CES 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada – One of our late night CES appointments was to the MSI suite. Although we have worked with MSI a lot in the past in the last few months they have undergone some internal restructuring. This has been kept off of the net for the most part, but in the end will be a very good thing for MSI. We expect to hear a lot more from them in the coming months.
Manufacturers of hardware components are not expecting a significant recovery of the PC market over the next year. Asus and Gigabyte, both leading manufacturer of motherboards, have said that in 2013 they expect an equal or slightly lower number of deliveries of motherboards than was the case this year.
When Lynnfield launched with its built in PCIe controller the motherboard makers of the world collectively groaned. They began to wonder how in the world they were going to run everything they want to put onto their motherboards with the limited number of PCIe lanes that were provided. The answer to this solution was simple, use a bridge chip… the problem was that there were not many that were up to the job. One of these companies that quickly became synonymous with high-performance motherboards was PLX. We first saw these on Asus motherboards (the P55 motherboards) and the system simply worked. Since then many more motherboard makers have adopted them and come to reply on PLX to keep things moving.
CES 2012, Las Vegas, Nevada – We found Asus in the Trump Tower near the top of the building. I honestly think they had the entire floor up there, but we were only there to see a small portion of what Asus has to offer to the consumer. Asus, as most of you know already is one of the leading manufacturers of computer components. They also have their own channel marketing team and make quite a bit more than just motherboards, GPUs, Audio cards and networking gear.
When I hear the name of nVidia’s next-gen GPU code named Kepler all I can hear is Cave Johnson from Portal 2 saying, “Now if you're part of control group Kepler-7, we planted a tiny microchip, about the size of a postcard, into your skull.” It is interesting in that Kepler is supposed to be nVidia’s 28nm GPU offering. True a 28nm GPU is a lot smaller than a post card but the other half of Cave Johnson’s statement does seem to have some very nVidia parallels… “Most likely you've forgotten it's even there, but if it starts vibrating and beeping during this next test let us know, because that means it's about to hit about 500 degrees so we're gonna need to go ahead and get that out of you pretty fast.”
Now, I am saying this with humor, but we have seen some rather hot GPUs from nVidia over the years. If Kepler has the same issues that Fermi had then the first run could be quite the space heater. Of course, if you ask the typical gamer they will more than likely tell you that they do not care as much about the heat as long as the FPS is through the roof.
Which brings us to the real crux of the issue, nVidia has already admitted that they will be at least a month or more behind their original timeline for this release (like Fermi) and they will be far behind AMD’s Southern Islands. In the gaming and GPU market it is often the person that gets to market first that wins the acceptance. This is not like the DX11 shift when it was Fermi Vs the Other Islands from AMD where there were almost no compelling games using that technology. Now we are looking at a few good DX11 games so we are going to see people looking to pounce on the next generation products as long as they are faster than what is currently on the market from both companies and the prices are right.
nVidia really needs to get on the ball to get their timelines back in order or they do stand to lose quite a few Holiday sales to AMD which will hurt their own sales numbers when they finally do get Kepler out the door.
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With PCIe 3.0 just coming on to the scene the PCI special interest group (PCI-SIG) just announced that they are planning on releasing PCIe 4.0 sometime around 2014-2015. Now that is assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse, but if we all do then it looks like the interconnects between the devices on our systems will get quite a bit faster. According to the press release, the new specification can move 16 “Gigatransfers” (is that even a word?) per second.
After the success of their consumer level APUs it looks like AMD wants to try and bring some of that to the professional world. Yes, they are going to be making something like Trinity for the workstation market. AMD is going to attempt to drop a CPU (or four) inside their FirePro GPUs to see if it sticks. The move is almost the opposite of what you see with the APUs. In the Llano and Trinity you have a small number of GPU cores that are added into the CPU die in order to provide graphical output. These cores are very efficient and were pulled from AMD’s successful Radeon line of GPUs. In the new FirePro Processors they will maintain the full GPU (just like in a discrete card), but add in CPU cores to create a more functional whole.
In a surprising move XFX is now stating that they do not provide ANY direct warranty to the consumer. According to their warranty information page they state “XFX does not sell its Product directly to the consumer therefore the warranty for XFX Products remains the responsibility of your reseller where you purchased the Product”. I am not sure about you, but this sounds like they are dodging responsibility…
Former CEO of Motorola Mobility, Sanjay Jha, under whose leadership the company was sold to Google, will assume leadership of GlobalFoundries. Sanjay Jha was the chief executive officer of Qualcomm, and from the chief position at Motorola Mobility stepped won in 2012.
There is an old saying in business that you have to spend money to make money. The meaning is sort of plain, but we will give you a clear example of what it means. In the tech world, if you are not spending money to improve your products or to build the next generation then you are pretty much going to have a very short life. This is not to say you have to dump huge mounds of cash into research and development, but you do have to spend some on the right things. This means that you can tell a lot about a company’s focus and future outlook by simply looking at their R&D spending.