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ARM Reveals Its Plan for World Domination: Announces DynamIQ Technology

ARM processors have been making forays into hitherto shallow markets, with it's technology and processor architectures winning an ever increasing amount of design wins. Most recently, Microsoft itself announced a platform meant to use ARM processors in a server environment. Now, ARM has put forward its plans towards achieving a grand total of 100 billion chips shipped in the 2017-2021 time frame.

To put that goal in perspective, ARM is looking to ship as many ARM-powered processors in this 2017-2021 time frame as it did between 1991 and 2017. This is no easy task - at least if ARM were to stay in its known markets, where it has already achieved almost total saturation. The plan: to widen the appeal of its processor design, with big bets in the AI, Automotive, XR (which encompasses the Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality markets), leveraged by what ARM does best: hyper-efficient processors.

SoftBank to Sell 25% Stake on ARM to Saudi Investment Group

After pulling off one of the highest-value acquisitions ever in the tech world through its purchase of ARM for $31 billion in September 2016, SoftBank is now looking to sell 25% of the company to a Saudi investment group. The $8 billion stake in ARM is being sold to Vision Fund, a $100 billion technology fund created by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son. Six months later, SoftBank is in the final-stage talks towards conclusion of the sale.

This seems like an overly fast negotiation time towards the selling of such a large stake on ARM - especially considering the companies' increasing importance in the technology sector. ARM designs power more than 90% of the world's smartphones, and recent announcements of companies such as Microsoft in increasing ARM's presence in the server space point only to increased growth of the company. A sale in this state of affairs (and with such admittedly little information) seems a little... untimely.

Source: Techspot, New York Times

Microsoft Distances Itself from Intel - Announces ARM Cloud Server Platform

Microsoft is looking to reduce costs in its Azure cloud computing platforms for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data. And after having developed a version of Windows for servers that use ARM processors, in a joint work with Qualcomm and Cavium, Microsoft seems to also be looking forward to leave its dependency on Intel products as nothing but a memory. Microsoft's ARM server design, dubbed Project Olympus, looks to hardware innovations so as to reduce costs, boosting competitiveness and flexibility in regards to other big players in the cloud space, like Amazon and Alphabet. That the design is open source is also a boon to other businesses and Microsoft partners.


Though the design isn't "deployed into production yet (...) that is the next logical step," said Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division. "This is a significant commitment on behalf of Microsoft. We wouldn't even bring something (...) if we didn't think this was a committed project and something that's part of our roadmap."

ASUS Unveils the TinkerBoard to Rival Raspberry Pi and Intel Edison

As the world's number one PC motherboard manufacturer by volume, it would be a shame if ASUS didn't pander to the budding engineers and electronics hobbyists among you with a product that rivals the Raspberry Pi and Intel Edison. That product is the TinkerBoard, a card-sized single-board computer with a ton of I/O, including support for 4K Ultra HD displays. At the heart of this board is a Rockchip RK3288 SoC, which embeds a 32-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 CPU, and a Mali T764 GPU. This chip is topped off by 2 GB of dual-channel memory. The most prominent Raspberry Pi competitor to this board is the Pi 3 Model B, with its 64-bit Broadcom BCM2837 chip, and a starting price of just $35.

Other features of the TinkerBoard include a GPIO that rivals Raspberry Pi, 4K Ultra HD H.264 video decode capability, gigabit Ethernet, SDIO 3.0, 24-bit/192 kHz HD audio, and a swappable antenna for its 802.11 b/g/n WLAN. While the specifications check out well in favor of the TinkerBoard, it all comes down to pricing. Hobbyists working on robotics projects, for example, purchase Raspberries Pi by the dozens thanks to their low price. ASUS should do well to keep that in mind when pricing this board.

QNAP Launches Cost-efficient TS-x31XU Series Rackmount NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the new business-class TS-x31XU series rackmount NAS; available in 4, 8 and 12-bay models with single and redundant power supply options. Powered by an AnnapurnaLabs, an Amazon company Alpine AL-314 quad-core 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, the TS-x31XU features 2GB or 4GB DDR3 RAM (expandable to 16GB), includes two built-in 10GbE SFP+ ports, and supports the innovative VJBOD (Virtual JBOD) and Container Station, providing a high-performance, multifunctional and power-efficient storage solution.

