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All posts tagged "intel"

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.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Lifehackers Beginners Guide To Overclocking Your Intel CPU

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 AM

"If you want to squeeze every last ounce of processing power out of your new computer or aging system, overclocking is a great-if slightly nerve-racking-option. Here are some simple guidelines for safely overclocking your CPU. Simply put, overclocking your CPU involves running your processor at a faster speed than was intended out of the box. While overclocking, at its core (no pun intended), can be quite simple, there's a bit more to it than just tweaking one setting. The main setting that determines your CPU speed (known as your Base Clock) also affects your RAM speed, so there's a bit of tweaking required to get the right balance. You'll also have to tweak a few voltage levels, because without enough power, the CPU can't run fast enough. However, higher voltage also means higher temperatures, so you need to be careful not to overheat your CPU, which can lower the life, not to mention fry it completely if you're not careful."

Photo by Blazor85

You have probably heard about overclocking and how you can increase the speed of your CPU by making some tweaks in the BIOS, but perhaps have never had the courage or knowledge to do it. Now you can, as Lifehacker have posted an indepth beginners guide to overclocking, covering everything from the terminology, explaining the concept, before finally showing you how to go about doing it. If you've ever been interested and have an intel i5 or i7 CPU, but were unsure how to do it, then this is the guide for you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hands-On With Intel's Canoe Lake Reference Design Platform

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:07 PM

"Intel Unveiled their new ‘Canoe Lake' platform for netbooks which allows devices to measure in at 14mm thick and be able to play 720p. We have already done our first hands on video, but we got to play around with it again and this time it was turned on. We got to see the windows rating, we can't tell you the number, but we think you'll be pleased. What you will get to see is the cores and how they perform when opening a few different tasks. A closer look at the Canoe Lake specifications Intel Atom N550, 2GB RAM, 120GB HDD and Windows 7 Ultimate. We are guessing a 44Whr battery right now."

Intel's Canoe Lake platform is a significant step forward for netbooks: a true dual-core design (not just hyperthreading like we've seen with current netbooks), and some impressive design integration that allows them to build a reference design that's quite thin. I really like the cut away at the bottom of the screen - hopefully that hump there is a sizable battery. This is exactly the kind of netbook I'd go for - quick all you OEMs, someone build it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Intel Wants You To Cut The Cord

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM,2607.html

"On one end of the connection, you have a notebook. That notebook sports an Arrandale-based processor (Wireless Display employs the integrated HD Graphics engine), a current-gen Centrino-branded wireless adapter, Intel’s My WiFi software pre-installed, and Windows 7. At the other end sits Netgear’s Push2TV adapter with an HDMI cable running to your TV. In between? Nothing but air."

Intel is promoting it's Wireless Display technology. What is it? It is a system that allows you to stream video from your computer, presumably a laptop, to a box that's attached to your TV. Seriously? I suppose it might have some value if the adapter was integrated into the TV itself, but since you still have to hook up a box to the TV, I wonder why it would not be better to hook up one of the billions of media players, many of which even have wireless adapters built in. Chances are it would even provide better quality video. I kind of see this as making the whole watching videos on your TV a bit more complicated than is necessary. Can anyone think of a use for this that is not better served through a dedicated device?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dual-core Atoms to Save the Netbook Industry

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"Otellini said that Intel was on track to introduce a dual-core Atom processor this quarter. He was vague on details, however, and did not specify whether the upcoming dual-core Atom would be for netbooks or small desktops. Intel already offers dual-core Atoms for entry-level desktops, and a dual-core chip could provide a much-needed speed boost to netbooks, which have been described as underperforming at times."

This is a bit confusing. There are dual-core Atoms out there, yet Intel believes that launching dual-core Atoms will help sales. Maybe they mean dual-core Atoms that have the same power and heat characteristics as single core Atoms. If that is the case, then that is exciting news! Of course, with Microsoft's restrictions on certain versions of Windows 7, the dual-core netbooks would be a bit more expensive, but they are already there! Netbooks certainly are "good enough" for a lot of tasks, but I welcome more power if it does not, or only marginally compromises its battery life and design. A dual-core Atom would go a long ways towards preventing netbooks from stuttering when a runaway process takes over. It looks like netbooks are not going gently into the good night!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Google and Intel To Bring Android To Your TV

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"Google, Intel, and Sony have apparently teamed up (and Logitech too) to develop an Android-based platform for interactive television... It's a space where techies dream, entrepreneurs try, and companies fail. The list of failed convergence companies is notably longer than the list of successes. It's a field where even Apple, the current king of the world when it comes to entertainment technology, can't get a reasonable foothold in the home."

