The Active Network

News Date: Friday 29th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
  • Willamette due 2H 2000
    Time: 10:19 EDT/15:19 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    We've been keeping a pretty close watch on Chipzilla's reaction to Athlon's success, as have a sizeable number of moles around the World. So when a normally reliable source tells us Willamette is coming real soon now, we pass that info on to our readers. It appears, however, that this time our sources got a bit ahead of themselves with the timescales as Intel officially stated yesterday that the fabled 'Athlon killer' won't appear before the second half of next year.

  • Intel CuMine fails to dampen AMD's Athlon squib
    Time: 10:24 EDT/15:24 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    PC vendors are being told by their distributors and brokers that supply on Slot 1 Intel cartridges is constrained. That follows the launch of Intel's "Coppermine" 733MHz processor at the beginning of the week, and a further story showing there were big delays on its flip-chip S370 technology and its mobile parts. Intel has generated demand it cannot supply. One manufacturer, who declined to be named, said: "Intel has announced a 733MHz product it can't ship in volume, while on the other hand the AMD 700MHz Athlon is available in big numbers". He said he'd even had calls from companies asking if he could sell them Slot One parts, a move he described as "highly unusual". He said he believed Intel's technology announcement on Monday was intended to dampen enthusiasm for AMD's high end processors. He added that he did not expect to see FC-PGA Slot 370 Coppermines until the beginning of the year 2000.

  • Guillemot buys Hercules
    Time: 15:30 EDT/20:30 GMT Source: Anand Tech Posted By: anthonyS

    Thumbs up for Anand for translating this French press release in to English.

    Guillemot Corporation acquires Hercules, the inventor of the graphics board for PC Carentoir, October 28, 1999: Created in 1982, the American company Hercules Computer Technology Inc conceives, manufactures and diffuse in the whole world of the graphics boards and the accelerating cards 3CD It realized in 1998 a turnover of 20 million dollars. The anteriority of Hercules Computer Technology Inc and its positioning in the top-of-the-range products ensure to him a world notoriety near the users as well as manufacturers and integrators of PC. This acquisition makes it possible Guillemot Corporation to associate with its technological know-how in the 3D a mark of foreground and thus, to accelerate and extend its international development. This acquisition could be carried out under very favorable conditions because of financial difficulties encountered by the company Hercules Computer Technology Inc during last spring. Guillemot Corporation thus acquires the whole of the credits of the company Hercules Computer Technology Inc of which the mark, the domain name, all designs and patents, goodwill, stocks and the appropriations customers for an amount of 1 million and half of US dollars. Guillemot Corporation conceives, manufactures and diffuses a range of hardware and accessories for PC and game consoles. Currently present in 10 countries, the group distributes its products in 35 countries on the whole. Guillemot Corporation has as an ambition to be located, from here 2001, like one of the first five world manufacturers of hardware and accessories of interactive leisures. Guillemot Corporation is with dimensions at the New Market of the Paris Bourse, codes SICOVAM 6672.

News Date: Wednesday 27th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
AMD - Gateway
  • AMD cuts Athlon prices up to 18 percent
    Time: 18:48 EDT/23:48 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Just as Intel debuts 'Coppermine' processors, AMD fires back with deep price cut on 700MHz and other chips.

    Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has dropped prices on its flagship Athlon chip by up to 18 percent.

    The decision by the Sunnyvale, Calif. chip maker was in response to arch-rival Intel Corp.'s (Nasdaq:INTC) Pentium III chip launch and corresponding price reductions. (See Intel and AMD pricing chart.)

    For customers, AMD's (NYSE:AMD) price cuts make its Athlon chip somewhat more affordable than Intel's (Nasdaq:INTC) latest Pentium III chips, running at the same clockspeed.

  • Gateway signs memory chip deal with Micron
    Time: 18:33 EDT/23:33 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    On the heels of a similar deal with Compaq Computer, Micron Technology said today it has entered into a five-year strategic agreement to provide Gateway with memory chips.

    Micron Technology said the five-year agreement means it will supply Gateway, the second largest direct PC maker, with a "near majority" of memory chips for its PCs.

    Micron said the agreement takes effect immediately. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    The move will help Gateway ensure that it has a ready supply of memory chips going into the holiday season, one of the strongest sales seasons of the year for the company.

News Date: Tuesday 26th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
Intel - Sun
  • Intel's Pentium III smorgasbord
    Time: 06:10 EDT/11:10 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Chip giant's avalanche of new chips may cause confusion between Coppermine-powered and 'classic' Pentium IIIs.

    Intel Corp. Monday turned up the dial on desktop PCs with a smorgasbord of new Pentium III chips.

    The Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker introduced nine new Pentium III chips -- ranging from 500MHz and 533MHz processors for low-cost PCs to 667MHz, 700MHz and 733MHz processors for high-end desktops and workstations.

    A number of PC makers have already adopted the new chips and will release them in systems, with prices starting at about $1,200.

    But the launch could bring with it at least some confusion due to the number of new chips.

  • Sun shines Solaris on new Intel chip
    Time: 06:01 EDT/11:01 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Sun's Solaris operating system is running on prototypes of Intel's upcoming 64-bit chips, becoming the last of the major server computer operating systems to do so.

    Sun Microsystems was beaten to the punch by Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and the collection of programmers working on adapting the Linux operating system to run on the forthcoming chip. The processor had been code-named Merced but now is called Itanium.

    The only reason for Sun's lag was that it's hard to get access to the Intel prototype hardware used to test out software, said Jonathan Han, product manager for Solaris on Intel. Solaris is Sun's version of the Unix operating system.

