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THG Looks at ClawHammer Mobo 204

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-want dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Tom's Hardware Guide managed to get a first look at the new Socket 754 ClawHammer motherboard. While they don't provide the benchmarks that you might be looking for, they do an excellent job and providing pictures and an overview of the ClawHammer Platform."
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THG Looks at ClawHammer Mobo

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  • by Snuffub (173401) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:47PM (#4479535) Homepage
    I think this pretty much defines putting the cart in front of the horse. still a fun read though.
  • tubes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by trollercoaster (250101) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:50PM (#4479575) Homepage Journal

    I love the old-timey tubes used for the sound. I wonder how reliable these will be. I'm old enough to remeber having to replace tubes in our old tv back in the day.

    • by Faggot (614416)
      For supposedly playing to the low-end audiophile market, AOpen isn't doing a great job. Nowhere can I find what kind of tubes they're using!

      Since six channels are being amplified (5.1) and three tubes are present, I'm assuming they're using three double-triodes in Class A configuration. Maybe 12AX7s? [mclink.it] Note to AOpen: people care about this kind of thing.
      • When I saw the first picture of the motherboard with vacuum tubes I was a bit surprised; hey, those look like vacuum tubes. At first I thought the entire article might be a joke, but after reading the article for a bit it certainly seems serious enough.

        I suppose they are playing to the home theater market, but I couldn't give a damn personally whether they are using double triodes or anything else. The Altec Lansing speakers I have hooked to my computer are sufficient for basic sound, but they aren't going to come close to filling a room like a real stereo system would. Besides, since when do you need a full amp instead of just a preamp in your computer.

        • by ianjk (604032)
          since when do you need a full amp instead of just a preamp in your computer. IMO don't think that is a full amp. Looks like a tube preamp to me. A full amp would probably be much larger/costly, not to mention hot.
      • Since six channels are being amplified (5.1) and three tubes are present, I'm assuming they're using three double-triodes in Class A configuration. Maybe 12AX7s [mclink.it]? Note to AOpen: people care about this kind of thing.

        12ax7s would certainly make sense, as they're still in production in several places (Russia, China, Yugoslavia) and thus relatively cheap. They're also widely used in preamps of guitar amplifiers, so you can find them at your local Guitar Center...

        The EF86 [duncanamps.co.uk] was popular for hi-fi preamp applications like this in the '50s and '60s because they had lots of clean headroom, but they're not used as much any more because the ones still in production have a nasty habit of being microphonic. You'd also need twice as many of them, since they're a single pentode in roughly the same bottle as a 12ax7.

        --Troy
  • by spyder913 (448266) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:51PM (#4479582)
    to have active cooling on the north bridge, too many new, high speed bus mobos are coming out right now with passive cooling that doesn't come close to making it easy to OC.
    • have active cooling on the north bridge I may have missed something but I was under the impression that on Hammer, the north bridge was on the CPU (not on the board).
      • Well either they have a north bridge, or they have another chip separate from the cpu that does a good job of impersonating the north bridge.
      • by Merlin42 (148225) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:23PM (#4479895) Homepage
        Actually just one component of the northbridge, the memory controller, was moved into the CPU. Other things such as: AGP interface, interface to southbridge, etc (hmmm is there anything else?) still need to be on a separate chip.
      • On the Hammer, there's no such thing as a "northbridge".

        Actually, there isn't all that much of a "northbridge" in most of today's chipsets either. Ironically enough, these days the "southbridge" is really more of a northbridge than the northbridge is.

        The reason for all of this is that the "bridge" terminology is all defined with regards to the PCI bus. The northbridge is sort of where the PCI bus starts and where it has a bridge to the host controller. The southbridge is hanging off the other end of the PCI bus and provides a bridge to a different bus (ie the ISA bus).

        Now though, the layout of the chipsets is quite different, and we have the PCI bus starting off of the I/O chip (ie the ICH in Intel chipsets, or the MCP in nVidia chipsets). These chips than connect using another interconnect (Intel's Accerlated Hub Architecture, Hypertransport, V-Link, etc.) to a memory controller, AGP and processor bus chip (Intel's MCH, nVidia's IGP).

        With the Hammer, they stretch the separation a little bit more by moving the memory controller onto the processor itself.

