before they begin, let me aspect out that this pc is not at the moment obtainable in the united states, except perhaps via mail order. still, that does not trade the fact that tongfang has some very remarkable features. its vigour-saving skills, as an instance, have allowed the verify computing device to supply long hours of usable battery lifestyles conducting utility construction and ordinary computing device use (email, browsing, and many others.).
besides these energy-saving facets, another very noteworthy factor is that inside of via's tiny c7-m die sits the fastest hardware encryption engine on this planet for x86-based chips. by means of has dual developed-in hardware plls for instant clock-frequency alterations (which also help to shop energy) and dual, actual random quantity turbines able to producing limitless random sequences of bits at very high throughputs (tens of mb/s, depending on settings). via has also added an entire hardware encryption/decryption engine built into the c7-m core, with a sturdy set of facets employing those advantage.
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what by means of has brought to market in china is some thing that they right here in the u.s. might in fact use, chiefly for the majority of non-powerhouse laptop use. therefore, for the functions of this review i are not focusing too plenty on outright performance and uncooked computing energy because the c7-m is an in-order processor with a relatively small processor cache (256 kb complete), and isn't intended to compete with the latest ooo, super-scalar, super-pipelined designs from amd & intel on scientific functions, encoding, and different floating element heavy chores. rather, i might be focusing on the features that make this quite skinny-and-light pc a highly desirable workplace associate.
first let me explain a bit bit about the device. by means of's tongfang is developed on the enterprise's vn800 chipset, a ddr sdram-primarily based mobile chipset providing four vigour states, uma pix, and low vigor consumption for definitely long battery life. it is equipped with a 1280 x 768 screen that has superb brightness and contrast (compared to my sony vaio). it got here with a samsung mp0402h forty gb challenging drive, a tsstcorp dvd/cd-rw combo power mannequin ts-l462c, and on-board via/s3 unichrome pro built-in portraits that includes dual-output (lcd reveal and exterior monitor) with resolutions as much as 1920 x 1440. it includes by the use of rhine ii fastethernet, ac97 tender speakerphone modem with smartisp, 4-hub usb, via's vinyl audio with ac'97 codec suite, pcmcia, pci reminiscence stick card reader controller, pci at ease digital/mmc card reader controller, and a few different proprietary ports used commonly in china. it got here with a single dimm slot maintaining 512 mb of ram and home windows xp knowledgeable sp2. it is an fcpga-based mostly board, which means it may run either an intel celeron-m or a by the use of c7-m (in accordance with the esther core), the usage of either by means of's v4 bus at up to 800mhz or the legacy 400mhz bus used by celeron-m.
for this review i established its performance the use of the c7-m ultra-low voltage mannequin at 1.5ghz, along with the celeron-m at 1.4ghz. even with a one hundred mhzhandicap the celeron-m proved primarily sooner in uncooked efficiency, however it's not what impressed me most about this desktop. once I had the c7-m ulv plugged into the notebook it gave me over four hours of usable battery existence, with thoroughly sufficient levels of performance for what i did. switching to the celeron-m dropped that time down under three hours.
the use of the pc with the c7-m offers, through a ways, probably the most power saving advantage. their checks showed 5.8 hours below minimal vigor draw hundreds, and a couple of.9 hours whereas operating with an artificially constructed consistent cpu load at one hundred% utilization. nearly all of clients who would have regular, everyday use would see lifetimes translated to round 4 hours for powerpoint displays, typing e-mails, creating documents, and engaging in familiar-goal, non-gaming use. in short, for those interested in having a computer that performs its initiatives neatly and in completely usable situations–and one with a view to remaining longer on a single cost (in comparison to celeron-m)–a notebook with the c7-m ulv would in fact function an alternative choice to any of intel's expensive celeron-m–supported systems.
pricing on the tongfang became not given to me, as here is the primary assessment of this machine by way of any one in the u.s. youngsters, it's neatly established that related by means of notebooks promote for under us$1,000, and this one should still be no exception. pricing on the c7-m ulv mannequin isn't familiar, but it can function a drop-in alternative for celeron-m notebooks, with handiest a bios flash required.
by means of technologies, inc. is a company that many geek.com readers will be aware of from my blurbs about its extraordinarily low-vigor line of microprocessors, courting again essentially to the c3 line for decent performance degrees. the c3 “cool processing” line, added in early 2001, was according to the a bit of crippled “samuel 2” core. it ran at hurries up to 800mhz on an fsb of as much as 133mhz. it had a half-velocity fpu, 128 kb of l1 cache divided 50% information/50% guide, and a paltry 64 kb l2 cache, which in fact hampered efficiency. nevertheless, its die size turned into a mere fifty two mm^2 and it worked very neatly on very low energy. i nevertheless have one in use at my domestic working my proxy server; it consumes under two watts below most loads and around one watt at idle.
