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Photo of the day: SiS655TX-based Gigabyte 8S655TX Ultra in our test lab

Intel: high-k dielectrics enable to reduce leakage currents by a factor of 100!

RightMark 3DSound 1.0 released!

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B and LANParty PRO875B party at its peak

Sony announces 4 new Micro Vault USB storage solutions

Nippon Leiz showcased backlight module for two-display phones

OCZ Technology announced PC4200 Performance series DIMMs

Photo of the day: SiS655TX-based Gigabyte 8S655TX Ultra in our test lab

Our test lab received a SiS655TX-based mainboard, Gigabyte 8S655TX Ultra for 800 MHz Pentium 4 CPU. As for the specifications, they are rather standard, as there is almost no difference between SiS655TX and SiS655FX: dual-channel DDR400/333, 5 x PCI slots, AGP 8x, Gigabit Ethernet controller, 6-channel audio, Serial ATA, ATA133 RAID support, etc.

Intel: high-k dielectrics enable to reduce leakage currents by a factor of 100!

According to Intel, its specialists made a significant breakthrough in the field of newer chip materials. The company claims it will allow to considerably reduce leakage currents alongside chip energy consumption and heat emission.

Already in 2007 Intel is going to use special high-k dielectrics in transistor gates that, according to specialists, will allow to reduce leakage currents by at least a factor of 100! According to Moore´s Law, the amount of transistors might reach a billion by that time. In 2007 the company plans to move to 45nm process technology. At that time the usual silicon dioxide will be replaced by a still undisclosed high-k dielectric. Alongside the company is going to stop using polycrystalline silicon additions during forming transistor gate electrodes and start using two different metals for NMOS and PMOS transistors.

Essentially the leakage problem is: the thickness of silicon dioxide layer used as dielectric is currently 5 atoms that results in electrons tunnelling through the oxide level in the enabled state and increases energy consumption. The transition to high-k materials makes the transistor current in the enabled state just slightly higher than in the disabled state. This naturally reduces leakages.

The leakage reduction effect of high-k oxides has been known for a long time, however scientists have been searching for suitable materials. The already known high-k materials like hafnium, zirconium, etc. oxides usually result in considerable channel current reduction under gate dielectrics and lead to serious problems of setting gate operate threshold voltage, especially in PMOS transistors.

More details on new high-k dielectric technologies are to be presented by Robert Chau, lead developer of Intel´s lab in Hillsboro, Oregon, on Thursday at International Gate Insulator Workshop in Tokyo. The presentation will describe the development of NMOS and PMOS transistors with 80nm gates and the usage of 1.4nm (14 Angstrom) dielectrics.

RightMark 3DSound 1.0 released!

This is to announce the new release of RightMark 3DSound 1.0!

Version 1.0 features (differences from the beta are bold):

  • DirectSound diagnostics: hardware functions output to specified DirectSound device;
  • EAX1, EAX2, EAX3, EAX4 support check;
  • DirectSound3D positioning quality check, vertical plane supported;
  • EAX2 and EAX3 reverb, occlusions and obstructions;
  • CPU load measurements with different amounts of DirectSound and DirectSound3D buffers and EAX2 reverb;
  • Special CPU load statistics manipulation, average and dispersion values, added batch test mode;
  • Updated User´s Manual.

Supplied with a brief manual, RightMark 3DSound is available in the Download section.

RightMark Audio is the independent audio measurements open-source project developed by iXBT.com team. Our Manifest is on the main page.

Our post-moderated forum is open for constructive discussions. For more details visit audio.rightmark.org.

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B and LANParty PRO875B party at its peak

DFI launched its latest revisions of the unique LANParty motherboard series LANParty NFII Ultra B and LANParty PRO875B. The new LANParty NFII Ultra B for AMD platform combines popular features of the previous version with many performance integrations that make it a LAN gamer´s dream motherboard. The new LANParty PRO875B for Intel platform supports the latest Intel Pentium 4 3.20 GHz Extreme Edition processors and CMOS Reloaded technology to deliver one unmatchable gaming platform.

Below is an excerpt from the official press release: "Similar to the previous design, the LANParty NFII Ultra B takes full advantage of the nForce2 Ultra 400/MCP-T chipset architecture, and is optimized for dual channel DDR400 memory and 8X AGP. Designed with the most discerning gamers in mind, Revision B LANParty features the new dual Gigabit LAN and 10/100 Ethernet for desired network reliability, extra space around the AGP slot to accommodate today´s new card design, additional Southbridge heat sink to maximize cooling, mounting holes around the CPU socket for water cooling, and the latest Silicon Image 4-channel Serial ATA. LANParty NFII Ultra B is the first in the series to offer support for 4-channel Serial ATA and Serial ATA RAID (0,1,0+1) to enable a compact system design with faster transfer rate. Other integrated features include 8 USB 2.0 ports, 4 IEEE 1394 Firewire ports, and 6-channel audio with SPDIF in/out to complete the offering.

