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Supermicro Launches New Embedded Solutions Based on the Intel Xeon D-2100 SoC

Super Micro Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMCI), a global leader in enterprise computing, storage, networking solutions and green computing technology, today announced several new additions to its edge computing and network appliance portfolio based on the new Intel Xeon D-2100 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) processor.

Leveraging its deep expertise in server technology, Supermicro is bringing customers some of the first Intel Xeon D-2100 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processor-based solutions. The company's X11SDV series motherboards offer infrastructure optimization by combining the performance and advanced intelligence of Intel Xeon processors into a dense, lower-power system-on-a-chip. Supermicro is introducing a wide range of new systems to the market including compact embedded systems, rackmount embedded systems, as well as multi-node MicroCloud and SuperBlade systems.

Qualcomm to Build Snapdragon 5G SoCs on Samsung 7nm LPP EUV Process

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, today announced the intention to expand their decade-long foundry relationship into EUV (extreme ultra violet) lithography process technology, including the manufacture of future Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets using Samsung's 7-nanometer (nm) LPP (Low Power Plus) EUV process technology.

Using 7LPP EUV process technology, Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets will offer a smaller chip footprint, giving OEMs more usable space inside upcoming products to support larger batteries or slimmer designs. Process improvements, combined with a more advanced chip design, are expected to bring significant improvements in battery life.

HDPlex H3 V2 Fanless Chassis Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of HDPlex H3 V2 fan-less HTPC chassis. The H3 sits between the tiny H1 and deck-sized H5. It has the height of the H5 and the width of the H1. The case measures 270 mm x 264 mm x 93 mm (WxDxH), weighing in at 5.5 kg. Its main chamber can house mini-ITX motherboards, and a half-height add-on card that's no more than 1-slot thick. As with most fan-less cases, the chunky, ridged aluminium body of the H3 V2 doubles up as heatsink for the CPU/SoC, and can handle thermal loads of up to 80W. The CPU block uses eight 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes to transport heat to the body. The case also has room for up to four 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch drives. Available now, it is priced at USD $240.

Intel Launches Their Xeon D-2100 Series SoCs

Intel today introduced the new Intel Xeon D-2100 processor, a system-on-chip (SoC) processor architected to address the needs of edge applications and other data center or network applications constrained by space and power. The Intel Xeon D-2100 processor extends the record-breaking performance and innovation of the Intel Xeon Scalable platform from the heart of the data center to the network edge and web tier, where network operators and cloud service providers face the need to continuously grow performance and capacity without increasing power consumption.

"To seize 5G and new cloud and network opportunities, service providers need to optimize their data center and edge infrastructures to meet the growing demands of bandwidth-hungry end users and their smart and connected devices," said Sandra Rivera, senior vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group at Intel. "The Intel Xeon D-2100 processor allows service providers and enterprises to deliver the maximum amount of compute intelligence at the edge or web tier while expending the least power."

Samsung Enters Volume Production of a Killer Crypto-mining ASIC

One of the world's largest SoC, DRAM, and NAND flash makers, with its own semiconductor fabs, Samsung, is eyeing itself a large slice of the crypto-currency mining craze. The company reportedly entered volume production of a highly efficient crypto-currency mining ASIC, for an unnamed client from China. The client has placed a gargantuan order for crypto-coin mining ASICs contract-manufactured by Samsung, which appears to be targeted at Bitcoin, for now.

China's largest mining ASIC solutions providers, Bitman and Cannan, have similarly contracted TSMC to manufacture mining ASICs. An ASIC (from a mining context) is a single-chip solution that combines a CPU, a SIMD parallel-processing component tailored for mining, memory, and storage. It has infinitesimally smaller PCB, power, and thermal footprints compared to PCs with GPUs, and can be deployed in extremely large numbers for mining on an industrial-scale.

AMD 400-series Chipset Surfaces on PCI-SIG, PCIe 3.0 General Purpose Confirmed

AMD's second-generation Ryzen processors, which debut some time in Q1-2018, will be accompanied by the company's new 400-series motherboard chipset, even though they are expected to work with existing socket AM4 motherboards based on 300-series chipsets (with BIOS updates). The 400-series Promontory chipset surfaced on the PCIe Integrators List of PCI-SIG, the standards governing body of the PCI bus (which also oversees PCIe specifications development).