cutting-edge c7-based products symbolize massive increases in design, resulting in superior efficiency and better vigour-saving aspects. while the c3 become in response to a one hundred fifty nm/one hundred thirty nm manufacturing technique, the c7-m uses ibm's 90 nm soi manner. this allowed by the use of to pork-up the core with a full-pace fpu, to add full guide for sse2 and sse3, double the l2 cache, add help for amd's nx and pae bits, and include a very amazing and quickly padlock safety engine (defined beneath). modern day c7 processors operate at as much as 2ghz the use of below 20 watts. they can sit at close idle the use of their built-in vigour-saving elements, which permit them to clock down to 400mhz, drawing under as little as a quarter watt at idle. it is an astounding design in terms of power-saving facets.
by the use of has incorporated a know-how it calls stepahead into its designs, giving the c7-m a 16-stage pipeline, advanced branch prediction, and a 32-manner set-associative 256 kb complete cache by the use of a very speedy in-order core (in reality a extremely, very quickly pentium). by way of additionally incorporates on-die “twinturbo” dual plls (section lock loops) that control clock speeds and voltages during operation. there's one setting for operating at the excessive speed (as much as 2.0ghz) at a particular voltage, with one other at its minimum velocity (400mhz) and a decrease voltage. this twinturbo design offers the c7-m the skill to switch from its full-pace state down to its idle-operation state or returned up once more in a single clock cycle. this is unheard of in amd or intel designs.
by the use of claims this clock-switching skill is 15,000 times faster than the celeron-m's on account of its single-clock swap. the celeron-m takes 15,000 clock cycles to swap clock speeds, resulting in a extreme efficiency penalty for attempting to keep energy. the by means of c7-m can change from side to side between low velocity and high speed very nearly at all times, enabling the operating gadget to examine when high work masses require optimum efficiency versus a short-term blip that could permit the driving force to maintain the processor clocked low for a small amount of time. even if it might take a bit longer to compute the effects, it will shop vigor for the length of the workload blip. it is actually an excellent design.
by using safely designing that clock-switching ability, and thru the c7-m's capability to change backward and forward so quickly, battery lifestyles will also be extended lots more so than with the competitors's processors. this is true as a result of whereas power consumption increases linearly with clock velocity–resulting in a significant lower in vigor by means of going from 1.5ghz to 400mhz–the authentic power discount rates come from being able to swap voltages so instantly when the frequency alterations. power discounts from voltage drops come from the square of the voltage drop itself, so, definitely, by way of switching both voltage and frequency so at once the vigour reductions in fact begin so as to add up on most regular workloads.
i wished to run some artificial battery life assessments for this overview, but i didn't have time to finished them. for my follow-up overview on the padlock safety engine i will be able to consist of these benchmarks displaying how synthetic burst a lot of various size and depth can affect the existing clock-velocity-changing driver and the corresponding battery lifestyles.
now, earlier than they get into the specific evaluation there are some facets on the tiny c7-m die that deserve attention. besides its extremely low energy use and immediate clock-velocity switching skills, the c7 lines also offer whatever thing that no other x86-primarily based cpu company right now offers in its products: an on-board safety engine. by the use of calls its safety engine padlock, and believe me, it is appropriately named.
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the padlock engine became designed to address the security wants of the future. it may possibly produce fully unbreakable encryption keys through the use of its dual, on-board hardware random-number mills. now, these random number generators don't use typical algorithms to generate their random bits. these are proper hardware random quantity mills that use dual on-board mechanisms to generate the random sequence of bits. by means of has gone to tremendous lengths to make sure that the bits are definitely random, including some programming points that check the fee and “randomness” characteristics the engine will emit in its sequence of bits. these will be explained in tons enhanced aspect in an upcoming characteristic in which i'll additionally liberate a collection of free software equipment the use of the c7-m padlock safety engine. these tools can also be integrated into real-time desktop use, permitting any c7-m powered utility to be in reality and completely at ease. these expertise can be explained in the upcoming article.
moreover padlock's real random quantity technology, it incorporates an advanced cryptopgraphy engine (ace). this engine offers world-category efficiency and contains sustained 22gb/s throughput on encryption and sustained 40gb/s throughput on decryption operations. the engine comprises 5 operational modes:
these modes are supplied without delay in hardware, and that improves the integrity and protection of the encrypted information immeasurably. or not it's additionally value noting that almost all other dedicated aes devices support just one or two of those modes in hardware, with application taking on the slack–resulting in lessen throughput.
