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Xilinx Announces Cost-Optimized UltraScale+ Portfolio for Ultra-Compact, High-Performance Edge Compute

Xilinx, Inc., the leader in adaptive computing, today announced the company has expanded its UltraScale+ portfolio for markets with new applications that require ultra-compact and intelligent edge solutions. With form factors that are 70 percent smaller than traditional chip-scale packaging, the new Artix and Zynq UltraScale+ devices can now address a wider range of applications within the industrial, vision, healthcare, broadcast, consumer, automotive, and networking markets.

As the world's only hardware adaptable cost-optimized portfolio based on 16 nanometer technology, Artix and Zynq UltraScale+ devices are available in TSMC's state-of-the-art InFO (Integrated Fan-Out) packaging technology. Using InFO, Artix and Zynq UltraScale+ devices meet the need for intelligent edge applications by delivering high-compute density, performance-per-watt, and scalability in compact packaging options.

Marvell Announces Industry's First 112G 5nm SerDes Solution for Scaling Cloud Data Center Infrastructure

Marvell today unveiled the industry's first 112G 5 nm SerDes solution that has been validated in hardware. The DSP-based SerDes boasts industry-leading performance, power and area, helping to propel 112G as the interconnect of choice for next generation 5G, enterprise, and cloud data center infrastructure. Marvell has recently secured a new custom ASIC design win customer that will embed this new IP to build next generation top-of-rack (ToR) and spine switches for leading hyperscale data centers around the world. The Marvell 5 nm SerDes solution doubles the bandwidth of current systems based on 56G while enabling the deployment of 112G I/Os in many exciting new applications, including network and data center switching, network traffic management, machine learning training and inference, and application-specific accelerators.

Today's news, which comes on the heels of the company's announcement with TSMC of its 5 nm portfolio, further strengthens Marvell's leading data infrastructure offerings in the industry's most advanced process geometry. The 112G 5 nm SerDes solution is part of Marvell's industry-leading IP portfolio that addresses the full spectrum of infrastructure requirements and includes processor subsystems, encryption engines, system-on-chip fabrics, chip-to-chip interconnects, and a variety of physical layer interfaces.

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm Snapdragon's DSP May Render 1 Billion Android Phones Vulnerable to Hacking

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm's DSP (Digital Signal Processor) present in the company's Snapdragon SoCs may render more than a billion Android phones susceptible to hacking. According to research reported this week by security firm Check Point, they've found more than 400 vulnerabilities in Snapdragon's DSP, which may allow attackers to monitor locations, listen to nearby audio in real time, and exfiltrate locally-stored photos and videos - besides being able to render the phone completely unresponsive.

The vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-11201, CVE-2020-11202, CVE-2020-11206, CVE-2020-11207, CVE-2020-11208 and CVE-2020-11209) can be exploited simply via a video download or any other content that's rendered by the chip that passes through its DSP. Targets can also be attacked by installing malicious apps that require no permissions at all. Qualcomm has already tackled the issue by stating they have worked to validate the issue, and have already issued mitigations to OEMs, which should be made available via software updates in the future. In the meantime, the company has said they have no evidence any of these flaws is being currently exploited, and advise all Snapdragon platform users to only install apps via trusted locations such as the Play Store.

Quick Look: Creative Outlier Gold True Wireless Earphones

Following up on our coverage of CES goodies that are more than just swag, we continue exploring the wacky world of true wireless (TWS) earphones. The first set in this quick look series examined the Altec Lansing Nano Pods that clocked in at just $30, and today we up the ante into the oh-so-barely-under-$100 with the Creative Outlier Gold at $99.99. The company has impressed yours truly for three CES showings in a row with their Super X-Fi headphone holography tech, which we examined in the first retail iteration via their SXFI amp. This technology aims to replicate a surround speaker speaker audio experience into earphones/headphones, and requires their SXFI DSP to make the most of it. So when Creative said they have TWS earphones with SXFI, I was intrigued and simply had to test them for myself.

As it turns out, the Outlier Gold does support SXFI, but only with a software experience from their mobile app. This makes sense considering these are meant to be quite small and, well, wireless, and yet Creative claim a whopping 14 hours of battery life per charge. In addition, this set is an upgrade to their previous Outlier Air TWS earphones, which were quite popular for offering good value for money, and we see signs of it already with the packaging going with a two-piece unboxing experience with renders, marketing features, and product specs all over the box. Read past the break for more on these, especially if you are looking for a good balance of audio performance, battery life, and price point.

Arm Delivers New Edge Processor IPs for IoT

Today, Arm announced significant additions to its artificial intelligence (AI) platform, including new machine learning (ML) IP, the Arm Cortex -M55 processor and Arm Ethos -U55 NPU, the industry's first microNPU (Neural Processing Unit) for Cortex-M, designed to deliver a combined 480x leap in ML performance to microcontrollers. The new IP and supporting unified toolchain enable AI hardware and software developers with more ways to innovate as a result of unprecedented levels of on-device ML processing for billions of small, power-constrained IoT and embedded devices.

Intel Ships First 10nm Agilex FPGAs

Intel today announced that it has begun shipments of the first Intel Agilex field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to early access program customers. Participants in the early access program include Colorado Engineering Inc., Mantaro Networks, Microsoft and Silicom. These customers are using Agilex FPGAs to develop advanced solutions for networking, 5G and accelerated data analytics.

"The Intel Agilex FPGA product family leverages the breadth of Intel innovation and technology leadership, including architecture, packaging, process technology, developer tools and a fast path to power reduction with eASIC technology. These unmatched assets enable new levels of heterogeneous computing, system integration and processor connectivity and will be the first 10nm FPGA to provide cache-coherent and low latency connectivity to Intel Xeon processors with the upcoming Compute Express Link," said Dan McNamara, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Networking and Custom Logic Group.

