Intel has released details about its new Xeon E7 v2 chipset. The Xeon processor E7 8800/4800/2800 v2 product family is designed to support up to 32-socket servers with configurations of up to 15 processing cores and up to 1.5 terabytes of memory per socket.
The chip is designed for the big data end of the Internet of Things movement, which the processor maker projected will grow to consist of at least 30 billion devices by 2020. Beyond two times better performance power, Intel is promising a few other upgrades with the next generation of this data-focused chipset, including triple the memory capacity, four times the I/O bandwidth and the potential to reduce total cost of ownership by up to 80 percent.
The 15-core variants with the largest thermal envelope (155W) run at 2.8GHz with 37.5MB of cache and 8 GT/s QuickPath connectivity. The lowest-power models in the list have 105W TDPs and run at 2.3GHz with 24MB of cache and 7.2 GT/s of QuickPath bandwidth. There was also talk of 40W, 1.4GHz models at ISSCC but they have not been announced yet.
Intel has signed on nearly two dozen hardware partners to support the platform, including Asus, Cisco, Dell, EMC, and Lenovo. On the software end, Microsoft, SAP, Teradata, Splunk, and Pivotal also already support the new Xeon family. IBM and Oracle are among the few that support Xeon E7 v2 on both sides of the spectrum.
This should not come as much of a surprise to most people in the loop, but Nvidia’s next generation GPU architecture codenamed Maxwell does not support DirectX Next aka DirectX 12. The reason is rather simple as the new DirectX next is still under development and Microsoft still hasn’t locked down the final specification.
From what we heard, DirectX Next actually fixes a lot of latency related issues that are present in DirectX 11 and earlier versions. The new DirectX should have lower driver latency something that developers have complained for quite some time but we are not aware of any major feature set that will come with the DirectX Next.
Since the Maxwell core launches in Q1 2014, probably March, support was not possible and most likely you will have to wait for Volta graphics to support it in a year or two. In case AMD’s Mantle delivers as much as 45 percent performance boost as AMD claims in Battlefield 4, this might put a lot of pressure on Microsoft to speed up development. This might force Microsoft to solve long standing issues including driver latency. On a side note, we don’t have any info on AMD’s DirectX plans, either.
Maxwell is expected to deliver huge gains in performance per watt and will put another flavour on the graphics market. It will also be used in next generation Tegra products and Nvidia is also planning to license Maxwell IP to other ARM players, taking on the likes of Imagination, Vivante and ARM’s Mali business.
Windows 8 surged in December to end the year with almost 12% of the user share of all Windows desktops, while the slated-for-retirement Windows XP restarted its decline after a two-month pause, a Web analytics company said on Thursday.
Both were good signs for Microsoft, which has bet its future on Windows 8 and implored customers to abandon the aged Windows XP.
According to Net Applications, Windows XP fell 2.2 percentage points in December to 29% of all desktop and notebook computers worldwide, the first time it breached that 30-percent barrier. But the 12-year-old operating system still accounted for nearly a third — 32% — of Windows-powered PCs.
Meanwhile, Windows 8′s and 8.1′s combined user share of all computers reached 10.5%. Of the systems running Microsoft’s OS, Windows 8/8.1 owned a user share of 11.6%.
Both operating systems had taken a break in October and November from earlier trends: Windows XP’s gradual decline and Windows 8′s deliberate growth.
Their December changes were the largest since September, Net Applications data showed.
The gain by Windows 8 and 8.1 was likely due to new PC purchases in the last month of 2013: Most consumer systems come equipped with the newest version, Windows 8.1, which accounted for 34% of the combined total, up from November’s 28%.
Windows 8′s increase put some more distance between it and Windows Vista, the 2007 OS bust: The gap between it and Windows 8 increased by seven-tenths of a percentage point in December.
But Windows 8 remained far behind Windows 7′s adoption. Fourteen months after its debut, Windows 7 powered 23.1% of all Windows systems, nearly twice that of Windows 8. In fact, Windows 7 grew its user share last month, adding nine-tenths of a percentage point to end December at 47.5% of all computer operating systems, and at 52.4% of those running a flavor of Windows. Both were records for the 2009 operating system, hinting that it will remain a standard for years to come.
