Hot Lots II

Smoked bits and bad bumps. Oh, and maybe some bacon…

Quite a bit happened this week, from interviews with Intel’s CEO, to a tour of GlobalFoundries Fab 8, the tech world has been moving quickly.

Nvidia graced the PC community with a WHQL driver release this week. The 270 drivers give a respectable performance boost in normal gaming for the 5xx series and a major boost to games being played under Nvidia’s 3D Surround. If you’ve got a GeForce, then it’s time to grab them.

Jason Jacobs of TechwareLabs review Sapphire’s new 5830 Xtreme this week. Noting that with a $130 price point and an excellent cooling solution, the once disappointing 5830 was well received in this review. In a related note the 5850 Xtreme is also appears to be an equally competent and well priced card.

Kyle Bennett of [H]ard|OCP got the chance to tour GlobalFoundries under construction Fab 8 in upstate New York. If anything the video really gives you a sense of how utterly massive a modern semiconductor fabrication plant is. The slides are the bottom of the article are also worth a look if you want to see the kind of semiconductor power house GlobalFoundries is turning upstate New York into.

In addition to acquiring Samsung’s mass storage division this week Seagate also announced that it shipped 49 million disk drivers in Q1. Xbitlabs also reported that Samsung’s addition to Seagate will help the company become more competitive in the SSD market. It seems that the hard drive market is starting to look more and more like the cell phone market with all of these recent acquisitions and mergers.

Bit-tech’s Anthony Leather had a neat story this week about a first ever teleportation of light wave based data without any loss of integrity. Teleportation is still quite a few years off from becoming the next high speed interconnect, but wouldn’t it be neat if it became a practical technology at some point? Oh, and robot house maids would be nice too.

Another Intel slide with a Sandybridge-E roadmap on it has appeared. No really new information is on it, but if you looking for a quick recap of what Intel’s planning to offer than you should take a look. We also saw a few Z68 motherboards this week, first one of Gigabytes upcoming offerings, and then one from ASUS.  With a rumored May launch, we’ll be seeing more and more of these boards pop up on the internet.

Monica Chen of Digitimes reported this week that Nvidia will be making some big presentations at the upcoming Computex trade show. Tegra 3, Kal-El , and Project Denver are going to be the main topics of discussion.  It seems weird to me that the main topics of discussion of Nvidia seem to be its Tegra line and not it’s GPU’s which represent the majority of its revenue stream.

Microsoft took a shot at Google by the releasing the details of a few security flaws it found in Chrome. Google countered by saying that those flaws had been fixed since the end of last year. At the very least we can feel a bit safer knowing that the browser wars are making the internet a safe place for everyone.

Two new graphics cards came to light this week. First Galaxy came out with a four monitor output GTX 560 Ti that uses two extra display chips to overcome GF114’s lack of 2+ monitor support. A tip of the hat to Galaxy for being the first Nvidia partner to try and remedy the multi-monitor gap. Then PowerColor introduced a single slot version of the HD 6850. While notably smaller than the regular HD 6850, something tells me that it will also be notably nosier than the normal HD 6850’s.

It looks like next week is going to be a big one for the Linux community with the release of Ubuntu 11.4 on Thursday. With a new UI called Unity ‘Natty Narwhal’ looks to be a major departure from the look of previous Ubuntu releases. Things look good, but it remains to be seen if this new release is going to win some more market share for Linux based OSes.

Forbes Eric Savitz got the chance to interview Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini this week. The discussion covered the growth rate of the PC business, Intel’s $20 billion revenue increases during his reign as CEO, and his plans for his successor. Otellini downplayed the cannibalization of the laptop market by tables and called them additive devices, much like netbooks. It seems that Intel is expecting continued growth in its major markets and even faster growth in emerging markets. All signs from Intel point to good times ahead for the PC market. S|A

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Thomas Ryan is based in Seattle, Washington. Thomas first began to appreciate the wonders of the semiconductor industry while doing research on his previous favorite hobby, PC gaming. Having co- purchased his first computer at the ripe old age of 11, with $150 and the help of Craigslist he's been buying and building computers ever since.