Hardware Archive

Develop Your Own Robotic Applications for the Real World

"As children, many of us watched TV shows like The Jetsons and dreamed about the day we might have our own robot maids, mechanics, and assistants. Evolution Robotics says it's making this happen. The Pasadena, Calif., company has released an operating system designed for the personal-robotics industry and says it hopes to do for that industry what Windows did for the PC. The Evolution Robotics Software Platform contains everything a company needs to develop and program robots, says Jennifer McNally, the company's senior director of marketing. It consists of a robot-control architecture, core software modules, and a set of developer's tools, she says." Read the story at InformationWeek.

Miscellaneous Hardware News

A lot of interesting hardware-related news lately. First of all, Matrox makes a dynamic come back with its Parhelia512 graphics card and a lot of sites (1, 2, 3, 4) carry the white papers and spec sheets. In the console world, SONY has slashed the prices of PSone ($49) and PS2 ($199), following price cuts by Microsoft on XBOX. However, PS2 remains the No1 console in sales, by far. In the meantime, Intel introduced faster Celerons, based on the Pentium4 core. In fact, these new Celerons are nothing but the older Pentium4 that were selling last year. The newer Pentium 4s have reached a speed of 2.53 Ghz. On the other side of the river, Apple announces a new rack-mount server:

A Closer Look at the i-Mode

Recently i-mode was unleashed onto the Dutch and German markets. This internet service is hugely popular in Japan, where it connects over 30 million people to the internet through mobile phones. Read more to get to know its features and see two screenshots of the devices.

IEEE 1394 vs USB 2.0

"The latest rivalry to erupt is between the IEEE 1394 and USB 2.0 high-speed serial bus specifications. In addition to 400Mbps-class bandwidths (400Mbps for 1394 and 480Mbps for USB 2.0), hot-plug connectivity, and auto-configuration capabilities, both can support either asynchronous or isochronous operation, theoretically making them suitable for both computer peripherals and digital A/V equipment. Not surprisingly, many users have no idea why they should choose one over the other." Read the interesting benchmarking article at ExtremeTech and witness FireWire beating USB 2.0 on all tests.

Virtutech Announces Simics 1.0 Full System Simulation Platform

Virtutech Simics is a systemlevel, instruction set simulator, capable of simulating high-end target systems with sufficient fidelity and speed to boot and run operating systems and commercial workloads. Simics provides a controlled, deterministic, and fully virtualized environment. Simics can simulate a variety of target systems, including systems based on the PC (x86 and x8664), SPARC V9, PowerPC, and Alpha architectures.

64-Bit CPUs: Alpha, SPARC, MIPS, and POWER

This is the third and final article (part one and part two articles) on current 64-bit architectures at ExtremeTech: While IA-64 and Hammer battle for mindshare, existing 64-bit designs are working hard. And not standing still. Here's what AMD and Intel are up against. "Alpha: Not Dead Yet" The upcoming 21364 freshens multiprocessor machines; and some of it lives on in Hammer. "UltraSPARC-III is Still the Classic RISC Chip:" In Sun's tightly coupled world, software can make up for some hardware deficiencies. "Power 4: 680 Million Transistors Can't be Wrong:" IBM's monster looks more like a floor tile than a CPU chip. And it's 500 watts. In the meantime, Compaq benchmarks a four-way 1GHz Alpha server with Tru64 UNIX. It ran Oracle9i Enterprise Edition for Tru64 UNIX and hit 50,117tpmC (transactions per minute), TheRegister reports.

64-Bit CPUs: AMD Hammer vs. Intel IA-64

Continuing Part I from last week, this is the Part II article regarding the future of 64-bit CPUs, called "Under the Microarchitectural Covers": "Who will dominate 64-bit computing, AMD or Intel? AMD's Hammer architecture is compelling and compatible, but IA-64 has great long-term potential. Will Intel also hedge its bet with a 64-bit x86 design?" "Instruction Dispatch and Execution": See how Hammer's nine execution units are nothing like Itanium's. "Seamless and Powerful Multiprocessing": Hammer's onboard memory controller and HyperTransport links--big advantage. "Intel's Ace in the Hole": What's this rumored 'Yamhill' 64-bit x86. On a related note, Intel's McKinley 64-bit CPU will showcase at next week's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

64-Bit CPUs: What You Need to Know

"Itanium--you've gotta start somewhere". ExtremeTech will take you from the genesis of IA-64 through the present day of Itanium, to the future: McKinley, Madison, and Deerfield. Then on to Hammer, PowerPC, SPARC, and more. "It's Nothing Like a Pentium": Ten years in development, 325 million transistors and counting. "The Good Stuff: the Instruction Set" 41-bit VLIW instructions are elegant... until they get weird. "But What About x86 Compatibility?" It's there, sorta. It probably won't be the most popular feature. Read the first article of a three-part series at ExtremeTech.

Embedded Processors, Part Three

"In Part One and Part Two of this series we delivered an overview of the embedded processor market and key product families. We also looked at Java chips and other custom embedded processors. Then we reviewed some of the microarchitectural and programming features that differentiate embedded processors from mainstream CPUs. And we described some performance measurement techniques and issues. In this final segment, we'll dig into DSPs, media processors, and power saving techniques." Read the third installment of the interesting article at ExtremeTech.

Technology Update on LCD Monitors

"Thanks to display technology, the world is going flat. No, it's not deflating, nor was Columbus wrong (or at least not entirely). It's our desktop displays that are getting flat-- buyers have decided that flatter is better, and flat-screen sales have gone through the roof. How did this happen, and what impact might these developments have on your future purchases?" Interesting article at ExtremeTech.

Motorola Readies G5 Processors

"After more than two years, Motorola Inc., late last week revised its road map for the company's PowerPC processors, the chips that lie at the heart of many embedded devices as well as Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh computers. Though the new information is slight, for many it reinforces speculation that Apple will release new desktop computers based on Motorola's "G5" family of processors, perhaps as early as January's Macworld Expo/San Francisco trade show, sources said." Get the rest of the story at ExtremeTech.

Viewsonic Enters the TabletPC Market

"Viewsonic, the monitor manufacturer has entered into the Tablet PC market and in a big way. The new ViewPad 1000 Tablet PC has a touch screen hi resolution monitor with built in camera, a celeron 800 Mhz Processor and it even has a built in WAN, LAN and Wi-Fi Wireless LAN abilities. This is great for people on the go or those that would like a casual PC at home without a million features. Maybe the Tablet PC market will take off where the Internet appliance market failed." Get the story at DesignTechnica. We also hear that the TabletPC will run a custom version of WindowsXP in the near future.

Sun Takes UltraSPARC Past 1GHz

From TheRegister: "Sun is expected to announce the introduction of Gigahertz processors on Monday, the first time Sun has shipped SPARCS clocked higher than 1GHz. The SunBlade 1000 will be the first to receive the 1,050MHz SPARC IIIs. It isn't the first RISC chip to reach the milestone: Compaq's Alpha can claim that prize..."

Prototype Tablet PCs Take Spotlight

"Will your next portable computer be a tablet PC? Microsoft hopes so, and it has lined up a handful of partners that are showing prototype models of its reference design and plan to ship the real thing in mid-2002. For the second year here at Comdex, the software behemoth is pushing tablet computing that combines the portability of a laptop, the convenience of pen and paper, and of course Microsoft software." Read the rest of the news report at PCWorld.