The decline in Windows XP may have contributed to the increase of Windows 7 as well as Windows 8 and 8.1, as some users migrated from the 2001 OS to Windows 7 as a way to forestall trying the radically-redesigned Windows 8. Most businesses, analysts have said, will stick with Windows 7 as long as possible rather than incur the costs of another migration.
Almost eighty percent of IT professionals are still running Windows XP on at least one device, a Spiceworks report has revealed, raising security concerns as Microsoft counts down to the end of extended support for the obsolescent PC operating system (OS).
In a report entitled ‘Getting Over Your XP’, Spiceworks revealed that 76 percent of IT professionals haven’t upgraded all of their devices from Windows XP to a later version of Windows yet, and nearly half admitted that they will leave the 2002 OS on at least one device past its end of support, which due in less than four months on 8 April, 2014.
Microsoft warned organisations to upgrade their systems in April 2012 when it announced the two year countdown to the end of support for Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003, saying that “the technology environment has shifted” and that those leaving the migration to the last minute might find it difficult to accomplish in time.
In April, software specialist 1E marked the one year countdown to the end of Windows XP support by reporting that less than a quarter of UK companies had completed the migration of their PC estate to a newer version of Windows, with 40 percent still “in the process of upgrading”.
Those that don’t upgrade can expect to be faced with the threat of increasing security concerns, as Windows XP continues to be one of the most targeted operating systems by malware and hacking exploits.
Perhaps tellingly, Spiceworks’ report also said that those IT managers who are still running Windows XP aren’t keen on upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft’s OS, Windows 8, but instead plan to upgrade “at least some” of their systems to Windows 7. According to the report, only seven percent of IT professionals plan to upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.
Those still running Windows XP are starting to notice that the software is actually slowing down. This defies a rule which says that software, running on machines that work, should keep running at the same speed that it did when it was born.
According to Ars Technica the old operating system is working considerably worse than when it was released in 2001. It is especially slow if you are still using Internet Explorer 6 or 7. The culprit is the svchost.exe, which is chewing up the entire processor. Sometimes it can take an hour for a machine to return to normal.
Redmond thinks that the problem is Windows Update. Machines using Windows Update retrieve patch information from Microsoft’s servers. That patch information contains information about each patch: what software it applies to and what knowledge base article it relates to, and, critically, what historic patch or patches the current patch supersedes. Since Windows patches are cumulative a fresh install of Windows XP, does not need to install all of the dozens of Internet Explorer 6 patches sequentially; you can generally just install the latest patch, and it will include all the historic fixes because it supersedes the historic patches that introduced those fixes.
But the Windows Update client components used an algorithm with exponential scaling when processing these lists. So while a new machine, that processing is almost instantaneous. On an elderly machine it is very slow.
Microsoft thought that it had this problem fixed in November when it culled the supersedence lists. It tried again in December but that didn’t seem to help either. It is probably better to scrap XP anyway.
Last week an alleged slide leak purporting to show AMD’s desktop roadmap appeared and it was quickly picked up by most tech sites. Not us of course, since we knew it was rubbish and we’ve got a couple of inboxes littered with similar fakes.
The slide indicated that AMD was about to ditch big-core FX processors, something that has been rumoured for a couple of years. This is not the case. AMD will not pull the plug on FX products in 2015.
AMD Manager of APU/CPU Product Reviews James Prior told Gamers Nexus that the slide was fake and that FX parts aren’t going anywhere. The actual AMD roadmap doesn’t even cover 2015. Prior said it was “rare” to see roadmaps that go more than a year into the future.
That is odd, because we got three such roadmaps over the weekend. One of them is an AMD ARM consumer roadmap 2014-2016. Sounds legit. Perhaps we should publish it just to see how many clickbait loving news editors would fall for it?
Anyway you can submit your fake roadmaps any day of the week, including Sunday. We accept death threats only on weekdays, 9AM to 6PM. Nick Farrell’s astral initiation rituals are available every weekend. Bring your own chicken (BYOC).
The company’s policies for shutting off sales to retailers and shipping licenses to OEMS (original equipment manufacturers) are posted on its site, which was recently updated to show that Windows 7′s “retail end of sales” date was Oct. 30.
The next deadline, marked as “End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled,” will be Oct. 30, 2014, less than a year away.