The listing seems to confirm that 400-series chipset will feature PCI-Express gen 3.0 general purpose lanes. These are downstream PCIe lanes put out by the chipset, to run the various external onboard controllers on the motherboard, and usually wired to the x1 and x4 PCIe slots. The current 300-series chipset only features up to 8 PCIe gen 2.0 general purpose lanes, and that was seen as a drawback. AMD Ryzen socket AM4 processors put out additional gen 3.0 lanes besides the 16 lanes allocated to PEG (one x16 or two x8, physically x16 slots); and 4 lanes serving as chipset bus. These additional gen 3.0 lanes typically drive a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. With 400-series chipset bringing gen 3.0 general purpose lanes, one can expect newer socket AM4 motherboards with more than one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot (one from the SoC, another from the chipset).

Not Too Cool to Rule: One of NVIDIA's Most Coveted Products is a Ruler

"This is super cool;" "I've never seen anything like it;" "How do I get my hands on one?" Talk to NVIDIA recruiter Lisa Calderon and she'll tell you she has a secret weapon when it comes to getting tech's top talent talking to her. It's a foot long, one-and-a-half inches wide and covered with - to the uninitiated - strange gold markings. "Everyone asks the same thing," Calderon says. "'Can I have one?' And, of course, 'can I take another one for my 'friend'?'"

It's the NVIDIA ruler. And, as many NVIDIANs have learned, taking this modest slab of PCB board to the right place - and showing it to the right people - gets an immediate reaction. "Every electrical engineer that I've showed it to has instantly said 'I need one of these right now,'" says Josh, an NVIDIA ASIC architect, who has mailed bunches of them to contacts around the industry. Each time the ruler appears at NVIDIA's internal company store - which has sold 5,000 of these rulers so far - it sells out in minutes. Thousands more have been snatched up at industry conferences such as NIPS - the long-running deep-learning conference - where its appearance created a social media sensation. Employees at competitors will sidle up to our booth at industry events to trade bundles of their swag for it. It's never been made available to the public. But, if you're quick, you can find one on eBay for 10 times its modest employee-only price of $3.50 (when it's available). The only sure to way to get one: make friends with someone at NVIDIA.

Latest Intel Roadmap Slide Leaked, Next Core X is "Cascade Lake-X"

The latest version of Intel's desktop client-platform roadmap has been leaked to the web, which reveals timelines and names of the company's upcoming product lines. To begin with, it states that Intel will upgrade its Core X high-end desktop (HEDT) product line only in Q4-2018. The new Core X HEDT processors will be based on the "Cascade Lake-X" silicon. This is the first appearance of the "Cascade Lake" micro-architecture. Intel is probably looking to differentiate its Ringbus-based multi-core processors (eg: "Coffee Lake," "Kaby Lake") from ones that use Mesh Interconnect (eg: "Skylake-X"), so people don't compare the single-threaded / less-parallized application performance between the two blindly.

Next up, Intel is poised to launch its second wave of 6-core, 4-core, and 2-core "Coffee Lake" processors in Q1-2018, with no mentions of an 8-core mainstream-desktop processor joining the lineup any time in 2018. These processors will be accompanied by more 300-series chipsets, namely the H370 Express, B360 Express, and H310 Express. Q1-2018 also sees Intel update its low-power processor lineup, with the introduction of the new "Gemini Lake" silicon, with 4-core and 2-core SoCs under the Pentium Silver and Celeron brands.

Samsung Starts Mass Production of its 2nd Generation 10nm FinFET

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its Foundry Business has commenced mass production of System-on-Chip (SoC) products built on its second generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology, 10LPP (Low Power Plus).

10LPP process technology allows up to 10-percent higher performance or 15-percent lower power consumption compared to its first generation 10nm process technology, 10LPE (Low Power Early). As this process is derived from the already proven 10LPE technology, it offers competitive advantages by greatly reducing turn-around time from development to mass production and by providing significantly higher initial manufacturing yield. SoCs designed with 10LPP process technology will be used in digital devices scheduled to launch early next year and are expected to become more widely available throughout the year.

Researchers Find Glaring Intel ME Security Flaws, Company Outs Detection Tool

Security researchers have found glaring security flaws with Intel Management Engine, the on-chip micro SoC that, besides governing the functionality of the processor, provides on-chip management and security features. These security flaws render "potentially millions" of PCs and notebooks, based on Intel processors, according to the researchers. Intel on Monday released a Detection Tool application that lets you identify vulnerabilities in the Management Engine of your Intel processor-powered PC, and suggests updates to Intel Management Engine drivers, or points to BIOS updates from your PC manufacturer.

