News articles search results by William Henning
Very cool looking proposed shuttle craft
For once, a proposed space craft looks like a something out of a futuristic sci-fi show.
The Skylon is a proposed hybrid air-breathing / rocket plane that would take off from airport runways, use air breathing engines to get high into the atmosphere, then use LOX / hydrogen rocket engines to get to orbit.
In 10 years or so.
The Skylon would carry 12 tons into orbit, and come back to earth, without discarding SRB's or external fuel tanks.
Oh yeah - did I mention it looks extremely cool?
DUH! Even Homer could have told them that!
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell let out some steam (sorry) and announced that during last weekends 50% of sale Left 4 Dead had a 3,000% increase in sales.
Yes, you read that right - 30 TIMES as many copies sold at half price than at "full" price, beating the launch sales numbers.
They apparently had a 16x increase in the number of Steam customers at the same time.
Other interesting stats for Steam that weekend:
- 35% increase in sales with 10% off
- 2.45x increase in sales with 25% off
- 3.2x increase in sales with 50% off
- 14.7x increase in sales with 75% off
When will game companies, the music industry and the video industry figure out that if prices are perceived to be a good value (ie affordable) people WILL buy the products! Look how Blu-Ray sales are starting to take off now that finally the media is a bit more affordable, but frankly still has a way to go before people will buy a lot of disks. Look at how DRM-free MP3 music outsells crippled music.
The funniest part of this is that they (gaming/music/video) industries are only hurting themselves by pricing high... small margins on huge volume makes far more money than large margins on low volumes.
Some changes in the processor landscape
In a move that will surprise no one, Intel is rumoured to be taking the axe to the Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9770 and QX9650. Given that much faster Core i7 systems can be built for less money - especially for the overclocking crowd - this decision is entirely logical and appropriate.
Intel is also rumoured to be introducing a 65W TDP Lynnfield in Q1 2010, targeting the HTPC and small form factor market. No doubt it will also show up in larger laptops. The qustion is - what will the clock speeds and price be?
Meanwhile, AMD is apparently playing it smart, and not sitting on its laurels. AMD is rumoured to be introducing a 45nm 6MB L3 cache Athlon X2 processor based on the Phenom II design, code named "Callisto". There is no clock speed or price information yet, however it is expected to launch in Q2 of this year. This chip is a followup to the 65nm Phenom based AMD Athlon X2 7750, which it may replace.
Tiny ARM processor to be shown today
Intel is not the only one with a High-K metal gate process - IBM has it too, and ARM will have its new processor made by IBM using that process.
The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is where ARM wants to show the new 32nm processor today. The core is intended to be integrated into SOC (system on a chip) designs, like Nvidia's Tegra. The processor itself should be in production in Q1 of 2010.
ARM is intending to develop SOC's with the new core in both the 32nm and later the 28nm process,
The smaller geometry will lead to power savings, and the ability to run the processor faster.
IBM has laid off around 30,000 workers in the last two years, and now is planning to lay off more, or move them to cheaper shores.
IBM is extending an offer it made earlier to 2,000 people it had already laid off - an offer to relocate them to China, Brazil, India or certain places in Europe. The catch: they would be paid the local prevailing wage, and while they would get assistance to move there, there was no guaranteed length of employment, nor any "move back" allowance.
The Examiner reports that the offer will now be given to ALL remaining non-customer direct interacting employees; so basically only sales positions where the employees see the customers will stay.
Nvidia is really pushing Tegra - and they have a point
Engadget had a couple of interesting postings on Tegra, and it made me think.
First, for smart phones, apparently Tegra will initially use Windows Mobile - presumably version 6.5 - however Nvidia is also planning to support Android, and it sees Android taking a larger market share than Windows Mobile as soon as 2012.
There are apparently two Tegra phones on the way, both touch phones, both somewhat iPhone-ish
- IAC S2 in the third quarter this year
- YULONG N8 in the fourth quarter this year
Ofcourse we don't know if these phones will make it to North America, but if they do, it should be very interesting.
The Tegra 2600 SOC (system on a chip) is slated for release in the second quarter - which means quite soon.