Jeremy Toeman has some interesting things to say about the new Google initiative to bring Android to your TV. Given his experience he would seem to know what he is talking about. I agree with a lot of what he says. My Comcast DVR, while sometimes slow, is "good enough" to make spending hundreds of dollars to upgrade to a 3rd party box unappealing. Especially when considering the amount of trouble people have getting support for Cablecard from their providers. Also, I get a lot of the extras from using my son's Xbox360 to stream Netflix movies, show photos on the TV, play some music, etc. The key to this for Google seems to be getting the TV manufacturers to integrate it into the TVs. Sony seems to be onboard, but Panasonic and Samsung don't seem to interested. They claim that the Intel hardware to support Android would add to much cost to a TV set.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Core i3 and Athlon II, Where Value is King

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 PM

"For one, Clarkdale CPUs have proliferated everywhere, and we've gotten our hands on one model, the Core i3-530, that promises to be a much better value than the relatively high-end Core i5-661 that we first reviewed. To counter, AMD has introduced five new value-oriented CPUs, ranging from two cores to four, including the Athlon II X4 635, a potent value quad-core priced directly opposite the Core i3-530."

The two CPU giants are battling it out again, this time in the lower cost segment of the industry. Both CPUs run great, and each have their own advantages which highlight the recent trends each manufacturer has been following. AMD tends to favor great value and performance, while Intel offers better power consumption and overclocking. What is even more interesting is that The Tech Report was able to borrow a Pentium 4 computer from a museum to see how it would compare. The results reveal two interesting facts. First,per CPU performance has not significantly improved over the past few years and has instead improved speeds through more cores. Second, and perhaps more importantly, power consumption for work done has gone down considerably. This would certainly explain why I see so many aging computers around. They still have the oomph to handle all but the more demanding tasks. Now I do not feel so bad for gifting some of my older computers away! What are you using? The latest and greatest, or does your computer still have Turbo button?

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.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Intel Talks About CPUs for 2010

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 11:19 AM

"Intel has just concluded its first CES press event of 2010, dedicated to "announcing" the already well known Arrandale and Clarkdale CPUs. They will be part of Intel's planned 27 total SKUs coming in 2010, including four varieties of Core i3, eight Core i5s, and five Core i7 models. We were treated to a demo showing off a Core i5 laptop CPU running a 1080p video with another video stream overlaid on top of it with a measly 10% CPU usage."

Much of this leaked before CES, but there's still some good info to be had here. Highlights include an Intel wireless solution dubbed Centrino Ultimate-N 6300, which has three receive antennas and throughput of 450mbps, a Core i5 CPU that has two cores and four threads clocking in at 3.33 Ghz with a turbo boost up to 3.6 Ghz and a price tag of $196 USD. What's a bit surprising is that out of all the CPUs they announced, there's a lack of high-end CPUs...only the Core i7 860 is on the matrix with four cores and eight threads, and that's not a new CPU. Engadget mentions there's another Intel press conference tonight, so I expect that's where the high-end CPUs will get announced. We should be hearing about six-core i7 processors with twelve threads. Yowzers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Intel Says Netbooks Should Not Be So Powerful

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 06:30 AM

"NVIDIA’s ION platform combines an Atom processor with NVIDIA GeForce graphics. The result is a computer platform that gives you notebooks and desktops with low power processors and the ability to handle 1080p HD video playback, Blu-Ray decoding, and a fair amount of 3D graphics processing for modern video games."

So Intel considers the ION platform as too much for the netbook platform. This certainly explains the incremental improvements seen in PineTrail. One the one hand, one could argue that Intel is just protecting their more profitable streams with the CULV line of CPUs. After all, Intel is a business, and they like profits. However, the idea that Intel is telling what I, the customer, wants and being put into a particular cubbyhole just rubs me wrong. The concept of a small, lightweight, powerful, long lasting computer appeals to be for some reason, and I see the NVIDIA ION as a step in that direction. It is the march of progress. I remember over a decade ago, the equivalent of the netbook, while really expensive, were considerably slower. The NVIDIA ION is just pushing the limits to what will be considered normal in a couple of years.