    "Unfortunately, hardware access has been the gating factor," Han said. Once the company got access, it took less than a week to get Solaris working on the new chip, he said.

    Getting established operating systems up and running on a new chip is a critical stage in creating products for any processor. An operating system, the special software that's in charge of a computer, is needed before higher-level software such as a financial application or image editor can run.

News Date: Monday 25th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
Coppermine vs. Athlon
  • Coppermine vs Athlon face-offs all over the Web
    Time: 07:30 EDT/12:30 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    The expiry of Intel's non disclosure agreement on its new .18 micron coppermine processors has led to a rash of reviews around the Web. And despite Intel's attempt to talk up coppermine through the year, most of the reviewers believe the Great Satan of Chips still can't cut it on the performance stakes. At Tom's Hardware Page, the good doktor takes a very detailed and thorough look at both architectures, including comparisons of the i820 (even though that's still not available) and the Via chipsets, the Katmai and the Coppermine cores, and an overall look at the two processors. He concludes that Coppermine is now an attractive proposition for gamers, but AMD beats Intel on the workstation front. He also points out that people will pay a premium for the Coppermine processors at launch. It's a leapfrog game at present.

  • More I-Mac clones surfacing
    Time: 07:30 EDT/12:30 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    Fujistu has become the latest PC vendor to hop onto the iMac bandwagon, with a machine that, like eMachines eOne and Future Power's ePower, apes Apple's all-in-one multi-hued desktop to such an extent that it could land the Japanese giant in court. Fujitsu's MFV DeskPower Pliche 243 is based on a 433MHz Celeron CPU and ships with a 10.2GB hard drive, 192MB RAM, USB ports, ATI Rage Mobility (in a desktop?) graphics, CD-ROM drive.

  • ABIT releases new BIOS for BF6, WB6, BE6-II and BH6
    Time: 07:30 EDT/12:30 GMT Source: Overclocker's Workbench Posted By: anthonyS

    ABIT releases updates to the BIOS of the above boards. You can get them at

News Date: Sunday 24th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
i820 - USB - ATI
  • ATI to release open source drivers for Linux
    Time: 10:00 EDT/15:00 GMT Source: CNN Posted By: anthonyS

    ATI Technologies on Wednesday said it will release more programming specifications for its Rage line of graphics chips, a move designed to encourage Linux developers to create more drivers that can be used with the operating system.

  • Strange whiff surrounds Intel's great i820 shambles
    Time: 10:00 EDT/15:00 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    Dell, Samsung and Intel have their own related reasons for the delay of the i820 Camino chipset, it has emerged. Technical mistakes that were announced just a few days before the release of the i820 and Intel's own Vancouver motherboard are more to do with the chip giant's inability to design working circuit boards and with its relationship with Dell and Samsung, according to well placed sources close to the companies' plans. The problem now seems to boil down to this. The i820 chipset actually works fine. But Dell only uses Intel motherboards in its desktops and technical mistakes made by Chipzilla led to a last minute panic. The Intel mistake is confined only to its motherboards and not to third parties, but the essence of the allegation is that as a result, Santa Clara pressed the stop button on all mobos using the i820 chipset, while it attempted to fix its own problem, calling all third party mobos in for qualification.

  • AMD CPU/ USB bugs
    Time: 10:00 EDT/15:00 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    People with AMD microprocessors running at clock speeds over 350MHz and who use Windows 98 Second Edition need a workaround if they're using USB devices. The Microsoft support site, which has a specific page on the problem here, is offering a downloadable file which it claims will solve the problem. According to the site, people with PCs that use a Via USB controller and an AMD processor clocking at 350MHz or faster, could have problems making their USB peripherals works. The glitch is caused by a timing specific problem in the USB driver, according to Microsoft.

News Date: Friday 22nd October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
  • Pentium III notebooks set to debut
    Time: 20:30 EDT/01:30 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Plenty of new notebook computers, powered for the first time by Intel's improved Pentium III processor, will hit the market on Monday, while for desktops Intel will take back the speed title from AMD with a 733-MHz version of the chip.

    Next week's debutants are centered around the "Coppermine" processor, an enhanced version of the Pentium III that was originally due in September. The Coppermine Pentium IIIs--which will be seen in notebooks, desktops, workstations, and servers--will run faster than current Pentium IIIs and contain modifications that will boost performance.

    Coppermine notebooks will run at 400, 450, and 500 MHz, according to various sources, and come with other enhancements such as a faster system bus, the electronic pathway responsible for shuttling data between the processor and main memory. The new bus runs at 100 MHz, compared to the slower 66-MHz bus used in notebooks now.

    Coppermine desktop PCs, meanwhile, will run at 733 MHz and come with a faster 133-MHz bus. Some will also feature fetching, stylish designs. Overall, the new desktop chips will narrow the performance gap between the Pentium III and AMD's Athlon, said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64.

    "It puts the Pentium III on more or less a clock-for-clock parity," said Brookwood, "When Intel pops with a 733 MHz, there is a likelihood that they will be the fastest guy on the block."

  • PC makers struggle with Coppermine strategy
    Time: 20:25 EDT/01:25 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    PC makers face hard decisions as they prepare new PC systems around Intel's Coppermine processor.

    Coppermine, an enhanced version of the Pentium III processor that will run at speeds from 600 MHz to 733 MHz, is set to breathe new life into notebooks, workstations, and servers.

    But Coppermine's impact on desktop systems is tarnished by the delay of Intel's 820 chipset, leaving gapping holes in many PC maker's product lines. The 820 was delayed at the last minute, which forced PC makers to scramble.

