Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AMD Readying Radeon HD 6790 for April 5?

A combatant for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti?

ZoomNordic Hardware has a report stating that AMD will be launching a new mid-range graphics part called the Radeon HD 6790, which is supposed to be an answer to Nvidia's just announced GeForce GTX 550 Ti.

The Radeon HD 6790 will be more powerful than a Radeon HD 5770, at a lower price than Radeon HD 6850. According to the report, the 6790 will use a GPU called the Barts LE, which uses AMD's classic VLIW5 architecture with 10 SM units with 800 stream processors. In comparison, the 6850's Barts Pro GPU has 12 SM units and 960 stream processors.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

AMD Calls Out Nvidia for GTX 590 Performance Claims

In a rare display of public displeasure, AMD is taking Nvidia to task over a recent Nvidia press release that touts the alleged supremacy of the company's new GeForce GTX 590 graphics card. These battles between the "big two" graphics card manufacturers are most often held across the immeasurable number of reviews sites that run an endless series of benchmarks to sort out winning hardware from duds.

In this case, the squabble shapes up something like this: AMD launched its flagship GPU, the AMD Radeon HD 6990, approximately two weeks ago. As is typical, this announcement was heralded with a press release that described the card as follows: "AMD today announced the launch of the fastest graphics card in the world, the AMD Radeon HD 6990, packing so much raw performance it delivered a new single graphics card world record score of P11865 in the industry standard 3DMark11 benchmark."

Flash forward to Nvidia's March 24 announcement, where it described its latest GeForce GTX 590 card as "the fastest dual graphics card available today which also happens to be the world's quietest too."

Upon reading the Nvidia release, a senior public relations manager at AMD took to the company's official blog to lay into its chief competitor.

"We combed through their announcement to understand how it was that such a claim could be made and why there was no substantiation based on industry-standard benchmarks," wrote Dave Erskine, the aforementioned senior public relations manager.

"So now I issue a challenge to our competitor: prove it, don't just say it. Show us the substantiation. Because as it stands today, leading reviewers agree with us […] that the AMD Radeon HD 6990 sits on the top as the world's fastest graphics card," he added.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Firefox 4 Averages 5K Downloads Per Minute

Four days after the release of its Firefox 4 browser, Mozilla on Friday released some stats about the launch, revealing that it hit 15.85 million downloads in the first 48 hours, with an average of 5,503 downloads per minute.

"The response to Mozilla Firefox 4 has been astounding," Mozilla said in a blog post that also included an infographic (click below) with launch stats.

After day one, the download tally was at 7.1 million. At its peak, Firefox 4 was attracting 10,200 downloads per minute about 91.7 downloads per second. After the first 48 hours, users had downloaded 193.4 megabytes worth of browser.
Firefox 4 infographic

The top region downloading Firefox 4 was Europe, with 6.63 million, while the U.S. was the top country with 4.45 million.

Mozilla had some trivia to go along with its numbers. If each download were a mile, for example, that would equal 33 round trips to the moon. The 48-hour download tally is also bigger than the population of Los Angeles, the 12th largest city in the world, Mozilla said. Finally, it's also equal to the entire Internet population in 1995.

As of 5:30pm on Friday, the tally was at 26.6 million.

Microsoft's IE9, which made its debut last week, reached 2.35 million downloads in its first 24 hours. However, at this point, its reach is limited. IE9 can only be downloaded on machines running Windows Vista and Windows 7 - not XP - in order to accomplish its hardware acceleration using those OSes' version of DirectX multimedia APIs. According to February data from Net Applications, about 55 percent of computer users worldwide still use Windows XP, followed by 23 percent on Windows 7 and 11 percent on Vista.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dell to unveil PowerEdge microservers

IDG News Service - Dell on Tuesday is set to announce low-power PowerEdge servers that can quickly band together to execute transactions more efficiently than traditional servers, which use faster, but more power-hungry chips.

The one-socket PowerEdge C5220 and C5125 servers, also called "microservers" by Dell, also share components inside a dense chassis while coalescing to provide better performance-per-watt than traditional servers, company executives said.

The new PowerEdge servers are built for customers looking to host Web, print, content or file servers, said Deania Davidson, product marketing manager at Dell. Davidson said that the servers are suited for Web hosting, where providers will be able to offer dedicated or shared hosting services while sticking within the power and space constraints of a data center.