        Ohh, and as for the original poster, active cooling is a BAD thing IMO. Those little fans are quite possibly the least reliable part of an entire PC. If at all possible, they should be avoided from a reliability standpoint. Mind you, if you're overclocking, reliability is probably not your #1 concern. As for me though, give me a nice big passive heatsink anyday.
    • by Inoshiro (71693) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:11PM (#4479790) Homepage
      For those of us who like having a motherboard we can place into a system and not have to worry about parts failing on it, the wonderfully solid-state nature of passive cooling is impossible to beat. If I want more performance, I'll either pay more or wait a little while longer, thanks. I want stability and a minimization of moving parts in my PC, because moving parts = failing parts. Failing parts are expensive!

      How many active-cooling north bridge motherboards have you owned? I owned one. Its north bridge fan failed after only 3 months of constant use. Compared to every other motherboard I own, none of which require a fan (most don't even require a heatsink, and they power 1Ghz systems!), it was a terrible mistake purchase. I've since replaced it with a motherboard bought specifically because its north brigde used passive cooling. It's given no problems in the year+ of service it's given.
    • by Zathrus (232140) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:26PM (#4479912) Homepage
      So add a fan on yourself if you want to OC.

      Most people don't want to OC. I've done it before and I won't do it again - the added speed isn't worth the instability. Especially if you're planning to keep using the computer for several years.

      As others have said, adding yet another fan is a detriment for normal use. It's another mechanical part that will fail - especially since most of the bundled fans are as cheap as they can afford to keep prices down.

      One of my buying criteria on a motherboard is passive cooling for the north bridge. I don't need the active cooling and I really don't need the added noise.
      • YES!!

        I just want a computer that I can't hear. Is that really too much to ask?
      • And do you think ASUS will tell you where to replace that fan at?

        I can't stand the fact that about 9 months into the life of my computer (still under warranty, but old enough to have the reciept lost) my fan is failing.

        I can find every size of CPU fan imaginable, but no one carries these tiny littel buggers. I tried calling ASUS, just to ask them where I might be able to order, and that is no help. They don't answer their phone messages or email ever.
      • Overclocking 101 (Score:3, Informative)

        by adolf (21054)
        I've been overclocking 9 or 10 years years, with no stability issues. I don't do anything anything extreme with cooling, and in fact have a P100 which has been running at 133 for several years with only a passive heatsink (it is an extremely quiet computer).

        I started long before any of this was trendy, with an AMD 386SX/33 which I always ran at 40. I've now got 300 and 333MHz K6-2s, each running at 350. And soon, I'll add an unlocked Athlon XP to the mix. These machines don't crash. Ever.

        It's trivial, and simple: Don't go to far. Don't up the voltage beyond manufacturer specification for the speed you're trying to achieve. If anything seems at all funny about the scenario, back down a notch and try again - don't try to "fix" it with fans and peltiers and waterblocks. Once you've found a speed that seems to work, it might not be a bad idea to step it down another notch to help with future operating variables.

        The next step is rather simple: Leave it the fuck alone. You've already had all of the overclocking joy that your particular hardware combination will yield. Enjoy your pennies saved and be done with it.

        CPUs are rated in the factory using similar methods. They all come off of the same line, and are tested at a high-ish clock speed. If a core fails a test at a given speed, it is retested at consecutively lower speeds until it passes. The resultant number is stamped on the package and/or burned into the multiplier.

        In theory, anyway. The reality lately is that toward the end of a given core's life, there's a point at which lower speed chips simply aren't produced anymore, while there is still market demand for them. So, there's a lot of lower-cost, factory-underclocked chips on the shelf, so that AMD and Intel can stay competitive with eachother in the mid-to-low end markets.

        This is evident from the price structure of commodity OEM CPUs. When there are 3 or 4 mid-range speeds are within a few dollars of eachother, they're quite likely to be exactly the same part, and may even be from the same batch.

        It is inarguable that running some of these chips at faster-than-marked speeds is not in any way overclocking.

        And, at any rate, it's heat that destroys CPUs, not clock speeds that are within the design parameters of the core. For this conservative approach to overclocking, added heat very nearly at non-issue status.

        Therefore, I strongly suspect that my machines will last forever, as far as I'm concerned, just like every solid state device should (obvious exceptions for dried-up capacitors and flaming power supplies may apply), and that they will always have an extra month or two of useful life in them before they're deemed too slow for the tasks at hand -- for free.

      • Even on chipsets that come with so-called "Active" cooling (laughter), that piddly little fan doesn't do much except make noise. You could add a new fan, but small fans are all likely to fail and mainly just add noise.

        I have a heavily overclocked abit mobo running at a bus of 152mhz, rock solid. The processor is watercooled, but the chipset isn't. All I did was take off the joke heatsink it comes with and do some mods.

