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First Details Of ATI RD600: 3 Graphics Cards Per System, And Other Features

HP Unveils 25th Anniversary Edition 12c Calculator

Nikon Introduces D2xs Pro D-SLR Camera

Grass Valley Announces New Canopus FireCoder

AMD Sets A Course For 2008

First Details Of ATI RD600: 3 Graphics Cards Per System, And Other Features

Sources obtained the first information about the coming ATI RD600 chipset for new Intel-based motherboards. Though its features are similar to those of RD580 (Radeon Xpress 3200) introduced in March, it still has a number of distinctive differences.

They claim it will support 1333MHz nominal and up to 1.5GHz (!) overclocked FSB. There also will be an asynchronous memory controller with clock rate independent on FSB. The chipset will support memory up to DDR2-1066.

Also supported will be three fully-featured PCIå x16 interfaces for three graphics cards. Two of these may work in the CrossFire mode, while the third will process physics calculations. The CrossFire mode won't require any connectors anymore.

The RD600 will be made using 90nm process, so it will be cooled passively due to lower heat dissipation. Besides the top-end RD600, boards on which will cost $150 and more, several cheaper solutions will be released.

Source: HKEPC, DailyTech

HP Unveils 25th Anniversary Edition 12c Calculator

HP introduced a special edition HP 12c Calculator, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the iconic consumer electronics product that has remained virtually unchanged since its debut.

The 25th Anniversary Edition HP 12c Platinum Financial Calculator comes in an elegant black and silver design with an engravable metal plate on the back and an embossed leather pouch. Additional features include the ability to easily switch between Reverse Polish Notation(1) and algebraic mode and undo and backspace buttons. Up to six times faster and with four times more memory than the original, the collectors’ item will only be available until the end of 2006 or while supplies last.

Instantly recognized for its unique horizontal layout, the HP 12c sold today acts and looks just as it did when first introduced in 1981, with the exception of improved performance due to modern components. Valued for its reliability, proven accuracy and long battery life, the HP 12c has become an industry standard in the business and finance community with more than 15 million units sold to date. It is also the only pure Reverse Polish Notation calculator on the market today.

In 2003, HP introduced the HP 12c Platinum, an enhanced version of the HP 12c financial calculator. The HP 12c Platinum boasts increased memory to allow for more keystroke programming steps and offers more built-in functions, including the option of standard algebraic mode as well as Reverse Polish Notation mode.

The 25th Anniversary Edition HP 12c Platinum Financial Calculator is available immediately for a suggested retail price of $79(3) online at HP, Amazon.com, WalMart.com, Staples.com, OfficeDepot.com and in-store at Circuit City, Staples, Office Depot, J&R Electronics, Fry’s Electronics and select retailers and bookstores across the United States. A complete list of resellers is available at www.hp.com/calculators/resellers.

Source: HP

Nikon Introduces D2xs Pro D-SLR Camera

Nikon introduced the new D2xs professional digital SLR camera, incorporating a range of refinements that improve overall camera performance and enhance the user experience. The D2xs shares many performance and design innovations with the current D2x camera, including the 12.4 million pixel DX format CMOS image sensor. The D2xs upgraded features include refined viewfinder performance that makes for easier composition when shooting in Nikon's High-Speed Crop mode, a new 2.5 inch LCD with a 170-degree wide viewing angle, individually calibrated at the factory, increased battery life and a wide range of firmware enhancements.

Options such as the WT-2A Wi-Fi transmitter achieves full wireless remote camera control and transmission, while the i-TTL Speedlight technology included in the D2xs ensures the new possibilities in creative lighting.

The D2xs is capable of capturing 12.4 megapixel JPEG or RAW (NEF) images at a rate of up to 5 frames per second in continuous shooting mode, and maintains a rapid start-up time, the shortest shutter release time lag of just 37ms, as well as a viewfinder blackout time of just 105 milliseconds.

The D2xs features Nikon's Mutli-CAM2000 high-speed AF system, with eleven autofocus sensors -- nine of which are cross-type and placed in the rule of thirds layout. The D2xs offers improved subject acquisition and tracking capabilities as well as a new option for controlling the duration of Lock-On focus tracking, making it easier to adjust for shooting different types of scenes and action.

