2012 - The Year to Come (Part 3)

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Greater flash memory – 1 terabyte SSDs

Description: Greater flash memory – 1 terabyte SSDs

Solid State Drives will be bigger than ever in 2012. Various manufactures – Seagate, MemoRight and SanDisk for example – have announced flash memory with a capacity of up to 800GB. With the Octane series, OCZ Technology is going for 1TB SSDs, which costs about $1795. With the new disks, manufacturers are targeting a turnover of one billion US dollars in the server market in 2012, and 4 billion in 2015. The 2.5 and 3.5-inch drives are also suitable for normal desktop PCs. Private users who can afford to dabble in the love of hardware can make the splurge. These Mega-SSDs, however, are not suitable for notebooks simply for being too thick.

Description: OCZ SSD

Graphics cards – more performance, less consumption

They heat up quickly, ventilate loudly and consume too much electricity – this is how current generation of graphic cards are, and they’re running on limits. The upcoming card from NVIDIA and AMD are not upgrades of a prevailing hardware, but a completely new architecture. The most important innovation from both manufacturers are the reduced GPUs, going from 40 to 28 nanometres. Whereas the Kepler card planned by NVIDIA are hardly known just yet, details on the Radeon HD-7,000 series from AMD have already been leaked. AMD’s flagships, the HD 7970 and the 7950, are getting the more energy-saving 2GB XDR2 memory instead of GDDR5. The XDR2 memory runs with a clock frequency of up to 8,000MHz. Combined with the smaller feature size of the GPU, the cards consume less energy but are able to provide higher performance. For comparison, the HD 7970 (codenamed Tahixi XT) should require a maximum of 190 watts, while the HD 6970 consumes a full 250 watts. Following this, a new range of graphic cards with dual CPU is also coming to the market, falling within the PCIe specification of 375 watts – current cards can hardly adhere to this limit.

AMD’s new high-end-graphics

The AMD Radeon HD 7970 is about 3D percent quicker and , in spite of this, is still more energy-saving than its forerunner model HD 6970.


Description: AMD


HD 6970 (alt)

HD 7970 (neu)


Cayman XT

Tahiti XT


40 mm

28 mm







Billing increment

880 MHz

1.000 MHz




HD 6970 (alt)

HD 7970 (neu)





2 GB

2 GB

Billing increment

5,500 MHz

8,000 MHz


176 GB/s

256 GB/s


250 W

190 W

HDD hard disks – 5 terabytes for PCs

Description: HDD hard disks – 5 terabytes for PCs

While SSDs are certainly on the way up, standard hard disk drives wouldn’t be extinct for a long time. On the contrary, 2012 would be where they will experience growth. Seagate has announced to present the first HDD with a capacity of 5 terabytes in January (the Icon). Five single disks are embedded in each TB. Other manufacturers have even announced 4TB models – internal ones as well as external – for 2012. The great advantage of HDDs against SSDs is the price: while the 1TB SSD cost as much as $1795, a customer would only need to pay about $80 for a HDD of the same capacity. This ratio isn’t going to change in the future, though the prices for both models are going to reduce in price further in the future.

SATA express – New Connection for Superfast SSDs

HDDs have been bottlenecked on PCs for too long. Thanks to SSDs, things still hasn’t changed. The latest generation of SSDs on flash-basis has reached the limits of SATA technology, but have they? What if we told you that while SSDs can reach 600MB/sec, SATA could go for 6GB/sec? There has been faster devices out there, but for them to work optimally, the drives must be connected to the considerably faster PCIe-slot – something that requires a specific drive and does not run error-free all the time. The Serial ATA International Organisation (SATA-IO) will publish a new connectivity standard, known as the SATA Express, to rectify this problem. SSDs can transfer their data via PCI Express 3.0 without any further adaptors through this interface. Two versions of the motherboard sockets are being planned: the first one provides the connection only via PCIe cable, while the second one shall be compatible with the older SATA disks (see picture). Motherboard manufacturers will determine which version should be used. The SATA-IO sets the transfer rate of SATA express at 8GB and 16GB, meaning the actual transfer rate may be 1GB/sec or 2GB/sec. the first motherboards with the new SATA Express connectivity should arrive into the market by mid-2012.


SATA Express uses the PCIe interface for data transfer – hence, a transfer rate of up to 16 GB/sec should be possible.

PCIE Socket

New socket for boards and SSDs which connects via SATA Express

SATA Socket

The old sockets also fit in the new connection

SATA Express

 New mainboards should have connections compatible to SATA

Description: SATA Express

Ivy Bridge Tri-Gate – 3D Processors?

The 3D buzzword will also hit processors in 2012 as Intel will be delivering the first Ivy Bridge chips with three-dimensional transistors, known as Tri-Gate. The reason for the seemingly strange name is a component of the transistors, the channel, which will now protrude out from the otherwise flat layer. Tri-Gate processors work more efficiently with the same size. Due to its perpendicular structure, the channel prevents the electricity from flowing through the transistor even when switched off. Up to now, such current leaks were prevented by processors of smaller structures. This is because Tri-Gate transistors are only 22 nanometres wide and hence 10 nanometres slimmer than the current Sandy Bridge processors, and as thus, more transistors can be accommodated in the same amount of space. Intel can use this technology in two ways: either increase the number of transistors in the Ivy Bridge CPUs, resulting in increased performances by 50%, or let the processor save 40% more energy while working with the same number of transistors, as there are hardly any electrical leaks. Lastly, it will interesting for mobile devices when a more performing version is used on the PC motherboards. Here, the power supplies are strong enough for more consumption.

Description: Ivy Bridge Tri-Gate – 3D Processors?

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