        If you want to cure northbridge woes forever, you need:

        - A athlon heat sink (I used a volcano-II)
        - A saw, dremel, or other primitive machine tools
        - Goop-brand adhesive
        - Some alcohol and arctic silver

        Take the stock heatsink off. Cut the large one so it can fit on the motherboard. Clean the northbridge off with some alcohol. Put arctic silver on the chip, and a good pile of goop around the outside of the chip. Goop can be worked off, it is a weak bond against the metal of the heat sink. Put the sink on and smoosh it down. Put something heavy on it for 24 hrs, presto. If you have any airflow through your case whatsoever your northbridge will stay at ~29-30C even heavily overclocked.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:51PM (#4479585)
    My co-worker was telling me about this earlier this morning. I especially like the vacuum tubes for the audio on the motherboard. Audiophiles will be drooling over that. Do they make mobos now with that on them?

    On a side note, I like the number of pins on the cpu socket. Hammer is gonna be interesting to say the least.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by dubiousmike (558126) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:54PM (#4479619) Homepage Journal
      This might be ok for gaming, but having worked for a music software company in the past, we'd ALWAYS tell customers to stay away from mobos with onboard audio. Latency is usually very high which comes into play when recording and playing multiple tracks with live effects.

      Drop outs galore.

      • But its got tubes! That has got to be the coolest thing I've seen for a long time. HAve to get some more details on this.
        • I agree - the tubes theoretically would privide for a cleaner sound (signal to noise ratio?). Just don't bump your box too hard.

          no, not THAT...

          • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

            by p3d0 (42270)
            Tubes do not theoretically provide for a cleaner sound. Theoretically, transistors can do a better job, but audiophiles have been drooling over tubes for decades now anyway. My theory is that they produce a kind of distortion that sounds good to the human ear.
            • It's not a theory.

              You're right, a solid state device of sufficient clocking and fidelity could provide a 100% accurate wave recreation, with zero distortion.

              As far as what _audiophiles_ want, i dont give a shit - they're all insane and have too much money.

              Where people _really_ like tubes is in guitar and bass amplication. And the reason is that tubes in overdriven conditions sound "better" than solid state "distortion" (which is really just clamping, fundamentally)

              The technical reason most often cited for tubes sounding warmer has to do with the order of harmonics that tube amplification creates vs solid state. I beleive tubes make 3rd and 5th order harmonics that sound more "ear pleasing".

              IMO, tubes for computer audio on a motherboard is one of the dumbest ideas ever, technically, but one of the best ideas ever, marketing wise.
          • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Zathrus (232140)
            Tubes have far worse SNR's than discrete amps do.

            People who prefer tube amps do it because of the different sound they lend to the music - not because of SNR or THD, both of which are higher than modern discrete amps.
      • Agreed, the inside of a computer is a notoriously bad place for making sound.
    • It seems this has been done already by AOpen [aopen.com.tw].
    • Plus, they look cool! Makes you want to build one of those acrylic case kits [ocia.net] to show it off.

    • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Absolutely NOT a good idea. Besides the heat concerns and the microphonic nature of vacuum tubes, putting them in the EM radiation bath that is a computer case with the heavy vibrations that you'll need from the fans that have to cool that thing means that this will sound much worse than a well-engineered soundcard.

      Jeez. Pay $60 for a Turtle Beach card and be done with is unless you LIKE overheating, humming audio, and replacing tube.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

      My co-worker was telling me about this earlier this morning. I especially like the vacuum tubes for the audio on the motherboard. Audiophiles will be drooling over that. Do they make mobos now with that on them?

      I find it very interesting that they would put tubes on there for the center, satellite and stereo channels. From my experience rec.audio.* groups (sampling of the "high end" users that have computers), those that prefer the tube sound would probably not buy a mobo with that (preferring instead to waste $20k on an amp that would do it for them).

      Of course, since a tube just distorts the sound anyway, and you already have a computer, why not just provide a setting for a tube EQ?

      This is ignoring the marketing effects of having the tube there: maybe it will work for the novelty factor.

      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Faggot (614416) <choads.gay@com> on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:16PM (#4479822) Homepage
        I find it very interesting that they would put tubes on there for the center, satellite and stereo channels. From my experience rec.audio.* groups (sampling of the "high end" users that have computers), those that prefer the tube sound would probably not buy a mobo with that (preferring instead to waste $20k on an amp that would do it for them).

