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European Processor Initiative EPAC 1.0 RISC-V Test Chip Samples Delivered

The European Processor Initiative (EPI) https://www.european-processor-initiative.eu/, a project with 28 partners from 10 European countries, with the goal of making EU achieve independence in HPC chip technologies and HPC infrastructure, is proud to announce that EPAC 1.0 RISC-V Test Chip samples were delivered to EPI and initial tests of their operation were successful.

One key segment of EPI activities is to develop and demonstrate fully European-grown processor IPs based on the RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture, providing power-efficient and high-throughput accelerator cores named EPAC (European Processor Accelerators).

XMG Announces APEX Laptop Family with up to Ryzen 9 5900HX and GeForce RTX 3070 Processors

With the 15.6 and 17.3 inch XMG APEX gaming laptops, XMG is positioning a new model series below its own high-end range consisting of the NEO and PRO series. These new laptops combine mobile AMD eight-core processors up to the Ryzen 9 5900HX with NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards up to the RTX 3070. The company is simultaneously introducing the XMG FOCUS, a new product series in the entry-level segment. Intel's Core i7-11800H and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti offer decent gaming performance, while good connectivity and memory round off the overall package. All four new models feature an IPS display with 144 Hz.

Until now, the XMG APEX 15 in the older E20 generation represented uncompromising desktop CPU performance, with processors up to the Ryzen 9 3950X in a laptop. Although XMG is already working on a direct successor under a slightly different name, it is unleashing the XMG APEX 15 and APEX 17 of the M21 generation for the time being with the currently fastest eight-core mobile processors from AMD. The laptops are available with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H as well as with the slightly faster Ryzen 9 5900HX from the 54 watt TDP class, as well as with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 or RTX 3060 in the respective maximum TGP configuration (RTX 3070: 125 watts plus 15 watts Dynamic Boost 2.0; RTX 3060: 115 watts plus 15 watts Dynamic Boost 2.0).

Tachyum Boots Linux on Prodigy FPGA

Tachyum Inc. today announced that it has successfully executed the Linux boot process on the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) prototype of its Prodigy Universal Processor, in 2 months after taking delivery of the IO motherboard from manufacturing. This achievement proves the stability of the Prodigy emulation system and allows the company to move forward with additional testing before advancing to tape out.

Tachyum engineers were able to perform the Linux boot, execute a short user-mode program and shutdown the system on the fully functional FPGA emulation system. Not only does this successful test prove that the basic processor is stable, but interrupts, exceptions, timing, and system-mode transitions are, as well. This is a key milestone, which dramatically reduces risk, as booting and running large and complex pieces of software like Linux reliably on the Tachyum FPGA processor prototype shows that verification and hardware stability are past the most difficult turning point, and it is now obvious that verification and testing should successfully complete in the coming months. Designers are now shifting their attention to debug and verification processes, running hundreds of trillions of test cycles over the next few months, and running large scale user mode applications with compatibility testing to get the processor to production quality.

Intel Wins US Government Project to Develop Leading-Edge Foundry Ecosystem

The U.S. Department of Defense, through the NSTXL consortium-based S2MARTS OTA, has awarded Intel an agreement to provide commercial foundry services in the first phase of its multi-phase Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes - Commercial (RAMP-C) program. The RAMP-C program was created to facilitate the use of a U.S.-based commercial semiconductor foundry ecosystem to fabricate the assured leading-edge custom and integrated circuits and commercial products required for critical Department of Defense systems. Intel Foundry Services, Intel's dedicated foundry business launched this year, will lead the work.

"One of the most profound lessons of the past year is the strategic importance of semiconductors, and the value to the United States of having a strong domestic semiconductor industry. Intel is the sole American company both designing and manufacturing logic semiconductors at the leading edge of technology. When we launched Intel Foundry Services earlier this year, we were excited to have the opportunity to make our capabilities available to a wider range of partners, including in the U.S. government, and it is great to see that potential being fulfilled through programs like RAMP-C." -Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO.

