Posts Tagged 'chips'

Price is Right

Get ready for a price adjustment. Affordable SSD’s will soon be on the way. JMicron’s new NAND flash controller could cut prices of solid state drives in half. The JMF612 chip design suits the current generation of flash chips utilizing smaller process geometries. The new chips are smaller, faster, and most importantly cheaper to manufacture. Intel and Micron are working on building 34nm NAND flash chips while Samsung and Toshiba are following closely behind. The cheap controller board combined with newer higher density flash memory add up to a widely affordable storage unit by late Fall. Look for many data centers to convert to solid state technology later this year. (link)

Faulty chips behind poor 3G iPhone reception?

And let the finger pointing begin. Apple points to the chip maker and the chip maker points to Apple’s firmware. So who’s to blame? It’s certainly a possibility that some of the chips are faulty but not all of them and it’s possible that the firmware is partly to blame as well. Let’s not forget the network provider as well. Most 3G networks have just recently been implemented I’m sure there’s plenty of bugs to work out.

Richard Windsor of Nomura published a research note (spotted at GigaOm) Tuesday singling out the iPhone 3G’s chipset, made by Infineon, as the probable culprit for the reception problems we reported on Monday. The dropped calls, service interruptions, and abrupt network switches experienced by iPhone 3G users reminded Windsor of similar complaints five years ago, when 3G phones were first launched in Europe.

“We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain that Infineon is the 3G supplier,” Windsor wrote. “This is not surprising as the Infineon 3G chipset solution has never really been tested in the hands of users. Some people will not experience these problems as it is only in areas where the radio signal weakens that the immaturity of the stack really shows.” (link)

Own an nVidia graphics cards? Worried yet?

This is reason why I went with an ATI Radeon 4850 instead of an nVidia GeForce 8800. This was enough to spook me away from nVidia. On the flip side the issue with ATI is drivers. In the past they would never update their drivers and newer games could have some compatibility issues. ATI/AMD is getting better. Just last week I noticed they updated my video drive so I downloaded it and fixed some of the minor problems I was having. ATI/AMD all the way baby!

“NVidia is in deep trouble over the defective parts problem, and from what we’re being told, this is only the tip of the iceberg. NV still insists on stonewalling and spinning because the cost of owning up to the problem could very well sink the company.

In any case, the official story is that there was a small batch of parts given only to HP that went bad. That was comprehensively proved wrong when Dell, Apple, Asus, Lenovo and everyone else under the sun also had problems. NV AR recalled the parts and recanted the story about it only being an EOL test run. Bad fibbers, no cookie. They still stuck to the story about it being only laptop parts, and that it was under control.” (link)

Intel chips vulnerable to bug?

Security researcher and author Kris Kaspersky plans to demonstrate how an attacker can target flaws in Intel’s microprocessors to remotely attack a computer using JavaScript or TCP/IP packets, regardless of what operating system the computer is running.

Kaspersky will demonstrate how such an attack can be made in a presentation at the upcoming Hack In The Box (HITB) Security Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during October. The proof-of-concept attacks will show how processor bugs, called errata, can be exploited using certain instruction sequences and a knowledge of how Java compilers work, allowing an attacker to take control of the compiler.

“I’m going to show real working code…and make it publicly available,” Kaspersky said, adding that CPU bugs are a growing threat and malware is being written that targets these vulnerabilities.

Different bugs will allow hackers to do different things on the attacked computers. “Some bugs just crash the system, some allow a hacker to gain full control on the kernel level. Some just help to attack Vista, disabling security protections,” he said. (link)

nVidia graphics chips failing at alarming rate

Nvidia hasn’t determined the exact cause of the problem but said it relates to a packaging material used with some of its chips, as well as the thermal design of some laptops. Modern processors generate considerable amounts of heat.

To tackle the problem, the company is releasing a software driver that will cause system fans to start operating sooner and reduce the “thermal stress” on the chips. The driver has been provided to laptop makers directly, said Derek Perez, an Nvidia spokesman.

Nvidia will take a charge against second-quarter earnings of US$150 million to $200 million to cover the expected cost of repairing and replacing the products, which include graphics processing units and media and communications processors. It didn’t say specifically which of its products were affected. (link)


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