Monday, December 21, 2009

PineTrail and the ASUS PC1005PE; Better, Faster, Sorta, Kinda

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"The Atom N450 processor has been launched today and it's comprised of a single core Atom chip with on-die graphics and memory controller. This level of integration, as we've shown you recently, is also coming to Intel's notebook platforms, but today Atom gets it first for netbooks. In the pages ahead we'll take a closer look at a new Eee PC from Asus with this new low-power Atom technology under its hood, as well as a view of the chip itself and its capabilities."

With the exception of ION, netbooks have been rather boring lately. All of them have a 8.9 inch to 10 11 12 inch screen, single core Atom CPU, HDD, webcam, WiFi and a base OS. While PineTrail will not revolutionize anything, it will raise the minimum bar a little with slightly better CPU and GPU performance. You still will not be able to handle HD video, or play any current generation game, but it does run faster overall, and manages to do so while not really changing the power requirements, which means the netbooks of tomorrow will still be able to run for most of the day. Overall, I think its nice that Intel has updated the platform, but it is much ado about nothing, and NVidia's ION and ION2 stand to make much more of a difference in the netbook market.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Netbooks Continue Creeping Into Notebook Country

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:30 AM

"Netbook specs have been held in check by Microsoft and Intel's dizzying array of rules and restrictions for low-cost machines, but now that Windows 7 is out and Intel's getting ready to release the next generation of Atom chips it sounds like things are about to get slightly better."

Netbooks became an incredible explosion in the PC industry, with the wee machines flying off the shelves. Of course, customers soon realized that netbooks, while cheaper, were essentially castrated notebooks. Over time, this has improved, but only in small increments. When Intel starts pushing out its Pine Trail chips, that should change some more with some of the limits imposed on the netbook class being lifted. Of course, I would expect prices to go up a bit as well, which begs the question, is there really a line between netbooks and notebooks anymore?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is That a Mobile Core i7-920XM in Your Pocket...

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:30 AM,2443.html

"Thus, when you see a 130W desktop-class Core i7 (Bloomfield) CPU shoehorned into a laptop, you don’t expect much in the way of battery life (to be fair, Thomas got nearly an hour out of Eurocom’s D900F). That’s like trying to get a V8 under the hood of a Prius—totally defeats the point, even if there is a small contingent of folks who can actually put that self-contained horsepower to use."

It had to happen eventually. While there are companies who are more than willing to stuff a desktop CPU into a laptop sized casing, Intel has finally made a Core i7 CPU designed specifically for the mobile market. As with most high-end, eats Prime95 for breakfast, processors, the resulting laptops tend to be more transportable, then mobile. Tom's Hardware got their hands on a Eurocom Cougar, which features the Core i7-920XM and predictably, the 920XM does best the Core 2 Extreme QX9300 it is being compared to. Still, if one can hold out for just a few more months, Tom's notes that the next generation, Arrandale, should provide comparable oomph with much better mobility. Having a 17" behemoth myself, I can honestly see that Arrandale will be the CPU to keep an eye out for. Anyone waiting for a laptop to sport this powerhouse, or does mobility win out in your mobile choices?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Intel's Core Family is a Happy Family

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:30 AM,2410.html

"Of course, that’s only really funny for the folks who’ve already seen how the Lynnfield-based processors actually perform and know they’re not as anemic as an enthusiast might expect, given the fact that Intel is aggressively pursuing integration, aiming for a SoC-type design in the not-so-distant future. But Clarkdale is six months away, at least. Today is all about Lynnfield—the Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs for Intel’s LGA 1156 interface."

When Intel first came out with its Core i7 processors, they smacked all other CPUs around and cost enough to fund the American auto industry. It is now nearly a year later, and Intel has decided that mere mortals should now be able to have access to extreme computing power and have updated the Core i7 and introduced the Core i5 a more reasonably priced powerhouse. Tom's Hardware gives you the skinny, putting the new CPUs through the usual tests and noting the changes between generations and the improvements made such as on Turbo Boost. The takeaway from all this is that Intel is keeping busy trying to maintain its performance crown, but has made the mid-range pricing much more competitive. Whether you favour Intel or AMD, expect prices to be quite juicy in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Intel Transitions to 34nm Process on SSDs, Drops Prices

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"Intel Corporation is moving to a more advanced, 34- nanometer (nm) manufacturing process for its leading NAND flash-based Solid State Drive (SSD) products, which are an alternative to a computer's hard drive. The move to 34nm will help lower prices of the SSDs up to 60 percent for PC and laptop makers and consumers who buy them due to the reduced die size and advanced engineering design."

