QNAP TAS-268 QTS and Android Combo NAS Review

Introduction


In today’s review, I am taking a look at a NAS that comes with a twist that we previously haven’t seen out-of-the-box. I’m talking about QNAP’s TAS-268 NAS which is a 2-bay hybrid NAS that runs both QNAP’s QTS and Android at the same time. The TAS-268 doesn’t just have a twist in the operating system, the physical form also takes a different approach than most NAS on the market.

At the core, the QNAP TAS-268 is a normal NAS with the function that you would expect from such a unit. It doesn’t come with the most power processor, but in return, it also comes with a low price tag despite all the functionality. It is built around an ARM 1.1 GHz dual-core processor and comes with 2GB DDR3 memory. It also features an onboard 4GB flash memory to be used by the Android system. While this doesn’t sound like much, it should be plenty for this device’s functions.

Besides this 2-bay unit, QNAP also released a 1-bay unit with the only difference being the number of drives you can install. But it is the 2-bay unit that we’re looking at today and it supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and single disk setup with two 3.5-inch hard disk drives. There are plenty of external connection options on the TAS-268 with one Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, four USB 2.0 ports on the rear and one USB 3.0 port on the front.

The front also features an SD card slot for easy and portable storage connection just as you’re used to from your Android phone or tablet – just much easier. You don’t need to remove any covers and battery as it is the case with many phones, instead, you have the SD slot right at the front of the device where you need it.

To complete the convenience experience, QNAP also added the one-touch copy button which allows just what the name promised, copy the content from the front USB port with a single press of the button. How the button shall react can be changed in the QTS system and it is capable of copy operations in both directions, both to and from the USB drives.

With a NAS like this that supports Android, we also need an HDMI port in order to connect it to our monitor or TV and the TAS-2688 also features this on the rear. It is accompanied by four USB 2.0 ports that come in handy for keyboard, mouse, and game controller connection in order to take even better advantage of the Android platform and all the available apps. You can also control the system through the use of the included IR remote control. The TS-268 supports HD and 4K H.265 / H.264 file formats, 4K H.264 with up to 15 frames per second and 4K H.265 with up to 30 frames per second.

Shouldn’t you want to connect the device via HDMI or maybe you just want to get your stored and linked media files onto more devices then you can take advantage of the common DLNA streaming that QNAP also supports. Consoles, Smart TVs, Mini-PCs and much more support this and it is probably the easiest method of streaming content.

Google Play also provides various media apps including YouTube, TED, Twitch and other video apps to be used directly on the NAS. You can install and stream movies, cartoons, TV series, news, and sports at any time in order to enrich your entertainment level.

QNAP introduced their myQNAPcloud system quite a while ago by now and naturally the TAS-268 also supports this. It isn’t just a simple and effective way to set up your new NAS, it also allows you to connect to the finished setup much quicker and easier. By acting as a simplified and locked-in dynamic DNS system it will allow you to easily connect to your NAS, securely, from anywhere in the world and any device as long as you and the NAS both have internet connectivity.

With that in mind, it is incredibly easy to create you own personal cloud system where you don’t have to rely on commercial or free options that thousands of other people use. Keep your files at home where you know who has access and who doesn’t. It is a breeze to sync files to the NAS via QNAP’s own Qsync as well as the Cloud Drive Sync app from the QTS app center that can sync files with Google Drive and Dropbox.

Both real-time and scheduled backups on Windows systems as well as with Time Machine on Mac OS systems is easily taken care of with QNAP’s NetBak replicator and it also features disaster recovery solutions including RTRR, rsync, and cloud storage backup (Dropbox and Google Drive) are also included. So all the bases are covered.

As previously mentioned, you naturally also get the ordinary NAS cross-platform file sharing capabilities from a centralized data storage. Whether you use Linux, Unix, Windows, or Mac OS, your connection is covered. And with the use of apps you get the same connectivity on your Windows Mobile, Android, or iOS system.

So far I have mostly been talking about the software functionality, but that’s just one of the great aspects on this NAS. The design is quite a bit different than we are used with a vertical unit rather than a horizontal oriented. This saves space on the desk with a smaller footprint which can be a vital factor near your entertainment system and similar likely placement scenarios.

The TAS-28 is also a very light unit due to a simple and clever design. Even better, the entire NAS can be set up completely tool-less for your convenience. There is a single thumbscrew at the bottom with which you can open up the chassis and the drive are mounted tool-less too with the included adapters.

Despite having a unique outer design, a lot of the internal design is something that reminds us of previous 2-bay NAS units – just improved with the tool-less drive mounting options and vertical instead of horizontal.

With all this talk about Android, we shouldn’t forget about the base QTS operating system. It provides a web-based user interface to help you easily manage files on the TAS-268. You can install various apps based on your needs to fulfill tasks like storage, backup, management and multimedia applications. File Station allows you to upload, download and manage files anywhere with a web browser. All of your photos, music and videos can be indexed by the built-in Media Library, and easily managed and shared with the Photo Station, Music Station and Video Station. The energy-saving Download Station is your 24/7 download center, allowing you to quickly download files to enrich your collection.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU
  • Android and QTS operating system
  • Organize & manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location
  • Synchronize files between computers, laptops, and mobile devices
  • Remotely access your files securely from your personal cloud
  • Stream your multimedia library via DLNA to other devices and your TV
  • Enjoy direct media playback via HDMI with HD videos and photos
  • Compact and streamlined chassis ideal for a desktop or living room environment

Packaging and Accessories

The TAS-268 comes in a simple white box with a representation of the NAS unit as well as the feature highlights.

The rear of the box contains some more information as to what’s so special about this NAS, but it’s kept short.

Opening up the box and we find a brand new NAS that is well protected with self-adhesive plastic film – you know the kind we all love to peel off once we get a new gadget.

Besides the NAS itself, there is a quick installation guide to help you get started quickly, a power supply brick and power cord fitting the region you bought it in as well as an RJ45 LAN cable.

There’s also a small remote control included that is about 3 inches long. Shown below are also the four HDD mounting brackets that simply snap into the drive and hold it in place.

AMD Finally Launches Datacenter Opteron ARM Chips

Nearly 4 years after AMD first revealed their ARM plans, their first ARM-based Opteron chips are finally ready. Shipping today, the octa-core Opteron A1100 server SoC and platform is already able for purchase from several partners and is available in 3 SKUs. Despite such a late launch, the A1100 may yet find a home in the datacenter.