        Tube power amps sound just a little bit better than their solid-state counterparts. The place where tubes really shine is in Class A (non-push-pull) amplification, which is generally used in the preamp phase. It's here where tubes' famous even-order harmonics are produced -- it's these octave harmonics which make tube sound so sweet and agreeable to human ears. Taking audio from a regular computer sound card, audio which has been produced with a solid-state preamp, and pumping it through a $20k tube power amp is just what you called -- a waste. However, when tubes are intimately involved in the sound production within the computer and are used for preamplification, you can hook it up to a $150 solid-state power amp and it will sound better than sound from a regular soundcard.
        • Tube power amps sound just a little bit better than their solid-state counterparts. The place where tubes really shine is in Class A (non-push-pull) amplification, which is generally used in the preamp phase. It's here where tubes' famous even-order harmonics are produced -- it's these octave harmonics which make tube sound so sweet and agreeable to human ears. Taking audio from a regular computer sound card, audio which has been produced with a solid-state preamp, and pumping it through a $20k tube power amp is just what you called -- a waste. However, when tubes are intimately involved in the sound production within the computer and are used for preamplification, you can hook it up to a $150 solid-state power amp and it will sound better than sound from a regular soundcard.

          Right, but you're still paying extra for distortion. Now you may consider it sweet sounding, but it's still distortion. I don't have a problem with that, since you should enjoy listening to it.

          I just find the juxtaposition of old and new very odd. That is, finding tubes that most people (OK, maybe just me :) associate with people who still cling to turntables and avoid CD players bundled onto a mobo for the next generation high performance (at least from the specs) AMD chip.

          But I think that it may be more of a nod to the casemod crowd (and I guess I must belong having done the etching and neon for a computer for someone): it's aesthetically unique.

      • Sounds to me like a good way to bring in some extra income, charge for new tubes.

        Personally, I use amp'ed headphones for my PC, 5.1 is for my living room.
      • Don't argue with their logic! There is none! It's for the same reason many of them think LP's sound better than modern media. They might, but it is because they distort sound somewhat, providing a little "Warmer" sound. They sound different, and one may like the different sound, but it is hard to argue that it is "better".
    • I would think audiophiles would be puking their guts out screaming bloody mary between puke-vapored breaths.

      Most people that are really anal about sound(not me, BTW), would tell you to get as far away from things like your computer as possible. True that, there is a lot of RF emissions going on inside that little box.

      Of course, these are the same people that argue that speaker wire void of oxygen sounds better. I think many of them are full of shit in some respects, as the placebo effect convinces them that it sounds better. I could be wrong though. I just know some of them claim to hear things that humans can't hear (i.e., outside of our hearing spectrum).

      For a good laugh, wade through a few of the audiophile newsgroups on google. You will see what I am talking about. They are so completely anal I think it is funny.

    • There are only 10 kinds of people in this world... those who understand binary and those who don't

      The original quote was from a British minister of education in the early 1960's who said "You can divide people into two groups: those who can be further divided into other groups, and those who can't!" Of course computers were all decimal then.

      This chance remark led to the introduciton of binary arithmetic. Since there were eight computers in the country, this rapidly led to the invention of Octal. (Can I say 073?)

    • Um... HEAT! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ackthpt (218170)
      Here's another shot of the tubes [planet3dnow.de]. My immediate beef, besides the fact I thought this was an early April Fool, is that mounting this board vertically places the tubes below most of the electronics, including CPU. Tubes typically run hot, because heat from the filament is what makes them work and three of them are going to create quite some heat.

      Looking at the sockets, I'm also a bit concerned about the heat cooking the board itself, since I've seen any number of PCB electronics over the years with tubes, where the board is blackish sometimes separating foil from board. Think about that with a 7 layer PCB.

      Lastly, high voltage. Scary around all these low voltage things. I wonder why they didn't consider making a daughterboard and keeping things well isolated.

    • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dr. Spork (142693)
      I hope it's more than a gimmick. Somehow I am dubious about all in-case analog sound solutions because there is just so much damn noise. If you listen to your computer with headphones, you can actually hear things like the closing of desktop windows, because all that electricity swishing around in the case causes fields that mess with the signal once it's converted to analog.

      It seems dumb to put those tubes on the motherboard. I would much rather see that space used for three more PCI slots--the sorts of things that audiophiles and amateur musicians always find some use for. No matter how you do it, doing the D/A sound conversion inside the case will always suck. I don't know why the market for PCI cards that connect to D/A-A/D break-out boxes is so small.

  • Vacuum? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trusty Penfold (615679) <jon_edwards@spanners4us.com> on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:52PM (#4479595) Journal

    They have vacuum tubes on the motherboard for 5.1 surround sound.

