Monday, July 31, 2006

Rant: Futuremark @ blocked Conroe

There is a petition currently happening over at XtremeSystems about Conroe scores still being blocked. It was ok, well, not really ok, but acceptable that Conroe scores aren't allowed to be published since the CPU hasn't been announced (but even before, un-announced CPU scores were allowed to be posted), but since the embargo has been lifted and all announcement has been made, it's justifiable that the scores to be allowed for publishing (and ownage).

Of course, this is going to get a lot of AMDroids fuming since not even the top of the line FX-62 OCed till kingdom come can even get close to matching up even the measly middle-flavored Conroe system. Heck, I can almost hear AMDroids spewing useless comments about pricing, availability, and even linking to how Conroe performance numbers are rigged (hey, get over it, Shariku has been busted already). Wohoo, AMDroids sucks big time. And no, AMD* isn't your hero, they aren't selling cheap processors back then because they are bang for the buck, but because they suck. Enough with ranting for now, go and sign the petition...


Brag: Asus P5W64-WS is so droocilisious!

A friend sent me a bunch of pictures of Asus*' upcoming motherboard for Intel® Core™ based processors. They look really really nice, and I am drooling myself as I type this. Four (4) PCI Express slots anyone? Expand if you would like to see other images, click on the picture for bigger version.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Article: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Preview (Mainstream Price for Performance Enthusiast)

I just uploaded a preview of Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Processor. I'm in a hurry, as always, to fill up a spot on my Blog, duh, it's tiring already with all these techno stuff. I feel very old about all this stuff already. If you missed my earlier preview of Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300 Processor, I still added a comparison here that shows the two processors side by side. Anyway, if you're intested, expand this for more.

The Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Processor is sits at the mid section flavor of the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6000 series of processor. Above this, lined up higher speed grade, from Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6700, and Intel® Core™ 2 X6800, and below are Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6400 and Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300. This processor is an attractive one since it has full 4MB of L2 cache.

Source:Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Preview (Mainstream Price for Performance Enthusiast)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Nvidia to soon provide SLI support to Intel

Digitimes posted that NVIDIA will soon provide SLI on Intel chipsets. Well, for the few that knows, it's just a matter of technicality. A few have been able to use the hacked drivers, and the developer has even told me that he already launched this hacked driver to the public. Hmm, I guess being out of touch of the enthuasiast tech news for a week is a bit too long as I certainly missed a lot of developments. Expand for more...

Now that it has the resources of AMD behind, ATI Technologies is confident that it will be able to produce more compact, faster GPUs while being to reach the channel more effectively, and the graphics chip maker has indicated its rival is now standing alone in the market.

However, industry sources have indicated that Nvidia will soon announce that it will allow support of its SLI technology on Intel's chipset platforms, with the two companies already having met to discuss the partnership.

Intel met with Nvidia recently to seek ways to avoid any negative impact sprouting from the recent merger between AMD and ATI , the sources indicated.

Source:Nvidia to soon provide SLI support to Intel

Press Release: Intel Unveils World's Best Processor

Finally, the official news!

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 27, 2006 - Intel Corporation today unveiled 10 Intel® Core™ 2 Duo and Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme processors for consumer and business desktop and laptop PCs and workstations, reshaping how computers perform, look and consume power—and most importantly—transform how people use them.
Expand for more...

"The Core 2 Duo processors are simply the best processors in the world," said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. "Not since Intel introduced the Pentium® processor has the industry seen the heart of the computer reinvented like this. The Core 2 Duo desktop processor is an energy-efficient marvel, packing 291 million transistors yet consuming 40 percent lower power, while delivering the performance needed for the applications of today and tomorrow."

The highly anticipated processor family already has very broad support with more than 550 customer system designs underway—the most in Intel's history. Ultimately, tens of thousands of businesses will sell computers or components based on these processors.

The Intel Core 2 Duo processors are built in several of the world's most advanced, high-volume output manufacturing facilities using Intel's leading 65-nanometer silicon process technology. The desktop PC version of the processors also provide up to a 40 percent increase in performance and are more than 40 percent more energy efficient versus Intel's previous best processor. According to multiple independent review organizations, the processors win more than nine out of 10 major server, desktop PC and gaming PC performance benchmarks.

The Intel Core 2 Duo processor family consists of five desktop PC processors tailored for business, home, and enthusiast users, such as high-end gamers, and five mobile PC processors designed to fit the needs of a mobile lifestyle. Intel Core 2 Duo processor-based workstations will also deliver industry leading performance for such areas as design, content creation and technical computing.

The processor family is based on the revolutionary Intel® Core™ microarchitecture, designed to provide powerful yet energy-efficient performance. With the power of dual cores, or computing engines, the processors can manage numerous tasks faster. They also can operate more smoothly when multiple applications are running, such as writing e-mails while downloading music or videos and conducting a virus scan. These dual-core chips also improve tasks, such as viewing and playing high-definition video, protecting the PC and its assets during e-commerce transactions, and enabling improved battery life for sleeker, lighter notebooks.

Consumers and businesses will have the option to purchase Intel Core 2 Duo processors as part of Intel's premier market-focused platforms, which are made up of Intel hardware and software technologies tailored to specific computing needs, including Intel® vPro™ technology for businesses, Intel® Centrino® Duo mobile technology for laptops, and Intel® Viiv™ technology for the home.

Many of the products will also offer a selection of Intel-designed and integrated technologies such as Intel® Virtualization Technology and Intel® Active Management Technology that make the PC more secure and manageable. Also, support for 64-bit computing now expands to notebook PCs. The new processors can be paired with the Intel® 975X, 965, and Mobile Intel® 945 Express chipset family. The Intel 965 Express chipset includes the latest integrated graphics and Intel® Clear Video Technology. All these chipsets are Microsoft Windows Vista* Premium Ready.