Dell's Data Center Solutions division already offers a server based on Via's low-power Nano processors, and the new servers are more powerful. The PowerEdge C5220 will run on Intel's recently announced Xeon E3-1260L and Xeon E3-1220L processors, which consume 45 watts and 20 watts of power, respectively. The low-power Xeon chips include features found in traditional server chips including 64-bit support, error correction features and hardware-based virtualization support. The PowerEdge C5125 will run on Advanced Micro Devices' Phenom or Athlon dual- or quad-core chips.

The Intel version of the new servers are Dell's first to use the Xeon E3-1200-series chips, which were unveiled last week at an event where the chip maker outlined its microserver strategy. Intel at the time said microservers would take 10% of the server market over the next four to five years.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Internet Explorer 9 is Great, But is it Too Late?

Microsoft has successfully delivered its best Internet Explorer ever, IE9, but I have this nagging feeling that it may be too late.

Let me put it another way. Imagine you're having a delicious piece of apple pie and you realize that the only thing that would make it better is an ice-cold glass of milk. Someone goes out for milk, but by the time it arrives, you've already finished your pie, cleaned the plates and left the room. Today, I'm wondering if Internet Explorer 9 is that cold glass of milk.

With 40 million downloads on the beta and release code and another 2-million-plus since launch, Internet Explorer 9 is shaping up to be a success. There are hundreds of millions of Windows users in the world, and I bet many will want to download IE 9 (Windows XP users can't run IE 9. There must be a lot of frustrated netbook owners out there today.) With all those potential customers, why am I worried? Heck, why should Microsoft be worried?

Blame the iPad

We're entering a "post-PC era," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a packed auditorium as he unveiled the iPad 2 last month. I was in that audience and thought it a bold statement. Jobs is, however, at least partially correct. Things are changing fast in the PC space. There are still millions of PC users out there, but the activity, excitement, innovation and interest is on mobile devices—devices that don't require a mouse and keyboard. On the other hand, "PC" equals "Personal Computer," and the iPad is clearly a computer and also very personal.

I suspect, though, that Mr. Jobs was really trying to use "PC" as a synonym for Windows computers. In that case, this all gets more interesting and brings me back to my concern about Internet Explorer. You see, Jobs is right: Windows and the software that runs on it, including Internet Explorer, is becoming less interesting by the minute. First of all, all the latest browsers now look and work the same (I challenge you to, at a glance, tell the difference between IE 9 and Firefox 4 RC). Secondly, they're largely irrelevant for the hottest gadget space: Tablets. Let's look at some of the top products:

The iPad 2: It runs Apple's iOS, Safari, and virtually no Microsoft client-based software.

The Motorola Xoom: This Android 3.0-based device has a Linux core and its own browser client.

The RIM Playbook: It's also running a new mobile OS, QNX, and also has its own home-grown browser software.

The HP TouchPad: The first and possibly most important Web OS device is not running Windows and will have another unique browser.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Microsoft delivers Visual Studio 2010 SP1

Microsoft is rolling out this week the first service pack (SP) for Visual Studio 2010.

On March 8, MSDN subscribers will be able to download and install SP1. MSDN subscribers also can get, as of today, the Team Foundation Server Integration Feature Pack (as part of the Visual Studio Ultimate SKU), which facilitates integration of Visual Studio, Project and SharePoint.  The general public can get access to the bits on March 10, according to company officials.

Visual Studio SP1, which has been in beta since December 2010, includes improved support for Silverlight 3 and 4 tools; the inclusion of Windows 7-specific MFC (Microsoft Foundation Class) programming interfaces to support use of Direct2D, DirectWrite, and Windows Animation; and a new local Help Viewer.

Beta 2 of Visual Studio LightSwitch (”KittyHawk”) also will be made available “in the coming weeks,” according to a March 7 blog post by Developer Division chief Soma Somasegar. Beta 2 will add new capabilities for building line-of-business apps that target Windows Azure and SQL Azure, Somasegar said.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

IE9 is Launching Either March 14 or March 24

It’s been a long time coming but word on the street is that we can expect to see Internet Explorer 9 by the end of the month, with rumblings suggesting both March 14 launch and March 24 as the launch date.

A rogue tweet from the official MSDN India Twitter account has apparently let the cat out of the bag in regards to the release date for the much-anticipated IE9. Though it’s since been deleted, Pocket-Lint reports that the tweet stated the launch would take place during Tech.Ed in Bangalore, India, which is scheduled for March 23-25. Conveniently, Brian Hall, GM of Internet Explorer And Windows Live, is set to give a March 24 keynote speech.

However, if another rumor is to be believed, we may not even have to wait until March 24. Download Squad cites its own sources that say Microsoft will release the final version of Internet Explorer 9 at the SXSW conference on March 14.

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