)  IBM was an ongoing target of “Intel’s relentless campaign to undermine marketing efforts by its one remaining competitor.” Big Blue had to pull its AMD-powered computers from the 2004 Palisades eServer and PC Show, citing a contractual agreement with Intel prohibiting IBM from endorsing products from competing manufacturers.  At the 2004 Super Computing Show, annual conference devoted to high-performance computers, Intel offered two computer makers money to remove the AMD systems from their booths.  AMD has been completely locked out of MediaMarkt, Europe’s largest computer retailer, which accounts for 35 percent of computer sales in Germany. Intel provides MediaMarkt from $15 to $20 million annually in “market development funds”. With such incentive, MediaMarkt has sold Intel computers exclusively since 1997. Want to see more? Check the full text of AMD’s complaint at: http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/DownloadableAssets/AMD-Intel_Full_Complaint.pdf. Just a couple of weeks ago (Oct. 6) AMD subpoenaed 15 computer makers and 12 distributors and retailers that AMD believes may possess information that would give evidence of Intel’s unethical business practices. The companies include: Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Gateway, Sun, Fujitsu, NEC, Tech Data, and Best Buy. There are no charges being brought against any of these companies. They are just being asked to show they, too, are victims of Intel’s wrongdoing. Intel has responded that the discounts it offers to PC makers were designed to lock out AMD from top PC makers, and that such price cutting is “the essence of competition”, and not a violation of law. 6
  7. 7. The lawsuit is not expected to come to trial until 2007. Microsoft Changes Its Tune For years now, Microsoft has steadfastly insisted that Microsoft Office will use only Microsoft’s proprietary document formats: .DOC for text documents, .XLS for spreadsheet files, etc. Microsoft has now disclosed that the next version Microsoft Office, version 12, which will be out sometime next year, will include the capability of creating .PDF files, the ubiquitous file format introduced by Adobe Systems as a part of its Adobe Acrobat program and its associated file reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader. Office 12 will create .PDF files that are compatible with version 1.4 of the public Adobe PDF specification. This is quite a turnaround for Microsoft, which has adamantly stated that it would never use a public or open-source data format. But Office’s competitors, such as Corel WordPerfect, Sun’s StarOffice, and the open-source OpenOffice, all provide the .PDF file capability, and Microsoft doesn’t want too many defections to other products simply to gain .PDF capability. Rob Helm, director of research at Directions on Microsoft, offered his evaluation of the unexpected move. “I am surprised by this move. It seems to strengthen the role of PDF as a neutral document format, and weaken the role of the binary Office formats. The Office team must have concluded that the binary Office formats have already been fatally weakened.” StarOffice 8 from Sun is considered to be the biggest threat to Office’s hegemony. In a business or corporate environment it can be installed for $70 per single copy, or $100 per system in the enterprise edition, which includes document and macro migration tools. Either price compares very favorably with Office’s Professional Edition, which retails for nearly $500. For companies wanting to save even more money, the open-source version of StarOffice, OpenOffice, can be downloaded and installed for free. (See notice below on the latest version of OpenOffice.) New Improved OpenOffice While previous versions of the free, open-source office suite used a database component that was compatible with dBase 2 and 3 databases, and the .DBF data format, the latest revision of OpenOffice, version 2.0, will have a database manager that is compatible with Microsoft Access, making the entire suite compatible with Microsoft products: word processor, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, and now database. An OpenOffice manager said that the biggest complaint they had received about previous OpenOffice versions was that the database component was not Microsoft-compatible, and so the office suite was not completely Microsoft-compatible. That’s been remedied, and the newly-released OpenOffice v. 2.0 is ready to take on Microsoft Office. StarOffice and OpenOffice have been readied to tackle the corporate giant, Microsoft, whose office package runs on one platform: Windows. But as companies, schools, and countries move away from Windows as an operating system, StarOffice and OpenOffice will be ready and waiting, able to run on 8 different OSes, including Windows, Mac OS X, and a variety