News Bits: MacBook Pro and Super Pi, Dell Core Duo Notebooks, Google Wi-Fi in San Fran

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NotebookReview.com’s MacBook Pro Running XP and Super Pi Results


NotebookReview.com’s MacBook Pro, running an OS that is not Mac OS X! (view large image)

As most people have heard by now, this past week Apple announced the release of Boot Camp, a utility that allows users to run Windows XP and Mac OS X on any Intel powered Mac.  Since we have a MacBook Pro in our inventory of laptops, we of course had to try out Boot Camp and get Windows running on the MacBook.  And since we so love to run the program Super Pi (download Super Pi program here) to calculate the accuracy of Pi to 2 million digits as a benchmark of processor performance, it was of course the first thing we did.  And so, here are the results:

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Apple MacBook Pro (1.83GHz Core Duo) 1m 32s
Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 29s
Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 16s
Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 48s
Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 52s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Sony VAIO S360 (1.7 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 1m 57s
HP dv5000t (1.83GHz Core Duo) 1m 17s
Sony VAIO S380 (1.83 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 42s

The MacBook Pro appears to not run Super Pi as fast as its equivalent pure PC peers, but a very healthy and respectable score nonetheless, and this is by no means a comprehensive comparison of overall system speed for all tasks — just a rough guide and interesting result.


Cool thing, or hearsay to have Windows on a Mac?  Your opinion, but it’s reality now either way! (view large image)

 

Dell promises more Core Duo notebooks

Although Intel’s new dual-core processor, the Core Duo, was released over four months ago, it is still a rarity in the notebook world. Intel has caught up with the market demand, and we should start seeing more notebooks equipped with the new processor. Dell announced it will be offering the Core Duo in six other business and multimedia notebooks (Latitude and Inspiron) this month.

Details on the supply of Core Duos are sketchy, but industry sources have told TG daily that the CPU has been in huge demand, even in the first few weeks after the initial launch.

Currently, Dell is offering the Core Duo in its business-oriented Latitude D620 and D820, and will ship later this month. Consumer-oriented Inspiron notebooks are branded with model numbers E1505, E1705, 6400, and 9400. The estimated shipping dates are April 12th and 13th.

Link to TGDaily

AMD Opens Fab 36 Facility, Upcoming 65nm and Socket AM2 performance


(view large image)

About six months ago, AMD introduced Fab 36, their first 300mm 90nm manufacturing facility, located in Dresden, Germany. However, six months ago it wasn’t ready to begin shipping parts — the estimated date to start was Q1 2006. Fab 36 has finally begun to ship parts. Currently, it’s producing Sempron and Athlon 64 CPUs, not the Opteron and Athlon X2 (yet). Why only produce two CPUs? The reasoning behind that is because they’re in the highest demand, which makes sense because the lower end sells more than the higher end.

Fab 36 is going to do a lot for AMD’s manufacturing capability — by 2008, they plan to be able to push out 20,000 wafers per month — that doubles their production capacity to 100M CPUs per year because of the larger wafers and smaller transistors. In comparison to Fab 30, which is next door to Fab 36, it produces 30,000 200mm wafers per month. Additional 90nm manufacturing capability is helped by AMD’s partnership with Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. (Singapore), beginning in the second half of this year.

All parts coming out of Fab 36 will be 90nm; AMD is converting to the 65nm process in the second half of 2006. AMD plans to have the majority of Fab 36 converted to 65nm by the middle of 2007. What does 65nm mean for AMD? The same that it did to Intel — smaller die sizes, faster switching transistors, and lower power consumption. AMD promised a 40% increase in transistor performance with the 65nm conversion.

45nm: AMD stated that they had successfully produced a SRAM test wafer at 45nm — they produce a SRAM wafer first to validate a new process. Their announcement is roughly three months after Intel did the same.

AM2: Unfortunately, the new Socket AM2 has not been performing very well in development in the last few months, with sometimes less performance versus the current Socket 939. The gains are only about 5% at the same clock speeds, but using DDR2-800. Although its not much so far, keep in mind that it is early, and the transition to DDR2 from DDR will be more of a boost for AMD than it had been for Intel.

AMD did not give a roadmap of what will happen after the transition to DDR2, but they said that once AM2 launches, more information will be provided.

Link to AnandTech

EarthLink + Google to provide WiFi in San Francisco

   

On Wednesday, April 5th, San Francisco selected a joint bid by Google and Earthlink to provide city-wide wireless access. The proposal was submitted in February.

The executive director of the Depratment of Telecommunications and Information Services for San Francisco, Chris Vein said that he expected the negotiations between the two companies to go smoothly, and work on the network would begin in 2006, hopefully to be completed in a few months.

There are several concerns with the network — one is security. The committee that selected the EarthLink proposal, TechConnect, “felt comfortable enough with the total package of the deal that we should negotiate with Earthlink and Google on issues like privacy and security going forward.” Another concern was whether or not the wireless network would truly be citywide, as in it could penetrate buildings. Vein also said that would be discussed with EarthLink and Google.

Google and EarthLink are pleased to be selected as the winning bidders.

Link to Cnet

ATI Beta patch enables HDR and anti-aliasing in Oblivion

ATI released a new patch today, April 7th, that will enable HDR (High Dynamic Range) and anti-aliasing (AA) at the same time in the recently released Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. If you don’t have the patch, you can only enable one at a time. But the patch isn’t for everybody: it supports CrossFire graphics via AFR mode. Bummer!

Link to TGDaily

Link to Download Patch

AMD embedded processors adopted by Taiwan IPC makers

AMD’s recent launch of the Geode LX EPIC RDK (reference design kit), which are aimed at delivering lower power solutions for SBCs (Single Board Computers), have already been adopted by industrial Taiwan PC makers DFI and Advantech Computer.

To quote:

“Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced on April 3 that the availability of its Geode LX EPIC RDK will enable developers to get their products faster to market. The design supports a wide-range of ruggedized industrial SBC applications, including data acquisition, video processing, point-of-sale terminals, telecommunications, global positioning satellite (GPS) devices and motion control. “

Intel’s embedded processors currently have an average price of over $100 USD, but the average price for VIA Technologies’ C7 series is $50-$100. AMD is going even lower, at less than $50 average. The low price is expected to attract more IPC makers.

Link to DigiTimes

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