The D2xs has also been refined so demanding photographers can take advantage of Nikon's 3D-Color Matrix Metering II even in the High-Speed Crop mode. Professional photographers will appreciate the ability to select Adobe RGB in any of the three color modes -- making it possible to work with a wider range of colors.

In-camera creative possibilities are extended further through the addition of a new Black & White (sRGB) color mode. Photographers shooting in RAW (NEF) will have the ability to shoot in black and white and still retain the color information in the RAW image data, allowing them to easily reverse a black and white image to color using Nikon's new Capture NX software.

RAW and JPEG images taken using the D2xs can be trimmed within the camera to produce images of reduced display sizes ranging from 640 x 480 to 2,560 x 1,920 pixels.

New ISO sensitivity options offer greater convenience to photographers who work under constantly changing lighting conditions such as weddings. A new Auto ISO feature allows photographers to maintain a specific shutter speed while letting the camera automatically select an appropriate ISO setting, within a predefined range of sensitivities, based on the existing lighting conditions. ISO sensitivity can also be manually set between ISO-equivalent 100 and 800 in increments of 1/3 EV, or boosted using HI-0.3, HI-0.5, HI-0.7, HI-1 or HI-2 settings when high sensitivity is a priority. The 3 settings between 800 and HI-1 are newly added to give the D2xs finer control over sensitivity.

The D2xs body is consistent with the exterior styling of the D2-series. Nikon's highly sophisticated, real-time battery Fuel Gauge system in the D2xs allows photographers to determine the precise level of remaining charge, number of shots taken per charge and the overall life of the battery.

The D2xs features an Image Authentication feature that, when used with Nikon's new Image Authentication Software, marks the authentication of an image captured by the camera and can determine whether or not it has been altered since capture. The software enables verification of JPEGS, TIFF and NEF (RAW) images taken with the Nikon D2xs.

The D2xs will be available from Nikon authorized retailers in late June for an estimated street price of $4699.95.

Source: Nikon

Grass Valley Announces New Canopus FireCoder

The Grass Valley business within Thomson announced the new Canopus FireCoder, a PCI Express-based hardware encoder that converts video files to MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats for use in DVD, iPod and PSP-compatible applications.

The Canopus FireCoder features a built-in 6-pin OHCI IEEE1394 interface for capture, editing and exporting of DV and HDV footage. FireCoder incorporates a host of productivity enhancements, including Ultracoder, MPEGcraft 3 DVD and an EDIUS plug-in, that give users the ability to convert video files to MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats using hardware acceleration to encode faster than realtime, trim MPEG clips quickly, combine multiple files, batch convert files, as well as automate conversion using watch folders.

In addition, since MPEG encoding is processed by dedicated hardware and not the system’s CPU, users can continue working even while they encode.

In addition to MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, FireCoder supports encoding of MPEG-1, DivX and WMV.

FireCoder hardware encoder is currently available from Canopus and its authorized dealers and system integrators for a suggested retail price of $399.

Source: Grass Valley

AMD Sets A Course For 2008

AMD on Thursday laid out plans to serve 30 percent of the market within the next two years, with new quad-core processor designs scheduled for 2007 and an acceleration of its manufacturing capabilities. The company also talked about plans to build future processors with the ability to mix and match the building blocks of a chip to cater to different needs, and to allow its partners to add co-processors that can link directly to Opteron processors through AMD's Hypertransport links.

Ultimately, AMD wants to separate the building blocks for its chips -- such as processing cores, memory controllers, Hypertransport links and cache memory -- into distinct parts that can be configured in multiple ways to meet changing workload requirements, said Phil Hester, AMD's chief technology officer. This also will allow customers to plug co-processors built specifically for certain workloads, such as Java or XML (Extensible Markup Language) traffic, right into Opteron chips, he said.

AMD's partners have been able to sign up for noncoherent licenses to Hypertransport up until this point, Hester said in an interview after the briefings. The new licenses provide a coherent link to the chipset and will allow server users to manage different co-processors with drivers, like PC peripherals, rather than having to use new applications for each co-processor, he said.

