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Monday, October 19, 2009

Dual Boot Windows 7 with XP/Vista in three easy steps

[Updated] Windows 7 has proved to be quite the drastic improvement over Vista, enough that it even has XP stragglers crawling out of the woodwork to check it out. Your chance to test drive the release candidate is now running thin, in fact, if you haven’t tried the new OS until now you are better off postponing your plans for a week and installing the real thing. The final version of Windows 7 has already been sent to partners and is scheduled to debut publicly later this week on October 22.

Even if have pre-ordered Microsoft’s latest OS, installing it on top of your existing copy of Windows may feel a bit premature if you haven't been running the beta or RC as your main installation. Thankfully, setting up a dual boot configuration is both easy and practical. If you’re looking for a quick and dirty, yet thorough how-to on getting Windows 7 to run alongside your installation of XP or Vista, read on.

Read the complete how-to guide.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

P55 Extreme Overclockers: Check your sockets!

We start with a picture.

The picture above is after our Core i7 870 (LGA-1156) processor was overclocked up to 5.19GHz using our cascade with a -102° Celsius evaporator head temperature under full-load. Processor VCC power draw at these frequencies is around 160W (this is possible only due to subzero cooling), as measured with a clamp meter installed at the 12V EPS power lead. Study the pictures closely and you should notice something peculiar. Keep in mind it comes from a CPU installed in the same type of socket from a particular manufacturer.

What happens after several extreme benchmark runs...

If you noticed something weird in the pictures then you understand the title of our article. We have what seems to be a potentially serious issue with proper socket loading on several P55-based motherboards when overclocking to the limit. We are of course not the only ones experiencing the problem as several of our overclocking peers have run into the same problem.

Normally we do not worry too much about mishaps during extreme overclocking testing as they are typically caused by factors outside of the supplier’s control. The overriding concern is that we have damaged every motherboard in our possession for the P55 overclocking (extreme) shootout as well as two very expensive i7/870 processors. These problems are the cause of a single component and are repeatable. As such, we thought we would provide details on current problems and will provide an update once all of the motherboard manufacturers affected have had a chance to properly respond.

We draw your attention to the fact that the processor shown in this pictures exhibits signs of insufficient pin-to-pad contact (little to no contact) in what is a rather reproducible pattern with Foxconn manufactured 1156 sockets. As soon as an end-user mounts a CPU in a socket and latches the clamp mechanism, each pin should leave a notable mark on the associated pad.

We've marked locations where this does not seem to have happened, showing what appears to be a significant reduction in the number of VCC/VSS pins for proper power delivery, and certainly not at the right load line resistance. Damage resulting from highly overclocked use in these types of situations is not solely limited to the processor; let’s take a look at what happened to some of the motherboards in which these CPU were seated.

The random level of pin/pad contact in the VCC/VSS area is an accident waiting to happen when the processor begins to draw current, especially when highly overclocked.

When Intel publishes socket specifications and design tolerances, it's up to component manufacturers to strictly adhere to them when designing, manufacturing, testing and ultimately selling their "compliant" components. Of course, that's not to say Intel could not have goofed when releasing their specification, leaving out a crucial tolerance or such. It could happen, but not likely. For the time being, let's assume that's not the case; seeing as how processors installed in sockets built by other companies have exhibited no such issue in testing to date.

At first glance, one might be inclined to think LGA-1156 based processors are intolerant of high-end overclocking, almost as if by design. This is correct to some extent; a quick glance at Intel’s white papers for socket 1156 CPU’s reveals that there are around 175 pads for VCC compared to over 250 for socket 1366 CPU’s. This means socket 1156 has around 66% of the current capacity of socket 1366, the caveat being that when overclocked, processors from both platforms draw similar levels of current.

When overclocked above 4GHz, processors from both platforms will draw around 15-16 amps via the EPS 12V rail to VCC, VTT and some of the other sub –system power rails under full 8 thread load from the Intel burn test (Linx). Assuming 85% PWM efficiency, we’re looking at power draw in the region of 130-140w to VCC on both platforms. The facts point toward tighter current handling tolerances for socket 1156 when compared to socket 1366, especially when it comes to non-connection of VCC/VSS power delivery pins.

