32 and 22 nm at Intel Developer Forum

1 billion+ transistors, that is what is possible with the newer 32nm fabrication process showcased at the Intel Developer Forum. ‘Westmere’ products based on 32nm are expected by this year.

There was also a showcase of 22nm SRAM fabricated chip. Intel is also working with 32nm for Atom processors to reduce the power requirements to the level of ARM processors.

32 nm Arrandale can run encryptions accelerated by hardware AES instructions. This enables faster encryption without the overheads of software processing of encryption instructions.

I wish they make the execution speed of Atom processor equal to about desktop Core2 series processor.

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Nvidia Tegra

Battery life of 25 days of music and 10 hours of 1080p video playback. This is what Nvidia Tegra is built for. Tegra called ‘System on a chip’ i.e ‘computer on a chip’ processor is from the graphics giant Nvidia.

Ilustration of Nvidia Tegra

Ilustration of Nvidia Tegra

It has a CPU i.e ARM 11 processor, GPU, northbridge, southbridge and memory controller all integrated onto a single package with size smaller than a coin. The graphics processor supports Open GL 2.0 and 3D acceleration. It also support 3G, WiFi and WiMax for the ‘always-on’ computing experience. Nvidia is also targetting a subwatt(<1W) power usage for the chip.

Internal architecture of a Nvidia Tegra chip

Internal architecture of a Nvidia Tegra chip

Nvidia is will release two class of Tegra devices, Tegra 600 Series and Tegra APX series.

  • The key features of Tegra 600 series are:Up to 1080p HD video playback
  • Ultra-low-power GeForce GPU for intuitive and smooth 3D user interfaces
  • Integrated media processor for over 100 hours audio and 10 hours HD video playback
  • Image processor with advanced DSC and HD camcorder processing
  • Connectivity to support Web 2.0 and social media applications
  • Display support for up to 1080p HDMI, WSXGA+ LCD, SXGA CRT, and NTSC/PAL TV-Out

The key features of Tegra APX series are:

  • 720p HD video capture and playback
  • Lowest power for demanding applications like 720p HD video
  • 3D user interface
  • HD video playback
  • Ability to access visually intensive applications like mapping and gaming

Nvidia is working with Google and Open Handset Alliance to use Android OS on Nvidia Tegra. Microsoft has announced Zune HD that will run on Nvidia Tegra for better video quality and battery life. Samsung annonced that is working on a Tegra based phone. Nvidia is expecting use of Tegra processor in Mobile Internet Devices(MID) and Netbooks.

For more specifications on Nvidia Tegra visit Wikipedia.

The main thing I’m thinking about is will be perfect for an Home Theatre PC (HTPC) setup? Will it be able to replace the Nvidia Ion Platform?

Google Chrome Operating System

Almost nine months after the launch of Google Chrome, Google has now announced to release Google Chrome Operating System. Chrome will be an open-source operating system and is mainly targeted towards netbooks.

As in the browser Chrome, ‘speed, simplicity and security’ will be the key aspects that Google will address. Starting from the basics, the security architecture will be redesigned to prevent malwares and virus attacks.

Chrome OS will work on both x86 and ARM chips. As quoted by Google, Chrome OS will have a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. Thus applications will have to be written using web technologies. It seems that everyrhing in Chrome OS will be running within a browser.

Like their browser, Google aims at keeping the user interface of Chrome OS to the minimal. Maybe this will be the fact that might drive more people to Chrome OS. It seems that it will be difficult to use games in chrome, since applications will be written using web technologies. From the description from Google’s Blog, the OS seems to be targeted at the most basic computer users who just check mails, surf the web and mainly is targeted towards netbooks. Netbooks running on Chrome OS might be available by second half of 2010.

Lets see if Chrome becomes a competition for Linux, Mac or Windows OS or it gets onto your desktop as another option to boot into when necessary. As far as I see the biggest competition to Linux kernel based Chrome OS are Windows 7 (based on Windows NT kernel), Mac OS X (based on XNU kernel) and Ubuntu (based on Linux kernel).

There were some photos of leaked Chrome OS doing rounds on the internet, but all were fake.

NVIDIA Ion Platform

Nvidia has introduced the ION platform, coupling NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics solution with Intel Atom processor.

Graphics powerful small NVIDIA Ion Platform

Graphics powerful small NVIDIA Ion Platform

Advantages? It can run video at full HD resolution of 1080p. Its now possible to play many games at better frame rates on an Atom processor, which were not possible with the older Intel 945 chipset platform. It’s also possible to use Windows Vista on an atom. With Linux based OS you now run Compiz Fuzion with all the 3D effects enabled.How about keeping you friends wondering, how your little machine can do so much with Compiz Fusion on Linux.

The ION platform has hardware accelerated decoding of H.264 and MPEG-2 formats. But all this will come at the cost of battery life. The use of this graphics solution is seen as a bottleneck on the battery life of current netbooks. Definitely, it’s not for those who just do a bit of word-processing, online surfing on their netbooks. Also gaming on an tiny 10-inch screen is not worth it. Though I guess manufacturers will bring in bigger screen based on Atom processors soon.

Ok, after all its dis-advantages that overpower advantages, why am I talking about this platform. May be because you can connect a bigger monitor you an netbook, and go gaming at your relatives house with all the gaming progress saved on the netbook.

