Rise of the New "Efficeon" CPU
It's remarkable how quickly the computer world
changes isn't it? Last week I was asked to give a recommendation on what
to look for in a notebook, and so I muttered something about "as long
as it has a Centrino chip..." as I fished out change for a latte. Yes, coffee is a major influence on PCstats, but so is spending your hard earned money wisely. Now take the newly announced Transmeta Efficeon CPU. This a processor bread for specifically for notebooks. It has several very tantalizing features such as low power consumption, HyperTransport, DDR400 support, integrated 4X-AGP support, 1MB L2 cache and its own on-chip Northbridge. And remember, all of that is designed just for a notebook. While the Efficeon is now out, it may take a few more weeks for
Efficeon-based notebooks to actually materialize. In the mean time, it appears
as though Transmeta have finally produced a processor able to complete
on equal footing with Intel's Centrino. So when I was asked today what
kind of notebook I'd recommend, the answer was obviously a little more complicated...
Expectations for the Efficeon are certainly high, and
that means there could be some very long-batterylife notebooks just in time for
the holidays - but we still have to wait and see. If you'd like a
little more information about this new processor, please check out my
TechWatch column in the Newsletter today.
Up next, PCstats has put together a very important Guide to Encryption and Online Privacy that I'm recommending you read this week. If you'd like to see other PCStats Guides, a quick listing is on the Articles and Reviews page.
Elsewhere in the Newsletter we have a look at some fast PC4300 DDR from a company called Buffalo Technology, and a review of Gigabyte's i875P "Canterwood" 8KNXP motherboard for the performance users in the crowd. This motherboard really impressed us, so I'm sure you'll find the review an interesting read. Now, on the topic of videocard newcomer XGI Volari. If
yet heard of them, then pay close attention. Chris has a few rather interesting things to say about XGI's dual-GPU videocards in the face of nVidia's NV40, and ATI's newest RV420 GPU's. Check it out in this weeks BRAND NEW Industry Insights column over to
the right. Before I sign off for this week... scroll down to Colin's Weekly
Tech Tip, it's a really good one!
Remember Transmeta? The little chip manufacturer which made a lot of noise a
year or so back, producing a series of mobile processors under the Crusoe brand name? Well if you're an early adopter, or like me and have been watching DVD's on those long intercontinental flights with a Crusoe TM5800-based notebook, you've been looking forward to Transmeta's next generation CPU, code-named "Astro." On October 14th, Transmeta
unveiled the TM8000 "Astro" processor under the new name of Efficeon - alluding to the companies focus on power efficiency. The Efficeon processor is a vastly different chip from the old Crusoe family which were power
efficient, but not very powerful against comparably paced Intel processors.
The Transmeta Efficeon processor boasts three new on-chip bus interfaces that make it easy to draw some parallels with the Athlon64 processor. Namely - HyperTransport,
a DDR-400 memory controller and most uniquely, a built-in AGP-4X graphics
interface. The TM8600 Efficeon contains 1MB of L2 cache, and will initially be
built on 0.13micron silicon before migrating to 0.09micron in Q2 of 2004.
Initial clock speeds are set for 1.0-1.3GHz, with 2.0GHz expected in the next 6
months. While the Crusoe was a 128bit VLIW CPU, the new Efficeon is based on a
256-bit VLIW instruction set, which basically means it crunches 8 32-bit
instructions per clock instead of 4. The chip also comes with a full compliment
of instructions such as MMX, SSE and SSE2 thanks to the new Efficeon Code
Morphing Software (CMS).
Long Run power management will
be packaged along with the processor at this time, but in the coming months, we
can expect to see Long Run2 introduced. Transmeta's new LongRun2 is a major
advancement because it is able to control transistor leakage through
software, while the CPU is running. Transistor leakage is a fairly complicated
topic that we won't go into, but ultimately, controlling it makes the CPU even
more power efficient. Cool technology indeed, and all for around $100 in volume
quantities. Expect Efficeon-based notebook announcements from the likes of HP,
Sharp and Fujitsu in the coming weeks, or see www.efficeon.com for more info.