Coupled with a hardware encryption engine and SSD cache support, the quad-core TS-x31XU series offers two 10GbE SFP+ ports that ensure top notch networking capabilities of up to 1,242 MB/s transfer speeds. An additional single-port 10GbE PCIe card can be installed for more flexible deployment. The TS-x31XU is ideal for small-and-medium businesses looking for backup, restoration, virtualization storage, private cloud, and to future-proof their IT infrastructure for 10GbE networks.

Logitech's New Addition to Their Gaming Mice Line-up - The G203 Prodigy

In another addition to their gaming mice product range, Logitech has gone and left behind the complex, sometimes overly contoured designs of recent gaming mice in developing their new G203 Prodigy. The G203 does present a design that is closer to a neutral one, with no particular ergonomics considerations for either a left-handed or right-handed person (save for the pair of left-side thumb buttons). This thus increases the overall number of users whose natural hand posture may allow them to use this gaming mouse with more comfort, though it does mean the mouse makes some sacrifices in overall ergonomics.

Cooler Master Unveils the MasterWatt Maker MIJ 1200 W Power Supply

At CES 2017, Cooler Master unveiled a limited edition of their MasterWatt line of power supply units: the MasterWatt Author ME 1200 W. As the name implies, this is a 1200 W power supply, rated at 80 Plus Titanium efficiency levels (which means >94% energy efficiency), though Cooler Master claims this PSU is able to achieve >95% efficiency levels. Built exclusively with Murata components, Cooler Master are presenting this one as the best power supply they've ever made, and they're therefore pitting it as a special, limited edition PSU, of which only a few thousand samples will be produced and sold: at an over $1000 price-tag.

AMD Ryzen Performance Review Leaked: Promising

French tech print magazine "Canard PC" is ready with early benchmarks of an AMD Ryzen 8-core processor. The scan of a page from its Ryzen performance review article got leaked to the web, revealing three key performance takeaways. In the first selection of tests, Canard PC put Ryzen through synthetic CPU-intensive tests that take advantage of as many CPU cores/threads as you can throw at them. These include the likes of H.264 and H.265 video encoding, WPrime, Blender, 3DSMax 2015, and Corona. Ryzen was found to be faster than the quad-core Core i7-6700K, and the six-core i7-6800K, but somewhere between the i7-6800K and the eight-core i7-6900K.

The next selection of tests focused on PC gaming, with a list of contemporary AAA titles, including "Far Cry 4," "Battlefield 4," "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," "Anno 2070," "GRID: Autosport," and "ARMA III." Here, the Ryzen sample was found to be underwhelming - it was slower than the Core i5-6600 quad-core chip clocked at 3.30-3.90 GHz; but faster than the i5-6500, clocked at 3.20-3.60 GHz. The fastest chip in the table is the i7-6700K (4.00-4.20 GHz). The reviewer still notes that Ryzen has a decent IPC gain unseen from the AMD stable in a while.

QNAP Announces Cost-efficient TS-x31P NAS Series

QNAP Systems, Inc. today released the TS-x31P NAS series, including the TS-131P, TS-231P, and TS-431P. Powered by an AnnapurnaLabs, an Amazon company Alpine AL-212 dual-core 1.7GHz processor, this series provides a high-performance and secure private cloud NAS solution tailored for home, SOHO and workgroup users. In addition to basic requirements such as file storage, sharing and backup, the TS-x31P series supports value-added cloud-based note-taking app, centralized email account management, contacts management, and abundant multimedia applications.

"A cost-efficient and reliable NAS solution is undoubtedly a key investment for small businesses and organizations to improve workflow efficiency; whereas home users generally like simple and practical storage devices with real-time data accessibility that helps create a modern digital home," said Dan Lin, Product Manager of QNAP. "The TS-x31P is designed to fulfill such user needs to ensure data security and to bring a comprehensive business and multimedia experience," added Lin.

Industry Leaders Join Forces to Promote New High-Performance Interconnect

A group of leading technology companies today announced the Gen-Z Consortium, an industry alliance working to create and commercialize a new scalable computing interconnect and protocol. This flexible, high-performance memory semantic fabric provides a peer-to-peer interconnect that easily accesses large volumes of data while lowering costs and avoiding today's bottlenecks. The alliance members include AMD, ARM, Cavium Inc., Cray, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Huawei, IBM, IDT, Lenovo, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, Microsemi, Red Hat, Samsung, Seagate, SK hynix, Western Digital Corporation, and Xilinx.

