Two decades ago, the US high end microprocessor industry was a lively, diverse market where about five various instruction set architectures battled it out across the workstation and server fields. You had choices like DEC’s Alpha – the speed leader; MIPS – the Silicon Graphics heart; SPARC from Sun Microsystems, IBM POWER, HP PA, the nascent X86, and a few custom architectures for MPP massive parallel processing, for instance. The rest of the world pretty much had nothing – British Transputer and German Hyperstone platforms died out due to lack of funding, while ARM was still keeping to the low end embedded arena after the end of the
In the world of computing, the big iron – workstations, servers and HPC, were my main focus for the most of the past three decades. However, something on the opposite end of the spectrum from HPC, the kind of uber-mini desktop device, even smaller than HTPC – attracted my attention. This miniature box platform, using laptop CPU and chipset platforms & integration, but desktop peripherals and connectivity, is called many names: from NUC (Next Unit of Computing) by Intel, whose ex-desktop mainboard division is in charge is this product line; to Gigabyte’s BRIX line, likely named in the honor of their ex director and our
When AMD launched its Fiji-based graphics cards, all eyes were focused on its performance in consumer applications such as computer games. And while the first results forced Nvidia to launch “Titan Lite” in the form of GeForce GTX 980 Ti, DirectX 12 benchmarks are starting to show different, brighter outlook for AMD, starting with Ashes of the Singularity. The focus of this article however, is its potential and usage in applications where Fiji GPU will be branded as Fire Pro, and Fire Pro S (Server) – where AMD can take an ASIC and upsell it to commercial clients, with full-speed enabled for Double Precision floating point
Taiwan IT industry, for a long time the leading among all Asian nations in terms of hardware manufacturing, has had its ups and downs over the decades. Does anyone still remember FIC (First International Computer), once the world’s leading mainboard maker? Or Elitegroup as the close second, while today’s leaders, Gigabyte, ASUS and MSI were far behind? Not many do… The gigantic Formosa Plastics consortium, which owned FIC, continued down the road with VIA Technologies and HTC, showing their love for three lettered acronyms. While these two still survive, the twisted sense of marketing and PR in these companies – one of the stones around their
Computex has seen better years.
Intel is pushing hard to become a leader in the SSD space.
Mobile cores are growing. But really, what do you really need them all for?
In my 30-year career as an IT hardware expert, I’ve seen thousands of roadmaps, leaked, manage-leaked and official alike. Many were on target, yet still quite a few headed for the “failed” dustbin. Among all of them, Intel’s “tick-tock” plan was probably the most ambitious one in terms of attempted consistency and predictability. Knowing the multiple interlinked uncertainties of semiconductor process, CPU architecture, ecosystem changes and others, it was a wonder in itself that it lasted for several years, until the major slippages occurred in the Sandy Bridge generation. From then on, not only there were major delays introduced to the high end lines as the
The Samsung Galaxy S6 shows the evolution of smartphones doesn’t mean an increase in productivity.