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Sun Microsystems Delivers Its Fastest, Densest And Most Reliable Carrier Grade Blade Server

NEC LCD Technologies To Launch New TFT LCD Module For Portable Information Devices

Intel First With 65nm NOR Flash Memory Chips

1025 Cores In A Single IBM Kilocore1025

Intel Reduces Pentium D And Pentium 4 Power Consumption With A New C1 Stepping

AMD K8L: H1 2007, 65nm, Just Two Cores

Hope Over Self-Focusing Glasses

Vista Logo Requirements And The First PC For This OS

Sun Microsystems Delivers Its Fastest, Densest And Most Reliable Carrier Grade Blade Server

Sun Microsystems today introduced its new carrier-grade Netra AdvancedTCA (ATCA) blade server family, which includes the world's first UltraSPARC and AMD Opteron processor-based ATCA blades. Sun Netra ATCA blade server is claimed to offer up to 30% percent better compute density and up to 10% percent more performance as compared to Intel-based ATCA blade products.

Sun Netra ATCA blade server also gives customers more choice by allowing them to mix-and-match processors and carrier-grade operating systems in the same server and is compatible with other Sun servers, StorEdge storage, Java Enterprise System middleware and thousands of Solaris Operating System applications.

Based on open PICMG 3.x and Service Availability Forum (SAF) standards, the new Netra ATCA blade server family includes: the Netra CT900 blade server, a 12U/14 slot ATCA blade server; the Netra CP3010 blade, the first dual UltraSPARC IIIi processor-based ATCA blade; the Netra CP3020 blade, the industry's first Dual-Core AMD Opteron processor-based ATCA blade; the SAF-compliant Netra High Availability Suite (NHAS) and Netra Blade Management Suite; and a redundant Gigabit Ethernet Switch Blade. In addition, Sun's Netra ATCA blade server will offer a choice of carrier grade operating systems - Solaris 10 and MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) supported in the same ATCA blade server.

Sun announced that more than 20 independent software and hardware vendors (ISVs/IHVs) have pledged support for Sun's new Netra ATCA blade server, including: Ulticom, Interphase, Adax, NMS Communications, Oracle Times Ten, Solid Information Technology, Jnetx, OpenCloud, Flextronics, Veraz and Wind River. In addition, Sun is working with the Java development community to help deliver an open IP-based service delivery platform and facilitate the creation of next-generation, Java-based telecom services.

The Netra CT900 ATCA blade server and Netra CP3010 UltraSPARC ATCA blade are already shipping and the first units have been delivered to NEP and carrier customers worldwide. The Netra CP3020 AMD Opteron processor-based ATCA blade and Netra High Availability Suite (NHAS) 3.0 are scheduled to ship in second quarter of 2006. Sun reiterated its plans, first announced at the 3GSM Conference in February 2006, to deliver an ATCA-based blade running its 8-core, 32-thread UltraSPARC T1 processors by end of 2006.

Source: Sun Microsystems

NEC LCD Technologies To Launch New TFT LCD Module For Portable Information Devices

NEC LCD Technologies today announced that it will begin shipping samples of its new 3.5-inch (8.9-cm) amorphous silicon TFT LCD, part number NL2432HC22-40A, in the beginning of June. The new LCD is suitable for installation in various portable devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and portable GPS terminals as it is claimed to be able to reproduce colors clearly and vividly even in indoor/outdoor environments with high ambient light.

By optimization of its optical design, the new LCD achieves the luminance of 220cd/m² and the reflective ratio of 15%.

For the first time, NEC LCD Technologies installed both a timing controller and a DC-DC converter in one of its LCD products. Consequently, this new LCD offers a range of benefits to manufacturers of portable devices in terms of development cost, lead time, as well as miniaturization of portable devices.

The optimization of the total module design achieved a reduction in weight by approximately 10% for conventional products, despite the installation of both a timing controller and a DC-DC converter.

NEC LCD Technologies' new model will be displayed at Display 2006, which is being held in Tokyo Big Sight, Japan, from April 19 - 21.

