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Newsletter 3-31-2009


For today´s newsletter, I will be going over some of the new tech that is out, or will be out shortly. There is a CES-esque tradeshow going on known as CeBit, where all sorts of technological marvels are being presented.

Windows 7 is going to be released this year. They aren´t quite to release candidate in the development cycle, but they´re almost out of beta phase. I have the ISO and a key code that will work only once, if somebody wants to install the beta and check it out. This is a highly anticipated OS, and is supposed to be what Vista was intended to become.

We all know about the SATA interface for hard drives, yes? All the hard drives we use currently have a SATA-2 interface, which can theoretically has 300MB/s of bandwidth. SATA-3 is coming out this year (most likely), although I can´t pin down what quarter yet. It looks like the next generation of AMD chipsets will have support for SATA-3 integrated. No worries about compatibility though, SATA-3 will still play nice with previous generation drives. As far as speed, it´s twice as fast as SATA-2, coming in at 600MB/s theoretical, which probably means 520MB/s actual.

Also new in the world of storage are some new server class SSD options. The Intel X25-E (SLC based one) is in mass production, and is regarded as the fastest flash drive available. Pricing is outrageous, of course. If you have a customer who demands the best performance for a database application, then these are the drives for you! I am unsure if they´ll fit in a hotswap bay or not, but they are 2.5” drives with a SATA-2 interface for reference when quoting. There is new type of SSD available as of very recently, made by a company known as FusionIO. Basically, it´s a bunch of super fast flash chips shoved into a PCI-express slot. No standard hard drive interface of any kind, it goes directly into the motherboard. By far, it is the fastest thing in the world. Due to the non-standard storage interface, it is not bootable however. You will need to install the OS on a “regular” drive, then setup the IOdrive from winders or linux (its 64-bit only as well). Being totally awesome, it naturally costs a lot. About $xxxx for the 80GB model.

The nVidia GTS 250 is officially available, and I have it added to Total Vision. As per the previous newsletter, it is simply a rebadged 9800GTX+. The ATI price drop is in full effect as well, and TV is up to date. In the world of processors, the Intel Core i5 is coming out this summer! These will be released the same time as Intel´s new chipset, the P55, which is a low(er) cost alternative to the X58. Oh, one important side note about our Core i7 chips. They do NOT support ECC memory, although some motherboards say they do. We can shove ECC DDR3 memory into a supermicro board, and sure it will work - but the ECC is just along for the ride. I´m advertising ECC memory on a couple i7 server SKU´s. Is it deceptive? Yup. The ECC-ready chip should be out soon though, so I will update at that time.

On the AMD side of things, Opterons have come waaaay down in price. This is probably due to the fact that they´re about to get the crap kicked out of them (finally) by Intel. Check out TV for the 2376, the newest generation of Opteron - under $xxx per chip and its fast. It will work on any dual socket Opteron board that we normally use. I´m working up some new SKU´s based on this, as it really offers extreme value for your dollar in the server world. If you would like to quote it out, please see me for some reference SKU´s that I have ready. Quote some lead time as well, as they´re kinda hard to get due to this awesome price.