Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gateway Reveals All-in-One Personal Computer

Gateway, a leading maker of personal computers which soon will be a part of Acer, announced this week its first desktop that features all-in-one design and resembles iMac as well as certain IBM and Sony Vaio desktops. The new machine called “One” has the chances to become rather popular, but it may also have followers from other personal computer (PC) suppliers.

There will be three Gateway One models available initially, all based on dual-core Intel processors for notebooks and featuring 19” screen with 1440x900 resolution. The difference in configurations, e.g. graphics adapters’ performance or hard drive capacities, will separate positioning of systems, as some will be better positioned for office, whereas the other will better fit into homes. Gateway also claims that its Gateway One is not only stylish, but features better usability than competing solutions, e.g., the manufacturer placed USB and FireWire ports in the most convenient way.

Being a stylish alternative to traditional designs, the Gateway One resembles a high-end flat panel TV with a wireless keyboard. Despite its compact design, it is a fully-featured PC featuring a widescreen LCD. When configured with an optional TV tuner, Gateway One blends Internet browsing, gaming, music and broadcast entertainment into one, making it perfect for the family room, kitchen, bedroom, or dorm room.

On the othet hand, Gateway One allows no upgrade. As a result, it will hardly be able to perform well in the latest games and will not be able to playback Blu-ray or HD DVD movies because it does not feature an appropriate drive and it is only possible to attach a standalone high-definition drive to Gateway One to enable HD playback.

“Gateway One exemplifies the idea of simplicity, of less is more. This computer complements its environment and becomes a design element you want to show off as much as you want to use. Because it doesn’t compromise on features or performance, it will be appreciated for its brains as well as its beauty,” said Gary Elsasser, Gateway’s senior vice president of products.

Gateway One model for $1299 features Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 dual-core processor, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, 2GB memory, 320GB Serial ATA hard disk drive and a 1.3MP webcam. Gateway One model for $1799 is based on Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 dual-core processor, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card with 256MB, 3GB memory, 500GB Serial ATA hard drive, TV tuner and a 1.3MP webcam. Both models will exclusively be available at Best Buy retail network.

The Gateway One model available direct from Gateway includes an Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 dual-core processor, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card with 256MB of memory, 400GB Serial ATA hard drive and a 1.3MP webcam for $1499.

“37% and 28% of consumers, respectively, identify with the statements, ‘Good design is important to me’ and ‘I want the things I own to reflect my sense of style’. Style will grow in importance as Gen Y ages, and style in general is becoming more important to consumers across all product categories,” said J.P. Gownder, an analyst with Forrester Research.

AMD Quietly Returns Athlon 64 Chips to Mobile Lineup

In a bid to boost sales of its mobile central processing units (CPUs), Advanced Micro Devices has quietly returned Athlon 64-branded chips into its mobile family. The new chips feature lower performance compared to AMD Turion 64 X2, but still feature two processing engines, thus, cannot be sold under AMD Sempron trade-mark.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 TK processors are specifically designed for notebooks, as they feature S1 form-factor, have thermal design power of just 31W and are produced using 65nm process technology. The chips have 512KB of secondary-level cache (256KB per core), two times less compared to currently available AMD Turion 64 X2 processors, meaning that they also feature lower performance compared to the Turion dual-core chips.

Currently it is known about two AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 TK-series processors: models TK-53 (1700MHz, 512KB L2 cache) and TK-55 (1800MHz, 512KB L2 cache), one of which is listed in AMD’s database of notebook processors and another is used in Toshiba Satellite P205D-S7438 laptop announced recently.

It was not clear at press time whether the new chips are just custom-design for select clients, or AMD is preparing a low-cost dual-core lineup for mobile computers and, perhaps, desktops and plans to use AMD Athlon 64 X2 brand-name for such chips. Next year AMD’s performance desktop processors will be sold as AMD Phenom chips, whereas performance mobile processors will continue to use AMD Turion 64 brand. The destiny of the Athlon is not completely clear.

Intel Corp. last year started to use its well-known Pentium trademark for affordable dual-core processors, whereas the relatively new Intel Core trademark is used for desktop and mobile processors with high performance.

Officials for Advanced Micro Devices did not immediately respond to an enquiry seeking for comments.

Research Firm Predicts New Copyright Protection Technologies for Blu-Ray, HD DVD

After it became clear that the widely-discussed Advanced Access Content System (AACS) copyright protection technology is not a panacea against copying and ripping high-definition videos from Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, the studios did not react. However, this does not mean that no new copyright protection technologies are in the works.

ABI Research market research company in its recent study predicts implementation of a new security technology to restrict end-users’ content management abilities. For example, makers of DVD players and Blu-ray/HD DVD publishers can alter necessary security keys, which will require to update firmware of a player to allow playback of new content.

“Designers of AACS contemplated such a problem and made it possible to revoke a compromised player. The revocation feature is a significant new capability of the HD DVD content protection system, as players can be revoked by changing the disk key on new DVD releases. This key, when combined with a targeted player key, will fail to create a key that can descramble the disk contents. And in order for the new disks to work, the player needs to be updated to a new version,” said ABI Research principal analyst Steve Wilson.

Furthermore, new watermarking techniques, which are already in use in theatre content source, are being implemented that may require enhancements to high-definition DVD hardware platforms. ABI Research sees a high likelihood for the incorporation of these changes, among others.

“The watermarking process tags audio content in such a way that analog copies will be rejected by the player. Content owners could unobtrusively tag their original source material and facilitate source detection of pirated material,” Mr. Wilson said.

It is uncertain whether leading makers of DVD players are actually interested in embedding additional security software, firmware of hardware technologies into their devices, as not only this increases the ultimate costs of high-definition video players, which are not really popular on the market even now and are likely to remain in a similar positions for another 18 months, but also may also raise support costs, as if content owners alter security keys more or less regularly, hardware makers should prepare new firmware on a regular basis, something that consumer electronics makers generally do not like.

“Watermarking algorithms and techniques are not secret. But in order to break the watermark, they would require access to encryption keys which can be stored in protected hardware locations. Such hardware resources are becoming commonplace in consumer electronics solutions,” explained Mr. Wilson.