Updates to Intel ME are specific to TXE 3.0 (trusted execution engine version 3.0), which is featured on processors based on "Skylake," "Kaby Lake," and "Coffee Lake" micro-architectures, across client- and enterprise market segments, and Atom processors released in the past three years. Intel chronicled this security flaw further under Security Advisory 86, and released the SA-00086 Detection Tool.

Intel NUC Based on Intel+Vega MCM Leaked

The first product based on Intel's ambitious "Kaby Lake-G" multi-chip module, which combines a quad-core "Kaby Lake-H" die with a graphics die based on AMD "Vega" architecture, will be a NUC (next unit of computing), and likely the spiritual successor to Intel's "Skull Canyon" NUC. The first picture of the motherboard of this NUC was leaked to the web, revealing a board that's only slightly smaller than the mini-ITX form-factor.

The board draws power from an external power brick, and appears to feature two distinct VRM areas for the CPU and GPU components of the "Kaby Lake-G" MCM SoC. The board feature two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots which are populated with dual-channel memory, and an M.2 NVMe slot, holding an SSD. There are two additional SATA 6 Gb/s ports, besides a plethora of other connectivity options.

Colorful Intros Unique C.J1900A-BTC PLUS V20 Mining Motherboard

Colorful today introduced the uniquely designed C.J1900A-BTC PLUS V20 motherboard for mining rigs. This odd-ball form-factor board is designed for makeshift racks, and removes the need for PCIe riser cables. The board itself is a large PCB with nine PCI-Express x16 slots with 1-slot spacing, of which eight can be used for installing your mining graphics cards (x1 wiring), while the slot on the middle (blue), isn't really a PCI-Express slot.

The blue slot has custom wiring for the business end of the motherboard, a riser card which houses the Celeron J1900 SoC, a DDR4 SO-DIMM slot, an mSATA 6 Gb/s slot for your SSD, and the board's main connectivity, which includes two USB 2.0 ports, two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, and an HDMI display output. If you have trouble finding an mSATA SSD in 2017, there's also a standard SATA 6 Gb/s port. The riser draws power from a 4-pin ATX input. The main PCB has eight 6-pin PCIe power inputs, which wire out to 6-pin PCIe outputs near each black slot. This is more of a cable-management feature, smaller (20 cm long) male-to-male 6-pin PCIe cables connect the outputs to the graphics cards.

Broadcom Looks to Buy Qualcomm for $100B, Creating a Silicon Monster

Broadcom, makers of networking equipment, is exploring a deal to acquire mobile technology giant Qualcomm in a USD $100 billion deal, which could be the largest ever acquisition value of a chip-maker. The resulting company could be the world's largest chipmaker, combining Broadcom's IP with networking PHYs and IoT infrastructure, and Qualcomm's SoCs powering IoT devices besides smartphones, tablets, and ultra-portable notebooks. Broadcom is looking to raise a cash+stock bid consisting of shares valued at $70/share. Besides networking infrastructure equipment, Broadcom made its fortunes on the back of Apple iPhone's success, as it supplies its networking chips.

ASRock Rack Intros C3758D4I-4L Mini-ITX Motherboard with Atom 8-core SoC

ASRock Rack, a new division of ASRock which deals with enterprise-grade motherboards, introduced the C3758D4I-4L, a mini-ITX motherboard based on the Atom C3758 "Denverton" SoC that embeds an 8-core CPU clocked at 2.20 GHz, 16 MB of cache, and a dual-channel DDR4 integrated memory controller supporting up to 256 GB of ECC memory, topped off with a 25W TDP. These specs lend Denverton quasi-enterprise credentials. The C3758D4I-4L can be used for low-cost rack-mount web-servers, or even high-end DIY NAS or home-server builds.