Modern computer systems have been built around the assumption that storage is slow, persistent and reliable, while data in memory is fast but volatile. As new storage class memory technologies emerge that drive the convergence of storage and memory attributes, the programmatic and architectural assumptions that have worked in the past are no longer optimal. The challenges associated with explosive data growth, real-time application demands, the emergence of low latency storage class memory, and demand for rack scale resource pools require a new approach to data access.

NVIDIA Announces Xavier, Volta-based Autonomous Transportation SoC

At its inaugural European edition of the Graphics Technology Conference (GTC), NVIDIA announced Xavier, an "AI supercomputer for the future of autonomous transportation." An evolution of its Drive PX2 board that leverages a pair of "Maxwell" GPUs with some custom logic and an ARM CPU, to provide cars with the compute power necessary to deep-learn the surroundings and self-drive, or assist-drive; Xavier is a refinement over Drive PX2 in that it merges three chips - two GPUs and one control logic into an SoC.

You'd think that NVIDIA refined its deep-learning tech enough to not need a pair of "Maxwell" SoCs, but Xavier is more than that. The 7 billion-transistor chip built on 16 nm FinFET process, offers more raw compute performance thanks to leveraging NVIDIA's next-generation "Volta" architecture, one more advanced than even its current "Pascal" architecture. The chip features a "Volta" GPU with 512 CUDA cores. The CVA makes up the vehicle I/O, while an image processor that's capable of 8K HDR video streams feeds the chip with visual inputs from various cameras around the vehicle. An 8-core ARM CPU performs general-purpose compute. NVIDIA hopes to get the first engineering samples of Xavier out to interested car-makers by Q4-2017.

SoftBank Completes Acquisition of ARM

SoftBank today announced that it has concluded the acquisition of British chipmaker ARM, in a USD $31 billion purchase. The acquisition was first announced in July 2016. Following this, ARM will be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange from the 6th of September 2016. Although ARM is a CPU architecture designer with a mere $1.5 billion in revenue last fiscal, and licenses the architecture to other SoC makers such as Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple, Huawei, etc., SoftBank is betting on ARM CPU architecture's emergence as the prime-mover of the IoT (Internet of things) revolution. This is SoftBank's largest tech acquisition following the $20 billion acquisition of American cellular network Sprint, and a $15 billion investment in Vodafone Japan.

Source: The Verge

Intel to Contract-manufacture ARM Processors at its Fabs

Intel is opening up its silicon manufacturing facilities to fabless chip-makers, beginning with the manufacture of ARM SoCs. The company entered a licensing deal with ARM that allows ARM SoC designers such as Qualcomm, Apple, and Samsung, to manufacture their SoCs at Intel fabs. Intel is among the first fabs with a working 14 nm node, and is on-track for sub-10 nm node development.

Intel had a crack at the market segments typically addressed by ARM SoCs, with its own x86 chips, which failed to see the kind of volumes ARM chipmakers were pushing. The company has now changed tactics to open its fabs up to those ARM SoC makers, letting them manufacture their designs on proven silicon-fabrication tech, in geographically important locations. Intel has its cutting-edge fabs located in Costa Rica and Malaysia.

Source: Bloomberg

Softbank Acquires ARM for $32 Billion

Japanese conglomerate Softbank acquired British CPU architecture designer ARM in a USD $32 billion deal on Monday. Softbank's bid of $32 billion is a 43 percent premium over ARM's current valuation of $22.3 billion, and the Cambridge-based firm will recommend its shareholders to approve of its acquisition. Shares of ARM surged 45% on the LSE, adding £7.56 billion to its market value. The company reported revenues of $1.49 billion in 2015. ARM founder Herman Hauser, however, isn't happy with the board's decision. "This is a sad day for me and a sad day for technology in Britain," he stated.

ARM designs CPU architectures, which it then licenses to other processor and SoC manufacturers, many of which are fabless themselves, making it an intellectual property giant. None of ARM's products are "tangible" or physical. While Intel, for example, designs CPU architectures (eg: x86), implements it (eg: Core i7, Celeron), and manufactures it (at its Costa Rica and Malaysia fabs) ARM's product is not tangible. It has a CPU architecture, which clients such as Samsung, Huawei, and Qualcomm license, implement (eg: Exynos, Kylin, Snapdragon), and contract-manufacture, through fabs such as GlobalFoundries, TSMC, and ST Microelectronics.