i had an opportunity to speak with the individual at centaur know-how who become accountable for writing the micro-code that makes these engines work. he answered a few questions i had about the technical files by means of let me use to write down the upcoming free utility equipment for the c7-m padlock security engine. really, the expertise mentioned above enable the following bigger-level skills to be incorporated without delay in hardware:
the encryption, decryption, hashing, and Montgomery multiplier points are performed in hardware, with some potential offered to concatenate a number of of those applied sciences to provide more suitable random quantity technology, as an example, making fully unbreakable encryption. i say “fully unbreakable” because it is possible with the c7-m's actual random quantity generators to produce a series of random quantity bits that are really random and intensely lengthy, say 256,000 or 10 billion bits.
combining a message with such a lengthy pool of in fact random bits through a technique of modular addition, for instance, results in what is referred to as a “one-time pad” (otp). when somebody uses the “pad” only one-time, it is then simplest feasible to get better the common message by way of obtaining the usual set of random bits. the most effective means someone can successfully hack the otp-encrypted message is through in some way obtaining the customary key; there is no laptop with the intention to ever be able to breaking otp encrypted messages at those ranges. and, considering that the c7-m can generate random bytes at as much as 150mb/s, it will take an incredibly small period of time to make use of otp encryption on everything you do, day-in/day-out, for your entire work, making everything you do fully unbreakable devoid of the key–anything that can also be saved on a cd, usb pressure, and so forth., that is saved aside from the exact laptop itself.
nonetheless, the security on otp encryption is determined by the randomness of the key. and best by means of's processors have definitely random numbers that are generated from their on-board hardware.
aes encryption is now the authorized sort of symmetric key encryption for the u.s. govt. the c7 is in a position to encrypting and decrypting records at quotes that are many, repeatedly sooner than every other x86 processor. the c7 is in reality speedy enough to enable real-time aes encryption of hard drives the usage of particular drivers. microsoft vista will offer true-time aes encryption/decryption on video streams as well, and via's c7 is likely the most effective chip that can do this at the moment.
these hardware-degree features enable the c7 products to completely surpass each amd and intel items in security-connected efficiency benchmarks that use these styles of algorithms. the c7-based mostly protection engine is the arms-down winner when it involves pace and security, besting by means of 30 times amd's and intel's software-based mostly solutions.
as i cited above, the tongfang notebook i receieved became the first c7-m based mostly computing device of its variety to be sent to anyone within the u.s. it came with the cosbi opensourcemark benchmarking suite already installed. because the identify implies, opensourcemark is an open supply, free benchmarking suite with a fantastic range of talents. it become written by using van smith and others and may be found at sourceforge.
for the functions of this overview i used opensourcemark for many everything. it has the ability to list battery use whereas different purposes are running, such as quake iii and mp3/dvd playback. i also used some custom software i developed to check the speed of the padlock engine using numerous settings. i encourage everybody who reads this evaluate to download the opensourcemark benchmark utilities and benchmark their own gadget to position into point of view the performance this computer gives. I even have benchmarked a few of my other computer systems and have found that the tongfang, even with its in-order cpu, isn't too shabby. :)
the look at various setup:
as a result of i used to be making an attempt to isolate the cpu for all vigor benchmarks, i set the monitor to immediately flip off after one minute and the tough drives to show off after three minutes of state of no activity. for the minimum power test, each were grew to become off in flip; for the highest power check the challenging power not ever turned off. for the continuous dvd playback, each the screen and dvd/cd-rw combo force had been operating continually. for the continual mp3 playback best the tough power under no circumstances turned off. it's relatively easy. if there changed into a need for the particular equipment for the verify, then it become on; if no longer, it turned into off.
for the primary benchmark they turn to c7's die dimension. one of the most explanations by means of wins this one arms down is due to its in-order core and constrained cache dimension. the c7-m simplest comes with 128 kb l1 divided 50%/50% instruction and records, and a separate 128 kb l2. the cache is exclusive, which capability that the entire cachable reminiscence area is 256 kb. a die measurement of 31 mm^2 allows about 2,000 c7-m die candidates per 300 mm wafer in keeping with their calculations. to position this in viewpoint, for the turion sixty four die it might take 3.8 times as many wafers to yield the equal variety of candidates. if they consider how yield decreases exponentially with die dimension, it becomes evident that by the use of is in a extremely ecocnomic position right here. for well beneath one-quarter the manufacturing cost, via should be capable of produce the equal number of cpus. and for these of us who like competitors, this is an excellent aspect indeed.