    The 820 is a companion part that will allow PCs to use next-generation Rambus memory. Combined, a 733-MHz Coppermine and Rambus memory will allow Intel PCs to approximate the performance of the fastest Athlon PCs, analysts have said. Without the combination of the 820 and Coppermine, performance is lower.

    For lacking the 820, also known as Camino, many PC manufacturers are making the hard decision of whether to use the 810e Intel chipset, which contains integrated graphics, the older 440BX chipset, or going with a competing solution from rival Via Technologies.

News Date: Thursday 21st October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
Palm - AMD - Carmel
  • Palm pledges colour screen handheld for 2000
    Time: 09:00 EDT/14:00 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    Palm Computing finally responded to Palm users' most frequently made request, yesterday, when it pledged to release a Palm handheld with a colour screen during the first half of 2000. The announcement was made at the PalmSource developers conference by one Michael Mace, Palm's chief competitive officer, whatever the heck that is. We can only assume he's simply more ambitious than the company's other executives.

  • Showpiece AMD Plant Opens In Dresden
    Time: 09:00 EDT/14:00 GMT Source: Yahoo News Posted By: anthonyS

    The German state of Saxony Wednesday proudly unveiled the latest jewel in its high-tech crown with the opening of Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NYSE:AMD - news) state-of-the-art chip factory. The $1.9 billion microchip manufacturing plant is the latest in a series of high-profile plants set up in the former East German state, alongside a Siemens chip factory and a showpiece Volkswagen car factory to be made of glass. ``AMD is a jewel in the development policy of this state,'' Saxon state premier Kurt Biedenkopf said at the launch ceremony in the baroque regional capital on the Elbe river. Former East Germany has suffered from industrial decline and mass unemployment since German unification in 1990, but Saxony has been more successful than other eastern states in attracting high-tech industry.

  • Carmel ain't the solution to Intel Rambus SNAFU
    Time: 09:00 EDT/14:00 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    The much-anticipated announcement of the 840 (Carmel) chip set next week may not do much to soften the pain of the Camino snafu. The 840 works, the 820 does not - but that difference may have more to do with the platforms than the chip sets. Both chip sets were designed using the same Rambus channel interface logic, so the differences must lie somewhere else. Further investigation reveals that there are several key system level trade-off between Cost, Performance and Reliability that allow 840 system to run, while 820 systems fail.

News Date: Wednesday 20th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
  • Consumers face PC confusion post-Coppermine launch
    Time: 18:20 EDT/23:20 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: Matt

    Unwary buyers of PCs in the run-up to Yule could find themselves buying a pup unless they closely question retailers about which Intel chip is inside.

    Next Monday, Intel will introduce its better Coppermine technology, and at the same time introduce a whole batch of variations on the Pentium III theme. The introduction is expected to be supported by a large number of large PC companies, and there are new flavours of server and notebook chips too.

    That will mean confusion because PC companies are unlikely to brand machines which use the new Coppermine technology and on Monday will also introduce other innovations such as a faster, 133MHz system bus.

    One PC manufacturer, who declined to be named, said: "I'm not sure how customers will be able to tell unless they can ready POST screens very quickly. It will certainly be very confusing for some customers. So is that a PIII-600 with 512K cache/100Mhz or 512K/133Mhz or 256K/100 or 256K/133?"

    He added that in the world of retail, it's the Megahertz Mark that counts, and it will be difficult for some buyers to understand the subtleties of second level cache and system buses.

  • Intel i820 update leaks
    Time: 18:17 EDT/23:17 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: Matt

    An internal Intel slide has revealed more details about the Rambus memory problem which scuttled the launch of the i820 Camino chipset, causing angry flushed faces at Chipzilla Central.

    And an Intel customer, who does not wish to be named, has now told us that he is expecting his two-RIMM mobos to arrive in late November.

    Another Intel customer says that the embarrassment is even greater because its Cape Cod mobo -- which uses SDRAM is ready to roll and works perfectly, but the company will not release it until its so-called flagship mobo, the Rambus-based Vancouver, is ready to roll.

    Sources close to Intel's plans add that it is under enormous pressure to ship the i820 mobo this year, otherwise it will lose enormous face both with Rambus Ink and the other six members of the Seven Dramurai.

News Date: Tuesday 19th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
i840 - 1100 Ghz chip
  • Dell feeling effects of higher memory costs
    Time: 19:32 EDT/00:32 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Although an earthquake ripped through Taiwan nearly a month ago, computer makers will feel the effect at least through the end of the year, analysts said today.

    The latest aftershock from the deadly September 21 quake occurred yesterday when Dell Computer lowered earnings expectations for its third fiscal quarter because of another surge in memory prices. The hike has added nearly $75 to the manufacturing cost of roughly one-third of all Dell computers, the company said. In addition, the Dell said it would start packing its PCs with less memory in an effort to cut costs.

    Component supplies and prices are already edging back to normal, industry observers have said, but the current situation will likely dent sales and profits at major PC companies through the end of the year. Further, some cost-cutting moves could come back to haunt manufacturers as the public has become accustomed to luxurious amounts of memory.

    "Putting less memory on every box could turn out to backfire on them," said Dan Niles, an analyst at BancBoston Robertson Stephens, who indicated he would likely lower already lowered estimates as a result of yesterday's announcement. "Given that we are going to Windows 2000, if you are putting 64MB in the box, there are a lot of IT managers who are going to want providers who are providing 128MB."

