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VIA Readying New 64-bit x86 Processor to Take on Intel Bay Trail and AMD Kabini

Only the third active licencee of Intel's x86 machine architecture, VIA Technology, is readying its first x86 processor in years, codenamed Isaiah II. This chip is based on a brand new 64-bit x86 core design by VIA and the engineering team it acquired from Centaur Technology, another erstwhile x86 licencee, and features modern instruction sets such as AVX 2.0. VIA began sampling a quad-core processor based on Isaiah II, which was put to live test by the company, at its InfoComm 2014 booth. It was compared to Intel's "Bay Trail" Atom and AMD's "Kabini" Athlon chips. It turns out that the Isaiah II is pretty good, if it comes out soon enough.

The Isaiah II based quad-core chip, featuring 2.00 GHz clock speeds, and 2 MB of L2 cache, was put through SANDRA. The BGA chip was running on a VIA-made motherboard, with its own VIA VX11H chipset. It was compared to AMD Athlon 5350 (quad-core "Jaguar" with 2.05 GHz clocks), and Intel Atom Z3770 (quad-core "Silvermont" with 2.40 GHz clocks). The results are tabulated below. At 2.00 GHz, armed with the latest multimedia and cryptography instruction-sets, VIA's chip is faster than Intel's in most tests, despite lower clocks. It trades blows - and wins - against AMD's chip, in most tests. VIA is expected to launch the first chips based on Isaiah II in late-August, 2014. VIA is hedging its bets with efficient compact PCs, kiosks, and digital signage, with its new chip.


Sources: 3DCenter.org, ExtraHardware.cz

Eurotech, AppliedMicro and NVIDIA Develop New HPC System Architecture

Eurotech, a leading provider of embedded and supercomputing technologies, has teamed up with Applied Micro Circuits Corporation and NVIDIA to develop a new, original high performance computing (HPC) system architecture that combines extreme density and best-in-class energy efficiency. The new architecture is based on an innovative highly modular and scalable packaging concept.

Eurotech, which has years of significant experience in designing and manufacturing original HPC systems, has successfully developed an HPC systems architecture that optimizes the benefits of greater density, as well as the energy efficiency of ARM processors and high-performance GPU accelerators.

NVIDIA GPUs Open the Door to ARM64 Entry Into High Performance Computing

NVIDIA today announced that multiple server vendors are leveraging the performance of NVIDIA GPU accelerators to launch the world's first 64-bit ARM development systems for high performance computing (HPC).

ARM64 server processors were primarily designed for micro-servers and web servers because of their extreme energy efficiency. Now, they can tackle HPC-class workloads when paired with GPU accelerators using the NVIDIA CUDA 6.5 parallel programming platform, which supports 64-bit ARM processors.

GIGABYTE Announces Cavium ThunderX Motherboards

GIGABYTE Technology, a leading creator of high performance server hardware, and Cavium, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM), a leading provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for enterprise, data center, cloud, wired and wireless networking, today announced a strategic partnership to deliver workload optimized server platforms based on Cavium's 64-bit ARMv8 ThunderX product family.

GIGABYTE's award winning product portfolio has been long recognized in the industry as a leader in design and innovation. With a broad offering of volume server platforms GIGABYTE has demonstrated engineering expertise in areas of system level integration of compute with I/O, large memory configurations and power optimization. With a world-wide presence GIGABYTE is uniquely positioned to accelerate the delivery and deployment of ThunderX based systems into cloud and data center.

Cavium Introduces ThunderX Enterprise Processor

Cavium, Inc., a leading provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for enterprise, data center, cloud, wired and wireless networking, today announced the introduction of a new game changing category of processors that are workload optimized for a range of applications in the cloud and data center. The 2.5GHz 48 core ThunderX is the world's highest performing low-power 64-bit ARMv8 SoC family of workload optimized processors with a range of SKUs and form factors for high performance volume compute, storage, secure compute and networking specific workloads.

