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Top 500 supercomputing list 2006, AMD dominates.

Arstechnica has a little summary on the top 500 supercomputing?list for 2006, which i thought would please the AMD fans out there. The new Top 500 supercomputer list is out, and it contains some interesting twists from the previous list. In particular, followers of the Intel vs. AMD wars will be interested to know that AMD continued to gain on Intel, with 113 systems now using the Opteron (vs. 80 in the June rankings). The number of Intel x86 systems dropped from 265 to 228, even though Woodcrest has already made its way into the list.

AMD’s 4×4 at least $1000

For?your one thousand dollars you will be able to buy two FX-72’s running at 2.6 GHz, which is a very good price point, but unfortunately there is no mention of? mainboard pricing, and considering its must be dual socket it’s surely an expensive omission to make. Technically 4×4 has always been an interesting idea with oodles of potential,?but?it’s first incarnation has?always looked like a severely untidy alternative to Kentsfield. AMD have claimed that 4×4 will be compatible out of the box with there upcoming quad-core chip (known as K8L to many). If this is true it does helps?it’s case, as in my personal opinion, 4×4 only looks like a serious solution when you can throw two quad-core chips in for octal power.? At a briefing in Munich late last week, AMD revealed that the 4×4 will start around $1,000 and will run on an NVIDIA chipset. A cool grand will get you two dual-core FX-70 processors, with the FX-72 and FX-74 costing a bit more. A fourth CPU, the FX-76, will appear during the second quarter of 2007. German site golem.de reports All four CPUs are 90nm parts with 2MB of L2 cache. The clock speed on the new CPUs will range from 2.6GHz on the FX-70 up to 3.2GHz on the FX-76.

AMD and chip shortages

This certainly makes for interesting reading. You may be aware that AMD are currently experiencing supply shortages. Stephen DiFranco, AMD’s Global Consumer Channel VP has talked back about this, claiming that supplying Dell isn’t the issue but rather "consumer demand is outrunning supply." When asked if AMD has any concerns that its users may choose Intel processors if supplies of AMD chips run dry, DiFranco responded, "We don’t expect our users to jump brand. Their loyalty comes from many years of dedication, and they’re a sophisticated group. We think they will stay loyal over the long term; they’re better served by sticking with AMD technology." Perhaps DiFranco should switch?to a position in AMD’s marketing department…

quad-core Kentsfield reviews

All the Kentsfield reviews available to drool over as the NDA lifted today. Kentsfield is Intel's new quad-core CPU, which is essentially two Conroe's slapped together in one package. While purists will no doubt turn there noses up at this route, true quad-core architecture will not be here until the middle of next year earliest, not to mention purists don't have girlfriends :)

More NVIDIA nForce 6 Details

Rumours of an nForce 6 series chipset flooded the net a few months back followed by some harder details a few week back, but until now the information doing the rounds didn’t really address the issues?surrounding the original Intel 590 SLI and its limited FSB issue. But finally we have some chunky details on the nForce 6 series. The 680i (590 SLI replacement) will oficially support a 1333 MHz FSB. NVIDIA has remedied this situation and the nForce 680i SLI will officially support a 1333 MHz front-side bus. Whether or not this will support Intel?s upcoming Conroe 1333 MHz front-side bus refresh is unknown. Nevertheless, the supported 1333 MHz front-side bus will allow overclockers greater headroom with current overclocking friendly Core 2 Duo processors. NVIDIA has improved the dual-channel memory controller as well. The nForce 680i SLI?s memory controller now has memory dividers capable of support DDR2-1200 memory. Also supported is NVIDIA?s SLI-Ready memory with Enhanced Performance Profiles. Graphics expansion will be a key point of nForce 680i SLI motherboards. In addition to the two full-speed PCI Express x16 slots, nForce 680i SLI motherboards will have a third PCI Express slot for NVIDIA?s unannounced three-GPU applications. This will most likely be a form of HavokFX SLI physics processing to counter ATI?s upcoming triple-play physics processing. The third slot will electrically have eight lanes routed to it.

New Conroe’s for 2007

There are a few new Core 2 Duo's coming in 2007 around the same time as the bearlake chipset from Intel.