  • Intel's i840 is a chipset that works
    Time: 07:52 EDT/12:52 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    Sources outside Intel have now supplied us with many more details about the Outrigger (OR840) mobo which is Intel's contribution to the i840 party and which supports the famous Coppermine products which the company will introduce next Monday. Err...we didn't get them from Mr Murthi. The OR840 has support for both AGP 4X and AGP Pro 5, and has four RIMM sockets which will support up to 2Gb of Rambus memory. These Rambus slots support both ECC and non-ECC direct RDRAM at speeds of 600/800MHz, and take 64Mb, 128Mb, 256Mb and 512Mb. As far as we know, the 512Mb modules, however, are not shipping yet. The board supports dual Pentium IIIs of 533MHz and above, using the 133MHz system bus, as we revealed earlier, and has five PCI slots as well as supporting Ultra ATA/66 IDE. This last Intel terms as an Xcelerator, it supports two independent channels for four IDE devices and includes DMA-66 and CD Rom support. AGP Pro 50 (5.0) is of some interest. This spec runs at data transfer rates of 266MHz and Intel claims it will achieve data throughput rates of up to 1Gbps. It has a dedicated AGP Pro 50 slot which is backwards compatible to AGP 4x. The 50 referes to 50 watts maximum power consumption and it has the same data transfer rate as AGP4x. AGP 2x, 4x and AGP Pro all use a 32 bit bus. When quad pumped, that amounts to 1056Mbps, 528Mbps when dual pumped.

  • Intel 1100MHz 'Athlon killer' to launch in December
    Time: 07:48 EDT/12:48 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    Intel knows in its heart that Coppermine just can't cut it in the race against Athlon, so Chipzilla has a little surprise up its sleeve - the next generation of IA32 processor, codenamed Willamette, could be here a staggering nine months early. US sources say the chip will have a paper launch at the end of December, with product in the shops two months later, although if AMD keeps up the pressure it could be even sooner. Presumably this two month gap is to enable OEMs to shift bucketloads of Coppermine systems before they're rendered unsaleable by the new super chip. Coppermine arrives next week, but still uses the venerable P6 core that first saw the light of day in the Pentium Pro, albeit at a dinky 0.18 micron process, coupled with on die level 2 cache. It'll be faster than existing Pentium IIIs, but not earth-shatteringly so. Now with Athlon starting to win the hearts and minds battle, and still wincing from the Camino chipset cockup, the chip behemoth - still smarting from Chimpzilla's new found ability to deliver silicon rather than hot air - desperately needs to do something impressive - and fast. Intel's been quietly shipping 0.18 micron mobile processors for the best part of six months, but even so, bringing Willamette so far forward is pretty impressive stuff. The entirely new 0.18 micron Willamette was originally scheduled to arrive around Q3 2000 at 1100MHz with more than 1MB integrated level 2 cache and Intel performance estimates say it will score around 50 on Winstone98 and 43 on SpecInt95.

News Date: Monday 18th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
NEC - Sega
  • NEC to Spend 80 Bln Yen to Build New Microchip Factory to Supply Nintendo
    Time: 04:59 EDT/09:59 GMT Source: Bloomberg Posted By: Matt

    NEC Corp., Japan's largest maker of microchips and personal computers, said it'll build a new factory to make the graphics chips it'll supply to Nintendo Co. for the successor to the Nintendo 64 video game console.

    NEC, the world's second-largest chipmaker behind Intel Corp. of the U.S., will spend 80 billion yen ($761 million) to build a new factory near existing NEC chip facilities in Kumamoto, southern Japan.

    The factory is needed to make the graphics engine for the Dolphin game machine. The console is being developed by Nintendo, which is second to Sony Corp. in the $20 billion home video game industry, in cooperation with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. to rival the successor to Sony's best-selling PlayStation.

  • Taiwan Earthquake May Jolt Chip Output for Sega's Dreamcast, Analysts Say
    Time: 04:51 EDT/09:51 GMT Source: Bloomberg Posted By: Matt

    Sega Enterprises Inc. may feel the aftershocks of the earthquake that rocked Taiwan last month, say analysts who think the disaster's impact on the island's chipmakers may leave the Japanese video game maker with a shortage of parts for its Dreamcast console.

    The world's first Internet-enabled video game machine, which went on sale in Europe Friday after breaking U.S. sales records last month, is built around a graphics chip supplied by NEC Corp. But Japan's biggest chipmaker consigns some production of the PowerVR chip to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., whose production lines were temporarily disrupted by the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that shook central Taiwan Sept. 21.

    TSMC, the world's top maker of custom-designed chips, said it was running at full capacity 10 days after the disaster cut power and damaged equipment at the more than 20 semiconductor factories located in Hsinchu. Some electronics analysts warn, though, that lost production may leave fewer chips than expected in Sega's hands at a time the arcade giant is betting heavily on overseas sales of the Dreamcast to boost sagging profits.

News Date: Saturday 16th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
  • IBM unveils 73GB hard drive
    Time: 10:30 EDT/15:30 GMT Source: Excite Posted By: anthonyS

    IBM today introduced a new family of hard-disk drives that push the envelope for capacity and speed. With a capacity of 73.4GB, the new Ultrastar 72ZX drive beats all storage capacity records for hard disks, according to officials at the Armonk, N.Y., company. The 72ZX and the 36LZX, which run at 10,000 RPM, boast a data density of 7.04 million bits per square inch, another milestone, officials said. For speed, the Ultrastar drives, which also include the 7200RM Ultrastar 36LP, support an update of the Ultra 160 SCSI standard. Improved SCSI performance Ultra 160 SCSI doubles the speed performance of SCSI connections to nearly 160MB per second. These drives feature packetization and quick arbitrated select, two new features that improve SCSI's performance

  • What ever Happened to Intel's processor serial number?
    Time: 10:30 EDT/15:30 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    Remember all the fuss about Intel's processor serial number back at the beginning of the year when The Processor Formerly Known As Katmai was launched? Gone a bit quiet, hasn't it? A quick trawl around the web failed to reveal anything going on at all. Even Zero Knowledge Systems, the Canadian outfit that tried to cash in on the initial paranoia, seems to have gone quiet.