The C3758D4I-4L comes with a factory-fitted fan-heatsink cooling the pre-installed Atom C3758 BGA SoC. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors (including a 4-pin connector for external 12V). The SoC is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 128 GB of dual-channel ECC memory; and a PCI-Express 3.0 x8 slot. Storage connectivity includes a staggering 13 SATA 6 Gbps ports, five on board, eight via two mini SAS connectors. An ASPeed AST2500 provides display, legacy I/O, and remote management. The board features a staggering five 1 GbE connections with teaming, PXE, and NCSI support. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Tesla Motors Develops Semi-custom AI Chip with AMD

Tesla Motors, which arguably brought electric vehicles to the luxury-mainstream, is investing big in self-driving cars. Despite its leader Elon Musk's fears and reservations on just how much one must allow artificial intelligence (AI) to develop, the company realized that a true self-driving car cannot be made without giving the car a degree of machine learning and AI, so it can learn its surroundings in real-time, and maneuver itself with some agility. To that extent, Tesla is designing its own AI processor. This SoC (system on chip) will be a semi-custom development, in collaboration with the reigning king of semi-custom chips, AMD.

AMD has with it a clear GPGPU performance advantage over NVIDIA, despite the latter's heavy investments in deep-learning. AMD is probably also banking on good pricing, greater freedom over the IP thanks to open standards, and a vast semi-custom track-record, having developed semi-custom chips with technology giants such as Sony and Microsoft. Musk confirmed that the first car in which you can simply get in, fall asleep, and wake up at your destination, will roll out within two years, hinting at a 2019 rollout. This would mean a bulk of the chip's development is done.

Intel "Coffee Lake" Platform Detailed - 24 PCIe Lanes from the Chipset

Intel seems to be addressing key platform limitations with its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" mainstream desktop platform. The first Core i7 and Core i5 "Coffee Lake" processors will launch later this year, alongside motherboards based on the Intel Z370 Express chipset. Leaked company slides detailing this chipset make an interesting revelation, that the chipset itself puts out 24 PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes, that's not counting the 16 lanes the processor puts out for up to two PEG (PCI-Express Graphics) slots.

The PCI-Express lane budget of "Coffee Lake" platform is a huge step-up from the 8-12 general purpose lanes put out by previous-generation Intel chipsets, and will enable motherboard designers to cram their products with multiple M.2 and U.2 storage options, besides bandwidth-heavy onboard devices such as additional USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt controllers. The chipset itself integrates a multitude of bandwidth-hungry connectivity options. It integrates a 10-port USB 3.1 controller, from which six ports run at 10 Gbps, and four at 5 Gbps.

MSI Intros the B350M/A320M Pro-VD Motherboards

MSI introduced the B350M Pro-VD and A320M Pro-VD socket AM4 motherboards. Built in the slim micro-ATX form-factor, the two boards are nearly identical, and differ only with the chipset (AMD B350 and A320). The boards draw power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors; conditioning it for the AM4 SoC with a 6-phase VRM. The APU socket is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and both of the boards' PCIe x1 slots. Two of the four SATA 6 Gbps ports on the boards come from the AM4 SoC. Display outputs include DVI and D-Sub. Gigabit Ethernet and 6-channel HD audio make for the rest of them. The only feature the B350M Pro-VD offers over its A320-based twin is support for CPU overclocking. The two could feature sub-$80 price-points.

GIGABYTE Intros MZ30-AR0 Motherboard for AMD EPYC

GIGABYTE introduced the MZ30-AR0 motherboard for single-socket AMD EPYC processor-powered servers and workstations. The motherboard is built in the E-ATX form-factor, and features a single SP3r2 socket, for AMD EPYC 7000-series processors. Given that EPYC is a full-fledged SoC, the board has no chipset. An ASpeed AST2500 remote-management chip puts out basic display and IPMI features. The board draws power from two 8-pin EPS connectors, besides the 24-pin ATX. The CPU socket is flanked by 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which support up to 512 GB of octa-channel DDR4 memory.

Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 with full-time x16 wiring, one x16 with x8 wiring, and two x8 slots. Storage connectivity includes four slimSAS 12 Gb/s ports, which put out sixteen SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. Networking is care of two 10 GbE ports driven by a Broadcom BCM57810S processor, and a single GbE port. There's no onboard audio or even USB 3.1 ports.

Intel "Gemini Lake" SoC Detailed

Intel is giving final touches to its next-generation "Gemini Lake" SoC, which will be sold under the Celeron and Pentium brands, and will succeed the current-generation "Apollo Lake" SoC. Built on a refined 14 nm process, the chip features a TDP of just 6W for the mobile variant, and 10W for the SFF desktop, but boasts of improved performance-per-Watt than its predecessor, translating into direct performance gains.

