Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Intel Adds Seven New Sandy Bridge Processors

Intel has quietly added seven new Sandy Bridge processors in the i5 and Celeron M series.

The i5-2550K with four cores and 3.4 GHz clock speed replaces the i5-2500K as the i5 flagship product and sells for a tray price of $225, while the 2500K remains at $216.

There are two new "P" processors in the lineup - the i5-2450P (quad-core, 3.2 GHz) and the i5-2380P (quad-core, 3.1 GHz). It is already challenging for the average PC buyer to read and interpret Intel's model numbers. The "P" has, of course, a cryptic meaning: These Sandy Bridges do not have a (functional) graphics core. Compared to their counterparts with graphics support, the P processors are slightly cheaper: The i5-2380P sells for $177, which is $7 less than the i5-2400 (quad-core, 3.1 GHz). The i5-2450P lists for $195, $10 less than the i5-2500 (quad-core, 3.3 GHz).

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apple is biggest buyer of semiconductors, Gartner says

IDG News Service - Apple became the biggest buyer of semiconductors last year, ahead of Samsung Electronics and Hewlett-Packard, Gartner said on Tuesday.

Apple's increased semiconductor spending is the result of a number of factors. The company sold more smartphones, and its tablet business was also highly successful in 2011, according to Gartner. The success of the MacBook Air also increased Apple's semiconductor demand, it said.

Apple spent a total of $17.3 billion on semiconductors during 2011, compared to $12.8 billion during 2010, according to Gartner's estimates.

In general, smartphones, tablets and solid-state drives were the major spending drivers in 2011, according to Gartner.

Samsung remained the second-largest semiconductor purchaser, thanks to its improving fortunes in the smartphone sector. The company's semiconductor spending grew by 9.2% to $16.7 billion.

With semiconductor products such as memory priced as commodities, PC and phone vendors' semiconductor spending is related to sales of their finished products.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hard drive shortage nails Q4 PC growth, but Apple shines

Global PC shipments for the fourth quarter were down 0.2 percent compared to a year ago as the industry was nailed by hard drive shortages and competition from tablets, phones and e-readers, according to data from IDC and Gartner.

Only Apple—fueled by its solid state drive MacBook Air—skated by unscathed. Apple delivered fourth quarter growth of 18 percent in the U.S.

For 2011, the PC industry grew at a 1.6 percent clip. Europe and Asia was better than expected. Overall though, hard drive shortages and a pause ahead of Windows 8 are going to keep PC growth in check.

IDC expects first quarter shipments to slow, but then pick up in the fourth quarter. For 2012, IDC is expecting growth of 5.4 percent.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

802.11ac: Gigabit Wi-Fi Devices will be shipping in 2012

To network equipment we used to drag yellow cable about the size and flexibility of garden hose through buildings’ plenum spaces. It was an ugly job. It got better. Then, we got wireless networking and setting up networks got much easier. Still, physical networking usually delivered faster speeds than Wi-Fi networking. Now, things are changing. Broadcom is promising us that the first 801.11ac chipsets will bring us Gigabit wireless speeds without any cables at all.

Mind you, 802.11ac is still a standard in the making. Still, that hasn’t stopped Broadcom from announcing that it’s building 802.11ac chipsets, under the trademark name 5G WiFi, that will be “three times faster and up to six times more power efficient than equivalent 802.11n solutions.” How fast is that? Rahul Patel, Broadcom’s VP of mobile and wireless, promises that their implementation of 802.11ac will be able to deliver speeds of up to 1.3 Gigabits per second (Gbps). Now, that’s fast!

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