When it comes to storage, SSD’s are gaining traction at an incredible speed. With SSD prices sinking closer to HDDs, there are very few reasons why people would avoid the large speed advantage that upgrading your drives can have. Fixstars wants to move that advantage to a whole new market, with a 13TB SSD drive titled Olive.
Fixstars’ Olive isn’t just a 13TB SSD drive, with it essentially packing the abilities of a server into the 2.5 inch SSD drive. This advantage comes courtesy of an FPGA (field programmable gate array), something which enables you to reprogram the Olive to perform certain tasks. With the ability to share and spread movies, or even collect information from a selection of devices, the Olive doesn’t just have a lot of storage space.
The downside with FPGA’s is that while they can be fast, you have to program any tasks directly onto the hardware, something which isn’t a very common skill in the industry and is limited to just the tasks that are embedded within the FPGA. Thanks to its size though the FPGA could be used for anything you might normally use a server for, such as quickly backing up a system or even acting as an independent server should one of yours fail.
Currently, the Olive only runs 32-bit Linux, with 512MB of RAM and an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, although it has been suggested that it could be modified to speed up the Olive and enable 64-bit computing in the future.
Still experimental, the Olive hasn’t got a price yet while Fixstars evaluate feedback and decide if there is a market for something so unique.
Altera, the US-based manufacturer of programmable logic devices, has been purchased by Intel in an all-cash deal worth $16.7 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled, via Engadget).
“Altera is now part of Intel, and together we will make the next generation of semiconductors not only better but able to do more,” Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, said in a press release. “We will apply Moore’s Law to grow today’s FPGA business, and we’ll invent new products that make amazing experiences of the future possible – experiences like autonomous driving and machine learning.”
The deal, which is the biggest in Intel’s history, will unify Intel’s Xeon processors with Altera’s field programmable gate arrays, which are already in use together by tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, unifying the conjunction under one commercial banner. Intel will begin selling the pair as a bundle to start with, but aims to unify the systems into a single chip in due course.
“As part of Intel, we will create market-leading programmable logic devices that deliver a wider range of capabilities than customers experience today,” Dan McNamara, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Programmable Solutions Group at Intel, and former Altera employee, added. “Combining Altera’s industry-leading FPGA technology and customer support with Intel’s world-class semiconductor manufacturing capabilities will enable customers to create the next generation of electronic systems with unmatched performance and power efficiency.”
A strange entry has appeared on a shipping manifest at Zauba, with AMD’s codename “Magnum” relating to an FPGA prototype board, as well as DTV. This is certainly a strange entry, but what does it mean?
This is a very strange thing to be attributed to AMD, especially since they sold off their DTV division seven years ago to Broadcom, although it does fit with rumours in the industry that AMD wanted to do something in terms of FPGA. Although, what AMD are doing in the digital TV market at the moment certainly remains to be seen.
The pricing on the label leads us to believe this is a high-end product, perhaps something along the lines of the Nvidia Shield TV, as it would make sense that AMD would love to take the wind out of Nvidia’s sails in this market. It’s most likely something related to Zen hardware, however, there’s one more very obvious solution staring us right in the face, could this be for a new console? With Nintendo already shipping some development kits for their next console, this could be the first hints of the hardware development. Of course, this is all speculation, we don’t know what they’re working on, but AMD are without a doubt cooking up something!
What do you think it could be? Let us know in the comments section below.