Good news all around - Intel, who makes some of the top-performing soild-state drives on the market today, is moving to a smaller manufacturing process. This has the effect of increasing yields, and thus prices drop. Capacities are still the same at 80 GB and 160 GB - I really thought we'd see a bump to 240 GB by now - but these new drives will have a 25 reduction in latency; an amazing 65 microseconds versus the 4000 microseconds on a typical hard drive. Better yet, write performance has increased twofold - and the last-gen drives had a blistering 250 MB/s read speed, so these should push 500 MB/s for read speeds. That's mind-blowing performance!

The price drop Intel quotes of 60% is a little far-fetched though - the price on NewEgg for the 160 GB X-25M is $629 USD, and Intel is quoting the price in a 1000-unit lot as $440 USD; that's a difference of 30%, so while it's a nice price drop, it's not quite as good as Intel is quoting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Intel Showcases TV Widgets

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"It is a massive effort, and it does appear to be helping drive a slow increase in Blu-ray sales. However, I remain largely unconvinced that Blu-ray is anything more, at least right now, than something folks occasionally use to showcase their wonderful new TVs. That could change, though. I just got a presentation from Intel's Digital Home group that suggests that by early next year, I may become a convert."

Rob Enderle laments the difficulties in using Blu-ray but his mind is opening to a new technology from Intel that might help boost Blu-ray player sales; TV Widgets. Unfortunately, I think that this may only serve to muddle the market further and create more frustration. First, TV Widgets do not address any of the problems that Enderle has from being able to play a full length Blu-ray on his laptop on battery power to the lack of manufacturer-sourced Blu-ray players integrated into cars. Second, while techno geeks may appreciate added functionality to Blu-ray players, exploiting the latent power within them, I tend to think that most people just want a simple device that plays movies. I could easily see more than one person getting confused and increasingly frustrated trying to add widgets, or get rid of them from his TV. Adding features is great, but we are still living in a world where user interfaces need a considerable amount of work first.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Intel Previews Upcoming Atom Developments

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 06:00 AM

"Intel renewed its netbook push Tuesday with the formal announcement of its next-generation Atom platform, codenamed Pine Trail. The details of Pine Trail, including the late 2009 launch date, had already been widely leaked, and today's disclosure provided little new information. But for those who haven't followed the Pineview leaks, I'll break down the details of what was announced."

Ars Technica provides a good glimpse on what we can expect from Intel in the netbook market over the coming months and to be honest, I have to say that I am disappointed. The changes Intel is making smells more of protecting their netbook marketshare instead of pushing for innovation. What really surprised me is how Intel is pricing their solution, making more powerful solutions such as the NVidia ION far more expensive. I was hoping that Intel would come up with something dazzling which would help shake up the netbook market, but now I think that the only netbooks I'll be considering or recommending for the next year will be those based on ION. While 3D performance is not required for most of what netbooks do now, I'm finding it becoming increasingly important. From casual games to Google Earth, the 3D boost is definately worth the extra power consumption.

Friday, May 8, 2009

How Many CPU Cores Are Enough?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:22 PM,2280.html

"In the early years of the new millennium, with CPU clock speeds finally accelerating past the 1 GHz mark, some folks (Ed.: including Intel itself) predicted that the company's new NetBurst architecture would reach speeds of 10 GHz in the future. PC enthusiasts looked forward to a new world where CPU clocks kept increasing at an accelerating pace. Need more power? Just add clock speed. Newton's apple inevitably fell soundly on the heads of those starry-eyed dreamers who looked to MHz as the easiest way to continue scaling PC performance. Physics doesn't allow for exponential increases in clock rate without exponential increases in heat, and there were a number of other challenges to consider, such as manufacturing technology. Indeed, the fastest commercial CPUs have been hovering between 3 GHz and 4 GHz for a number of years now."

This is a long-standing issue with me - the battle between CPU makers putting more cores on their CPUs and software developers trying (mostly in vain) to create software that can utilize those cores. The article itself breaks it all down quite nicely through a series of benchmarks, but here's the bottom line: if you know you'll be using software that can properly utilize four cores, such as video editing software, you'll see big performance gains from going with a quad-core CPU. On the other hand, if you're not using software that can use four cores, you'll get more speed for your dollar by going for a dual-core CPU - you'll typically get more Mhz on a dual-core for the money.

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.

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