The difference between noncoherent links and coherent links is the difference between a co-processor being treated as an adjunct to the system and it being treated like another Opteron processor, said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Insight 64. A coherent link allows a specialized high-performance co-processor to access data stored in the cache memory of the Opteron processors. This could prove useful for applications such as cryptography or media processing, he said.

On the manufacturing front, AMD plans to introduce chips based on its 45-nanometer manufacturing technology by the middle of 2008, said Daryl Ostrander, senior vice president for logic technology and manufacturing at the company. That would mean a 1.5-year gap between the introduction of AMD's first 65-nanometer chips later this year and the volume production of 45-nanometer chips, he said. The number attached to the size of the manufacturing technology refers to the average size of features on the chip. Smaller features allow chipmakers to pack more transistors and more performance into their chips.

Intel has been losing market share to AMD in several areas over the last few years, but it has maintained an advantage in introducing new manufacturing technologies ahead of everyone else in the industry. Intel is already shipping a 65-nanometer chip, its Core Duo processor. Some in the chip-manufacturing industry have called for chipmakers to slow their cadence of shrinking transistors to every three years as the challenges become more daunting, but Intel has stuck to a two-year schedule. However, AMD's plan is to move from 65 nanometers to 45 nanometers in 18 months, which will allow it to chip away at Intel's advantage, Ostrander said.

Later in the day, Ostrander said that the 18-month turnaround for 45 nanometers was set because of AMD's confidence in that generation of its technology, but wouldn't necessarily serve as the cadence for future rollouts. Next on the agenda is 32 nanometers, which AMD will hopefully introduce 18 to 24 months after the 45-nanometer chips arrive in production volumes, he said.

By 2008, AMD will be ready to introduce something called Direct Connect 2.0 for server processors, Hester said. Direct Connect is the name AMD uses for its chip designs, which use an integrated memory controller to link directly to memory and Hypertransport links to connect to other processors or a system's I/O (input/output) controller. Details about Direct Connect 2.0 were not immediately available.

The company plans to introduce quad-core processors for servers and desktops in mid-2007, as it outlined at the recent Spring Processor Forum, and mobile chips based on a new power-optimized architecture. Hester revealed a few extra details about the quad-core chips on Thursday, disclosing that each core in a mid-2007 server processor will have either four 16-bit Hypertransport links or eight 8-bit links for connecting to other cores or processors.

This, along with the introduction of a third layer of cache memory shared between cores in the quad-core design, will allow AMD's customers to build SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) servers that can compete with Unix vendors, Hester said. AMD will also maintain a dual-core design for desktops during this time period.

Hester also talked about plans for a new mobile-processor design that implements better power management. AMD just released its first dual-core chip for notebooks. It plans to improve that chip by building power management technologies that can shut down a processing core or system links as demanded by the processing requirements, he said. The quad-core chips also will be able to take advantage of this power-management technology.

AMD is using the same basic core design for its new mobile architecture, but it's improving the power sensitivity of its memory controller, Hester said. The current memory controller used on AMD's Turion mobile chips was originally designed for servers and isn't completely appropriate for the notebook market. The new design will be able to turn on and off in response to workloads, the same way the processing cores react to ebbs and flows in processing requests, Hester said.

Seyer also announced vague plans for two new technologies code-named Trinity and Raiden. Trinity is software that's designed to bring security, virtualization and management capabilities to both servers and clients. Raiden is a new kind of commercial thin-client architecture that focuses on moving the processing into the server room. The company provided few details about these announcements.

Seyer, tracked down after the briefings, was able to share a little bit more about Raiden. AMD believes that the thin clients of the future won't necessarily be like the underpowered thin clients of the past. Virtualization technologies emerging in AMD's chips could allow for several different types of thin clients. Sometimes, they may run like traditional thin clients, where all the processing is done on a server. Other times the user might want to do more processing on their side.

AMD wants to develop a combination of hardware and software that can provide different levels of "thickness" in clients and servers, Seyer said. But he provided no time frame or specific product plans.

Source: CNET News, iXBT.com

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