Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

Intel HD Graphics 3000

February 1st, 2011 No comments

While the Sandy-Bridge processors do not bring significant performance improvement in the CPU section, the integrated GPU section – called – Intel HD Graphics 3000 take a big leap. With the Intel HD Graphics 3000, we can expect a performance close to some of the entry level graphics card. This should help reduce the system cost for entry level gaming system, by not requiring additional discrete graphics component in noteboiks or a graphics card in a desktop.

The Intel HD Graphics 3000 broadens the choice a notebook or a desktop manugacturer has in building a notebook or a desktop system. The manufacturer may choose to design the system without any additional discrete graphics component or a card to keep the cost low. Or he may opt to deactivate the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 and use the additional graphics component. In third option, the manufacturer may choose to use the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 in addition to the additional graphics component or a card. In the third option, the integrated graphics is used in less intensive graphics applications which saves the system power, or may allow the CPU to increase its turbo frequency under all condition ( An active integrated graphics may reduce its ability to do so under all conditions). When the requirement in the graphics requirement increases, the external graphics component or the card takes over.

The Sandy Bridge introduces some novelity with its Intel HD Graphics 3000. For the first time the CPU and the GPU has been built on a single die with 32 nm technology. The L3 Core, that intel call the Last Level Cache, is now shared by the Intel HD Graphics 3000.

The Intel HD Graphics 3000 supports its own turbo boost. Performance wise, Intel HD Graphics 3000 has reported 100% to 125% improvement in the performance as compared to Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) HD in the Arrandale chips.

The complete benchmark result for the Intel HD Graphics 3000 is beyon the scope of starredreviews, but we encourage you to read the reviews at anandtech which has compiled detailed benchmarking results about Intel HD Graphics 3000.

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Intel Core i7-2630qm vs Core i7-740QM

February 1st, 2011 4 comments

The Core i7-2630qm and Core i7-740QM makes an interesting comparison as they are being seen in a large number of notebooks launched today. Here are few points that will elaborate the similarity and the differences

1. Both the Core i7-2630qm and the Core i7-740QM are quad core processor.

2. While the Core i7-2630qm belongs to the newer 32nm Sandy Bridge Architecture, the Core i7-740QM belongs to the 45 nm Clarksfield architecture.

3.Core i7-2630qm has a clock frequency of 2 GHz while the Core i7-740QM is clocked at 1.73 GHz.

4. Both the Core i7-2630qm and the Core i7-740QM come with 6 MB of L3 Cache.

5. Core i7-2630qm has a turbo frequency of 2.9 GHz while the Core i7-740QM has turbo freq of 2.93 GHz.

So it may be imperative to conclude that the Core i7-2630qm is substantially faster than the Core i7-740QM and if you have a choice the Core i7-2630qm, based notebook is good even if it is $150 or so more than the core i7-740QM. The Sandy Bridge processors are about 10 to 15% faster than the similarly clocked Clarksdale processor.

Another processor that is good to compare clock by clock frequency is the core i7-920XM – a 2 GHz quad core processor. With slight improvement in the architecture we can expect that the Core i7-2630qm processor performance is on par or better than the Core i7-920XM Quad Core processor.

The more noticeable improvement, or rather difference is in the integrated graphics section ( it is called Intel HD Graphics 3000). The Sandy Bridge graphics has been found to have 100 to 125% improved performance as compared to the Intel HD graphics. The core i7-740qm does not has integrated graphics.

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Intel core i7-2710QE processor

January 31st, 2011 No comments

The Intel core i7-2710QE belongs to the Sandy Bridge processors and is clocked at 2.1 GHz. If you have followed the Sandy Bridge architecture, you will know that, the best performance improved has been in the area of the Integrated graphics controller. The graphics controller works at comes with Integrated memory controller works nominally ar 650 MHz and does support turbo function similar to the main processor. The turbo frequency of the graphics unit can rise upto 1.2 GHz. Here are the major characteristics of the Intel core i7-2710QE.

Number of cores = 4
Nominal Clock frequency – 2.1 GHz
Turbo Frequency – 3.0 GHz
L3 Cache – 6 MB
Graphics Nominal Frequency 650 MHz
Graphics Turbo Frequency – 1.2 GHz.

Notice that the turbo frequency of the CPU and the GPU depends upon the TDP rating of the processor which stands at 45 Watts. If there is more demand in the processor unit and no demand in the graphics unit, only the CPU will go in the turbo mode. If you are playing a high end game requiring more demand in the graphics processing power, the graphics turbo will come into action, while the CPU will stay in the non turbo mode.

Another impotant feature is the new Turbo technology, which promises to bring further improvement in the turbo performance. Intel observed that the Neehalem processor were still cool with the turbo, so the extended the time period for which the processor could run on turbo.

You will find the integrated graphics performance really something to take serious note. The Intel’s HD Graphics 3000, the name given to the graphics integrated in this Sandy Bridge processor is of the order of 125% faster than the previous generation integrated grahics in the Nehalem based mobile processors.

The CPU as well as the GPU is has for the first time been integrated in a single die built at 32 nm, unlike the previous generation architechture, in which the CPU was built with 32 nm while the GPU and the integrated memory controller was built with 45 nm technology. In the long run, we expect that the production cost for Intel should go down and we can expect better performance per dollar spent. Since the systems built with Sandy Bridge processor “may not” need an external discrete graphics component we can expect reduced cost system while keeping the performance moderately good with the Intel core i7-2710QE processor.

