Low Yielding Wafers

Not the bottom bin, nor the bottom of the bin.

Phase Change Memory 63x63 Low Yielding WafersLinux, AMD, and Nvidia have been hogging most of the headlines this week. But that’s okay because Intel and ARM managed to work their way in a little bit, and then there’s always next week to look forward to…

Michael Larabel of Phoronix took an in-depth look at the increased power consumption that Ubuntu 11.04 has saddled its user base with. Finding that on average a 10 to 30 percent increase in power consumption on notebook systems could be expected, Larabel classified the increase in power consumption as a bug. It seems that even Linux is have is having trouble in the power department. Although I doubt that the mainstream adoption of Linux will slow, even in light of this, rather nasty, bug.

Bit-tech’s Clive Webster did an excellent summary of ASRocks new socket AM3+ guide. Making numerous improvements in power management features and an 11 percent bigger hole for the pins to fit into, AM3+ seems to be a decent upgrade from AM3. Which is more than we can say for some of Intel’s socket changes; LGA 1156 to LGA 1155 anyone?

Nvidia partner Zotac released its own custom GTX 580 PCB this week. Coming in with 16+2 power phases an extended height card and a custom dual fan cooler, plus VRM heat sinks. I’m hard pressed to come up what more Zotac could have put on this board, well, maybe Wi-Fi, but that’s probably pushing it.

AMD finally released its WHQL 11.4 drivers this week. I think it’s fair to say that these drivers are the most awaited drivers since the 10.4 releases of yesteryear.

Dailytech’s Tiffany Kaiser had interesting story this week on the use of Carbon nanotubes in synthetic synapse circuits. Researchers at USC hope to use Carbon nanotubes to create analog circuits that mimic the brain to aid in the treatment of brain injuries. Hmm… Do I smell a new way to rationalize the superpowers of the latest action hero?

Xtreview seem to have the most complete run down of the latest Bulldozer leaks. Noting that the chip in question appears to be A1 silicon and is clocked at 2.8Ghz it seems that Bulldozer hasn’t had a major fiasco yet. But we still have a couple of months to wait before reviews will start popping up around the net.

The browser wars were relatively barb-less this week, and the only items worth reporting are the release of Chrome 11 and Firefox 4 breaking 100 million downloads. It seems that despite all the new releases in the browsing world not much is drastically changing market share wise with Firefox’s and Internet Explorer’s market share remaining almost static. Am I the only one who uses all three? Sorry Opera, and Safari, yawn.

Anadtech’s Ryan Smith seems to represent the sentiment of the community well with his story on the official launch of the HD 6770 and HD 6750, or should I say the re-launch of the HD 5770 and HD 5750 with a shiny new sticker. We all knew it was coming though, competition breeds innovation and new product cycles but, it also seems to breed a lot of re-branding in the GPU market.
For all of you Windows XP lovers out there Microsoft has released a tool to help you remember when to start the riots mourning processions with its XP countdown timer gadget for 7 and Vista. It seems like it was only mere minutes ago when I was last enjoying the glow from my old XP based gaming rig; Oh wait, it was.

AMD announced the sale of 3 million Fusion APU’s in Q1. Which is a significant mile stone in comparison to last quarters 1 million units shipped, but still not enough to dent Intel’s mobile market share apparently. Nvidia also confirmed the recent rumors about SLI support on AMD’s 9xx chipsets. So it seems that Nvidia’s motherboard business, or the 2 people that stayed to represent it, have managed to stave off its death yet again.

RealWorldTech’s David Kanter sent us this promo for his latest article, “Memory bandwidth is a critical to feeding the shader arrays in programmable GPUs. In this report, we show that memory is an integral part of a good performance model and can easily impact graphics by 40% or more. The implications are important for upcoming integrated graphics, such as AMD’s Llano and Intel’s Ivy Bridge – as the bandwidth constraints will play a key role in determining overall performance.” Definitely worth a read, and it seems to give an explanation as to why 400 shaders that make up Llano’s GPU core don’t seem to be performing on par with their discrete ancestors.

iXBT labs did a pretty well balanced Lynnfield and Sandybridge comparison and found that SB offers about a 14 percent advantage over a similarly clocked and configured Lynnfield system. Intel also leaked some slides on its upcoming 7x chipsets for Ivybridge.

John Morris of ZDnet did an excellent summary of the on going and increasingly cozy AMD-ARM relationship. It would certainly appear that AMD is well positioned to bring some interesting ARM based offering to the market. It will be fun to see if anything ever comes of the rumors floating around. ARM based Fusion chips? In an iPhone? That’ll be the day… S|A

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 Low Yielding Wafers
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.