ABI Research’s recent study entitled “Hardware Security in the Consumer Electronics Market: The Dawn of Secure Processors”, examines new processors and considers the implications for the home digital video network market. In addition to its forecasts, the study surveys the work done on the PC platform and in embedded environments, and explores key industry initiatives shaping the marketplace.

Asustek Delays Shipments of Low-Cost Eee Notebooks to Improve Software Features

Asustek Computer will not release its already well-known Eee sub-notebooks this month, as previously planned, as the computer maker decided to improve functionality of the pre-installed software. Still, the world’s largest mainboard manufacturer intends to commercially launch the product no later than in November.

After the Eee PC was tested outside the company, Asustek reportedly received complaints regarding the lack of rich software bundle that Asus laptops are known for. As a result, the company decided to delay the shipments and to install more Linux-based software on its low-cost sub-notebooks, reports DigiTimes web-site. The decision will indisputably make the device much more attractive to end-users.

But despite of the setback, the company still plans to start shipments of its Eee PCs this year and ahead of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) non-profit organization, who promises to be in position to ship its XO laptops in November. Therefore, Asus Eee laptops may become available in October or November.

Asus Eee PC 701, one of the first base configurations of the Eee PC, is based on Intel mobile chipset and microprocessor, supposedly Intel 910 chipset and Intel Celeron M ULV 353 (900MHz). The notebook is equipped with 512MB of PC2-3200 (DDR2 400MHz) memory and 2-16GB of flash memory instead of the hard drive. The Eee PC will feature 7” screen and 800x480 resolution, three USB ports, audio jacks, 10/100Mbps port and wireless WiFi (802.11b/g) interface, as well as a 56K modem. The device will also be equipped with a card-reader and a 0.3Mpixel web-cam.

The first Asustek Eee PCs are projected to cost between $199 and $369, depending on hardware configuration as well as the region the devices are sold in. However, there is currently no information regarding exact price and configurations.

Vertu to Sell Sixty Exclusive Ascent Ferrari 60 Phones

To commemorate the sixtieth birthday of Ferrari’s first street vehicles, Nokia’s luxury subsidiary Vertu started to sell exclusive series of Ferrari-branded phones in its stores. Only sixty of such cell phones will be available worldwide for the price of 25 000 each, roughly 10% of the price of a premium Ferrari model.

The Vertu Ascent Ferrari 60 is inspired by the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and features exclusive wallpapers and ringtones. The Ascent Ferrari 60 is made of titanium and uses the same screws as used on Ferrari cars as well as using the same leather as used for the seats of Ferrari cars, reports Sybarites web-site. The back of the cell phone features the Ferrari gear gate in titanium.

Like all the Ascent phones from Vertu, the Ferrari 60 is not about the technology, but is all about the luxurious look and feel: it is tri-band phone with Bluetooth, voice dialing capabilities, GPRS, multimedia messaging (MMS) and short messaging (SMS).

Vertu Ascent phone has 240 individual components. The flat panel keypad alone contains over 150 different parts whose design is patented. Each key is manufactured by injecting a stainless steel mixture at high temperature and pressure into an oversize mould. As it cools, the key shrinks by 14% to produce the bevelled keypad design. The keys are then each set on two jewel bearings, to create the unique pivoting action and to guide each key’s movement.

Vertu Ascent Ferrari 60 mobile phones are available in Vertu’s stores in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore for the price of ?18 000 or about $25 500.

AMD’s Quad-Core Chips Dominate SPECfp, But Intel Holds SPECint Firmly

Benchmark results of AMD’s quad-core server processors in CPU 2006 benchmark suite from Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. were recently published at Spec.org, confirming that AMD’s new microprocessors have overwhelming advantage in floating point performance, but cannot boast with unprecedented integer performance.

The new test results obtained on dual-processor machines contradict those posted by Advanced Micro Devices earlier this year, primarily because Intel released a new compiler that boosts performance of its chips quite tangibly. As a result, many advantages that AMD’s quad-core Opteron microprocessors might have earlier this year faded away and AMD is likely to find it rather hard to compete against Intel going forward.

According to test results available at Spec.org, quad-core AMD Opteron processor does not have any advantage over quad-core Intel Xeon processor when it comes to integer computations at the same clock-speed. Nevertheless, the new micro-architecture of AMD’s quad-core processors allows the chip to outperform Intel quad-core Xeon central processing units by 26% when it comes to floating point computations.

Even though AMD may feel itself comfortable about floating point performance, as a server with two Opteron 2350 (2.0GHz) chips outperforms a similar server with two Intel’s Xeon X5365 (3.0GHz) processors by 12% in CFP2006 Rates, the company should definitely worry about performance of its parts going forward in CINT2006 Rates.

Later this year Intel is on track to release its quad-core Intel Xeon processors made using 45nm process technology that feature up to 12MB of level-two cache as well as 1600MHz processor system bus. While the clock-speeds of the newcomers with 12MB of cache will generally remain on the current level and are expected to be in the range of 3.0GHz, there will also be two models with 6MB of cache that will operate at 3.33GHz and 3.40GHz. As a result, larger caches, higher bus speeds and operating frequencies will allow Intel to strengthen its positions.

AMD will also not sit still: it already promised to deliver quad-core AMD Opteron processors clocked at up to 2.50GHz in the fourth quarter of the year. Perhaps, that clock-speed will allow to maintain slight lead over Intel’s top-of-the-range offering in SPECfp_rate2006, however, there are hardly many chances that AMD manages to outperform Intel’s forthcoming chips in SPECint_rate2006.

Given that there will hardly be any clear winners in terms of performance, performance per watt or in terms of any other criteria, the competition between the two leading makers of x86 microprocessors will only heat up.

Intel, Nokia and Nokia Siemens to Ensure Interoperability for WiMAX Devices, Infrastructure

In an effort to ensure that mobile WiMAX wireless products work well together and with other products globally, Intel Corp., Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks on Wednesday announced that they are testing interoperability between their WiMAX products. The move will ensure that customers will eventually have less problems with the wide-area wireless Internet equipment.

