All the DRAM they could ever want…

But I’m not sure if they’re Robots, or just stingy…

Flaming WaferIt was a pretty quiet week again. Some fun info has started coming from Intel and Microsoft about their respective upcoming products, and Google’s Chrome turned 3! But other than the normal grumblings and rumors it was pretty smooth sailing.

AMD - logo

Fudzilla’s reporting that AMD’s Brazos refresh is starting to make its way out into the wild; with models sporting the new chips coming from MSI, Toshiba, Acer, HP, and Asus. Availability should begin in Europe by next week. These refresh parts look pretty good, now if only they could drop the prices a bit more…

AMD’s new CEO made some waves recently with a video of one of his pep talks, in which he told his employees that they need to, “look ahead as the predator”. It’s not a bad video, and although it gives you a sense for what direction Rory Read wants to take AMD in, it really doesn’t give you all that much material to develop an opinion on him. So not bad, but still a very limited view of what’s going on at the top of AMD’s ranks.

If you’ve ever been curious about AMD’s Eyefinity or Nvidia’s Surround then this is the article for you. Xbitlab’s Yaroslav Lyssenko pretty much covers everything from A to Z in his comparison of the two technologies. He cites the prevalence of Eyefinity on AMD’s recent GPU’s as one of the biggest advantages it has over Nvidia’s Surround, which is limited to SLI setups only. Although both look like rather mature implementations at this point in time, so it’s really hard to go wrong with either.

It looks like Intel’s really getting serious about competing with IBM for some of the U.S. government’s HPC contracts. Xbitlabs is reporting that Intel created a new wholly owned subsidiary for the express purpose of winning these contracts, and collaborating with the government on its HPC projects. We’ll see where this ends up going, but for now expect Intel to start making some aggressive moves in this market space.

Apparently some Intel engineers don’t think much of their counter parts over at Rambus. Bloomberg is reporting that Intel thinks that RDRAM was a flawed technology and was not as competitive as Rambus thought it was. This is all part of the ongoing litigation between Rambus and its Ex-Allies, in which Rambus is suing, for almost four billion dollars, in lost royalties. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out, but that is a pretty strong assertion on Intel’s part.

Techreport did us all a solid this week, by translating some of Donanim Haber’s charts and info back into English for us. In this case it was all about Intel’s upcoming Xeons. Ranging in clock speed from 1.8Ghz to 3.1Ghz these chips fit right into the standard TDP ranges with the exception of a single 150W part. In any case these new E5 Xeons are a force to be reckoned with.

Nvidia world icon

Watch where you buy your graphics cards! Or at least that’s the word coming down the pipe from Nvidia. Apparently they’ve been having some issues with graphics cards getting rebranded as more expensive models and then sold on the “grey” market. It seems that they want to raise awareness of this problem so that they don’t start getting a whole bunch of complains. Granted, if you’re reading this, you probably won’t make that mistake.  All in all it’s better than the Cisco equipment problems.

Microsoft Logo

Ribbions, Ribbions, everywhere! Mircosoft has decided, in all its great wisdom, that it should improve the windows explorer interface by adding a ribbon. Previously the ribbon UI element was found only in Microsoft’s Office and Sharepoint applications. I suppose it makes since though, because if it works in Sharepoint, which can be used as a file manager, then it should work just fine in explorer, which is a file manager. I can’t wait until we see a ribbon in the next version of Windows Movie Maker, or Media Player, or Media Center! Was that too much enthusiasm?

On Chrome’s third birthday things are looking rather good for the upstart web browser. With 15.5 percent market share and growing, things are looking pretty up for the team at Google. During this period, IE dropped to about 55.3 percent market share, and Firefox lost a little share as well, coming in at about 22.5 percent market share. Who’s ready for IE 10!?!

Maybe there is still some steam left in the high-end sound card market, or at least that’s what Creative must think. Launching a new sound card with a quad core audio processor called “Sound Core3D” it seems that Creative is giving this rarely considered market another go. The new Sound Core3D chip boasts quite a few fun new features, but in the age of, “good enough audio”, I’m not sure that they’ll be many opportunities for this relatively “creative” (Pun Intended) chip.

Crucial reliance badge

The 0009 firmware was released recently for Crucial’s m4 line of SSDs. It boasts improved performance in a number of key areas like throughput and boot times. If you’ve got one of these drives it’s probably worth the time to update your firmware for that extra performance. Graphics cards have driver updates, motherboards have BIOS updates, and SSDs need their firmware updates too. I wonder how many people have ever updated the firmware on their Hard Drives… Something tells me not too many.

Speaking of SSDs, Anthony Leather of Bit-tech wrote a story this week that detailed the findings of a survey of SSD users. Over half of these users reported losing data due to their SSDs, and three quarters said that they thought that recovering data from dead NAND cells was near impossible, when compared to recovering data from conventional hard disks. Despite this seventy percent of the respondents said that they were planning on using SSDs in the future; go figure.

The word on the street is to hold off on any RAM purchases that you’ve been planning, because prices are about to crater. IHS is expecting there to be quite a large glut of DRAM chips in Q4 due to large stock pile of the chips coming from their producers. So if you’re going to buy RAM Q4 is the time to do it. Maybe we’ll finally have enough to feed all of the Robots, and for that matter all of the Robits.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.