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TI Qualifies Foundries For 65-nm Process

The Creative X-Fi Scandal

ASUS Unveils Bluetooth Dongle Kit With Bluetooth v2.0 And EDR

TI Qualifies Foundries For 65-nm Process

Texas Instruments is qualifying select silicon foundries for its 65-nm process as part of an aggressive ramp for the technology. Initially, TI (Dallas) said that it plans to qualify a pair of rival foundries for its 65-nm process: TSMC and UMC. TSMC and UMC are also separately racing each other to ramp up their own, respective 65-nm processes for customers, including TI's chip competitors.

"We're qualifying UMC right now and TSMC later this year," said Peter Rickert, platform manager for application specific products at TI, adding that the chip maker is also currently "bench marking" foundries for the 45-nm node.

For years, TI has utilized a dual approach in chip production. It has used both its own fabs as well as select foundries. At the 90-nm node, TI had three foundry partners, including UMC, TSMC and China's SMIC. UMC was the "lead foundry" for TI's 90-nm process.

It has not been decided if SMIC will be one of TI's 65-nm foundry partners, Rickert said. In total, TI is expected to ramp its 65-nm process in six fabs, including both its own plants and the foundries, he said.

Last year, TI began sampling its first 65-nm devices, a line of digital signal processors (DSPs) for cellular phones. For some time, the company said it plans to move its 65-nm process into production in the first part of 2006.

The company plans to sample devices based on its yet-to-be-announced 45-nm process in 2007, with production due out in 2008, he said. TI is “bench marking” foundries, but he declined to identify the companies.

Meanwhile, TI's foundry partners are also ramping up their own 65-nm processes. TI's baseband chip rival, Qualcomm, last month announced "early sampling" for its first 65-nm, cellular-phone chipset line, which claims to be two months ahead of its original schedule. The MSM6800 is manufactured on a foundry basis by TSMC (Hsinchu), it was noted.

Fu Tai Liou, president of UMC's U.S. subsidiary, said that the Taiwanese foundry provider is also sampling devices based on its own 65-nm process. UMC (Hsinchu) has two 65-nm customers, including Xilinx and an undisclosed company, Liou said.

One customer is qualified on UMC's 65-nm process, he said. "Our process is very competitive," he said.

Source: EETimes

The Creative X-Fi Scandal

Back in the summer of 05’, Creative announced about a new revolutionary X-Fi audio processor that was supposed to change how our games sound. They said it would be a very powerful audio processor with a 51 million transistor chip. They also introduced many new features and claimed that it would be a breakthrough in multimedia audio. After Creative released their new X-Fi lineup many users complained about the following issues:

  • Popping and crackling noises.
  • Incompatibilities with nForce3/4 based motherboards.
  • Blue screen of death.
  • Hard lockups and strange behavior.

The media around the world already covered it and revealed all these issues many months ago. Creative even confirmed some of these issues. Today after many months, we did a little research to find out what has happened since then. We found out that only a few manufacturers have released BIOS updates to solve some of these issues. Creative has made a mysterious firmware upgrade that cannot be found on their website, and some users claimed it killed their card. According to users in their forums, most of the effected consumers are STILL having issues with the X-Fi series.

The last official software update from creative came in November 05’. Yes you heard it right, the last update came SIX MONTHS AGO and that’s after many websites and magazines critized Creative for these issues.

Today we tested a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic on an ASUS A8N-SLI with the latest software/BIOS updates and we encountered crackling noise issues and somehow our Operating System locked up when we tried to reboot.

Why is Creative not doing much to solve these issues? Because they don’t have to! They have a lot of deals with game developers which keep optimizing their software for Creative products due to the lack of competitors. Creative became a monopoly because people wanted to use EAX and thought that using onboard audio took too much CPU time.

Creative users have been complaining for almost 6-7 months and they are not doing much to help them...

Source: NGOHQ

ASUS Unveils Bluetooth Dongle Kit With Bluetooth v2.0 And EDR

ASUS today unveiled the WL-BTD202 Bluetooth dongle kit, which leveraged the latest Bluetooth v2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) function. The WL-BTD202 delivers data transfers at 3Mbps and up to 40 meters in coverage range (with the bundled USB extension docking stand).

Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support provides wireless stereo audio enjoyment through Bluetooth earphones. Simply plug the WL-BTD202 to a computing device to wirelessly transmit music stored to Bluetooth headphones and enjoy stereo audio quality with the freedom to roam.

The USB 2.0-based and compact WL-BTD202 is hot-pluggable, allowing quick Bluetooth connection activation. It's combined with the ASUS-developed software utilities that aid users in managing the device and ensure proper sync-up between seven devices simultaneously.

Specification summary:

  • Standard: Bluetooth V2.0 Class 2 + EDR
  • Advanced Features: Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH)
  • Interface: USB 2.0 (type A)
  • Data Rate: Up to 3 Mbps
  • Frequency Band: 2.400~2.4835 GHz unlicensed ISM band
  • Modulation: GFSK (1Mbps), p /4-DQPSK (2Mbps), 8-DPSK (3Mbps)
  • Output Power (GFSK): 0dBm (typical)
  • Receiving Sensitivity (GFSK): -82dBm (typical)
  • Antenna: Internal embedded
  • Range: Up to 40m (limited condition)
  • Power: Powered by USB port directly
  • OS Support: Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP

Source: ASUS

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