Source: NEC LCD Technologies

Intel First With 65nm NOR Flash Memory Chips

Intel is the first to sample NOR multi-level cell flash memory chips at 1-gigabit density using its 65-nanometer process technology. Intel's NOR Flash memory chips are used in devices such as cell phones to manage critical phone operations, handle Personal Information Management data and to store photos, music and videos.

Intel's handset OEM customers will benefit from a common flash architecture that will simplify the migration from 90nm to 65nm process technology.

Samples will be available to customers late in the second quarter.

Source: Intel

1025 Cores In A Single IBM Kilocore1025

Fabless semiconductor startup Rapport has created an energy-efficient processor design featuring 1,024 eight-bit processing elements and a PowerPC core on a single chip, according to Power.org, an open community developing standards and applications around IBM's Power Architecture.

According to Power.org, the Kilocore1025, based on Rapport's Kilocore technology and Power Architecture, will process information at higher speeds and orders of magnitude lower power than existing processors. The companies involved say the Kilocore1025 will enable users to view streaming live and high-definition video on a low-power, mobile device at five to 10 times the speed of existing processors.

According to Power.org, IBM and Rapport collaboration is expected to bring "disruptive solutions" to the low-power computing marketplace. Rapport will be contributing software solutions as well as Kilocore technology, and IBM will provide engineering services, foundry and ASIC technologies, Power.org said.

Kilocore-based processors put hundreds or thousands of parallel processing elements together on small chips.

Source: EETimes

Intel Reduces Pentium D And Pentium 4 Power Consumption With A New C1 Stepping

Boxed Intel Pentium D Processors 930, 940 and 950 will undergo the following changes for the B-1 to C-1 processor stepping conversion:

  • CPUID will change from F62 to F64
  • C-1 is pin compatible with B-1
  • New S-specs for converting products
  • The advanced power management features Enhanced HALT State and Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology will be enabled
  • The Pentium D Processors 940 and 950 will change from the 2005 Performance FMB (130W) to the 2005 Mainstream FMB (95W)
  • The Platform Compatibility Guide indicating the processor FMB will be added to the processor mark as illustrated with the following example:

Boxed Intel Pentium 4 Processors 631, 641, 651 and 661 will undergo the following changes for the B-1 to C-1 processor stepping conversion:

  • CPUID will change from F62 to F64
  • C-1 is pin compatible with B-1
  • New S-specs for converting products
  • The advanced power management features Enhanced HALT State, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology and Thermal Monitor 2 will be enabled
  • The Platform Compatibility Guide indicating the processor FMB will be added to the processor mark as illustrated with the following example:

Source: VR-Zone

AMD K8L: H1 2007, 65nm, Just Two Cores

According to the new information obtained from AMD's roadmaps, the next generation of processors codenamed "K8L" will arrive in H1 2007. These CPUs will work with DDR2-800 memory.

An excerpt from a company's document published by HKEPC confirms the recent rumours that K8L will signify the beginning of AMD's 65nm production instead of 90nm as we thought before. Contrary to earlier assumptions, K8L will become the base for not only quad-core, but also dual-core processors like Athlon 64 X2 and 64 FX (codenamed "Brisbane"). Moreover, there's not a word about desktop quad-core CPUs in 2007, so, perhaps, the transition to a new process technology will enable much higher clock rates and AMD won't consider increasing the amount of cores at that time.

The K8L architecture will also be used for future Semprons (Sparta core) that, according to the document, will be single-core devices scheduled to H2 2007.

But for now all of us are waiting for June 6 this year when the Socket AM2 is to be released as well as 90nm processors on Windsor, Orlean and Manila cores.

Source: HKEPC

Hope Over Self-Focusing Glasses

US researchers have designed glasses which can change focusing power by harnessing the images seen by the eyes. The University of Arizona team has created lenses which use electrodes to alter the optical properties of liquid crystal between layers of glass. The team believes they could one day replace bifocal and varifocal glasses, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal reports. But UK experts suggest the lenses would be heavy and require thick frames.

