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CPU & Motherboards

Quad-core Kentsfield planned for early 2007

Intel?s successor to Conroe, the quad-core Kentsfield will be available as early as January 2007. It will first show itself under the Extreme Edition brand name and filter down thereon after. Kentfield is essentially two 65nm Conroe?s on one chip. Intel?s P965, Q965 and G965 motherboards will be ?Kentsfield ready? but early 975X boards may not. You can find a pic of Kentfield at Dailytech. Let’s just hope software support ramps up?over the next 6-12 months so we can all enjoy the massive performance leaps.

Intel’s Pentium Extreme Edition 965 processor

What happens?when you pack a quad-SLI graphics subsystem, a Sound Blaster X-Fi audio processor, a physics acceleration chip, a RAID 10 disk array, four gigs of DDR2-1200 memory, and Intel’s next-generation dual-core processor into a single box with a 64-bit OS and fire up Unreal Engine 3? I have no idea, but to tide us over until that’s possible, today Intel is introducing a new speed grade of its top-end desktop CPU, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965. Reviews:- Tech Report- HotHardware- Hexus- Bit-Tech

Epox announce socket-AM2 based SLI & CrossFire boards

Dailytech have some details on some Epox AM2 based motherboards even though AMD is still yet to announce socket AM2 to the public. Epox have officially announced both nForce5 (MNf55P) and RD580 (MD580 XR-J) boards based around Socket-AM2. Both boards should appear around late April or may. Interestingly, there have been reports that socket AM2 with its DDR2 interface offers no performance benefits over DDR1 based s939. Check Anand’s blog published 6th March for details. Could it be down to an old revision of?CPU or should we brace ourselves for underwhelming performance from AM2? Here’s another article from the Inq publshed 3rd March claiming that AM2 offers a 10% clock for clock?performance increase. Who do we believe? I for one will not pass judgement until more evidence surfaces.

Intel Conroe benchmarks – MUCH faster than FX60

A few hardware sites who are attending IDF have managed to test out Intel’s new processor which is due out 3rd quarter – the dual core 65nm Conroe. Conroe was actually reported on in 2004 and is Intel’s next generation pentium M for desktops. Early reports are that this chip is going to blow AMD out of the water. Here’s just one of the benchmark numbers reported by Anandtech: F.E.A.R – 1280×1024, max effects, high quality. Conroe 2.66GHz -?186fps AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.8Ghz – 132fps That’s not just impressive, that’s damn right scary! The chip on test was a 2.66Ghz part. When Conroe is released the high end part is rumoured to run at 2.8-3GHz.

AMD announces three new dual-core AMD Opteron’s

Opteron’s are without doubt the best CPU’s to come from AMD since the Athlon XP bartons, and so it’s nice to hear that AMD have announced three new dual-core Opteron models today, though not all will be of interest to overclockers for obvious reasons.? The Opteron 885 is 2.6GHz per core, has 2x1MB?L2 cache with support for eight-way/16-core servers (i want one). The 285 has the same specification but supports?two-way/four-core systems. The interesting release is the socket 939 Opteron 185 for one-way/two-core servers. It’s pretty much identical to the FX60 (2.6GHz per core, 2x1MB L2 cache, 90nm SOI process) but will of course be priced?significantly lower. The 885 and 285 are available now, with the 185 expected in the next 30 days.

ATI Launches CrossFire Xpress 3200

As most of you will know, ATI today released RD580, now to be known as Xpress 3200. The board is set to give Nvida’s nForce4, and possibly even nForce 5 a serious hammering. The board offers 40 lanes of PCI express and is the first board to offer 2×16 PCI-Express slots on a single chip. Of course, the real exciting news is that this board was built from the ground up to be an enthusiasts dream,?and so it has some major overclocking features. I won’t go over the featureset in detail, instead here is?a roundup of reviews from our buddies: HardOCP Anandtech Motherboards.org Bit-tech

Asus A8R-MVP and X1900 Crossfire stability problems

The Inq’s Fuad Abazovic is reporting some major stability problems with the above setup. The problems include crashes in games and as testing pursued even 3D mark was a problem. Quote: "The only scenario where we almost got the machine stable was with a single memory module plugged inside. This will degrade your memory performance drastically but managed to get the system a little bit more stable." Looks to me to be a bios problem, but as noted in the article it could also be a power issue. If you’re thinking of getting this setup, think twice, at least for now…

