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Posts Tagged ‘intel’

USB 3.0 will crush eSATA, FireWire

Posted by comtech3 on January 14, 2009

January 13, 2009 11:21 AM PST
Posted by Alex Serpo
Intel demonstrated a working version of USB 3.0 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Here’s why it will make eSATA and FireWire obsolete.

When USB 3.0 is expected to hit the market in early 2010, it will have been 10 years since the now ubiquitous USB 2.0 was introduced (April 2000). The current USB 2.0 specification runs at a theoretical maximum speed of 480Mbps, and can supply power (for those looking for the hard details, you can find the USB 2.0 specification here (zip file).

According to the USB Implementers Forum, there were 2 billion USB 2.0 devices shipped in 2006 (one for every three people in the world), and the install base was 6 billion (almost one for every person in the world). In November 2007, the USB Implementers forum announced the USB 3.0 specifications, and Intel officially demonstrated the technology at CES 2009.

Now, the juice: USB 3.0 promises a theoretical maximum rate of 5Gbps, meaning it’s 10 times faster than USB 2.0. USB 3.0 is also full duplex, meaning it can upload and download simultaneously (it’s bi-directional); USB 2.0 is only half duplex.

Put side by side with eSATA and FireWire 800, USB 3.0 is far superior. eSATA, an external connection that runs at the same speed as the internal SATA 1.0 bus, has a maximum theoretical of 3Gbps. This makes USB 3.0 faster than eSATA and about six times faster than FireWire 800 (full duplex at 800Mbps).

USB 3.0 also provides another advantage; while eSATA is faster than FireWire 800, unlike FireWire it cannot supply power. USB 3.0 has the advantage of being faster than both, even while supplying power.

Finally, USB 3.0 has improved power management, meaning that devices can move into idle, suspend, and sleep states. This potentially means more battery life out of laptops and other battery-based USB-supporting devices like cameras and mobile phones.

Of course, there are other factors to consider; the FireWire 3200 standard is also in the works and promises to allow 3.2GHz speeds on existing FireWire 800 hardware. USB 2.0 generally doesn’t meet its theoretical maximum throughput, due to its dependence on hardware and software configuration, where FireWire gets much closer.

It’s hard to say whether USB 3.0’s updated architecture will still use more CPU time than FireWire does.

But in the age of powerful hardware (can anyone say “3.2GHz, quad-core CPUs”?), all of this means that FireWire is still not going to match USB 3.0’s theoretical maximum of 5Gbps.

The ultimate signal that this war has already been won is Apple’s recent decision to ditch FireWire from its consumer line in favor of USB. Previously, Cupertino had been one of FireWire’s greatest advocates. And surely the company will be one of the first to adopt USB 3.0.

All in all, we can’t wait for motherboard manufacturers like Gigabyte and Asus to start supporting the technology and mainstream PC builders like Dell to start integrating it into their products. Bring on the speed.


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Intel, Asus partner on ‘dream PC’ design site

Posted by comtech3 on October 30, 2008

If you could design your own computer, what features would your dream machine have?

That’s what Intel and Asus are hoping to learn from, a Web site launched jointly by the two companies Wednesday that solicits ideas from consumers with the goal of producing what they call “the world’s first community-designed PCs.”

The site divides its focus into three “conversation groups,” in which consumers work together to design Netbooks, notebooks, and gaming notebooks.

“Visitors to the site can share ideas, vote on submitted concepts and engage in discussions with other community members about the qualities of the ‘dream’ PC,” Intel said in a statement.

“Intel believes the spark for innovation can come from anywhere,” Mike Hoefflinger, general manager of Intel’s Partner Marketing Group, said in a statement.

Many of the contributors’ suggestions are fairly mainstream desires for most PC users: more powerful batteries, less shiny screens, and lighter overall weight. Some have specific desires for processors, while others have asked for high-definition screens and 3G connectivity.

However, there have been some creative suggestions that some visitors might not have considered. One suggestion asked for a durable notebook that was waterproof with a “nighttime look to glow in the dark.”

One reader suggested doing away with the notebook’s buttons and screen for a virtual reality experience. “I know that the technology for plugging your nervous system directly into your brain is very far off, but we’ve got some fairly cheap technology that could be applied to a computer that would be fairly awesome.” Another reader suggested telepathic communication that would rely on the sensing of brainwaves.

But some ideas may just leave you shaking your head.

“I like the idea of a laptop that has hair on it. You can than cut said laptop’s hair to your liking. The hair of course grows so you can have multiple haircuts a year,” wrote one visitor.

Some of these ideas may make it into a PC some day–if they make the cut.

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More MacBook rumors and pics surface

Posted by comtech3 on October 13, 2008

October 12, 2008 1:22 PM PDT

Posted by Dan Farber

Corrected at 2:45 p.m.: This report misidentified one of the MacBook Pro’s rumored features; it is a mini-DVI connector. The report also misidentified the Web site attributed to the original report. It was AppleInsider.