Intel Quad-core ‘Kentsfield’ Prices revealed

According to sources at Taiwan motherboard makers who are familiar with Intel’s latest roadmap, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700, Intel?s first quad-core processor, will sell for US$999 in 1000 unit quantities. As prices for both the QX6700 and Q6600 are too high, it will prevent the quad-core CPUs from gaining popularity, stated the sources. According to Intel’s roadmap, quad-core processors will only account for 3% of the company’s total desktop CPU shipments within one year following the launch, the sources indicated.

Intel Bearlake details: P965 and 975X replacements

Dailytech (who else?) has details on Intel upcoming Bearlake chipsets. These will replace Intels the P965 and 975X boards and have support for PCI-e 2.0, DDR3 and on the 975X replacements, two full speed PCI-e x16 slots. Expect these Q3 2007. Intel?s upcoming X38 Express chipset is expected to replace the current Intel 975X Express chipset. The X38 Express brings new features such as PCI Express 2.0 compatibility as well as two full speed PCI Express x16 slots. DDR3 1333 will be the memory standard of choice. On the premium and mainstream side of things is Intel?s G33, G35 and P35 Express chipsets. Intel?s upcoming G33 Express chipset will feature a graphics core that features Intel Clear Video Technology. Memory support on G33 Express will be limited to DDR3-1066 or DDR2-800. Front-side bus speeds of 1333 MHz are supported with the mainstream G33 Express. Stepping up a notch is the G35 Express which features a DirectX 10 compatible graphics core. G35 Express will fully support high definition content playback with HDCP protection. DDR3-1066, DDR2-800 and a 1333 MHz front-side bus are also supported. Intel?s P35 Express will be similar to G35 Express except with the integrated graphics core removed. Intel?s X38, G33, G35 and P35 will be paired with upcoming ICH9, ICH9R and ICH9DH south bridges.

nForce 650i SLI and 680i SLI for Intel

Because of FSB issues surrounding the nForce 5 series for Intel, Nvidia have gone back and revised the boards. I’m not entirely sure what’s changed here, perhaps someone can comment on this and tell me whats going on? NVIDIA’s new nForce 650i SLI and 680i SLI aren’t exactly new per se but rather a quasi-re-branding of the previously released nForce 570 SLI and 590 SLI Intel Editions. The new nForce 650i SLI SPP pairs with an nForce 430 SLI MCP to provide a total of 29 PCI Express lanes. In SLI mode the nForce 650i SLI delivers two half-speed PCI Express x16 slots. NVIDIA’s nForce 680i SLI is essentially a revised nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition. Manufacturers were reluctant to adopt the nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition due to front-side bus scaling issues. Nevertheless the C55 nForce 680i SLI is paired with the nForce 590 SLI MCP a total of 48 PCI Express lanes. As with the nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition, the nForce 680i SLI supports two full-speed PCI Express x16 slots. The C55 are essentially C19 chips with updated memory controllers.

Latest AMD roadmap and 4×4

AMD’s Sept 20006 roadmap AMD’s latest roadmap shows a few additions starting in Q4’06. First off, AMD’s 4×4 platform is arriving in November on socket F no less, not AM2. Those tasty new FX processors, the FX-70 (2.6GHz), FX-72 (2.8GHz), and FX-74 (3.0GHz), are all socket F based only. Still no word on processor support for 4×4 motherboard, but if it’s only the FX series it’s going to be an ultra expensive endeavour. Moving to the mainstream socket AM2, Q4’06 brings three new X2’s to the table. In the 5600+ (2.8 GHz) and 6000+ (3.0 GHz) we finally?see 2x1MB L2 cache chips for AM2, and it’s about bloody time. The 5400+ is clocked identically to the 5600+ but only has 2x512KB L2 cache. There are a few 65nm processors due in Q1’07, so jump on over to dailytech for more details.