the subsequent benchmark is energy consumption. now, i are looking to state how potent the tongfang is in vigor-discount rates. even with the greater vigour-hungry celeron-m, the computing device itself provides a really excessive volume of usable time. under an artificially built 100% utilization load which include each memory and tough pressure actions, the minimal time i saw become nearly three hours. that is reasonably some thing for a 1.4ghz processor providing excessive relative performance.
i should still observe right here that the tongfang does not enter c3/c4 power states; that truth become published to me by way of a bios writer at by the use of technologies. i'm instructed this is really a common difficulty on computers using usb 2.0 instruments because steady polling in fact factors the processor to often enter a c0 state (the least volume of vigor discount rates) whereas “talking” with definite south bridges. this relates again to the experiences i've heard these days about intel's new core duo processors having an surprisingly excessive quantity of vigor drain as a result of a foul driver, as was at the start said by way of tom's hardware. curiously here is whatever the business has widely used for fairly a while however has been quiet about. considering that i wasn't using any usb gadgets on the tongfang all through the vigor checks, i suspect the sd card reader changed into the culprit here, holding the laptop out of c3/c4 tiers of vigor rate reductions, which might be the optimum energy saving modes.
with out c3/c4 power states purchasable to it (due to the time-honored usb-brought about “bug”), the tongfang isn't in a position to come close to revealing what the c7-m is in a position to offering when it comes to battery lifestyles longevity. via claims to have considered battery existence up to 8 hours with notebooks that utterly make the most the c7-m's energy-saving know-how. by the use of has told me that it's engaged on a bios repair, however on the time of this writing i had no longer yet bought mentioned fix.
nonetheless, i see by the use of's c7-m continuing its fashion of beating intel's dothan-based celeron-m, however widening the margin even additional this time. in fact, even with out c3/c4 i see the c7-m definitely start to shine. when the workstation is idle and waiting for the consumer to do something and never actively crunching facts, it lasts practically 6 hours on a single can charge. this variety of load is extra like what many who might be giving a powerpoint presentation would expect to see when there are long intervals of talking throughout each slide. the lcd backlight would turn off and the workstation would definitely function a video server, using energetic memory simplest however not in fact doing anything else with the complicated force, saving even more energy.
for the continual dvd playback i became towards a predominantly software-based dvd decoder, powerdvd. I even have under no circumstances been a huge fan of powerdvd as a result of its decoding potential is never the gold standard. there are additionally visual artifacts left on frames, and even all the way through full action playback that you could see the poorer photo great when in comparison to decoders that use hardware to a stronger diploma. on the other hand, i decided to use powerdvd because it helps via's dvd decoding acceleration used within the vn800 chipset. the numbers are the closest on this benchmark as a result of, besides the chipset and cpu, the reveal turned into constantly on as neatly because the dvd/cd-rw combo force. the movie chosen become “the abyss particular version,” which is over three hours in size and incorporates some actually fantastic scenes not seen in the theater liberate version.
winamp 2.8 turned into used for the continuous mp3 playback. it become the remaining of the non-xml-primarily based winamp engines, and one that works basically neatly with a small footprint. for the check there were no visualizations enabled except the graphical analyzer. the playlist consisted of about 7 hours of song, although neither cpu made it that far. for each test the playlist was started at the beginning, and the volume stage turned into set to a listenable quantity degree of 50%. all songs have been encoded the use of 128kbps mp3 formats created by means of poikkosoft's ez cd extractor and its built-in mp3 codec.
i wished to include a gaming examine because many individuals can not relate to the efficiency of a processor devoid of seeing gaming numbers. it should be referred to that there's nothing on this laptop that become designed for gaming, and yet it proved fully playable and unique, with up to 50+ fps seen on each the c7-m and celeron-m. quake iii area is now an open source game that may also be downloaded from id application's homepage. the engine is smartly-proven and the online game does not do too an awful lot to require big quantities of gpu or cpu vigour to be playable. for these factors, quake iii enviornment become chosen.
the human eye can not really see greater than about 24-30 frames per 2nd, so any quantity above it's playable; although, there is a superb enhance in smoothness when the frames go better. it is doubtful, although, that any individual can see a difference above 85fps or so. so, the numbers seen here by way of each processors show that this computing device is suitable for lightweight gaming, or energy-gaming when excessive-rendering points are became off.
and finally, they turn to the most large teller of usual gadget performance, the cosbi open source os mark benchmark, purchasable for down load at sourceforge.web. this benchmark goes via a rigorous collection of checks designed to verify distinct materials of the system and their usual performance. the benchmark is used internally through centaur expertise, the business that creates the processors used by by the use of applied sciences, including the c7-m. as such, it has been optimized to take talents of particular c7-m applied sciences when applicable. these potential in reality permit the hardware protection aspects of the c7-m to stand up entrance and center, while other aspects of the computing device show how their power-saving design took precedent over any performance-oriented designs.