AMD Envisions Direct Circuit Slicing for Future 3D Stacked Dies

AMD in its HotChips 33 presentation shed light on the the company's efforts to stay on the cutting edge of 3D silicon packaging technology, especially as rival Intel takes giant strides with 2.5D and 3D packaging on its latest "Ponte Vecchio" and "Sapphire Rapids" packages. The company revealed that it co-developed a pioneering new die-on-die stacking technique with TSMC for its upcoming "Zen 3" CCDs with 3D Vertical Caches, which are 64 MB SRAM dies stacked on top of "Zen 3" CCDs to serve as an extension of the 32 MB on-die L3 cache. The micro-bumps connecting the 3D Vertical Cache die with the CCD are 9-micron in pitch, compared to 10-micron on the production variant of Intel Foveros.

AMD believes that no single packaging technology works for all products, and depend entirely on what it is you're trying to stack. The company spoke on the future of die-on-die stacking. For over a decade, package-on-package stacking has been possible (as in the case of smartphones. Currently, it's possible to put memory-on-logic within a single package, between the logic die and an SRAM die for additional cache memory; a logic die an DRAM for RAM integrated with package; or even logic with NAND flash for extreme-density server devices.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Second Quarter Fiscal 2022

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today reported record revenue for the second quarter ended August 1, 2021, of $6.51 billion, up 68 percent from a year earlier and up 15 percent from the previous quarter, with record revenue from the company's Gaming, Data Center and Professional Visualization platforms. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.94, up 276 percent from a year ago and up 24 percent from the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.04, up 89 percent from a year ago and up 14 percent from the previous quarter.

"NVIDIA's pioneering work in accelerated computing continues to advance graphics, scientific computing and AI," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "Enabled by the NVIDIA platform, developers are creating the most impactful technologies of our time - from natural language understanding and recommender systems, to autonomous vehicles and logistic centers, to digital biology and climate science, to metaverse worlds that obey the laws of physics.

Intel Books Two 3 nm Processor Orders at TSMC Manufacturing Facilities

Intel's struggles with semiconductor manufacturing have been known for a very long time. Starting from its 10 nm design IP to the latest 7 nm delays, we have seen the company struggle to deliver its semiconductor nodes on time. On the other hand, Intel's competing companies are using 3rd party foundries to manufacture their designs and not worry about the yields of semiconductor nodes. Most of the time, that 3rd party company is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Today, thanks to some reporting from Nikkei Asia, we are learning that Intel is tapping TSMC's capacities to manufacture some of the company's future processors.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Nikkei notes that: "Intel, America's biggest chipmaker, is working with TSMC on at least two 3-nm projects to design central processing units for notebooks and data center servers in an attempt to regain market share it has lost to Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia over the past few years. Mass production of these chips is expected to begin by the end of 2022 at the earliest." This means that we could expect to see some of the TSMC manufactured Intel processors by the year 2023/2024.

SiFive Performance P550 Core Sets New Standard as Highest Performance RISC-V Processor IP

SiFive, Inc., the industry leader in RISC-V processors and silicon solutions, today announced launched the new SiFive Performance family of processors. The SiFive Performance family debuts with two new processor cores, the P270, SiFive's first Linux capable processor with full support for the RISC-V vector extension v1.0 rc, and the SiFive Performance P550 core, SiFive's highest performance processor to date. The new SiFive Performance P550 delivers a SPECInt 2006 score of 8.65/GHz, making it the highest performance RISC-V processor available today, and comparable to existing proprietary solutions in the application processor space.

"SiFive Performance is a significant milestone in our commitment to deliver a complete, scalable portfolio of RISC-V cores to customers in all markets who are at the vanguard of SOC design and are dissatisfied with the status quo," said Dr. Yunsup Lee, Co-Founder and CTO of SiFive. "These two new products cover new performance points and a wide range of application areas, from efficient vector processors that easily displace yesterday's SIMD architectures, to the bleeding edge that the P550 represents. SiFive is proud to set the standard for RISC-V processing and is ready to deliver these products to customers today."