    Are they crazy?!? Everyone knows that sound doesn't travel through a vacuum.
  • 32 Bit PCI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shoemakc (448730) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:54PM (#4479626) Homepage
    What, still only 32-bit PCI slots? :::yawn:::

    -Chris
    • Re:32 Bit PCI (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jim Norton (453484)
      This is probably only a reference board, and one for a desktop user at that. 64-bit PCI slots are of marginal utility for a workstation user.
      • Yes I thought that too at first, but then why put audio onboard? And :::tube::: audio at that?

        Also notice that the board was given a model name; "AK86 Tube". All very strange and atypical for a reference board.

        -Chris
        • Yeah, I wondered about that too. However, the entire design screams "minimalist" (notice it only has 3 PCI slots) ... but 3 DIMM slots.

          Either way, if it has that audio it's obviously not meant for the server market (so it's a Clawhammer board? An Opteron board?) I don't think the article mentions whether it is a reference board or a final retail board either.
    • What, still only 32-bit PCI slots? :::yawn:::
      Yeah, wake me when I can properly accomplish fibre-channel and GigE.

      100BaseTX is so passee...

    • Better to have 32 PCIs than to live in the dark with ISA, MCA, and VESA. Eewww.. Mom, get it away from me!! GonzoTech Me
    • I was surprised that even the AMD 8151 chipset didn't have any 64-bit PCI. Surely, AMD has figured out how to do it with their older 760mpx chipset. So that leaves Serial ATA, GigaNics, and anything SCSI being I/O squeezed.
    • Here's a hint, they don't put vac tubes for audio on the server boards.

      Given that (aside from video which is handled via the AGP slot) PCI provides enough bandwidth for anything the average (or most above-average) home user will want to do within the next five to ten years, I can't see this as a problem.

      • I believe, however, that PCI-X will be used in the mainstream, rather than just servers? I could be wrong in this, however, but a lot of companies are going to be backing the PCI-X standard.
  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06@email . c om> on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:56PM (#4479639)
    I had a really bad case of that three years ago after eating glutenized squid.

    No wait, wasn't he Darth Maul's second cousin?

    No, I'll get it. Doesn't it attach to the Incus and transmit computer sounds to the ear drums?

    Oh, I give up.

  • Tube Board. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deathlizard (115856) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:56PM (#4479646) Homepage Journal
    Interesting that Aopen is showing off another Tube Audio Board. This one with a three tube design for even more powerful sound.

    I wonder if this trend is going to continue on more of aopen's boards. There must be a demand for the original tube board if they play on making a more powerful 3 tube version in the future.
    • Re:Tube Board. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499)
      Seems like a waste to me. If I'm going to buy a good tube based amp I'd want it to be seperate so I wouldn't have to re-buy it for upgrades and I'd have more choice in the matter. I'd also not connect it to AC97 hardware. I like my A/D conversion electrically decoupled from my (electrically) noisy PC. When you have good headphones it's easy to tell.

      Besides, people are just going to connect indpendantly (solid state) amplified speakers to this thing and cancel out the potential benifit.
  • memory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hedley (8715)
    3 DDR slots? I know there are loading issues with lots of that ram but this chip needs RAM it has a 40bit address bus coming out of it. At least 12GB physical ram, then it will be a serious challenge to high end cad machines. It they aim at just replacing your desktop, it will not do very well in my opinion.

    Hedley
  • Vacum Tubes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mojowantshappy (605815) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:57PM (#4479649)
    I am just curoius, wouldn't the vacum tubes tend to shatter somewhat easily? I carry my PC around quite a bit for LAN games and the like and if I were to ever drop my computer, that would really screw them up. Damn these weak, nerdy arms! -
    • Re:Vacum Tubes (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jhawkins (609878)
      As opposed to what happens when your drop your PC without vacuum tubes in it?
      Does it just fire right up after you drop it?
      I think, vacuum tubes or not, dropping a computer is not a good idea.
      • Mine fired up after dropping... 6 am after an all night LAN party can be rough. The faceplate on my floppy drive came off. That was the only visible and known damage.
    • Personally I think the vacuum tubes are exceptionally stupid, and have been ever since MOSFETs could handle the power (and produce much less heat). Once upon a time people were "upgrading" their tube amps by replacing the input stages with higher quality, and lower noise, FET devices.
      But no, they are probably more robust than the CPU is with the pressure of the heatsink on it. The remaining available tube designs are basically military in origin.

      In fact, I once had a tube catalog which had a section on tubes for computers, though these were of course for digital applications rather than analog.