Core 2 Duo sales low

The Inq has an interesting blurb regarding Core 2 Duo availability. It goes on to prove its point by showing New Egg and Tiger Directs top 10 sales list for processors with AMD holding most places. When Newegg’s top ten seller page was configured to show just processors, eight were from AMD. The two Intel offerings were Core 2 Duo chips – the 2MB devices, which were placed at eighth and ninth positions. The other three Core 2 Duo chips that Newegg sells are 4MB endowed, which start in price from $370 to over a thousand dollars. So those won’t make an appearance on Newegg’s top ten seller page anytime soon, as the most expensive chip on that list is $299. Intel’s limited Core 2 offerings and its inability to get that product to where it’s needed may give AMD a window of opportunity to reap fiscally before the Core 2 Duo becomes more generally available. We all know that Core 2 Duo is better, and we know that if availability wasn’t a problem AMD wouldn’t hold so many top spots with its A64 processors. But is AMD shifting more stock because of Intel?s availability problem? I very much doubt it. All that’s happening here is AMD are selling to those who would buy there products regardless of Core 2 duo availability. My guess is that AMD sales have already been hit with many consumers waiting on the sideline for that E6700 "now in stock" button to light up green.

K8L slides and details

The Inq has a peice covering HardOCP’s coverage of K8L and it’s independant clock frequency generator per core. I remember covering this back in June, oh well. Check it all out here while the [H] sucks traffic that should be mine 🙂 The Inq article The [H] one The PureOverclock?article predating the [H]?(jump to page 2)

Motherboard makers back away from ATI chipsets for Intel

What to make of this one for future implications? According to this article, motherboard makers are becoming increasingly concerned that the AMD-ATI merger will cause a shortage of ATI chipsets supporting Intel’s platform. Both ECS and Gigabyte show concern. ATI’s RD600 is already rumoured to be something quite special, but where does that leave this chipset? Supply could be a problem. The impact of a combined AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)-ATI Technologies has begun to be felt in Taiwan, with motherboard makers likely to reduce or even suspend their efforts to develop Intel-based motherboards built utilizing chipsets from ATI, while switching more resources to manufacturing models with ATI’s AMD-based chipsets, according to sources at Taiwan motherboard makers.

Intel’s 975x replacement

intel’s latesat roadmap When talking Intel chipsets it looks as if there will be no 975x replacement for at least 12 months. When it does finally come it will offer two x16 PCI-e slots and support for DDR3. It’s highly likely that by then Bearlake-X will support both SLI and CrossFire, infact I wouldn’t be surprised if the current 975x chipset gets this support sooner or later. Q3?07 will bring two new Bearlake variants?Bearlake-X and Bearlake-G+. Bearlake-X will replace the current 975X Express which has been carried over from the previous generation. It sports two full-speed PCI Express x16 slots for dual-graphics capabilities, though there?s no mention if ATI?s CrossFire or NVIDIA?s SLI technologies are supported. There will also be support for quad-core processors too. PCI Express 2.0 is also supported too. Bearlake-X will only support DDR3 1333 MHz memory only, a feature Bearlake-G and Bearlake-P variants lack.

Quad-core battle taking shape

Arstechnica has an article detailing all that is known about AMD and Intel’s plans for Quad Core. It goes on to say that Intel will be first to bring quad-core to market with a ‘two E6700’s slapped together’ type of configuration as early as the 4Q of 2006 and that AMD’s only short term response will be the 4×4 architecture. Jon Hannibal Stokes goes on to predict that when these systems reach face off it may be closer than expected, and I tend to agree. Bandwidth is going to become an issue as we reach quad-core and beyond, and AMD has this absolutely nailed with there HT busses. My prediction is that when these two types of four-core systems are benchmarked against each other, the results are going to vary with application type to a much higher degree than reviewers have so far been accustomed to. This being the case, I think synthetic and toy benchmarks are going to be increasingly pointless as review tools. It’s one thing to use synthetic benchmarks to get CPU horserace numbers for two systems that are very similar, but when you move out of the realm of oranges vs. oranges and into the realm of oranges vs. grapefruit, it becomes less of a horserace and more of a question of which tool best fits the specific types of jobs that you want to do. In this context, real-world application performance is the only thing worth looking at. The article finishes off detailing AMD’s true quad-core offering (K8L) which is expected mid 2007...

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