Intel, Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks have already started testing their equipment and devices with dozens of other equipment vendors’ products for interoperability and conformance with industry standards in Sprint’s Herndon, Wyoming testing labs. Early interoperability testing between multiple industry partners will help to reduce the amount of time required for their respective products to successfully pass through the technical requirements from the WiMAX Forum thus accelerating time-to-market.

The move will particularly allow Intel’s forthcoming WiMAX silicon for laptops and mobile Internet devices, Nokia’s WiMAX devices and Nokia Siemens Networks WiMAX infrastructure equipment to have a competitive advantages over similar products from competing companies, as they will have guaranteed interoperability, thus, reducing cost of ownership, ease of use and so on.

Nokia also said it will use Intel’s WiMAX silicon product, which is codenamed “Baxter Peak” and designed specifically for mobile Internet and consumer electronic devices, in its forthcoming Nokia N-series Internet Tablets. The Internet tablets will be among the very first WiMAX-enabled open Internet devices expected to ship in 2008.

Intel’s Baxter Peak is based on the same chip found on Intel’s “Echo Peak” MiniCard module for laptops and ultra-mobile devices, but is optimized for small form factors and low power consumption. It also includes multiple input/multiple output antenna techniques, supporting better reception and faster throughput in challenging environments.

“WiMAX enables the mobile Internet and makes it possible to get content on a variety of new mobile devices at broadband speed, and our ‘Baxter Peak’ solution is designed specifically for these exciting new devices. Intel, Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks all recognize our collective responsibility in ensuring that people can take full advantage of WiMAX. Simply put, the infrastructure behind the networks and the devices that access those networks must work together seamlessly,” said Raviv Melamed, general manager of Intel’s mobile wireless group.

Sony Readies New PlayStation 3 Model – Federal Communications Commission

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. has submitted a PlayStation 3 game console with a new model number to Federal Communications Commission to receive its validation. The new console may actually be the rumoured low-cost PS3 40GB, which has been discussed by various media outlets for several weeks now.

SCEI has filed an application with FCC to validate Sony PlayStation 3 game machine with CECHG01 model number, whereas the “original” PlayStation 3 60GB and 80GB carry CECHA01 and CECH01 model numbers, which, Spong web-site suspects, means that the submitted game console is nothing else but a new model of PlayStation 3, perhaps, with lower-cost components and lower price.

The web-site claims that based on the documentation at the FCC web-site, the PlayStation 3 model CECHG01 has no major changes compared to the already validated 60GB and 80GB machines, however, Sony still noted in the filing that the differences are documented in “Point of Difference” paper and asked the FCC not to publish specs and pictures of the device. Keeping all of the aforementioned in mind, several web-sites came to conclusion that the PlayStation 3 CECHG01 is the rumoured PlayStation 3 40GB, which is projected to retail for $399 this holiday season.

However, according to Sky News, the PS3 model with 40GB hard disk drive is made by the same manufacturer that makes PlayStation 2 machines now, Foxconn Electronics. Meanwhile, the label of the new PlayStation 3 CECHG01 states that it is made by Maintek in Suzhou, China. Maintek Computer is a subsidiary of Asustek Computer.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp., wireless network and Bluetooth connectivity and is equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive. There are several versions of the consoles available around the world with 60GB or 80GB hard disk drives and variable compatibility with PlayStation 1/2 games. In the U.S. PlayStation 3 80GB is sold for $599, whereas the hard-to-find 60GB model retails for $499.

Amazon Launches Public Beta Digital Music Store

Amazon.com, the world’s leading online store, on Tuesday launched a public beta of its Amazon MP3, a new digital music store that will carry tracks without copyright protection. Already now Amazon MP3 features over two million of records, but how long will it take before the store will reach the level of market leader Apple iTunes.

Every song on Amazon MP3 is encoded into MP3 format at 256Kb/s, which gives customers high audio quality at a manageable file size, whereas the lack of any digital rights management (DRM) technologies allows end-users to listen to their tracks on any devices, burn them on compact discs or record them on flash memory cards to enjoy their music on mobile phones.

Amazon MP3 has over 2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists represented by over 20 000 major and independent labels. Most songs are priced from $0.89 to $0.99, with more than 1 million of the 2 million songs priced at 89 cents. The top 100 best-selling songs are $0.89, unless marked otherwise. Most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99. The top 100 best-selling albums are $8.99 or less, unless marked otherwise, the company said in a statement.

“Amazon MP3 is an all-MP3, DRM-free catalog of a la carte music from major labels and independent labels, playable on any device, in high-quality audio, at low prices. This new digital music service has already been through an extensive private beta, and today we’re excited to offer it to our customers as a fully functional public beta. We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers and using their input to refine the service,” said Bill Carr, Amazon.com vice president for digital music.

Even though the new digital music store does offer attractive service with no DRM and subscription requirements, considering the fact that the market leader Apple iTunes already sells TV-shows and movies and has 6 million songs available, Amazon’s MP3 store will have to expand its services to really dethrone the iTunes. On the other hand, compatibility with each and every digital media player in the industry as well as relatively low prices are very likely to bring popularity to Amazon MP3.

AMD Unveils Second “Black Edition” Microprocessor for Enthusiasts

Advanced Micro Devices has announced its new central processing unit (CPU) that is officially aimed at enthusiasts and gamers who dare to overclock and tweak their systems. The new processor from the Black Edition lineup comes with unlocked multiplier, which allows to easily set it working at higher clock-speed, getting additional performance virtually for free.

“The AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor 5000+ Black Edition is an affordably-priced, dual-core processor targeted to the consumer channel, boasting a customizable clock multiplier for tunable performance, enabling mainstream end-users to reap the benefits of setting their own speed limits,” a statement by the world’s largest maker of x86 central processing units maker reads.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition microprocessor works at 2.60GHz, features dual-channel DDR2 memory controller, 1MB of level-two cache (512KB per core) and is compatible with socket AM2 mainboards featuring 1000MHz HyperTransport bus. The chip has 65W thermal design power and is made using 65nm process technology.

