If you would align your wristwatch to the sound of Intel’s tick tock, you would miss your important meeting. The launch of a new generation of processors represents a symbolic beginning of a new cycle and for Intel, “Kaby Lake” launch was everything but normal. First launching the Ultra-low Voltage parts (the U series), then the Desktop line-up and finally the mainstream notebook designs, with troublesome rumors about its enterprise, Xeon-branded counterpart. Kaby Lake is perhaps too focused on the processor power task rather than processor performance. A lullaby. The same story for the last six years continues. Admittedly, for the past 18 months there were whispers
AMD Celebrates Vega 10 Rollout
AMD’s decision to rename and split the Northern Islands family into two is starting to unravel itself. Polaris 10 (Ellesmere) and 11 (Baffin) are coming to market as low-power mainstream cards – Radeon RX460 (Polaris 11), RX470, RX480 4GB and RX480 8GB (all Polaris 1o). On the other side, Greenland i.e. Vega 10 will be the most advanced silicon AMD has ever produced. Featuring 14nm FinFET design by GlobalFoundries or Samsung, with SK.Hynix HBM2 memory modules on multi-chip-module, i.e. MCM (TSMC calls this CoWoS), Vega 10 is looking to offer equal or higher performance than the high-end GP100. You should expect the chip to land in between
Microsoft Tick-Tock: Xbox One S and Project Scorpio
At it’s pre-E3 2016 conference, Microsoft announced the long awaited shift of its console model. In a nutshell, Xbox is becoming an regularly-refreshed product just like the Surface line of tablets and convertible PCs. Future Xbox refreshes will occur in an annual cycle, moving to a strategy that Intel used to call “Tick-Tock”. Just like Intel, Microsoft plans to release a high-end version of the console first, followed by a slimmed down version. Microsoft did not disclose the exact refresh cycle strategy, but we would not be surprised if the company decides to use E3 as the place where their annual or bi-annual refreshes will be announced. The exact
Sony CEO Confirms High-End PlayStation Console for VR
Ever since we revealed the specifications of new PlayStation Neo console, rumors were about when SONY will pull the trigger and introduce the console. Our sources told us that the time of introduction is Tokyo Game Show – scheduled for September 15-17, 2016. As such, we’re afraid that the next week’s E3 will pass with perhaps just a teaser for the new console – or will be the biggest (silent) elephant in the room. In an interview with Financial Times, Andrew House, President and Global Chief Executive Offices at Sony Interactive Entertainment said that the high-end PlayStation 4 “Is intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4,
Samsung to Manufacture Ultra Violet 7nm Chips in 2017
Even though we continuously hear rumors and statements that the pace of Moore’s Law is slowing down or stopping (last one came from Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO Nvidia Corporation), the speed of progress in semiconductor industry isn’t slowing down. 14nm is getting traction not just by high-end chips from Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Apple, Samsung and other large players, but also by smaller companies which are moving to revolutionize the way how we build virtual reality glasses, cars, infotainment systems, TVs and many other. FinFET transistors are moving to replace Planar, resistive memory technologies such as ReRAM plan to succeed NAND Flash and SDRAM etc. Still, there is one major technology barrier we
TSMC Tapes out 10nm A11 Processors for Apple
Ten years, even five years ago Intel was the undisputed process leader, and if you wanted to see how the new process node would look like, you would wait to see a new processor coming from Intel architecture. That was the unwritten law of the semiconductor industry, with an occasional blimp when TSMC would introduce a half-node step, beating Intel’s 90/65/45/32nm with 80nm, 55nm, 40nm and 28nm GPUs for ATI and Nvidia. Today, Intel’s missed approach to mobile resulted in company loosing the process node advantage, and ultimately being forced to cancel the most of Atom product family. And now, to add insult to injury, DigiTimes (also known
AMD Polaris 10 GPU Specifications Revealed?
A technology rumor website recently published a story detailing the upcoming AMD Polaris 10 GPU, allegedly named “67DF:C4”. As it turns out, a bird sent us screenshots showing the details of the card. While we cannot go into more details in order to protect the source, we can confirm that AMD Polaris 10 engineering samples are varying in clock between 800 and 1050 MHz, depending on the partner. Our original Polaris 10 story is here. What we know so far is that Polaris 10 used to be known as Ellesmere, Baffin is Polaris 11 and Greenland is Vega 10. Apparently, the numbers 10, 11, 12 will not co-relate
Tick-Tock is Dead: Intel Confirms New Processor Cadence
Several months ago, we exclusively disclosed the new architectural cadence for Intel processors. After a decade of manufacturing processors in an bi-annual cycle (Tick – new architecture, old process; Tock – new process and ‘old’ architecture), Intel’s SEC 10-K filing (PDF download) officially killed the Tick-Tock cadence, moving to a three-fold product line-up for a single manufacturing process. Approximately four years ago, Tick-Tock encountered a first significant hiccup with Ivy Bridge being a 22nm version of Sandy Bridge. Ivy Bridge was the first processor from Intel that we could call APU, instead of a CPU – as 40% of the die was allocated for new graphics architecture. The
VRC: Introducing VR World’s PC for VR
The wait is almost over. After numerous announcements and stories, March and April brings us the launch of high-quality Virtual Reality hardware and VR-optimized AAA games and other applications. VR equipment manufacturers are going as far not just to recommend, but also to sell a recommended configuration on their website. Oculus recently launched their “Oculus Ready PC” specification, and selected vendors (ASUS, Alienware and Dell) sell you their PCs ‘with purchase of Rift’. However, the components in question may not bring the results in the long run, and there is a geolocation limitation on the systems Oculus recommends to its customers. Here at VR World, we look at things differently.