ASUSTOR Launches AS-T10G2 10 Gigabit Ethernet Card

The all-new AS-T10G2 is here, bringing increased efficiency and speeds to the much beloved AS-T10G. The AS-T10G2 uses the AQC-107 controller, which offers increased performance, and lower power requirements. Using the Lockerstor 16R Pro, transfer rates were found to be up to 1127 MB/s when reading and 1124 MB/s when writing. The AS-T10G2 also supports IP, TCP, UDP checksum offload to reduce CPU usage for a more efficient experience.

The AS-T10G2 is equipped with a 10 Gbps 8p8c RJ-45 Ethernet port. The AS-T10G2 supports automatic switching between all major Ethernet speeds and is compatible with four lanes of PCI Express 3.0. Pop it into an ASUSTOR NAS running ADM 4.0 or a PC to upgrade network speeds to 10-Gigabit Ethernet. The AS-T10G2 is compatible with both full-height and half-height computers, making it compatible with almost any device featuring a PCI Express slot, ensuring affordable, yet high speed networking for both homes and businesses.

AMD, Samsung Partnership to See Variable Rate Shading, Ray Tracing on Exynos SoC

AMD at its Computex event shed some light on its IP partnership with Samsung. We already knew this was going to be a closer collaboration than most IP licensing deals, as AMD themselves announced this would be a semi-custom solution designed between both companies. AMD CEO Lisa Su described the technology to be embedded in the upcoming Samsung Exynos SoC as being based on RDNA2 - but this likely is just a marketing and clarity perspective on AMD's technology being implemented, since between the design of RDNA2 and the announcement of the Samsung partnership a lot of water has necessarily run under AMD's graphics IP bridge.

Lisa Su did however confirm that two key RDNA2 technologies will find their way into Samsung's Exynos: Variable Rate Shading (VRS) and Raytracing. This isn't he first time VRS has made an appearance on a mobile SoC - it's already been implemented by Qualcomm in the Adreno 660 GPU (part of the Snapdragon 888 SoC design). However, Raytracing does seem to be a first for the SoC market, and Samsung might just edge out competition in its time to market with this technology. more details will certainly be shared as we get closer to the fabled AMD-partnered Exynos release.

AMD Ryzen 8000 Series Processors Based on Zen 5 Architecture Reportedly Codenamed "Granite Ridge"

Today, we have talked about AMD's upcoming Raphael lineup of processors in the article you can find here. However, it seems like the number of leaks on AMD's plans just keeps getting greater. Thanks to the "itacg" on Weibo, we have learned that AMD's Ryzen 8000 desktop series of processors are reportedly codenamed as Granite Ridge. This new codename denotes the Zen 5 based processors, manufactured on TSMC's 3 nm (N3) node. Another piece of information is that AMD's Ryzen 8000 series APUs are allegedly called Strix Point, and they also use the 3 nm technology, along with a combination of Zen 5 and Zen 4 core design IPs. We are not sure how this exactly works out, so we have to wait to find out more.

Cadence Announces New Low-Power IP for PCI Express 5.0 Specification on TSMC N5 Process

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CDNS) today announced immediate availability of Cadence IP supporting the PCI Express (PCIe ) 5.0 specification on TSMC N5 process technology. The next follow-on version on TSMC N3 process technology is expected to be taped out in early 2022. Collaboration with major customers is ongoing for N5 SoC designs targeting hyperscale computing and networking applications. The Cadence IP for PCIe 5.0 technology consists of a PHY, companion controller and Verification IP (VIP) targeted at SoC designs for very high-bandwidth hyperscale computing, networking and storage applications. With Cadence's PHY and Controller Subsystem for PCIe 5.0 architecture, customers can design extremely power-efficient SoCs with accelerated time to market.

The Cadence IP for PCIe 5.0 architecture offers a highly power-efficient implementation of the standard, with several evaluations from leading customers indicating it provides industry best-in-class power at the maximum data transfer rate of 32GT/s and worst-case insertion loss. Leveraging Cadence's existing N7/N6 silicon validated offering, the N5 design provides a full 512GT/s (gigatransfers per second) power-optimized solution across the full range of operating conditions with a single clock lane.