Fortunately, we think we've been able to isolate pin to pad contact issues to one particular brand of parts. Physical inspection and end-user reports all but confirm the issues only affects sockets manufactured by Foxconn at this time. The only known alternative sockets in the wild are made by LOTES or Tyco AMP. We happen to have a couple of boards from EVGA using the LOTES/Tyco AMP sockets and MSI/DFI using the LOTES socket design, and thus far those boards have been issue free given highly similar operating conditions. In fact, we’ve managed to push our LGA-1156 processors further in heavy load tests on boards made using LOTES/Tyco AMP sockets than those made with sockets from Foxconn; something we’re not putting down solely to coincidence.

So far, EVGA is the only company we know that uses sockets exclusively from LOTES on their top-tier P55 boards - for example, the EVGA P55 Classified 200, model E659. This by the way may be the onus behind the decision to market the board’s “300% More Gold Content” socket statement as a purchasing option point. If you find yourself shopping for an EVGA P55 FTW, model E657, you've got a 50/50 chance of buying one with a Tyco AMP socket design (using a LOTES backplate), as opposed to one made solely with Foxconn's, the same goes for MSI and DFI who have batches of boards in the retail channel using LOTES sockets (although we're not entirely sure on socket specifics at this point). DFI told us earlier they have dropped usage of the Foxconn sockets completely until further notice. We hear the LOTES and Tyco AMP sockets are in short supply, which is probably why Foxconn's been able to fill the void in the market with what we believe to be a lower quality alternative for the extreme overclocker.

We took one of our damaged CPU’s and inserted it into one of the EVGA (LOTES/Tyco AMP) boards and took a few pics to show contact scoring and a side by side compare to the original Foxconn socket indents.

Foxconn 1156 Socket Installation

Tyco AMP / LOTES 1156 Socket Installation

Note how from a variety of angles certain pads show no evidence of contact from a Foxconn pin at all. Both the Tyco AMP and LOTES sockets have a larger pin/pad contact surface area leaving a slight scuff mark in the central area of each pad. In light of this, what we will say is that if you’re thinking of doingextreme overclocking on a board built using Foxconn's socket 1156, think again. Or, at least check your CPU for evidence of proper pin-to-pad contact.

We have not had any problems with air or water cooling overclocking up to 4.3GHz, although we do have a i5/750 that has developed a few dark pads after a thousand hours or so of constant overclocking. However, none of the boards have developed pin problems so we feel very safe in saying that any problems will probably occur only in extreme overclocking scenarios.

We also realize that partial responsibility for some of the less than acceptable CPU installations may be in fact due user installation errors. However, if users are screwing this up by doing nothing different than what they've always done when it comes to handling and installing LGA-type processors, then it's hard for us to find fault with the installer. Be aware of this situation and study the pin imprint on the CPU pads and make sure you have good contact on the VCC/VSS power delivery pads before pushing the system too hard.


Intel Atom N450 to launch on January 3?

According to Fudzilla, Intel plans to launch the first chip(s) in its upcoming Pine Trail lineupon January 3 of next year. The 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor will incorporate memory and graphics functions on a single chip, and will offer many benefits. In addition to the obvious performance boost, Intel's upcoming platform consumes less power and is more compact -- all major bonuses for netbooks and related systems.

Intel is also supposedly aiming to launch a faster Atom chip come March, which will be the 1.86GHz N470. It is reported that the Atom N450 will be priced at $64, or $20 more than the currently available 1.6GHz N270, while the N470 will cost $75 (note again, the memory and graphics controllers will be on-die -- so the cost difference is probably negligible).

By Matthew DeCarlo,

Acer brings the AspireRevo nettop to the US

Acer has announced that it is now shipping the pint-sized AspireRevo nettop PC to US customers. According to the company, its AspireRevo R3610-U9012 is not only extremely compact, but energy-efficient and packs enough power to "serve as an entertainment center" or even "casual gaming."

The book-sized AspireRevo is armed with a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330 processor, Nvidia's Ion chipset, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB HDD, 802.11b/g/n support, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB 2.0 ports (two in front, four in back), eSATA, HDMI and VGA ports, a multi-in-one card reader, USB stereo speakers, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and Windows 7 Home Premium.

Interestingly, there's also a VESA attachment so you can mount the nettop to the back of your display -- quite handy if you're aiming for a sleek setup. You can purchase the AspireRevo R3610-U9012 now for about $330, and it will launch along with Windows 7 on October 22.