As the human eye ages, its outer layer can lose its flexibility, often resulting in an inability to shift focus from distant to near objects. The field of view is limited in such bifocal eyeglasses, requiring the user to gaze down to accomplish near visions tasks and in some cases causing dizziness and discomfort. Area-divided bifocal lenses are a common remedy but users still need to move their gaze between the upper and lower lenses as they switch between far and near vision tasks. Varifocal glasses which graduate more slowly are becoming common but still require shifts in gaze.

The model designed by the US team uses thick lenses to help support the weight of the liquid crystal. It relies on a series of concentric rings of tiny, transparent electrodes that control the optical properties of a thin layer of liquid crystal trapped between two layers of glass. Liquid crystal is used because the semi-solid fluid can be made to change properties to improve optical imaging. The device operates at low voltage and can switch focal power in less than one second after registering the vision seen through a lens placed on a person's eyes. If electrical power is suddenly lost, the lens reverts to a configuration with no focusing power, which makes it safe for use while driving, the researchers said.

However, UK experts remain unconvinced the glasses offer a viable alternative to bifocal and varifocal lenses. Cardiff University optometry expert Professor Mike Boulton said: "The problem is that liquid crystal is quite heavy and expensive. "Because it is heavy it means thick frames have to be used and people often choose glasses partly because of the style so I cannot see these glasses replacing bifocal and varifocal."

Source: BBC News

Vista Logo Requirements And The First PC For This OS

Last weekend Microsoft held an event for its partners to increase its ready PC sales this year, especially during the traditionally profitable Chrismas season. As you remember, the release of Windows Vista moved to January 2007 causes concerns as a key reason for possible PC demand drop this year.

At the moment the Vista Logo Requirements are in their version 0.8, expected to reach the final version, according to Microsoft, by the end of June this year. As there are three primary components that dictate PC rating - CPU, memory, graphics - there supposed to be 3 logos in whole:

  • Windows Vista Capable (OS can be installed and work with some features disabled)
  • Windows Vista Ready (OS can work with all the key features enabled, including the Aero interface)
  • Windows Vista Compliant (premium and most performing PCs).

The already familiar Designed for Windows XP logo will also continue to exist.

According to the information we have now, a Windows Vista Capable PC is to feature 512MB RAM, DirectX 9 graphics (including integrated). The second and third segments will respectively require 512MB RAM (1GB optional) and 1GB RAM (2GB optional). No integrated graphics is allowed to these groups as well. Vista Ready will also require the support of the yet unreleased DirectX 9.0L, while Vista Compliant will require Shader Model 2.0 support as a must. This last requirement doens't seem very clear, we believe they mean the compatibility with DirectX 9.0L, not its complete support (we're talking about average PCs, mind you). Besides, Aero interface will require 1,800 MB/s and higher graphics memory throughput. So a 64MB card will only be able to operate at 1024x768, higher resolution demanding 128MB.

Speaking of CPU, Microsoft mentioned it should be modern. Intel claimed the minimal recommended CPU for Vista should be Pentium 4 630. As you remember, it operates at 3GHz, has 2MB L2 and 800MHz FSB. However, with this rather powerful CPU Intel recommends its 945G integrated graphics.

Note that these requirements do not mention DirectX 10 (WGF) that is obviously meant not to scare away fall and winter buyers. Perhaps, the DirectX Next itself will also be delayed and won't be launched together with Vista.

Meanwhile, some especially impatient vendors do not wait for Microsoft's final requirements. Epson was the first to announce its Windows Vista Capable PC - Endeavour Pro 3500:

  • Intel Pentium 4 630
  • Intel 975X
  • GeForce 6600 GT
  • 512MB DDR2
  • 80GB
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 6 x USB 2.0
As you can see, it's a rather usual PC of today, while its hard drive might even seem outdated. However its configuration is actually categorized as the least performing required.

Sources: TG Daily, Microsoft, The Register, iXBT

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