Microsoft’s practice, first defined in 2010, is to stop selling an older operating system in retail one year after the launch of its successor, and halt delivery of the previous Windows edition to OEMs two years after a new version launches. The company shipped Windows 8, Windows 7′s replacement, in October 2012.
As recently as late September, the last timeComputerworld cited the online resource, Microsoft had not filled in the deadlines for Windows 7. At the time, Computerworld said that the end-of-October dates were the most likely.
A check of Microsoft’s own online store showed that the company has pulled Windows 7 from those virtual shelves.
In practical terms, the end-of-retail-sales date has been an artificial and largely meaningless deadline, as online retailers have continued to sell packaged copies, sometimes for years, by restocking through distributors which squirreled away older editions.
Today, for example, Amazon.com had a plentiful supply of various versions of Windows 7 available to ship, as did technology specialist Newegg.com. The former also listed copies of Windows Vista and even Windows XP for sale through partners.
Microsoft also makes a special exception for retail sales, telling customers that between the first and second end-of-sale deadlines they can purchase Windows 7 from computer makers. “When the retail software product reaches its end of sales date, it can still be purchased through OEMs (the company that made your PC) until it reaches the end of sales date for PCs with Windows preinstalled,” the company’s website stated.
The firmer deadline is the second, the one for offering licenses to OEMs. According to Microsoft, it “will continue to allow OEMs to sell PCs preinstalled with the previous version for up to two years after the launch date of the new version” (emphasis added).
After that date, Microsoft shuts off the spigot, more or less, although OEMs, especially smaller “white box” builders, can and often do stockpile licenses prior to the cut-off.
But officially, the major PC vendors — like Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo — will discontinue most Windows 7 PC sales in October 2014, making Windows 8 and its follow-ups, including Windows 8.1, the default.
Even then, however, there are ways to circumvent the shut-down. Windows 8 Pro, the more expensive of the two public editions, includes “downgrade” rights that allow PC owners to legally install an older OS. OEMs and system builders can also use downgrade rights to sell a Windows 8- or Windows 8.1-licensed system, but factory-downgrade it to Windows 7 Professional before it ships.
Enterprises with volume license agreements are not at risk of losing access to Windows 7, as they are granted downgrade rights as part of those agreements. In other words, while Microsoft may try to stymie Windows 7 sales, the 2009 operating system will long remain a standard.
As of the end of November, approximately 46.6% of all personal computers ran Windows 7, according to Web measurement vendor Net Applications, a number that represented 51.3% of all the systems running Windows.
Software king of the world Microsoft is preparing to fix more than eight flaws in Windows, Office and Internet explorer tomorrow. The patches will fix an unspecified number of vulnerabilities in their flagship products. Three of the updates, affecting Windows and Internet Explorer, are rated critical.
All supported versions of Windows, including the recently-released 8.1, are affected by at least one critical vulnerability. The one bulletin that affects IE fixed a critical vulnerability in all versions of the browser, including the new IE 11. Three other Windows bulletins are rated Important. Two other bulletins, both rated important, affect all supported versions of Microsoft Office.
Microsoft will also release their other usual monthly updates, including a new version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool and a large number of non-security updates. Curiously while many thought it likely that Redmond will be fixing a zero day bug in Windows and Office. The vulnerability is being used in zero-day attacks specifically against Office. The Patch Tuesday updates this month will not address this vulnerability.
Redmond said that only some Office users are being attacked, not users of the other products who are not running an affected version of Office.
“Each time a new version of [a supported browser] is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version,” Google said in a post to the Google Apps blog.
Google regularly warns customers when it has dropped a version of IE from the support list, so the announcement was not really suprising. In September 2012, Google said the same of IE8, and in 2011, of IE7, as Microsoft readied new versions.
Microsoft launched IE11 last month for Windows 8.1 as part of that free update to Windows 8. While it has yet to ship IE11 for Windows 7, it will likely do so this month, based on the release three weeks ago of a blocking toolkit for the browser.
“Google’s test plans have been adjusted to now stop all testing and engineering work related to Internet Explorer 9,” the company said today.
As is its practice, Google will also begin warning users of Gmail and other services that it has dropped IE9 through messages urging them to upgrade.
Google’s policy is to support only the current version of a browser, and its immediate predecessor. Its ditch-IE9 move was the first by a major online service provider.
Older, unsupported browsers can still be used to connect to Google Apps and other of its services, but some features may be off-limits or limited, and at some point the apps may stop working entirely in IE9.