By Matthew DeCarlo,

Friday, October 16, 2009

Microsoft's antivirus detects 4 million infections in first week

Microsoft has released some first-week usage statistics of its new antivirus application, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). Redmond made the program available to users in 19 countries on September 29, and it accumulated 1.5 million downloads in the first seven days -- though, it's unknown how many individual systems are actually running the product. That said, Microsoft does know how many computers are infected.

The software giant says that during the first week in circulation, MSE detected malicious software on precisely 535,752 machines -- and the actual malware count is eight times more than that. Microsoft says early adopters of Windows 7 seem to be the most prominent users of MSE, which seems logical enough, and around one third of those systems are running a 64-bit version of Windows 7.

The general consensus seems to be that MSE is a relatively solid product, and with some 4 million malware detections in its first week, Microsoft's antivirus is at the very least helping some users to keep clean.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Clean your computer

I have a dirty secret. I've never cleaned my computer. Sure, I've dusted my monitor, but I haven't taken off the cover or tried to reach the crumbs lurking inside my keyboard.

clean your computer

"Your computer could fry if you don't keep it clean," says Jonathon Millman, chief technology officer for Hooplah Interactive.

Dust clogs the vents behind your computer, which causes your CPU to heat up—and heat is the biggest cause of component failure in computers. Regular cleaning could save you costly maintenance fees down the road.

Keep your computer in tip-top shape by following Millman's guide to a spotless computer system.


You'll need:

  • screwdriver

  • can of compressed air (available from computer dealers or office-supply stores)

  • cotton swabs (do not use a cotton ball)

  • rubbing alcohol

  • paper towels or anti-static cloths

  • water

Always turn your computer off before you begin and unplug all the cords.

Step 1: Inside the case

Using a screwdriver, remove the side of the case that's opposite your motherboard. Touch as little as possible inside the computer, keeping fingers away from cards and cords.

Blow air around all of the components and along the bottom of the case, keeping the nozzle four inches away from the machine. Blow air into the power supply box and into the fan (from the back of the case). Lastly, blow air into the floppy disk and CD drives. Wipe the inside of the cover with a lightly moistened cloth before replacing it.

Millman recommends doing this every three months if your case sits on the floor, if you have pets that shed, or if you smoke. Otherwise, every six to eight months is fine.

Step 2: Outside the case

Run a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol around all of the openings on the back of your case. Give them one swipe with the damp end of the swab and one swipe with the dry end. Do this as often as you clean the inside of your computer.

Step 3: Keyboard

Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake it. Most of the crumbs and dust will fall out. Take a can of compressed air and blow into and around the keys. Next, take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol. It should be damp, but not wet. Run the cotton swab around the outside of the keys. Rub the tops of the keys. If you have a laptop, follow the same procedure but take extra care with your machine. Do this monthly.

Spills — If you have kids, you're worried about spills. If it happens, disconnect the keyboard immediately and flip it over. Blot the top with a paper towel, blow compressed air between the keys and leave it to air dry overnight. For laptops, liquid can easily penetrate the hard drive so turn the computer over immediately and leave it in that position until it dries.

Step 4: Mouse

Rub the top and bottom of your mouse with a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Open the back and remove the ball. Wash the ball with water and let it air dry. To clean inside the mouse, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and rub all of the components. Scrape hard-to-remove grime with your fingernail. Finally, blow air into the opening. Replace the ball and the cover. Do this monthly.

Step 5: Monitor

Moisten a paper towel or a soft, lint-free cloth with water. (You can also buy monitor cleaning products at computer-supply stores.) Don't spray liquid directly onto the screen—spray the cloth instead. Wipe the screen gently to remove dust and fingerprints. Never touch the back of the monitor.

For laptop screens, Millman suggests buying a special cleaning solution available at computer stores. Do this weekly.

Finally, make sure that everything is dry before you plug your computer back in.

Article written by Alyson Munroe and adapted from an original piece from Microsoft Home Magazine.

AMD OpenCL drivers reveal new Radeon HD 5900 series?

As you've undoubtedly heard, AMD recently launched its Radeon HD 5000 GPUs -- all of which have been 5700 or 5800 series cards. Yesterday, the company released a new Open CL-compliant driver for present Radeon HD 4000 and 5000 video cards that Fudzilla says reveals an undisclosed Radeon HD 5000 offering.

The Tech Report looked at the driver's INF files, and sure enough, in addition to the three Radeon HD 5700 and two 5800 listings are two 5900 entries. The site suggests that the three 5700 entries account for the 5770, as well as 512MB and 1GB versions of the 5750, while the two 5800 listings are almost surely the 5850 and 5870 cards.