Rules to keep your Credit Card number private, your personal
information personal, and your money, in your account.
As on-line shopping becomes more and
more an accepted part of our economy, it seems obvious that their would be
a concurrent increase in the frequency of computer related crimes such as
fraudulent on-line marketing sites and identity theft, and, to a certain
degree there has been. While the comparison of online shopping to regular
business works well enough on some levels, the fact is that computers, for
all their advantages, add several new security and privacy concerns that
everyone who uses them should be aware of. This article aims to cover the basics of online security, including a description of the methods online stores use to protect themselves and
their customers. Continue -- Click
Aside from Microsoft, Intel is the only other company that can
dictate market trends and the direction and pace at which the industry
moves. When Intel first released the Pentium 4 processor two years ago, it
said right from the beginning that the processor had to ramp up to high
speeds before its true potential could be realized. Today we're going to be testing Gigabyte's flagship Intel motherboard, the GA-8KNXP. The GA-8KNXP is based on the i875P
chipset and the board has native support for Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID,
Ultra/133 RAID, IEEE 1394, CSA Intel Gigabit LAN, and 5.1
audio. For extra measure, and to improve reliability the board uses something called DPS2 (Dual Power System) which clips into the board in a special slot adjacent to the IO panel. Continue -- Click
the release of Intel's 800 MHz FSB processors, and accompanying
motherboards, the enthusiast market has boomed as consumers have rushed
out to buy newer, faster components. For enthusiasts, the name of the game
is change, and if they don't adopt new technology they could be missing
out on the full potential of their existing hardware. Buffalo Technology
is not as familiar a memory brand as say Corsair, or Crucial, yet the
company has been quietly creating a following for itself. That following amongst enthusiasts has largely been
driven by Buffalo's high speed memory. Buffalo Technology
have produced some very versatile and fast memory DIMMs with the one thing
that every consumer is looking for; competitive prices. Continue -- Click
||Wrangle Control of the Trash Bin!|
In the last few years hard drives have gotten bigger and bigger, while Windows still only allocates the first 10% of a HDD for "garbage" temp files. In most cases that's overkill, and unless you're still using a small HDD (20GB or less I guess), it doesn't make much sense to give up so much prime real estate.
You see the problem lies at the beginning where the HDD is fastest... so while we can't move the recycle bin to the end of the HDD, we can make it take up less space. Right click on the Recycle Bin icon and go to properties and from there click the Global tab (or your HDD tab). You should see a slider and by default it's set to 10%, lower that down to about 2-3% (2% of an 80GB drive that's still 1.6 GB!) then click the OK button.
After that's done it's very important to defrag your HDD! Defraging moves everything closer to the beginning and the next in line is the OS. As you can guess, faster access to the OS can dramatically improve your overall system performance! Damn, that is a good tip isn't it?
We recently received a presentation that, according to our source, originated at NVIDIA. It seems a bit old, as it introduces the 500MHz GeForce FX with its 500MHz memory clock (we now know this is GeForce FX 5800 Ultra). However, the presentation raises a couple of important points. First, while many manufacturers have discussed the merits of utilizing embedded memory, NVIDIA admits that it is tempting to use embedded DRAM; however, the costs remain prohibitive and it won't be doing so in the near future.
Further, an included roadmap lists the upcoming NV40 emerging in the first half of 2004 supporting PCI Express (the chip has been in the development stage since early 2002). In all actuality, we should expect an AGP 8x variant of the architecture to hit the streets first, which, according to corroborating information, should compete against ATI's AGP 8x R420. Those same cards are expected in full PCI Express 16x trim in the second quarter of the year, at which time we should see high-end, midrange, and mainstream products to go along with the chipsets bearing PCI Express support.
incidentally divulged that its Volari family will also emerge with
PCI Express support sometime in the first half of next year. Then
again, we've yet to receive final silicon from XGI, so that
conundrum will have to go unaddressed for a while longer, it seems.
. M. Page
. C. Sun
. C. Angelini