Data center infrastructure transformation is one of the key trends driving IT spending in 2014 and beyond. Analysts predict that the global data center infrastructure market, including servers, storage, networking, security and virtualization, will reach $128 billion in 2014. Key trends driving this disruption include rapid adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) enabled by Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) with virtualized on demand compute, Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Software Defined Storage (SDS). The continued growth and adoption of Open Source Software with almost 100 billion lines of code and nearly 10 million active developers is also radically changing installed base software requirements.

AMD Announces Ambidextrous Computing Roadmap

AMD today announced a roadmap of near- and mid-term computing solutions that harness the best characteristics of both the x86 and ARM ecosystems, called "ambidextrous computing." The cornerstone of this roadmap is the announcement of AMD's 64-bit ARM architecture license for the development of custom high-performance cores for high-growth markets. Today's announcement also provides a forward-looking glimpse into AMD's development plans to deliver truly unmatched ambidextrous computing and graphics performance using a shared, flexible infrastructure to enable its customers to blaze new paths of innovation for the embedded, server and client markets as well as semi-custom solutions.

"Before today, AMD was the only company in the world to deliver high performance and low-power x86 with leadership graphics. AMD now takes a bold step forward and has become the only company that can provide high-performance 64-bit ARM and x86 CPU cores paired with world-class graphics," said Rory Read, AMD president and CEO. "Our innovative ambidextrous design capability, combined with our portfolio of IP and expertise with high-performance SoCs, means that AMD is set to deliver ambidextrous solutions that enable our customers to change the world in more efficient and powerful ways."

Take Unreal Engine 4 Elemental Tech Demo for a Spin

Wish you could run one of those awesome Unreal Engine 4 tech demos on your own hardware instead of watching its lossy, pixellated video-grabs on YouTube? Well, now you can. Epic's "Elemental" tech demo for Unreal Engine 4 cropped up on the web, and we wasted no time in re-hosting it for you. The demo doesn't appear to be a public release, but something developers put together for demos to be run by Epic and its partners, only. To begin with, it doesn't come with an installer. You have to extract its files into a folder, and manually edit its settings INI file to specify resolution, window behaviour, and other settings. You then have to install VC++ 2013 runtime if you don't already have it (the redistributables are included in the archive), and then run the demo from the relevant batch file. Unreal included both 32-bit and 64-bit executables. When you're done drooling rainbows at the demo, only an Alt+F4 closes the thing down (there's no in-demo UI). There's no internal benchmark, and you're left to use third-party frame-rate loggers. These little issues aside, the demo sure makes Unreal Engine 4 look promising. We also added a collection of five other tech-demos for your viewing pleasure.
DOWNLOAD: Unreal Engine 4 Elemental Demo (RAR archive) | Unreal Engine 4 Five Tech Demos

AMD Announces ARM-Based Server CPU and Development Platform

AMD today added a major new milestone to its list of seminal developments in server technology. The company displayed a comprehensive development platform for its first 64-bit ARM-based server CPU, fabricated using 28 nanometer process technology, the first from an established server vendor. AMD also announced the imminent sampling of the ARM-based processor, named the AMD Opteron A1100 Series, and a development platform, which includes an evaluation board and a comprehensive software suite. In addition, AMD announced that it would be contributing to the Open Compute Project a new micro-server design using the AMD Opteron A-Series, as part of the common slot architecture specification for motherboards dubbed "Group Hug."

The AMD Opteron A-Series processor, codenamed "Seattle," will sample this quarter along with a development platform that will make software design on the industry's premier ARM-based server CPU quick and easy. AMD is collaborating with industry leaders to enable a robust 64-bit software ecosystem for ARM-based designs from compilers and simulators to hypervisors, operating systems and application software, in order to address key workloads in Web-tier and storage data center environments. The AMD Opteron A-Series development platform will be supported by a broad set of tools and software including a standard UEFI boot and Linux environment based on the Fedora Project, a Red Hat-sponsored, community-driven Linux distribution.

