News of the day (January 20, 2010)

 A “low-cost” SLC SSD?
  Posted on 1263998912 by Benoit

Currently, the vast majority of general public SSDs use MLC (Multi-Level Cell) memory. Stocking several bits per cell, this type of chip costs less to produce but has a lower theoretical life span and performance than SLC (Single-Level Cell) chips. SLC SSDs are rarer, the best known being the Intel X25-Es and the OCZ Vertex Exs, which are priced at from €400 and €700 euros respectively for 60/64 GB versions.

The Akiba-PC Hotline site has information on Solidata that looks set to stir things up. Solidata are coming out with the K5-64i, a model using a standard Indilinx controller and SLC NAND from Intel (or more exactly IM Flash, from the Intel-Micron joint venture). This unusual mixture gives sequential reads of up to 250 MB/s and writes of 190 MB/s according to Solidata. The random access speeds haven’t been given, which is regrettable seeing as this is one of the principle advantages of SLC SSDs.

This model’s strong point is its pricing, which, at 29,000 yen, or around €267 for the 64 GB version, is very competitive indeed. This is twice as cheap as the previous version using Samsung SLC and an X25-E of the same capacity! We don’t yet know if this model will be coming to Europe however and whether the pricing will remain as competitive, as it is a good deal lower than the current cost of SLC memory according to figures from Dramexchange…

 New Be Quiet! power supplies
  Posted on 1263989578 by Benoit

On the overcrowded power supply market, it is becoming harder and harder to differentiate yourself from the competition. Be Quiet! have announced a new range of high-end modular blocks, the Dark Power Pro P8s. This range is available in four versions: 750W, 900W, 1000W and 1200W.

The range is 80Plus Silver certified, except for the 1200W and at best gives a yield of 92% at 230V. The different versions all have 6 12V rails (that can be combined in a single one) and a 120mm "SilentWings" fan announced as quiet. With 750W power supplies and above only worth using in fully laden configurations, it is possible to connect up to 6 PCI Express connectors for multi GPU configurations.

With a 3-year guarantee, these blocks are on sale for €169.90 for the 750W model and €259.90 for the Dark Power Pro P8 1200W.

 A bi-GeForce GTS 250 card
  Posted on 1263986063 by Benoit

While waiting for Fermi, NVIDIA and its partners need to keep themselves in the news. Galaxy has done pretty well with its most recent announcement.

The manuafacturer has been working on a dual-core GPU, based on two GTS 250s. Although technically Galaxy is no newbie to dual-cores (they initiated the first bi-6600GT), it is legitimate to ask what use such a card based on old generation GPUs will have.

That said, the card seems well-finished with a 6-phase power supply, 1 GB of GDDR3 per GPU and an NF200 BR04 to connect them. Price and availability haven’t yet been given.

 TSMC says 40nm worries resolved
  Posted on 1263985198 by Benoit

Since the launch of the Radeon 4770 last April, all chips engraved at 40nm have suffered from reduced availability. TSMC was having big problems on its production lines with this engraving and this was having an incidence on products from both ATI and NVIDIA, both big clients of the foundary.

While the yield was gradually improving, it was nevertheless lower than for chips with other engravings. Mark Liu, Senior VP Operations, confirmed yesterday that the main problem had been identified and resolved and that yield of 40nm chips was now identical to that for 65nm chips. Very good news then, which should please ATI and NVIDIA. Remember that the forthcoming NVIDIA monster, the Fermi, will use the 40nm engraving and that this GPU seems a lot more complex to produce than the RV870s.

 Gigabyte announces an 890GX card
  Posted on 1263982786 by Benoit

A while ago AMD announced the imminent arrival of the 890GX chipset, replacing the popular 790GX. It therefore makes sense to see manufacturers starting to release information on forthcoming products for it. Today it’s Gigabyte’s turn with the announcement of the GA-890GPA-UD3H.

With the traditional Gigabyte blue PCB, this ATX motherboard will therefore be based on the 890GX and will support USB3 and SATA 6 Gbps. A little innovation, SATA 6 Gbps will be supported natively by the chipset, which means it doesn’t need an external controller. USB 3 support is however managed by an Nec chip.

The integrated graphics part will be DirectX 10.1 compatible and will use UVD2 and give Hybrid CrossFire support. Note that there are 4 DIMM slots, a Firewire, an HDMI and a DVI-D.

No date has been given for availability yet but support has been announced for Thuban (Phenom II 6 core). Given the name of this card (UD3H), higher-end versions will probably also be released.

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