AMD RZ608 Wi-Fi 6E WLAN Module Real, Debuts on AYANEO Handheld Consoles

AMD in 2020 set out on an ambitious project to develop Wi-Fi modules under its own marquee. This was catalyzed in part by the company's Ryzen PRO line of mobile processors, to better compete with Intel's Core vPro processors, which included Intel's own vPro-ready WLAN modules as part of a package to notebook OEMs. Come 2021, and AMD's module is ready, and is debuting with a handheld game console.

The new AMD RZ608 WLAN module is cutting-edge, in supporting Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax over 6 GHz) in addition to a plethora of older Wi-Fi standards; and Bluetooth 5.2. 6 months seem like an awfully short amount of time for AMD to whip up a WLAN product portfolio from scratch, especially with the IP tangles involved. The company instead chose to partner with MediaTek, which has access to all the IP needed to develop such a product. The WLAN PHY appears to be a MediaTek design, specifically based on the MT7921K chip. We'll hear a lot more about the RZ608, as it might start showing up in notebooks powered by Ryzen 5000 "Cezanne" processors. It remains to be seen if the chip makes it to desktop platforms, too.

Arm Announces Neoverse N2 and V1 Server Platforms

The demands of data center workloads and internet traffic are growing exponentially, and new solutions are needed to keep up with these demands while reducing the current and anticipated growth of power consumption. But the variety of workloads and applications being run today means the traditional one-size-fits all approach to computing is not the answer. The industry demands flexibility; design freedom to achieve the right level of compute for the right application.

As Moore's Law comes to an end, solution providers are seeking specialized processing. Enabling specialized processing has been a focal point since the inception of our Neoverse line of platforms, and we expect these latest additions to accelerate this trend.

YouTube Updates Server Infrastructure With Custom ASICs for Video Transcoding

Video streaming is looking a bit like magic. The uploader sends a video to one platform in one resolution and encoding format, while the viewer requests a video in a specific resolution and encoding format used by the device the video is streamed on. YouTube knows this best, as it represents the world's largest video platform with over 2 billion users visiting the platform each month. That takes a massive load on the server infrastructure over at Google's data centers that host the service. There is about 500 hours worth of video content uploaded to the platform every minute, and regular hardware isn't being enough anymore to handle everything.

That is why YouTube has developed custom chips, ASICs, that are called VCUs or Video (trans)Coding Units. In Google data centers, there is a large problem with transcoding. Each video needs to adapt to the streaming platform and desired specifications, and doing that on regular hardware is a problem. By using ASIC devices, such as VCUs, Google can keep up with the demand and deliver the best possible quality. Codenamed Argos, the chip can deliver 20-33x improvement in efficiency compared to the regular server platform. In data centers, the VCU is implemented as a regular PCIe card, with two chips under the heatsinks.

OpenFive Tapes Out SoC for Advanced HPC/AI Solutions on TSMC 5 nm Technology

OpenFive, a leading provider of customizable, silicon-focused solutions with differentiated IP, today announced the successful tape out of a high-performance SoC on TSMC's N5 process, with integrated IP solutions targeted for cutting edge High Performance Computing (HPC)/AI, networking, and storage solutions.

The SoC features an OpenFive High Bandwidth Memory (HBM3) IP subsystem and D2D I/Os, as well as a SiFive E76 32-bit CPU core. The HBM3 interface supports 7.2 Gbps speeds allowing high throughput memories to feed domain-specific accelerators in compute-intensive applications including HPC, AI, Networking, and Storage. OpenFive's low-power, low-latency, and highly scalable D2D interface technology allows for expanding compute performance by connecting multiple dice together using an organic substrate or a silicon interposer in a 2.5D package.

NVIDIA Announces Grace CPU for Giant AI and High Performance Computing Workloads

NVIDIA today announced its first data center CPU, an Arm-based processor that will deliver 10x the performance of today's fastest servers on the most complex AI and high performance computing workloads.

