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Data Storage

Facebook's Newest Datacenter Relies On Arctic Cooling 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the mountains-of-madness dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "One year and seven months after beginning construction, Facebook has brought its first datacenter on foreign soil online. That soil is in Lulea, town of 75,000 people on northern Sweden's east coast, just miles south of the boundary separating the Arctic Circle from the somewhat-less-frigid land below it. Lulea (also nicknamed The Node Pole for the number of datacenters in the area) is in the coldest area of Sweden and shares the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska, according to a local booster site. The constant, biting wind may have stunted the growth of Lulea's tourism industry, but it has proven a big factor in luring big IT facilities into the area. Datacenters in Lulea are just as difficult to power and cool as any other concentrated mass of IT equipment, but their owners can slash the cost of cooling all those servers and storage units simply by opening a window: the temperature in Lulea hasn't stayed at or above 86 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours since 1961, and the average temperature is a bracing 29.6 Fahrenheit. Air cooling might prove a partial substitute for powered environmental control, but Facebook's datacenter still needed 120megawatts of steady power to keep the social servers humming. Sweden has among the lowest electricity costs in Europe, and the Lulea area reportedly has among the lowest power costs in Sweden. Low electricity prices are at least partly due to the area's proximity to the powerful Lulea River and the line of hydroelectric dams that draw power from it."
Hardware

Dell's Haswell-Powered Alienware X51 R2 SFF, a PC Gamer's Console Alternative 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-play dept.
MojoKid writes "Dell recently introduced their Alienware X51 series of small form factor gaming PCs but until now, squeezing in components that were powerful enough for the enthusiast gamer was a significant thermal challenge. Intel's recent Haswell Core processor release, as well as NVIDIA's GeForce 670 series graphics cards have changed the game considerably though. The X51 R2 is shaped similar to to an Xbox 360 Slim, and though it's slightly larger, it would be right at home in a living room setting. Alienware is also bundling Steam Big Picture mode installations with systems as well. Performance-wise, with its latest CPU and GPU upgrades, the system is over twice as fast as the first generation X51, again thanks to Haswell and upgraded NVIDIA GeForce graphics. The console-sized PC is capable of running virtually any current gen DX11 title at full 1920X1080 HD resolution and high image quality settings."
Hardware

World's Smallest Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 Module? 42

Posted by timothy
from the stick-it-in-your-ear dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Variscite has unveiled what it claims is the world's tiniest Cortex-A9 system-on-module, measuring 52 x 17mm. The Linux- and Android-compatible DART-4460 board is based on a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, is available with up to 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 8GB eMMC flash, and can run at 400MHz on just 44mA. The module provides interfaces for display (HDMI, RGB, DSI), wireless (Bluetooth, WiFi), audio, camera, USB, and more, and it consumes as little as 5mA in suspend and 44mA while running from a 3.7V battery at 400 MHz, according to Variscite. And in case you were wondering, the iconic Gumstix form-factor is 12 percent larger, at 58 x 17mm."
Upgrades

Intel Removes "Free" Overclocking From Standard Haswell CPUs 339

Posted by timothy
from the first-one's-no-longer-free dept.
crookedvulture writes "With its Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, Intel allowed standard Core i5 and i7 CPUs to be overclocked by up to 400MHz using Turbo multipliers. Reaching for higher speeds required pricier K-series chips, but everyone got access to a little "free" clock headroom. Haswell isn't quite so accommodating. Intel has disabled limited multiplier control for non-K CPUs, effectively limiting overclocking to the Core i7-4770K and i5-4670K. Those chips cost $20-30 more than their standard counterparts, and surprisingly, they're missing a few features. The K-series parts lack the support for transactional memory extensions and VT-d device virtualization included with standard Haswell CPUs. PC enthusiasts now have to choose between overclocking and support for certain features even when purchasing premium Intel processors. AMD also has overclocking-friendly K-series parts, but it offers more models at lower prices, and it doesn't remove features available on standard CPUs."
Data Storage

SSDs: The New King of the Data Center? 172

Posted by samzenpus
from the feeling-solid dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Flash storage is more common on mobile devices than data-center hardware, but that could soon change. The industry has seen increasing sales of solid-state drives (SSDs) as a replacement for traditional hard drives, according to IHS iSuppli Research. Nearly all of these have been sold for ultrabooks, laptops and other mobile devices that can benefit from a combination of low energy use and high-powered performance. Despite that, businesses have lagged the consumer market in adoption of SSDs, largely due to the format's comparatively small size, high cost and the concerns of datacenter managers about long-term stability and comparatively high failure rates. But that's changing quickly, according to market researchers IDC and Gartner: Datacenter- and enterprise-storage managers are buying SSDs in greater numbers for both server-attached storage and mainstream storage infrastructure, according to studies both research firms published in April. That doesn't mean SSDs will oust hard drives and replace them directly in existing systems, but it does raise a question: are SSDs mature enough (and cheap enough) to support business-sized workloads? Or are they still best suited for laptops and mobile devices?"

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