It seems probable that AMD may be preparing a temporary counter to Nvidia's Fermi-based GPUs, but what exactly does the company have in store for the Radeon HD 5900 series?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Windows 8 Details Emerge

The version of Windows that succeeds Windows 7 will include a 128-bit architecture, accordingwindows 8 to an embarrassing leak from Microsoft's research and development team in the US.

Microsoft employee Robert Morgan appeared to detail the software giant's plans for Windows 8, and even Windows 9, on business networking site LinkedIn, where he listed his job as 'senior research and development'. His profile has now been removed from the main LinkedIn site, but is still viewable in Google's search cache.In it, he says he's "working in high security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and longterm projects."

He goes on to say his R&D projects include: "128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan." He's also responsible for "forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP and IBM."

Windows 7, due to become available worldwide on October 22, is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. (See "Windows 7 Performance Tests.")

Indeed, we've had the option of 64-bit versions of Windows since Windows XP Professional x64 Edition was launched May 2005. But while XP's successor, Vista, is also available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, the latter has failed to take off in a big way.

64-bit computers, which can address more RAM and are theoretically more powerful than 32-bit equivalents, are likely to become more popular with Windows 7. A 128-bit version of Windows 8 would represent the next leap in performance.

According to Microsoft's plans to release a new desktop version of Windows every three years, Windows 8 is scheduled to become available in 2012.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10 tips for improving your wireless network

If Windows ever notifies you about a weak signal, it probably means your connection isn't as fast or as reliable as it could be. Worse, you might lose your connection entirely in some parts of your home. If you're looking to improve the signal for your wireless network, try some of these tips for extending your wireless range and improving your wireless network performance.

10 tips for improving your wireless network

1. Position your wireless router (or wireless access point) in a central location

When possible, place your wireless router in a central location in your home. If your wireless router is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home. Don't worry if you can't move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection.

Bad router and good router comparison

2. Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets)

Metal, walls, and floors will interfere with your router's wireless signals. The closer your router is to these obstructions, the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.

3. Replace your router's antenna

The antennas supplied with your router are designed to be omni-directional, meaning they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router's power will be wasted. Most routers don't allow you to increase the power output, but you can make better use of the power. Upgrade to a hi-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals only one direction. You can aim the signal in the direction you need it most.

Standard antenna and hi-gain antenna examples

4. Replace your computer's wireless network adapter

Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes, your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can't send signals back to your router. To improve this, replace your laptop's PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB network adapter that uses an external antenna. In particular, consider the Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless USB network adapter, which adds an external, hi-gain antenna to your computer and can significantly improve your range.

Laptops with built-in wireless typically have excellent antennas and don't need to have their network adapters upgraded.

Wireless router and wireless repeater

5. Add a wireless repeater

Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless access point and your computer, and you'll get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength. Check out the wireless repeaters from ViewSonic, D-Link, Linksys, and Buffalo Technology.

Wireless channels

6. Change your wireless channel

Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. In the United States and Canada, these channels are 1, 6, and 11. Just like you'll sometimes hear interference on one radio station while another is perfectly clear, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. Try changing your wireless router's channel through your router's configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don't need to change your computer's configuration, because it'll automatically detect the new channel.

7. Reduce wireless interference

If you have cordless phones or other wireless electronics in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise from the other wireless devices. To quiet the noise, avoid wireless electronics that use the 2.4GHz frequency. Instead, look for cordless phones that use the 5.8GHz or 900MHz frequencies.

8. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver

Router manufacturers regularly make free improvements to their routers. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer's Web site.

Similarly, network adapter vendors occasionally update the software that Windows uses to communicate with your network adapter, known as the driver. These updates typically improve performance and reliability. To get the driver updates, do the following:

Windows Vista

  • Click Start menu, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.

  • In the left pane, click Check for updates, and then wait while Windows Vista looks for the latest updates for your computer.

  • Install any updates relating to your wireless network adapter.

Windows XP

  • Visit Microsoft Update, click Custom, and then wait while Windows XP looks for the latest updates for your computer.

  • Install any updates relating to your wireless adapter.

9. Pick equipment from a single vendor

While a Linksys router will work with a D-Link network adapter, you often get better performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor. Some vendors offer a performance boost of up to twice the performance when you choose their hardware: Linksys has the SpeedBooster technology, and D-Link has the 108G enhancement.

