Wednesday 08 February 2006

AMD Virtualization Now Available to Developers

 Christo [PCD]    08 Feb : 08:23
 None    Hardware

Virtualization will make a huge push this year across all business levels -- even laptops

Virtualization will make a huge push this year across all business levels -- even laptops

This week AMD announced that its virtualization I/O spec was now available for developer consumption. Essentially, the technology works much in the same way that Intel's virtualization technology does in that it allows multiple discrete operating systems to access the CPU and hardware level. Previously, all access was routed through a virtualization OS such as VMWare or Virtual PC, which significantly bottlenecked the performance of each virtual machine.

With hardware-based virtualization support, SMBs and even large scale enterprises can realize the full potential of their hardware. Rarely does a processor (let alone multiple) receive full utilization and often times a processor's resources goes completely to waste and even adds to the overall true cost of ownership for a company. For instance, if a typical SMB has multiple servers; one for mail, one for web, one for intranet, one for file sharing -- all of those machines would be underused. The idle time also contributes to energy waste, and when a company has hundreds of machines running, the total cost of ownership (TCO) can quickly add up. AMD says:

AMD’s CPU virtualization technology (formerly referred to by the code name “Pacifica???) delivers CPU efficiencies to traditional software only-based virtualization approaches. AMD I/O virtualization technology complements and extends these efficiencies by providing mechanisms to support virtualization software in managing, partitioning, and securing I/O devices, which is anticipated to result in improved performance and less implementation complexity in providing I/O in virtual environments.

AMD says that it is closely working with VMWare to integrate support into VMWare's virtualization platforms. Currently the most widely used virtualization layer, VMWare's virtual machine software is already shipping with support for SMP processing and multi-core CPUs. According to AMD, virtualization will be available on all new AMD processors released in 2006 and forward. With notebook computers embracing multi-core processors, AMD also hinted that future AMD-based notebooks will also support virtualization.
[Submitted by Kcarrim]

Tuesday 07 February 2006

Gigabyte gets into the chassis game.

 Bulvey[PCD]    07 Feb : 09:59
 None    Hardware

Gigabyte introduces gamer cases

Gigabyte introduces gamer cases

It makes what?

By Charlie Demerjian: Saturday 04 February 2006, 07:55
GIGABYTE MAKES CASES? I''ll bet you didn''t know that, I sure didn''t until its latest news letter popped into my inbox along with a link Yes, proudly displayed among the cooling products page comes a new high end aluminium gamer bling-bling cases the GZ-FSCA1-ANS/ANB/ATS/ATB, aka the 3D Aurora line.

These all aluminium cases come in silver and black, supplemented with enough blue LEDs to make Vegas look dim, the intake and exhaust fans are lit like, well, a gamer case. If that wasn't enough, it has a laser projector that shines a customizable message or logo about where your toes sit in front of the case. It is completely tool free, and has two locks, front and side. Other than the logo, pretty standard stuff.

The two nice things that you don't see all that often are an internal tool/small parts bin, handy for screws, knobs, and things of a less than completely legal nature you want to sneak into a LAN party. It is also quite handy if you want to smuggle berries or those weird proto-monkey lemurs out of Madagascar without proper permits, but I don't think that is what the Gigabyte engineers had in mind.

The 3D Aurora also comes with dual holes for feeding in the increasingly common watercooling rigs through, and a place to hang the tanks and radiator. GB claims they are compatible with all watercooling kits.

Overall, this looks like a solid first effort from the lads at Gigabyte. I don't have one, and due to quirks at that company, doubt I will ever see one, but check it out when they hit stores. At the very least, it looks like they are trying to accommodate a lot of the latest enthusiast trends.


AMD's Next-gen Socket AM2 Revealed

 Christo [PCD]    07 Feb : 09:06
 None    Hardware

AnandTech says socket AM2 will require new processors, memory and possibly new heatsinks but you get DDR2

AnandTech says socket AM2 will require new processors, memory and possibly new heatsinks but you get DDR2

Details of AMD's upcoming DDR2 processors and platform are now emerging pretty rapidly. AnandTech reports on AMD's new AM2 socket, which is based on the 940-pin standard that the company has established. However, the new AM2 socket as well as AM2 based processors will not be backwards compatible with current 940 sockets.

The new AMD processors will incorporate a new DDR2 memory controller and thus will require different electrical requirements and routing than current generation units. Upon closer examination, AnandTech said that AMD could have technically used the same socket, but it chose to reposition certain pins in order to avoid customers using the new DDR2 processors on older DDR platforms.

The new AM2 socket will also be accompanied by a new heatsink retention design which might present a compatibility problem for many current socket 940 heatsinks. The heatsink "hook" locking latch that's used currently is no longer there and the overall retention cage is redesigned and held in by 4 screws instead of 2. AnandTech says the new design definitely improves durability and ruggedness.

Several weeks ago, it appeared likely an AM2 launch would happen in the Cebit (early March) to end-of-April time frame. Announcements of delays the last few weeks now point to a July release date. Whenever the launch happens, those moving to AM2 will at a minimum need a new processor for a new Socket 940, new DDR2 memory to replace existing DDR memory for Athlon 64, and a new or revised heatsink/fan cooling solution.


[Submitted by Kcarrim]

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