AMD triples their contract with Soitec for 2006

CPU manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has renewed its silicon-on-insulator contract with Soitec for 2006. AMD uses Soitec’s wafers for its 90nm Athlon 64, Opteron, Turion and Sempron processors. The contract,?worth $150 million USD, is triple the size of AMD’s 2005 contract. Soitec is the SOI market leader?but has been facing a lawsuit from MEMC over the patent of its defect-free silicon, referred to as "Perfect Silicon". This could protentially cause complications to?AMD’s supply chain if Soitec fair badly, though a financial settlement is likley to be the worst case scenario.

Intel’s ‘CSI’ to outperform AMD’s Hypertransport

Intel’s CSI high-speed serial interconnect was first meant to appear in a Xeon chip code-named Whitefield. That processor, however, met an untimely death as Intel India mucked up the CSI implementation and forced Intel to rework its plans. As of last check, Intel will now introduce CSI in the Tukwila version of Itanium due out in 2008.

Intel Developing Ultra-Low Power 65 nm Process

Intel today announced it is developing an ultra-low profile 65 nm process that will enable production of very low power processors. The ultra-low power process will be Intel's second generation 65 nm process technology. The 65 nm process will provide obvious benefits over Intel?s current 90 nm manufacturing process like lower voltage requirements which equates to less heat and lower power consumption - the current buzz word of the moment.

One of the factors in decreasing chip power consumption, which is important to mobile and battery-operated devices, is improving the design of the transistor. Lost electricity leaking from these microscopic transistors, even when they are in their "off" state, is a problem that is a challenge for the entire industry

Intel to Release New Enthusiast Gear Soon

Intel isn’t done on this year’s high-end releases – there may be more gear to come! Secret sources at IDF have been talking about the company’s plans for the next three months. They have hinted that there will be a new Extreme Edition CPU coming in the next couple of months. Like the existing 840, it will be dual core with Hyper Threading. It will possibly sport a higher clock speed and more cache. Bit-Tech

Intel Reveals Details of New CPU Design

At 14 stages, the main pipeline will be a little bit longer than current Pentium M processors. The cores will be a wider, more parallel design capable of issuing, executing, and retiring four instructions at once. (Current x86 processors are generally three-issue.) The CPU will, of course, feature out-of-order instruction execution and will also have deeper buffers than current Intel processors. These design changes should give the new architecture significantly more performance per clock, and somewhat consequently, higher performance per watt. Tech Report

Intel to Move to Common CPU Architecture

IDF ? Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced today in his keynote address at the Intel Developer Forum that Intel will be moving its future CPUs to a common architecture. He said the architecture will incorporate the best of the current Netburst and mobile architectures, with a focus on delivering more performance per watt. The architecture will be used in mobile platforms (code-named Merom), desktops (Conroe), and servers (Woodcrest). This processor architecture will feature a range of next-generation Intel technologies, including 64-bit compatibility (EM64T), virtualization (VT), Intel’s LaGrande security features, and Intel Active Management Tech (iAMT). Tech Report

No More HyperThreading For Intel

Intel have stated that HT is not going to feature in their next architecture. This is a bit of a shock since they spent months messaging us that HT would be the most important move in microprocessor development, Intel have removed it (read – not included it) in their next generation processor. Hexus

AMD Challenges Intel to a Dual-Core Duel

AMD has proposed a live dual-core duel in 2005 against Intel. It will be?a public performance evaluation between server platforms based on the highest-performing Dual-Core AMD Opteron? 800 Series or 200 Series processors and the corresponding Intel x86 server processors that are commercially available in volume. Should Intel accept AMD’s challenge, the duel woul take place at a public venue, with testing conducted by a neutral third-party. Industry-standard server benchmarks would include SPECjbb and SPECweb, plus measurement of energy consumption by each corresponding server. It’s unlikely Intel will accept, however, as this AMD conjured marketing?ploy can only make Intel look bad. If Intel ignore this?challenge?it?will allow them to incurr mimimum damage. If they were to accept and loose, it would essentially make Intel look incredibly stupid to the mainstream public, and loose they no doubt will…

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