of Linux- and Solaris-based systems. Chip News Intel Announces Dual-Core Xeon To compete with AMD’s dual-core Opteron server CPUs, Intel worked overtime to develop the dual-core version of its powerhouse Xeon CPU, codenamed “Paxville”. The AMD dual-core Opteron was released last April, and since that time AMD has nearly doubled its share of the multi-processor server market. Intel had originally said that the dual-core Xeon wouldn’t be available until 2006. But past experience has shown that just because Intel announces a new CPU, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be available in any significant quantities. Intel Producing Cheap Pentium 4s Intel is quietly offering a low-end Pentium 4 model to a number of large PC manufacturers. The chip, model 516, is actually closer to the Celeron processor, in that it lacks Hyper-Threading and has half as much Level 2 (L2) cache as the regular Pentium 4 chips. The Intel website has added a new CPU category to its list of available processors. It used to list Pentium 4 and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. It has now moved the previous Pentium 4 models into a category named “Pentium 4 Processor supporting Hyper-Threading Technology” and now has a category for “Pentium 4 Processor”, containing the neutered Pentium 4 models. And this is not the first such “dumbed-down” Pentium 4 that they’ve offered. So when a PC manufacturer boasts that its PCs have Pentium 4 processors, that 7
  8. 8. won’t mean as much as it used to. Intel is just hoping that people won’t find out. AMD Opens New Fabrication Plant in Dresden, Germany AMD has opened the doors to a new semiconductor fabrication facility, dubbed Fab 36, in Dresden, Germany, right next to its Fab 30, which was built 6 years ago. The Fab number comes from the number of years of AMD’s existence: AMD has been around for 36 years, whereas 6 years ago it had only been around for 30 years. (Trust me on the math…) The announcement of the fab came in November of 2003, and ground was broken for it at the end of that month. After 12 months the structure was ready for equipment, and 12 months after that it is now ready to begin mass production. It is currently equipped to create 90nm chips (where the traces used to create the circuitry measure 90 nanometers, or 90 billionths of a meter; over 25,000,000 traces could fit in 1 inch), and during the early part of 2006 part of its production facility will be updated to handle 65nm chip creation. At that time, the total facility development cost will have reached $2.5 billion. By the end of next year, the production capacity will have doubled that of Fab 30, or potentially 100 million chips per year. (Future improvements could allow the Fab to produce chips using 42nm technology, progressing down to 32nm.) The dies that are the core of a CPU are created on solid-state “wafers” measuring 300 mm in diameter. A single wafer can produce hundreds of CPU dies. When asked what the future of Fab 30 was, AMD officials said that it would continue to be used to create x86 chip dies, but in the future may be used to produce AMD chipsets, a market that the company had left to others (SiS, VIA, nVidia, et al.). AMD chose to locate this new facility in Dresden next to an existing facility to capitalize on the skilled workforce in the area, and also because the German government pledged subsidies totaling up to $500 million. At the grand opening of the plant, numerous dignitaries spoke, including German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who praised AMD for making such a large investment in this city located in the former East Germany. Dr. Hector Ruiz, the AMD CEO, said that the next production facility is targeted to begin construction in a 2008 timeframe. AMD, and much of the industry, feels that AMD is in an enviable position, having set the pace by creating the first 64- bit CPUs, as well as the first dual-core 64-bit CPUs. Everything Intel is doing is being done in “catch-up mode”. AMD / Intel CPU Power Usage Comparison Just about a year ago (October 14, 2004), Intel announced that it was abandoning its quest to produce a Pentium 4 CPU that would run at the magic speed of 4.0 GHz. The reason? The chip would be so hot that it would be very unstable (and probably wouldn’t last very long). And once again, AMD got the jump on Intel in producing more power-efficient chips. A look at the following charts (from www.anandtech.com) shows that the AMD 64-bit CPUs consume less energy (with a corresponding lower heat output) than do Intel 64-bit CPUs. At idle, the AMD CPUs use 12.54% less energy on average than the Intel CPUs do (104 watts vs. 119 watts), while at full load, AMD CPUs use 29.29% less energy than the Intel CPUs (148 watts vs. 210 watts). These numbers show 2 things: 1) at idle, the AMD CPUs consume less energy (and generate less heat) 2) at load, the AMD CPUs consume an even smaller percentage of energy (and generate even less heat) In other words, the AMD CPUs are more energy-efficient than Intel CPUs at idle speeds, and at full-load speeds, they’re even more energy-efficient Also, bear in mind, that while consuming less power than their Intel counterparts, AMD CPUs produce more computing power. I’d call that a pretty good one-two punch! And on top of that, they cost less! (A one-two-three punch! I can see why Intel might be concerned about AMD!) Here’s a summary of the charts: Idle CPU wattage comparison Power Load Power Idle to Load (watts) (watts) Increase 8
