More on AMD and Palladium

Servers, nanostamps, perfect memory, belated book puff

HWRoundup Now then, now then, here's an interesting nugget fossicked by ExtremeTech reader and consultant Andreas Kuhn - a two-year old white paper "authored by AMD and encryption firm Wave Systems (which) may offer additional clues to the design of PCs incorporating Palladium, Microsoft's new security initiative."

This "contains many similarities to Palladium's potential feature set: the ability to sell multimedia content by the chapter or track, the possible ability to block spam by accurately verifying the sender and recipient of a message; increased privacy, and serving as a trusted client. However, the AMD-Wave white paper also postulates the need for multiple protection schemes, something that Microsoft's limited public statements have not addressed.

"Furthermore, support needs to be provided for multiple protection schemes, since there will clearly be several schemes available and content creators will demand the flexibility to define their own protection requirements," the white paper says."

There's more, much more at ExtremeTech.

There are plenty of hardware review sites, but few are much cop when it comes to RISC, IA-64, x86-64 server architectures. And most of the few have an axe to grine. Ace's Hardware is an outstanding exception, coming to print with the snappily-titled "Volume Multi-Processor Systems: Part 2".

Here's the pitch:

The servers we look at are based around the Pentium III, Pentium 4, Athlon, PowerPC, Itanium, and UltraSPARC architectures, including detailed diagrams of the system layout for each system.

Beyond this, we also look into the future to see what technologies 2003 has in store for us. The impact of integrated northbridges and memory interfaces are discussed, as well as the benefits of improving thread-level parallelism through on-chip multiprocessing and fine-grained multi-threading.

Does this get your goat? Then read on.

On to the EE Times where Rick Merritt surveys Intel's attack on the 64-bit server market with Itanium 2. This is targeting the high-end of the market, where the top 10 per cent of servers account for 50 per cent of revenues. It's where Sun and IBM play, and they ain't making way for Intel in a hurry. And then there's AMD's Opteron, very much a wild card.

A couple of snippets: the original Itanium, Merced or Itanic, was underpowered, corporate customers didn't like it, and Dell, Intel's chief flag waver, is playing wait and see with Mk II. Itanium 2 will launch mostly with second and third tier OEMs, but this simply doesn't crack it with the big corporates.

Realistically, Itanium 2 will only make waves next year, when it has big enough bag of benchmark results and application support. Oh, and MDR/In-Stat's Kevin Krewell says the AMD Opteron is a much better design and scales better than Itanium 2. So there. But does AMD have the the system expertise and top hardware and software partners to gain broad market credibility?

EE Times asks the questions

Today's hardware geek likes to look under the hood and get their hands (metaphorically) dirty. And they love to talk components. OK, so it's chip pornography, but is it necessary for the semiconductor industry, and the hardware sites, to expose us to quite so much information about manufacturing. Nanometer this, 300 millimeter that, steppers, photolithography, copper interconnects low-k dielectrics. This is electronics industry stuff - keep it there.

There's some science too. Boffins at Princeton University have developed a "new method of imprinting nanoscale features on silicon using a microscopic "stamp" (which) could allow more complex computer chips to be manufactured faster and more cheaply than is currently possible".

There's lot's to be done, but the nanostamp technology is thought to be promising, The New Scientist reports

Hang about this manufacturing/ new technology chip stuff is interesting. In January, we published a spiffing ComputerWire piece on

plastic memory

. But there are plenty of other moves afoot to develop the perfect memory. Red Herring's excellent Dean Takahashi covers the ground, so if you don't know your DRAM from your FRAM and your MRAM - and you want to know more, obviously -

check this out

(thank-you GJansen11 for the link).

BTW Takahashi is the author of Opening the X-Box, the definitive story on the development of the Microsoft games console. No I haven't read it, but I know a man who has - and he says it's marvellous. And it's had rave reviews. ®

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