The customizable clock multiplier and auto-adjustable memory frequency of the new chip enables amateurs and value-conscious enthusiasts to maximize the performance of their desktop computers without substantial hassles. Typically enthusiasts have to increase base HyperTransport bus speed from default 200MHz, which eventually causes not only CPU clock-speed boost, but also alters HT bus and memory frequency, meaning that other components apart from the microprocessor also should be able to handle increased speeds. Previously customizable clock multiplier were only available on high-end AMD Athlon 64 FX processors that could retail for as much as $1000 per chip.

Given that not all enthusiasts may want to invest additional money into high-end mainboard, memory modules and spend additional time ensuring that all components work well enough, AMD’s Black Edition processors Athlon 64 X2 6400+ and 5000+ do seem to be appealing solutions for overclocking. Since nowadays computer enthusiasts and gamers tend to acquire CPUs from Intel Corp., AMD crucially needs to attract attention of those groups with attractive options.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition processors will only be available in channel market. The chips will come as processor-in-box (PIB) package, but without cooling systems. The Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition microprocessors cost $136 in 1000-unit quantities, up slightly from $125, the cost of typical model 5000+.

Toshiba Becomes First Major Notebook Maker to Use Multi-GPU

Toshiba Corp. on Tuesday unveiled its new notebooks for gamers that use two Nvidia GeForce 8M graphics processing units (GPUs). With the release of Satellite X205 gaming notebooks Toshiba not only becomes the first notebook maker to install GeForce 8M SLI, but also the first major notebook manufacturer who implemented a multi-GPU technology at all.

“Last year, Toshiba launched their gaming notebook lineup with Nvidia GPUs, evolving the notebook gaming experience with a unique blend of sheer performance, practical versatility, and elegant style. Toshiba’s addition of Nvidia SLI technology to their gaming notebooks further demonstrates their commitment to delivering the ultimate entertainment experience to gamers on the go,” said Rene Haas, general manager of notebook GPUs at Nvidia.

Even though multi-GPU technology for notebooks was announced over one and a half years ago by Nvidia Corp., only a dozen of notebook makers mostly focused on extreme gamers have introduced laptops equipped with two graphics chips. Toshiba is the first tier-one maker of mobile computers who decided that its customers will take advantage of two DirectX 10-supporing Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics processing units while designers of graphics solutions manage to pack DirectX 10 into a mobile GPU with decent performance for gaming.

Unfortunately, it is doubtful that two GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB each can deliver performance higher compared to previous-generation single-chip GeForce Go 7950 GTX solution.

Toshiba will offer two configurations of its Satellite X205-SLI laptops, one with ultimate configuration for gaming and multimedia, while another featuring less speedy parts. Both, however, will still feature two GeForce 8600M GT graphics cores, HD DVD drives and 9.34 pounds (5.8 kilograms) weight, which will make them “hardly mobile” solutions.

The more advanced gaming machine from Toshiba is Satellite X205-SLI3 with 17” screen with 1680x1050 resolution, which is based on Intel Core 2 Duo processor T7500 (2.20GHz, 4MB cache, 800MHz processor system bus) and comes equipped with 2GB of dual-channel PC2-5300 (667MHz) memory, two 2.5” hard disk drive with 5400rpm motors and 320GB of total storage capacity, 802.11a/g/n network controller, Bluetooth 2.0 module, fingerprint reader, embedded webcam and microphone as well as external USB HDTV tuner. The price of the device will be $2499.

The less speedy gaming machine is Toshiba Satellite X205-SLI1 with 17” screen with 1400x900 resolution, which is based on Intel Core 2 Duo processor T7250 (2.0GHz, 4MB cache, 800MHz processor system bus) and comes equipped with 2GB of dual-channel PC2-5300 (667MHz) memory, two 2.5” hard disk drive with 5400rpm motors up to 240GB of total storage capacity, 802.11a/g/n network controller, Bluetooth 2.0 module, fingerprint reader, embedded webcam and microphone. The notebook will retail for $1999.

“The Satellite X205 gaming notebooks with Nvidia’s SLI technology is the continuation of Toshiba’s commitment to bring gamers the ‘latest-and-greatest’ in gaming hardware. With an immense array of multimedia ports, dual hard drives, HD DVD drive as well as sub two-thousand price point, the Satellite X205 notebooks with SLI technology provides an elite gaming and high-definition experience,” said Jeff Barney, vice president of marketing, digital products division, Toshiba America Information Systems.

AMD Says ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro – Limited Edition Product

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday officially confirmed existence of two new graphics cards that will serve performance-mainstream market. While the new boards seem to offer decent performance, they will be available for a limited time in limited quantities. Still, the new products will inevitably slowdown the possible demand towards dual-chip graphics gars from AMD’s partners.

“AMD is excited to announce the newest member of its flagship ATI Radeon HD 2900-series, the ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro. The ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro features the powerful next-generation unified shader architecture with 320 unified stream processors, comprehensive DirectX 10 support and built-in HDMI multimedia features for an immersive HD gaming experience,” a statement by AMD reads.

Unlike expected previously, the ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro graphics card features the same fully-fledged ATI R600 graphics processor with 320 unified shader processors (SPs), 16 texture units (TUs), 16 render back ends (RBEs) and 512-bit memory controller, but clocked at 600MHz instead of 742MHz on the HD 2900 XT model. The Radeon HD 2900 Pro also retains 512-bit memory bus and can come equipped with 512MB or 1GB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1600MHz, just a little down from memory frequency of HD 2900 XT models.

AMD’s partners will sell ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro 512MB for $249, whereas the model with 1GB of memory will have manufacturer suggested retail price of $299. It is interesting to note that some 1GB versions will have print-circuit boards with 12” length that may not fit into mainstream computer cases.

“The ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro is available today on a limited basis subject to supply constraints,” AMD stressed in its short press statement.

AMD has been criticized for quite some time for having a gap in its DirectX 10 lineup between $179 and $399 price-points on which the company responded that its partners will sell dual-chip ATI Radeon HD 2600 X2 graphics cards for about $249 to fight Nvidia’s GeForce 8600 GTS.