First off, AMD has done a lot of work to build a comprehensive ARM server SoC. The Opteron features up to eight 64bit A57 cores running at 2Ghz. This puts it roughly in the same space as Intel’s Silvermont Atoms clock for clock. The key is the 4MB of L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache that connect up to 128GB of DDR4 (DDR3 is limited to 64GB) over a 128bit bus. This is all backed up by an A5 co-processor to handle system control, compression and encryption as well. I/O is impressive as well, offering up to 8 PCIe 3 lanes and 14 SATA3 ports and two 10GbE ports.

While the A1100 will undoubtedly blow its way past Intel Atoms and other ARM competitors as a server SoC, the biggest competition comes from Intel’s big Xeons. At $150, AMD is pricing their chip dangerously close to Intel’s big cores which offer much higher performance and potentially better performance/watt. Still AMD is offering a viable chip to cater to the microservices and cluster-based computing market. If AMD’s in-house K12 arrives on time and on performance, AMD stands a good chance as securing a strong foothold in this market.

ARM Displaying Their Latest Technologies @ CES 2016

CES 2016: ARM are one of the biggest tech companies in the world, chances are you’re using dozens of their products right now and you don’t even know it! They make the tiny processors, sensors and more that go into so many pieces of technology all around the world. At CES, they have been showcasing all their latest technologies, such as the Michigan Mote, the world’s smallest computer. At just 1mm3 in size, and using just 10 nanowatts of power, it’s great for batteries, radios, sensors and so much more. Unfortunately, ARM didn’t find my joke about the lack of HDMI funny, but it’s still an impressive unit.

The MbientLab MetaWear C, not the most memorable name ever, but with low-cost and endless applications, it’s a great bit of hardware. Featuring a temperature, pressure, accelerometer, gyro, magnetometer and light sensor, it’s a tracking powerhouse, and it’s no bigger than a button.

The Huawei Mate 8, a prime example of ARM hardware at work.

Another ARM Cortex chip is found in the Tom Tom GPS.

Even an automated pet food dispensor.

You wouldn’t think of shoes being ARM enabled, not that I’m trying to make a joke about it being feet enabled. With an ARM Coretex -M0 MCU, the shoes are smart enabled for fitness tracking!

The new Atheer AiR AR glasses, equipped with a number of ARM technologies for processing and sensors.

It seems there are endless products powered by arm, but what’s really special is that while they keep making powerful, cost effective and tiny systems to fit in our devices is that they’re so good at their job, their work often goes unnoticed. Great work ARM, we can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Amazon Enters the Semiconductor Market With its First ARM Chip

Amazon’s Annapurna Labs has announced that it is entering the semiconductor market, selling its first ARM-based processors, a “foundation for next-generation digital services for the connected home,” according to a press release.

Annapurna Labs, established in 2011, was snapped up by Amazon last year for $350 million. Before the buyout, Annapurna was heavily rumoured to be working on its own line of ARM chips, VentureBeat reports. The Alpine PoC product line will be sold to OEMs to support “home gateways, Wi-Fi routers, and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices.”

“In the fast-growing home application marketplace, new use cases and consumer needs are rapidly invented and adopted,” the press release reads. “To stay competitive, OEMs and service providers therefore need to quickly add support for the new features that give consumers the ability to enjoy the latest applications without changing hardware or waiting for months to get updated software.”

“Our Alpine platform-on-chip and subsystems product line gives service providers and OEMs a high-performance platform on which they can design hardware that will support growing consumer demands for innovative services, fast connectivity, and many connected devices.”

While ARM processors are still a niche market compared to the Intel-dominated server market, the architecture has come a long way in the last thirty years, with ARM cores powering single board computers like the Raspberry Pi and Pine A64, as well as Apple iPhones, iPods, Microsoft’s early generation Surface and Surface 2 tablets, and Nintendo’s DS series of handheld consoles.

“There is significant growth in the home Wi-Fi segment with most of the demand occurring on high-performance routers. As a leading provider in this segment, we are committed to providing our customers with high performing solutions,” Tenlong Deng, Vice President of ASUS Networking & Wireless Devices Business Unit, said. “The increased demand for new applications and use models requires additional compute and more flexibility. We are collaborating with Annapurna on these technologies and believe that they have one of the most advanced and flexible silicon solutions in the marketplace.”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

NASA Wants to Install a Robot on an Asteroid and Push into Orbit around the Moon

NASA has unveiled its ambitious plan to collect a massive space rock, attach a robotic space craft, and move the rock into orbit around the Earth’s moon. The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), planned for some time during the 2020s, will allow astronauts to explore the surface of the rock and return with samples.

“NASA has identified multiple candidate asteroids and continues the search for one that could be redirected to near the moon in the 2020s,” the announcement on NASA’s website reads. “Since the announcement of the Asteroid Initiative in 2013, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observation Program has catalogued more than 1,000 new near-Earth asteroids discovered by various search teams. Of those identified so far, four could be good candidates for ARM. Scientists anticipate many more will be discovered over the next few years, and NASA will study their velocity, orbit, size and spin before deciding on the target asteroid for the ARM mission.”

While the mission is intended as a primer for NASA’s proposed future voyages to Mars, one of the engineer who is working on ARM has drawn comparison with a celestial object from a galaxy far, far away. “It could provide the metals,” Brian Muirhead, Chief Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who is working on the ARM project, told Wired. “You have organic compounds, you have water—all the building blocks you would need to build your family Death Star.”

ASUSTOR AS1002T 2-Bay Entry-Level NAS Review

Introduction


It isn’t everyone that needs the fastest NAS model on the block with all sorts of fancy features, sometimes you just want something simple, effective, and cheap. ASUSTOR created a great NAS for just such a scenario and dubbed it the AS1002T. The AS1002T is a 2-bay entry-level NAS and today I’m taking a closer look at the NAS, its features, and performance.

ASUSTOR only just released the 10-series a little while ago and these are the first ARM-powered NAS devices from ASUSTOR. Next to this 2-bay unit that I’m reviewing today, ASUSTOR also created a bigger brother to it with 4-bays. However, it is the AS1002T that I’m reviewing today and this NAS is powered by a Marvell ARMADA-385 1.0GHz dual-core processor and comes with 512MB onboard RAM. That might not sound like much, but it should be plenty for normal file-serving and streaming purposes at home. The Marvell ARMADA-385 CPU offers both hardware encryption engine and floating-point unit, but it only consumes a small amount of power; a truly efficient little NAS with a power consumption of just 13.2W during operations.

The diamond pattern on the front together with the otherwise simple black layout gives the AS1002T a great design and it isn’t as boring as a plain black unit would be. It would look equally nice next to your entertainment system or TV as it would in your home office.

The 70mm fan on the rear of the unit provides the cooling and the NAS only produces 19dBA of noise during idle mode and 32 dBA during use. That’s not much at all which is a great thing, a device that will run 24/7 needs to blend into the background and be forgotten.