On a support page dedicated to its browser support policy, for example, Google noted that its Calendar app displays in read-only mode under IE8. In the same document, Google encouraged users that rely on older versions of IE to “consider a dual browser strategy.”
The end-of-support plan for Google Apps will not disrupt access to Google’s search site via older browsers, including IE9.
Google does not have a corresponding policy for operating systems. In fact, Google recently poked at Microsoft when it said it would continue to support Windows XP with its own Chrome browser for at least a year after Microsoft stops patching IE8 on the aged OS this coming April.
Microsoft launched IE9 in March 2011. The browser runs on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Microsoft will continue to support IE9 on those platforms until 2017 and 2020, respectively.
The Windows 8.1 launch didn’t get much attention, which probably has something to do with the fact that it’s basically Windows 8 done right. However, users of AMD APUs could have a good reason to celebrate.
According to AMD’s senior marketing manager Clarice Simmons, Windows 8.1 is a lot better than Windows 8 when it comes to harnessing the potential of AMD silicon. Writing in her blog, Simmons said the new OS could deliver performance gains of up to 9.5 percent on some PCs based on AMD APUs.
However, her numbers are for the A10-6800K and the 9.5 percent gain only applies to machines with an outdated video driver. With the same driver, the difference is actually 3.5 percent, which still isn’t bad but it’s not nearly as good as 9.5 percent.
“Our work with Microsoft includes development on the essential operating system “plumbing” that enables Windows to directly leverage AMD technology in order to run more efficiently. The two companies also cooperate on the development and tuning of the latest AMD video drivers,”wrote Simmons.
“Of course AMD’s fast CPU and GPU cores contribute to high performance, but having software that is optimized to take advantage of the AMD hardware architecture is a significant advantage. Tuning our device drivers to simultaneously suit AMD hardware, software applications, and Windows 8.1 makes systems more streamlined.”
Simmons also pointed out that AMD Wireless Display works better on Windows 8.1, due to better architectural implementation and support for Miracast, better ecosystem support and new solutions that enable the OS to tap low latency display encode paths available in Radeons.
Georg Lukas has penned a detailed post claiming that Google is using what he calls ‘horribly broken’ RC4 and MD5 as the default cipher on all SSL connections of Android devices.
He said that both both are extremely insecure as they are both broken and can be easily compromised, but what is odd is that Android used to use a pretty strong DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA ciphers till Android version 2.2.1. During the release of Android 2.3.4 when RC4 and MD5 were elevated as the default cipher and they are still being used on latest Android versions.
But it seems it was neither NSA spooks nor Google’s intention to weaken Android that was the reason for the dodgy promotion of RC4 and MD5. Lucas found that it was all Oracle’s fault. Google engineers were simply implementing what Java’s Reference Implementation (RI 6) were recommending.
Lucas further said the cipher order on the vast majority of Android devices was defined by Sun in 2002 and taken over into the Android project in 2010 as an attempt to improve compatibility. Question is how soon will it take Google to fix the problem, or will its chums in the NSA say that it can’t.
The company said the new SM3267 integrated controller is expected to deliver up to 160MB/s read, and 60MB/s write speeds through a single channel; that would be a 30% to 50% performance improvement over today’s USB 3.0 flash drive technology.
Even though the USB 3.0 specification has the capability to support 4.8Gbps throughput speeds, the speed of a USB 3.0-enabled flash drive is dictated by the speed of the accessing flash devices in the drive. Today, most consumer-USB 3.0 flash drives support about 100MB/s read speeds.
We are pleased to announce that SM3267 has received design-ins from most of our current USB controller customers, including many top-tier OEMs, and we expect SM3267-based USB 3.0 flash drives will be commercially available starting in the fourth quarter of 2013,” Wallace Kou, CEO of Silicon Motion, said in a statement.
The new integrated chip will also be able to run at lower voltages, from 5 volts to 1.2 volts, enabling a 25% to 30% lower USB flash drive device temperature compared with other USB 3.0 flash controller products in the market, Silicon Motion said.
The new IC will support the vast majority of NAND flash technology, including new triple-level cell (TLC), multi-level cell (MLC), high speed Toggle, and ONFI DDR NAND manufactured by Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, SK Hynix, Micron and Intel.
