Today is the debut of CrossFire Xpress 3200 - a new chipset from ATI Technologies for AMD Socket 939 platform previously codenamed RD580 and Skeletor.
The 8 months of development resulted in a 39mm² chip (the smallest of all similar) with 22M transistors onboard. The production will take place at TSMC according to 110nm process technology.
Actually there's only a part of a chipset - its Northbridge. Until summer it will be used with ULi M1575 Southbridge. And later ATI is to release its own Southbridge variant more suitable for CrossFire Xpress 3200 that its existing solutions.
The key benefit of the novelty is that for the first time in the industry a Northbridge supports two fully-fledged PCI Express x16 (!) interfaces. In general, the chip provides 40 PCI Express lanes 32 of which are given to the graphics subsystem. Another 4 lanes are used for four PCI-Express x1 ports, and the last 4 lanes (1 x PCI Express x4) make the Alink2 Southbridge interconnect.
In other words, having two ATI Radeon X1300 based budget graphics cards and a motherboard like this a user gets a very price/performance attractive machine. Note that graphics cards on such GPUs will not require a master card to work in the CrossFire mode. This makes a PC simpler and less expensive. And an example of it you can see below:
The chip has low heat dissipation - up to 8W TDP. The company states the overclockability without raising voltage, etc. Clock rates at which CrossFire Xpress 3200 is claimed to be operable considerably exceed the nominal: HyperTransport - up to 1.5GHz (50% higher), PCI Express - up to 140MHz (40% higher). By the way, according to the vendor, the very first silicon demonstrated stable CrossFire operation after the first 24 hours of debugging.
The new platform is designed for AMD Athlon 64FX, Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon64 processors, features 6 x SATA 3Gbps (RAID 0,1,0+1, JBOD), 2 x 1394a, Dual Gigabit Ethernet, and High Definition Audio. It supports up to 4GB of RAM. For more details please read our article on A8R32-MVP Deluxe and also take a look at test results in the CrossFire mode.
In the second half of March other vendors, including Sapphire, DFI, ABIT and PCPartner are to unveil their own motherboards on the new chip (see above). Their specs are almost identical to A8R32-MVP Deluxe. All of these are designed for 4 x dual-channel DDR400 memory and have 2 x PCI Express x16, 2 x PCI-Express x1, one or two PCI (3 x PCI and 1 x PCI Express x1 on DFI's board). Interfaces include 2 x ATA133, 4 x SATA and 2 x SATA II (4 x SATA and SATA II on DFI and PCPartner boards). All boards also featur 8 x USB 2.0 (PCPartner and DFI also add 2 x 1394a).
Oxford Semiconductor announced the first configurable USB/FireWire dual SATA storage controller with encryption - OXUF924DSE.
Bridging between dual SATA disks and USB2.0, FireWire400 and FireWire800 ports, the OXUF924DSE offers real time 128-bit encryption to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Supporting secure token, software password and biometric (fingerprint) sensor encryption authentication methods, the chip provides designers with the flexibility to create multiple storage products from a single hardware platform.
The OXUF924DSE shares a common software base with all other Oxford's USB and FireWire combination storage controllers. In addition, the chip is backed by a comprehensive software development kit, an evaluation board and a selection of encrypted storage reference designs.
Storage methodologies supported by the chipís dual SATA disk interface include disk striping (RAID0), disk mirroring (RAID1) and disk spanning. In striping and spanning modes up to four disks can be managed. The OXUF924DSE features an embedded FireWire PHY interface and Link layer operating at up to 800Mbps and uses hardware acceleration. The IEEE1394b PHY offers backwards compatibility with the IEEE1394a standard. The chip's 480Mbps USB2.0 Link and PHY cater for full and high speed USB operating modes. The interface is backwards compatible with USB1.1 and is supported by an integral 18KB data cache.
The controller is ARM7 processor based and integrates 8KB of closely-coupled RAM, a 1MB external flash interface and 10 GPIOs. A 12Mbits/sec embedded UART is provided for firmware code development and debug, and field upgrades are simple to implement via the FireWire and USB interfaces.
Source: Oxford Semiconductor
Seagate Technology announced the SV35 Series hard drive, specifically designed for video security market. The SV35 Series offers 160GB, 250GB and 500GB of storage.
Seagate SV35 Series hard drive supports the ATA 7 command set, which provides for tuning the read/write profile to be video or data specific. This means that video read/writes are designed to stream reliably, while data read/writes are optimized for data integrity. Also, the novelties provide a low start-up current (~2.0A) that enables the design of efficient, low cost power supplies. The SV35 Series enables real-time power-saving features to allow any drive in the system to spin down into power saving mode when not in active use.
The Seagate SV35 Series will begin shipping in April 2006.
Source: Seagate Technology
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