The AS1002T is a basic NAS that provides basic connectivity. It comes with a single Gigabit Ethernet connection that in itself is sufficient for most personal setups where low-end switches wouldn’t allow for link aggregation anyway. Adding more would just increase the price. You get two USB 3.0 ports that not only support storage drives but also USB UPS devices and printers that then easily can be shared over your network. WiFi and Bluetooth adapters are also supported on the AS1002T

The NAS features a completely tool-free installation with two thumbscrews on the rear of the unit to open it. Once they are out, you can simply slide the case apart and install your hard disks. The hard disk installation is tool-less too thanks to the included thumbscrews. A simple way to make it easy to install the drives and keeping everything cost-effective. The downside here is that you cannot swap slide out the hard drives as easy and during use as you would be able to with an NAS that features ejectable drive trays. Again, that would have been an unnecessary cost increase as most home users won’t swap drives at all. Once it’s running, it’s running.

Thanks to the ARM CPU, the AS1002T is a very efficient little NAS. It only consumes 13.2W during operation and 6.6W during disk hibernation. The AS1002T features automatic standby for both internal and external disks, auto fan control so it never spins more than needed, and power scheduling for on, off, and restart. These are all features that are great for the environment, hardware, and electrical bill.

The LEDs can be dimmed to fit just the scenario you put the NAS into and whether you want to see them or not. The AS1002T also features the LED Night Mode where it automatically adjusts the LED lights based on your settings.

Despite the low power consumption and eco-friendliness, the AS1002T NAS still performs great. It is capable of providing a read and write performance of up to 95MB/s reading and 110MB/s writing with the 3TB WD RED test drives that ASUSTOR used for the specifications.

Besides just being a network connected storage, the AS1002T is a great multimedia companion. The CPU’s built-in floating-point unit is able to quickly process large amounts of photo thumbnails, allowing you to instantly transfer and browse photos at any time. The rich variety of multimedia server applications is able to smoothly stream high-definition multimedia entertainment to devices such as UPnP/DLNA players, web browsers on computers, tablets and smartphones.

As I previously mentioned, the ARM CPU features a built-in encryption engine, allowing data to be completely protected from the moment it is first stored on the NAS. This means that you never have to worry about your confidential data falling into the wrong hands even if your hard disks become lost or stolen. The built-in hardware encryption engine features read speeds of over 39 MB/s and write speeds of over 31 MB/s for encrypted data. This is only about a third of the speed non-encrypted files would have, but it is still plenty for most operations that involve sensitive data.

ASUSTOR’s AS1002T is naturally powered by the ASUSTOR Data Master (ADM) 2.5 firmware that provides users with the latest enhanced core functions such as internal backup, shared folder based network recycle bins, and iSCSI LUN snapshots. Optionally, users can download more apps such as Syslog Server and DataSync for Microsoft OneDrive along with newly upgraded versions of existing Apps such as Photo Gallery and LooksGood. The NAS unit will of course also work with ASUSTOR’s mobile apps for tasks such as system management, file management, backup, downloading, media sharing, home surveillance and more, allowing users to have effortless and continuous access to their NAS while on the go.

Packaging and Accessories

The ASUSTOR AS1002T box is a simple white with all the relevant information right on the front, such as compatibility, basic features, and specifications, as well as a photo of the unit itself. The rear features a few more information in a variety of languages.

Inside the box, you will find an AC power adapter and a power cable that is suited for the region you bought the unit in. There is an LAN cable, software and manual disk, setup guide, and eight thumbscrews to mount the drives.

Synology Introduces the DiskStation DS216 2-Bay NAS

We’ve recently seen Synology release both the DS216se and DS216play, and now it is time for the DS216 to enter the market. Synology introduced the new 2-bay NAS and announced the immediate availability of the same. Synology’s DiskStation DS216 is the direct successor to the DS214 and it is quite an upgrade.

The DS216 is powered by a dual-core Marvell Armada 385 CPU that runs are 1.3GHz and is backed by 512MB DDR3 memory. The Marvel Armada 385 CPU comes with built-in hardware encryption engine that can increase the performance with encrypted files up to 49% while reading and 110% while writing compared to the DS214. Encryption becomes a thing more and more people want to utilize which makes this a great selling point. The CPU also features a floating point unit that especially speeds up the creation of thumbnails, but overall helps with the performance of the system.

With that hardware at its disposal, the DS216 can provide a read/write performance of 111.18 MB/s in writing and over 112.79 MB/s in reading.

Synology’s DS216 features one USB 2.0 port on the front where it also has a one-touch copy button and it has another two USB 3.0 ports on the rear next to the RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. Other than that, the DS216 doesn’t have any more connectivity, but what would you want more?

The two-bay NAS supports up to 16TB volumes with its two bays and 8TB drives, a storage amount that should be plenty for most people. The front panel is removable and behind it are two drive trays that support hot-swapping and easy tool-free installation.

A nice touch is that you can adjust the LED brightness on the front of the NAS, allowing you to tune it down where it otherwise would be too bright and just annoying. Perfect for living room placements where you don’t want a lot of blinking lights all the time. Other than that, the DS216 features all the other great functions that we know and love from the DSM operating system.

The DS216 is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and is available now worldwide for an MSRP of £204.00 and €240.00.

QNAP Launches World’s First QTS-Android Combo NAS’ TAS-x86

QNAP have brought us some awesome technologies that expand the NAS’ usage abilities and they back once again with a new combination of devices. The newest two NAS devices don’t just run QNAPs own QTS operating system for normal NAS usage, they come with a combination of QTS and Android, allowing you to use the NAS directly with all your favourite Android apps. The two NAS are the TAS-168 1-bay unit and the TAS-268 2-bay unit.

The new QNAP TAS-x68 series uses an ARM v7 1.1GHz dual-core processor and has 2GB DDR3 RAM and 4GB flash memory. You get one USB 3.0 port on the front and four USB 2.0 ports on the rear next to the Gigabit Ethernet port and an HDMI port.

The combination offers terabytes of storage capacity as well as 4K H.265 and H.264 HDMI-out and makes the TAS-x68 an optimal and budget-friendly multimedia NAS with nearly unlimited apps available. And you also save yourself the trouble of getting an Android-based TV box. And there aren’t that many Android boxes that support 4K UHD yet, which the TAS-x68 does.

You got access to both the Google Play market and QNAP’s QTS apps, which should provide you with almost any function from enterprise features to fun games and streaming content. QTS 4.2 still supports all the normal NAS functions from cross-platform file sharing to backup functions, FTP, and WebDAV. VPN setups are also available in both QTS and Google Play, allowing you to tunnel your way to your designated target.

