Digital Home Thoughts - News & Reviews for the Digital Home

Be sure to register in our forums and post your comments - we want to hear from you!

Zune Thoughts

Loading feed...

Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

All posts tagged "cpu"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Did Intel's QuickSync Technology Kill CUDA/APP?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 03:00 PM,2833-5.html

Take a look at that image above. It's from an article on Tom's Hardware that talks about how Intel's QuickSync technology - which is part of the Sandy Bridge platform - stacks up against GPU acceleration from NVIDIA's CUDA and AMD's APP (formerly Stream) technologies. The numbers above are simply shocking: GPU acceleration using CUDA or APP gives an almost 2x performance increase in HD video trascoding...yet, amazingly, Intel's QuickSync manages to get the same job done 5x faster than CUDA or APP. And let's be clear about something: it's able to do that with an integrated GPU that's part of the overall CPU, not with a beefy, power-sucking, loud graphics card that costs $300+. Read more...

Monday, January 31, 2011

AMD's 5 Watt CPU Wants to Be In Your Next Windows Tablet

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 10:53 PM

Engadget has a brief news item that says AMD has a 5 watt version of their Fusion APU (that's a CPU plus a GPU for those of you who haven't been paying attention lately) designed for x86 tablets. Meaning, tablets and slates running Windows. With Microsoft's move to port Windows to ARM, is AMD too late? I don't think so - there's a pressing need for low-power hardware to run Windows in a variety of form factors, and x86 compatibility it still critical for application use. What I haven't seen anyone do yet is do a power consumption comparison between AMD's new low-power APUs and the comparable offering from Intel in the form of an Atom CPU and an Intel HD GPU. I'd guess AMD would win that, but I'd like to know for sure. Anyone seen anything like that yet?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AMD's Llano APU Brings the Firepower

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 PM

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's true in sports, just as it is in technology. An accelerated processing unit (APU) is more than just a CPU + GPU. Much more. And, AMD Fusion is more than just a technology product supported by software and hardware vendors. AMD Fusion is about an entire ecosystem changing the computing landscape as we know it."

I've been hearing about AMD's combination CPU/GPU since mid 2008 and it's finally becoming a reality - well, sometime in 2011 at least. The performance looks impressive, so as long as the power consumption and heat are held in check, this could be an impressive piece of hardware.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Old And Busted Pentium 4 Tech Against New Hotness Atom CPUs

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM,2649.html

"Does it make more sense to purchase a cheap Atom-based computer or to recycle and/or continue to use an existing Pentium 4 machine? Both run at decent clock speeds and come with 512 KB of L2 cache. Both can be considered above average if you have modest performance expectations. And both have a comparable transistor count: 55 million for the Pentium 4 (based on the Northwood design) and 47 millions for the Atom 230."

I am sure that one can pick hairs about the differences between the two different CPUs and that the benchmarks Tom's Hardware has made do not mean much. I personally think they do. First, I'm surprised at how far we have come in that Intel has come out with a CPU that uses a fraction of the power of a Pentium 4, admittedly an easy task, but still give comparable performance at a low cost. Second, I do think it has shown how much computing has stagnated over the past 8 years. With the wide adoption of netbooks and to a lesser extent, nettops, they perform no better than 8 year old computers. It does say that we are probably entering an era of diminishing returns for computing, since netbooks seem to be just enough for a lot of people, but it also means that we have this lower barrier that will stick with us for years to come, possibly limiting what we can do with computers in the future. Of course, even then, I will not admit that I have one or two Pentium 4 computers still running. Anyone still using their old computers? Any problems in using them in the "modern" world?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New CPUs and Prices from Intel

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:30 PM

Alright, so I am a little late on this one, but Digitimes has some interesting rumours, and the one that really caught my eye was the i7-950 getting a huge discount. Makes me thinking whether it was just a slightly higher clocked but overpriced i7-930 to begin with.

There's also the hex core i7-970, but at that price of US$885 in bulk quantities, I think I'll keep my money thank you very much. As usual the highest end is low on value; stick to something like a quad core i7-860. Hit the link to find out more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

10 Things To Know About AMD's New Mobile Chips

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM,281...,2363660,00.asp

"It's no secret that AMD has fallen well behind Intel in the mobile CPU space, but the company intends to make up major ground by launching its first Phenom triple-core and quad-core processors for laptops. There will be new dual-core and single-core CPUs as well, continuing the Turion and Athlon brands, only they're followed by the number "II." Here are ten facts that you'll need to know about the new chips..."

I used to be a big fan of AMD CPUs, but over the past couple of years I've found myself scratching my head at their CPUs in the mobile space - it's like they don't quite get that power consumption is a critical component of mobile computing. Take the HP dv2 from early 2009 for example: a nice notebook by all accounts, but the dual-core AMD Neo CPU at 1.6 Ghz in it slurped down 18 watts of power. Read more...

Friday, April 2, 2010

HP and Dell Shifting Focus Away from 10 Inch Netbooks

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM

"Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell have both significantly reduced their investments in the 10-inch netbook segment, with HP reportedly even considering quitting the 10-inch netbook market and turning its focus to AMD-based 11.6-inch notebooks because profits from Intel Pine Trail-based netbooks have been lower than expected, according to sources from notebook makers."

