News of the day (January 26, 2011)

 Tegra 2 3D and Tegra 3: Roadmap ARM Nvidia
  Posted on 1296060865 by Guillaume

The NVIDIA Tegra range is set to be renewed twice this year. If this roadmap is to be believed, NVIDIA should soon be announcing a revision of Tegra 2, known as Tegra 2 3D. Two notable modifications have been mentioned, an increase in the clock of 200 MHz for the ARM and support for 3D screens on the GPU.

The Tegra 3 specs are also mentioned with the expected move to a quad-core version of the ARM Cortex A9 architecture. NVIDIA are talking about the end of the year, a date which seems to correspond to announcements from other holders of the ARM license, such as Freescale and its iMX 6. Marvell has already introduced a quad core ARM with its Armada XP, but is aiming it at enterprise-class cloud computing applications (NAS, etc).

 A 2.5 inch drive NAS from Synology
  Posted on 1296056511 by Guillaume

Synology, a Taiwanese manufacturer, has just introduced a four-bay network-attached storage device, the very compact DS411slim. This NAS, 12 cm high, 10.5 cm wide and 14.2 cm deep, has four 2.5-inch hard drive bays which can house drives of up to 1 TB each (available from Western Digital and Samsung at 5400 rpm).

Performances announced at 106.9 MB/s for reads and 46.8 MB/s writes in RAID 5 are equivalent to those for the RS411 from the same manufacturer, a rack version NAS announced at the beginning of the month which seems to use the same hardware platform (CPU at 1.6 GHz accompanied by 256 MB of DDR3).

 First 80 Plus Platinum power supply
  Posted on 1296054540 by Guillaume

Super Flower has just put its SF-550P14PE on the market in Asia. This is the first 550W modular power supply to be certified 80 Plus Platinum. To recap, the 80 Plus Platinum corresponds to the highest standard, claiming efficiency rates of 90, 94 and 91% at the respective loads of 20, 50 and 100% at 230 volts.

You can find the certification results for 115 volts (US voltage which requires efficiency of 90, 92 and 89%) here. Super Flower has also announced that it’s working on a 650W supply. A 1000W supply, the SF-1000P14PE was also certified: see here for the breakdown.

 Photos of the Radeon HD 6990
  Posted on 1296049660 by Guillaume

At a presentation on Fusion in Singapore, Matt Skynner, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of AMD’s GPU Division, showed off the company’s forthcoming bi-GPU graphics card: the Radeon HD 6990.

Not really any technical info, but note on the photos taken by the Japanese site that the power supply on this prototype uses, as expected, six and eight-pin connectors. Connectivity is limited to a single DVI port and four mini Display Ports, which leaves a larger opening for the expulsion of hot air.

The change in design on the cooling block is what sticks out most, with the fan seemingly still a blower type and situated in betweent the two GPUs, with the hot air generated by the GPU at the back of the card coming back into the box. This system should give more even and efficient cooling of the card.

The Radeon HD 6990 is expected before the end of the first quarter of 2011.

 Zambezi performance rumours
  Posted on 1296047758 by Guillaume

Officially slated for the beginning of the summer, the desktop version of AMD’s Bulldozer architecture, Zambezi, has been the object of a great deal of speculation following the publication of a slide by donanimhaber.

The slide announces a 50% gain in performance on the Core i7 950 for a non-specified Zambezi model, announced as an 8-core. To recap, Bulldozer architecture is based on a concept of modules that fuse traditional dual cores which share, among other things, common floating point processing units. An 8-core model will therefore correspond to a Zambezi equipped with four modules and 8 hardware threads in the operating system.

Even if we can’t be sure how authentic the slide is, some details leave us feeling circumpspect, with the Phenom II X6 1100T being judged at the same level as a Core i7 950, and even up on it in terms of gaming, which doesn’t correspond to our findings. The improvement in gaming performance can be explained by the choice of benchmark used for this slide… the 3D Mark 2006 processor test! The improvement is reported to be linked to a performance index in Cinebench R11.5, somewhere where the Core i7 950 struggles. In the end then, this doesn’t tell us much about the true performance levels of the Bulldozer architecture.

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