The result of more than 10,000 engineering years of work, the NVIDIA Grace CPU is designed to address the computing requirements for the world's most advanced applications—including natural language processing, recommender systems and AI supercomputing—that analyze enormous datasets requiring both ultra-fast compute performance and massive memory. It combines energy-efficient Arm CPU cores with an innovative low-power memory subsystem to deliver high performance with great efficiency.

Amazon Hires Top Rainbow Six Siege Developers to Lead New Montreal Games Studio

Amazon Games today announced it has opened a new game development studio in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal studio, which joins Amazon Games development studios in Seattle, Orange County, and San Diego, will focus on creating original AAA games. Amazon Games is actively hiring to build out the talented team, with a variety of roles opening.

The studio's founding members include industry veterans Luc Bouchard (head of production), Xavier Marquis (creative director), Alexandre Remy (head of product), and Romain Rimokh (content director), who most recently worked as the core team behind the tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege, which now has more than 70 million players since its launch. The studio's first project will be an online multiplayer title based on new IP.

Synopsys Launches Industry's First Complete IP Solution for PCI Express 6.0

Synopsys, Inc. today announced the industry's first complete IP solution for the PCI Express (PCIe ) 6.0 technology that includes controller, PHY and verification IP, enabling early development of PCIe 6.0 system-on-chip (SoC) designs. Built on Synopsys' widely deployed and silicon-proven DesignWare IP for PCIe 5.0, the new DesignWare IP for PCIe 6.0 supports the latest features in the standard specification including, 64 GT/s PAM-4 signaling, FLIT mode and L0p power state. Synopsys' complete IP solution addresses evolving latency, bandwidth and power-efficiency requirements of high-performance computing, AI and storage SoCs.

To achieve the lowest latency with maximum throughput for all transfer sizes, the DesignWare Controller for PCI Express 6.0 utilizes a MultiStream architecture, delivering up to 2X the performance of a single-stream design. The Controller, with available 1024-bit architecture, allows designers to achieve 64 GT/s x16 bandwidth while closing timing at 1 GHz. In addition, the controller provides optimal flow with multiple data sources and in multi-virtual channel implementations. To facilitate accelerated testbench development with built-in verification plan, sequences and functional coverage, the VC Verification IP for PCIe uses native SystemVerilog/UVM architecture that can be integrated, configured and customized with minimal effort.

Silver Rain Games Inks Major Deal With Electronic Arts

Silver Rain Games, an interactive entertainment development studio co-founded by BAFTA-nominated actor and producer Abubakar Salim has signed a major deal with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) EA Originals Label, which is dedicated to elevating bold independent studios. EA Originals will provide funding for the up-and coming studio's unannounced IP, as well as guidance and support in the team's journey to bring a fresh perspective to games and to the industry.

Silver Rain, which is based in the U.K., was co-founded in December 2019 by Salim, best known for his role on HBO's hit show Raised by Wolves, alongside Melissa Phillips, who will lead as Head of Studio, who previously worked as the BAFTA Games Programme manager on BAFTA Games programs and events. The company was launched with the intent to generate thought-provoking and innovative games and content across different mediums of entertainment. Since its inception late last year, the studio has quickly grown to approximately 20 staff members, who all currently work remotely.

NVIDIA Faces Challenges: Qualcomm, Google, and Microsoft Protest Arm Acquisition

In September of last year, NVIDIA has officially announced that the current industry rumor about its big acquisition was true. The company has announced that it is acquiring Arm Limited from the Softbank Group. Paying as much as $40 billion for the purchase, NVIDIA is gaining access to the complete company, along with its extensive portfolio of IP and knowledge. That means that NVIDIA is not essentially a holder of the Arm ISA, which is the most dominant ISA within mobile processors. Such a deal, however, is a bit hard to process without some troubles popping up along the way. As Arm held a neutral position as IP provider, NVIDIA is expected to remain as such, and the company even promised to stay true to that.