I think 11.6 inch screens are more usable - 10 inch displays can be a little squinty for some, especially once you move beyond 1024 x 600 resolutions - but I do have to question the use of AMD CPUs. Based on my tests using Proshow Gold, the AMD Neo CPU at 1.6 Ghz renders 1080p video twice as fast as the 1.6 Ghz Intel Atom CPU...but the AMD Neo has two cores! That means the performance is in the same ballpark on a per-core basis. The real problem with the AMD Neo CPU is the power consumption; it uses 15 watts at full load, while the Intel Atom N450 shipping as part of the Pinetrail chipset today on netbooks consumes 5.5 watts. Even if you factor in the fact that the AMD CPU has two cores, it's still more power-hungry than the Intel Atom CPU. I have an HP dv2 and it has pretty bad battery life; the fan also never stops loudly spewing hot air. I just don't think AMD has the whole "low power CPU" thing figured out.

As a side note, does anyone have an answer for why the N450 CPU shipping on notebooks uses 5.5 watts while the Z530 in netbooks prior to 2010 used only 2 watts? I thought Pinetrail was all about power consumption savings...Intel more than doubled the power consumption of the Atom CPU, yet it benchmarks no faster. I wonder why the added power consumption was necessary?

UPDATE: This is one of the main reasons I like Twitter; people smarter than me teaching me things. The wise sbrown23 pointed out the following to me when I asked the above question about power consumption: "Pinetrail moved additional functions on-chip, so you may have increased CPU power usage, but lower total system power consumption...Big power killer in 1st gen Atom was the chipset & graphics, much of which is on chip now and much more efficient." And there you have it! That ends up making the AMD Neo chip look even worse though, because I believe the 15 watts is CPU-only, not any other parts of the chipset.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tom's Hardware Compares Four Quad-Core Architectures At 2.8 GHz

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 06:00 AM,2499.html

"AMD and Intel are relentless when it comes to diversifying their respective CPU portfolios across every possible corner of the processor market where someone might want to spend money. The good news is that these efforts give us lots of technology options across the entire price spectrum. But buyers who don't follow the daily cadence of processor development couldn't possibly know whether Core i7 or Core 2 Quad is the newer product, or how these compare to AMD's own line of obscurely-named models. In some ways, it doesn't matter which chips were launched most-recently. The more important consideration might be which processor offers the best total performance relative to its peers, and one of the best ways to judge this is with a shoot-out at a given clock rate."

If you're up to date on the performance merits of each major CPU type, this article won't be a shocker - but if you're not a hardcore CPU geek and are curious about where each of the major chips from Intel and AMD rank in relation to each other, this article is worth a read. I won't spoil the results for you, but it boils down to this: if performance matters to you more than money, buy an Intel chip. If the reverse is true, buy an AMD chip.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

AMD Comes Full Circle. CPUs are GPUs are CPUs.

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"AMD has announced the release of the first OpenCL SDK for x86 CPUs, and it will enable developers to target x86 processors with the kind of OpenCL code that's normally written for GPUs. In a way, this is a reverse of the normal "GPGPU" trend, in which programs that run on a CPU are modified to run in whole or in part on a GPU."

Parallel processing is a hot trend in computing. Taking advantage of the horsepower available in video cards has become more and more desirable, especially to accelerate media processing. Both NVidia and AMD have been working hard to provide a development platform that allows you to use their video cards for more than just pretty 3D graphics, but AMD has just taken it a step further, extending their platform to support x86 processors. The biggest benefit I see is it makes OpenCL much more universal, giving developers more incentive to use it. Those of us with the extra horsepower can then see a great boost in more programs, but those of us without will not be left behind.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tom's Hardware Revisits the Value of Multiple Cores

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM,2373.html

"A few months ago, we looked into the effectiveness of using different numbers of CPU cores with various types of software. We received a lot of good feedback from that article, and there were some interesting suggestions from the community that we've taken to heart in this follow-up."

A while back, Tom's Hardware did some tests to find out that most anyone stood to benefit from multi-core CPUs though those benefits diminished as the number of cores went past 3. In revisiting this issue, they've improved their testing methodology and found that not much has changed. The change from single to dual cores is quite dramatic and desirable, though for regular day to day use, triplets and more are not really that necessary. Of course, ethusiasts are we all are, it makes sense, but if you look at the netbook market, the majority of them are still single core workhorses, and many people are finding them adequate to the task. That realization has me believe that single core CPUs will still be around for quite some time to come, though they will be found with a lot of supplmentary horsepower to handle specialized tasks, like NVidia's ION, which handles video processing. I've only halfway migrated to multi-cores for all my home PCs and to be honest, I'm not seeing a huge benefit for my regular work. Anyone, who isn't doing video transcoding, gene manipulation or DDOSing Twitter, believe that multi-cores is absolutely necessary to daily computing? Why?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fastest Phenom CPU Yet: AMD Launches Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:11 PM

"AMD faithful and bargain hunters alike have a pair of new toys to play with starting today, as AMD launches two new processors for its socket AM3 platform, the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition and 945. Both parts boast compatibility with AM2+ (DDR2) and AM3 (DDR3) motherboards, while the Phenom II X4 955 BE supplants the AM2-based 940 as AMD's new flagship entry in its Phenom line. Coinciding with the launch, AMD has also overhauled its Dragon Platform Technology, saying "every aspect of the platform has been improved and the overall value is impressive." And we'd have to agree, considering both new chips are being priced below $250."