Source: BBC

QNAP Announces the TS-831X 8-bay Quad-Core NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the release of the powerful 8-bay business NAS TS-831X that features two built-in 10GbE SFP+ ports to fully support 10GbE high-speed networks as a cost-effective NAS solution. The TS-831X further supports VJBOD (Virtual JBOD) to introduce an economical way to utilize unused NAS storage space for expanding the storage capacity of other QNAP NAS. Taking advantage of TS-831X's native support of Container Station, organizations can rapidly develop and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) apps to create more business opportunities.

The TS-831X uses an Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 processor, and features 8GB/16GB DDR3 RAM (upgradable to 16GB), RAID 5/6 support, hardware-accelerated encryption and an SSD cache. It is 10GbE-ready with two built-in 10GbE SFP+ ports, and allows users to install a third 10GbE port via the extra PCIe slot for flexible high-speed network deployment.

Roccat Announces the Ryos MK FX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The new ROCCAT Ryos MK FX represents the chance to opt for both style and performance when you search for the perfect weapon for your gaming arsenal. Purpose built for hardcore gamers, the Ryos MK FX is the most advanced mechanical gaming keyboard on the market. Using all of ROCCAT's industry expertise and gaming experience, the Ryos MK FX boasts an amazing feature set, headed up by its impressive 16.8 million color per-key RGB illumination. It also features precise Cherry MX switches, two ARM processors and ROCCAT's intuitive Swarm driver software for easy yet, deeply customizable illumination options.

The Ryos MK FX offers fully configurable, ROCCAT-enginereed Per-Key RGB illumination in two convenient modes: preset and custom. This means you can add awesome special effects in 16.8 million colors to your keystrokes, configure your keyboard to highlight your in-game and application key bindings, your modifier keys, your system controls as well as your macro sequences and cool-downs plus much, much more.

AMD Announces Opteron A1100 Series 64-bit ARM Processors for the Datacenter

AMD marks a major step towards delivering choice and innovation in the data center with the launch of the AMD Opteron A1100 System-on-Chip (SoC), formerly codenamed "Seattle". Jointly with its software and hardware partners, AMD is accelerating time-to-deployment of ARM-based systems and driving forward ecosystem support for ARM in the data center.

"The ecosystem for ARM in the data center is approaching an inflection point and the addition of AMD's high-performance processor is another strong step forward for customers looking for a data center-class ARM solution," said Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, Enterprise Solutions, AMD. "The macro trend of convergence between networking, storage and servers is an important catalyst in this evolution. Customers now have access to 64-bit ARM processors from the only silicon provider that also has decades of experience delivering professional enterprise and embedded products."

QNAP Launches QTS-Android Combo NAS TAS-168 and TAS-268

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the world's first and only QTS-Android Combo NAS - TAS-168 and TAS-268, which support QTS & Android dual systems. Both systems share the same storage database, allowing users to simultaneously access media files and documents from QTS and Android. With a compact mini-tower design, the TAS-168/268 comfortably fits in homes and small offices/workspaces. Coupled with up to terabytes of storage capacity and 4K (H.265 & H.264) HDMI-out, the TAS-168/268 is the optimal budget-friendly multimedia NAS with unlimited app applications for modern digital lifestyles.

"The QNAP QTS-Android Combo NAS TAS-168/268 is an unprecedented network storage center for file storage, backup, remote access and diverse Android applications," said Hanz Sung, product manager of QNAP. "Users can enjoy video streams, use apps and manage files on a big HDMI display instead of sliding and tapping on a small screen. The TAS-168/268 makes the personal cloud experience more flexible and enjoyable."

Cooler Master Also Announces CM Storm Sentinel Palm Grip Gaming Mouse

Cooler Master, a leading manufacturer of desktop components and peripherals, today announced the Sentinel III, an improved gaming mouse building upon the ergonomic palm grip design that fans have come to love. Sporting LED illumination in 16.8 million customizable colors, greatly improved intuitive software, and matte coating with an acrylic top panel, the Sentinel III is the perfect choice for palm grip gamers looking for comfort and advanced features.

"Designed for right-handed palm grip players, the Sentinel III includes a new sensor and expanded on-board memory" said Leo Cheng, Product Manager at Cooler Master. "The new and improved OLED display also allows you to rename your profiles in addition to knowing your exact DPI settings and/or uploading custom logos. This is the first step in making the Sentinel III truly yours."