This could very well be the perfect NAS for heavy Android users as well as give new ones the ability to get a device that does a lot more than just store files. The new QNAP TAS-x68 series should be available globally now, which means they will arrive at your local resellers shortly. Early listings have the TAS-168 listed for €199 and the TAS-268 for €250.

GIGABYTE Announces Availability of Cavium ThunderX-based Servers

Gigabyte announced that their extensive Cavium ThunderX-based server portfolio now is available for orders and that shipments to numerous end customers and OEMs have already begun. These aren’t just any servers as they sport up to 384 ThunderX cores in a standard 2U rack chassis with 64 DDR4 DIMMs, and 40Gb Ethernet network. That kind of power allows for an enormous potential of core-intensive application workload with uncompromised performance.

There are quite a few different models to choose from, but not all of them have had their product page go online yet. Some of the new systems are the following:

  • Single-socket 1U R120-T30 servers, in 4 x 3.5″ HDD and 12 x 2.5″ HDD configurations
  • Dual-socket 1U R150-T60 servers, in 4 x 3.5″ HDD and 10 x 2.5″ HDD configurations
  • Dual-socket 2U R270-T60 servers in 12 x 3.5″ HDD and 24 x 2.5″ HDD configurations
  • Dual-socket 2U G220-T60 GPU servers, available with two GPUs and 24 x 2.5″ HDD
  • Dual-socket 2U 4-nodes H270-T70 and H260-T70 high-density servers

H270-T70 is one of the ones that already had their product page go live and it’s mouth-watering to see what this system has on hardware. The system is made up of four nodes with 2 48-core Cavium ThunderX CN8890 processors each. Those 384 cores then get to play with up to 4TB DDR4 memory (64x 64GB DIMM), 1TB per node. If that wasn’t enough to get your mouth-watering, then I can add that the system features eight 40GbE QSFP+ LAN ports (Cortina CS4343) and four 10/100/1000 management LAN ports combined over the four nodes. It also features four 2.5-inch hot-swappable storage bays per node and you can also add one half-length low-profile slot PCIe x16 and one mezzanine PCIe x8 card in each note. The end result is a beast with a total weight of 38KG.

The ThunderX workload-optimized server processors are designed to enable best-in-class ARMv8 performance per dollar and performance per watt. With all these features working in unison in a processor supported by the server industry’s major operating systems and development environments, the Cavium ThunderX is ready for the most demanding datacenter-grade applications.

“Gigabyte first began working with Cavium and ThunderX late last year, and have developed and shipped a broad range of platforms to customers,” said Chen Lee, Sales Director, Gigabyte USA. “Our entire portfolio of production systems is now available for order and we are shipping production platforms to customers. We are seeing a strong demand for these platforms and we expect the demand to further accelerate in 2016.”

QNAP Launches TS-531P with 10GbE Support and Container Station

QNAP released a new and powerful 5-bay NAS with upgradeable memory, quad-core CPU, SSD cache support and 10-Gigabit Ethernet support. The new QNAP TS-531P features an Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor with 1.4GHz, hardware encryption engine, and floating point unit, and it comes in two versions with either 2GB or 8GB DDR3 memory.

Right out of the box, the QNAP TS-531P features four Gigabit Ethernet ports that naturally support Link Aggregation and Failover, but you can expand it with either a 10GbE SFP+ or 10Gbase low-profile add-in card for even better connectivity. 10GbE is finally starting to make a proper entry into the market as more and more SMB devices start to feature what used to be reserved to the enterprise sector and it is something that I’ve been waiting for in a long time. The TS-531 supports add-in cards with up to two ports, allowing you a total of either 6 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 4 GbE and two 10GbE ports in this NAS.

This is an SMB NAS that comes with all the essentials in this area, which also means that the HDMI port for direct usage as HTPC that we see on personal oriented NAS devices isn’t there. There are however three USB 3.0 ports for expansion where one of them is located on the front for easy access together with the one-touch copy button. These ports can also be used to expand the storage abilities with up to two QNAP expansion enclosures, either the UX-800P 8-bay or UX-500P 5-bay units. With two 8-bay expansion units, you can have up to 168GB raw storage capacity using 8TB drives.

The TS-531P supports Container Station that allows users to operate multiple virtual Linux systems thanks to the LXC and Docker lightweight virtualization technologies. You can easily download more through the built-in Docker Hub Registry or create your own. It supports import and export and permission settings along with a flexible user interface, and informative dashboard. Container Station will also support the Online Document app that is currently in development. It will allow users to directly view, edit and store files of various types (office documents, images, and text files) on their TS-531P without the hassle of back-and-forth file transfers.

The QNAP TS-531P will naturally also support all the other great features that we have come to know from QNAP, from the comprehensive backup options that include cloud offerings over the powerful Qsirch search feature to the surveillance station and everything in between. It is available now starting from €513.41 and €648.81 respectively for the 2GB and 8GB models.

Samsung Brings on Jim Keller as Chief Architect

When Jim Keller left AMD last month, there was a lot of speculation as to the reason for his departure. Given that we knew Zen was pretty much done, Keller probably wanted to work on something else as he lets AMD’s in-house engineers iterate on his design. Thank to recent reports, we now know that Keller has ended up at Samsung, presumably as Chief Architect of Research and Design. Keller will be joining the effort on mobile microprocessors.

While Keller is more well-known among the PC for his involvement with AMD, he does have mobile experience. Under Apple, Keller was part of the team responsible for the A4 and A5 SoCs, the chips powering the iPhone 4 and 4S among others. With Keller joining their team, it looks like Samsung may be serious about making their own CPU/GPU combo.

Just two weeks ago, we got word that Samsung was planning on building their own mobile-GPU. We speculated at that time that Samsung might also consider making their own mobile-CPUs. Right now, Samsung uses ARM’s own stock designs for their Exynos SoCs, with some modifications of course. With a more robust design team, Samsung may look to be more adventurous and think about making their own cores and challenging Qualcomm for the mobile SoC business. That however, is likely many months if not years away given the timeframes involved in designing CPUs.

AMD Zen and K12 Finalized and Taped Out

Despite pretty dismal Q3 2015 results, AMD looks set for a good late 2016 and 2017. AMD has reportedly completed their next generation Zen and K12 designs and have taped them out. This comes after AMD reported that they have taped out a number of FinFET designs during Q3 2015. With both TSMC’s 16nm FF+ and Global Foundries 14nm LPP both using FinFETs, AMD is set to gain good power savings for their next generation.

When Jim Keller left earlier in the year, there were those that had thought that meant Zen was a failure and unfinished due to Keller’s departure. With this information, we can be pretty confident that Zen is largely Keller’s work and was pretty much done by the time he left. K12 on the other hand is based off of the ARMv8 instruction set and will probably do battle against ARM’s own architectures and the likes of Qualcomm’s Kyro.

