Intel announces 710 series enterprise-class SSD units, talks up endurance factor

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Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 09:09
Category: News

Solid-state drives: They’re getting prolific.

And that’s never a bad thing.

Per Macworld, Intel on Wednesday announced the new 710 series solid-state drives, the company currently pitching the units as a replacement to hard drives in enterprise servers.

The SSDs will come with capacities ranging from 100GB to 300GB and include features to protect data and enhance the life of the drives. The drives replace the previous X25-E SSDs, which were also targeted at enterprises, and have 30 times more endurance than conventional hard drives featuring moving parts.

The drives are priced starting at US$649 for the 100GB version to US$1929 for the 300GB drive, when purchased in quantities of 1,000.

The drives feature multilevel cell technologies, which store bits of data at multiple levels in each cell, but provide the endurance of typical single-level cell (SLC) SSDs, where a bit of data is stored per cell. SLCs are considered faster and more reliable than MLCs in terms of endurance cycles.

The SSD achieves a random write performance, measured in 4K blocks, of up to 2700 I/O operations per second (IOPS) and read performance of up to 38,500 IOPS. It has a write endurance of up to 1.1 petabytes.

The Intel SSD 710 includes a technology called HET (high endurance technology), which combines firmware enhancements, management features and algorithms to reduce data errors, Intel said.

The SSDs will be offered with Cisco’s UCS B230 M2 two-socket server starting in September, Intel and Cisco said in a joint statement.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Thunderbolt Software Update 1.0

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Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 09:22
Category: News, Software

Maybe it’s a good thing that the software patch arrived before the actual units did. On Friday, Apple released Thunderbolt Software Update 1.0, a 60.3 megabyte download that provides support for the Apple Thunderbolt Display and bug fixes for Thunderbolt device compatibility.

The update should also be available via Mac OS X’s Software update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.7.1 to install and run.

If you’ve received your Apple Thunderbolt Display yet and tried the update with it, please let us know what you make of it via the comments.

Apple begins shipping Thunderbolt-equipped Cinema Display units

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Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 06:36
Category: Hardware, News

Per AppleInsider, a number of users have reported that Apple has begun shipping LED Thunderbolt Displays directly to them.

The customers reported late Thursday that their Thunderbolt Display orders have shipped, with one Australian customer claimed that the display has already arrived.

Apple unveiled the new US$999 27-inch LED Thunderbolt Display in July alongside new Mac Minis and MacBook Airs, promising availability within 60 days. The new display is the first to support the Thunderbolt I/O technology. In addition to Thunderbolt, the display includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera, a 2.1 speaker system, MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 800 port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port.

Reports emerged last week that Apple had begun shipping the new displays to its retail stores with plans to begin fulfilling individual pre-orders on Sept. 15.

Earlier this week, Apple released a MacBook Pro firmware update enabling support for the new display. Early 2011 Thunderbolt MacBook Pro models and other Thunderbolt-capable Macs with discrete graphics support two daisy-chained displays, though the new MacBook Air supports only one display.

Intel and Apple introduced the Thunderbolt technology in February. On Thursday, the chipmaker relayed its plans for the specification, which will eventually support transfer speeds of up to 100Gbps after the transition to optical cabling.

If you’ve received a shipping notice about your Thunderbolt-equipped display or the display itself and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Intel working on Ivy Bridge chipset for next-gen MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 06:52
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

The next generation of something: it’ll always be a bit niftier than the thing you have now.

Per CNET, Apple next-gen MacBook Air may see an additional performance boost next year with Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors, which, according to a new report, will add support for the OpenCL technology.

Apple is currently billing its Open Computing Language standard as a technology that “dramatically accelerates” applications by unlocking the “amazing parallel computing power of the GPU.” OpenCL especially offers improvements to financial applications, games and media applications by offloading non-graphics related tasks to the GPU.

Intel is expected to add support for the technology in its line of Ivy Bridge processors due out next year. Intel boasts as much as a 60 percent performance boost over current Sandy Bridge chips, with special attention being paid to graphics performance enhancements.

The MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro would stand the most to gain from Intel support for OpenCL. GPUs from AMD and Nvidia already support the technology, but Apple’s ultra-thin notebook and entry-level MacBook Pro currently sport a graphics processor from Intel.

Apple’s MacBook Air update in July made the notebook up to twice as fast as the previous generation, which made use of Intel’s aging Core 2 Duo chips. The company has had some trouble keeping the the diminutive notebooks in stock due to the resulting popularity of the models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.