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one different aspect to be aware about this benchmark is how enormously the performance degraded once here utility applications had been put in. observe that these had been installed, but had been no longer running all the way through the assessments. the verify become run after a fresh boot, and os mark runs through three iterations to acquire the usual. the effects went down to 451 from 532. this had nothing to do with anything else other than installation:
i ran the 2nd test after every little thing became installed to look what the difference–if any–would be, and that i became fully floored by way of the outcomes. the tough pressure become defragmented for both exams. it simply takes that a great deal longer in case you have extra courses put in. presumably or not it's as a result of statistics must be study and written to from different areas on the challenging power, the registry is larger, and there are more strategies in reminiscence taking up space, despite the fact that they aren't actively doing the rest. nevertheless, it is rather surprising. the difference between an empty gadget and a system with those apps above represents a 15.2% drop in standard performance. that's quite a success!
after that, they flip to the padlock security engine. now, the celeron-m doesn't have the padlock expertise constructed-in, so it changed into now not validated. the information right here is for reference to peer how quickly the celeron-m can technique the identical safety benchmarks. for this they turn to cosbi and run its security assessments, which consist of constructed-in support for the c7-m padlock engine. once again, i inspire their readers to download the open source benchmark at sourceforge and run a full examine for your system to evaluate towards these numbers. you'll discover that unless you have got a c7-m and padlock engine, nothing even comes close. word: a future article will include full benchmarks the usage of the by the use of padlock engine.
here are some more noteworthy elements price bringing up. the tongfang's vn800 chipset gives us the by the use of/s3 unichrome professional pictures equipment. the drivers allow for arbitrary 90 degree rotation on both video display, with video resolutions as much as 1920 x 1440 on the 2d computer screen. this is able to make it most effective for development, as 1600 x 1200 is pretty much ultimate (in my journey). further drivers give aid for audio components through the vinyl audio deck. by way of has spent a good amount of time making its application effortless to make use of, and it suggests in the course of the driver interfaces.
tongfang is laid out in a pleasant manner. at first i failed to like the vigour cord coming off the appropriate aspect of the computing device, however after a while i in fact begun to dislike my sony vaio power wire coming off the lower back. :)
the best difficulty i still have with this workstation is that the dvd/cd-rw combo drive's eject button is placed in such a means that you can't readily opt for up the pc devoid of ejecting the power. i'm certain that over time and with some follow i might decide on it up with out that being an issue, but after a few weeks of use i nevertheless eject the drive as a minimum two or thrice a day.
in conclusion, the via c7-m-powered tongfang pc has surpassed my expectations, chiefly within the enviornment of vigour-discounts and long battery existence. when i used to be surpassed a laptop powered through an in-order processor core, one with a restrained cache and a optimum clock velocity (due to bios barriers) of 1.5ghz, i thought i used to be in for nothing more than an over-powered pentium experience. however basically what i discovered was that in each usable manner i proven this gadget there changed into nothing that left me questioning why i was and even saved me waiting. in reality, the computing device has been fairly quick for everything i've finished, including net searching, microsoft workplace use, customized classes, and all graphical software i established. truly, for every bit of application i used i found fully no complications whatsoever.
what made me essentially the most chuffed in the usage of tongfang is the lengthy battery lifestyles. even once I used it for development with microsoft visible studio 2003 for c++ coding, it become completely usable. even real debugging, stepping via code and writing edit-and-proceed alterations, did not shake it within the slightest. the handiest real detractor become the 1280 x 768 monitor, which is truly not adequate for development. besides the fact that children, with the dual-output video capability, that difficulty is with no trouble overcome through the use of dual-displays.
i'd have fully no reservations by any means in purchasing a by means of-powered computing device after spending this time using the tongfang. in each way it surpassed my expectations, and the extra i used it the greater i preferred it. i give kudos to by the use of for its c7-m and its padlock on-board security engine. the c3 processor started the low-vigour style at by means of, and the c7-m builds significantly upon that style.
i hope you have got enjoyed this assessment, and that you just now have some insight into the types of mobile items by the use of technologies is developing right now. by way of's vn800 chipset and low power c7-m processor are staggering. in case you give you the chance to opt for up a c7-m laptop or even a drop-in replacement processor for your vigour-ingesting celeron-m mannequin, i might highly recommend picking one up.
that you can study more about all of by way of's products at the by means of applied sciences homepage. the conclusion. :)