  9. 9. AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 86 114 32.56% Intel Pentium 4 3.4EE 100 187 87.00% AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 105 143 36.19% AMD Athlon 64 3400+ 106 157 48.11% AMD Athlon 64 3800+ 106 157 48.11% AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 106 147 38.68% AMD Athlon 64 4000+ 111 159 43.24% AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 111 162 45.95% Intel Pentium 4 630 (3.0 GHz) 115 202 75.65% Intel Pentium 4 640 (3.2 GHz) 115 208 80.87% Intel Pentium 4 650 (3.4 GHz) 115 213 85.22% Intel Pentium 4 660 (3.6 GHz) 115 218 89.57% Intel Pentium 4 570 (3.8 GHz) 118 226 91.53% Intel Pentium 4 530 (3.0 GHz) 122 195 59.84% Intel Pentium 4 550 (3.4 GHz) 124 207 66.94% Intel Pentium 4 560 (3.6 GHz) 124 210 69.35% Intel Pentium 4 3.73EE 146 233 59.59% AMD Average 104 148 42.13% Intel Average 119 210 75.80% Intel % over AMD 14.34% 41.41% AMD % under Intel 12.54% 29.29% 9
  10. 10. Intel Changing Design Emphasis to Power Efficiency In August, Intel announced that it is changing to a new processor architecture, as well as to a new measure of processor performance: performance per watt. Intel told of its plans to begin building multicore chips with a modified version of the circuitry used in the Pentium M (for Mobile) processor, sometime in 2006. The Pentium M processor was developed for use in notebook systems, and has a lower power usage to maximize a notebook’s battery power. (A Pentium M uses about ¼ as much power as a comparable Pentium 4 chip.) Intel’s first dual-core Pentium M, codenamed Yonah, will be used in Intel’s upcoming Napa notebook platform, due out in early 2006. Take a Yonah chip, add 64-bit addressing and Hyperthreading, and you’ll have Yonah’s successor, codenamed Merom, which will succeed Yonah in late 2006. Merom will arrive in notebooks in early 2007. Similar low-power chips, codenamed Conroe and Woodcrest, will later arrive for use in desktops and servers, respectively. In response to Intel’s announcement, Brent Kirby, product marketing manager for the Opteron chip at AMD, said, “We’ve got the best performance-per-watt story today.” The Opteron consumes a maximum of 95 watts, while the Intel Xeon consumes from 110 to 130 watts, depending on the exact model being used. Another feature of the Opteron is the built-in memory controller, which is built into the north bridge for Intel systems, and which is documented as consuming 22 watts. Thus a typical dual-processor Opteron server would use 52 to 92 fewer watts than a comparable dual-processor Xeon server. If the difference were 52 watts, AMD estimated that a data center with 500 AMD servers would spend $50,000 less per year in electricity costs (at $.10 per kilowatt-hour) and cooling costs (unspecified amounts) compared to 500 comparable servers using Intel components. If the difference were 92 watts, the savings would be even more significant. DARPA Grand Challenge Last year was the first year for the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand Challenge. The challenge was to create an autonomous (self-driven) unmanned vehicle that could finish a course of 125-150 miles via roads and cross-country. The prize? $1,000,000! Last year the event was held in March, and the course consisted of a 142-mile route starting in Barstow, California, and ending in Primm, Nevada. There were initially 86 entrants for the competition, which was narrowed down to 25 teams for the initial qualification stage. The top 15 vehicles were selected to compete in the grand finale, the 142- 10
