Archive for September, 2009

INTEL KEEPS MOORE’S LAW ALIVE

September 14, 2009

Intel’s launch of mainstream high-performance chips for consumers is good news.

The Intel “Lynnfield “  Core i7 and i5 launch along with the Intel P55 chipset for newer motherboards, will bring computing speed up a notch or two, with a wide price choice of computer configerations for consumers.

But don’t expect these new “i” Intel PCs to be in consumer stores before the holiday season, unless you are an ethusiast and want to build your own.

Last year, Intel had introduced the highest end of this chip family with an awesome 8-core i7 3.2 GHz, itself costing more than today’s average selling desktop computer.  

I have been using both these new chips for the past several weeks with Intel’s high performance SSD (solid state drive) 80 GB drive and three gigabytes of DDR3 RAM and an NVIDIA GFORCE GTX 8800 on Windows Vista and the upcoming Windows 7, with a clean install. But I also ran these chips on my working Vista spinning harddrive with tones of legacy programs, to see how the new chips run a PC with “baggage.”

For one, from a cost perspective, expect these PCs to cost more than today’s, with more  expensive DDR3 memory, about 50 per cent more than DDR2 RAM and new motherboards.

There are 774 million transistors in these chips, and unlike current  CPUs, use the new for the LGA1156 socket…in other words, they will not fit on your older PC configuration.  In fact, these new Intel Desktop Board DP55KG I used does not accommodate any IDE connections anymore. Say goodbye to floppies and say hello to SATA compatible internal DVD/RW readers.

Here is a brief listing of what these chips offer:

Intel® Core™ i7-800 processor series

  • Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology delivers 8-threaded performance on 4 cores
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
  • 8M Intel® Smart Cache
  • Integrated Memory Controller with support for 2 channels of DDR3 1333 memory
  • PCI Express* 2.0 discrete graphics flexibility for multiple graphics card configurations

Intel® Core™ i5-700 processor series

  • Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
  • 8M Intel® Smart Cache
  • Integrated Memory Controller with support for 2 channels of DDR3 1333 memory
  • PCI Express* 2.0 discrete graphics flexibility for multiple graphics card configurations

Intel® P55 Express Chipset

  • Support for 6 SATA ports at 1.5 Gbps and 3Gbps with Intel® Matrix Storage Manager providing RAID 0/1/5/10
  • Intel® HD Audio, 8 PCI Express* 2.0 (2.5 Gbps) x1 ports and 14 USB 2.0 ports with 2 independent EHCI controllers

Here is the three chip size, speeds and internal memory.

Processor Clock speed(GHz) Max Turbo Frequency (GHz) Cache Memory Speed Support TDP Processor Generation
Intel® Core™ i7-870 2.93 3.60 8 MB DDR3-1333MHz 95W New Intel® Core™ Microarchitecture  (Nehalem) 45nm
Intel® Core™ i7-860 2.80 3.46
Intel® Core™ i5-750 2.66 3.20

 

How do they perform?

Compared to a Intel Core2 Quad Processor Q9650 (12M Cache, 3.00 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB) I have been using, the i5-750 2.66 holds its own at par, but with a higher PCMark Vantage Overall Score 5957 compared to the 4810  of my legacy system, while the i7-870 was an impressive  6226.

In all, the i5 is in fact a better CPU than last year’s king if the hill while the i7-870 2.9 GHz, is ahead of the pack, with a very stable Max Turbo Frequency of 3.6 GHz.

As for my older well used Vista install? Well, I can say with no hesitation that it ran noticeably faster.

Moore’s Law continues.

I am away for a month in Europe, but will be reporting in more detail from computer makers upon my return as well as what new features the motherboard makers will have on their P55 ship sets.

For more information go to www.intel.com

Is LED TV a new kind of TV?

September 2, 2009

Since my last two TV stories, I have received emails asking me about what the new LED TVs are about. Even TV stores I frequently visit, are getting questions from consumers asking to see the LED models.

So listen up folks. LED HDTVs are still LCD TVs but instead of the traditional panel lighting source, they use LED light instead. It’s brighter, offers wider contrast, energy efficient and displays pure whites. Most LED  LCD TVs use backlight LED, where the LED lamps are evenly spaced out behind the glass panel. But with some smart engineering, like Samsung’s new one-inch-thick UN46B7000 46-inch LED LCD TVs, you get the best of both worlds…anLCD on steroids that is a third the thickness of competitors and looks just as evenly lighted as backlight LCD LED sets.  To read my latest story on what is new in TVs in stores now, go to:

http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/columnists/story.html?id=190b3a76-9441-4db5-9574-271af663fa96