With Zen already taped out, a Q4 2016 launch for Zen will probably make it in time. This means in about a year from now, we will finally get AMD’s new architecture in our hands. Zen is expected to bring a 40% IPC improvement over AMD’s latest Excavator design, bringing performance competitive to Intel’s designs.

Upcoming AMD 8-Core CPU Performance Leaked

Benchmarks of AMD’s upcoming “Heirofalcon” SOC have been leaked which indicate the chip’s capabilities and astonishing power to performance ratio. The SOC features 8 ARM 64-bit A57 cores operating at a frequency of 2.0GHz while only utilizing a maximum TDP of 30w. In terms of its specification, the Heirofalcon SOC is based on the 28nm manufacturing process and contains 4MB of L2 cache. Additionally, the CPU has a dual-channel DDR3/DDR4 memory controller with ECC support up to speeds of 1866MHz. As a result, the chip is incredibly versatile.

AMD plans to release a number of different versions with varying wattage demands which should relate to frequency alterations. Rather surprisingly, the leaked benchmarks provide a great amount of detail and include comparisons to older AMD chips. Please note, the benchmark was conducted using an early engineering sample which might not reflect the final version.

As we can see from the data, AMD’s Hierofalcon performs exceedingly well for an ARM-based CPU given the low TDP and 2.0GHz frequency. 

In multi-core workloads, the chip once again manages to achieve great results, but falls well behind in tasks like kPipe. However, this is expected given its core architecture.

Finally, we can see the power efficiency rating across various benchmarks which shows how amazingly efficient the Hierofalcon CPU is. Throughout testing, the results were extremely consistent and signified a return to form. As always, it’s important to take any leaked benchmarks with a grain of salt, but the Hierofalcon looks very promising!

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information. 

Qualcomm Unveils 24 Core ARM Server Processor

Ever since ARM took over the mobile world, we’ve been hearing about how the RISC architecture was trying to expand into other higher performance areas. While ARM first entered the server world via relatively weaker micro-servers, it looks like performance options are coming along soon. Qualcomm, one of the major ARM partners and licensees, has unveiled their first 24-core server processor.

Running off the latest ARMv8-A instruction set, the chip will be part of Qualcomm’s Server Development Platform and part of a stack of server tools. While details on the chip itself have been slim, we do know that it is based off a FinFET process, meaning either TSMC 16nm or Samsung 14nm. The core is also fully custom meaning it is not like the A57/A53 found int he Snapdragon 808/810 and given the server environment, probably isn’t Qualcomm’s in-house 64bit Kyro architecture found in the Snapdragon 820.

Along with the Soc, the SDP  also includes server-class PCIe and storage interconnects. Other hardware requirements like ethernet and FPGA are to be proved by Mellanox and Xilinix respectively. On the software side, SDP comes with a software stack capable of running a KVM Linux hypervisor, OpenStack DevStack, and guest Linux distributions running Apache and WordPress as shown in the demo.

With a complete package available, Qualcomm stands a good chance at breaking into the server market. The biggest question is if ARM will be able to bring the same performance to the table as x86 does while still remaining more power efficient and cheap. This is especially true of single threaded IPC where Intel has historically dominated.

Samsung Developing In-House Mobile GPU for 2017

According to the latest rumours, Samsung is planning on creating their very own in-house mobile GPU. Set to debut inside their Exynos series of SoCs, the new GPU will probably arrive in the 2017-2018 timeframe. The GPU was originally set to launch much earlier but it seems like those plans have been shelved.

One of the reasons for the delays is that making a new GPU from scratch is really hard and takes a long time and is even harder to get it right. Both AMD and Nvidia for instance, tend to build on their existing architectures and evolve them over time. AMD for instance, evolved their GCN architecture over time, fine-tuning and optimising it as their experience with it grew. Designing a new GPU is also a multi-year process that can take quite a while to bear fruit.

Right now Qualcomm with their Adreno series and ARM with their Mali lineup are the main mobile choices with Apple off doing their own thing. Samsung currently licences both their CPUs and GPUs from ARM but with this break on the GPU side,  Samsung may become more adventurous on the CPU side. While the Exynos lineup uses ARM designs for now, Samsung may choose to change things up to suit their needs given their core licence. It will be interesting to see if Samsung will develop more focus on say HSA or other technologies.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information 

Linksys’ AC1900 Wireless Router Just Got Better With New CPU and More Memory


Linksys already had a pretty impressive router in their WRT1900AC router and now they are ready with an upgrade to that model called the WRT1900ACS. The router keeps the same design and shape, but Linksys gave the hardware inside an impressive update.

The CPU is now a 1.6GHz Marvell dual-core chip where the old model only had a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The RAM was doubled from the previous model and the new WRT1900ACS features 512MB DDR3 RAM as well as 120MBB flash memory for the firmware.

The WRT1900ACS is fully OpenWRT compatible, allowing you to customize the firmware to your liking, that is if you don’t like the one that it’s already shipping with. With more CPU power, more RAM, and more storage space, you got even more possibilities to create the perfect router setup for yourself.

The rest of the features stay the same. You get four external high-performance antennas with beamforming technology, a USB 3.0 port for storage and a combined USB 2.0 and eSATA port for printers, storage, and other legacy devices. There are four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port for the wired connections while the wireless part can perform with up to 1300Gbps on the 5GHz and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

“We just made the best performing Linksys AC1900 router even better,” said Mike Chen, vice president product management and engineering for Linksys. “We are committed to making the Linksys WRT lineup the most advanced and best-in-class router line for the prosumer so they can get more out of the network they use in their home and office environment. We improved on the original WRT1900AC because we were able to incorporate better components such as a faster processor to make the router perform at higher clock speeds and providing more RAM for advanced users. Adding more memory enables our customers to build more off the open source platform as well as enabling us to provide more enhancements in firmware as we innovate and create more features.”

Features:

  • 1.6GHz Dual-Core ARM-based Processor, 128MB Flash, 512MB DDR3 RAM.
  • Full Open Source Ready, OpenWrt Chaos Calmer Support.
  • Open VPN Server, PPTP VPN Support, IPSec Pass-thru.
  • 4x Gigabit LAN Ports, 1x Gigabit WAN Port.
  • 1x USB 3.0 Port, 1x eSATA/USB 2.0 Port. (FAT, NTFS, and HFS+ file system support)
  • 2.4GHz and 5GHz Simultaneous Dual-Band.
  • 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2-Personal and Enterprise.
  • 3 spatial streams, 4 external adjustable and removable antennas. Implicit and Explicit Beamforming.
  • UPnP, DLNA

Despite the improvement in hardware, the new Linksys WRT1900ACS comes at a better MSRP. It will be available directly from Linksys’ store on October the 15ths for £179.99.