  • Chip Shortage Hikes Computer Prices
    Time: 10:00 EDT/15:00 GMT Source: Yahoo Posted By: Anthony

    A spike in the cost of memory chips could send computer prices upward - just in time for the holiday shopping season. Manufacturers are beginning to pass on the higher costs of the memory chips, known as RAM, to consumers, who have been seeking more and more powerful chips as they go after faster computers with the best graphics. Sixty-four megabytes of RAM - a typical amount of memory in a $1,000 computer - once sold for as low as $40. Now the same memory is retailing for about $100 and could reach $150 next month, analysts said Thursday.

News Date: Friday 15th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
  • Coppermine Benchmarks!
    Time: 21:30 EDT/02:30 GMT Source: Hard OCPPosted By: anthonyS

    Tired of seeing GeForce benchmarks already? Want something new and improved? What about a full series of benchmarks on an OVERCLOCKED Coppermine 700MHz CPU from Intel. Kyle over at Hard OCP has scored a Coppermine and has overclocked it to 800Mhz! Head on over and check out his benchmarks.

  • 1GHz copper Athlon production starts next week
    Time: 20:26 EDT/01:26 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: Matt

    The first copper Athlon production should roll out of AMD's Dresden Fab 30 next week, after the plant's official opening on Wednesday. That means that despite problems with cost, and associated negotiations with Motorola to help fund Dresden development, AMD is probably on schedule for 1GHz copper Athlon parts for Q1 next year.

    AMD has an unpleasant history of not quite managing to get its production schedules together, but so far Dresden doesn't look at all bad. It's the first plant outside of the US capable of using a copper process, and as it comes into commission this year it seems to have been hitting its targets.

    AMD announced it had produced copper K6s in early July, close enough to the Q2 target for getting copper fabbing on-line, and the target for copper Athlon production is Q4 - i.e., now. Presumably we wouldn't be opening Fab 30 officially if it weren't, er, open.

    Initial production is intended to be at 0.18 micron, with a maximum Fab capacity of 5,500 wafers a week, and 300 Athlons per wafer. That's a lot of Athlons, but the big question now will be yield - if AMD can get this up fast, it could be sitting pretty at last.

  • Don't Wait for Itanium
    Time: 20:16 EDT/01:16 GMT Source: PC World Posted By: Matt

    Itanium. One simple, strange word from Intel about its upcoming processor sparked a new round of hype in the technology industry and throughout the media. Despite the buzz, however, you probably won't see the new chip in PCs for years. The earliest versions, scheduled to ship in mid-2000, will appear mostly in high-end servers and workstations. In time, however, this new technology will change the way people compute.

    The Itanium may not run your next PC, but as the company's first Intel Architecture-64 processor, it represents a huge step away from the x86-based architecture of previous and existing Intel processors. The x86 family ranges from the newest Pentium III all the way back to the 8086, introduced in the late 1970s.

    The move to a new architecture is coming because over the years Intel has fixed problems and added features to the x86 design, making the chip increasingly complex. Today the x86 is "a really difficult architecture to work with," says Linley Gwennap, editorial director of Microprocessor Report. Gwennap discussed the processor (code-named Merced) at the Microprocessor Forum recently. He calls the x86 design "poorly conceived and overly complex."

News Date: Wednesday 13th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
USB 2.0
  • USB 2.0 to reach 480Mbps
    Time: 21:54 EDT/02:54 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS

    The USB Promoter Group yesterday released the draft specification for USB 2.0, taking the target data transfer rate up to 480Mbps, a fortyfold increase on the current version's throughput.

    Released to delegates at the USB Developers Conference, the new spec. calls for full compatibility -- forward and backward -- with USB 1.1, so at least no one is going to have to chuck out their old peripherals.

    The USB Promoter Group clarified its stance on IEEE1394 (aka FireWire and iLink): USB 2.0 will become the be all and end all of PC connectivity and 1394 will continue to exist in the consumer electronics space, connecting digital VCRs to digital TVs and the like. In the USBPG worldview, the only PCs that require 1394 will be those that need to connect to such devices -- all other high bandwidth devices, such as fast hard drives, will clearly be hooked up via USB 2.0.

    As the Technical Introduction to USB 2.0 puts it, even "high bandwidth interfaces such as SCSI adapters may no longer be required". So where we once had 1394 replacing SCSI while USB replaced the old serial and parallel ports, we now have USB 2.0 replacing everything.

  • A course in CPU naming 101
    Time: 20:30 EDT/01:30 GMT Source: ixbt Posted By: anthonyS

    Aren't you lost among all these Merced, Katmai, Celeron, Mendocino and the like? We are absolutely confused with all these strange names and that's why we decided to classify and bring into a system all the names of x86 processors. And in order to make this system more informative we included the following info for each processor mentioned: family/generation, architecture, clock frequency, system bus frequency, L1 cache size, L2 cache size, manufacturing technology, the launching date, additional instructions if present, physical interface.

News Date: Tuesday 12th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
Via - Rambus
  • Via Defies Intel's P6 Bus License Ban

    20:30 EDT/ 01:30 GMT Source: Techweb Posted by: anthonyS

    Via Technologies' simmering legal contest with Intel went up a notch in intensity this week when the company began shipping its Apollo Pro 133A chip set, in what Intel said is a clear case of patent infringement. 