Advanced Innovations
Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel® Core™2 Extreme processors include many advanced innovations, including:

Intel® Wide Dynamic Execution – Improves performance and efficiency as each core can complete up to four full instructions simultaneously using an efficient 14-stage pipeline.
Intel® Smart Memory Access – Improves system performance by hiding memory latency, thus optimizing the use of available computer data bandwidth to provide data to the processor when and where it is needed.
Intel® Advanced Smart Cache – Includes a shared L2 cache or memory reservoir to reduce power by minimizing memory "traffic" yet increases performance by allowing one core to utilize the entire cache when the other core is idle. Only Intel provides this capability in all segments.
Intel® Advanced Digital Media Boost – Effectively doubles the execution speed for instructions used widely in multimedia and graphics applications.
Intel® 64 Technology – This enhancement to Intel's 32-bit architecture supports 64-bit computing, including enabling the processor to access larger amounts of memory.

Mobile PC Processor Unique Features
Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processors include many advanced innovations, including:

Intel® Dynamic Power Coordination – Coordinates Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology and idle power-management state (C-states) transitions independently per core to help save power.
Intel® Dynamic Bus Parking – Enables platform power savings and improved battery life by allowing the chipset to power down with the processor in low-frequency mode.
Enhanced Intel® Deeper Sleep with Dynamic Cache Sizing – Saves power by flushing cache data to system memory during periods of inactivity to lower CPU voltage.

Pricing and Availability
Intel has been shipping production-ready Intel Core 2 Duo processors for all segments in advance of today's unveiling. Initial Intel Core 2 Extreme processor-based systems are now available from system manufacturers, resellers and integrators, including Intel Channel Partner Program members. Intel Core 2 Duo desktop processor-based systems will be available beginning in early August. Intel Core 2 Duo processor-based notebooks will be available at the end of August.

Desktop Processors
Processor Frequency Bus Speed L2 Cache Price
Intel® Core™2 Extreme processor X6800 2.93 GHz 1066 4MB $999
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor E6700 2.66 GHz 1066 4MB $530
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor E6600 2.40 GHz 1066 4MB $316
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor E6400 2.13 GHz 1066 2MB $224
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor E6300 1.86 GHz 1066 2MB $183

Mobile Processors
Processor Frequency Bus Speed L2 Cache Voltage
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T7600 2.33 GHz 667 4MB 1.0375–1.3V
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T7400 2.16 GHz 667 4MB 1.0375–1.3V
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T7200 2.00 GHz 667 4MB 1.0375–1.3V
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T5600 1.83 GHz 667 2MB 1.0375–1.3V
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T5500 1.66 GHz 667 2MB 1.0375–1.3V

Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at

Why are Intel® Core™2 Duo processors the world's best processors? Please visit

Source:Intel Unveils World's Best Processor

Friday, July 28, 2006

Brag: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Launch today (or tomorrow)

It should be today, at least, for the date showing in my calendar. However, my GMT+ time isn't equivalent to GMT- time where the guys in Santa Clara are located. The guys there are having a merry time celebrating this historic event. It should be great.

Tech Link (Industry): "Core is changing the game"

THG grabbed some time with a senior Intel VP, David Perlmutter. It's a good two pager and discuss some things about the upcoming processor architecture from Chipzilla. If you haven't gotten enough fill of your daily tech needs about this processor, give this article a visit and check it out...

TG Daily: The Core microarchitecture, most likely Intel's most important product in over a decade, is out of the gate. You have launched the Woodcrest Core as Xeon 5100 about a month ago; the mobile Merom and the desktop Conroe core are being introduced as Core 2 Duo. The question really is how they will stack up to AMD's processors. Somehow I feel you won't like this first question, because you probably have heard it many times: I'll ask it anyway: For the near future, how well will Core perform against AMD?
Perlmutter: I think we will fare very well. Assuming that AMD will come out with a new architecture in the second half of next year, it obviously will be tighter than today. We will be using a new process technology in 2007 that will allow us to keep the lead. Also, in the second half of 2008, we will be introducing a new micro architecture on 45 nm, Nehalem [as replacement of the Merom core family]. Overall, I think Core will do very well.
I actually like that question. I would have hated it two years ago. Today I am much more confident with predicting how well our product will do.

Source:"Core is changing the game"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tech Link (Processor): Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 & E6400: Tremendous Value Through Overclocking

AMDTech seems to be on a joy ride using the new processor from Intel. They have been doing lots of reviews and analysis on the upcoming processor and they have been posting these articles at a fast rate than before. Well, this maybe because they are really getting great results from the processors. So they now post a new article, about overclocking the processor. I have actually posted my own review as well, on the overclockability and performance of the said processor here at Article: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300 Overclocking Test (Unbeatable Price/Performance/Watt). You may want to check that one out as well, expand for more.

Over a week has passed since our Core 2 Extreme & Core 2 Duo review and although the dust is finally starting to settle, not all questions have been answered. We're still hard at work on investigating issues like 64-bit performance and comparing performance per Watt across more applications, but today we're here with another piece of the puzzle: a look at the Core 2 Duo E6300 and E6400.

The E6300 and E6400 are particularly attractive members of the Core 2 family because of their fairly low cost; unfortunately their performance isn't as easy to predict because they are currently the only two Core 2 processors that don't have a 4MB L2 cache. We already illustrated in our earlier review that the larger L2 cache found in the E6600 and above is good for up to 10% of a performance boost depending on the application, but the fact of the matter is that the cheapest 4MB Core 2 Duo is $316 while you can have the E6300 and E6400 for $183 and $224 respectively.

In addition to the question of performance, there's also the issue of overclockability. We've already seen that the high end Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme CPUs are fairly overclockable, thanks in no small part to Intel's 65nm manufacturing process, but what about at the low end? Can you take a $183 Core 2 Duo E6300 and through overclocking achieve performance similar to the more expensive E6600 or even the almighty X6800? It's been a while since we've even wanted to overclock an Intel CPU in order to get better performance. In the past we'd simply recommend buying AMD, but with Core 2 Duo the overclocking prospects are too intriguing to ignore.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Brag: My 7th month anniversary

Bah, I woke up early today, around 3:30am due to a bad case of colds. Since I can't sleep anymore, I decided to check my Blog to make this anniversary post.
This simple site is getting more hits than what I intended this for, more than what I hoped for. I ended up with 25k to date, still making small splashes.

