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Thread: Tech info and news




  1. #1
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    IBM to announce micro-chip breakthrough

    IBM Corp. researchers say they have made a breakthrough in chip development that could lead to processors that are smaller but more powerful than the current offerings.

    In a paper scheduled to be presented on Monday at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington, D.C., IBM researchers will say they have used a technique called "molecular self-assembly" to create important parts of a semiconductor memory device. According to the researchers, from IBM's Yorktown Heights, N.Y., research lab, the self-assembly technique takes advantage of a reliable way that certain types of polymer molecules come together and organize themselves.

    The result of that tendency are patterns that can be used to create device features that are smaller, denser and more uniform than techniques currently used, such as lithography, according to IBM. Chip makers will still be able to use lithography for many more years to create smaller and faster chips, but that will also increase the cost and complexity of the technique, according to an IBM spokesman.

    More information >>

    eWEEK

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    VIA to sample PCI Express P4 chipset in January

    VIA Technologies will begin sampling the PT890, an 800MHz FSB (front-side bus) Pentium 4 (P4) chipset supporting dual-channel DDR400 DDRII and PCI Express, next month.

    Motherboards using the PT890 chipset are expected to be exhibited at CeBIT in March, the company said.

    With an additional product in its P4 chipset lineup, VIA hopes to overtake Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) in the P4 chipset market before the second quarter of next year. VIA is the third-largest P4 chipset vendor, trailing Intel and SiS. VIA launched two P4 chipsets – the PT800 and PT880 – earlier this year.

    VIA has the lead in the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) chipset market, capturing about a 70-80% and 90% share in the K7 and K8 chipset markets, respectively. According to VIA, it ships about three million chipsets a month, with a 50:50 split between Intel and AMD platforms.

    In addition, company president Chen Wen-chi expects the company’s loss-making processor business will turn profitable next year.

    SiS plans to begin sampling the SiS656, a P4 chipset supporting PCI Express, in January.

    DigiTimes

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    Fujitsu samples the first 2.5" Serial ATA hard drives with SATA II Phase I support

    The era of Serial ATA II draws near: today Fujitsu Computer Products of America started sampling the first 2.5" 5400rpm Serial ATA HDDs to selected partners. The new drives feature Marvell 88i6535 chips supporting the extended SATA specs — SATA II Phase I, including the Native Command Queuing.

    For the first time we reported about Marvell 88i6535 SoC as far back as in September at the moment of announcement. Marvell 88i6535 features Fujitsu HDD controller, 88C6591 core, 2nd generation Serial ATA PHY and ARM966E-S processor core. The Native Command Queuing support is carried out by analyzing requests from CPU and optimizing the queue of their execution to maximize throughput and minimize seek time. Serial ATA Native Command Queuing is generally alike the SCSI instruction queue organization, but supports up to 32 instructions vs. 256-level depth of SCSI.

    Fujitsu's new 2.5" SATA II Phase I HDDs designed for mobile PCs, multimedia boxes and server blades haven't been assigned series name yet, and their volume production dates are also unknown. However, it seems that Fujitsu-Marvell tandem isn't going to lag behind the Seagate-Silicon Image duet working in the same field that introduced its first Serial ATA Native Command Queuing prototype (SATALink SiI 3112A) as far back as in September.

    Digit-Life

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    DDR2 explained

    DDR2 will offer higher speed and lower power consumption than the current mainstream DDR SDRAM, and as we saw at VTF2003 in September all the major DRAM makers are supporting it. Designed to reach speeds of 400MHz, 533MHz and 667MHz, DDR2 will not only run at higher frequencies than DDR SDRAM but will also further boost performance by prefetching 4 bits per clock cycle and then internally pipelining their output. This is double the prefetches of 2 bits per clock cycle delivered by DDR memory, and allows DDR2 to effectively access and output twice the amount of data than DDR at a given time. Running at 1.8V, DDR2 also offers lower power consumption, making it ideal for rapidly emerging new segments such as Small Form Factor PCs and notebooks.

    HardOCP / VIA

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    Behind closed doors at Corsair Memory, Inc

    Last month I was able to get out to California and was given the opportunity to go behind closed doors at Corsair and tour their entire company. Corsair modules are assembled in Fremont, California by a work force of almost 140 employees working two full shifts. I was shown everything they had at their facility, from the Marketing Department to being able to walk up and down the production line while it was in full swing. Corsair was also happy so show how they manufacture what we have found to be some of the best performing memory in the world.