But now that AMD’s partners started to sell the HD 2900 Pro for $249, it will not only distract attention from the lower-performance Radeon HD 2600 X2 (in fact, even two Radeon HD 2600 chips have only 240 unified shader processors compared to HD 2900’s 320 units), but will also cause some potential ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT buyers to change their minds, as the XT model has just a slight performance advantage over the Pro.

Typically, add-in-board partners would hardly be happy with a product that does not fit into the current lineup, however, this does not seem to be the case with the ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro, as it is an extremely limited edition offering.

“The HD 2900 Pro is not something AMD needs. Those are just ‘defective’ graphics cards [that could not run at 742MHz’ and there are very few of them, just about several thousands worldwide. In fact, we only accepted orders [on them] for several days,” said a representative of an add-in card supplier who wished to remain unnamed.

High-Definition War to Remain Deadlocked for 18 Months Analysts

The war between Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition video formats will last for another one and a half years, analysts from Forrester Research claim. The reasons for that are relatively high prices on high-definition video players and strong market positions of both competing standards. As a result, the winner is currently unclear.

“Blu-ray’s failure to land a knock-out blow means that the format war will continue for at least 18 more months,” said J. P. Gownder, an analyst for Forrester Research, a research company that predicted in 2005 that Blu-ray would eventually win a hard-fought victory over HD DVD in the next-generation DVD format war.

According to a report by Forrester Research, which was released on Monday, sales of Blu-ray disc (BD) and HD DVD players will not pick up for another year and a half as consumers want lower prices and confidence in the future of their players and chosen disc format. Given that currently both Blu-ray and HD DVD have relatively strong market positions – thanks to Sony’s PlayStation 3 game consoles with BD drive and low-cost HD DVD players from Toshiba – the outcome of the battle is not completely.

Even though Forrester Research and analyst J.P. Gownder believes that Blu-ray would eventually win out over HD DVD, it was indicated that the strategy needs “altering”.

“Blu-ray’s content advantages are somewhat diminished since the recent decision by Paramount to commit exclusively to HD DVD. And HD DVD hardware prices have dropped directly into consumers’ preferred price range, according to Forrester’s Technographics survey data. Weakened by these developments, Blu-ray needs to offer a viable hardware model at the $250 price point by Christmas 2007,” said Mr. Gownder.

The analyst claims that Blu-ray’s “strategic advantages” could be undone by HD DVD’s lower price and the amount of available content. Therefore, to win, the “Blu-ray partisans” must drop their hardware prices.

Currently an HD DVD player from Toshiba can be obtained for $250 - $300 in the U.S., whereas Blu-ray player from Samsung costs starting at about $480.

“The Blu-ray camp must also stave off further studio defections, and employ more aggressive promotional tactics to counter HD DVD’s recent momentum. Failure to alter strategy would open up Blu-ray to a possible upset defeat at the hands of HD-DVD,” the analyst believes.

Nvidia Corp., the world’s largest supplier of graphics processing units (GPUs), on Tuesday officially unveiled its long-anticipated chipsets with buil

Nvidia Corp., the world’s largest supplier of graphics processing units (GPUs), on Tuesday officially unveiled its long-anticipated chipsets with built-in graphics cores for Intel processors. By unveiling such solutions Nvidia enters the highly-competitive, but also a very large market.

The Nvidia GeForce 7 integrated graphics processor (IGP) lineup contains four solutions, even more than previously expected, targeting different market segments. The new chipsets support for Intel processors with up to 1333MHz processor system bus, forthcoming Pentryn family of chips, optional HDMI output with HDCP support and so on. What is also important is that all of the chipsets will feature PCI Express x16 slots for add-in graphics cards, allowing end-users to easily crank up graphics performance of their systems by installing a standalone graphics board.

Thanks to modern process technologies, all four new core-logic sets feature single-chip designs and Nvidia calls them “motherboard GPUs” (mGPUs). Single-chip implementation allows the developer to keep the manufacturing cost of the solution low, meaning that end-users will be able to obtain the new technology for a relatively affordable price, but without sacrificing chip designer’s profit margins, something, which analyst were afraid about in regards of IGPs for Intel from Nvidia.

However, the lower-cost design of the new chipset family forced Nvidia to sacrifice certain features that are available on competing Intel G35 core-logic set, particularly, DirectX 10-supporting graphics core as well as dual-channel memory controller. Nvidia’s products support DX9 and have to use single-channel memory, something, which may limit system performance.

The Nvidia mGPU family for Intel processors includes the following models:

Nvidia GeForce 7150 with nForce 630i supports processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-6400 (800MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at “600MHz+” with DVI, D-Sub and HDMI outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities include support for four Serial ATA-300 ports with RAID capabilities, two Parallel ATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards as well as 10 USB 2.0 ports.

Nvidia GeForce 7100 with nForce 630i supports processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-6400 (800MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at 600MHz with DVI, D-Sub and HDMI outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities include support for four Serial ATA-300 ports with RAID capabilities, two Parallel ATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards as well as 10 USB 2.0 ports.

Nvidia GeForce 7050 with nForce 630i features support for processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-5300 (667MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at 500MHz with DVI, D-Sub outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities are similar to the higher-end model.

Nvidia GeForce 7050 with nForce 610i only works with processors featuring 1066MHz PSB, sports single-channel DDR2 PC2-5300 (667MHz) memory controller as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at 500MHz with D-Sub output. I/O capabilities of the MCP73V will feature 8 USB 2.0 ports, 10/100Mb Ethernet and simplified RAID support.

The novelty still boasts with a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards.

Computers and motherboards featuring the Nvidia GeForce 7-series mGPUs for Intel platforms will be available later this month directly from global system integrators and mainboard partners including: Abit, Asrock, Asustek, Biostar, Colorful, ECS, EVGA, Foxconn, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Hassee, Inno3D, Jetway, J&W, Maxsun, MSI, Onda, Palit, PC Partner, PNY, Supox, Unika, XFX, and more.