NVIDIA Readies GeForce GTX 750 Ti Based on "Maxwell"

NVIDIA's next-generation GPU architecture, codenamed "Maxwell," will debut this February, with the unexpectedly positioned GeForce GTX 750. The card will launch on February 18, to be specific. Maxwell will introduce a host of new features for NVIDIA, beginning with Unified Virtual Memory. The feature lets the GPU and CPU share the same memory. Such a feature is already implemented on the current CUDA, but Maxwell could be designed to reduce overhead involved in getting the thing to work. The next big feature is that Maxwell GPUs will embed a 64-bit ARM CPU core based on NVIDIA's "Project Denver." This CPU core will allow the GPU to reduce dependency on the system's main processor in certain GPGPU scenarios. Pole-vaulting the CPU's authority in certain scenarios could work to improve performance

Getting back to the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, NVIDIA's aim is simple, to see how "Maxwell" performs on the existing, proven 28 nanometer silicon fab process, before scaling it up on the future 20 nm nodes, with bigger chips. Given its name, we expect it to be positioned in between the GTX 760 and the GTX 660 in terms of gaming performance, but we won't be surprised if it falls into an entirely different league with GPGPU. There are no specifications at hand.

Source: SweClockers

AMD Announces 4th Generation A-Series "Kaveri" Desktop APUs

AMD announced its 2014 A-Series APU for the desktop platform, code-named "Kaveri," after the southern-Indian river. Built in the new FM2+ package, the APUs run only on socket FM2+ motherboards based on the AMD A88X, A78, and A55 chipsets; while the socket itself can seat older FM2 APU families, "Trinity" and "Richland." In many ways, the socket transition is similar to that of socket AM3+. "Kaveri" sees AMD integrate two of its newest CPU and GPU micro-architectures, "Steamroller" for CPU, and Graphics CoreNext 2.0 for the GPU. "Kaveri" is also built on newer generation 28 nm silicon fab process.

"Steamroller" is an evolution of the same modular CPU core design as its predecessors, "Piledriver" and "Bulldozer." AMD promises a 10 percent improvement in performance clock-by-clock, per core, which falls in line with AMD's normal scheme of annual incremental performance updates on its CPU micro-architectures. A "Steamroller" module is a combination of two 64-bit x86 cores, which feature dedicated and shared components. "Kaveri" has two such modules, and so physically, it features a quad-core CPU.

AMD's Revolutionary Mantle Graphics API Adopted by Various Developers

AMD today announced three new game developer partnerships for Mantle, its highly acclaimed, groundbreaking graphics API. Cloud Imperium Games, Eidos-Montréal, a part of the Square Enix Group, and Oxide Games are the latest game developers to join AMD in optimizing the way PC games are developed to extract maximum performance from a modern graphics architecture that spans desktop PCs, notebooks and consumer devices like tablets.

"AMD is proud to play an instrumental role in transforming the world of game development with Mantle," said Ritche Corpus, director of ISV gaming and alliances, AMD. "With the support and close collaboration between AMD and industry-leading game developers like Cloud Imperium, Eidos-Montréal and Oxide, Mantle can maximize optimization for highly anticipated PC titles, bringing an unparalleled gaming experience for players."

ALLBenchmark CatZilla 1.0 Formally Launched

Finding the optimal performance for a PC's CPU and graphics card just became quicker, more nimble and more entertaining than ever before with the official release of Catzilla, an optimization test developed by three hardcore gamers. Catzilla software tests and compares a computer's capabilities based on benchmark CPU and GPU performance, which is critical in video games and other applications with advanced graphics, using a battle scene between rival "Catzilla" monsters. Catzilla is an all-inclusive program that provides benchmark scores, and software and hardware recommendations based on the test results in order to keep PCs running at their optimum condition.

Catzilla, a cross-API benchmark designed for OpenGL 4.0 and DirectX 9 or 11, and Windows operating systems (64-bit and 32-bit Windows 8, 7, XP and Vista), is a quick, yet comprehensive benchmarking program that uses algorithms found in the latest PC video games, so users can see how their PCs will handle the most demanding games. Catzilla runs one set of tests to fully benchmark the users' PCs, so it's easier for them to overclock their processors squeezing every last bit of juice and test for stability.