Things have been bumpy for AMD lately, but they're still in the game, and with the release of the 3.2 Ghz unlocked (meaning easily overclockable) Black Edition CPU at a street price of $245 USD, they're proving they've still got some fight left in them. This chip doesn't measure up to the Intel Core i7 mind you, but in this craptastic world economy, AMD seems to have the right idea: performance matters, but so does the cost of the parts.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maximum PC Examines the Legacy of x86

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 09:00 AM

"Invented by Intel in 1978, the x86 architecture has evolved through the ages, not only getting faster, but increasingly flexible as more and more extensions and instruction sets accompany each new release. It's been a wild ride the past 30 years, and whether you lived through it all or have only recently picked up your first processor, we invite you to join as we look back at not only the most popular x86 CPUs in its history, but ones you may never even have heard of."

Maximum PC takes a trip down memory lane to celebrate the 31st year of the x86 legacy. Despite competition from various other types of processors and its current battle against the ARM chip, x86 from the 8086 to the Core i7 has dominted the PC market. The look back on the history of this line covers the arms race between Intel, AMD and Via as well as some other notable events. I have to admit that I'm surprised that the Pentium-M was not touched on, which I consider to probably be one of the biggest turning points in recent history, especially for Intel. It's still good to get a get a sense of how we got where we are with PCs and for those of us who have lived through most or all of this legacy, it brings up some points of nostalgia. I for one miss the "Turbo" button.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Intel Core i7 CPU: Kicking Ass & Taking Names

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:40 PM

Every benchmark out there confirms it, but there's nothing like experiencing the results for yourself first-hand: a Dell Studio XPS computer equipped with a Core i7 CPU that I ordered a couple of weeks ago showed up a couple of days ago, and I immediately wanted to benchmark it to understand how in real-world scenarios it would provide a speed boost for the types of things I do, namely video and photo editing/encoding.

My current media editing rig is the one that I built back in September, based around a Shuttle SD39P2, and upgraded a bit since I wrote that article: a Core 2 Quad CPU (Q6600) overclocked to 2.8 Ghz and 4 GB of Kingston HyperX DDR2 RAM now power that system. Time to pit it against the new CPU from Intel: the Core i7. The Core i7 is a quad core CPU, but each core has hyperthreading enabled, so the right application can take advantage of up to eight threads of processing power. It also has 8 MB of cache, and is created with a 45nm process. The Core i7 is a truly next-gen processor - it's the "tock" of their tick-tock strategy for moving CPU technology forward and represents a significant leap forward form the 65nm Q6600 CPU I'm using now.

So how did I do a real-world benchmark on this beast of a processor? I installed ProShow Gold 4.0 because it scales really well to multiple processors. I loaded it up with 50 photos, and cranked out a 1080p (1920 x 1080) MPEG2 file with buttery-smooth transitions between each photo. I ran the same test on my Core 2 Quad CPU machine after down-clocking it to 2.67 Ghz, and compared the results...the Core i7 is one fast CPU! Read more...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ARM Poised To Join Netbook Craze

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 10:00 PM

"Freescale said Monday it would offer an ARM-based chip that could lead to a $200 Linux-based netbook, offering about twice the amount of usage on a single battery charge as Intel’s Atom processor allows. Freescale’s efforts are nothing new (only AMD has so far stayed above the netbook fray), but it did get me thinking about how Intel’s endless pushing of netbooks has, ironically, helped destroy the hegemony of x86 machines for personal computing."

Up until now, netbooks are powered by the x86 legacy. Gigaom notes that Freescale is looking to change that. I've seen hints of some manufacturers in China producing ARM based netbooks as well, this news might help push major manufacturers to join in. The lower power nature of ARM based CPUs is certainly welcome, I've yet to see any ARM based computing device provide a comparable browsing experience. This includes the iPhone, Nokia N810 and WinMo devices. The extra power that an x86 CPU uses, in the overall power consumption of a netbook, is more than offset by the speed at which it renders webpages. Still, I welcome the competition as I'm sure that ARM devices, netbooks or otherwise, will eventually catch up in speed to x86 netbooks.

Tags: gigaom, netbook, arm, x86, cpu

Featured Product

The Canon PowerShot S100 - The incredibly fun and small camera that offers you 12.1 megapixels with a bright f/2.0 lens and full 1080p video recording . MORE INFO

News Tip or Feedback?

Contact us

Thoughts Media Sites

Windows Phone Thoughts

Digital Home Thoughts

Zune Thoughts

Apple Thoughts

Laptop Thoughts

Android Thoughts

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...