VIA Introduces ARTiGO A600 Smart Automation Control System

Smart homes and general smart automation of all sorts of things is one of the wonderful things about the time we currently live in. All the things we (nerds and geeks) have dreamt of building for years is finally possible. VIA has now introduced a new control system that again could help make it a lot easier and smarter, the VIA ARTiGO A600 Smart Automation Control System.

The ultra-compact and fanless smart automation control system is specifically designed for enterprise IoT and M2M applications that require reliable low-power computing and extensive I/O support. The ARTiGO A600 comes with four integrated 3-pole Phoenix RS-485 COM ports with full 3.75KV isolation, a COM connector for an RS-232 port, and a DIO port for 8-bit GPIO to provide dependable connections to automated equipment and machinery.

Other I/O features include two Mini USB 2.0 ports, one Mini HDMI port, one 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, and one miniPCIe slot. The whole unit only measures 12.5cm x 12.5cm x 3cm and you can even add an optional Wi-Fi module through the onboard USB pin headers.

Inside the ARTiGO A600, you’ll find an 800MHz VIA Cortex-A9 SoC, an onboard Micro SD card slot, 4GB eMMC Flash memory, and 1GB DDR3 SDRAM.

“Smart automation control systems will play a pivotal role in boosting manufacturing productivity and enabling the development of innovative new product customization and personalization services,” said Richard Brown, Vice-President of International Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “By delivering extensive I/O connectivity in a highly-affordable low-power solution, the VIA ARTiGO A600 lowers the barriers to entry for enterprises planning to transform their operations by implementing the next generation of intelligent distributed manufacturing systems.”

Features:

  • Ultra-compact fanless smart automation control system
  • High-performance 800MHz VIA Cortex-A9 SoC
  • Four 3-pole Phoenix RS-485 ports with full 3.75KV isolation
  • Optional Wi-Fi support
  • Customized Linux BSP services

ASUSTOR Announces Stylish and Budget Friendly 10 Series

ASUSTOR has launched a new line of entry-level NAS devices called the 10-series and it is the first ARM powered series from ASUSTOR. The new NAS units AS1002T and AS1004T are powered by a Marvell ARMADA-385 1.0GHz dual-core processor and come with 512MB onboard RAM. That should be plenty of performance for normal file-serving and streaming alike.

Intel’s x86 based CPUs aren’t the cheapest on the block and opting for an ARM based solution can cut the costs quite a bit. The ARMADA-385 shouldn’t be discarded due to that as it comes with hardware encryption engine and floating-point unit while it only consumes a small amount of power; a truly efficient little NAS.

The AS1002T is a 2-bay NAS and the AS1004T is a 4-bay NAS, but other than that they are the same. You get two USB 3.0 ports where one of them is placed on the front as well as a single Gigabit Ethernet connection. Plenty to hook everything up and get a good performance. The NAS units are capable of providing read and write performance of 95 MB/s and 110 MB/s.

The diamond plate finish gives the units a nice touch and the installation is completely tool-less thanks to the hand-screw design. There is one more minor difference in the two units: The AS1004T comes with a 120mm fan where the AS1002T only has a 70mm fan.

“ASUSTOR’s 10 series was designed with both hardware performance and modern aesthetics in mind,” said Johnny Chen, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “The devices also feature the convenient use of hand screws, which allows users to easily remove the outer cover and complete hard disk installation without the use of any extra tools.”

Both NAS units feature ASUSTOR’s ADM (ASUSTOR Data Master) 2.5 firmware that provides users with the latest enhanced core functions such as internal backup, shared folder based network recycle bins, and iSCSI LUN snapshots. Optionally, users can download more apps such as Syslog Server and DataSync for Microsoft OneDrive along with newly upgraded versions of existing Apps such as Photo Gallery and LooksGood. The NAS units will of course also work with ASUSTOR’s mobile apps for tasks such as system management, file management, backup, downloading, media sharing, home surveillance and more, allowing users to have effortless and continuous access to their NAS while on the go.

Key Features for the AS1002T and AS1004T

  • Marvell 1.0 GHz Dual-Core Processor
  • Pre-installed 512 MB Memory
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet Port
  • Front of Device: 1 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port, LED Indicators
  • Back of Device: 1 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port, Power Button, Reset Button
  • Hand Screws, Easily Remove Cover and Install Hard Disks Without Additional Tools
  • Supports Hardware Encryption Engine
  • Supports RAID Volume Management RAID 0/1, Single, JBOD (AS1002T)
  • Supports RAID Volume Management RAID 0/1 /5 /6 /10, Single, JBOD (AS1004T)
  • Maximum Supported Capacity of Hard Disks: 12TB (AS1002T)/ 24TB (AS1004T).
  • Supports Seamless System Migration

See How This Robot Is Able to Improve Its ‘Mini-Robots’ with Each Generation

Researchers at the University of Cambridge seem to be studying how evolution took place and are apparently using a ‘mother’ robot for that. The robotic arm in question is able to build miniaturized robots from a selection of blocks equipped with small motors, check their progress on the table and make the necessary adjustments to improve and fix what went wrong in earlier generations.

This might sound quite scary, but it really is mind-blowing. The robotic arm is able to watch the progress of the robots while they move on the table with the help of a mounted web camera, while observing their speed and ‘imperfections’. Lead researcher, Dr. Fumiya Iida, explains that this might seem as a heartless evolutionary process, but don’t forget, this is done without the use of DNA. I mean, when you look at how evolution took place on Earth over millions of years, you kind of see a glimpse of it in the video below.

While we learn things in a similar way, evolution on a larger scale has different ways of ’embedding’ information into their ‘next generation’. Iida hopes that this experiment may shed some light on some unanswered questions about evolution, but in the meantime, he even has real-world applications for the project. Think about quality control and how these machines can spot imperfections or broken products on down the line. It is a start, but for those of you who are thinking about a Terminator scenario, we are still far away from something like that. At least with this particular project.

Thank you IFLScience for providing us with this information

Samsung Enters SOC Market by Opening Up Exynos to Third Parties

Folks at Qualcomm, MediaTek and other SoC producers may soon be having sleepless nights. According to a report, Samsung is set on releasing their in-house Exynos SoC including the latest 7420 to third parties, the first being Meizu. The Exynos 7420 is Samsung’s top Soc with 4 A57 and 4 A53 cores respectively tied to a Mali-T760 MP8 GPU. As a giant conglomerate, Samsung probably thinks that maximizing the chip and fab profits will outweigh any risks from supplying competitors with good chips.