Battlefield 4 To Include 64-bit Binaries, DirectX 11.1 Renderer with Fallbacks

At its spot in AMD's GPU'14 tech day, EA-DICE confirmed to major technical features of Battlefield 4, one of the hottest online multiplayer shooters of the season. To begin with, the game will include 64-bit binaries that let the game take advantage of vast amounts of system- and video-memory. 8 GB of system- and 3 GB of video-memory are part of the game's recommended system requirements list. The next big feature is a DirectX 11.1 renderer, which takes advantage of shader tracing, and seamless switching between various DirectX feature levels. DirectX 11.1 is exclusive to Windows 8 (and above), and isn't fully implemented on GeForce GTX 600 series GPUs.

DICE did announce that there are fallbacks to both. Out of data pulled by Origin, DICE claims that 91 percent of Battlefield 3 players run 64-bit operating systems, which encouraged their 64-bit move, but the game should also include fallbacks to 32-bit for the remaining 9 percent. The percentage of gamers running DirectX 11.1-ready GPUs and Windows 8 (and above) will no doubt be a small percentage, and for them not much should be lost. Battlefield 4 should launch on October 29. In December, the studio plans to roll out a major update that includes support for a new 3D graphics API built by DICE, codenamed "Mantle."

Battlefield 4 MSR Largely Identical to Battlefield 3, RSR Interesting

Battlefield 4 minimum system requirements (MSR) lists released to the web show them to be largely identical to those of Battlefield 3, with a few changes in the GPU requirements. The RSR (recommended system requirements) list is interesting. There's no support for Windows XP, much like Battlefield 3, but contrary to rumors, Battlefield 4 doesn't mandate 64-bit platforms. It includes 32-bit executables, even if it can take advantage of over 4 GB of system- and over 3 GB of video-memory. Battlefield 4 needs at least a Windows Vista 32-bit installation, with Service Pack 2 and KB971512 update. An AMD Athlon X2 processor clocked at 2.80 GHz or Core 2 Duo 2.40 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM (which 32-bit platforms don't fully make available anyway), and 2009-class DirectX 10 graphics cards, are part of the MSR.

Moving on to the recommended system requirements list, EA-DICE recommends 64-bit Windows 8, making us wonder why not Windows 7 64-bit, and if it has something to do with the fact that Windows 8 supports DirectX 11.1, which Windows 7 doesn't. Any six-core AMD CPU, and any Intel quad-core CPU will do. 8 GB of RAM is recommended. The developer recommends at least Radeon HD 7870 or GeForce GTX 660 graphics cards with at least 3 GB of video memory, which strangely disqualifies the Radeon HD 7870 from the RSR list, as there's no known HD 7870 variant with ≥3 GB of video memory. Hard drive space is consistent between the two lists, at 30 GB. It was 25 GB for Battlefield 3. In all, we expect Battlefield 4 to be another eye-feast, which rewards faster hardware, and perhaps even upgrading to Windows 8.


Source: The Examiner

NVIDIA Releases Preview Drivers with OpenGL 4.4 ICD

NVIDIA followed up on Monday's OpenGL 4.4 API launch with its first preview driver that includes GL 4.4 ICD (installable client driver). Unlike Direct3D, which comes included with Windows, OpenGL is distributed by GPU driver vendors. The OpenGL 4.4 Preview driver from NVIDIA bears the canonical version numbering "GeForce 326.29," is dated 18/07/2013, and supports GeForce GPUs from GeForce GTX 400 series onwards; and Quadro K600 onwards. NVIDIA's OpenGL 4.4 Preview driver adds an increasing number of GL extensions and features, with increase in GL version number hardware support.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA OpenGL 4.4 Preview driver (desktop v326.29) for Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit | Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit | Windows XP 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Linux 64-bit | Linux 32-bit

Details follow.