Till next, and thanks for visiting my site.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tech Link (Technology): Conroe vs. AM2: Memory & Performance

AMDTech just posted a comparative memory and performance between I* and A*, and guess what who won? They had some decent graphs and analysis there, so if you're wanting to spice up your heating appetite for this processor, avoid this review or you'll be drooling to get one now! Expand for more...

2.93GHz with DDR2-1067 Performance Comparison

It is clear enough that despite the poorer memory bandwidth, Core 2 Duo is the performance leader by a substantial margin at stock speeds. You have seen that in all of the results posted in this article. This conclusion will not satisfy all our readers, however. Many have theorized every incarnation of performance imaginable with AM2 having higher clock speed, higher bandwidth, or higher speed memory than it currently does.

Source:AMD Tech's Conroe vs. AM2: Memory & Performance

Tech Link (MoDT): AOpen MP945-VX SFF

The dogs over at Gruntville had some testing spree with a very attractive Mobile on Desktop platform (MoDT) based on AOpen MP945-VX. This is within the segment as an AOpen Mini PC MP915 I reviewed back in April. Anyway, this new platform suppors dual core system, so it's more powerful. Expand this article for more...

In the first of several reviews highlighting Intel’s’ Mobile on Desktop initiative, I will be looking at AOpen’s foray into the sub-miniature SFF systems – The MP945-VX.

First a little background:
Founded in 1996, AOpen was the first to deliver a 24x CD-ROM drive (1997)

The first “Colored” motherboard in pink the “AX3S Pro Sweet Kiss” (2000)
The first BareBook (Forerunner to the WhiteBook). (2001)
The first DVD+RW drive (2001)
The first XC Cube systems(2003)
The first Desktop Motherboard using the Intel Pentium M CPU - AOpen i855GMEm-LFS (2004)
The smallest Intel based PC, the Mini PC - code name: Pandora (2005)
The highest rated power supply, 700W (2005)

A full series of Intel Viiv platforms for digital home entertainment (2006)
This leads us to the newest sub-miniature SFF release from AOpen, the MP945-VX. This is an incredibly clean looking machine, reminiscent of the Apple Mini. It pulls away from the SFF crowd with an extremely small footprint, distinctive brushed aluminum case, High Definition 8 Channel Audio, Multi-TV out with 1080i resolution support and the ability to handle the T2700 CPU at 2.33ghz. The system is also Intel Viiv compliant which opens up a whole new area of multimedia benefits.
From the sleek brushed aluminum case, slot load DVD+RW, Integrated power button & indicator, 1080i resolution support, ingenious air flow design, Intel 945GM+ICH7M-DH and 667Mhz DDR2 RAM the MP945-VX is a truly innovative system.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Article: Intel® Desktop Board D865GSA Review (Back on Tried, Trusted, Tested i865 Chipset)

This is another value motherboard from Intel® that is quite interesting, and targetting a very specific segment of the market. The Intel® Desktop Board D865GSA is a board targetted for the value segment and aptly grouped in the "Essential" series of motherboard. It is along the same segment as the Intel® Desktop Board D101GGC and Intel® Desktop Board D102GGC2. Expand for more or click here.

This motherboard is an interesting product, since Intel® went back to their older chipset, based on Intel® 865G Express Chipset with Intel® Extreme Graphics 2 on-board graphics. This chipset is fairly old, about five(5) generations behind starting from i875, i915, i925, i945, i955, and i975 series of express Chipsets. What's even more, this motherboard has AGP and DDR1 tandem, truly, a legacy provision in motion.

However weird it may seem, it just goes to show that Intel listens and hears what users are saying. Those who would want to upgrade their old system which, for example, still use Northwood processor (or earlier) and invested heavily on their AGP video card, and have quite a big memory based on DDR will be happy with this product. Imagine, a dual core with virtualization, and support for EM64T! Users can just worry about the CPU and motherboard upgrade and leave everything intact.

But will this new Intel® board made for newer CPU be able to live up with Intel®'s renowned capability to make great products? Will this be plagued with issues and incompatibilities when using newer processors? My torture chamber eagerly awaits...

Source:Article: Intel® Desktop Board D865GSA Review (Back on Tried, Trusted, Tested i865 Chipset)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Article: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300 Overclocking Test (Unbeatable Price/Performance/Watt)

This is the continuation of the article I posted over a week ago. The focus is now more about the overclocking performance and headroom that this processor offers. I'm sure many of your have seen the highend brother extreme edition processor, but not many of us are going to buy it. And then there's the mid end and top end non extreme edition, but the price may not be very attractive even if it's not priced like the cream of the crop processor. So for those looking to bet it all on the entry level Intel® Core™ processor, give this review one more look. Expand for more.

For benchmarking, I will use the data when I first run the system on stock settings. The stock settings will serve as the baseline for comparison for the overclock score. I will also compare the previous generation of processor for better perspective of how this processor scales.

Note that all settings here are on automatic, with the RAM frequency running at higher than CPU system bus. I didn't tweak this to run at 1:1, as the RAM is able to sustain such high speed. The only change done here is to push the FSB to achieve a the overclock.

As is the case for the stock and overclocked settings, all benchmark results will be acquired from three(3) runs, removing the highest and lowest score, but not averaging the total score of the three. This limit the number of random peaks of scores, and hopes to reduce the number of random unusual results. There will be no online submission of score because of time constraint and software limitation.

Source:Article: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300 Overclocking Test (Unbeatable Price/Performance/Watt)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Article: Kingston® KVR533D2N4K2/1G Dual Channel Kit Value RAM (Affordable Overclocker's RAM?)

Kingston* is one of the leading and world reknowned memory manufacturer. While they have many OEM memory, they are also now a known within the Enthusiast community, specially their infamous HyperX memory. On top of this market segment, Kingston* is also manufacturing many retail memory for the end users, and targetted at the value segment. It is in this segment that this review will be focusing on, but don't get frustrated, in this review, overclockability will also be explored. Click here to check the review or expand for more.