The bigger arena I hope to see this platform succeed is the Home Theatre PC (HTPC) market, where low power requirement is big boon, but the requirement are not very high. There’s no need of a power hungry graphics card and processor. You think you will use this combo for you next Home Theater PC? Another competitor for Nvidia Ion Platform is Nvidia Tegra.

Verisign’s SSL Encryption Cracked: Online Shopping And Transactions Threatened

With the help of 200 PS3, an team of security researchers was able to break Versign’s SSL encryption. The cell processors in PS3 were very much capable of exploiting the SSL algorithm. The SSL encryption uses MD5 hashes to create a code and detect whether the data has been modified after it was transmitted. This way any hacker attack could be prevented. But the demonstration by the group showed how the power of improved hardware capabilities could be easily used to attack almost any trascation on the internet.

Using the hardware the group was able to create fake security certificates that behaved like the actual ones. The website demonstarated was RapidSSL. So now it’s time for websites to do away with MD5. But no need to worry as of now, the details of the attack are still with the researchers. It almost impossible for anybody to do such a attack even though the possiblity is not eliminated. With increased computing power like the CUDA, its possible.

What website should look for is changing their security to a more advanced level. We should hope that researchers create a more better encryption. There’s nothing that cannot be cracked, but improving the security level is the only way to stop the attacks. It time to take security seriously with such increased computing power. What we should do?? See to it the website has a valid security certificate. It is denoted by a yellow lock on your browser address bar.

So be awake with eyes wide open the next time you go shopping. So will you go for online shopping, online banking or any transactions now?? Of course you can.

Power Saving for Computer

It is possible to save power even though your PC is ON, by using power saving options available. This green initiative will help do little green for the environment around and reduce your electricity bills a bit.

Please note that: All the power options mentioned used the last moment, when it detected inactivity (no mouse or keyboard usage) as reference.

This is the thing you need to do

Right click on the desktop and click on ‘Properties
Next click on the ‘Screen Saver‘ tab above
Click on the ‘Power‘ button at the bottom of the window
This will open a window with title ‘Power Options
Here you can create various power schemes for various requirements. (I have displayed my power schemes at the end of the post)

Power-management in Windows XP

Power-management in Windows XP

Description of terms used:
Turn off monitor: After the selected time limit, the CPU will put the monitor in standby mode. This helps in saving lot of power especially in case of CRT monitor. I will recommend all of us to use this option set to ‘After 3 minutes’.

Turn off hard disks: After the selected time, the power supply to hard-disk is turned off. This helps save a few tens of watts of electricity.

System Standby: This option put the system in a low power mode, turning off most of devices connected to the motherboard. This helps save a lot of power. To resume back to work after standby, just press any key on the keyboard.

Hibernate option in Windows XP

Hibernate option in Windows XP

System Hibernates: This option turns-off the computer completely. You can even switch off the computer after putting it in hibernate mode. To resume from standby mode press the ‘Power’ switch of your CPU. This mode saves maximum power and is equivalent to turning off computer, but it enables to get back to work faster, than turning off the computer and then start it again.

To manually put your computer in hibernation mode, Click the ‘start’ button. Then click on ‘Turn off Computer’. After that, hold down the ‘Shift’ key on the keyboard, the standby button will turn to hibernate. Don’t release the shift key before clicking on Hiberate.

This is how Hibernate mode works: Before turning off, the data in RAM is copied to the hard-disk. So the next time you start your computer, the data in hard-disk is copied directly to the RAM instead of verification process, and you get back where you originally were much faster.

Some of my Power  Management schemes are:

Scanning Power Management: For antivirus scans
Turn off Monitor:     After 1 min
Turn off hard disks:  Never
System Standby:       After 3 hours
System hibernates:    After 4 hours

Usual: For Regular Use
Turn off Monitor:     After 1 min
Turn off hard disks:  Never
System Standby:       After 3 minutes
System hibernates:    After 10 minutes

Movie Time: For use while watching movies
Turn off Monitor:     Never
Turn off hard disks:  Never
System Standby:       Never
System hibernates:    Never

You can create multiple power management schemes, by selecting the required settings discussed above and clicking the ‘Save As’ button and use them to as and when required. Using these measures will contribute to save our warming planet.

MSI Wind U100


MSI Wind U100 the $560 ultra-mobile PC from MSI has finally hit the market. With so many companies getting into the market, the competition in UMPC market is getting hotter, with increasing options for the end user.

The technical specifications of the MSI Wind U100 which measures 260 mm x 180 mm x 31 mm are:

  • 10 inch display with resolution of 1024 x 600
  • Intel Atom N270 Processor (1.6 GHz)
  • Graphics Driver: Intel GMA 950
  • 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM (Windows XP), 512 MB DDR2 SDRAM (Linux) 667MHz
  • 80 GB Hard Drive SATA
  • SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro card support
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.0 (optional)
  • Ethernet 10/100
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • 1.3 mega pixel web-camera
  • OS: SUSE Linux or Windows XP
  • Battery Life: 2.5 hrs 3-cell, 5.5 hrs 6-cell

It will also sport VGA port, MIC-in and Line-out port. It weighs around 1.2kg and will be available in three colours White, Pink and Black.

It will cost $399 and $549 ie Rs 17000 and Rs 24000 in terms of direct conversion for Linux and Windows XP version respectively.