  11. 11. mile trip. But there was no winner. The farthest any of the teams was able to go was 7.4 miles. Here is a description of this year’s event, taken from the website at http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/: DARPA Grand Challenge Created in response to a Congressional and DoD mandate, DARPA Grand Challenge is a field test intended to accelerate research and development in autonomous ground vehicles that will help save American lives on the battlefield. The Grand Challenge brings together individuals and organizations from industry, the R&D community, government, the armed services, academia, students, backyard inventors, and automotive enthusiasts in the pursuit of a technological challenge. This year the prize was increased to $2 million. The first round of qualification ran from Sept. 28 until Oct. 6, with the final competition starting on Oct. 8 and continuing through Oct, 10. Forty-three teams went into the qualification round, and 23 of them were selected for the final competition. The final course, announced just before the start of the race, was a 131.2-mile loop in the Mojave Desert, starting and ending in Primm, Nevada. Last year the competition was spread out over several days, as none of the vehicles was able to make much progress on the course. This year, the contest spanned 3 days, to be able to give a comfortable time margin between each vehicle’s start, so that the vehicles would be trying to cross the same terrain, though at different times, rather than having them get in each other’s way. The winning vehicle crossed the finish line in 6 hours and 53 minutes. There were 5 teams that completed the course, 4 of them under the 10-hour limit. The Stanford Racing Team and its vehicle, Stanley, a diesel-powered Volkswagen Touareg with full skid plates and a reinforced front bumper, took home the $2 million check to help them on their way for the next competition. The five vehicles that completed the course were: Stanford Racing Team “Stanley” Stanford University 6 hours 53 minutes San Francisco, CA Red Team “Sandstorm” Carnegie-Mellon Univ. 7 hours 4 minutes Pittsburgh, PA Red Team Too “H1ghlander” Carnegie-Mellon 7 hours 14 minutes Pittsburgh, PA Gray Team “KAT-5” Gray Insurance Co. 7 hours 30 minutes Metairie, LA Team Terramax “Terramax” Oshkosh Truck Co. 12 hours 51 minutes Oshkosh, WI The winning vehicle’s speed was 19.06 mph. Stanley’s “brain” consisted of 7 Pentium M computers, guided by GPS, a 6D0F inertial measurement unit, and wheel speed sensors. It is controlled by a Drive-by-Wire system developed by Volkswagen’s Electronic Research Lab. The team consisted of faculty and students from the Stanford School of Engineering, based in San Francisco, California. Sponsors of the team included: -- Volkswagen of America Electronic Research Lab -- Mohr Davidow Ventures -- Android -- Red Bull -- Intel -- Honeywell -- Tyzx, Inc. -- Coverity, Inc. The winning “Stanley” of Stanford University – Volkswagen Touareg 11
  12. 12. Red Team “Sandstorm” – 2nd place Red Team Too “H1ghlander” – 3rd place 1986 HHMWV Model 998 1991 Hummer H1 Gray Team “KAT-5” – 4th place Team Terramax “Terramax” – 5th place 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) Defense Truck For more information on the competition, you can go to: www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/ 12
  13. 13. or www.grandchallenge.org/ or www.darpagrandchallenge.com/ Everybody Wants a Piece of AOL Search giant Google and cable operator Comcast have teamed up and have approached Time-Warner, owner of America Online (AOL), wanting to buy a small stake in the Internet service. Of interest to them is AOL’s free web portal, and the services available there, that the two companies want to be able to provide to their users. AOL has in the past year added McAfee Viruscan availability and a spyware-scanning function. Of special interest to the Google/Comcast duo, though, is AOL’s video-on-demand service. The negotiations started last summer between Google and Time-Warner, and around the beginning of October Google approached Comcast to see if they would interested in joining in. Not to be outdone, Yahoo has also expressed interest in buying a stake in AOL. Yahoo feels the need to keep up with Google. Yahoo has already joined up with MSN, integrating their IM (instant messaging) functions, which had previously been comparable in capabilities, but which didn’t work together. Now, together they’re working to build the world’s large instant messaging community, comprising 275 million users. The only cloud over their cooperative effort is that fact that none of their members would still be able to send instant messages to the millions of AOL customers. Now if Yahoo could link up with AOL’s IM service, that would create a nearly-universal IM capability. Google and Froogle Google is up in arms over Richard Wolfe’s internet shopping site, Froogles.com, which he began in March of 2001. Google claims that Wolfe’s website name is too close to the name of their own online shopping service, named Froogle.com. An arbitration panel rejected Google’s challenge, stating that Wolfe’s Froogles.com started in March of 2001, while Froogle.com didn’t start until December of 2002. (It sounds like Wolfe could challenge Google’s use of the Froogle.com name. But he won’t, because he’s just a small businessman, and he’s already spent a lot of money on legal defense fees.) 13