An Alarmist Title About Sillycon!

It’s the S|A weekly roundup

You can tell that Computex is closing in when all of the new motherboard photos start leaking out. Andrew Link of PC Games Hardware had a photo of a Llano motherboard from ECS. Judging by the spartan power circuitry, it’s probably safe to say that Llano’s desktop variants won’t stray too far from their laptop counter parts in terms of power consumption.

Also on the Llano front, DomanimHaber leaked more slides about the positioning and performance of the different SKUs. Inpai, on the other hand, got a Llano sample running at 2.4Ghz, benchmarked it, and then overclocked it to 2.6Ghz and just under 3.2Ghz. It seems that Llano is exactly what AMD promised that it would be, an Athlon X4 plus a HD 3850/HD 4670/HD 5550. Oh, and as icing on the cake, the Greyhound+ cores inside Llano seem to have gained some performance per clock. Maybe these leaks shouldn’t be surprising as Kyle from [H]ard|OCP left a short note today to the effect that he was being briefed on Llano.  And our own Charlie seems to have disappeared, no, no conspiracies here.

Lets turn to the stream of AM3+ motherboards that leaked out this week. First up we have MSI’s 990FX, followed by an ASUS Sabertooth board, and a 990X motherboard by none other than Jetway. Things are looking good for a Bulldozer launch…

Brent Justice of [H]ard|OCP had a very interesting quad SLI versus quad CrossFireX. It seems that having two gigabyte of RAM was enough to give AMD the crown in the high-end, not to mention that HD 6990’s have better availability than their GTX 590 counterparts, and consume a bit less power in a quad GPU setup. In related news rumors are floating around that Nvidia’s going to release a revised GTX 590 PCB to remedy the overclocking and exploding issues that the initial GTX 590 experienced.

Intel LogoIntel had its big investors meeting this week. A few gems of information were gained by the ever observant tech press, for example Airmont is the newly announced successor to the newly announced 2013 Atom chip Silvermont. <sarcasm>Oh, and in a completely unexpected move Intel will not be making ARM CPU’s, thanks for clearing that up Tom’s Hardware.</sarcasm>

Johan De Gelas of Anandtech reviewed Intel’s new Westmere-EX chip. While the E7 series Xeons offer strong performance, good power consumption levels, and the necessary RAS features, they still don’t seem to be enough to take the crown from IBM’s Power 7 chips. The funniest thing about this review though has to be how competitive AMD’s 6100 series Opertons look from a performance per dollar and performance per watt perspective. It just makes you wonder sometimes how AMD is managing to do so poorly in server space despite some rather apparent advantages.

Nvidia world iconNvidia’s dear leader spoke about the poor performance of Android’s Honeycomb release this week. Saying that he expected Android based tables to take over the tablet market within 30 months. In related news rumors have started floating around that Nvidia’s Tegra 3 is the development platform for Google’s upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich Android OS release. If only Tegra 3 didn’t seem like vaporware…, cough, Computex, or, maybe not.

Nvidia and its partner EVGA launched two new GPUs this week. First came the GTX 560 via this preview, and the follow up reviews which revealed the card to be a competent competitor to the HD 6870 and when overclocked a match to its bigger Ti suffixed brother. Then came the GTX 460 2WIN which is EVGA’s dual GTX 460 board. Performance wise it seems to hangout in and around the GTX 570-GTX 580 range. These oddball dual GPU cards are just the most lovable creations, but we won’t be petting it or calling it George, now we just have to wait and see how Powercolor’s dual HD 6850 board compares.

Nvidia launched its GF-110 based Tesla M2090 this week. Sporting apparently record breaking performance in HPC applications, the M2090 is quite a bit closer to what Nvidia was aiming for with its pre-production Fermi performance estimates. When did they promise that, 2009?

Corsair released its SandForce SF-2281 based SSDs this week. Western Digital also launched a 2.5 TB and a 3 TB hard drive as part of their AV-GP line up. But other than those items thing stayed mostly quiet in storage land; remember to look for new SSDs from Intel come July.

sony logoSony has been having a rough month here.  They started off 2011 with good stuff but with no new console in sight until 2012 at the earliest their good news is now, only, tied to their servers.  Slowing bringing newly rebuilt systems online gamers can stop going outdoors, aaagggh, sunshine, and return to normal.  Sony claims to have improved security while there are other indicators are such that don’t know how to secure much beyond your money.

TSMC was busy talking up the strength of its 28nm manufacturing process this week. Notably TSMC claims to have three times as many designs in the works as it did for its 40nm manufacturing process and 90 percent of the world’s pending 28nm tapeouts. If only the prevailing sentiment around the web was more positive in regard to the readiness of TSMC’s 28nm process, it’s as if the outside world knows something that TSMC doesn’t.

Microsoft released a security intelligence report this week on its top operating systems. It shows Windows 7 x64 with the lowest infection rate at 2.5 per thousand computers per quarter. Compare this to the 15.9 infections for Windows XP SP3. Those numbers do show an improvement in the security of newer windows based operating systems, but I wonder what the infection rate for OS X , or even Ubuntu is? 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.