Qualcomm Announces its First Socketed Enterprise CPU

Qualcomm, which holds a ton of ARM SoC patents, and put them to good use with its Snapdragon line of SoCs for smartphones, tablets, and convertible notebooks, is foraying into enterprise computing market. The company is ready with its first prototype of a 24-core high-performance CPU based on the 64-bit ARM machine architecture. ARM-based processors are picking up momentum in the server and micro-server markets owning to their low cost, low cooling requirements, and high energy-efficiency; and Qualcomm wants a slice of that pie. Most enterprise Linux and FreeBSD distributors have versions of their server operating systems for the 64-bit ARM architecture, as do most popular server software providers.

The prototype 24-core CPU is socketed, and ships in a large land-grid array (LGA) package, much like Intel's Xeon chips. The first production chips will have a lot more than 24 CPU cores, said Qualcomm senior vice president Anand Chandrasekhar. As a proof of concept, Qualcomm assembled three server blades using these chips, which were running Linux with a KVM hypervisor, streaming HD video to a PC using a LAMP stack (Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP) built with OpenStack. Qualcomm's target consumers are big Internet companies like Google and Facebook, which purchase hundreds of thousands of CPUs each year to cope with growing user- and content-traffic.

Source: PC World

QNAP Announces New Energy-efficient TS-x31+ Turbo NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the TS-x31+ series Turbo NAS for small and home offices. Embedded with a dual-core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, the TS-x31+ series provides a powerful yet energy-efficient solution for file storage, sharing and data backup with hardware-accelerated encryption, coupled with the easy-to-use cloud-based Notes Station 2.0, various multimedia applications and more.

"For home & small businesses, a powerful, secure yet affordable cloud storage solution is becoming a key investment for improving everyday business workflow," said Jason Hsu, product manager of QNAP. "With the TS-x31+ series, users can build a cost-efficient private cloud with ensured security and comprehensive business applications, " added Hsu.

AMD to Launch New GPUs and APUs Only After March: CEO

In its an investor conference-call following its Q4-2014 and FY-2014 results, AMD stated that it will release new GPU and APU products starting Q2-2015, or only after March. "Going into the second quarter and the second half of the year with our new product launches, I think we feel very good about where we are positioned there," said Lisa Su, chief executive officer.

Q2-2015 will start off with the company's "Carrizo" line of all-in-one and notebook APUs. These chips will integrate the company's new "Excavator" CPU cores, with an integrated graphics core based on Graphics CoreNext 1.2 architecture (the same one AMD built its "Tonga" GPU on). Around the same time, AMD will launch new Opteron "Seattle" enterprise CPUs, which integrate up to eight ARM Cortex A-57 64-bit cores, targeting the ultra-dense server market. In Q2-2015, AMD will launch its latest Radeon Rx 300 series graphics processors. Its performance-segment part, the R9 380, will feature 4,096 GCN 1.2 cores, double that of its predecessor, and 4 GB of stacked HBM (high-bandwidth memory). Its mid-range chip, codenamed "Trinidad" will succeed "Curacao," and offer performance competitive to the $200-ish price-point.

Source: KitGuru

QNAP Releases High-Performance TS-x31 Home NAS Series

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the release of the TS-x31 series Turbo NAS for SOHO and Home users. Powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, it provides a high-performance yet economical solution for file storage, sharing, and data backup coupled with the easy-to-use cloud-based note-taking application and a wide range of multimedia functions.

Available in 1, 2, and 4-bay models, the TS-x31 series is an easy-to-use network storage center for backup, synchronization, remote access, and home entertainment. "Due to the privacy concerns of pubic cloud services, the TS-x31 is ideal for establishing a secure and large-capacity private cloud where users can store, share, and access their files anytime, anywhere," said Jason Hsu, product manager of QNAP.

TSMC and ARM Unveil Roadmap for 64-bit ARM-based Processors on 10FinFET Process

ARM and TSMC today announced a new multi-year agreement that will deliver ARMv8-A processor IP optimized for TSMC 10FinFET process technology. Because of the success in scaling from 20SoC to 16FinFET, ARM and TSMC have decided to collaborate again for 10FinFET. This early pathfinding work will provide valuable learning to enable physical design IP and methodologies in support of customers to tape-out 10FinFET designs as early as Q4 2015.

"ARM and TSMC are industry leaders in our respective fields and collectively ensure the availability of leading-edge solutions for ARM-based SoCs through our deep and long-term collaboration," said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president, product groups, ARM. "Our mutual commitment to providing industry leading solutions drives us to work together early in the development cycle to optimize both the processor and the process node. This joint optimization enables ARM silicon partners to design, tape-out and bring their products to market faster."
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