10. Upgrade 802.11b devices to 802.11g

802.11b is the most common type of wireless network, but 802.11g is about five times faster. 802.11g is backward-compatible with 802.11b, so you can still use any 802.11b equipment that you have. If you're using 802.11b and you're unhappy with the performance, consider replacing your router and network adapters with 802.11g-compatible equipment. If you're buying new equipment, definitely choose 802.11g.

Wireless networks never reach the theoretical bandwidth limits. 802.11b networks typically get 2-5Mbps. 802.11g is usually in the 13-23Mbps range. Belkin's Pre-N equipment has been measured at 37-42Mbps.

Source :

Monday, October 12, 2009

4 ways to use Windows Vista at home

I've been using Windows Vista for several months now, first testing it and then writing my book, Breakthrough Windows Vista. Now I'm running the final version on my computer. The first thing you'll notice about Windows Vista is the new Aero interface. It's more polished than previous versions of Windows, and it also makes it easier to focus on your work. But aside from the user interface, there are several cool new features that my family and I use regularly. Once more people start using it on a widespread basis, there will be others like me saying, "Wow. An operating system can do this?"

Windows Vista

Windows Vista can help you do a lot of things—new tools to help you organize, store, and edit your musicand photographs are just two examples of how you can use the new operating system. In this article, though, we'll discuss four ways that my family and I have already started to take advantage of Windows Vista at home.

Stay in touch with Windows Sidebar

If you have ever wished for a place on your desktop to organize and manage all the information you need, your wish has come true. Windows Vista offers the Windows Sidebar, a vertical bar on your desktop that holds information such as weather, news headlines, a calendar, and all sorts of other things that can be added. On my Windows Sidebar, I have a notepad to make notes to myself, a small calendar so I can see the date, local weather so I know whether or not to bring the dog in from the cold, a clock to tell me when it's time to stop working, and a newsfeed so I can stay in the loop with the outside world. Having exactly the information that I want and need at a glance saves me a lot of time. I don't have to search in multiple areas to find it, because it's already there.

Windows Sidebar

The Windows Sidebar can be customized to meet your needs, and can stay behind of or in front of open programs on your desktop.

Windows Sidebar uses gadgets to provide this information. A right-click on Windows Sidebar lets you add gadgets from an online gadget gallery, where you can also add other things such as a slide show, stock ticker, or contacts book. You can add a gadget for almost anything you can think of—radio stations, wind speed, feng shui, you name it. You just decide on the gadgets that you want to display and the information automatically updates as long as you're connected to the Internet.

Find what you need with Instant Search

Despite all the cool things in Windows Vista, the new Instant Search feature may just be my favorite. It's really a new approach to accessing programs, documents, accessories, e-mail, and system tools on your computer—plus searching the Internet.

To access this feature, click the Start button. You'll see the Instant Search box at the bottom of the dialog box. To search your computer for a file or program, just type the name or part of the name. Almost instantly, the dialog box will fill with anything that matches that name—and the matches will be grouped for you into Programs, Files, and Communications. (Other groupings can appear depending on the search involved.) The figure below shows a search for the word "snag"; you can see how the search function grouped all its findings for me.

Instant Search

Instant Search instantly locates items on your computer and network, plus lets you conduct Internet searches.

Another useful aspect of Instant Search is its ability to do Internet searches without the use of a browser. Just type the word or phrase you're seeking on the Internet into the box, and select the Search the Internet option just above the Instant Search box. A browser will open with results from the Microsoft Live Search engine. The results of your search will appear on the page just as if you had accessed the Internet through a browser.

Get organized with the multi-person Windows Calendar

If you have anyone else in your life to keep track of, Windows Calendar is going to be right up your alley. This calendar is built in to Windows Vista and has automated integration features that make it truly easy for multiple people to use. It works like any other calendar program from Microsoft (you can create appointments, tasks, reminders, etc.), but the integration aspect allows you to create multiple calendars that can show you appointments and tasks side by side in one view.

Each person in your family creates a calendar and chooses a color code for it. If, for example, you want to compare calendars to see who can pick up your son from football practice, you can select the individual calendars you want to see. Like in the image below, each of those calendars appear in one simple view. The color coding shows you who is doing what at a particular time. You can launch Windows Calendar from the Instant Search box by typing "Calendar."

Windows Calendar

Windows Calendar can integrate multiple calendars into one view for you.