Intel Aims to "Re-Architect" Datacenters to Meet Demand for New Services

As the massive growth of information technology services places increasing demand on the datacenter, Intel Corporation today outlined its strategy to re-architect the underlying infrastructure, allowing companies and end-users to benefit from an increasingly services-oriented, mobile world. The company also announced additional details about its next-generation Intel Atom processor C2000 product family (codenamed "Avoton" and "Rangeley"), as well as outlined its roadmap of next-generation 14nm products for 2014 and beyond. This robust pipeline of current and future products and technologies will allow Intel to expand into new segments of the datacenter that look to transition from proprietary designs to more open, standards-based compute models.

"Datacenters are entering a new era of rapid service delivery," said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group at Intel. "Across network, storage and servers we continue to see significant opportunities for growth. In many cases, it requires a new approach to deliver the scale and efficiency required, and today we are unveiling the near and long-term actions to enable this transformation."

First Pre-built Desktop with AMD FX-9590 Begins Rolling Out

Despite its $900-ish retail presence, AMD's 5 GHz eight-core processor, the FX-9590, was designed to be an OEM part, where OEMs could deploy the right motherboard and cooling solution for the 220W TDP chip. One of the first OEMs to [dare to] come out with one such contraption is Japan's Mouse Computer. The company's G-Tune Masterpiece a1500BA1 desktop includes an AMD FX-9590 processor, and Radeon HD 8990 (re-branded HD 7990 "Malta") graphics card as standard equipment.

The Masterpiece a1500BA1 uses a Cooler Master Seidon 120XL to tame the 220W AMD FX-9590, and an unannounced MSI 990FXA-GD80 V2 motherboard to seat it. Other components include Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866 MHz 16 GB dual-channel memory, Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SSD, an additional 3 TB HDD, a Blu-ray writer, and an unknown 1200W 80 Plus Gold-certified PSU. Windows 8 64-bit comes pre-installed. Based on the 32 nm "Vishera" silicon, AMD FX-9590 is an eight-core processor in the AM3+ package, with 4.80 GHz nominal and 5.00 GHz TurboCore frequency. The 5.00 GHz Turbo state spools up for all eight cores. Backed by a 1-year warranty (besides individual component warranties), the Masterpiece a1500BA1 is priced at a staggering 449,800 JPY (US $4,500).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 320.49 WHQL Certified Drivers

Earlier today NVIDIA published the GeForce 320.49 WHQL certified drivers in support of the newly launched GeForce GTX 760 graphics card, 32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP are made available by today's release. The WHQL verion of the drivers comes exactly six days after the Beta version was made public, release which generated some issues for many of those who immediately downloaded and installed the 320.49 drivers, freezing, error messages and crashes were reported in a variety of games by more than few users, so you might want to have a look at the official feedback thread before you download and click install.

DOWNLOADS:

AMD Unveils Server Strategy and Roadmap

AMD today publicly disclosed its strategy and roadmap to recapture market share in enterprise and data center servers by unveiling innovative products that address key technologies and meet the requirements of the fastest-growing data center and cloud computing workloads.

Additionally, AMD revealed details of its 2014 server portfolio including best-in-class Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), two- and four-socket CPUs, and details on what it expects to be the industry's premier ARM server processor. This is on the heels of announcing the general availability of the AMD Opteron X-Series processor, code named "Kyoto," which dominates the small-core server market on every performance benchmark. These forthcoming AMD Opteron processors bring important innovations to the rapidly changing compute market, including integrated CPU and GPU compute (APU); high core-count ARM servers for high-density compute in the data center; and substantial improvements in compute per-watt per-dollar and total cost of ownership.

Toshiba Unveils Portege Z10t Detachable Ultrabook

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the company's first Windows 8 device designed for business users, the Portege Z10t Detachable Ultrabook. The versatile Portege Z10t is an Ultrabook when needed and a tablet when wanted. Switch instantly between notebook and tablet by simply detaching the screen. Equipped with an 11.6-inch diagonal, Full HD, IPS anti-glare touchscreen display1, the Portege Z10t is an ideal choice for on-the-go professionals looking for a single, versatile device that offers more screen real estate than most tablets, but all the same ultra-responsive performance of a laptop.

