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Intel has expanded the choices available when shopping for a new mobile or desktop CPU. In addition to new chips, Intel has dropped the prices on some of its existing line up. Unfortunately, some of the new chips Intel released today are still based upon the older Sandy Bridge architecture.
Now, that wouldn't normally be a problem, except the model number is i3-3xxx, where the 3 stands for the Ivy Bridge generation. The chips are bottom barrel chips that most people wouldn't be buying, but the fact exists that there are Sandy Bridge chips, according to my sources, that are being marketed under the i3-3xxx brand.
The desktop update is pretty mundane. They added a CPU here and there, and dropped the prices on some others. It's the mobile market where the really interesting things are happening. Intel has released a new flagship mobile chip, the Core i7-3940XM, that rings in at $1,096. For that you get four cores, HyperThreading, and 3.0GHz of speed.
The full list of changes can be seen in the image. If it has a (SB) notation, it means it is based off of the Sandy Bridge silicon.
Looking for a new CPU? You may just want to hold off for a little bit longer, at least until you see what AMD is planning to bring to the table. Thanks to leaks, we can now provide you with an idea of what they may be planning for their Vishera line of FX CPUs, set to launch in Q3 or Q4 of 2012.
The launch plan looks to be similar to the launch plans of "Zambezi" in that they are launching one eight-core CPU, one six-core CPU, and one quad-core CPU. The launch of Vishera is supposed to be coordinated with the launch of their new APUs using the same processing core, Piledriver, which is an updated Bulldozer.
The eight-core FX-8350 will ship with a 4.00 GHz clock speed, with a speed of 4.20 GHz for TurboCore. The six-core FX-6300 will ship with a clock speed 3.50 GHz, and a 4.10 GHz TurboCore speed. The quad-core FX-4320 will feature the same clocks as the FX-8350 with half the cores. The document also provides some more information on AMD's upcoming APUs.
Intel's server parts are expensive, but they are worth it if you're running a mission critical application. Currently, the server chips are based off of the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture and it looks as though it will be staying that way for a while longer. Ivy Bridge-based server parts aren't due out until 2013, according to the latest roadmap.
The upcoming server platforms are called Brickland and Grantley and which one you use will be dependent on what sort of applications and processing power you are looking to utilize. Brickland will be used for mission critical applications and is set to support three generations of CPUs all the way through to Broadwell in 2015.
Grantley will be for efficient performance and won't debut until after the Ivy Bridge generation. The first chip that Grantley will support is the 22nm Haswell server variant. They will also be introducing a new storage controller which will bring performance and feature improvements. We should learn more as of Intel's upcoming meeting in San Francisco.
CPU World is reporting the different configurations that Intel's upcoming Haswell processors will come in, with respect to graphics core, memory channels, and processing cores. Some of the configurations break from the current Ivy Bridge in that the highest performance CPUs don't have the highest performing GPUs.
This actually makes sense in that a user who buys a top CPU will likely be running a discrete GPU. Intel is offering at least two different graphics configurations which will be joined to dual- and quad-core parts. The dual-core parts will also have a variation in that they may only come with one memory channel.
The graphic above summarizes the different configurations we are reportedly going to see with Haswell. Each memory channel will support either one or two DIMMs, with the ULT (low power) chips seeing the one DIMM per channel memory controller. Each DIMM will have a maximum capacity of 8GB, so the lowest amount of memory (or highest, depending on point of view) will be 8GB on the ULTs.
We're still a good distance from the release of Haswell, so it's a good idea to take these configurations with a grain of salt. That said, they do make sense, so it's not unlikely that they are accurate.
Globalfoundries has just inked a multi-year deal with mobile chipmaker, ARM. The deal will see Globalfoundries produce ARM's next-generation mobile system-on-chip (SoC) processors.
Glofo's factories are equipped to handle 20nm and FinFET process technologies, with the deal also calling on ARM to develop its Artisan Physical IP platform, which includes cell libraries, memory compilers, and POP IP solutions.
The chips that will be made will be baked into future smart devices, and ultra-thin notebooks. ARM and Globalfoundries have been working together for a few years now, where we've seen them developing ARM Cortex A-series processors at Glofo's Malta, New York fab. The new deal should see the companies working on more energy-efficient ARM Cortex CPUs and ARM Mali GPUs for mobile devices.