The Tegra chip consists of:
- ARM instruction set processor
- GeForce based HD audio video processor
- USB, serial, I2C and SPI ports
- HDMI support
- Mobile DDR support
- NAND flash
- Security Engine
Basically, slap a 3G or CMDA cell module, memory and LCD on, and you've got a phone.
For "Mobile Internet Device" (MID) use, Nvidia is telling us Tegra will allow for $99 MID's.
Apparently, $99 will get you:
- Tegra 600 chipset
- slide out keyboard
- Windows CE
- HD playback
- "days" of battery life
- always-on wireless (WiFi & 3G connectivity)
- 720p & 1080p video playback
Now I think there may be more to Tegra than Nvidia is saying today.
If you look at the specifications, Tegra would also make a heck of a nice processor for multi-media set top boxes, and even low end netbooks and nettops - after all, and ARM will handle Linux quite nicely.
If it wanted to, Nvidia could use Tegra for DVR's, or dare I say it, even mid-range consoles.
New stepping of Core i7 to replace current i7 940 & 965 Extreme?
Fudzilla says that Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers have leaked some Intel plans to update its two higher-end Core i 7 processors.
Apparently Intel will be releasing a new stepping, and slightly higher speed, Core i7 950 and Core i7 975 in Q2.
- Core i7 950, at 3.06GHz is 133MHz faster than the Core i7 940
- Core i7 975, at 3.33GHz is 133MHz faster than the Core i7 965, and will have an unlocked multiplier
- Core i7 920 D0 stepping will also apparently be launched on march 2nd, keeping the '920' number
The new D0 stepping may have better overclocking potential than the current C0 stepping.
Personally, I am not sure that the 950 and 965 will dissapear quickly, as the new model numbers fill potential spaces in the 9xx series numbering.
In my experience, the C0 stepping Core i7 920 was already an excellent overclocker, I can't wait to see how a D0 stepping might do!
Hynix plans mass production of 40nm DDR3 in the third quarter of this year.
Compared to 50nm DDR3 the new chips will be about 36% smaller, which means about 36% more dies per wafer. More dies mean lower costs, and 40nm dies will require less power to run.
I'd bet that the netbook makers have been pressuring Intel to bring out a chipset for the Atom that can do HD playback.
Digitimes reports that Intel will be launching the Atom N280 and the GN40 chipset earlier than previously thought - in the middle of this month.
The Atom N280 is a minor tweak of the N270 - it runs at 1.66GHz (instead of 1.6GHz) and has a 667MHz FSB (instead of 533).
The GN40 chipset has a better GPU than the 945GC and can reportedly play 720p video with an Atom.
Frankly, with the economy being what it is, I am not even certain we will see new consoles in even 2-3 years...
Charlie posted an interesting rumour/analysis bit at the Reg, and here is the meat of it:
- Intel to design PS4 GPU - well, it would be a big leg up for Larrabee, but the question is, will Sony take the risk that it will be fast enough to be an improvement on the PS3? And how will Intel like a PowerPC based Cell in there, or will Sony go with an Intel CPU?
- Xbox 3 to go ATI for graphics? Nvidia must be fuming. Unlike Charlie, I wonder if that would mean an AMD cpu getting in there too...
- Wii2 to keep going with ATI CPU - pretty much a tradition with Nintendo apparently
That would only leave the PC GPU market for Nvidia to go after ... maybe it was not such a good idea for them to upset others
For once, the explosion of a NASA rocket was not a disaster - it was actually quite deliberate.
NASA had a ground test of an explosive separation system that separates the forward skirt extension, blowing off the top, so that the parachute recovery system can release parachutes that will allow for the recovery of the first stage of the rocket.
Sometimes, something new is actually something old
AMD needed a new mobile product to compete in netbooks - and it looks like it reached into the past, and pulled forward the old K8 design.
The AMD Neo appears to be a single core K8 device running at 1.6GHz with 512KB of L2 cache - nothing to write home about, performance wise, however the TDP is only 15W - still about 7x the TDP of a single core Atom.
Samsung releases the first 4Gb DDR3 memory chips
Samsung has released its new 4Gb DDR3 memory chips.
