Some days ago, while reading a tech-related forum, I stumble into a little flame-war about the usefulness of (or lack of) Intel's hyperthreading technology and on why AMD decided to not implement it into its latest processor design, aka Bulldozer. Intel's fans stated that hyperthreading give a quite big performance boost for very small die area, while AMD's ones praised the (alleged) superiority of AMD dual-core module approach.
Over four years has passed since the debut of the first product powered by ATI's then-new R600 design, the Radeon 2900XT. This graphic card was generally unable to compete, both performance- wise and in power consumption, with nVidia's 8800GTX, powered by the formidable nVidia's G80 chip.
On the other hand, while the 2900XT is remembered more for its problems (power consumption and not-over-the-top performance) than for its features, the chip's design proved to be a capable one: it scaled very well on RV770, RV870 and (with some major modifications) on Cayman ASICs.
Today, I am going to review an interesting, small Mikrotik firewall: the RouterBOARD 750 GL, or RB750GL for friends. This little appliance, albeit low-cost, pack a quite high number of features thanks to the use of RouterOS (a Linux-based OS) version 5. Here you can read the full product specifications: http://routerboard.com/RB750GL
In short, we are dealing with a 400 MHz MIPS-based appliance that boost 5 Gigabit Ethernet port and support for some advanced stuff like QoS, packet queues, Layer7 filtering and string / regular expression matching. Its feature list become even more impressive when you think about its suggested price: at about 60$, it can be a real best-seller.
Just some days ago AMD unleashed their new APU, codenamed Llano, and send some samples to selected hardware sites. This new, interesting APU brings an improved Stars (K10.5) CPU architecture and an integrated, mid-class Radeon core. At the moment, the only officially released APU versions are the mobile ones, while for the desktop ones we had to wait some more days.
To recap, the remarkable things about this new APU are:
the integrated, reasonable-performer Radeon core (up to 400sp, 20 TMU and 8 ROPS)
up to four improved Stars (K10.5) class cores
the promised Turbo core technology (to speed up cores based on their utilization and estimated thermal room), called “Core Performance Boost” of CPB in AMD BIOS documentation
the very low power consumption
All peoples involved in IT and computer technologies in the last decade know very well NVIDIA: this graphic & compute chips design company reached many important target and set new state-of-the-art performance in about any marked where it operated.
Some day ago, NVIDIA uncovered its next-generation SoC project, codenamed Kal-El. This SoC is going to set new performance standard in its area, featuring four ARM Cortex A9 core (each with NEON support, thanks to the integrated MPE) and a renewed, 12 core wide graphic controller. Anandtech did a great job in explaining Kal-El architecture, so I advice anyone interested in SoC performances to read his article here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4181/nvidias-project-kalel-quadcore-a9s-coming-to-smartphonestablets-this-year
However, NVIDIA did not limit itself to announce its new hardware beast, but showed some benchmark numbers to prove the superior speed of Kal-El. The used benchmark was CoreMark 1.0 (you can read about it here: http://www.coremark.org/home.php), a synthetic ALU and FPU benchmark. Kal-El performs very well here, doubling Tegra2 performance: this is an extremely great accomplishment, as the tested Kal-El silicon was only 12 days old, and this is a testament to NVIDIA's ability to design top-notch chip.