Samsung have just announced their brand new Exynos 5250 SoC, which is now called the Exynos 5 Dual. Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual is the world's first Cortex A15-based chip, and should be baked into devices later this year. The first of which should be Samsung's 11.8-inch tablet that sports the 2560x1600 resolution, that we've talked about a few times now. The important specs are:
- Dual-core 1.7 Ghz Cortex A15 CPU
- Mali T604 GPU
- OpenGL ES 3.0
- OpenCL 1.1 full profile
- Support for WXQGA displays
- Wi-Fi display support
- 12.8 GB/s memory bandwidth with 2 port 800 Mhz LPDDR3 RAM support
- 1080p 60 FPS video performance and VP8 codec decoder
- USB 3.0 support
Intel is working on another high-end desktop (HEDT) chip codenamed Ivy Bridge-E. In many ways it is similar to Sandy Bridge-E in that they are increasing the core, cache, and memory channel count to produce the chip. According to a leaked Intel roadmap, this chip is sent to be released Q3 2013, sometime after Haswell makes its debut.
The roadmap above is the latest leaked version and I have some suspicions that it could be a fake. Look at the word Haswell. Do you see what I see? I find it highly unlikely that an Intel roadmap would have red, squiggly incorrect spelling marking underneath an actual roadmap. This makes me lean towards a fake.
That said, Ivy Bridge-E is said to run on existing X79 chipset motherboards and the LGA2011 socket. It is possible that Intel will produce a new chipset to go with Ivy Bridge-E, but they previously kept the X58 chipset over two generations of HEDT chips (45 nm Core i7 "Bloomfield" and 32 nm Core i7 "Westmere").
Athlon chips just won't die. While originally the top of the market, AMD changed the name usage to be used in conjunction with budget parts with the introduction of the Phenom parts. Even when Llano came out, the Athlon's got an upgrade into the FM1 socket and are basically the same, minus the on-board GPU.
And know we can say that the Athlon processor will continue to live on, even after AMD transitions to the FM2 socket. AMD is planning three new Athlon chips for the socket, and while we know only the most basic details, the main takeaway from this is that the Athlon brand will continue to live on for another day.
The three new chip models are the Athlon II X4 730, 740 and 750K. Athlon II X4 730 and 740 are 65 Watt processors and operate at 2.8 GHz and 3.2 GHz. The 750K is a 100 Watt product and should have an unlocked multiplier, due to it being a K processor. They will all be quad cores with 4MB L2 cache and will be based upon Piledriver.
There's not much more to report other than they will likely feature TurboCore, though frequencies are unknown, and the on-board GPU is likely to again be disbaled.
Websites are reporting that Intel is planning on releasing a new flagship processor in Q4 of this year. The new processor, called the i7-3970X, will utilize the LGA2011 socket and take the title of flagship. The report is claiming that the processor could ship with clock speeds of 3.5GHz and TurboBoost up to 4.0GHz.
Of course, as it is an Extreme Edition processor, it will feature an unlocked multiplier and should overclock like a dream. It will run off of the current SandyBridge-E silicon as the current LGA2011 processors and will be built on the 32nm production process. It will pack 6 cores and 12 threads through the use of HyperThreading.
It is rumored to sport 15MB of last-level cache and will pack a quad-channel DDR3 integrated memory controller, supporting up to 64 GB of DDR3-1600 MHz memory. Pricing will likely be in line with the current i7-3960X and this new chip will likely cause that chip to be gradually phased out in favor of this new, faster chip.
AMD has announced a new line of APUs for use in embedded applications. The new APUs are the first to combine a low-power CPU and a discrete-level GPU into a single integrated circuit for use in embedded applications. The high performance graphics capabilities allow the APU to power a wide array of devices such as slot machines and airline schedule screens.
AMD bills the part as being perfect for Digital Signage, x86 Set-Top-Box (xSTB), IP-TV, Thin Client, Information Kiosk, Point-of-Sale, and Casino Gaming, media servers and industrial control systems. The APU comes in a BGA package featuring a new, power-optimized CPU processing core to provide more bang for the user's buck.
The features are as follows:
- DirectX® 11 support lets you enjoy awesome graphics performance, stunning 3D visual effects and dynamic interactivity.
- Advanced discrete-level GPU with OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.1 support in an integrated device provides support to build the designs of tomorrow, today.
- Unprecedented graphics performance/watt thru advanced graphics and hardware acceleration delivering over 3X performance per watt of previous generation.
- Selective models, T56N and T40N, have additional boost capability enabled by AMD Turbo Core technology without additional power draw.