Monday, December 24, 2007

A-Data, Walton Chaintech Make 2.0GHz Memory Modules a Reality

While a lot of memory module manufacturers have been talking about DDR3 clock-speeds of about 2.0GHz and beyond, not many have so far managed to introduce such blazingly fast memory. However, A-Data, a large maker of memory modules, as well as Walton Chaintech, recently unveiled their PC3-16000 products.

A-Data Vitesta DDR3-2000X memory modules can operate at 2.0GHz with CL9 9-9-24 latency settings and 2.05V – 2.15V voltage settings. A-Data sells its Vitesta DDR3-2000X as 4GB dual-channel kit (two modules per 2GB), though, pricing of such memory modules is unknown.

Walton Chaintech, the company that used to be known primarily for its graphics cards and mainboards several years ago, also plans to introduce its Apogee GT Blazer-series memory modules, which will feature 2.0GHz clock-speed and CL9 8-8-24 timings, reports VR-Zone web-site. Pricing of such memory modules is also unclear.

The highest speed memory modules presently available from well-known memory module brands, such as Corsair Memory or OCZ Technology, can work at about 1.8 – 1.86GHz.

While 2.0GHz clock-speed may be considered as a milestone for memory modules, this milestone may be too high for the vast majority of chipsets and mainboards available. Theoretically, memory controller of the latest Intel X38 can handle 2.0GHz memory; however, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in reality it depends on the actual ASIC. Therefore, not many enthusiasts will be able to take advantage of 2000MHz memory modules at present.

Apple Interested to Produce Intel-Based Mobile Internet Devices – Rumours

Apple, the maker of iPod portable digital media player and Macintosh computers, plans to utilize Intel’s code-named Silverthorne central processing units (CPUs) next year. While the details about the exact device are uncertain, it is known that Silverthorne was designed specifically for so-called mobile Internet devices (MIDs).

According to AppleInsider web-site, Apple would “soon emerge as one of the largest supporters of Intel’s ‘Menlow’ mobile Internet device (MID) platform”. The Silverthorne processor is projected to be used in a number of devices from Apple due in 2008, though, there is no information, what kind of devices from the popular maker of gadgets will be based on Intel’s latest chips for mobile products.

The Menlow platform is based on Silverthorne microprocessor, which uses Intel Core 2 micro-architecture, and next-generation chipset, codenamed Poulsbo. Also featured on the Menlow-based designs are optional standardized communications capabilities such as Wi-Fi, 3G and WiMAX to enable more of an always-connected experience.

Currently companies like Asustek Computer, BenQ, Compal, Electrobit, HTC, Inventec and Quanta are developing their MIDs and UMPCs, whereas Intel is developing even more advanced reference platform for small Internet devices.

In fact, Apple iPhone is also positioned by its manufacturer as a mobile Internet device. Since the next-gen iPhone must have 3G connectivity among other improvements, potentially, it can be based on Intel Silverthorne. Besides, Apple might develop an ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC) powered by Intel’s 45nm microprocessor.

Even though development of an UMPC would not fit into Apple’s general strategy even a couple of years ago, the release of such devices may make sense for the “new” Apple, which is expanding into various markets.

Mainboards Blamed for Intel’s New Quad-Core Microprocessors' Delay

The delay of Intel Corp.’s new breed of microprocessors manufactured using 45nm process technology was not caused by an error in chips, but was necessary to ensure compatibility of new central processing units (CPUs) with already available mainboards.

As reported, Intel decided to postpone the commercial launch of its microprocessors made using 45nm process technology recently due to issues with processor system bus (PSB). According to a news-report from PC Watch web-site, the issues with quad-core code-named Yorkfield processors occur on affordable mainboards that utilize 4-layer print-circuit boards (PCBs) and do not affect expensive platforms that are based on 6-layer PCBs. As a consequence, the world’s largest producer of x86 processors decided to create a new version of its chips to retain compatibility with mainstream motherboards.

Nowadays the majority of Intel’s quad-core microprocessors for desktops – which consist of two dual-core dice on a single piece of substrate – utilize 1066MHz processor system bus and only two Intel Core 2 Extreme processors QX6850 and QX9650 use 1333MHz PSB. Since Intel’s “extreme” chips that retail for over $1000 a unit are installed into expensive mainboards, no problems occur. In fact, Intel Xeon processors, some of which feature 1600MHz PSB, also do not have any troubles with such high speed. But apparently current design of Intel Core 2 Quad microprocessors with 1333MHz bus made using 45nm technology results in excessive “PSB noise”, which prevents normal operation.

Since many mainboards based on Intel P35 chipset that are based on 4-layer PCB are already available and are utilized by large system vendors, it is hardly possible for Intel to ask motherboard makers to revise their designs. Typically, mainboard redesign can take several weeks and validation and compatibility processes may take up to two months. As a result, Intel has decided to slightly alter its chips so that they could work in existing infrastructure, the Japanese web-site reported.

The new quad-core microprocessors from Intel, which are now projected to emerge in February or March, are expected to be fully compatible with existing infrastructure.