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Intel's Clarkdale: CPU & iGFX
Written by Michael Schuette   
Dec 31, 2009 at 05:00 PM

Intel is releasing a somewhat revolutionary processor - codename Clarkdale - to integrate CPU, memory controller, PCIe interface and, most importantly, 3rd generation integrated graphics on a single processor. Interestigly, the processor is not using a monolithic die, rather it features the 32 nm process Westmere dual core "CPU" along with an ancillary processor manufactured on a 45 nm process node and harboring the memory controller, peripheral interfaces and integrated graphics. On paper, the concept sounds intriguing, moreover, there are a number of highly advanced novel features, at least for the world of integrated graphics. Still some of the novel features like xvYCC have to be highly anticipated by anyone who loathes the shortcomings of current display output technology. After all, what good is a 128-bit internal color depth when the output is compressed to a mere 32-bit RGB gamut?

In the first part of this article, we are covering the theoretical aspects of Clarkdale and will follow up very shortly with the actual performance and power numbers for a plethora of applications and benchmarks.

Last Updated ( Jan 17, 2010 at 01:21 PM )
Brave New World of SSDs: Part II
Written by Michael Schuette   
Nov 27, 2009 at 11:00 PM

Something Old, Something New ..

In the first installment of this series, I covered some of the peculiarities of NAND flash, especially in view of the unidirectional programming and the resulting problematic for solid state drives. To put things into perspective, flash memory was originally developed as an inexpensive media for digital cameras with rather limited write/erase cycles and, with the exception of some high-end cameras in use by professional photographers, rather infrequent accesses to the media.

It is fairly easy to appreciate how the adaptation of this low-cycle frequency flash technology into a completely different set of application, specifically the use in solid state drives can cause some problems. Moreover, adaptation of the ATA technology and related file systems to accommodate NAND flash also had to take a few hurdles to get where it is at the moment and, to be true, at the present time the coalescence of the two worlds still needs to be considered to be in its infancy, with the real thing yet to come anytime in the near or far future.

Last Updated ( Jan 03, 2010 at 04:41 PM )
Unlocking the Athlon II X3 435
Written by Michael Schuette   
Nov 27, 2009 at 05:23 AM
Despite having different code names such as Toliman, Heka and Rana, AMD's triple core solutions are anything but a discreet die design. Rather, existing Deneb (Phenom II X4) and Propus (Athlon II X4) dies are tested and those with defects in one of the four cores are rebadged as triple core solutions. It is no secret though, that often enough, marketing and demand will create defective dies where the only defect is realistically the lack of the latter. In other words, many of the triple core CPUs offered at a budget price compared to their full-fledged brethren are wolves in a sheep skin.

To make matters more interesting, it turns out that a number of the Athlon II brand processors supposedly based on the Propus core are in fact Deneb processors featuring the 6 MB shared L3 cache, a feature that makes those CPUs more pliable for gaming purposes. The good news in this case is that the crippling inflicted by AMD appears to be done on the basis of register programming rather than blowing fuses and, therefore, with a few BIOS tricks, it may be reversible. To sum it up, chances are that an inexpensive Athlon II X3 processor may transform into a Stanley Beamish-like Phenom II X4 with the extra bonus of the pill not wearing off.

Last Updated ( Dec 06, 2009 at 12:55 PM )
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