      • You mention the pressure of the heat sink on the CPU. It seems AMD has changed the heat sink mounting. I wonder if that has to do with the cracking of CPUs?
        • It probably has less to do with incompetent idiots cracking the cpu dye because they can't put on a heatsink properly and more to do with the problems of heatsinks falling off during shipping. It's happened to two systems I have sent recently (to the DC area interestingly enough - i guess the FedEx and UPS guys are moving with a bit more haste these days) Trying to explain how to properly install a heatsink to someone over the telephone is *very* difficult, and since most must be installed with some kind of thermal compound, this is a really really large problem.

          Large computer manufacturers usually use an external baffle/clip system to hold the heatsinks in place so they won't fall off during shipping.

          Anyway, I'm glad for AMD's move to a bolt-down CPU heatsink. I've been missing the luxury of those secure slot processors...

          ~GoRK
          • I liked the threaded posts on the metal plate over the core on the Alpha CPUs. That served to do exactly what you want, to fasten the heat sink to the CPU, not the socket or the motherboard. But this probally will be better than the socket clip.
    • You're more likely to knock your CPU (if it has a cooler on it) out of it's socket than damage the tubes (or valves as the brits call 'em.)

      Assuming there's three tubes on the board along with all the other heat generating devices, you might want to think about better cooling.

      There's some car-audio semiconductor-tube hybrids, but the word I've heard is avoid them. Go tube all the way or don't go tube at all.

    • wouldn't the vacum tubes tend to shatter somewhat easily

      Not really. I've got loads of amps that have tubes in them. Never had a problem with them shattering, even when things get a little rough. :) Now, they do burn out though, but that's so rare it's hardly worth talking about.

    • Point 1) Dropping a computer is a dumb idea regardless of whats in it

      Point 2) All musicians of any caliber with amplified string instruments use Tube amplifiers which are driven on shitty trucks in steel road cases thousands of miles every year. They dont remove the tubes before they box em up. The tubes in the amps are _quite_ difficult to get in and out of the sockets, and they hold up remarkably well.

      The tubes on a motherboard are probably the least of your durability concerns, motion-shock damage wise.

  • by WittyName (615844) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:59PM (#4479671)
    During AMD's earnings conference call they delayed the rollout of clawhammer/opteron AGAIN. This assumes they are still in business.. (They have been losing money for a while)
    • I don't want AMD to go out of business. But if they do, I hope Intel has the decency to buy the technology and use it, rather than let it completely die off.
      • If AMD did go under (God forbid), Intel would be likely to purchase a lot of AMD Intellectual Property, but I think that the motivation would be to keep it out of National Semiconductor's (or any other fabless chipmaker that wants to get into the Intel-compatible processor market) hands.
    • by Jim Norton (453484) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:10PM (#4479782)
      If we are talking about the same thing, I believe they have stated they are DE-EMPHASIZING the Clawhammer ... in other words, its still on track for release in the first half of 2003 (still way off compared to their roadmap, of course) with Opteron in the 2H03.

      Right now AMD is working towards profitability, meaning going after markets which are stronger (which are, right now, the value microprocessor market) thus the de-emphasizing of the latest and greatest.
      • If we are talking about the same thing, I believe they have stated they are DE-EMPHASIZING the Clawhammer ... in other words, its still on track for release in the first half of 2003 (still way off compared to their roadmap, of course) with Opteron in the 2H03.


        Of course they are DE-EMPHASIZING the Clawhammer because it is running behind schedule. It has/was billed as their next savior - similar to the Athlon proc(which basically saved the company at that time). The problem is that each time the hammer is delayed things look worse and worse for AMD(and their stock price). They are trying to calm investors fears by saying the hammer is not that big of deal, but anyone with any sense knows that they need this chip out and soon.

        Right now AMD is working towards profitability, meaning going after markets which are stronger (which are, right now, the value microprocessor market) thus the de-emphasizing of the latest and greatest.

        There are no margins in the value market. Heck, I think AMD may sell more "value" procs than Intel does, but that doesn't make them profitable. The money is in high end business servers where people pay 1k+/proc. This is where Intel makes a ton of its money and it is where AMD wants/needs to be. AMD needs companies like Dell building poweredge servers around their proc in order to survive.
        • There are no margins in the value market. Heck, I think AMD may sell more "value" procs than Intel does, but that doesn't make them profitable. The money is in high end business servers where people pay 1k+/proc. This is where Intel makes a ton of its money and it is where AMD wants/needs to be. AMD needs companies like Dell building poweredge servers around their proc in order to survive

          Of course the margins are small in the value market. However, they are the products which actually sell a significant amount (compared to the high-end products) ... do you think that Intel sells a lot of P4 2.8 GHz machines? Not really. Are businesses lining up in droves to buy dual Xeons for their normal users workstations? It seems that what you're essentially saying here is that there is no money in the corporate desktop market (or, by proxy, the home desktop market) Sure, there is a significant amount of money to be made in the high-end server market. Is that the only market worth considering? How did AMD even get to where they are right now? By selling high-priced processors aimed at the server market? How many servers are you aware of which use Athlon CPU's (before the MP's)? Were Athlon CPU's known for being best-of-breed CPU's at a lower price point or extremely cost-effective CPU's which were competitive with Intels latest and greatest? And this was when the economy wasn't in the shitter like it is now.