The Kingston® KVR533D2N4K2/1G Dual Channel Kit ValuRAM is a kit of two(2) with 64M x 64bit (512MB) DDR2 running on 533MHz with CL4 timing. The total kit capacity is 1GB (2x512MB) and the components on each module include eight(8) 64M x 8bit (16M x 8bit x 4 Bank) DDR2-533MHz SDRAM in FBGA packge, and requires 1.8v to operate properly.

Source:Article: Kingston® KVR533D2N4K2/1G Dual Channel Kit Value RAM (Affordable Overclocker's RAM?)

Tech Link (Technology): Conroe Buying Guide: Feeding the Monster

I have been working on a similar concept, but I called my article as "build guide" rather than buying guide. I haven't read fully AMDtech's Buying Guide, only the first two pages, and they seem to be quite excited about it. I never liked their site, due to the fact that they were (or still are) AMDroids. In any case, check out their latest on their frontpage if you would like to get ready with the Conroe system. By the way, I am still "offline" for most of the time, and I am spending most of my time deleting AMDroid comments (yes, you suck) so sorry for lack of news posting and delayed my promise to bring some more Conroe reviews. Expand for more....

The last few weeks have been an amazing time in the computer business. Conroe, or Core 2 Duo to use the formal name, has captured all our attention with a combination of stock performance, overclocking capabilities, and value that is nothing short of breathtaking. Once the excitement settled down a bit, however, we realized that all the "Intel" rules had changed with the launch of Conroe.

First is the fact that while Core 2 Duo is Socket 775, it won't work in almost any existing Socket 775 (Socket T) motherboards. With the move to 65nm, the reduced voltage Conroe was designed for, and the greater need for stable power that Conroe requires, boards had to be redesigned to work with Conroe. The first and only board that was Conroe friendly was the Intel BadAxe, which was part of the launch of the last two NetBurst processors - 955EE and 975EE. Even with BadAxe you were not home free, since we soon learned that only BadAxe Revision 0304 or later would work with Conroe. In fact, everywhere we turned we were asking, "Will this work with Conroe?" If there was hesitation or a maybe, the answer was generally "No".


Friday, July 21, 2006

Rant: Offline for a while...

Lotsa family errands to do :(...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Brag: Kentsfield, aka QuadCore CPU based on Intel® Core™, pulled in on Q4'06

Words are already crawling on the net about the QuadCore CPU for dekstop from Chipzilla. It is true, after hearing the conference call, that the launch is pulled in on Q4 of 2006. It is quite an interesting year for the FanBoyz since we'll be able to play with the latest and greatest and not having to wait for such a long time. Expand for more...

The onslaught of Chipzilla in the processor market has been continously pushing far deeper into the consumer market and enthusiasts. They have recently announced and launched the Woodcrest server, which is already available in the market and have great support from many OMS. The desktop counterpart, Conroe, is expected to be launched next week. Wow, great time, great time.

Source:Yahoo Finance

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Press Release: New Dual-Core Intel® Itanium® 2 Processor Doubles Performance, Reduces Power Consumption

Just popped out of my RSS feed:

New Dual-Core Intel® Itanium® 2 Processor Doubles Performance, Reduces Power Consumption
Aggressive Growth in Itanium Hardware and Software Solutions Deliver Mission Critical Computing Freedom
SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 18, 2006 – Intel Corporation today unveiled five new products in the Dual-Core Intel® Itanium® 2 Processor 9000 series. Previously codenamed “Montecito,” the new processors are designed for the most sophisticated high-end computing platforms in the world. They double the performance and lower energy requirements, improving performance per watt by 2.5 times compared to existing, single-core versions. All server-maker members of the Itanium Solutions Alliance (ISA) will launch new Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2 Processor 9000 series-based products.
Expand for more...

The flagship 9050 model features two complete processing cores and nearly triples the cache or memory reservoir versus Intel’s previous generation. It also can execute four instructions or threads per processor enhanced by Intel’s Hyper-Threading Technology (HT Technology).

The new Dual-Core Itanium 2 processors represent the world’s most intricate product design to date with more than 1.7 billion transistors. This allows Intel designers to deliver new features to the Itanium processor family that create robust virtualization capabilities, enhanced cache reliability and other mainframe-like capabilities.

Unlike products from the remaining RISC vendors, the Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2 Processor 9000 series offers end-user freedom through a broad choice of software with more than 8,000 applications in production. Itanium processor-based servers and high-performance computing (HPC) systems are unique in the industry. They provide mission critical support for Windows*, Linux*, UNIX* and other operating systems as well as new migration tools off of proprietary servers and mainframes - delivering unbeatable flexibility and a confident adoption path for IT managers to migrate to a standards-based architecture.

The Dual-Core Intel® Itanium® 2 processor 9000 series delivers performance at a system scale unmatched by competing RISC architectures. It set world record results in several key server benchmarks including a score of 4230 SPEC_int_rate_base_20001, nearly triple the previous record.

“Intel remains focused on removing the proprietary shackles that remain in the high-end of the server market segment, and with Dual-Core Itanium 2 processors we are delivering unprecedented IT freedom with a product that excels in performance, reliability and improved energy efficiency,” said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager, Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group. “The broad system and software support for Itanium 2 processors enables CIOs to move away from aging and expensive legacy systems and instead direct those funds toward standard-based computing and business innovation.

“In virtually all areas, momentum for Itanium-based systems is growing. More applications were added during the first half this year than were available in 2003 and more than 70 percent of the top Global 100 companies are choosing Itanium technology. In addition, the Itanium Solutions Alliance has committed $10 billion of hardware support through 2010 to the architecture.”

