Archive for January, 2010

January 14th, 2010 ~ by admin

Tegra 2: The Big ARM from Nvidia

The Nvidia Tegra series of processors 9really SoCs as they integrate memory controller, I/O bridges, etc all on one chip) just keeps getting bigger and better.

Tegra Processor

Tegra Processor

The new Tegra 2 announced at CES 2010 now integrates a dual core ARM Cortex-A9 running at up to 1GHz.  That’s all well and dandy but it doesn’t stop there. Nvidia also adds separate processor units for HD encoding, still image processing, audio, 2d/3D, HD playback and mobile phone baseband functions.  Each core can be independently clocked, throttled, or turned off as needed, resulting in a processor that can run at 500mW.

This is the type of processor you will be seeing in devices like the forthcoming Apple tablet, and future smart phones.  All this again begs the question: When will Microsoft port Windows 7 to ARM?

More Info here

January 14th, 2010 ~ by admin

Counterfeit IC’s: A growing problem

EETimes has another article about a person being charged/convicted of selling counterfeit chips to the US navy. This has been a growing problem in the electronics industry for the last decade, but has its roots much earlier then that.

It was common in the 90’s for counterfeiters (aka remarkers) to take a processor, wipe the markings, and mark it with a higher speed. This was rather common with the Pentium era and newer, but occurred with 486’s as well. To a computer user this typically meant that their computer ran much warmer, and often times less stable.

To a collector this means you must be VERY careful when looking at processors in your museum to ensure that rare sample you have, is not in fact a clever forgery, or that Pentium 133 is not in fact a remarked 75.

Having your computer crash or having a few fake CPUs in your collection is a mere annoyance, but what about actual use? For example a part listed as mil-spec, with a wide temperature operating band, that controls a ships defensive systems? If this is in fact a fake (remarked from a commercial spec IC, which has been happening). The system could and likely WILL fail at the worst time. The result? People lose their lives.