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Weekly hardware news [15-12-07]

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Posted December 15, 2007 by admin in Internet

Graphics Cards
Right on schedule, Nvidia has launched the 512MB 8800 GTS. “Despite the name being confusingly similar to the previous 8800 GTS 640MB, it’s based on the new GPU, is cheaper at launch and has 128 stream processors rather than 96.”

Nvidia is apparently in talks with foundry TSMC in order to ramp-up the G92 production. “In order for Nvidia to have smooth supply in the first quarter of 2008, the company’s wafer starts will need to be around 15% higher than the volume in the fourth quarter of this year.”

TechReport has published the third installment of the 8800 GT and Radeon HD 3870 availability check. “We saw fewer models in stock this week than last time: 15 in total, compared to 18 on December 6. The cheapest card is the XFX PVT88PYDQ4 on Newegg, which costs $269.99.”

Nvidia’s G80-powered graphics cards will reach EOL in January. “One thing is certain: G80-based cards are receiving the “End of Life” tag, and in January Nvidia plans to execute End of Life for 8800 Ultra, GTX, GTS640 and 320 cards. You served us well; you may rest in peace now.”

Some pictures of AMD’s RV635 powered HD 3650 have appeared online, again. “The PCB design is exactly the same with HD 2600XT in our hand. The difference is RV635 added on some more capacitors in the front, memory chips, and a 16pin connector at the back.”

Speaking of leaked pictures, a HD 3850 with GDDR4 memory (as opposed to GDDR3) has been pixelized. “This Unika HD 3850 512MB ?Infinity? version has a petty memory set: 8 FBGA packed Hynix 16Mx32bit 0.8 nano-second GDDR4.”

AMD’s Hybrid setup, which combines discrete and integrated graphics, has had a premature test run. “We saw a system up and running with an RS780 motherboard, a Radeon HD 3450, and a 2.2GHz Phenom 9500 processor… it was able to play Call of Duty 4 at over 30FPS at 1024×768 with just the IGP, and in Hybrid CrossFire mode performance jumped to over 50FPS.”

Some details of AMD’s Mobility Radeon HD 2700 have appeared online. “To run safely in thin-and-light notebooks, it will carry 120 shader processors versus the 320 of the desktop parts and a smaller 128-bit (versus 256-bit) bus. Clock speeds for the core and memory are likely to increase.”

AMD has announced that the R680 (dual RV670 board), RV620 and RV635 graphics cores will debut in January next year. “Representatives from AMD would not confirm that the R680 is essentially two RV670 GPU cores on the same board, though the company did confirm that each core has the same specifications of an RV670 processor.

CPU’s & Motherboards
According to CustomPC, Intel’s relatively unheard of P45 chipset will launch as early as January. “Intel is planning to introduce the new chipset in 2008, possibly as early as January, and the rumour is that it will basically be the same as the P35, but with a 1,600MHz front side bus.”

Joining the January launch pandemonium is reportedly AMD’s high-end RS780D and cheaper RS780C and RS740 chipsets. “RS780 motherboards will be priced around US$90-120, while RS740 motherboards will be priced around US$40-60.”

It appears IBM’s 32nm technology is on track for production in the second half of 2009. “The process uses a variant on the same high-k/metal gate technique that replaces some of the silicon in transistors with more efficient, cooler materials to pack more components into a single chip.”

Following on from the release of AMD’s 45nm Shanghai Opterons, the company plans on releasing their 8-core Montreal line-up sometime in 2009. “The 8-headed server beasts are codenamed ‘Montreal’ and will finally feature HyperTransport 3 and include 1MB of L2 cache per core and a shared L3 cache between 6 and 12MB.”

The release candidate for Vista’s first service pack is now available for public download. “Beware, though. This SP1 release candidate is intended for testing. Microsoft warns that it won’t provide support for it, and the company’s release notes mention some outstanding flaws.”

In a similar fashion, the release candidate for XP SP3 is also now available for download. “This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers experience with the operating system.”

Microsoft’s third surprise for us all is that Service Pack 1 for Office 2007 is completed, and now available. “The 2007 Microsoft Office suite Service Pack 1 (SP1) contains significant security improvements, stability improvements, and performance improvements.”

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