Helium Opens New Doors for HDD Industry
Current enterprise-class drives using perpendicular magnetic recording technology support up to 4TB in capacity since they can only include four 1TB platters. Helium can extend that to 5TB or even 6TB. The weight or thickness of current HDD products can also be reduced by approximately 30% by stacking platters closer together.
The density of helium is one-seventh that of air, which means dramatically less drag force acting on the spinning disk stack inside hard disk drives so that mechanical power into the motor is substantially reduced. The lower helium density also means that the fluid flow forces buffeting the disks and the arms, which position the heads over the data tracks, are substantially reduced allowing for disks to be placed closer together (i.e., seven disks in the same enclosure) and to place data tracks closer together (i.e., allowing continued scaling in data density). The lower shear forces and more efficient thermal conduction of helium also mean the drive will run cooler and will emit less acoustic noise.
Leap Motion’s controller will be bundled with Asus’ “premium” all-in-one PCs and high-end notebooks based on Intel’s next-gen Haswell processors. The controller can purportedly “track movements to 1/100th millimeter . . . with no visible lag time.” It features a “150-degree field of view” and keeps track of “individual hands and all 10 fingers at 290 frames per second.”
Hard disk manufacturer Western Digital has plans to launch drives with a 5 TB capacity by late 2013. The manufacturer also aims to expand its Red and Green series with a 4 TB model. Slides published by the Russian ‘Always More Digital’ and PC Games Hardware show that the development of the respective series is virtually simultaneous.
The inconvenient but unavoidable truth about flash memory is the fact that individual cells degrade every time they’re written or erased. These cells will burn out eventually, leaving users with dead drives; the only question is how long it will take.
To combat this issue, flash maker Macronix has developed a process that purportedly extends the life of the cells by heating them to extremely high temperatures. The approach uses redesigned memory chips that include tiny heaters capable of cooking the flash at around 800°C. Heating the flash and then letting it cool slowly apparently repairs the cell structure, making it possible to extend the life of the flash past 100 million write-erase cycles. For reference, the MLC NAND in typical solid-state drives is good for less than 10,000 write-erase cycles.
According to Hang-Ting Lue, a Macronix deputy project director quoted by IEEE Spectrum, heating the flash also shortens erase times. Lue says this side effect may enable a “thermally-assisted” mode that can improve both endurance and performance. Heating the flash does consume a “substantial” amount of power, but only short, infrequent bursts are required to repair the flash. Macronix plans to report its findings at the 2012 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting later this month.
Memoright, a Taiwan-based developer of solid-state drives, this week introduced breakthrough SSD that is based on multi-level cell NAND flash memory that feature four times higher endurance than competing products. Memoright QuadLife-series SSDs use proprietary firmware and are aimed at industrial/embedded systems, enterprise systems and commercial PCs
Imagination announces PowerVR G6630 – up to 60 times the graphics prowess of current iPhones and iPads
The Brits from Imagination Technologies, where both Apple and Intel have a minority stake, are at it again, announcing the latest member of their PowerVR Series6 graphics processors, the G6630.
PowerVR-based designs are what ticks inside iPhones and iPads, so Series6 is very much guaranteed to find its way into next year’s edition of Apple’s mobile devices. The iPad 4, for example, which is the device with the most powerful mobile graphics ever made by Apple, and crushes the competition out there, runs on a modified quad-core PowerVR SGX554 graphics, part of the Series5 processors.
With chips like the newly announced G6630, we are looking at up to 60x the graphics performance of Series5, but now it is all contained within a single core, instead of the dual-, tri- and quad-core designs that we find in iPhones and iPads.
It is an architecture, which allowed for a lot simpler management circuitry, yet still has six clusters inside the core that can be shut down or ramped up depending on the task at hand.
The G6630 GPU can reach over one TFLOPS graphics processing power (iPad 4 maxes out at around 76.8 GFLOPS throughput), and supports all the latest graphics standard editions, including some models which will support Microsoft’s latest DirectX 11.1, that we can only find in Windows 8 now. PowerVR is really stepping it up, and with Apple hellbent on making its own chips from scratch now, the investment in Imagination seems to be paying off big time.
Everspin has introduced a production ST-MRAM memory that combines high speeds, high density, and non-volatile storage. Best of all, it can be produced on normal semiconductor lines at bleeding edge geometries.
MRAM is short for Magnetoresistive RAM, and up until this anouncement was only available in Toggle form. Now Everspin has announced ST-MRAM or Spin Torque MRAM, and sample boards are available now. ST-MRAM takes less power to switch, to run, and the cells can shrink with smaller processes just like transistors.
The ST-MRAM shown today is built on a standard 90nm process, and from that you get a 64Mb chip that is pin compatible with a DDR3 DRAM. That means for a comparable size device, you can get the DIMM pictured below but it doesn’t lose data when powered off. Densities start off at 64MB, remember this is a 90nm product, and the speeds are comparable to current DDR3/1600MHz.
ASUS may not have hit a grand slam with the PB278Q, but it’s a solid stand-up triple. Gamers looking for a large screen monitor with a high resolution and great performance should take particular note of this panel, which is capable of displaying fast moving action without distracting artifacts.
