News Bits: ATI External Graphics Card For Notebooks, Intel Gets Fined, Samsung 15.6-inch Displays,

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AMD announces external PCI Express 2.0 graphics card technology

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COMPUTEX – AMD announced ATI XGP (External Graphics Platform), designed to offer true upgradeability for notebook graphics cards. It uses PCI Express 2.0 to connect an externally cooled and powered enthusiast-class graphics card. Up to 4GB/s of bandwidth is available in both directions.

Matt Skynner, vice president of Marketing in the Products Group at AMD, said in a statement: "With ATI XGP Technology, notebooks can switch between everyday computing and hard-core gaming with a simple plug-in that’s also portable enough to bring powerful 3D performance on-the-go. This technology allows users to choose notebooks with slim, lightweight and elegant designs, yet enjoy the full performance of a traditional desktop gaming rig wherever it’s convenient."

The ATI XGP connects to the notebook via a specially-designed, self-latching, and easy to connect PCI-e 2.0 cable. The cable also includes USB support and can provide additional functionality. The ATI XGP is externally cooled and powered. It supports multiple monitors and Blu-ray playback.

ATI XGP information page

17.3-inch, 16:9 notebook panels on the horizon

LCD panel makers are developing 17.3-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio panels for notebooks. The move is designed to increase production efficiency.

Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, and Toshiba should be introducing 17.3-inch notebooks. AU Optronics and LG Display are two companies currently developing the displays; Samsung has no plans to at the moment.

16:9 aspect ratio panels are likely to become a mainstream standard, and LCD panel makers continue to introduce larger sizes.

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Samsung producing 15.6-inch displays

Samsung has decided to start producing 15.6-inch notebook panels and will begin mass production in November. 15.6-inch 16:9 aspect ratio displays are likely to replace 15.4-inch panels in the mainstream.

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Intel SSDs to go in sub-notebooks

Intel has made its new solid state disks (SSDs) in a 1.8-inch size so they are small enough to fit in sub-notebooks. The company’s new Z-P230 SSDs will initially come in 4GB and 8GB sizes, with a 16GB version arriving at the end of this year.

The drives have a 40-pin parallel ATA interface and weigh 10 grams. They will only draw 1.65mW at idle and 314mW during operation.

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Intel fined $25 million by South Korea for trade violations

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission said yesterday it would fine Intel $25.4 million for violating fair trade rules. The country’s FTC said it was fining Intel because it offered rebates to South Korean computer companies such as Samsung and undercut competitor AMD. Intel disagrees with the findings and is considering an appeal.

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