Despite the tanking economy, Apple’s new MacBooks due to be unveiled Tuesday are creating some buzz (see Techmeme) and propping up Apple’s stock price. The latest alleged pictures in the wild are of the new aluminum case (above) of the forthcoming systems posted on

According to, the new higher end MacBook Pro will include a mini-DVI connector and a single FireWire 800 connector.

Overall the changes don’t look major other than the shift to aluminum and the rumored substitution of Intel’s chip set of Nvidia’s graphics chip set, as reported by AppleInsider.

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Apple MacBook: Change is in the Air

Posted by comtech3 on July 7, 2008

from CNet

Posted by Brooke Crothers

The Apple MacBook Air has been a ground-breaking first-generation product (in my opinion). So, what will Apple do to top it when an update comes later this year? There are some telling indicators already. This is what I expect–and hope for–as a user.

First, a disclaimer. I am not an Apple fanatic. The MacBook Air is the first Apple product I have ever used. For well over a decade, I have been wedded to Wintel (Windows-Intel) laptops.

Before I dive into upcoming features, I should also mention that I have been extremely pleased with the Air and have used it almost every day for the last four months. But I would be remiss if I didn’t say it is overpriced, as all subnotebooks are.

• Overpriced but still an amazing design Apple made a very studied decision to exclude certain features. This makes the Air an Air. Apple could have included more ports and a little more of this and pinch of that–but then it would have been just another subnotebook.

So, I expect Apple to maintain the uniqueness of the Air for the next refresh.

But improvements are always welcome. And here are a few things that potential buyers can expect to see when a new Air is rolled out.

Apple has begun to give us hints of things to come. A $500 price cut for the solid state drive (SSD) model is one of the biggest indicators so far.

• A bigger, better solid state drive The next Air will offer drives that range in size to more than 100GB. A likely offering would be 128GB from vendors like STEC. (Samsung supplies the current SSD.) Intel and Micron Technology can’t be ruled out. Their drives will come in 80GB and 160GB capacities.

These SSDs will also likely use multiple-level cell (MLC) technology, in contrast with current drives that use single-level-cell (SLC). MLC allows higher-capacities but presents power and data reliability challenges, which suppliers claim to have overcome.

• Processors Invariably, all notebooks get upgraded with better processors and graphics. I think the Air’s current performance is superb for a subnotebook. I have owned many subnotebooks over the years and anemic performance can render them practically unusable as an everyday machine. But I haven’t had this problem with the Air (see note at bottom).

Intel’s upcoming 45-nanometer “Montevina” (Centrino 2) low-power offerings should make this experience even better. Though an initial Montevina refresh is slated for July 14, low-power versions won’t appear until this fall. Intel refers to these as SFF (small form factor) processors. They will come in high-performance, low-voltage, and ultra-low-voltage variants.

SFF Montevina processors will range from 25-watt (2.4GHz) to 17-watt (1.86GHz) to 10-watt (1.2GHz). The current Intel processor used in the Air is rated at 20 watts at 1.8GHz.

Whether Apple chooses one of these or opts for something not currently on the Intel roadmap of course remains to be seen.

• Graphics Graphics will get upgraded. Montevina will come with Intel’s GMA X4500 graphics, which Intel has said repeatedly will be three times faster than current X3100 integrated graphics.

• Battery Insufficient battery life is a problem that plagues all subnotebooks. It has often been suggested that Apple include a removable battery (for easy replacement), but that could compromise the ultraslim design. Having said that, I have been pleased with the battery life compared with other notebooks I have owned.

Hazarding a guess at other features such as upgraded hard disk drives, better screens, and external extras like a docking station is too speculative (and the latter would also compromise the design), so I’ll refrain from making any predictions.

But the Air shouldn’t change too much. With a simple performance upgrade, it would be an even more remarkable computer.

(Note: No, the Air is not as fast as a 14-inch Hewlett-Packard 6910P, for example, but no PC maker can squeeze that kind of performance into a Air-like form factor.)

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Tech giants team up and form new security initiative

Posted by comtech3 on July 1, 2008

Five of the biggest names in the technology industry have teamed up for a new security initiative.

Known as the Industry Consortium for Advancement of Security on the Internet (ICASI), the group will examine ways in which multiple companies can respond to a single security threat.

Founding members of the nonprofit group include Cisco, Intel, IBM and Juniper Networks.

The aim of the project is to deal with security threats that may affect multiple companies. The group plans to seek out better ways to cooperate with one another and notify users in the event of an attack.

“During the last few years, common Internet security threats have evolved from wide-reaching worms and viruses to more sophisticated, stealth attacks that may begin to simultaneously target multiple products or shared protocols in multiple products,” the group said in a statement.

“ICASI will allow IT vendors to work together to address multi-vendor security threats.”

The group will also look for ways to improve the rollout of multi-vendor security patches and look to establish a better system for reporting and mitigating security flaws.

Cooperation between multiple companies, particularly in the face of a large-scale attack, has become a top priority in recent years. Collaboration strategies were said to be one of the central themes of the recent Cyber Storm 2 government exercise.

Copyright © 2008

By Shaun Nichols
Jun 30, 2008 10:02 AM
Tags: Cisco | Intel | IBM | Juniper | ICASI

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