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  • Xeon Sandy Bridge and microservers
  • Monitor Review: Philips 234CL2SB / DVersus
  • ASUS: Bulldozer AM3+ compatible with AM3!
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     Xeon Sandy Bridge and microservers
      Posted on 16/03/2011 at 15:12 by Guillaume
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    Intel has just unveiled its forthcoming range of Xeon processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture. Using socket 1155 (monosocket), these chips will be launched next month, probably in time for the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing on April 12 and 13.

    The range is mainly made up of quad core processors with TDPs varying from 80 to 95 watts. Two low energy consumption chips have however been highlighted by Intel. The first is the Xeon E3-1260L, announced at 45W. Quad core, it has a clock of just 2.4 GHz, but Intel has added a very aggressive Turbo mode, with the maximum clock on one core used going up to 3.3 GHz. A dual core model clocked at 2.2 GHz (3.4 GHz in Turbo) has been announced at 20 watts. This is sort of half breaking new ground as while the current Xeon L range doesn’t go under 30 watts, Intel has already brought a 20 watt server processor, the L5215.

    Click for full spec

    Intel is however aiming at even lower energy consumption levels, officially anouncing the arrival of an Atom server version. This isn’t the first time that the Atom will be used on the server side as Intel had already given the go-ahead to Seamicro for its server based on the 512 Atom N570. No details have yet been given on the adaptations Intel will make to the Atom architecture for the server version. The launch of these chips is programmed for 2012 with a TDP of under 10 watts.

    At a time when server trends are towards the consolidation of multiple servers into one (through virtualisation), the arrival of the Atom on the server side may raise a few eyebrows because although Intel is putting the accent on usages such as single web servers, the performance to watt ratio of Atom platforms is lower than what you get on those based on more complex x86 architectures such as Sandy Bridge. The Atom does however have a rather original advantage for use on the server side, which is the memory bandwidth to Gflop ratio. This is because the multiplication of cores is going faster than the increase in memory bandwidth on very high-end solutions. The quad channel facility on socket 2011 will in part be a response to this problem at the end of the year.

    The Seamicro SM10000-64, 512 Atom N570 at 10U

    It is of course likely that there’s a link between this announcement of future Atom servers and the first details that came out last week on the forthcoming Calxeda products. To recap, this start-up is currently working on using ARM processors on the server side. A financial analyst revealed that the startup will be marketing up to 120 ARM Cortex A9 quad core processors in a 2U enclosure, with energy consumption of 5 watts per SoC, memory included. Calxeda has even announced gains of 5 to 10x in terms of performance per watt vis-à-vis current Intel and AMD solutions, without giving more details on what these offers will be compared with. After the various announcements at CES (ARM version of Windows 8 for 2012, ‘Denver’ project from Nvidia), ARM architectures are opening up yet another front on the server side. Intel’s reaction to what is historically the most profitable segment on the processor market will have to be up to competing with this additional challenge.

     Monitor Review: Philips 234CL2SB / DVersus
      Posted on 16/03/2011 at 14:59 by Vincent
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    The Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB (also know as the 'Blade' LED display) is a 23-inch Full HD monitor with a 2 ms TN panel. Like a lot of monitors, the Brilliance 234CL2SB uses LED backlighting instead of a tube-based set-up, which makes for a much slimmer design. What's more, according to Philips, this monitor offers 'a new level of cool sophistication' but still at a decent price.

    > Review: Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB

     ASUS: Bulldozer AM3+ compatible with AM3!
      Posted on 16/03/2011 at 10:43 by Marc
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    At CeBIT, there was a strange rumour that AM3+ processors would be compatible with current AM3 motherboards through a simple bios update. The rumour went against what AMD had been saying up till then and was, moreover, quashed by them. Simply looking at an AM3+ scocket moreover seemed to leave little doubt on the subject.

    Today ASUS has put the cat among the pigeons by officially publishing a compatibility list for current 890FX/GX motherboards with AM3+ processors

    - Crosshair IV Extreme (AMD 890FX/SB850), Bios 3012
    - Crosshair IV Formula (AMD 890FX/SB850), Bios 3012
    - M4A89TD PRO/USB3 (AMD 890FX/SB850), Bios 301
    - M4A89TD PRO (AMD 890FX/SB850), Bios 3012
    - M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 (AMD 890GX/SB850), Bios 3012
    - M4A89GTD PRO (AMD 890GX/SB850), Bios 3012

    ASUS says that new M5A series models are planned with 760G/870G/880G chipsets, which leads us to think that current boards will be incompatible. No mention is made of the 890X.

    How can this be possible? It’s difficult to say, but it may well be that the additional pin won’t be used, which will allow the insertion of an AM3+ CPU in a socket AM3, which calls into question the initial necessity of AM3+ (perhaps more marketing than technical?).

    In any case, AMD really needs to clarify what has, to say the least, become a confusing situation. Such compatibility would clearly be an advantage and if AMD has made a change on this point, it’s difficult to see why they aren’t communicating on it.

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