Nvidia Releases Low-Cost Chipsets for Intel Platforms

Nvidia Corp., the world’s largest supplier of graphics processing units (GPUs), on Tuesday officially unveiled its long-anticipated chipsets with built-in graphics cores for Intel processors. By unveiling such solutions Nvidia enters the highly-competitive, but also a very large market.

The Nvidia GeForce 7 integrated graphics processor (IGP) lineup contains four solutions, even more than previously expected, targeting different market segments. The new chipsets support for Intel processors with up to 1333MHz processor system bus, forthcoming Pentryn family of chips, optional HDMI output with HDCP support and so on. What is also important is that all of the chipsets will feature PCI Express x16 slots for add-in graphics cards, allowing end-users to easily crank up graphics performance of their systems by installing a standalone graphics board.

Thanks to modern process technologies, all four new core-logic sets feature single-chip designs and Nvidia calls them “motherboard GPUs” (mGPUs). Single-chip implementation allows the developer to keep the manufacturing cost of the solution low, meaning that end-users will be able to obtain the new technology for a relatively affordable price, but without sacrificing chip designer’s profit margins, something, which analyst were afraid about in regards of IGPs for Intel from Nvidia.

However, the lower-cost design of the new chipset family forced Nvidia to sacrifice certain features that are available on competing Intel G35 core-logic set, particularly, DirectX 10-supporting graphics core as well as dual-channel memory controller. Nvidia’s products support DX9 and have to use single-channel memory, something, which may limit system performance.

The Nvidia mGPU family for Intel processors includes the following models:

Nvidia GeForce 7150 with nForce 630i supports processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-6400 (800MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at “600MHz+” with DVI, D-Sub and HDMI outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities include support for four Serial ATA-300 ports with RAID capabilities, two Parallel ATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards as well as 10 USB 2.0 ports.

Nvidia GeForce 7100 with nForce 630i supports processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-6400 (800MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at 600MHz with DVI, D-Sub and HDMI outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities include support for four Serial ATA-300 ports with RAID capabilities, two Parallel ATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards as well as 10 USB 2.0 ports.

Nvidia GeForce 7050 with nForce 630i features support for processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-5300 (667MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at 500MHz with DVI, D-Sub outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities are similar to the higher-end model.

Nvidia GeForce 7050 with nForce 610i only works with processors featuring 1066MHz PSB, sports single-channel DDR2 PC2-5300 (667MHz) memory controller as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core clocked at 500MHz with D-Sub output. I/O capabilities of the MCP73V will feature 8 USB 2.0 ports, 10/100Mb Ethernet and simplified RAID support.


The novelty still boasts with a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards.
Computers and motherboards featuring the Nvidia GeForce 7-series mGPUs for Intel platforms will be available later this month directly from global system integrators and mainboard partners including: Abit, Asrock, Asustek, Biostar, Colorful, ECS, EVGA, Foxconn, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Hassee, Inno3D, Jetway, J&W, Maxsun, MSI, Onda, Palit, PC Partner, PNY, Supox, Unika, XFX, and more.

Consumers Need More Motives to Migrate to High-Definition Video Analysts

Both Blu-ray disc (BD) and HD DVD camps are currently offering rather alluring deals to get players at decent prices along with free high-definition movies. But while Sony and Toshiba are fighting to make their backed formats dominant, they also have to popularize high-definition content overall, as apparently only half of those who may be interested in high-definition players know about them.

HDTV Owners Not Aware about High-Definition Video Formats

“As HDTV penetration continues to grow, manufacturers and studios will need to do a better job imparting the benefits of these formats to a consumer base that still reports a high satisfaction with the current DVD standard,” said Ross Rubin, director, industry analysis, consumer electronics.

According to a report by NPD Group released on Monday, among those who currently own HDTVs, only 52% are familiar with the availability of high-definition DVD players, but only 11% expressed strong intentions to buy one in the next six months. Around 73% of HDTV owners reported that their current traditional-format DVD player still works well for them, so they do not need to replace it; while 62% said they are waiting for the prices of high-definition players to fall.

NPD survey revealed that consumers’ knowledge of the HD DVD format is more prevalent than for the Blu-ray disc format: 29% of respondents were aware of HD DVD, whereas just 20% had heard of Blu-ray disc. Consumers who purchased a Blu-ray disc player reported that they did so because they believed it was superior to HD DVD; while those who purchased an HD DVD player did so because the price was lower than a BD player.

Familiarity with the latest formats is primarily coming from exposure to marketing – especially television commercials. 41% of consumers who say they are familiar with Blu-ray disc players and content gained awareness through ads and commercials. The same – 20% – is true for HD DVD. Nearly 20% consumers reported learning about the devices from friends and family.

More High-Definition Content Needed on the Market

Difficulty in communicating the high-definition message is compounded by the relatively small amount of available content in either of the two formats. NPD’s research shows that 64% of DVDs purchased by high-definition owners are standard definition; however, the primary reason consumers reported buying a traditional DVD was that the high-definition disc was not available.

“Early adopters aren’t choosing to evangelize high-definition players to others, in large part because they are unhappy with the available selection,” said Russ Crupnick, vice president and senior entertainment industry analyst. “The good news is that the industry can address this concern by releasing HD DVD and Blu-ray disc titles more aggressively.”

One encouraging signal for the industry is that existing HD DVD and BD consumers are trading up from standard definition. According to NPD, early adopters plan to replace nearly a quarter (23%) of their current collections with high-definition format DVDs (either HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc), and there is an appetite for more.

For NPD’s High Definition Video Player Report Series, more than 5,500 adults were surveyed between June 18 and June 28, 2007. Among the sample were 542 pre-identified owners of high-definition players and high-definition capable video game consoles. NPD’s new High Definition Video Report Series examines consumer awareness, ownership, usage patterns, and intent to purchase high-definition players and content, since these new technologies

One Laptop Per Chip Unveils Give One, Get One Campaign

The ambitious “One laptop per child” (OLPC) program has reached a new stage, when the non-profit organization can begin to ship laptops to those who need them. However, many countries potentially interested may be reluctant to get something they are unsure about. In order to give those states a try for free, the OLPC organization kicked off Give 1 Get 1 Program.