However, not everything is going as planned. Before completing the acquisition process, NVIDIA must first comply with regulators from all around the world, including the US, UK, EU, and China. If any objections raise within those regions, they are to be interrogated. Today, Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm have objected that NVIDIA's Arm acquisition is hurting the market and are urging antitrust officials to intervene. Mentioned companies believe that NVIDIA's move is hurting the market and the company could limit its competitors from accessing the IP, thus breaking Arm's neutral position as an IP provider. NVIDIA has made statements that Arm will remain in such a position, however, the skepticism of the mentioned companies is slowing the merger. Now all that remains is to see how the conflicted companies solve their worries.

Valve Ordered to Pay 4 Million USD in Damages to Corsair over Steam Controller Patent Infringement

Valve has recently been ordered to pay 4 million USD in damages after they knowingly infringed on patents owned by Ironburg Inventions with the Steam Controller rear grip button design. Ironburg Inventions is the IP-holding arm of controller manufacturer SCUF who was acquired by Corsair in late 2019. Valve was warned by Ironburg Inventions in 2014 that their Steam Controller infringed on their patent relating to rear-side control surfaces. Valve ignored the warning and went on to produce 1.6 million units before discontinuing the device in 2019. The Jury awarded Ironburg Inventions 4 million USD in damages and found that Valve willfully infringed on Ironberg's patents which opens them up to further litigation. Corsair has published a statement on the case which can be found below.

AMD Talks Zen 4 and RDNA 3, Promises to Offer Extremely Competitive Products

AMD is always in development mode and just when they launch a new product, the company is always gearing up for the next-generation of devices. Just a few months ago, back in November, AMD has launched its Zen 3 core, and today we get to hear about the next steps that the company is taking to stay competitive and grow its product portfolio. In the AnandTech interview with Dr. Lisa Su, and The Street interview with Rick Bergman, the EVP of AMD's Computing and Graphics Business Group, we have gathered information about AMD's plans for Zen 4 core development and RDNA 3 performance target.

Starting with Zen 4, AMD plans to migrate to the AM5 platform, bringing the new DDR5 and USB 4.0 protocols. The current aim of Zen 4 is to be extremely competitive among competing products and to bring many IPC improvements. Just like Zen 3 used many small advances in cache structures, branch prediction, and pipelines, Zen 4 is aiming to achieve a similar thing with its debut. The state of x86 architecture offers little room for improvement, however, when the advancement is done in many places it adds up quite well, as we could see with 19% IPC improvement of Zen 3 over the previous generation Zen 2 core. As the new core will use TSMC's advanced 5 nm process, there is a possibility to have even more cores found inside CCX/CCD complexes. We are expecting to see Zen 4 sometime close to the end of 2021.

Samsung x AMD: South Korean Giant Announces RDNA Integration in Next-Gen Exynos

Samsung today at its Exynos 2100 launch event announced that its labor with AMD to integrate the company's RDNA graphics architecture onto Exynos chips has born fruit. It's unclear today on which set of technology this integration is bound to - whether RDNA, RDNA 2, or a combination of both - and actual products will only hit shelves by the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022.

Samsung has announced that the design-in for AMD's RDNA platform into the company's flagship Exynos products for the 2021-2022 timeframe have been successful, and that the first iteration of the design will see the light of day on the upcoming Exynos 2100. The collaboration has reportedly resulted in very good performance values obtained from their IP merger in May 2020. It seems we have a few months to look towards to before we see a Galaxy phone with an RDNA-powered engraving, though.

AMD Expands Senior Leadership Team

AMD today announced several senior leadership promotions in support of the company's long-term growth goals. "Our high-performance products and long-term roadmaps have placed AMD on a significant growth trajectory," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "Aligning and expanding our senior leadership team around our highest-priority growth opportunities will continue the momentum we have built across our business in 2021 and beyond."
AMD announced two executive vice president promotions:
  • Darren Grasby to executive vice president and Chief Sales Officer, responsible for driving adoption of AMD products and delivering a world-class customer experience.
  • Devinder Kumar to executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer, responsible for continued strengthening of the company's financial profile.
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