Archive for March, 2011

Maxim IC MAX14950 PCI Express 3.0 Equalizer

March 31st, 2011 33 comments

Assume that you have a very long trace of differential PCIs microstrip, using the 5 GT/s PCI Express 2.0 or the latest 8 GT/s PCI Express 3.0 on your PCB. With the long trace length, you are likely to see signal degradation due to the skin effect, Intel Symbol Interference or the signal path discontinuity by the time the signal reaches the receiver.

The degradation in the signal is especially marked for the PCI Express 3.0 at 8.0 GT/sec. Maxim-IC provides a solution for the maintaining the Signal Integrity using its MAX14950 IC. MAX14950 is available in 42 pin TQFN package and contains quad PCIe equalizers. While the MAX14950 is more likely to be used for the PCI Express 2.0 ( 5 GT/sec) and PCI Express 3.0 ( 8 GT/s), it is backward compatible with the earlier PCI Express 1.0 ( 2.5 GT/sec).

The Maxim IC MAX14950 is typically used at transmitter as well as the receiver end. There are two types of controls available at the Maxim IC MAX14950 – one if the chip is place right at next to the transmitter and another if the chip is placed just before the receiver. The INEQ1 and INEQ0 pics control the Input Equalization and the Pins OEQ2, OEQ1, OEQ0 are used for preshoot. The amount of the input equalization or the outout preshoot is programmable depending upon the amount of equalization.

If you are concerned about the channel loss and eye closing, the Maxim IC MAX14950 is something you would like to consider in your design. You may experiment with the different settings of the INEQ1 and INEQ0 at the receiver and and with OEQ2, OEQ1, OEQ0 at the transmitter end to see which one gets you better result. Using the Maxim IC MAX14950, you can typically extend the range to 20 inch of length on the PCB.

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AMD Athlon ii P340 Vs Pentium Dual Core T4500

March 31st, 2011 No comments

The AMD’s Athlon ii P340 and the Intel Pentium Dual Core T4500 make up an interesting compatison. The clock frequencies are similar – the Athlon P340 is clocked at 2.2 GHz while the T4500 is clocked at 2.3 GHz.  It turns out that the Athlon ii’s exotic Integrated Memory controller is not good enough to make it a better processor when the  benchmarking results are compared. The higher 2.3 GHz clock frequency of the Dual core T4500 weighs heavily and does not let the 2.2 GHz P340 go past it. The gap between the performance is not huge, but if you need a yes or no answer, then T4500 is faster.

Before we  compare the benchmark results of the Athlon ii P340 with Dual Core T4500, let us take a look at the qualitative comparison of the P340 with T4500

– Both the Athlon ii P340 as well as the Dual Core T4500 are dual core. While P340 is clocked at 2.2 GHz, the T4500 is clocked at 2.3 GHz.

– The Athlon ii P340 has integrated memory controller, which speeds up the processor to memory controller. The memory DIMM module connect to the processor directly. This is unlike the Intel’s T4500 architecture, in which, the processor first communicate with the North Bridge, which in turn communicates with the Memory. This slows down the processor to memory communication.

– Both the Athlon ii P340 as well as the T4500 have 1 MB of L2 Cache.
– The Athlon ii P340 communicates with the chipset using fast differential HyperTransport Bus. The Intel’s Dual core T4500 communicated with Front Side Bus.

Given these facts, it is difficult to arrive at a quick decision as to which of these two is faster. The Table below lists out some of the bench marking results.

Benchmark Athlon ii P340 Dual Core T4500
Super Pi 2M (Lower is better) 72 seconds 63 seconds
Windows 7 Experience Index – CPU 5.3 5.8
PassMark Score 1313 1563
3D Mark 06 CPU Score 1740 1920

From the Table, it is obvious that the Intel’s Dual core T4500 has better performance than the Athlon ii P340, though the margin is not very high. Obviously the Athlon ii P320 lags behind by even farther margin when compared to T4500

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AMD Athlon ii P320 Vs Pentium P6100 comparison

March 31st, 2011 1 comment

The AMD’s Athlon ii P320 is slower than the Intel’s Pentium P6100 even when the Athlon ii P320 is 100 Mhz faster than the Pentium P6100. The Athlon ii P320 is cloced at 2.1 GHz while the Pentium P6100 is a 2 GHz part. You may also like to notice  that even the 2.2 GHz Athlon ii P340 is slower than the Pentium P6100. The Athlon ii P320 is part of a large number of the entry level notebooks launched last year. Let us compare the Architectural similarities and the difference between the two processors before we compare their performance and benchmarking.