Another area to be noted is the improvement in the DDR frequency with the Intel core i7-2710QE. The new max configuration supported is DDR3-1600 in addition to DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333

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Top 10 reasons to hate Apple iPad / iPad 2

January 30th, 2011 23 comments

Top 10 Reasons to Hate Apple iPad / iPad 2

The purpose of this article is not to ridicule iPad, a revolutionary product, at least as far as the sales figures go and as far as the reaction of the people en masse is concerned. But then every product has its merits and demerits. We expect that Apple can work on some of these on future releases of iPad and iPad 2.

1. Apple iPad does not support printing – As compared to a netbook, printing document is never seamless with Apple iPad. There are applications, some of them at $10 or so, that claim to work on wifi printers, but the support for printers is not universal. In this area, the iPad suffers from the same problem the Linux has. In Linux, at least you can try to post your problem and someone from the open source community can come to your help.

2. There is no SD Card slot – Apple charges an extra $100 for 32 GB version iPad in comparison to the 16 GB version. Why not give 16 GB version with a SD slot ? People will buy a 16GB SD card just for $30 from eBay. The SD card slot could be used for seamlessly transferring the data between a camera and the Apple iPad.

3. There is no USB slot – At least not directly. You will need an Apple Dock that sells for $29. It is only then that you get the access to the USB port. Do you know any netbook or a notebook which needs an additional adapter to extend the USB slot.

4. Apple iPad can break easily, mechanically – Apple touts the iPad as thin. However, if you consider the cover that it comes with, its thickness becomes pretty close to some of the thin notebooks around. And if you remove the cover, the iPad will break if it happens to fall on a hard floor.

5. iPad does not come with a Camera – You go to buy a notebook or a netbook under $400 and it does not come with an integrated camera. Will you buy it ? Absolutely no. Integrated camera has become a Universal requirement in almost all the notebook, netbook and it was reasonable to expect one in a $600+ device called iPad.

Update – As pointed by John, the iPad2 does come with camera. However when the first iPad was launched there is no camera.

6. Is there a way you can open two windows in an iPad – True, iPad does support multitasking, in the sense that you can listen to Pandora while browsing safari. But can you really do the multitasking as far as the real world tasks are concerned. Can you browse safari while chatting on AIM ? I would like to know how.

7. No Support for HDMI – Look at the AMD’s fusion E-350 based notebooks and netbooks, these sub $450 netbooks and notebooks come with great leap in graphics performance and almost all of them come with HDMI ouput. All you need is a simple, single inexpensive HDMI cable universally available. Hook it to your HDTV and you are ready to go. Instead, Apple wants you to buy another white box, that they call Apple TV.

8. No real keyboard – This is actually not a very good reason to hate iPad. Its touch interface has been designed in a different way. But think of the Toshiba convertible netbook design – the Toshiba M780, for example. When it folds, its becomes like an iPad, and if you open up, you get a full fledged keyboard.

9. Apple iPad is a closed Ecosystem– Apple does not support any browser other than Safari. Imagine your Windows operating system not allowing any browser other than the internet explorer. Apple is a closed system – it only allows things that it wants. There is some merit in this path, however, we found banning the Google Voice too offensive. It allows only approved applications.

10. The 10th reason will be selected from your comment. So feel free to come up with your own reason to hate Apple iPad. We will select your reason and post here.

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Does iPad come with SD Card

January 30th, 2011 No comments

Many people have been asking this question – Does the iPad comes with and SD card slot ? The short answer is NO – and not only it does not come with an SD card slot, it is also not supported in any iPad dock. This is unlike the USB port, where at least you can get an extension by hooking an iPad dock.

The SD Card slot that would have been flushing with the edge of the iPad would have been a great boon to the photographers, camera users. You could simply take out the SD card from your camera put it in the iPad, and could start browsing the pictures in the SD Card. You could also browse through the videos shot on your SD Card. And if you needed to transfer the text files on between the computer and the iPad, SD card could have been very useful.

If you look at the price structure of the Apple iPad, you will notice that the iPad 16GB comes for $499 while the 32 GB Model comes at $100 extra at $599. Now consider another fact – a 16 GB extra SD Card comes for $30 or so on ebay. We have found it for even less at ebay, but for the sake of argument, let us say it is $30. Now you have two options to buy Apple – An iPad with 16 GB with and additional 16GB SD card at $530 or an iPad with $32 GB at $600. Which one will you prefer. And consider the flexibility that comes with the SD card. You will normally leave the SD card in the iPad, but, in case you need to transfer the data between a camera and the iPad, you just take out the SD Card from the Camera and insert it into the iPad and browse through the pictures. Is not the life easier ?

But then this does not fit into the Apple’s biz model. They will not be making extra dollars for the 16 GB space. $100 for 16 GB space is ridiculously high even by the Flash based storage standard.

An additional SD Card will also help transfer the data seamlessly between an iPad and a Windows machine. Say, for example you do some typing on your iPad while traveling. You can transfer the text document on the SD card, take it to your notebook or desktop in office and print it from the office printer.

Apple designers are you listening. Can you consider an SD card slot in the next version of the iPad ?

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