Keep an eye on your kids with Parental Controls

Worried about how much time your kids spend on the computer or the Internet? Nervous about the type of games and programs that they download? Rest easy:Windows Vista Parental Controls let you set limits on how long your children can access the Internet, the number of hours they can spend on the computer in general, and which games they can play or programs they can run. This feature even gives you activity reports so you can see at a glance which Web sites your kids have visited, as well as which files they have downloaded off the Internet.

You can turn on these controls by opening Parental Controls through the Instant Search box. Select the user that you want to apply the controls to, and the window shown in the figure below will appear. In a point-and-click manner, you select the restrictions that you want. Your child can always request permission to access a blocked item, by the way, but you have the final approval.

Parental Controls panel

Parental Controls can help you control what your child sees and uses on the Internet, as well as limit time spent on the computer.

Windows Vista truly does offer a lot to home users. I've found myself using more features in this operating system than I have with any other. Give a try—you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy and intuitive it is to use.

Source :

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Computer Guide PDF Format

Above is my favorite icon

Below I give a link to download Computer tips book PDF format, and of course free ..........

Book1 here

Book 2 here

Book 3 here

IDF 2009 - World's First Larrabee Demo, More Clarkdale, Gulftown

ean Maloney is getting his speaking practice in and he was back during the afternoon for the second set of keynotes at IDF. This one is a bit more interesting.

Sean started by tackling Pat Gelsinger's old playground: Servers. Nehalem-EX (8-core Nehalem) was the primary topic of discussion, but he also demonstrated the new 32nm Westmere-EP processors due out next year.

Westmere-EP is the dual-socket workstation/server version of Westmere (aka 32nm Xeon). The feature-set is nearly identical to Westmere on the desktop, so you get full AES acceleration for improved encrypt/decrypt performance. This is particularly useful for enterprise applications that do a lot of encryption/decryption.

The AES-NI instructions get added to x86 with Westmere. The x86 ISA will be over 700 instructions at that point.

The other major change to the Xeon platform is networking support. The Westmere-EP platforms will ship with Intel's 82599 10GbE controller.

Power consumption should be lower on Westmere and you can expect slightly higher clock speeds as well. If Apple sticks to its tradition, you can expect Westmere-EP to be in the next-generation Mac Pro.

What if you built a Core i7 using 1000nm transistors?

Intel has been on an integration rampage lately. Bloomfield integrated the memory controller and Lynnfield brought the PCIe controller on-die. Sean held up an example of what would happen if Intel had stopped reducing transistor size back in the 386 days.

Here's an image of what the Core i7 die would look like built using ~1000nm transistors instead of 45nm:

That's what a single Core i7 would look like on the 386's manufacturing technology

Assuming it could actually be built, the power consumption would be over 1000W with clock speeds at less than 100MHz.

Next he held up an Atom processor built on the same process:

And that's what Sean Maloney shaking an Atom built on the 386's manufacturing process would look like

Power consumption is a bit more reasonable at 65W, but that's just for the chip. You could drive a few modern day laptops off of the same power.

Useful comparisons? Not really, interesting? Sure. Next.

Larrabee Demo

Larrabee is of course at IDF, but its presence is very muted. The chip is scheduled for a release in the middle of next year as a discrete GPU.

Bill Mark, a Senior Research Scientist at Intel, ran a raytracing demo using content from Enemy Territory Quake Wars on a Gulftown system (32nm 6-core) with Larrabee.

The demo was nothing more than proof of functionality, but Sean Maloney did officially confirm that Larrabee's architecture would eventually be integrated into a desktop CPU at some point in the future.

Larrabee rendered that image above using raytracing, it's not running anywhere near full performance

The CPU is called Haswell and will be built using 22nm transistors. It's about 3 years away.

Clarkdale: Dual Core Nehalem

Clarkdale is the desktop dual-core Nehalem due out by the end of this year with widespread availability in Q1 2010.

Clarkdale will be the ideal upgrade for existing dual-core users as it adds Hyper Threading and aggressive turbo modes. There's also on-package 45nm Intel graphics, which I've heard referred to as finally "good enough" graphics from Intel.

Two cores but four threads, that's Clarkdale

Jasper Forest

Take Nehalem with three DDR3 memory channels, add PCIe 2.0 and RAID acceleration and you've got Jasper Forest. Due out in Q1 2010 this is a very specific implementation of Nehalem for the embedded and storage servers.

