More RAM for the Robits

It’s the S|A Weekly Roundup!

Flaming WaferSome fun bits of information came out this week. Like Intel planning support of DX 11.1, or Nvidia promising to get Kepler silicon back this year. But first here’s a short PSA about S|A roundup practices.

Here at S|A we try and use our roundup to cover the news that may not have gotten direct or complete coverage from our regular selection of stories. This is why you may see a heavy weight of story from one company and not another. There are a couple different factors that play into it. First, which companies are making news and products worth reading about. Second, which stories were not covered by S|A. Third, how do we give you, our readers, a diverse body of information to consume while we whip the unicorns back into place at their sparkly typewriters. Fourth, well, we just feel like it. If you think we happen to be giving too much coverage to one group or another, you can take comfort in the fact that the aforementioned group has probably been covered in a different S|A article, and if that is not the case, then we’re probably just missed it.

Newly released slides, reportedly from AMD, show AMD’s next process node for the Operton lineup of server chips to be a non-SOI 28nm process from Global Foundries. The codename Dublin and Macau chips aren’t to be on the 22nm FD-SOI process that everyone had expected, but rather on the almost ready bulk 28nm. Global Foundries CEO left the company rather recently; so many people are looking at this development as one of the effects of, or reasons for, his departure.

AMD took another step toward a more horizontally integrated branding ecosystem with the release of Radeon branded memory this week. The RAM is nothing special, but this new product line comes as a bit of a surprise to many. The real question is who’s fabricating the memory? Let’s see if the answer to that question pops up in the comments.

DirectX 11.1, inside Intel’s Haswell, in 2013. Say what? Apparently Xbitlabs has it on good authority that Intel’s planning on catching up in the GPU feature set arena. OpenGL support is notably lacking though, with Haswell set only to support up to the 3.2 feature set, instead of the more recent 4.1 or 4.2. Whatever the case, the success or failure of Intel’s GPU efforts depend on the quality of their drivers. Let’s hope they get their act together, because competition is never a bad thing for the consumer.

After a number of rumors and quotes floating around last week, Nvidia has clarified its guidance on the release of its upcoming GPU’s based on the Kepler architecture. First silicon will be in Nvidia’s hands in 2011, but the actual launch will occur at some point in 2012. This confirms the general consensus that we’d see Kepler next year, rather than this year. I for one can’t wait to see and hope Nvidia plans to extend its Fermi architecture, let’s see some fireworks.

Last week, Fudzilla’s Nick Farrel had an excellent article on the success of Apple’s Ipad, and why competing non-apple tablets aren’t gaining much traction in the market place. In the article he walks us through the recent history of the industry’s reaction to the Ipad and uses the patterns of Apples success to assert that the market that Apple is targeting with the Ipad is not the tablet market, but the Ipad market. The commanding market share of the Ipad in the tablet market is used to support his point.. He also asserts that the entire technology industry has been conned into thinking that there’s a mobile revolution going on, when really it’s an Apple craze. It’s a surprisingly well written and articulated article, and definitely worth a read; even if you disagree with it.

The guys over at Tom’s did an article this week on the impact of adding an SSD to the PCs of yesteryear. Guess what? They have a truly significant impact on the user experience. The logic behind this revelation is really quite simple; what is the slowest internal device on a PC that data is saved to? That would be a  mass storage device. Therefore in order to mitigate that bottleneck you need to increase the performance of said mass storage device. Boom! SSDs. Other than that the most interesting thing in the article was the comments section. The normally undemanding TH readers asked for both subjective testing, as well as platforms based on AMD hardware to be tested. Let’s hope the follow up article addresses both of those requests. S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.