Kanto Audio Shows TUK Powered Speakers at CES 2019

We were invited to take a look at the Kanto Audio suite at CES by their PR firm, and the brand itself has been on my mind for a while now- offering good quality powered monitor speakers at various price points. This year they are bringing out their new high-end TUK powered speakers, which were first shown off last year, and the entire spec sheet reads like a must-have for many audio enthusiasts, including yours truly. The TUK comes in white or black color schemes, is rated at 130 W RMS for the pair, and features AMT tweeters with 5.25" aluminium concave cone drivers coupled with an on-board DSP and a Class D amp.

I/O includes Bluetooth 4.2 with Qualcoom AptX HD and AAC codec support for those who need it, but most will end up using one of the several wired options encompassing optical TOSLINK, RCA and Phone inputs, a USB DAC for us PC users, subwoofer out, and a headphone jack. So if you fancy connecting a turntable to it to play some old vinyls, go for it! Oh, it also has a USB charger to use with portable media players as well. Read past the break for more on the TUK and other Kanto Audio products we saw this past week.

HyperX Cloud Orbit S Headset with Audeze Drivers and Head-tracking Pictured

HyperX is bringing in a large selection of gaming peripherals to CES 2019, beginning with its new flagship gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Orbit S. This headset implements two killer features - Audeze planar-magnetic drivers; and Waves Nx head-tracking. Audeze is a well-known brand among audiophiles and music composers, and makes audio monitors for studios. HyperX is sourcing 50 mm planar-magnetic drivers from the company that provide an extremely wide frequency-response range, and high SNR. This is probably the first gaming headset to feature audiophile-grade drivers, which are probably re-tuned by HyperX with a gaming-focused soundstage.

The next killer feature, Waves Nx, is a combination of positional audio DSPs, and hardware head-tracking, similar to VR HMDs, which in real-time moves the audio perspective of your game, and emulates a virtual 7.1 setup over the stereo drivers. This would help even if your display is static and your head is turning to track opponents in a competitive online shooter. You get three detachable cables based on cord length, type, and usage scenario. HyperX is developing two variants of this headset. The full-featured one is priced at USD $329, and the one without Waves Nx head-tracking goes for $299.

1MORE Intros Spearhead VRX H1006 Gaming Headset

1MORE introduced the Spearhead VRX H1006, its new flagship around-the-ear gaming headset. The headset is characterized by an industrial design with two metal tubes pointing downward, on which the two cans are suspended. The retractable microphone is drawn out of one of the tubes, and embellished with RGB LED, just like the ring accents bracketing the cans themselves. The headset uses USB to drive an in-stock DAC and power the RGB LED lighting. The DAC packs Waves Nx, a usage-specific DSP designed by Gammy Award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi. The headset features 50 mm graphene synchronized vibrating drivers, with 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency response range, 32Ω impedance, and 20 mW RMS power output. Available now, the Spearhead VRX H1006 is priced at USD $220, excluding taxes.

NVIDIA Does a TrueAudio: RT Cores Also Compute Sound Ray-tracing

Positional audio, like Socialism, follows a cycle of glamorization and investment every few years. Back in 2011-12 when AMD maintained a relatively stronger position in the discrete GPU market, and held GPGPU superiority, it gave a lot of money to GenAudio and Tensilica to co-develop the TrueAudio technology, a GPU-accelerated positional audio DSP, which had a whopping four game title implementations, including and limited to "Thief," "Star Citizen," "Lichdom: Battlemage," and "Murdered: Soul Suspect." The TrueAudio Next DSP which debuted with "Polaris," introduced GPU-accelerated "audio ray-casting" technology, which assumes that audio waves interact differently with different surfaces, much like light; and hence positional audio could be made more realistic. There were a grand total of zero takers for TrueAudio Next. Riding on the presumed success of its RTX technology, NVIDIA wants to develop audio ray-tracing further.

A very curious sentence caught our eye in NVIDIA's micro-site for Turing. The description of RT cores reads that they are specialized components that "accelerate the computation of how light and sound travel in 3D environments at up to 10 Giga Rays per second." This is an ominous sign that NVIDIA is developing a full-blown positional audio programming model that's part of RTX, with an implementation through GameWorks. Such a technology, like TrueAudio Next, could improve positional audio realism by treating sound waves like light and tracing their paths from their origin (think speech from an NPC in a game), to the listener as the sound bounces off the various surfaces in the 3D scene. Real-time ray-tracing(-ish) has captured the entirety of imagination at NVIDIA marketing to the extent that it is allegedly willing to replace "GTX" with "RTX" in its GeForce GPU nomenclature. We don't mean to doomsay emerging technology, but 20 years of development in positional audio has shown that it's better left to game developers to create their own technology that sounds somewhat real; and that initiatives from makers of discrete sound cards (a device on the brink of extinction) and GPUs makers bore no fruit.

Edifier Launches Their Elegant S2000 Pro Speakers

Edifier, a leading global designer and manufacturer of award-winning audio systems has brought cutting edge sound technology to a classic style with its latest 2.0 speaker. Edifier's S2000 Pro pays tribute to speakers from the past with its elegant wood side panelling, however the components inside are state-of-the-art high-end audio. From new electro-acoustic technology to a specialty tweeter and woofer, and four on-board equalizer settings the S2000 Pro elevates the listening experience across all music genres.

The S2000 Pro features a rich low-distorted flat diaphragm tweeter. This flat diaphragm provides a fast response rate that gives benefits such as excellent high frequencies that lower tiered bookshelf speakers do not provide. An aluminium cone woofer with Digital Sound Processing digital electronic crossover makes sounds unique and clear with high-strength, low-distortion and achieves incredibly loud and heavy bass.
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