While Samsung has long been designing and manufacturing their own Exynos Socs for their own use, they were not shy about using Qualcomm SOCs in certain markets. That practice has dwindled off however in recent years as Samsung moves towards using their Exynos chips exclusively. While cost is likely a big reason, Samsung has also been able to improve their chips be competitive in both the radio connectivity and CPU performance.

If Samsung starts expanding their Exynos business quickly, both Qualcomm and Mediatek should be worried. With the latest 14nm process and their own fabs, Samsung is able to leverage better power efficiency, cost and control their product cycle better. Qualcomm is also hurting heavily with their major misstep with the 810 though the 820 may soon come and save the day. Qualcomm has previously enjoyed a near monopolization, with most major smartphones using their chip. A new competitor that brings as many resources as Samsung does is probably the last thing they need right now.

Thank you Sammobile for providing us with this information

Meet Iko, the LEGO-Compatible Prosthetic Arm

This is Iko, the prosthetic arm that puts the ‘fun’ in functional. The artificial limb for kids has been designed to be compatible with the favourite toy of children and adults alike, LEGO, making it endlessly customisable.

Prosthetics have come a long way in the past few years, especially since the advent of 3D printing, which allow manufacturing to be not only cheap but has opened up the scope of potential designs and innovations.

Chicago-based Colombian designer Carlos Arturo Torres developed Iko during a six-month internship at LEGO, where he was exposed to the true extent of how that humble brick is able to foster social connections. “My friends in psychology used to tell me that when a kid has a disability, he is not really aware of it until he faces society,” Torres said. “That’s when they have a super rough encounter.” That’s why he chose LEGO to help kids with missing limbs build bridges and improve their self-esteem.

Torres returned to his home country to visit patients at Cirec, a rehabilitation clinic for kids with prosthetics. He met Dario, an 8-year-old boy who was left without a right forearm due to a congenital condition. “He was talking about the robot’s different features and pointed to a bionic eye,” Torres says of Dario. “He said the robot built it himself because he was the only one who knew what he needed. And that was like, boom.”

Iko is laced with LEGO-compatible studs, allowing the wearer to add LEGO bricks, parts, and minifigures to their hearts’ content. Though it is still in its prototype stage, Torres hopes the transformational power of LEGO will help change the lives of disadvantaged children in a way that a conventional prosthetic cannot. A friend of Dario, who had previously expressed pity over his condition, saw his playmate enjoying his Iko. “He said, ‘I want one of those,’” Torres beamed.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Commodore Is Back and Targeting the Smartphone Market With New Android Phone

For those of you too young to know who Commodore is, you should know that it was a big tech company back in the ’80s who went into the Guinness record for selling thousands of Commodore 64 desktop units daily. The craze for the Commodore 64 was so big that it was named ‘the single biggest-selling computer ever’, selling around 17 millions worldwide.

But enough about what the company did in the past, let us focus on the present and the future. If you thought Commodore’s days are over, think again! There have been a bit of confusion when Commodore Amiga, a potential Apple Mac Mini rival, was announced back in 2012, but we haven’t heard anything about it since then and it also seems the Commodore USA website which delivered the latter information went offline.

However, the latest news from Commodore is that the company seems to shift its focus on the smartphone market. Besides the Commodore 64, their first desktop computer was named Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor). Well, their first ever smartphone bears the same name, so say hello to Commodore’s new PET smartphone!

The new, improved and ‘miniaturized’ version of the PET seems to be running on Android 5.0 and features a 5.5-inch IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution display. In terms of performance, it comes with a Mediatek 64-bit Octa-Core CPU clocked at 1.7 GHz and features the ARM Mali T760 GPU. Even the battery seems promising, coming with a huge 3,000 mAh pack.

Other features consist of a 13-megapixel back camera made by Sony, with a f/2.0 aperture, being able to snap pictures at a resolution of up to 4096×2304 pixels and record 1080p HD videos. There is also a 8-megapixel front camera with an 80° wide-angle, which can also be triggered by the side shutter button. You won’t be disappointed in terms of connectivity either, having the handset come with dual-sim support, 4G LTE compatibility.

To bring forth the nostalgia of old times, Commodore said to have built in a VICE C64 emulator and the Uae4All2-SDL Amiga emulator and is working with some software developers to port its old ’80 Commodore games to the latest PET handset. So now that some, if not all of you are excited about the information, let’s move on to the most important bit… when will we see it on the market? You’ll be more hyped by that information.

The Commodore PET is said to launch later this week in two versions. The ‘light’ version is said to feature 2GB of RAM, 16 GB storage and be priced at around $300, while a higher-end version will be featuring 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage and a price tag of $365. In terms of storage space, you should know that the handset is said to already be fitted with a 32GB microSD card, but information states it can support microSD cards of up to 64GB. So, this means you can get your very one portable Commodore PET with a total of either 80 or 96 GB, depending on what model you fancy.

The initial launch will be in Europe with the first countries to see the handset named to be Italy, France, Germany, and Poland, but more are bound to be added to the list in the near future. Given the old Commodore fans are still out there, demands for the new PET smartphone is likely to build up really quick. Will you order one? Let us know!

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of linuxzone.es

Intel Faces More Delays in 10nm Production

We brought you news earlier this week that Intel appeared to have delayed their 10nm Cannon Lake chips in favour of 14nm Kaby lake. Now more reports have emerged about the delays and yield issues Intel is facing with the transition to 10nm. Word in the industry is that Intel is further delaying their 10nm ramp up into 2016 meaning it’s very likely there will be no 10nm chips till late 2016 at the earliest.

The biggest issue appears to be 10nm yields are below expectations. With low yields, the new process isn’t able to offer any new value for Intel, meaning it makes financial sense to hold off on the transition. This delay is supported by news that a planned $6 billion upgrade to Fab 28 is also being delayed, pointing to a lack of urgency to hit 10nm from Intel. If 10nm delays pile up, the death of Moore’s law and Intel’s Tick Tock strategy are just around the corner.

Intel faces stiff competition from fellow semiconductor manufacturers TSMC and Samsung, both of whom are pushing their own 10nm process. If either of those firms is able to hit 10nm first, they could have a marketing coup as Intel has long been held to be the leader in process technology. Intel would still liklely have a qualitative edge as their process tends to be more advanced at the same node and not all nanometers are equivalent.

A delay to 10nm would also hurt Intel’s mobile plans. While Intel has good mobile architecutres, the backbone is based on a superior process technology that allows Intel to outperform competitors while being more cost effective and power efficient at the same time. If ARM competitors are able to catch up with their own 10nm chips, Intel will be forced to abandon their strategy of offering expensive subsidies to sell chips. AMD also has a chance to strike back in the desktop and server space if Intel is forced to stand still. While competitors will likely hit the same wall Intel has, parity may be enough for them to catch up.