    Read the review

    Legit Reviews

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    IBM: Patent King

    IBM gained more U.S. patents than any other company in 2003. The computing giant said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted it 3,415 patents, marking the 11th consecutive year the company has been the top recipient. IBM said it is the only company to garner more than 3,000 patents in one year, which it has done for the past three years. In the past 10 years, the company has sought to make its research division more focused on customer requirements.

    HardOCP

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    Mobo makers: DDR2 not mainstream this year unless price falls massively

    Intel’s upbeat projection for Prescott processors and subsequent boost in demand for DDR2 memory got a cold shoulder from several local motherboard makers, as they remain conservative about the actual adoption rate of DDR2 memory this year.

    Unless DRAM makers can narrow the price gap between DDR and DDR2 chips to under 20%, DDR2 memory is not likely to become a mainstream choice before the end of this year, local board makers said.

    DDR2 chips are estimated to enjoy close to a 100% price premium over DDR chips. The gap is mainly due to the limited number of suppliers. Companies that have introduced DDR2 chips are Elpida Memory, Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics.

    Intel will roll out its Prescott processor, which supports DDR2 memory, in the second quarter, and has set an aggressive target to capture a 40% share in the desktop PC processor market before the end of this year.

    DigiTimes

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    Electronic paper from Fujitsu Laboratories

    Specialists from Fujitsu Laboratories announced the new display, some features of which get close to the usual paper. While there are display concepts, the volume production is scheduled to 2006 only.

    Critical features of such "electronic paper" include whiteness, contrast and flexibility. At the moment, Fujitsu Laboratories achieved brightness equal to 80% and higher at 15 contrast. No specific values were disclosed regarding the flexibility, but it should be high enough judging by these photos.

    The idea of Fujitsu Laboratories' flexible display resembles the one mentioned previously in our news: display base component is the high-molecular tinted electrolyte that forms image elements with voltage applied.

    The developers are going to primarily focus on reducing the cost price and improving the pixel response time, so I guess until 2006 we'll hear more about the "electronic paper".

    Digit-Life

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    The Successor to AC'97: Intel High Definition Audio

    An anonymous reader writes "A few days back Intel announced the name to its previously dubbed 'Azalia' next-generation audio specification due out by midyear, under royalty-free license terms. The Intel High Definition Audio solution will have increased bandwidth that allows for 192 kHz, 32-bit, multi-channel audio and uses Dolby Pro Logic IIx technology 'which delivers the most natural, seamless and immersing 7.1 surround listening experience from any native 2-channel source'. The architecture is designed on the same cost-sensitive principles as AC'97 and will allow for improved audio usage and stability."

    Slashdot

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    OCZ talks on next-generation PC memory PCBs
    Ultra Low Noise 2 technology revealed


    A well-known maker of quality memory modules – OCZ Technology Group – today discussed its new technique to address interference and noise issues on high-speed memory modules. The tech is expected to be available on OCZ’s future products, including upcoming DDR-II memory modules.

    Based upon the success of Ultra Low Noise PCBs used in all OCZ’s memory sticks for overclockers, OCZ Technology has improved upon the quality and design of the PCB and is now ready to begin using PCBs based on ULN 2 Technology to further reduce noise and interference on the PCB.

    ULN 2 is based on a custom-built PCB with special emphasis on reducing this noise and interference that is present in all electronic circuits. ULN 2 includes additional shielding features as well as improved signal routing to help increase the maximum speed that can be attained on the module, OCZ said it its statement.

    The additional shielding present helps to reduce the interference from other nearby devices as well as on the PCB itself. Shielding is generally accomplished through the use of large metal planes that provide protection from electric fields. This helps to reduce the inductive interference as well as the capacitive coupling.

    Improved signal routing helps to speed up the overall module as the wire traces on the PCB are more efficiently routed so as to minimize the capacitive and resistive nature of these interconnects as well as find the minimum distance for critical signals. Moreover, special care is taken in the placement and routing of rapidly switching lines to minimize the effect of noise and interference on nearby lines.

    These improved features not only allow more stable operation, but also allow the module to run at a higher frequency than the modules based on ULN PCBs since there is less noise and interference at the same switching speed.

    Memory makers have managed to increase speeds of conventional double data rate memory to astonishing 550MHz, even above 533MHz specified for the second fastest DDR-II speed bin. The cost of DDR modules at speeds beyond 500MHz is probably pretty high, therefore, to normalize the costs of modules designed for similar speeds and probably to allow further overclocking of DDR-II memory, manufacturers of RAM modules should develop new PCBs for their products to address serious noise and interference problems.

    Xbit

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