Nehalem was architected to be very modular, Jasper Forest is just another example of that. Long term you can expect Nehalem cores (or a similar derivative) to work alongside Larrabee cores, which is what many believe Haswell will end up looking like.

Gulftown: Six Cores for X58

I've mentioned Gulftown a couple of times already, but Intel re-affirmed support for the chip that's due out next year.

Built on the 32nm Westmere architecture, Gulftown brings all of the Westmere goodness in addition to having 6-cores on a single die.

Compatibility is going to be the big story with Gulftown: it will work in all existing X58 motherboards with nothing more than a BIOS update.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bring the Old Windows Taskbar to Life in Windows 7

Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7, brings a slew of tweaks and improvements. While most adjustments are under the hood, the graphical user interface has received a facelift as well. One of the first changes you will notice is the revamped taskbar. Unofficially dubbed the "Superbar," this new feature is essentially a mash-up of the traditional Windows Quick Launch/taskbar and the Mac OS X dock.

Windows 7 Superbar

As it's often the case with any significant change in the way we use software, opinions will vary. While many like to stick to the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" philosophy, I happen to like the new taskbar a lot. Unfortunately for the those of you who don't, defaulting to the ways of old isn't as simple as unchecking Superbar in favor of Quick Launch, so you'll have to get a little hands-on. Keep reading to bring back the taskbar you're familiar with.

Start by right clicking the Superbar, mouse over Toolbars and click New toolbar. When prompted to enter a folder directory, paste the following string of text:

%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Then click Select Folder.

A labeled Quick Launch bar should appear near the clock.

To configure the Quick Launch bar to how it was in previous versions of Windows, you'll have to make a few swift changes. Start by right clicking the Superbar and unchecking Lock the taskbar. You should see a few dotted lines appear near the Quick Launch bar.

Next, right click on the Quick Launch bar, uncheck Show text, and Show title. Then you'll need to right click on all your Superbar icons and unpin them.

Grab the dotted lines near the Quick Launch bar and pull it all the way to the Start button. By doing so, the bar where your applications load will be bumped near the clock - so pull those dotted lines back to the left near your Quick Launch bar.

Now, your open applications will still be using Windows 7's small collapsed buttons instead of the long text-filled ones. To change that, right click on the Superbar and head into Properties.

Click the drop down menu next to Taskbar buttons and choose either of the last two options. When you're done, click Ok and recheck Lock the taskbar.

The finished product should look something like this:

Windows 7 using the traditional taskbar with quick launch buttons

Did you know?
Microsoft first introduced a taskbar with Windows 95. Its design remained largely unchanged until the modifications seen in Windows 7.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Intel's 32nm Update: The Follow-on to Core i7 and More

Enter the 32nm Lineup

Instead of Havendale in Q4, we’ll get Clarkdale and Arrandale. These are both dual-core, quad-thread processors, and both have on-package graphics. The CPU cores will be built on Intel’s 32nm process and in fact, they will be the first Westmere CPUs shipping into the market.

Now note that the dual-core market is the largest slice of the processor pie. Intel must be incredibly confident in its 32nm process to start shipping it into these demand markets first. Remember that both 65nm and 45nm initially launched on the high end desktop, but 32nm is making its debut in mainstream notebooks and desktops. The 32nm ramp is going to be a good one folks.

SegmentManufacturing ProcessSocketProcessorCoresThreadsRelease Date
High End Desktop32nmLGA-1366Gulftown6121H 2010
Mainstream Desktop32nmLGA-1156Clarkdale24Q4 2009
Mobile32nmmPGA-989Arrandale24Q4 2009
4S Server32nmLGA-1567?????2010
2S Server32nmLGA-1366?????2010
1S Server32nmLGA-1156Clarkdale242010

Clarkdale/Arrandale have 32nm CPUs but their on-package GPUs are still built on Intel’s 45nm process; these are the GPUs that were supposed to be used for Havendale! It won’t be until 2010 with Sandy Bridge that we see a 32nm CPU and 32nm GPU on the same package.

A side effect of the Clarkdale/Arrandale architecture is that the memory controller is now located on the GPU and not the CPU, although both are still on package and should still be quite low latency.

Keep following; if you want a quad-core Westmere, your only option will be in the LGA-1366 socket with Gulftown. Core i7 will get replaced with a six-core, twelve-thread processor in early 2010. There won’t be a 32nm quad-core part on the desktop until the end of 2010 with Sandy Bridge.