    The new P6-class chip set includes a 133-MHz front-side bus and an AGP 4X graphics connection, as well as an interface to PC133 SDRAM. The former two features include technology developed by Intel. 

  • Intel's Camino Chip Set Expected In 4Q

    20:30 EDT/ 01:30GMT Source: Techweb Posted by: anthonyS

    Intel's twice-delayed Camino PC chip set will ship in the fourth quarter, and most likely in November, according toindustry sources that were briefed by Intel late yesterday. 

  • Rambus fixed? We'll wait and see

    20:30 EDT/ 01:30 GMT Source: The Register Posted by: anthonyS

    Forbes magazine is claiming that Intel and Rambus have found a solution to the technical problems which have dogged the introduction of Chipzilla's i820 Camino chipset. 

    According to the report, which can be found here, wiring specifications which caused the difficulties have now been solved. 

    But Intel has so far unable been to confirm a solution has been arrived at. According to a representative in the UK, engineers are still working to fix the problems. 

    The problems with the introduction of the i820 chipset have caused major problems and cost many PC and component manufacturers headaches and money. A slate of large PC companies, including Dell, were readying systems based on the already delayed chipset when an unexpected problem caused thousands of motherboards to fail. 

News Date: Monday 11th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
 Moore's Law
  • Intel admits founder's Law on its last legs

    09:00 EDT/ 14:00 GMT Source: The Register Posted by: anthonyS

    Watch out, semiconductor people -- Moore's Law is about to be repealed. That's the conclusion of one Paul Pakan, a scientist at Moore's own company, Intel, published in an article in a US science journal called... er... Science. 

    The gist of Pakan's comments is that while chip developers have been dutifully doubling the number of transistors in a processor every 18 months, in accordance with Moore's Law, for the process to continue, the transistors will become so small -- ie. they'll be made from under 100 atoms apiece -- that chip designers will no longer be able to control them. 

  • Intel to come clean on i820, Rambus tomorrow

    09:00 EDT/ 14:00 GMT Source: The Register Posted by: anthonyS

    Intel will tomorrow morning US Satan Clara time hold an analyst briefing at which it is expected to clarify its position on the vexed future of the Camino i820 chipset and Rambus memory technology. 

    As we reported last week, the indications are that it will admit that product is at least three months away. 

    Sources have told The Register that at last week's Microprocessor Forum, Rambus executives were spreading rumours that Intel has isolated and reproduced the near fatal "Camino/Rambus Bug" under a narrow set of circumstances. Now they say Intel must reproduce it with all combinations of motherboards, RIMM vendors, memory capacities and speed grades. 

  • AMD Athlon™ Processor Technical Documents

    09:00 EDT/ 14:00 GMT Source: AMD Posted by: anthonyS

    While surfing AMD's site, I noticed AMD has updated their technical specs on the Athlon processor.  Check the specs out HERE.

  • Live!Drive

    09:30 EDT/ 14:30 GMT Source: Creative Labs Posted by: anthonyS

    Check out this neat drive-bay insert for the recently announced Sound Blaster Live! Platinum.  I was waiting for something like this to hit the market, as reaching around to the back of my computer to access my audio inputs/outputs can be a real hassle.

News Date: Sunday 10th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
 Apple - Coppermine
  • 'Errata' delay 500-MHz G4s

    10:30 EDT/ 15:30 GMT Source: ZDnet Posted by: anthonyS

    Motorola's Semiconductor Product Sector in Austin, Texas, is reportedly working to resolve "errata" that affect its new G4 processor when run at speeds of 500 MHz or higher. And according to Motorola's own schedule, a fix isn't due until December.

  • Coppermine: we got the prices -- it's an Intel goldmine

    10:30 EDT/ 15:30 GMT Source: The Register Posted by: anthonyS

    Intel has managed to meet the deadline for the introduction of its Coppermine processors set by CEO Craig Barrett one month ago, as details of pricing for the parts leak through its distributor and dealer channel. 

    At autumn's Intel Developer Forum, Craig Barrett imposed a geas* on his employees to release Coppermine desktop processors in late October. Earlier in the year, Intel had said the parts would be delayed until November. 

    We can now reveal the dealer prices for the upcoming Coppermine parts, which will be introduced in the week starting October 25. Distributors worldwide are alerting their dealers early, in order to capitalise on the opportunity. Our information comes from two separate dealers (sorry, resellers), both of which would prefer to stay anonymous. 

    The top of the range 733MHz part, a Pentium III with 133MHz front side (FSB) bus which includes 256K of cache and active cooling, will cost $810 when bought in boxes of 10, and $790 if dealers splash out for 100 pieces. It has the exciting designation BX80526U733256E. 

News Date: Saturday 9th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
 RAM - Intellimouse - AMD
  • DRAM prices start to drop

    01:10 EDT/ 06:10 GMT Source: The Register Posted by: anthonyS

    DRAM prices have fallen over 20 per cent since last month's high in the aftermath of the Taiwan earthquake. 

    Memory Corporation was this morning quoting £140 for 128MB modules (PC 100), down from prices nudging £200 in the last week of September. 

    Pricing from the Far East was more around £160 to £170 – a drop of 10 per cent, it said. 

    Dane-Elec was quoting around $300 (£180) for the equivalent, against last Friday's price of $330 (£200). 

    The industry seemed split over where the market was heading. 

    Some distributors and OEMs thought the earthquake was still hitting the industry with general shortages. 

    AMD Discloses New Technologies At Microprocessor Forum

    01:10 EDT/ 06:10 GMT Source: Yahoo! Posted by: anthonyS 

    AMD Vice President of Engineering Fred Weber today disclosed details of AMD's x86 64-bit architecture and system bus of the future, Lightning Data Transport(tm). 