Starting November 12, the non-profit org will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time. For $399, end-users in the U.S. will be purchasing two XO laptops – one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to them.

In addition, end-users will be able to donate $200 or more to the organization in order to get a laptop or two to children in developing countries.

“The real reason is to get this thing started. If, for example, donations reached $40 million, that would mean 100 thousand laptops could be distributed free in the developing world. The idea would be to give, perhaps, 5000 machines to 20 countries to try out and get started. It could trigger a lot of things,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop Per Child, in an interview with the New York Times.

Currently it is unclear what users of Apple Mac OS or Microsoft Windows could do with the XO laptop by OLPC that uses a custom Linux operating system and hardly offers performance expected from a personal computer nowadays. Still, according to NYT, some children in the U.S. had found the XO laptop useful.

Current OLPC XO laptop features AMD Geode LX-700 processor with 433MHz clock-speed and built-in graphics controller, 256MB of PC-2100 (DDR 266MHz) memory, 1GB NAND flash that substitutes hard disk drive, 7.5” screen with 1200x900 resolution, wireless and wired network adapters as well as integrated webcam, microphone, speakers and so on.

AMD, Transitive to Help Enterprises to Migrate from Solaris, Sparc to Linux and x86-64

In an attempt to help enterprises with outdate software and hardware to migrate to more advanced servers, Advanced Micro Devices teamed up with Transitive, a provider of software tools. The partnership will help users of Sun SPARC/Solaris platforms to migrate to x86-64 or Linux servers.

The new technology partnership between Transitive and AMD will focus on assisting customers with enterprise datacenter hardware upgrade and consolidation projects, by creatively addressing the migration of legacy Sun SPARC applications to modern x86-based platforms.

Responding to the worldwide increase in the pace and scope of such datacenter consolidation and virtualization initiatives, Transitive’s agreement with AMD includes joint technical and marketing activities intended to help customers accelerate their datacenter hardware upgrades, by focusing on solving the key challenge of such projects, which is legacy application migration.

“AMD’s technology partnership with Transitive is designed to offer IT management alternatives to migrating their legacy application when considering datacenter hardware upgrades.

QuickTransit is an innovative solution that promises to accelerate the deployment of many hardware upgrade projects,” said Margaret Lewis, director, commercial solutions and software strategy for AMD.

Transitive will work with AMD to deliver solutions using Transitive’s QuickTransit products, which allow customers to quickly and easily run applications compiled for Solaris/SPARC platforms using AMD Opteron processors and other 64-bit x86 processors, without the need to modify any source code or binaries.

In addition to the popular QuickTransit for Solaris/SPARC-to-Linux/x86-64, the expanded Transitive relationship with AMD will also include the new QuickTransit for Solaris/SPARC-to-Solaris/x86-64, which is currently in beta release and is expected to be generally available in December 2007.

As part of the new technology and marketing partnership agreement, Transitive will collaborate with AMD in promoting solutions using QuickTransit products through a range of joint marketing activities, which commenced at VMworld 2007 with live QuickTransit demonstrations on AMD Opteron processor-based systems.

“Transitive’s partnership with AMD will help us more effectively support our many enterprise customers who plan to redeploy their legacy Solaris/SPARC applications on a broad range of faster and more cost-effective AMD Opteron-based platforms from Sun, HP and other vendors.

Working together with AMD, Transitive will help customers deploy our award-winning QuickTransit technology more rapidly, allowing a larger number of enterprise workloads to benefit from the increased business value offered by the latest generation x86 servers,” said Bob Wiederhold, CEO and president of Transitive.

Armani and Samsung Team Up for Stylish Electronics

Giorgio Armani, a leading design company, and Samsung Electronics, a successful maker of various electronics, announced on Monday the intention to bring a lineup of stylish consumer electronics onto the market. Designed by Armani and produced by Samsung, the devices are promised to take the best from both style and technology worlds.

Consumer Electronics Heads Style Direction

It is hardly a secret that a lot of consumers make their buying decision based on visual attraction of products they are interested in. Moreover, it is also well-known that famous brands attract no less attention than the products themselves. As a result, many consume electronics manufacturers in the recent years started not only to invest into appearance of their devices, but also approached renowned design or lifestyle companies with collaboration proposals.

In the recent years Nokia released model 7270 Versace limited edition, Motorola launched Razr Dolce and Gabbana edition, Samsung introduced E500 Versace edition, LG unveiled KE850 Prada mobile phone, whereas notebook manufacturers – such as Acer and Asustek Computer – started to sell laptops under Ferrari and Lamborghini luxury cars brands. The announcement by Armani and Samsung bring the collaboration between electronics and design companies to a whole new level: the companies decided to market a broad lineup of devices, not just team up to create a gadget or two, or a family of similar products.

“Today fashion has expanded to encompass our way of life, not just how we dress, but how we design our home, the hotels we stay in, the car we drive and the technology we buy. In fact, we make as much of a personal statement with the mobile phones that we carry or the televisions we have in our living rooms as we do with the shoes and bags we wear or the furnishings we chose to place in our homes,” said Giorgio Armani, president and chief executive of Giorgio Armani company.

Through a new strategic alliance, starting with the Giorgio Armani-Samsung mobile phone, the two companies plan to launch an innovative range of portable and home consumer electronics products as part of the Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and Armani/Casa lifestyles, founded on the combination of Giorgio Armani’s design aesthetic and Samsung’s technology.

Samsung Readies Armani Cell Phone, TV-Set

The first product jointly created by the design firm and the electronics conglomerate will be Armani-Samsung P520 mobile phone, which will utilize Samsung’s latest technologies along with design by Giorgio Armani.

The Samsung P520 cell phone features 2.6” QVGA (240x320) touch-screen, tri-band GSM (900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz) with GPRS and EDGE support, built-in digital media player with H.263, AAC+/MP3/WMA, MPEG4, AAC and e-AAC+ support, 3MP camera, Internet browser, Bluetooth 2.0, microSD memory card slot and other modern features. The phone will be credit-card sized (87.5mm x 54.5mm), will be only 10.5mm (0.4”) thick and will have weight of just 85 grams (2.99 ounces).