AMD ZEN CPU and APU Specs Confirmed?
It looks like 2016 is turning into a year of anticipation and redemption for AMD, not just to its consumers, but also to customers which purchased millions of dollars of AMD hardware in the past, and then felt left out. We all saw Oak Ridge National Laboratories, one of first Opteron adopters – ditching a decade old AMD collaboration for IBM+NVIDIA team up. Luckily for all involved, AMD seems to have finally “get their s*** together” and started a sales campaign which might be the most successful since Henri Richard led the sales team taking over more than 50% market share from Intel (albeit only in 4P and 8P
Intel Kills Overclocking on Non-K Skylake Processors
For the last couple of months, enthusiasts ‘on a budget’ were buying Intel processors based on latest ‘Skylake’ architecture and overclocked them to obtain extra performance. What made overclocking especially attractive was the possibility to overclock cheaper, ‘non-K’ processors using the old method of raising the base-clock (BCLK). Given that the company faced ‘Skylake crashes in Prime95’ affair, Intel decided to push microcode updates which would not just prevent Skylake-based CPUs from crashing but to prevent all non-K CPUs from overclocking as well. This update should not surprise anyone, as lack of any meaningful competition in the performance space meant the company was free to limit the overclocking capabilities. In order to overclock an Intel processor, you
Samsung Enables 16GB to 32GB HBM2 Graphics Memory
Samsung Semiconductor is on a roll of late. The company introduced FinFET transistors with the 14nm process last year for logic, beating Intel for the first time in history to to a new manufacturing node. 14nm process expanded from in-house Exynos SoC processors to customers such as Apple, Qualcomm and others, while Intel was trying to get Broadwell architecture out the door. This process was followed by the announcement of ultra-dense 15nm NAND Flash memory, and now the company announced mass-production of next-gen memory standard – HBM2. The company announced that it started mass production of High-Bandwidth Memory 2 chips using its 20nm process, which just got
AMD GPUs to Come from GlobalFoundries and TSMC?
AMD received a substantial coverage at VentureBeat recently, with Dean Takahashi interviewing key executives in succession. First off was an in-depth interview with Lisa Su (CEO and Chairman of AMD), followed by an interview with Raja Koduri, Head (CEO?) of Radeon Technologies Group. RTG is AMD’s spin-off which you can compare with the spin-off of manufacturing division you now know as GlobalFoundries, just without a strong sovereign wealth fund (like Mubadala Development Company)… for now. In order to execute on a huge market opportunity in the form of Virtual Reality, RTG wants to make sure all the basics are covered. For starters, one of more painful episodes from the company
AMD to Launch Polaris Graphics Architecture with a Mainstream Card
Back in early December 2015, AMD invited their preferred media partners to brief them about the new company structure, where Radeon Technology Group (RTG, also known as ATI 2.0) will continue to bring products to market under the AMD banner until the (almost inevitable) spin-off occurs. In a run-up to CES 2016, which takes place in Las Vegas, NV, AMD made a formal announcement introducing the Polaris GPU architecture. In a video bewlo, Raja Koduri (head of RTG) spoke of innovation that was enabled by a logical transition from planar transistors (single-gate, i.e. 2-D) to multi-gate (i.e. 3-D) technology, with a variant of 3-D transistors being called FinFET. If
2016 Intel High-End Lineup to Feature Six, Eight and Ten Cores
As we mentioned in our previous stories, Intel plans to debut the high-end, 14nm Broadwell-E processors for desktops, workstations and servers, replacing the 22nm Haswell-E. When it comes to the desktop side of things, the company traditionally offered two different core and several clock configurations – but that is about to change. There will be at least four processors belonging to the Core i7 6800 series, all of which will feature different cores and clocks. All cores are to come unlocked, meaning you should be able to overclock these systems quite nicely. i7 6800K – six-core, 12 logic cores, 15MB L3 Cache, 3.4 GHz Base
14nm AMD Greenland tapes out: Attack on NVIDIA Pascal, Intel Xeon Phi
Couple of days ago, GlobalFoundries issued a press release stating that they ‘demonstrated silicon success on the first AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) products using GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ most advanced 14nm FinFET process technology.’ “FinFET technology is expected to play a critical foundational role across multiple AMD product lines, starting in 2016. GLOBALFOUNDRIES has worked tirelessly to reach this key milestone on its 14LPP process. We look forward to GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ continued progress towards full production readiness and expect to leverage the advanced 14LPP process technology across a broad set of our CPU, APU, and GPU products,” said Mark Papermaster, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Advanced Micro Devices.
End of the Tick-Tock Strategy for Intel?
Given the slow disintegration or refocusing of its competitors, we were not all too surprised when Intel started to slow down its famous “Tick-Tock” manufacturing cadence. Originally introduced in 2006 with the “Conroe”, Core 2 Duo processors, Tick-Tock was mixed between a new microarchitecture and current manufacturing process (Tock), and a new process, die-shrink processor with some architectural optimizations (Tick). Further separation in Tick-Tock was a cadence between mainstream parts (desktop, mobile) and high-end parts (gaming, workstations) – Tick or Tock would always debut as mainstream parts, followed by high-end 6-12 months after. High end would typically mean Intel Xeon and Core i7 ‘X’ line-up.
Intel’s 2015 Roadmap Conundrum: Tick-Tock is Not a Swiss Clock
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
Intel To Launch Two Broadwell CPUs For Desktop, Skylake Debuting In October
Intel is set to reduce Broadwell’s release cycle to focus on Skylake.
Samsung Starts Manufacturing 14nm Exynos 7 SoC
Samsung’s Exynos 7 is the first mobile SoC to be built on the 14nm manufacturing process.