Dual-core Itanium® 2-based systems target the most compute intensive areas, such as business analytics, large data warehouses and HPC areas. This is increasingly important as companies continue to strive for real-time decision making based on increasingly large amounts of data; and scientists, engineers and researchers seek to solve medical, climatic and other challenges through the use of computing power. The Itanium 2 processor’s Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) architecture design provides high levels of parallelism and computational capabilities, driving greater efficiency into analytics applications and business intelligence software.

“Microsoft Windows Server 2003* and Microsoft SQL Server 2005* on the new dual-core, multi-threaded Itanium 2 processor will provide exceptional performance, scalability and reliability to enterprise customers with database workloads and line of business applications,” said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. “Microsoft is resolute in its support of the Itanium architecture, today and in the future.”

Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)

Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) is built into Itanium® 2 processors to enhance support for OEM and industry virtual machine monitors (VMMs). The built-in scalability, performance and industry leading reliability capabilities of Itanium 2-based servers provide an outstanding platform for consolidating proprietary solutions onto industry standards-based servers. Virtualization can help lower the total cost of ownership by assisting with the migration and consolidation of different software applications from proprietary platforms to industry standard hardware and operating systems.

Supporting the Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2 processor 9000 series are two rack-optimized Intel server systems: SR870BH2 and SR870BN4. These server systems provide the optimum performance, reliability and expandability that scalable business solutions and mission-critical applications demand and are available today to OEMs and systems integrators for enterprise and high-performance computing.

Pricing and availability

Intel dual- and single-core Itanium 2 processors are shipping today with systems coming available in late August and growing throughout the year.

Price List
Dual-Core Itanium® 2 processor 9050 1.6GHz 24M 533/400 MHz $3692
Dual-Core Itanium 2 processor 9040 1.6GHz 18M 533/400 MHz $1980
Dual-Core Itanium 2 processor 9030 1.6GHz 8M 533/400 MHz $1552
Dual-Core Itanium 2 processor 9020 1.42GHz 12M 533/400 MHz $910
Dual-Core Itanium 2 processor 9015 1.4GHz 12M 400 MHz $749
Itanium 2 processor (single core) 9010 1.6GHz 6M 533/400 MHz $696

Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tech Link (Platform): SGI claims 4.35 TB memory bandwidth on Itanium 2 server

THG has an article about the powerul Chipzilla processor. It's not your typical server CPU, but none other than the amazing and most powerfule processor available to manking: Intel® Itanium®. And oh, this server has 1024 processors. Expand for more...
SGI claims 4.35 TB memory bandwidth on Itanium 2 server

Wolfgang Gruener

July 17, 2006 17:36

SGI said that it has built 1024-processor Altix 4700 system that has achieved a sustained memory bandwidth of 4.35 TB/s. The performance was measured through Stream Triad benchmark tests on a system that was running a single copy of Suse Linux Enterprise Server 10 and SGI's Pro Pack 5 for Linux.

SGI said that its system was about four times faster than the previously held record of 1 TB/s, which was posted by an SGI Altix system with 512 processors. Other systems in the Stream Triad list include a NEC SX-7 with a memory performance of 851 GB/s and an HP Alpha server GS1280, which reached 421 GB/s.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Rant: I just got back

After posting an article on time with the NDA lifting for the new Chipzilla processors, I took some vacation "off" the net for about two days (or more, I think). So, I guess, that explains why there's a hole in my Blog. Don't worry, I'll cheat again and post news bit dated Saturday and Sunday :)...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Tech Link (Modding): Making P5WDH ready for Conroe: An Illustrative Guide

This is a cheat post, this is done on July 17 but I changed the date to July 15. So you know I am cheating this news post, read the my post on July 17 on why I was out, that is, if you're interested :). Anyway, FCG of XS has made a big effort in making a really great article about the new Conroe-based motherboard. If you have this board, and would like to push it to the extreme, this might help. Expand for more...

Making your Asus P5WDH (Deluxe) Ready for Conroe: An Illustrative Guide
brought to you by

There's no doubt about it. Intel's new Core2 Duo "Conroe" has brought the enthusiast community interest to new, never before seen heights. Not in many years has there been such a monumental architectural change such as this one. Along with that change comes a new peak in performance. There's also no doubt about it; this new CPU family has gotten the attention of many new people, that well....don't have that much experience with "xtreme systems." We're here to help change that. Who may be our next XL in waiting.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Reviews Around the Web

After the Press Embargo on Performance Testing has been concluded on this amazing chip, the Internet was flooded with so many reviews around the web. A lot of them all sing the same song, Intel rocks big time!!! Well, it's the exact word, but it means the same thing, the new processor better than being great, it's unthinkable performance just swish and swash over anything the competion currently have in their plate. It is good day for the FanBoyz, but moreso for the consumers. Expand to see the links to reviews...

AMDTech: "Intel's Core 2 Extreme & Core 2 Duo: The Empire Strikes Back"
THG: "Game Over? Core 2 Duo Knocks Out Athlon 64"
InformationWeek: "Intel's Conroe Vs. AMD's Dual-Core Athlon"
CNetReviews: "Intel Core 2 Duo E6700"
PCWorld: "Intel's New Core 2 Duo Processors Run Blazingly Fast in PC World Tests"
RegHardware: "Intel 'Conroe' Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme"
PCMag: "The Core 2: Intel Goes for the Jugular "
GDHardware: "Intel’s AMD Killer--Core 2 Duo"
LegitReviews: "Intel Unleashes Conroe: X6800 and E6700 Reviewed"
GameSpot: "Core 2 Duo is Here"
HotHardware: "Intel Core 2 Duo & Extreme Processors and Chipsets"

Friday, July 14, 2006

Article: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300 Preview (Unbeatable Price/Performance/Watt)

The Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300 Processor is currently the bottom end flavor of the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6000 series of processor. Above this, lined up higher speed grade, from Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6400, Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6500 Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600, and Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6700. Of course, the cream of the crop is the extreme edition, aptly branded as Intel® Core™ 2 Duo X6800, but this "E" CPU on the test bench is not within the league of "X". This processor may not look so attractive compared to the earlier Intel® Pentium® D-based processors when comparing clock frequency, but Intel is now trumpeting and singing a new song, instead of pure performance and power through rooftop high clock frequency, the direction is now thru performance per watt and they did it with in style only Intel can muster. Expand for more, or click here to view the full review.