Given that Armani-Samsung P520 will have large touch screen, it will inevitably be compared to Apple’s iPhone and LG’s Prada. The device, however, will be a little smaller than LG’s and considerably smaller and lighter than the iPhone. Unlike the rivals, the P520 will have a vibration feature that will cause immediate mild vibration when users touch icons on the display.

A specially designed Giorgio Armani leather carrying case is also included for protection.
The new mobile phone will be available at Giorgio Armani’s flagship stores and selected mobile phone shops in major European countries from November 2007. The price of the device will be €650 ($916).

The Armani/Casa-Samsung luxury LCD television will be unveiled in January 2008. Details and pricing remains unknown.

AMD’s Torrenza Initiative Begins to Materialize

A little more than a year after the introduction AMD Torrenza co-processor initiative materialized in real products that are set to be commercially available shortly from now, Advanced Micro Devices announced last week. The claim should demonstrate that the plan to enable third-parties to innovate AMD’s server platform is beginning to pay off.

Currently Hewlett Packard, Activ Financial Systems and RapidMind are either offer or readying co-processor solutions under the Torrenza initiative. Besides, AMD itself also offers its so-called AMD Stream Processor product, which is based on ATI Radeon X1900 graphics processing unit, but is meant for high-performance computing, but not gaming. Unfortunately for AMD, the adoption of both Stream Processor and Torrenza seems to be slow.

Activ Financial Systems has been selling its ActivFeed MPU (market data processing unit), a hardware accelerated solution for low-latency exchange feed processing, for many months and says its customers are positive about the FPGA-based (field programmable graphics array) hardware co-processor for AMD64 second-generation servers.

Select next-generation HP ProLiant Servers with the quad-core AMD Opteron processor will support HTX cards, enabling end users to deploy customized acceleration solutions within their current or future data center infrastructure, HP recently announced.

RapidMind is developing programming tools that lets software organizations leverage multi-core processors with minimal impact on their development costs and timelines. The resulting applications can “harness the full potential of the latest multi-core processors from AMD, seamlessly taking advantage of acceleration technology available with Torrenza solutions,” the company said, adding that custom-made co-processors may speed up computing of certain data by 30 times.

“As computing demands exponentially grow, the keys to success are new models of increased computational performance that simultaneously alleviate cross-industry pain points like power consumption and infrastructure complexity. AMD is dedicated to enabling these cutting-edge performance models by arming Torrenza partners with a superior processor architecture and stable platform that is the basis for accelerated computing advancement,” said Randy Allen, corporate vice president, server and workstation division, AMD.

Nvidia to Start Intel Chipset Market Assault on Tuesday

Nvidia Corp. on Tuesday is projected to officially unveil its new family of core-logic sets with built-in graphics cores for Intel central processing units. Even though it is expected that Nvidia’s new chipsets will not feature high-performance latest-generation graphics adapters, the move will still provide more advanced low-cost graphics for Intel platforms.

Nvidia Set to Enter the Market of Cost-Effective Chipsets

The world’s largest supplier of graphics processing units (GPUs), Nvidia, has historically kept away from the market of low-cost chipsets for Intel Corp. due to strong competition from the world’s largest chipmaker, which also holds the lion’s share of graphics adapters with its built-in graphics cores. On the other hand, Nvidia felt rather comfortable selling chipsets compatible with processors by Advanced Micro Devices. But after the world’s second largest maker of x86 chips acquired graphics technology specialist ATI Technologies, Nvidia had to find new markets for its products as AMD will naturally push its own chipsets rather than promote Nvidia’s. As a result, it was inevitable for Nvidia to enter the market of rather low-margin chipsets for Intel’s processors.

The Nvidia GeForce 7 integrated graphics processor (IGP) lineup to be announced on Tuesday, according to a news-story by Reuters news-agency, will contain three solutions, targeting different market segments. Highlights of the two advanced versions include support for CPUs with 1333MHz processor system bus, forthcoming Pentryn family of chips, HDMI output and so on. What is also important is that all of the chipsets will feature PCI Express x16 slots for add-in graphics cards, allowing end-users to easily crank up graphics performance of their systems by installing a standalone graphics board.

It is interesting to note that according to sources close to the company, Nvidia’s forthcoming lineup of Intel-compatible chipsets will be positioned as the most cost-effective solutions for Intel platforms. The decision does seem to be wise as Intel recently outlined plans to gradually improve performance of its built-in graphics adapters and it would be hard to compete against Intel only with superior graphics options. For example, Intel’s latest Graphics Media Accelerator 3500, the core inside Intel P35 chipset, already features support for Microsoft DirectX 10, shader model 4.0 and other high-end capabilities, yet, Intel has to enable them in drivers.

Three New Nvidia Chipsets Incoming

The most powerful chipset from the family will be branded as Nvidia nForce 630i with GeForce 7050 (MCP73PV) and will support processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-6400 (800MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core with DVI, D-Sub and HDMI outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities include support for four Serial ATA-300 ports with RAID capabilities, two Parallel ATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards as well as 10 USB 2.0 ports.

A little less advanced version will be sold as Nvidia nForce 630i with GeForce 7025 (MCP 73S). It will also feature processors with 1333MHz PSB, single-channel DDR2 PC2-5300 (667MHz) or even PC2-6400 (800MHz) memory as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core with DVI, D-Sub outputs and HDCP. Other capabilities are similar to the higher-end model.

The least advanced offering is projected to be called Nvidia nForce 610i with GeForce 7025 (MCP 73V). ). It will only work with processors featuring 1066MHz PSB, will sport single-channel DDR2 PC2-5300 (667MHz) memory controller as well as built-in DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0 graphics core with D-Sub output. I/O capabilities of the MCP73V will feature 8 USB 2.0 ports, 10/100Mb Ethernet and simplified RAID support. The novelty will still support a PCI Express x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots for add-in cards.

Officials from Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.