For the overclockers and the power users, LANParty NFII Ultra B features CMOS Reloaded technology with 2 sets of CMOS under each BIOS setting. With CMOS Reloaded, for the first time the users can now save the overclocked settings without having to record manually, customize by naming each CMOS configuration, and load the various CMOS configurations using hot keys on the keyboard. This DFI patented technology automates overclocking and allows each CMOS configuration to be saved with a different operating system, thus making today´s PCs truly versatile. Further to make it the ultimate nForce2 enthusiasts´ motherboard, improvements were made to its overclockability. First in the market, LANParty NFII Ultra B features DRAM voltage from 2.6V to 3.3V (0.1V step), complete CPU ratio control from 5X to 22X and chipset voltage from 1.6V to 1.9V. Additional DRAM timing control was also implemented to enable refresh cycle time control, row cycle time control, RAS-to-CAS write delay time control, SuperBypass control, and DIMM driving strength and signal slew rate control.

For the Intel lovers, the LANParty PRO875B provides high-end features the power users have become accustomed to. Based on the Intel i875P/ICH5R chipset, this motherboard supports the latest dual channel DDR400 memory up to 4 MB, 8X AGP, and Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT) for advance computing. Broadband connection is enabled by the Intel CSA (Communications Streaming Architecture) Gigabit LAN with direct access to system memory to offer up to double the data transfer rate. In addition to the DFI proprietary RAID 1.5, this revision B motherboard also offers Serial ATA RAID for slim system design. A new feature added to this release is the CMOS Reloaded technology to facilitate the most flexible overclocking on the Intel platform. Similar to the AMD based NFII Ultra B, LANParty PRO875B will offer 2 sets of CMOS settings and future expansion capability through BIOS updates. When coupled with the latest Intel Pentium 4 processor Extreme Edition, this ultimate combination enhances visual realism for gamers and adds additional processing power with its larger cache and HyperThreading technology."

Full specifications (and comparison with other models) are here.

Sony announces 4 new Micro Vault USB storage solutions

Sony announced four new portable USB storage solutions for its Micro Vault series.

The first model, Micro Vault with Fingerprint Access, has 128MB capacity, USB2.0 interface and a biometric fingerprint sensor. The device was announced with the price of $140.

The second model also has 128MB memory and has a Memory Stick / Memory Stick Duo slot. Its MSRP is $90.

The third model, Micro Vault Mini 128MB features compact body, while the fourth one has 512MB capacity (the MSRP is $200).

Nippon Leiz showcased backlight module for two-display phones

Nippon Leiz Co, Ltd exhibited at the FPD International 2003 its new back-to-back light emitting diode (LED) backlight for mobile phones that have a main LCD and a sub-LCD.

Thus far, many mobile phones have been employing two LED backlights, but with the new technology only one backlight is necessary. The backlight supports the 2-in. main LCD and the 1.2-in. sub-LCD.

Previously, if one backlight unit was used for both the main and sub-LCDs, the sub-screen became visible from the main screen. Nippon Leiz´s new optical design was optimized to solve this problem.

There are two kinds of new backlights: regular and brighter. Regarding the average brightness of a regular unit, the brightness of the main LCD is 1,500 nit, and that of the sub-LCD is 1,600 nit. The average brightness for the main LCD of the brighter unit is 1,900 nit, and that of the sub-LCD is 2,050 nit. The electric power consumption of both types is 210mW.

The regular one was commercialized on October 29, and the brighter type was showcased for reference, slated for commercialization in the spring of 2004.

OCZ Technology announced PC4200 Performance series DIMMs

OCZ announced the availability of PC4200 Performance DDR memory modules based on OCZ HyperSpeed technology that denotes specific OCZ EL DDR ICs built and selected for their ability to run at the highest possible frequency.

OCZ PC4200 Performance Series DDR memory will be available in 256MB and 512MB modules as well as 512MB (OCZ533512PFDC-K) and 1GB (OCZ5331024PFDC-K) Dual Channel kits. OCZ PC4200 Performance Series modules include a copper heatspreader and are rated for CL 3-4-4-8 operation at 2.8 volts.

In order to ensure that maximum stability and performance can be achieved, each PC4200 Performance Series Dual Channel kit is hand tested and certified by OCZ on the ASUS P4C800 mainboard.

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