Hardware Archive

Goodbye to Ones and Zeros

When National Semiconductor decided to challenge Intel and Advanced Micro Devices in the market for low-end microprocessors in 1997, CEO Brian Halla teased a group of skeptical analysts, saying they probably thought he had been sprinkling testosterone on his corn flakes. Brian Halla predicts a technology transformation in which analog chips displace the zeros and ones at the heart of the binary language used in computing.

Hitachi Global Unveils 4GB microdrive

"Newly formed hard disk drive company Hitachi Global Storage Technologies on Monday unveiled plans for a tiny drive that will be used in consumer electronic devices and said it will turn a profit in 2004. Hitachi Global Storage said it plans to sell next fall a 1-inch microdrive that has 4 gigabytes, or 4 billion bytes, of storage space. That compares to the current top of the line microdrive with 1 gigabyte of storage that IBM had made." Read the article at ZDNews.

AMD Places Chips on 64 and Migrating to Itanium

eWEEK Executive Editor/News Michael R. Zimmerman and EiC Eric Lundquist caught up with Ruiz at Comdex in Las Vegas recently for a candid conversation about AMD's challenges, its future and Intel's influence in the market. On another CPU-related interview, HP has the task of migrating its Unix customers running HP-UX on PA-RISC, as well as recently acquired Tru64 Alpha customers from Compaq, over to Intel's Itanium architecture. Making sure this transition happens smoothly in Australia is Steve Williamson who transferred from Compaq and now is business development manager in HP's business critical systems division.


AMD has written some things lately, as well as Intel has in the past, pointing out that the difference between RISC and CISC no longer matter (in fact, modern x86 CPUs are largely RISC these days, except the memory interface). That CISC is catching up and surpassing RISC. iGeek looks at the facts.

Soup of CPU News on the Web

"A Brief Look at the PowerPC 970" explains what the new IBM CPU is all about and how does it stand against the x86 competition today, and in a year from now (release time). Another article is titled "When is PowerPC Not PowerPC?". On ExtremeTech you will find "AMD Tips Opteron Benchmarks". Two articles at EETimes, "Intel describes billion-transistor four-core Itanium processor" and "Intel to debut 90-nm 'Banias' processor in 2H '03". Of embedded interest: "MemoryLogix to disclose '586 core' for SoC applications", a CPU to compete with ARM.

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.