– Both  Athlon ii P320 and the Intel Pentium P6100 are dual core processor.
– Both these processors have  Integrated memory controllers that leads to speedier memory to CPU communication.
– AMD Athlon ii P320 as well as the Pentium P6100 lack hyperthreading support ( unlike the Intel’s core i3 processors ).
– Athlon ii P320 is a 2.1 GHz part while the Pentium P6100 is a 2.00 GHz part.
– The Cache structure seem to make a big difference in the performance of the two processors. The Athlon ii P320 is equipped with 1024 MB of Cache while the Pentium P6100 has 3 MB of L3 Cache ( the Intel’s smart Cache).
– The Pentium P6100 has Integrated GPU ( Graphics Processing ) unit , Athlon ii P320 has none. The GPU unit helps reduce system cost by not requiring any external discrete GPU.

Here are some of the benchmark and performance comparison of the Athlon ii P320 and Pentium P6100

– The SuperPi 2M timing for the Athlon ii P320 is 85 seconds Vs 52 seconds for Pentium P6100, indicating supremacy of P6100 over the Athlon ii P320

– The Windows 7 Experience index for the Athlon ii P320 is 5.1 Vs the 5.7 index score for Pentium P6100. Windows 7 Experience index is a crude way of telling the processor’s performance score.

– 3DMark06 CPU score for Athlon ii P320 is 1670 which trails behind the Pentium P6100′s score of 1835.

– The Passmark score of Athlon ii P320 at 1261, trails significantly behind the Pentium P6100’s score of 1526.

The Athlon ii P320 is therefore a slower processor when compared to P6100 even  with its slightly higher operating frequency. It is more appropriate to compare the Athlon ii P340 at 2.2 GHz with the P6100 – which still lags behind but closes some gap.

We hope that this analysis helps buyers when choosing entry level notebook. Your comments are valuable.

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AMD Athlon II P320 vs Intel Core i3-330M benchmark Comparison

March 29th, 2011 No comments

Let me start with the verdict – The Intel Core i3-330M is SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the AMD’s Athlon ii P320 processors. Both these processors are part of the entry level notebooks, that we have seen in the recent times.

The Athlon ii P320 and the Core Core i3-330M makes an interesting comparison as both are dual core and both are clocked similarly – P320 is 2.1 GHz part whilr the core i3-330M is 2.13 GHz part. Both have integrated memory controller which make the processor to memory communication fast. They have fast differential bus to communicate with the chipset – AMD’s P320 has the HyperTransport while the Intel’s Core i3-330M has DMI Bus.

The Cache architectures are different and this seems to give some edge to the core i3-330M, which comes with 3 MB of smart cache. The AMD’s P320 comes with only 1 MB of L2 Cache.

In the table below have captured some of the bechmark results to compare Athlon ii P320 with Core i3-330M.

Benchmark Athlon ii P320 Intel Core i3-330M
Super Pi 2M (Lower is better) 85seconds 49 seconds
Windows 7 Experience Index – CPU 5.1 6.2
PassMark Score 1261 1969
3D Mark 06 CPU Score 1670 2200

Obviously the AMD’s P320 stands very little chance in front of the Intel’s Core i3-330M. Hyperthreading could be another reason why Core i3-330M is faster than the P320. However, we have seen the Hyperthreading disabled Arrandale part Pendium P6200 is also faster than the AMD’s P320. Pentium P6200 is similar in architecture to the Core i3-330M, but has Hyperthreading disabled.

Another advantage with the Pentium P6100 is that it comes with integrated graphics unit. While the integrated graphics unit is not good enough for the high end games, it helps in the design of the low cost systems that do not demand heavy video processing. The integrated graphics is good enough for entry level video encoding and decoding as well as for playing low end game at low resolutions.

Performance wise the Athlon ii P320 can have comparable performance with respect to the earlier Intel Dual core and Core 2 Duo processors.

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Intel Pentium P6100 and Core i3-330M benchmark

March 29th, 2011 No comments

The Intel Pentium P6100 and Core i3-330M are both entry level notebook processor. The Core i-330M has a better performance not only because of the higher frequency ( Core i3-330M is clocked at 2.13 GHz, while P6100 is clocked at 2 GHz) but also because of the the hyperthreading in i3-330M. Both the processors are based upon the same Arrandale Architecture. The Table below compares the benchmarking results of the Core i3-330M and Pentium P6100.

Benchmark core i3-330m Pentium P6100
Super Pi 2M ( Lower is better) 47 seconds 49 seconds
Passmark ( Higher is better) 1947 1527
Window 7 Experience Index 6.3 5.7

The Table makes it clear that the Core i3-330M is has definite performance gain with respect to the Pentium P6100.

If you want to compare the Core i3-330M with AMD processor, the Phenom ii N830 is a good candidate. Check out Intel core i3-330M Vs AMD’s Phenom ii N830.

We are looking forward to your comments including positive criticism.

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