The built in digitizer adds even more functionality for those who want to write and take notes on-screen. Ultra-slim, lightweight, encased in sleek style and dressed in durability with all the essential ports and security features, the Portege Z10t makes it easy to create, share or consume content anytime, anywhere. Powered by the latest Intel Core processors the device is equipped with all the business essential ports needed for a "dongle-free" experience, the Portege Z10t delivers excellent speed and performance - everything expected from a business-class Portege.

Xbox One Chip Slower Than PlayStation 4

After bagging chip supply deals for all three new-generation consoles -- Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U, things are looking up for AMD. While Wii U uses older-generation hardware technologies, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 use the very latest AMD has to offer -- "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 CPU micro-architecture, and Graphics CoreNext GPU architecture. Chips that run the two consoles have a lot in common, but also a few less-than-subtle differences.

PlayStation 4 chip, which came to light this February, is truly an engineer's fantasy. It combines eight "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 cores clocked at 1.60 GHz, with a fairly well spec'd Radeon GPU, which features 1,156 stream processors, 32 ROPs; and a 256-bit wide unified GDDR5 memory interface, clocked at 5.50 GHz. At these speeds, the system gets a memory bandwidth of 176 GB/s. Memory isn't handled like UMA (unified memory architecture), there's no partition between system- and graphics-memory. The two are treated as items on the same 8 GB of memory, and either can use up a majority of it.

Intel Launches Low-Power, High-Performance Silvermont Microarchitecture

Intel Corporation today took the wraps off its brand new, low-power, high-performance microarchitecture named Silvermont. The technology is aimed squarely at low-power requirements in market segments from smartphones to the data center. Silvermont will be the foundation for a range of innovative products beginning to come to market later this year, and will also be manufactured using the company's leading-edge, 22nm Tri-Gate SoC manufacturing process, which brings significant performance increases and improved energy efficiency.

"Silvermont is a leap forward and an entirely new technology foundation for the future that will address a broad range of products and market segments," said Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president and chief product officer. "Early sampling of our 22nm SoCs, including "Bay Trail" and "Avoton" is already garnering positive feedback from our customers. Going forward, we will accelerate future generations of this low-power microarchitecture on a yearly cadence."

AMD Catalyst 13.4 WHQL Drivers Released

AMD launched its first WHQL-signed Catalyst Software Suite in three months, with the Catalyst 13.4 WHQL, coinciding with the launch of Radeon HD 7990, earlier today. The Catalyst Software Suite installs device drivers and system software for AMD Radeon GPUs, IGPs, and integrated HDMI audio devices, in additional to AMD APP runtime environment, and certain media acceleration software.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.4 WHQL for Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

The change-log for Catalyst 13.4 WHQL follows.

IDF 2013 Transforming Computing Experiences from the Device to the Cloud

During her keynote at the Intel Developer Forum today in Beijing, Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, discussed how her company is helping users harness powerful new capabilities that will improve the lives of people by building smarter cities, healthier communities and thriving businesses.

Bryant unveiled details of upcoming technologies and products that show how Intel aims to transform the server, networking and storage capabilities of the datacenter. By addressing the full spectrum of workload demands and providing new levels of application optimized solutions for enterprise IT, technical computing and cloud service providers, unprecedented experiences can be delivered.

Thecus Announces High Performance 64-bit Rackmount and Tower NVR Systems

Definitely, 2013 starts with a big boom at Thecus. After the launch of the N12000PRO and N16000PRO, the announcement of the 64 bit ThecusOS 6.0, the unveiling of the N2520/N4520 and Intelligent NAS utility at CeBIT 2013, it's time for the NVR family to impress the world with 7 new devices with updated architecture to offer superior performances.

We here by present you in tower format the V2510, V4510, V5510 and V6810; and for the rackmount category, we have the new V4510U, V8810U and V16810U. All equipped with the VisoGuard security system management software developed in partnership with Netavis, these new NVR will offer better performances than ever for all type of users with needs of 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 16 bays of storage.
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