Enthusiasts and professionals should also be intrigued with the PB278Q. We’re a little disappointed that it doesn’t come with a built-in USB hub or media card reader, but the flexible stand and ability to rotate into portrait mode are welcome features. We also like that it has HDMI connectivity, a port we sometimes take for granted until we run across a monitor that doesn’t include one.
What ASUS has ultimately done is provide a compelling alternative to the pricey 30-inch panels on the market, and even the more expensive 27-inch monitors. Out of the dozen monitors with the same high-end 2560×1440 resolution as this one, the PB278Q is the least expensive of the bunch at $700. It’s also right around $500 cheaper than the lowest priced 30-inch monitor, so there’s a strong value proposition here.
Graphics professionals who demand the absolute best that money can buy may want to consider spending more on an IPS display. For everyone else, the PB278Q is a fine choice, especially gamers.
NVIDIA 20nm Maxwell GPUs would feature more than double the performance per watt over current generation Kepler architecture. Maxwell GPUs would also be integrated with the Nvidia’s project Denver which fuses general purpose ARM cores alongside the GPU core. Xbitlabs recently got many details on Project Denver, the Denver is basically an custom built ARMv8 64-Bit Processor which would be highly beneficial for computing purposes such as workstation and server usage.
“The CNPS FX100-Cube is fanless and noiseless CPU cooler, which does not draw dust or generate vibration due to its passive operation.”
By combining industry-standard DRAM and NAND flash memory, NVDIMMs will provide the low latency and nearly infinite endurance of DRAM, along with the nonvolatility of flash. During normal operation, the NVDIMM appears to the host system as a standard JEDEC DRAM memory module. In the event of an unexpected power loss, the critical data residing in the DRAM is saved to onboard NAND flash using a battery-free power source based on ultracapacitors. When power is returned, the in-memory state of the DRAM at the time power was lost is restored from the flash. The recovery time from a catastrophic power-loss event is almost immediate since the restore operation takes a matter of seconds and recharging the ultracapacitors takes only minutes.
“The technology, Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OOFDM), has unique and inherent advantages including, for example, the fastest transmission speed and highest cost-effectiveness compared to all existing technologies, great system flexibility and excellent performance robustness,” claims Professor Jianming Tang.
Like Seagate, TDK uses heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology to flip bits on its ultra-dense platters. The firm hasn’t integrated its latest media into a hard drive, though. The areal density was verified on a “spin plate” rather than a working drive. However, TDK does plan on demoing a HAMR-equipped hard drive at the CEATEC show in Japan this week.
TDK doesn’t expect to be mass-producing 1.5Tb/in² platters until 2014, so it’ll be some time before we can get our hands on the tech. If drive makers stick to their current platter counts, we could see 3.5″ models with capacities up to 8-10TB. Notebook drives, which are typically limited to two platters, could reach 2TB. Right now, the biggest 3.5″ desktop drives top out at 4TB, while notebook models are stuck around the terabyte mark.
While flash makers haven’t confirmed any plans to hike prices, one of them has started making higher-density chips. Samsung has begun mass-producing 128GB eMMC NAND modules designed for mobile devices. Measuring just 12 x 16 mm, these eMMC modules are basically mini SSDs. They combine 16 64Gb NAND dies with controller logic and firmware in a single package.
According to Samsung, the 128GB eMMC Pro product offers sequential read and write speeds of 150MB/s and 40MB/s, respectively. The chip is purportedly capable of hitting 3500/1500 random read/write IOps, as well. Those numbers may not be that impressive in the context of 2.5″ solid-state drives, but we’re talking about something that’ll likely pop up in the next-gen Samsung Galaxy.
Samsung a lansat pe piața din România cea de-a doua generaţie de notebook-uri Seria 9, în cadrul Internet & Mobile World 2012. Prezentat în premieră în cadrul CES 2012, noul notebook Seria 9 este disponibil la preţul recomandat de 5.699 lei.
Haswell, of course, is the next “tock” in Intel’s CPU roadmap, due early next year. It will bring a brand-new microarchitecture based on the same 22-nm fab process as Ivy Bridge. Other refinements will no doubt be in store, as well.
10W is a pretty substantial step down from 17W.
OCZ Technology Group, a leading manufacturer of solid-state drives, said that its next-generation controller for solid-state drives have already taped out and that samples of SSDs powered by the new chip will be out in August or September. The company promises that the new controller will boost performance of SSDs compared to existing products.
“We have recently gave out our next generation Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller [to production] and expect to receive sample silicon back from our foundry partner TSMC in coming weeks. We expect to begin sampling SSDs on this controller in the August to September timeframe. We expect to have SSD sales related to Barefoot 3 in the third fiscal quarter,” said Ryan Petersen, chief executive officer of OCZ, during a conference call with financial analysts.
HDMI is a great technology, but if you have to run the cable over long distances they’re not the most reliable. Ethernet cable (or, more correctly, Cat5e/Cat6 cable), on the other hand, is better at traveling many feet. It’s also cheaper. The solution? Use an Ethernet cable to extend your HDMI connections. All you need is this little adapter.
As Apartment Therapy Tech points out, the cost of running HDMI over long distances is about 80 cents per foot, whereas Cat5e/Cat6 is only 15 cents. Seems like a pretty good deal.
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