Chips at this density will allow memory module manufacturers to make up to 8GB unbuffered, or 16GB buffered DDR3 modules. The new chips will run at up to DDR3-1600 at 1.35V
Hi-Tech instrumentation and a taped compass
Fuzilla says that Intel will be launching a new, higher speed, 45nm Core 2 Quad Xeon, the X3380 before March.
The current top dog, the X3370, runs at 3.0GHz, and its price was recently (Jan.18) dropped from $525 to $317 in OEM quantities - making room on the top for the X3380, presumably at $525
It is quite possible that the X3380 will be the last Core 2 Quad Xeon, as the Nehalem based Xeons are supposedly on the way.
Fudzilla says Intel has been telling its partners that Core 2 Duo's and Quads are here to stay until 2011 for the mainstream and value segments; and that it intends to do a refresh to some of its chipsets to support DDR3-1066 .
P45 already had DDR3 support, but G45 did not - so G45 is getting DDR3 and some more media support; however I personally think most people will stick to DDR2, as with an FSB based Core 2 system, there really is little gain with DDR3, so the lower cost DDR2 makes more sense.
In another bit of news, a 3.5GHz Core 2 Duo E8700 was apparently listed in Belgium for E259 - that is a seriously fast stock speed for a Core 2, and it has 1333MHz FSB, 6MB of L2 cache and 65W TDP.
Microsoft has apparently laid off the entire Flight Simulator staff - a pity, as Flight Simulator has been a classic.
The game was more of a "real" flight simulator than a game - but if you had good enough hardware, the graphics were quite nice.
I guess I'll have to check out the open source FlightGear
The Holy Grail of on-line media achived: increasing off-line sales
Monty Python has launched its own YouTube channel, and uploaded higher quality content than the "pirated" versions its fans had uploaded in the past.
If you were to listen to the MPAA or RIA, this should have killed their DVD sales.
They increased 23000%!
Apparently people watch the skits, and silly walk to purchasing more.
Digitimes reports some changes from AMD:
- Phenom II X4 940 price lowered to $235 (from $275) in 1K quantity
- Phenom II X4 920 price lowered to $195 (from $225) in 1K quantity
They also report that AMD is planning to introduce a 3.1GHz Phenom II X4 950 in Q2
Fudzilla reports that AMD will also be launching a new Athlon X2 7850 early in Q2 with 3MB of L2 cache, running at 2.8GHz with a 95W TDP.
In another article, Fudzilla says that Regor dual cores (K10.5 based, 45nm) with a 65W TDP running at 2.8GHz or faster will make an appearance in Q3, and will support Socket AM3 and AM2+.
Intel's latest round of price cuts:
Core 2 Quad changes: (all 1333FSB, 45nm)
- $316 Q9650 (3.0GHz, 12M L2) was $530
- $266 Q9550 (2.83GHz, 12M L2) was $316
- $213 Q9400 (2.66GHz, 6M L2) was $266
- $183 Q8300 (2.5GHz, 4M L2) was $224
- $163 Q8200 (2.33GHz, 4M L2) was $193
- NEW $369 Q9550s (2.83GHz, 12M L2)
- NEW $320 Q9400s (2.66GHz, 6M L2)
- NEW $245 Q8200s (2.33GHz, 4M L2)
Core 2 Duo changes: (all 1066FSB)
- $113 E7400 (2.8GHz, 3M cache) was $133
- NEW $133 E7500 (2.93GHz, 3M cache)
Pentium Dual Core changes: (all 800FSB)
- $74 E5300 (2.8GHz, 2M L2) was $86
- $64 E5200 (2.5GHz, 2M L2) was $84
- $64 E2220 (2.4GHz, 1M L2) was $74
- NEW $84 E5400 (2.8GHz, 2M L2)
Celeron Dual Core: (800MHz FSB)
- $43 E1400 (2GHz, 512K L2) was $53
Mobile Core 2: (1066MHz FSB)
- $209 P8600 (2.4GHz, 3M L2) was $241
Xeon quad core changes: (1333FSB)
- $316 X3370 (3GHz 12M L2) was $530
- $266 X3360 (2.83GHz 12M L2) was $316
- $266 X3350 (2.66GHz, 12M L2) was $316
- $224 X3330 (2.66GHz, 6M L2) was $266
There were also some Mobile Celeron (single core price cuts) ranging from 19%-48%