Sony has finally downscaled the fabrication process of its Cell CPU utilized within its Playstation 3 console, replacing the systems previous 90nm Processor. This has reduced the power consumption of the unit by 70 watts while arguably lowering the amount of heat the unit outputs. The Xbox 360 has gotten a lot of publicity just recently with the introduction of the falcon 65nm Xbox unit (65nm CPU), which gamers now hope will be the red ring of deathless 360 sku, I know I’m on my 2nd 360. Intel, always the leader in the fabrication process competition, is just about to release their 45nm CPU line Penryn.  Smaller fabrication processes are a blessing, less heat, more transistors possible on die, and more ability to over clock, which of course only applies to the intel chip in this post (as I wouldn’t over clock a 360 unless I wanted to burn down the whole neighborhood=).

Nvidia is about to release the first refresh of its geforce 8 series graphics cards, not a moment too soon. It appears that everyone that has been waiting to upgrade to a directX10 graphics solution will be awarded for their patience. The new geforce 8800gt is build on a 65nm fabrication process, which is quite desirable in contrast to the previous 8800gts and 8800gtx cards that were built on a 90nm process, and the 8600gts that was build on a 80nm process. The 8800gt will be priced between 200$ and 250$, and features full video decode, finally a high end dx10 part from nvidia that will do that! The 8800gt is a steal at 200$ or so, it beats the 8800gts 320mb and 640mb cards in every benchmark imaginable, and its only a small step bellow the 8800gtx. Based on nvidia’s previous pricing scheme of the 8800gts and gtx, this card is priced at half of how it performs. I’m currently running a 7950gt 512mb card in my rig and have been waiting for a truly compelling reason to upgrade, the 8800gt is my reason now. This card is going be to the most talked about card in the industry upon its release, mark my words. Nvidia has done it again.

I admit, I was a little excited to see that Agrotime was ranked 94th on the WordPress growing blogs list for October 18, 2007. Hopefully this blog will continue to grow, if not I would still be happy if anyone has learned anything, or enjoyed some of my rantings about new trends and products in the field of technology.   =)

Intel has just announced its plans to release its new Nehalem cpu architecture in the fourth quarter of next year. The new cpu will require a new motherboard chipset dubbed the LGA1366, all people currently sporting the intel 775 chipset ranging from certain celerons all the way to core 2 quad cpu’s, a new motherboard will be necessary for future upgrades. The biggest new feature of the Nehalem architecture is an integrated memory controller on die, this has been a feature on amd64 cpu’s since 2003, and helped amd win the performance battle of that time period. It will be very interesting to see how future intel cpu’s run and overclock without the aging front side bus architecture. Another interesting fact about Nehalem is that will support hyper-threading, meaning a qaudcore Nehalem cpu will appear to be an octal core within operating systems. Intel is also cutting back the cache 33% in Nehalem from the soon to be released Penryn 45nm qaudcore cpu’s, going from 12MB, down to 8MB. Having less cache is not a problem with an Integrated Memory Controller, the large amount of cache in current core 2 duos does a good job at minimizing the effects of having system data transfered via front side bus, take front side bus out of the equation and less cache is needed as the system latency reduces greatly, look at amd64 for proof of that concept. We already know that the soon to be released Penryn cpu’s which will replace the existing Conroe cpu’s (both core 2 duo), will give an additional 5% to 10% performance gain, I believe we will see very large performance gains in a year, when Intel transitions from Penryn to Nehalem. These are exciting times indeed.

Samsung has developed the “Quad pen” which is an electronic pen a user can use on the go. The device recognizes the movements of your hand and transfers your traditional writing into text saved in a tiny on board chip (which they did not specify the storage capacity of), then at a later date the user can transfer the text saved on the device, to a computer. This is a very cool concept, but their vague announcement of the technology has spawned many questions in my mind about the details of using the device. It will be interesting to see how well the device will be able to interpret horrible handwriting (doctor signature style), or how many languages it will be able to support. Just because we have Unicode and other types of encoding that handle nearly all languages doesn’t mean it would be an easy task to interpret the hand movements associated with writing such languages. I’m also interested in grammar and spacing, I assume that all periods and commas and question marks, ect. would auto place a space after them, we will see how it handles the task. I think this technology sounds very interesting and if pulled off correctly, could be very popular with writers. I can’t wait tell more details are revealed about the product.

Ipod turns 6 years old

October 24, 2007

The ipod has turned 6 years old, just old enough for 1st grade. We all remember when it was this tall, and now sits much, much smaller/sleeker. When the ipod was originally introduced people marveled at holding such a small hard drive with music playing capabilities in the palm of one hand, up too 1 thousand songs it could hold. Now we have ipods and zunes, and zens, and plenty of other brands of devices out there where its expected to have full wide screen video playback, and upwords of 160 gigs in storage is considered a good amount. We have come a long way from the original ipod, just think that the nintendo game boy advance was the most powerful handheld console of that time, and now we have the likes of psp, and umpc devices with full pc functionality fitting comfortably within our hands. 6 years ago laptops were quite expensive and deemed more as luxory items than common electronics, yet now today, laptops constantly outsell their desktop counterparts, and this is only going to continue with greater frequency in times ahead. As amazing as these past 6 years have been for mobile electronic devices, I truly believe the trend appears that the next 6 years will be even more amazing.

Toshiba is to acquire Sony’s cpu fabrication facilities which produce the cpu inside of each and every ps3 console.  Its an interesting twist as Toshiba was part of the team of 3 (Ibm, Sony, Toshiba) who developed the cell cpu in the first place.  Toshiba’s biggest customer to supply cell cpu to is, Sony, interestingly enough.  Toshiba will also be creating lower end cells with less cores to be used as low powered graphics processors in laptops, that is what interests me most about this acquisition. Toshiba is going to be using cell as a graphics processor, Sony originally wanted to use the cell inside of the ps3 to do standard cpu type tasks as well as handle all the graphics processing, yet later ditched that idea at the last second and equipped their ps3’s with low end 7800gtx’s from Nvidia. It will be interesting to see how Toshiba will implement the cell, and how well it performs.