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     Details on forthcoming Atom models
      Posted on 29/04/2011 at 18:05 by Guillaume
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    Anandtech has just published a few details on Cedar Trail, the next version of the Atom platform slated for the end of the year. Engraved at 32nm, these new Atoms will have a similar CPU architecture to the current models. Intel has however changed its tune on cores as there are currently no single core models listed (with HyperThreading). The D2500s (which replace the old D400 single-core CPUs with HT) will have two physical cores and HyperThreading will be deactivated. The D2700s will have two physical cores but this time with HyperThreading, like the D500s which they replace.

    32nm technology means Intel has a bit more room for manoeuvre on clocks and energy consumption. The TDP of these two models is down to 10 wattts (against 13 watts on the previous dual-core models) and clocks are up: 1.86 GHz for the D2500 and 2.13 GHz for the D2700. While the disappearance of the single-core models is good news, the other modifications are particularly modest.

    The graphics part changes a bit more however with the arrival of a DirectX 10.1 graphics core, possibly a version derived from the one used in the first generation of Core processors (Arrandale). According to Anandtech, HD video decoding (MPEG 2, VC1 and H.264) will be supported as well as HDMI 1.3a and DisplayPort 1.1 and the IGP will be able to handle two screens at the same time. Any developments of the graphics part are of course welcome, but without more detail it’s difficult to say if the changes will be enough to make up the ground lost by Intel to AMD’s Brazos on the graphics side.



     OCZ VeloDrive PCI-Express
      Posted on 29/04/2011 at 09:18 by Marc
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    OCZ is launching a new PCI-Express SSD, the VeloDrive, as part of its enterprise range. With a PCI-Express x8 interface, namely 4 GB/s in each direction, it frees users up from Serial ATA interface throughput limitations. Announced in 300 GB, 600 GB and 1.2 TB versions, it combines four SSDs based on the SandForce SF-1565, like the Z-Drive R3, also from OCZ. What is new is that the VeloDrive PCI-Express can be used in either hardware or software RAID mode, which means the four SSDs can be recognised independently by the system if you wish.


    In hardware RAID mode, the read speeds announced vary depending on SSD capacity between 925 and 950 MB/s for compressible data and 450 to 600 MB/s for incompressible data, with OCZ wisely giving both sets of figures this time. Reads vary from 825 to 1000 MB/s and 225 to 420 MB/s. Random 4K accesses vary between 55K and 70K IOPS for reads and 55K and 75K IOPS for writes, all with 32 simultaneous commands and compressible data. With just one command and incompressible data, in AS-SSD, we were between 5550 and 7250 IOPS in reads and (just) 4500 and 14500 IOPS in writes.


    As you can see, compared to a standard SSD, the gains are for sequential speeds and not random accesses. Even here the gains are quite limited as two Vertex 3 240 GB SSDs in RAID will be faster. Note that in contrast to the OCZ Z-Drive R3, OCZ VCA (Virtualized Controller Architecture) is not used on the VeloDrive, which therefore doesn’t support TRIM. This is very probably why there’s such an impact in terms of its flexibility in RAID.


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