    Both are planned to be implemented in AMD's eighth-generation microprocessor, code-named SledgeHammer. Go check out some of the details on the "K-8" HERE. 

  • Microsoft Announces Availability of IntelliMouse Explorer 

    01:22 EDT/ 06:22 GMT Source: Microsoft Posted by: anthonyS

    In 1968, computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart demonstrated the first computer mouse. This curious wooden prototype, roughly twice the size of a hockey puck, eventually became an essential peripheral, paving the way for the graphical user interface and transforming the way we use computers. Although hardware and software have gone through countless quantum leaps in the past 30 years, today's mouse isn't much different than those manufactured decades ago. I personally have purchased two of these mice and absolutely love them! -anthony

News Date: Friday 8th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
IBM - Internet
  • Taiwan quake sees PC vendors bin product launches

    19:58 EDT/00:58 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: Matt

    PC manufacturers have had to revise production and marketing plans for the Christmas rush because of a lack of components following the Taiwanese earthquake. NEC has shifted production to other sites and new product announcements from both Fujitsu and IBM have been put back.

    Taiwan is a key production centre for PCs and semiconductors, making about 80 per cent of the world's graphics chips as well as producing 40 per cent of the worldwide notebook market and 60 per cent of the motherboard market.

    The knock-on effects have already started with some experts predicting a 20 per cent slip in production by the end of the year.

    The earthquake has already caused DRAM prices to rise by 50 per cent. If other components end up in short supply, PC manufacturers will have to decide whether to soak up the extra cost or pass it on to the consumer.

  • Notebooks get 10GB portable hard drive

    19:49 EDT/00:49 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    IBM today announced a new external hard drive for notebook computers, allowing travelers to carry important data and information without lugging around their laptops.

    Big Blue unveiled the Travelstar E, a portable hard drive in a durable case that plugs into the PC card slot in a notebook computer. The portable device allows users to get at information stored on their hard drives from any device with such a slot. Although not the first to offer such an option, IBM is by far the largest manufacturer to unveil this type of drive.

    Computer users are demanding more storage capacity than ever, as software becomes more resource-intensive and people download more data from the Internet and other sources. Many older or less-expensive notebooks offer hard drives of less than 4GB of capacity.

    The Travelstar E is available with 8 or 10GB of memory, priced at $449 or $549, respectively. The drive comes in a sturdy container, which theoretically is more resistant to wear and tear than a normal hard drive.

    "Ruggedness is very important to users who travel a lot with their notebooks," David Uriu, director of IBM's mobile storage products, said in a statement. "This is a significant and strategic move for IBM."

    Although notebook computers have drastically shrunk in size and weight over the last few years, executives and those who travel frequently still complain about the burden of hauling laptops with important information from place to place. Notebook theft is also a problem. This type of external hard drive could be a solution to those problems, analysts say.

News Date: Wednesday 6th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
Chipzilla - PC2100 RAM
  • Chipzilla coughs on Coppermine
    15:19 EDT/20:19 GMT Source: The Register Posted by: anthonyS

    Intel took the wraps off its Coppermine "next generation... with performance optimisations" Pentium III chip at Microprocessor Forum today. 

    Chipzilla project architecture manager Jim Wilson would only say that Coppermine will become available "later this month" at 700MHz or greater, but as The Register has already reported, the chip is set to ship on 24 October in at 733MHz. 

    Wilson said the chip will be made available in standard desktop, Mobile and Xeon server/workstation versions simultaneously. 

    Coppermine will feature 256K of on-board L2 cache and despite retaining the same P6 core that Intel has been using for the last five-odd years, operate at around 25 per cent faster than the current, Deschutes Pentium III operating on the same 133MHz front-side bus that Coppermine uses. 

    According to Wilson, the improvement is due to the speed gains of bringing the L2 cache onto the die and upping the cache bandwidth, and increasing the chip's buffers to accelerate the flow of data through the processor. 

    Coppermine's release was brought forward, primarily to tackle AMD's 700MHz Athlon. Wilson claimed the 0.18 micron chip was also highly scalable, with the processor easily capable of increasing to 800MHz and beyond, allowing Intel to keep up with whatever AMD comes up with in the near future. ®

  • PC2100 SDRAM Alive
    15:19 EDT/ 20:19 GMT Source: Maximum PC Posted by: anthonyS

    Micron Technology, not to be confused with PC maker Micron Electronics, showed off the first working demonstration of Double Data Rate memory on Monday. 

    Dubbed PC2100 for the 2.1GB of bandwidth it offers, the SDRAM-based technology is poised to go head-to-head with Direct RDRAM or Rambus memory in 2000. 

    The technology demonstrations, made privately to press and analysts, showed that DDR is indeed alive and kicking. Micron Technology is promoting DDR as a practical and cost-efficient alternative to Direct RDRAM. 

    As part of its technology demonstration, Micron Technologies also showed off a chipset that the company is considering making. Called the Samurai DDR North bridge, the chipset is capable of supporting 2GB of DDR RAM in four 184-pin DIMM sockets, 4X AGP Pro, and five 64-bit PCI slots. The Samurai DDR will also include support for IEEE-1394 "Firewire" and PCI audio. 

  • 140 gig Fluorescent CD's?
    15:19 EDT/ 20:19 GMT Source: Geeknews Posted by: anthonyS

    Well it looks like the guys over at C3D have come up with a couple of new storage solutions. Their technology uses fluorescent light instead of laser light. Their 120mm FMD-ROM can hold upto 140 gig on a single disk. They also have a credit-card sized solution, the FMC ClearCard, which stores upto 10 gig. Guess what, this is not vapor-ware they have shown off working models of this technology and have said that they are working on terrabyte solutions. I always thought the PSX blood red CD's were cool, but a clear CD is also kick ass. 