          These are also different times for AMD. AMD didn't have a significant share of the market with the K6 line of CPU's. The K6 series of CPU's were not nearly as competitive with Intels offerings in price OR performance compared to the Athlons (even now)

  • Six more pictures (Score:5, Informative)

    by loomis (141922) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:00PM (#4479680)
    Here [planet3dnow.de]

    Also has a brief blurb in German

    Loomis
  • Why vacuum tubes? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by f97tosc (578893) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:06PM (#4479735)
    Certainly the true audiophiles often use tubes for their systems, but this does not mean that these are superior for all situations.

    What kind of sound will go through the system? A normal transistor has a 'snappier' sound to it, which is better for a lot of modern music, and I would imagine for sound effects in computer games.

    I guess if you want the best for your classical LPs then maybe this is something for you, er, no, then you would be better of to get a real amplifier.

    Tor
    • by kenp2002 (545495)
      I don't belive this has to really do with sound quality. Vac tubes are a cost item that wear out after time (ohh money) and are probably provided so you don't have to buy powered speaker systems (I am sure Altec is going to be pissed about that). We won't know until they start selling to the general public. I hope that this is just a temporary fad and they'll come to their senses
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:09PM (#4479773) Homepage Journal
    Mostly mockups, but here's some of what to be expecting in the future, at x-bit labs [xbitlabs.com]

    Over on the Enquirer [theinquirer.net], a correction was made to an article overnight concerning shipment dates for the Clawhammer, it will not be further pushed back, to first half of '03.

    Looking that stock quotes this morning I saw this: INTC INTEL CORP 14.0099 -1.5%
    I assume Yahoo stock reporting is still using one of those weird old Pentiums

  • by WhiteChocolate42 (618371) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:11PM (#4479787)
    1. hack BIOS to utilize vacuum tubes in other ways 2. combine linux with ham radio technology 3. ??? 4. Profit!
  • Out of plain curiousity (and probably because of inexperience) I'm curious on what exactly vacuum tubes are in relationship to sound, what advantages/disadvantages they offer and anything else interesting to know. Also, if they are as good as they look, are there any PC sound cards that use vacuum tubes for audio? It is kind of funny to note that we have a consumer level 64 bit processor on the hand and all we can talk about is the vacuum tubes :).

    Anyone care to answer?
    • by f97tosc (578893) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:31PM (#4479966)
      Out of plain curiousity (and probably because of inexperience) I'm curious on what exactly vacuum tubes are in relationship to sound, what advantages/disadvantages they offer and anything else interesting to know

      Vacuum tubes were used before the invention of transistors. They serve basically the same function, but are much bigger, draw more power and are slower in their response. For these reasons, they are hardly used any more.

      However, when they are used to amplify sounds, they give a somewhat different sound than do transistors. Many audiophiles argue that the vacuum tube sound is superior.

      However, and now comes my personal opinion, recently something of a hype has started around tubes. People who don't really know much about sound systems take tubes as a guarantee for getting superior performance. They fail to realize that the sounds are just different and which one is superior is largely a matter of personal taste - and what type of sound is being amplified. I am not at all convinced that tubes are better for sound effects in games, for example (as they have a slower response).

      Tor
      • by nexthec (31732)
        Fully agreed, in addition I think people should note that good tube pre-amp setups have more than one tube element per channel, and multple stages and great deal of other design elements. basicaly, this tube is in the setup just to give the nice even order harmonics that people like to hear. This is in addition to the Odd order harmonics that the other transistors are creating. and to top it off, who would consider any onboard sound chip to be Hi-Fi. when your signal sucks, your sound sucks, there is no really good way to fix that. Get a nice sound card and it will sound much better than this setup
      • by Animats (122034) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:00PM (#4480741) Homepage
        The whole tube audio thing is a joke. First, the whole business of tube audio revolves around how clipping distortion occurs at saturation. If you're getting any measureable distortion from a low-power amplifier that follows a D/A, your circuit design is all wrong.

