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News of the day

  • Dolby Digital Live for X-Fi & Audigy
  • SSDs in the Centrino 2 bundle
  • 1st test of the Centrino 2 / X4500
  • Folding@Home & GT200: 3x faster
  • Mini-ITX mobo with PCI Express x16
  • Stepping E0 for the Core 2 Duo adds some changes
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     Dolby Digital Live for X-Fi & Audigy
      Posted on 23/05/2008 at 23:45 by Nicolas
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    CreativeWe might be tempted to say that certain bad habit die hard at Creative. The creator of the Sound Blaster recently announced on its forum that Dolby Digital Live encoding would soon be possible with the Audigy and X-Fi although it will not be free. In fact, this technology from the Singaporean company has been long awaited. On the other hand, it will be included in the price of the recent X-Fi Titaniums.

    Contrary to what happened with ALchemy for Audigy, there seems to be a good reason this time: Creative has to pay royalties to Dolby when making this function accessible for products that were not originally announced with its support. Finally, this is only theory as daniel_k has already put online a method which enables its free access with these cards. We’ll just have to wait and see if this is entirely legal...

     SSDs in the Centrino 2 bundle
      Posted on 23/05/2008 at 23:16 by Nicolas
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    While Intel has already clearly expressed its desire to sell SSDs with the Atom Centrino Menlow platform as well as revealing its projects for the professional market, we didn’t know that they also had ideas for notebooks.

    According to Digitimes, the Santa Clara firm will start to offer SSDs with the Centrino 2 platform bundle in the third quarter. There will be at least two models: the Client X25-M and Client X18-M in 2" ½ and 1.8" format, respectively. They will have an SATA interface and 80 GB capacity. In the fourth quarter, a 160 GB version should be launched and there is mention of a 250 GB and higher for 2009.

    This is in perfect harmony with recent statements from Troy Winslow, the marketing manager of Intel’s NAND Products Group. He mention that his company will do much better than the 100 MB/s attained by certain Samsung SSDs in reading.

     1st test of the Centrino 2 / X4500
      Posted on 23/05/2008 at 22:52 by Nicolas
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    Notebookjournal.de has published a first test of a "Montevina" Centrino 2 platform. You may recall that it introduces a new generation of chipsets; the GM45, GS45, and GL40 combined with an ICH9M, which amongst other things, enables moving up to an FSB 1066 and DDR3.

    While in terms of CPU performances we shouldn’t expect significant gains, because the Penryn has already been added to the "Santa Rosa Refresh" platform, there are some changes in terms of the integrated graphic circuit, the GMA X4500.

    With very similar processors (2.5 GHz and FSB 800 vs 2.53 GHz and FSB 1066), Intel’s new DirectX 10 IGP does noticeably better than a GeForce 8400M G which was launched a year ago. This may not be an accomplishment in itself and the framerate should make some smile given the resolution and level of detail; however, it’s undeniable that the Californian company has made some progress.

    Moreover, the X4500’s frequency is only 475 MHz and it functions with DDR2. The GM47 whose graphic circuit can be set up to 640 MHz, with mature drivers and combined with DDR3 could overshadow Nvidia even more on the entry level.

     Folding@Home & GT200: 3x faster
      Posted on 23/05/2008 at 18:17 by Nicolas - source: PCPerspective & NordicHardware
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    Functioning with all Radeons since the HD 2600 (and even X1600s up until recently), the Folding@Home client will finally be available for Nvidia GPUs.

    It was Vijay Pande himself, the head of the project at the University of Stanford, that announced this at a press conference given by Nvidia.

    Performances seem to be up to par as a GeForce GTX 280 will be almost 3 times faster than a Radeon HD 3870. Of course, these were the figures given by Nvidia...

     Mini-ITX mobo with PCI Express x16
      Posted on 23/05/2008 at 15:18 by Nicolas - source: Fudzilla
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    Motherboard manufacturers are starting to be more aware of the potential of the high performance mini-ITX market. After the GeForce 8200, it's now the AMD 780G and its integrated Radeon HD 3200 which make the move to this format.

    The advantages of this card offered by J&W are numerous: a PCI-E x16 port, local memory of 128 MB integrated to the motherboard and dedicated to the IGP, support of CPUs with a TDP of 95W and two memory ports. So it seems to be without imperfection or almost as we do not yet know how the chipset will be cooled and because So-Dimm memory will have to be used. The price will be reasonable for this type of product as it should not surpass 115€.

     Stepping E0 for the Core 2 Duo adds some changes
      Posted on 23/05/2008 at 14:25 by Nicolas - source: Intel PCN
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    While the transition from stepping C0 to stepping E0 meant practically no changes for the "Harpertown" and "Wolfdale-DP" Xeons (except for the X5482 whose TDP went from 150W to 120W), things seem to be noticeably different for the Core 2 Duo E8400 and E8500 as well as with the Xeon E3110.

    Besides the S-Spec which changes from S LAPG to SLB9J for the E8400, from S LAPK to SLB9K for the E8500, and from SLAPM to SLB9C for the E3110, the CPUID evolves from 0x10676 to 0x1067A. However, now there is especially Power Status Indicator (PSI) support (if the motherboard approves) and ACNT2 has been added which enables the P-state (Performance state) to be more efficient.

    Changes were added to the PECI (Platform Environmental Control Interface), there are now XSAVE/XRSTOR instructions (a new ISA extension to save/restore the "context" of x87, SSE amongst others), and finally the CPU package no longer contains halides.

    A bios update for the motherboard will of course be necessary to make these CPUs function. Otherwise, it will be interesting to see in practice whether a very recent motherboard which supports all of these options will show significant improvements in power consumption and overclocking.

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