Thank you SemiWiki for the information 

ARM Sheds New Light on High-End Cortex-A72 CPU

At yesterday’s annual Tech Day event, ARM shared more details about their upcoming Cortex-A72 architecture. Set to replace the current A57 performance chips, this new replacement is set to be faster, more efficient, and doing it all with a smaller die. While the A72 is the high-performance successor, it’s still largely based on the previous A57 design.

Starting off, ARM is making big claims against the previous generation A15 cores. For the same workload in a smartphone, ARM is expecting to reduce power consumption by 75% or keep the same power levels and increase performance by 3.5 times. Of course, part of the gains are due to process improvements but about 66% of those gains come from the architecture. Of course, the A72 is also a 64bit design. Most of the changes are deep down in the chip, ARM having gone through and optimized everything. Branch prediction is improved by about 20% over the A57 and pretty every compute unit got latency reductions in the 25 to 50% range. Combined, these changes should yield about a 16 to 30% IPC increase at the same power as the A57. This lead is set to grow since the reduced die size also helps the A72 achieve higher clock speeds than before.

While beating the previous generation ARM processors is expected, the bigger question is how these improvements will fare against Intel’s Broadwell and Cherry Trial chips. Pitting a 2Ghz Core-M5Y10C against a 2.5Ghz Cortex A72, the ARM chip manages to hold it’s own. Once power is limited though, the A72 manages to pull ahead as Core-M starts throttling. Of course, we don’t know the specifics of the test, but its good food for thought nonetheless. If ARM is able to keep up their pace, Intel will soon be seriously challenged, and not just in the mobile space.

For now though, consumers will have to wait for the A72. It will be up to ARM partners like MediaTek, Qualcomm and Samsung to implement their own A72 designs. While ARM has done much to improve over the A57, it remains up to their partners to make sure it all works out, an issue highlighted by the Snapdragon 810. Earliest chips are set to ship later this year, pointing to release in mobile devices for 2016. Who knows, maybe the A72 might make it in time for the next Nexus phone?

Thank you Anandtech for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Arstechnica

IFixit Tears Down the Brand New Apple Watch

The eight months waiting time since Apple introduced the Apple Watch to the world has been a long wait for some people, but that wait was over yesterday when the Watch officially started to sell. iFixit is well-known for their teardown of Apple products and they’ve of course also taken the Watch in for a close inspection and to find out just exactly what is inside this device.

The teardown is still ongoing while I am writing this piece and it’s being updated in real-time until they’ve taken everything apart that can be taken apart. The watch looks like a solid piece of engineering and the assembly looks great, but then again it has to be perfect if you want to fit this amount of technology and a battery into such a tiny device.

The previously rumoured diagnostics port hidden between the armband and the watch itself was also discovered. iFixit is also taking a closer look at Apples first foray into inductive charging, a thing that many believe will be the future for a lot of mobile devices.

Apple Watch Specifications:

  • Pressure-sensitive, flexible, touchscreen AMOLED Retina display
  • One model measuring 38 mm (vertically) with 272 x 340 pixels (290 ppi), the other model measuring 42 mm (vertically) with 312 x 390 pixels (302 ppi)
  • Custom-designed Apple S1 SiP (System in Package)
  • 8 GB onboard storage
  • NFC + Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Accelerometer + gyroscope + heart rate monitor + microphone + speaker

As previously mentioned, the teardown is still ongoing and you can head over to the official page and stay up to date with the latest findings.

Thank you iFixit for providing us with this information

Microsoft Surface 3 Runs Full Windows, not RT

Microsoft has abandoned its ARM processor/Windows RT experiment with the release of the Surface 3 tablet, which runs a full version of Windows 8 and is the first non-Pro Surface device to feature an Intel chip. Microsoft’s hope is to replicate the success of the Surface Pro 3 with this new mid-range version.

Dale Perrigo, Surface Marketing Manager, says, “For people that need to get stuff done, generally you need a keyboard and some people need a pen, and that’s where our device plays.” He adds, “If you want a pure entertainment that’s not what this device is.”

The Microsoft Surface 3 has 64GB on-board storage, 2GB RAM, and an Intel Atom x7 processor. Priced £419 – though, add another £155 for the keyboard and pen – the Surface 3 is released on 7th May.

Source: BBC

GIGABYTE Releases Its First ARM Based Server Solutions

GIGABYTE released their first server products based on the ARM architectures on the opening day of WHD.global last week in Germany. The new solutions are developed in partnership with AppliedMicro and Annapurna Labs, two innovative members of the booming ARM for server ecosystem, and offer excellent performance-per-watt capabilities.

The new motherboard and servers are built around the AppliedMicro X-Gene’s ARMv8-A architecture and have the capabilities for up 128GB memory with the 8 DIMM slots. The network connectivity has plenty of coverage for even the most demanding operations with two 10Gbit SFP+ LAN ports and two normal RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports. There are four SATA3 ports, one USB 2.0 header, and an Aspeed AST2400 remote management controller.

Fully compliant with ARM Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) and Server Base Root Requirements (SBBR) standards, the new MP30-AR0 server board represents an optimized application solution for cloud and scale-out computing, supported by a robust network of over 1,000 open source software developers. AppliedMicro’s X-Gene processor, which became commercially available in 2014, is the industry’s first enterprise-hardened, ARM 64-bit Server on a Chip solution. Designed for cloud, enterprise server, and HPC applications, X-Gene’s distinguishing features include multiple high-performance processors running at up to 2.4GHz along with robust, high-speed memory and I/O.

Gigabyte also released the R120-P30 single socket 1U rackmount server with the above-mentioned motherboard. It’s built with 4 hot-swap bays to fit the onboard connectors and comes with a 350W 80 Plus Bronze certified PSU.

Now you might think that a server like that needs way more storage at its disposal, and so did GIGABYTE. The D120-S3G system is designed as an add-on storage expansion of existing server infrastructures and can support up to 100TB of raw capacity within a single 1U rackmount enclosure. It connects to the network over a dual 10GbE SFP+ interface and facilitates SATA3 ports for sufficient bandwidth and transfer rates.

It is powered by an Annapurna Labs Alpine AL5140 1.7GHz Quad-Core processor, based on the ARMv7 architecture and the Cortex-A15 core, and has an impressive low 10W power consumption. It is equipped with hardware RAID and Erasure Code engine supporting RAID 5 and 6 levels protection. It comes with a 400W 80 Plus Gold certified PSU, one ECC DIMM slot, and 16 HDD slots.

Thanks to GIGABYTE for providing us with this information