        Second, if you want some specific transfer function under overload, you can get it by design. There's a famous story about this. Some years back, Bob Carver, the well-known amplifier designer, took a tube amplifier that was well-regarded by the "high-end" audio nuts, and characterized its response with the usual test gear. He then designed a transistor amp with the same transfer function. In listening tests, listeners couldn't tell the difference.

        But his transistor amp didn't sell. He then, as a joke, designed the Carver Silver 7, the most overdesigned tube amp of all time. Three chassis per channel, chrome-plated everything, insane price of about $25,000. It got great reviews. "Amp of the Decade" from The Absolute Sound.

      • I believe the main issue here is how both devices behave at the extremes of their linearity ranges. (i.e. where they distort) - Transistors tend to be pretty linear up to the point where they clip, while tubes have a more gentle gain compression, which is why their harmonics are different.

        I wonder what the audiophiles would think of a truly linear amplifier. (Either using devices that are backed off far from their peak power - low efficiency warning!, or by using distortion-correction techniques similar to those used by manufacturers of CDMA RF power amilifiers)

        hmm... An audio predistortion amp would be a cool hack. :)
    • Tubes are voltage amplifiers, transistors are current amplifiers.
      Tubes and transistors produce different orders of harmonic distortion with the result that a transistor amp must opererate at a very low level of distortion to sound as good as a tube amp with a much higher distortion level. Transistor amps clip and go into distortion at very low levels of overload, tube amps enter this non linear region on a lower slope. Tube amps can be easier to listen to than transistor amps as a result of all of the above. However this mostly applies to bipolar transistors. Field effect transistors have transfer functions very much like pentode tubes and can mimic the sound of a tube amp, but most reference solid state amps have been bipolar.

      I think most of the hype about tube amplifiers is greatly overrated. However the price of audio tubes and tube equipment on ebay proves how crazy some people are. We call them AudioPhools.
  • by Hayzeus (596826) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:14PM (#4479808) Homepage
    ... you're just going to love the relay-based video accelerator...
  • They've been around for a long time. Here's one [toolbagsa.com.au] that's component-based, so you can "roll your own".

  • The socket of the future at AMD breaks a new record in the x86 world with 754 pins. The Intel Xeon is based on 603 pins.

    Somehow, I don't think they WANTED to use 25% more pins than Intel.

    Socket 7 has 321 pins, Socket A has 462...

    Pins != Performance :o)
    • Re:754 pins?! (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Opteron (Sledgehammer) has, I think, 940 pins...
  • Vacuum tubes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Kestrel (91395) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:38PM (#4480021)
    I was under the impression that they were for the audiophiles who want better sound. That sort doesn't use the onboard sound, no matter how good it may be. It's pointless to use them on a motherboard. If someone really cares enough about sound quality to use vacuum tubes, they'll have their own sound card to use.

    Besides, they just look ugly. 3 big balls of glass sitting on your motherboard. And then when one blows, you'll have to replace it.

    Take the damn things off please!
  • Sweet Review (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kirn_malinus (159763) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:40PM (#4480056) Homepage
    Why do you bash the review for lacking benchmarks? This is still one of the sweetest reviews I've seen in a long time. The level of detail they get into about the hardware is awesome.
  • gotta love those big honkin vacuum tubes on the AK86. mmmmmmmm.... heat...
  • Corrections+Link (Score:4, Informative)

    by Perdo (151843) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:26PM (#4480914) Homepage Journal
    This is a response to a bunch of posters who were modded up that misunderstand hammer architecture

    "to have active cooling on the north bridge, too many new, high speed bus mobos are coming out right now with passive cooling that doesn't come close to making it easy to OC"

    The chipset "Northbridge" does not get over clocked with the CPU using hyper transport. The memory controller is on the cpu. So you can increase the speed of the CPU and memory without affecting the chipset "Northbridge" at all. I used quotes around Northbridge because all the features that most people think of as being part of the Northbridge are in fact incorporated into the CPU.

    "What, still only 32-bit PCI slots? :::yawn:::"

    This motherboard contains a hyper transport to 32 bit PCI chip. Hyper transport runs at 6.4GB/s. PCI 32 is 133 MB/s. The manufacturer chose to use 32 bit PCI because this is a commodity board. Theoretically, a motherboard could include 6 PCI-X busses supporting 6 cards each before saturating the hyper transport bus.

    Powerpoint Show [130.236.229.26] about Hammer family architecture. "save target as".

    Read the show notes! AMD did not edit them out.

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