Currently, users are already enjoying the power of simultaneous computing found in earlier dual-core processor, the Intel® Pentium® D processor brings this power to the desktop. An Intel dual-core processor delivers consumer value by providing additional computing resources that expand the PC's capabilities and provide platform-level advancements for consumers in the form of higher throughput and simultaneous computing. With an Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor, users may perform multiple tasks such as digital rendering and gaming all while running virus scan or other background tasks seamlessly, and they are doing it with less power consumption. It has great features for digital home computing, such as support for EM64T to enable the system to address more than 4GB of system memory and advance security functionality thru Execute Disable Bit that can prevent certain classes of malicious "buffer overflow" attacks when combined with a supporting operating system, and with lots of new features found only on CPUs based on Intel® Core™ microarchitecture.

Source:Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300 Preview (Unbeatable Price/Performance/Watt)

Tech Link (Industry): Here Comes "Conroe"

Brace yourselves!

Intel is set to announce its long awaited Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors tonight, July 14th, at 12:01AM EST. Initially announced at the Spring Intel Developer Forum 2006, Intel’s Conroe was demonstrated beating out AMD’s fastest processors from high end Athlon 64 X2’s to the gaming and enthusiast oriented Athlon 64 FX. Intel also previously launched the Core 2 architecture based Woodcrest Xeon 5110, 5120, 5130, 5140, 5150 and 5160 models. With the new Core 2 architecture Intel is moving away from the megahertz war and moving towards higher instructions-per-clock performance and improved power efficiency instead.
Expand for more...

New Core 2 processors are based upon a new micro architecture that shares its roots with Intel’s Core mobile architecture. Intel will launch Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme dual-core processors initially, though a single-core Conroe-L Core 2 Solo processor is expected in 2007. Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors have a plethora of new features including Intel Wide Dynamic Execution, Intel Smart Memory Access, Intel Advanced Smart Cache and Intel Advanced Digital Media Boost. Intel’s Wide Dynamic Execution technology allows the 14-stage pipeline to have a 33% wider execution over previous Netburst based processors. Each core also has deeper buffers, 4 wide-decode to execute, 4 wide-micro-op execute, micro and macro fusion and enhanced ALUs too.

Intel Smart Memory Access has an improved branch prediction unit with new pre-fetch algorithms that accelerate execution of out-of-order instructions and improve data movement between the L2 cache and system memory. With Intel Smart Memory Access the pipeline is always kept full for more efficient memory access that can mask the latency associated with a north bridge-equipped memory controller. Intel Advanced Smart Cache allows both processor cores to share the same L2 cache -- though bear in mind this has already been done for some time on Conroe's mobile predecessor, Yonah. Lower-end Core 2 Duo processors will have 2MB of shared L2 while Core 2 Extreme processors and higher end Core 2 Duo processors will have 4MB of share L2 cache. Intel claims a shared L2 cache reduces access latency and improves performance.

Intel Advanced Digital Media Boost is a performance enhancement for previous SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 instructions. While SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 instructions require two clock cycles to execute a single 128-bit instruction on previous architectures, the new Core 2 architecture can execute the same instructions in a single cycle. This improves performance and improves power efficiency as the processor can accomplish the same task in half the time.

Previous features such as Intel Virtualization Technology, Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology and Execute Disable Bit are available on new Core 2 processors as well.

While the performance NDA lifts later tonight availability isn’t expected until July 23rd, 2006. On July 23rd, 2006 consumers should be able to purchase Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors from most online retailers and stores. That being said, it's not unlikely that some merchants will start showing stock immediately to pre-empt shipments. Intel will officially announce availability on July 27, 2006.

Intel Desktop Performance Roadmap
Frequency FSB
Cache Price
July 23
C2D X6800 2.93GHz 1066MHz
C2D E6700 2.67GHz 1066MHz 4MB $530
C2D E6600
2.4GHz 1066MHz 4MB $316
C2D E6400
2.13GHz 1066MHz 2MB $224
C2D E6300
1.86GHz 1066MHz 2MB $183
P4D 945
3.4GHz 800MHz
2x2MB $163
P4D 915
2.8GHz 800MHz 2x2MB $133
P4D 820
2.8GHz 800MHz 2x1MB $113
P4D 805
2.66GHz 533MHz 2x1MB $93

Intel has priced Core 2 Duo processors competitively with a traditional Pentium 4 processors on all price points. At the low end of the spectrum are the 2MB L2 cache equipped Core 2 Duo E6300 and E6400 priced at $183 and $224 respectively. For an extra few bucks consumers can pickup the Core 2 E6600 with 4MB of L2 cache. Topping off the Core 2 Duo lineup is the E6700 for $530. Core 2 Duo processors will be available with 1.86, 2.13, 2.4 and 2.67 GHz respectively.

Gamers and enthusiasts looking for more performance can pickup the Core 2 Extreme X6800 for $999. Unlike previous Pentium Extreme Edition processors which only added a faster front-side bus and Hyper Threading technology, the Core 2 Extreme is clocked at 2.93 GHz, a 263 MHz clock frequency advantage over the Core 2 Duo E6700. Hyper-Threading will not be available on any initial Core 2 based processors. Intel will launch a 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme processor later this year, and a quad-core Kentsfield Core 2 Extreme processor early next year.

With the launch of Core 2 Duo Intel will aggressively cut prices on current Pentium D 945, 915, 820 and 805 processors. The 2x2MB of L2 cache equipped 3.4 GHz dual-core Pentium D 945 will drop to $163 while the 2.8 GHz Pentium D 915 will drop to $133. Pentium D 820 and 805 processors will drop to $113 and $93 respectively.

Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme compatible motherboards are expected from Asus, Epox, Gigabyte, Intel and Universal abit with 975X, P965 and G965 chipsets.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tech Link (Platform): Intel Woodcrest: the Birth of a New King

Several weeks ago, I posted an article regarding Woodcrest's performance that is currently posted over at THG. AMDTech followed suit and did their own benchmarking. They have thrown many tests, and, it looks like the folks at AMDTech are also having a change of heart, though I wouldn't trust these guys, specially their founder. If you fancy their style of review, go take a gander and expand this article...

For the past two years Intel has been holding workshops in Oregon, where they invite a few of the hardware sites to view their upcoming technology. In May of this year, AnandTech made their way up to Oregon to have a look at Woodcrest. While we were there we were presented with the normal marketing hoorah, what product launch is without that? But we also had some quite interesting presentations like Virtualization, and where Intel sees that market going (it's going sky-high for those that haven't been keeping up with it).

While in Oregon, we also took a look at a running Clovertown machine. Clovertown is the code name for Intel's quad-core chip, which is coming out in early 2007. It will be a drop-in part to most Woodcrest systems, running at 1066MHz FSB. How's that for upgradeability: 4-way to 8-way in under 20 minutes (your mileage may vary).


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rant: AMD users finally changing heart?

Recently, I have been seeing many AMD users planning or even drooling to have their hands on Conroe. Some even have jumped to the dark side, preparing with the motherboard and memory, ready for Conroe. Seems like there's a big change of heart for these users, and for a good reason. I still remember, how many AMD users were buying the A* CPUs because they are bang-for-the-buck rather than pure performance, wasn't it the war cry back in Socket A vs Socket 478? Many weren't buying Chipzilla CPU even if benchmark shows Chipzilla is winning, because of the so called bang-for-buck thingamajig? And then when cheaper PD 805 came, their song changed, it's all about "performance" and not "price" anymore.

On the other hand, Chipzilla users are used to the price already, so if the price lowered down, it was like a "bonus". If anything, AMD users (not AMDdroids, they are unchangeable) may have understood that, well, AMD wasn't lowering the price because they were a "nice" and "consumer-friendly" company. It's all about business strategy.

So yeah, changing heart isn't a bad timing, and you'd better change for good now. Once you get used to Chipzilla performance, there's no turning back. So long suckers, AMDroids suck!

Brag: Retail Conroe XE6800 has reached end user's hands!

It is amazing how some store can dish out the retail box before the actual launch date, I guess maybe they can put more premium for these babies. Yes, these processors are highly sought for, and I'd say, the most highly anticipated product launch and release of all time in CPU history. While I feel it's great that some got their hand on it already, I feel bad that some store can break their embargo retail date. However, I am not really sure, maybe these stores got a go, oh well.

Anyway, remember that Sharikou guy who used Sciencemark to "bust" Conroe performance, saying it is a fraud and how Intel may have rigged the test benchmark (with which many AMDroids agreed without even using their brain)? redpriest, the developer of the benchmark that Sharikou guy used, is the one who actually "busted" Sharikou's proof and redpriest proved that Conroe is performing really, really, really, really, well! Oh, the reason why I mentioned redpriest is that, he's the guy who got XE6800 first (not that I don't have mine yet, *yay*, I'm such a braggart). Expand for more...

remember those links that were shown on Sunday? I took a leap of faith and ordered one from Cost Central.

I have it in my hands as we speak. I am going to isntall it into my rev 304 BadAxe. We'll see what happens afterwards =))))


Tech Link (Industry): Date set for phase 2 of Intel's Core launch

There has been a lot of discussions, rumors, facts, mixed with so many other tid bits about Conroe and its released date. I am not one who would jump in and correct or point out the inconsistency, mainly because, I have direct information on them and I'd be breaching my NDA if I spill any info. Anyway, CNet has a news info about the launching of the much awaited and highly anticipated product from Chipzilla. Expand for more...

The Core 2 Duo will be unveiled at an event scheduled for July 27 at Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., a company spokesman confirmed Tuesday. Intel CEO Paul Otellini and other executives will be on hand to unveil the chip that marks the end of Intel's Pentium era.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): 32-Core Processors: Intel Reaches For (The) Sun

Now, this is just too much for me. First, there was Hyperthreading, a virtual CPU for single-core Chipzilla CPU. Second, came the full blown core processor. Third, dual core with Hyperthreading for that four virtual threads. In the future, there will be four cores. Four cores already makes my head spin, too much core, I don't know what application I am going to run anymore. But I guess this gives me an excuse to use VT better on my machines, and maybe run a cluster of Win2k3-based system on a single machine just for the heck of it. But no, this is not enough, Chipzilla went out of their way, the number of cores just isn't enough! Expand for more...

Intel is of rolling out its Core 2 micro-architecture now. The Xeon 5100 server processor aka Woodcrest was released only weeks ago, Core 2 Duo for the desktop (Conroe) is expected on July 27th and the mobile version Merom will follow only weeks later. The next milestone is quad-core processors, which the firm will produce by fitting two Woodcrest dual cores inside a physical processor package (Clovertown). You may have realized that there is a product development pattern behind recent and upcoming Intel multi core processor releases. Amazingly enough, Intel has been studying Sun's UltraSPARC T1 (Niagara) to come up with a radical processor redesign for 2010 that could perform 16 times faster than Woodcrest. This is no marketing blurb, guys; this is technical intelligence from within the Borg collective.


Tech Link (Industry): Intel takes back lead in U.S. retail


The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant saw its share of computer processors sold in retail outlets in the United States rise from 42.2 percent in May to 51.2 percent in June, according to Current Analysis. Meanwhile, the percentage of PCs running processors from Advanced Micro Devices declined from 57.4 percent in May to 48.5 percent in June.
Expand for more..

Intel takes back lead in U.S. retail
By Michael Kanellos

Story last modified Mon Jul 10 17:17:03 PDT 2006

Intel is back on top in retail in the United States, and it can thank Toshiba.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant saw its share of computer processors sold in retail outlets in the United States rise from 42.2 percent in May to 51.2 percent in June, according to Current Analysis. Meanwhile, the percentage of PCs running processors from Advanced Micro Devices declined from 57.4 percent in May to 48.5 percent in June.