News Date: Tuesday 5th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
  • iMac II to show its face today
    08:07 EDT/13:07 GMT Source: The Register Posted By: anthonyS 

    Apple is today expected to launch the next versions in its range of iMacs. 

    The company is keeping mum about the launch – or C2 revision as it has been named - but has been unable to stop reports popping up all over the Web. 

    It is believed that the colourful computers will be announced by interim CEO Steve Jobs at a press conference in San Francisco today, news service TechWeb reported. 

    The machines are expected to have similar styling to the existing iMacs and to come in the five familiar translucent colours. 


  • Intel Struggles To Explain Rambus Delay
    23:44 EDT/04:44 GMT Source: TechWeb Posted By: anthonyS

    With its long-awaited high-speed memory program idled on the launching pad, Intel late Friday remained at a loss to explain the glitch that triggered an embarrassing last-minute delay of its much-vaunted Direct Rambus DRAM debut. 

News Date: Monday 4th October 1999
Today's Top Hardware Headlines:
Amd - Intel - ATI
  • Graphics leader ATI may raise prices
    Time: 18:12 EDT/23:12 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    ATI Technologies, the world's largest graphics chip company, may raise prices as a result of the component shortage developing in the wake of the recent Taiwan earthquake.

    The move by ATI, if taken, would follow similar actions by S3 last week and could portend a spike in PC prices for the holiday season. Price hikes may possibly also result in market share increases for graphics chip companies that lack Taiwanese connections, observers speculated.

    Graphics chips are some of the most crucial chips in a computer, along with the main processor and chipset. Though the supply of processors, such as Intel's Celeron and Pentium III, do not seem to be affected in any significant way by the quake, availability of graphics chips and chipsets is shrinking rapidly.

    Many of these products are fabricated by Taiwan-based manufacturing giants United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC). Both companies reported damage because of the quake.

    All these components are used to build motherboards, which are also in short supply in some cases

  • Celeron Speeds Up
    Time: 13:20 EDT/18:20 GMT Source:
    The Register Posted By: Alex H

    Recently, Intel announced that it was boosting its mobile Celeron processor to 466 MHz. At least temporarily, this puts Intel in the somewhat odd position of having its value processor running at a faster clock speed than its performance processor (the mobile Pentium II currently tops out at 400 MHz). Though we don't expect this situation to last for long, this is good news for notebook buyers because you can now get a high-performance notebook PC at a value price.

    Although the two new notebooks reviewed here share the same fast Celeron processor, they are two very different beasts. Both appeal to SOHO and individual users, but the Dell Inspiron 7500 is the definition of desktop replacement, delivering top-notch performance, while the IBM ThinkPad i Series 1480 is a value notebook offering a great deal for the money.

  • Nine new PIII flavours revealed
    Time: 13:20 EDT/18:20 GMT Source:
    The Register Posted By: Alex H

    Intel is due to launch nine more versions of its Pentium III chip this quarter.

    The chip giant is on track to add 733 and 667MHz versions of the processor, with SECC2 Package, .18 micron process technology, supporting 133MHz system bus, by the end of 1999. They will come with 256KB on-Die full speed L2 Cache.

    These will have the same specifications as the 600EB and 533EB versions of the Coppermine family, which is due to launch on 24 October.

    Sources have revealed that there will be 700, 650 and 600E versions of the PIII using a 100MHz system bus. They will have the SECC2 Package, .18 micron process technology and 256KB on-die full speed L2 Cache.

  • Intel names Merced chip Itanium
    Time: 13:20 EDT/18:20 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Itanium--think "Titanium" with a slight regional accent--will be the official name of Intel's Merced processor, and the company will provide more details on the chip's microarchitecture at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California, tomorrow.

    The name Itanium was chosen to "reflect the strength and performance of the processor," said Jami Dover, vice president of marketing at Intel. Sausalito, California-based Lexicon, which also coined the chip names Celeron and Xeon, came up with the name, she said.

    Itanium, due toward the middle of next year, will be the chipmaker's first 64-bit processor, which means that the chip can process information in 64-bit chunks. Current Intel processors work with 32-bit hunks.

    The processor will allow Intel to provide the building blocks for servers that compete against the expensive "big iron" servers currently sold by Sun and others. Itanium-based systems will largely be targeted to e-commerce applications and to Internet service providers.

  • AMD speeds up Athlon chip
    Time: 13:15 EDT/18:15 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Advanced Micro Devices today released a 700-MHz version of its Athlon chip, a move that will be followed by new computers from IBM and Compaq Computer.

    As first reported by CNET, the new chip means that AMD will continue to enjoy a speed and performance advantage over Intel's top chips, according to analysts and other sources.

    Intel won't be far behind, however; it is slated to come out with 700-MHz and 733-MHz Pentium IIIs on October 25, sources said. The fastest Pentium III now tops out at 600 MHz. Overall, Athlon achieves a higher level of performance than the Pentium III at equal speeds, leading to crisper, more realistic graphics, according to testers.

    But Athlon optimism will likely be tempered by availability of new PCs, or the lack thereof. Released last month, Athlon-based computers remain a relatively scarce commodity at stores because of a lack of motherboards and other internal components for these computers, sources said. Supply will likely improve, but the process will take time.

    IBM would not comment on unannounced products, and AMD would not comment on the new chip or the PC supply issue, citing the "quiet period" mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read more of the past months news in our News Archive for September and Previous October News.

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