Intel Introduces Broadwell and Skylake Processors

From ZDNet:

Intel has apparently taken advantage of a quiet period for the tech industry to slip out a handful of new PC processors that don’t do anything whiz-bang enough to wait for whatever the company has in store for next month’s CES event (the rumored 10-core desktop chip and/or a preview of the Kaby Lake architecture?).

The chip giant has just dropped eight new CPUs into its lineup, comprising a mix of both desktop and mobile processors based on either Broadwell or the newer Skylake architecture. Perhaps the most noteworthy ones are the desktop CPUs, the Skylake-based Core i3-6098P and i5-6402P. That’s because the “P” suffix has indicated in the past an Intel processor that lacks the company’s integrated GPU. Intel has made great strides with its integrated graphics recently, but buyers who are definitely building a system with a discrete graphics card might not be all that interested in an integrated GPU.

AMD Phenom II X6 Processors

I upgraded my desktop to the AMD Phenom II X4 620 chip in January for just $99. Today, AMD released a six-core processor starting at $199. From ZDNet:

AMD released today its first six-core processors for desktops, only a few weeks after Intel released its first six-core desktop chip. Unlike Intel’s “Gulftown,” which is available in limited quantities and costs more than $1,000 in retail, AMD’s “Thuban” processors start at around $200. AMD claims computer makers should be able to build complete desktops with Phenom II X6 chips for about the same price as the Core i7-980X Extreme alone.

The two new processors are the 2.8GHz Phenom II X6 1055T, which costs $199, and the 3.2GHz Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, which is $295. (With the Black Edition processors, you can overclock not only the CPU, but also other parts of the system, to further boost performance.) In addition to the six-core processor, this new high-end platform includes a supporting chipset, the 890GX, and Radeon HD 5000 series DirectX 11 GPUs. AMD refers to this platform as Leo. The Phenom II X6 can also be used as a drop-in upgrade in any AM2+ or AM3 motherboard.

If you are looking to upgrade soon, consider AMD’s Thuban processors. They can be used with your existing AM2+ or AM3 motherboard. Excellent value for the price.

Avast Anti-Virus and Atom N230

My Lenovo Q100 is a bit underpowered running on an 1.60 Ghz Intel Atom 230. Recently, I updated my nettop to the latest Avast Anti-Virus software. The result is  disappointing. The latest Avast software seem to gobble up the CPU utilization of the Q100. Videos are choppy and the sound stutters. I uninstalled Avast at the moment. I might install an older version of Avast or just leave the nettop unprotected. In the meantime, the Q100 is back to humming along quite nicely.

Netbook 2.0

Intel just came out with its latest Atom processor for the popular netbooks, the Atom N450 which comes with it’s own built-in graphics processor. In addition, the power consumption for these processors are down by 20 percent, operating at only 5.5 watts in idle mode. These processors will power the next generation of netbooks. Not only will the latest Atom be good for the environment, it will also be good for design, that’s one less chip to deal with. Netbooks will most likely continue to sell. Sales is up this year at a whopping 264%.

Wi-Fi Direct

The Wi-Fi Alliance group is currently working on a new specification called Wi-Fi Direct. The new spec will let phones, laptops, appliances connect without joining a traditional network. The Wi-Fi Alliance made up of Intel, Apple and Cisco plans to have the technology available to the market in mid-2010. Systems without Wi-Fi direct can be updated with software updates. Is this the end of BlueTooth?

Karmic Koala

The next Ubuntu release is still months away, but it’s not too early to talk about Ubuntu 9.10 codename Karmic Koala. Expect Ubuntu 9.10 to contain a new Linux Kernel 2.6.30 with UXA Kernel Mode Setting support for Intel graphic cards, Gnome 2.27.1, the ext4 file system comes by default, and Grub 2.0. Karmic Koala is currently in Alpha 2.

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Highlights

  • Linux Kernel 2.6.30
  • UXA support for Intel graphics cards
  • Gnome 2.27.1
  • Default ext4 filesystem
  • Grub 2

AMD Phenom

Advanced Micro Devices next generation quad-core desktop processor will be called the Phenom. The Phenom line of processors promises to be energy efficient with a boost of performance by minimizing the distance where data travels within the processor. It will be available in the second half of this year. AMD will also offer an eight-core platform called “FASN8” pronounced “fascinate” sometime in 2008 by pairing two quad-core processors. Meanwhile, Intel announced last week a new line Centrino processors.

The tech industry need both companies to thrive. Competition forces innovation and competitive pricing. I wish we had this across all sectors of the tech industry.