The new chip has already passed both USB-IF compliance testing and WHCK (Windows Hardware Certification Kit) tests for Windows 7 and Windows 8.
The new IC is available in a Chip-on-Board (COB) and in a 48-pin QFN green package.
Not everyone can afford the latest GPU, and even a lot of people who can simply don’t want to. Of course, each new generation brings plenty of new features and improvements to the table, but the price tag is often the most compelling argument.
Hawaii is set to be announced tonight, although we will probably have to wait a few weeks for retail availability. Between now and mid- to late-October many vendors, disties and retailers will try to get rid of excess Tahiti stock and we’re already seeing some movement in Europe, a bit less in the US, so we’ll focus on Europe.
For example, the MSI HD 7950 Boost Twin Frozr III can be ordered for $199 in a couple of German shops. That is down from$250 roughly a month ago.
As for the HD 7970, there are a few interesting deals. The Asus HD 7970 DirectCU II Top now goes for €249, down from $349 a month ago. The HD 7970 cards from PowerColor and MSI are available for $249 as of yesterday. In case that’s not good enough, the HD 7970 GHz Edition clocked at 1050MHz is also seeing substantial cuts. The Asus ROG Matrix Platinum is widely available for $299 and less. It cost $399 a week ago. The non platinum version is even cheaper.
In any case, these are some very tempting cuts, but bear in mind that Hawaii has yet to launch and the best deals are yet to come. Until we know a bit more about Hawaii pricing, we can’t exactly recommend a venerable Tahiti card, but bargain hunters should definitely take them into consideration.
In case you’re interested, check your nearest price search engine. However, we should probably give AIBs and channel players a couple of more weeks to adjust the prices ahead of launch, as they could come up with even better deals.
The next generation of Radeons is about to launch, but so far AMD has done a rather good job at keeping the details away from prying eyes. We got some info on the new branding scheme, some vague performance claims and that’s it – very little in the way of hard tech facts.
Now AMD is shedding more light on its new GPUs. In an interview with Forbes, VP and General Manager of AMD’s Graphics Business Unit, Matt Skynner, said the chips are coming in Q4, which we already knew, but he also confirmed what we reported weeks ago. The cards should end up a bit cheaper than many people had expected.
“We’re not targeting a $999 single GPU solution like our competition because we believe not a lot of people have that $999,” he said. “We normally address what we call the ultra-enthusiast segment with a dual-GPU offering like the 7990. So this next-generation line is targeting more of the enthusiast market versus the ultra-enthusiast one.”
Basically this means AMD is taking a more frugal approach, as it will not focus on the ultra-high-end market. Bang for buck, that’s what AMD is going for.
“It’s also extremely efficient. [Nvidia's Kepler] GK110 is nearly 30% bigger from a die size point of view. We believe we have the best performance for the die size for the enthusiast GPU,” he added.
This is very encouraging news for end-users. The Hawaii die should end up 10 to 15 percent bigger than Tahiti, yet AMD reckons it can take on much bigger GK110 products. A 30 percent smaller die means higher margins, yields and more room to come up with competitive prices. In addition, it should result in a significant improvement in performance-per-watt, which means most users won’t have to upgrade their PSUs to get a significant performance boost, especially those upgrading from 40nm products.
Windows Defender, which used to be a pretty good free security system, has slipped in quality.
An endpoint security study released this week by independent German lab AV-Test evaluated 28 antivirus products against three criteria: protection, repair and usability. Products could earn up to six points in each category for a possible total of 18 points. Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab and Symantec lead the field while the protection packages from Avast, F-Secure and GData share fourth place.
All of the software earned top scores of 15.2 points or more nearly five points higher than the overall result obtained by Microsoft’s Windows Defender or Security Essentials when used together with the Windows Firewall, reported AV-Test.
“This proves that the use of external security solutions can lead to a massive improvement when it comes to system protection.”
The best at stopping malware, as measured by the lab’s “protection” tests came from Bitdefender, F-Secure and Kaspersky. The best free programs were Avast and AVG but only made it to eighth and twelfth place respectively,” said AV-Test.
“The Windows Defender provided by Microsoft in its operating system set a very low benchmark value with a detection rate of just 79 per cent.
Microsoft’s free endpoint security software, however, did earn top marks in usability, which only five other tested products managed to equal.