The shift came because of an emphasis on inexpensive notebooks containing Celeron M chips, according to Sam Bhavnani, director of research at Current Analysis. In notebooks, Intel expanded its market share from 57.3 percent in May to 66.2 percent in June. AMD's notebook share dropped from 42.3 percent in May to 33.4 percent in June.

A lot of those Celeron notebooks were Toshiba models selling for $599 and less, Bhavnani said.

"They are challenging HP-Compaq," he said, referring to a Hewlett-Packard division. "Where Intel really came back strong is notebooks."

AMD still holds the lion's share of the desktop market. AMD accounted for 73 percent of all retail desktops in the United States, while Intel accounted for only 26.8 percent. But it's a mixed blessing, Bhavnani noted. AMD in May was dominant in the machines that cost $750. The chipmaker accounted for 84.5 percent of desktops costing up to $500 and 88.9 percent of desktops priced between $500 and $750.

By contrast, Intel accounted for 52.1 percent of desktops costing $750 to $999 and a whopping 91.7 percent of those starting at $1,250 that month. The fancy Viiv computers, geared for home entertainment, have done well, going from a nonexistent product category at the start of the year to 10 percent of the U.S. retail desktop market. Intel CEO Paul Otellini has said the goal is to sell more Viivs this year than it sold Centrino notebooks in 2003, the first year those came out.

"Above $750, Intel really controls things," Bhavnani said. "It's been the story for the last four years."

Intel steadily lost market in 2005 and continued to lose ground in 2006. But since the first part of the year, Intel executives have said the company would become more aggressive due to manufacturing advances and new chips.

Price cuts have also dented AMD. A similar reversal occurred in 2001.

Copyright ©1995-2006 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Article: Gigabyte® GA-8I945P Dual Graphic-R Review (World's First SLI on i945 Chipset?)

You might ask, why review this board in the dawn of the upcoming Conroe onslaught? Well, it's not just because this is an old board, but rather, to dispel some confusion that SLI isn't going to run on an Intel-chipset-based motherboard. True, SLI is not officially supported, but that doesn't mean it's not going to work. If anything, it is interesting to see how SLI works on this board. Expand the article to read more...

Gigabyte is not only a name synonimous to the way size and capacity of storage devices are measure, but also recently, they are synonimous to an OEM geared towards addressing enthusiasts' needs and whims. Their product line are broad, and spans all segments in the video card for gaming, high end and specialized cools, and, as the focus of this review, performance and high end motherboards.

Source:Gigabyte® GA-8I945P Dual Graphic-R Review (World's First SLI on i945 Chipset?)

Tech Link (Processor): all WR result?!looks performance@kentsfield XE6700+MSI 975X ver2.1

coolaler is on world-record breaking spree. He has just broken so many world records with Conroe, and now, he is doing it again with Kentsfield, Conroe's big brother, sporting four operational cores. This is truly an amazing show of Chipzilla CPU power. Go check it out at XS.

all WR result?!looks performance@kentsfield XE6700+MSI 975X ver2.1
Intel Core 2 Duo Kentsfield X6700 8mb cache

M/B :MSI 975X Platinum ver:2.1
MEM :G.SKILL HZ DDRII 1000 1GBX2 Dual Channel
HDD :Maxtor 300g SATAII 16Mb Cache
POWER: Zippy 850W
OS :WIN sever 2003 & WIN XP SP2
CPU COOLER:Tower 120
CPU :Intel Core 2 Duo Kentsfield X6700 8mb cache

ok!Tower 120@3.7g
sisoft snadra


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Tech Link (Processor): Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme X6800 CPU Now Available!

I don't take credit for seeing this tidbit, I end up stumbling into this link from a post I can't really remember where. In any case, it is interesting that the top-of-the-line Chipzilla CPU is now available for the picking for as much as $1,172. And to top it off, they even have a whooping seven(7), yes, not one(1), not two(2) but a drooling supply of seven(7) brand spanking new
Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme X6800 processors. They aren't "pre-order", or "out-of-stock" nor "upcomoming" but already "Available". Expand this article to check where to get the braggy processor.

The website, Eastluna, managed to put up the CPU for grabs. The website accepts payment thru various ways and means, like PayPal, MasterCard, VISA, Amex, and Discover credit card. It is also boasts that the website is protected from credit card fraud thru MaxMind Credit Card Protection and is a GoDaddy Secure confirmed site, well, not that I know about those last two protection systems though.

Check it out:EastLuna

Tech Link (Platform): First Look : Tyan’s Tempest 5000X and 5000V Platforms

The folks at GamePC, one of my trusted site, got themselves busy running two Chipzilla server platforms. They seem pretty enthusiastic about this new platforms, I don't know, it could be just a FanBoyism in me kicking in or they are truly excited about this product. Decide for yourself, expand this news article, and take a gander.

Within the last two months, Intel has whipped their sagging Xeon product lineup into shape through a combination of new processor cores, new chipsets, new memory technologies, and generally a new approach at looking at the workstation and server markets. With their 5000-series and 5100-series processors delivering performance on par (and in many cases better) compared to AMD's Opteron processor lineup, the Xeon looks primed for a major comeback with high-end workstation users throughout 2006. The Opteron has dominated this field for quite a while now, but Xeon platforms have become much more attractive with Intel's new "Woodcrest" based Xeons, the use of high-bandwidth memory modules, and a series of new chipsets.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tech Link (Gadget): Yes! It's the USB missile launcher!

This is one cool gadget indeed, but a bit pricey. Price could be because of the software included or the effort to make this thing work. Hmmm, I think I can use one of those, if only to shut down a few pesky people on the distant country. Too bad, it can only reach a very short distance, just a stone's throw distance if I may give it it a guess. Click on the image for bigger pic and expand for more.

What with North Korea's recent rocketry shenanigans, Reg Hardware readers' revelation of what could be the silliest USB add-on yet couldn't have come at a less tasteful time. But what the heck, here it is, the USB-powered missile launcher.