To begin with, "Gemini Lake" will embed a dual-core or quad-core CPU based on Intel's "Goldmont Plus" micro-architecture. A Goldmont Plus core isn't physically different from the current-gen "Goldmont," but apparently doubles the L2 cache to 4 MB from the existing 2 MB, and takes advantage of process-level improvements to lower power-draw, which Intel is using to bump up the CPU clock speeds.

AMD Talks Improved Ryzen Memory Support, Ryzen 3, and Game Optimization

AMD, in an interview with Forbes, confirmed that it is working to improve DDR4 memory support of its Ryzen series processors, to enable higher memory clocks. AMD Ryzen users find it difficult to get DDR4 memory clocks to run above 3000 MHz reliably. With memory clock being linked with the chip's Infinity Fabric clock (the interconnect between two CCX units on the "Summit Ridge" silicon), the performance incentives for higher memory clocks are just that much more.

AMD confirmed that its AGESA update for May improves DDR4 memory compatibility, although it also stressed on the need for motherboard manufacturers to improve their board designs in the future, with more PCB layers and better copper traces between the DIMM slots and the SoC socket. The company assures that more updates to AGESA are in the pipeline, and would improve performance of Ryzen processors at various levels. The AGESA updates are dispensed through motherboard vendors as BIOS updates.

Shuttle Unveils XC60J IPC Powered by Intel "Apollo Lake" Celeron SoC

Shuttle Inc., the global leader in small form factor computer technology, announces the latest Intel Apollo lake platform, XC60J support with 8 COM ports to power highly interactive Kiosk, vending machine, POS and more. The XC60J is the first 3-liter model with fanless design, powered by Intel Celeron J3355. With built-in Intel HD Graphics and processor, the XC60J can support 4K/Ultra HD video playback and HEVC/H.265 high definition video playback.

With one built-in M.2 2280 Type M and one M.2 2230 Type A/E expansion slots, you can easily install an M.2 SSD, Wi-Fi module or other compatible devices. The XC60J is highly connectable with multiple I/O: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, SATA 6Gbps, COM, and Intel Dual Gigabit LAN ports. Seven RS232 and one RS232/RS422/RS485 ports which support 0V/5V/12V. Connect to barcode scanners, receipt printers, keypads, and other peripherals makes XC60J easily configured into peripheral-heavy POS, Kiosk, and Digital Signage systems.

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.

AMD "Zen" Based APUs Later This Year

An AMD representative, responding to a Reddit question on AMD Ryzen branding, confirmed that the company will launch Mobile SoCs (APUs) based on the "Zen" micro-architecture later this year. The logical next-step for AMD with "Zen" beyond "Summit Ridge" has been to combine one or more quad-core "Zen" CCX (CPU complexes) with an integrated graphics core based on one of its newer GPU architectures ("Polaris" or "Vega").

The AMD representative confirmed that the company will launch mobile SoCs that combine "Zen" CPU cores with an integrated GPU, in the second half of 2017. This could hint at the availability of "Zen" powered notebooks, of all shapes and sizes by Holiday 2017. Over the year, AMD will begin launching "Zen" based products, starting off with 8-core high-end Ryzen 7 processors on March 2nd, six-core and some of the higher-end quad-core Ryzen 5 series processors in Q2-2017, and some of the lower-end quad-core Ryzen 3 parts in the second-half of 2017, now joined by mobile SoCs around the same time.

Intel Unveils Compute Card, a Credit Card-Sized Compute Platform

Today, Intel is announcing a new modular compute platform called the Intel Compute Card along with a range of partners who will be working with Intel to help accelerate the ecosystem of solutions based on the Intel Compute Card. Intel has been a leader in delivering technology to help realize the benefits of the Internet of Things and enable more smart and connected devices. The Intel Compute Card is being developed with that in mind, to transform the way compute and connectivity can be integrated and used in future devices.

ECS Readies Liva Z Mini-PC with Intel "Apollo Lake" SoC

ECS is giving final touches to a the new Liva Z mini-PC featuring Intel "Apollo Lake" Pentium and Celeron SoCs. The desktop could come with Pentium J4205, Celeron J3455, and Celeron J3355 options. The J4205 and J3455 feature quad-core "Goldmont" CPUs running at 1.50 GHz, but differ with integrated GPUs and Turbo Boost frequencies. The J4205 features 18 execution units (EUs), maximum iGPU clocks of 800 MHz, and 2.60 GHz maximum CPU Turbo Boost; while the J3455 features 12 EUs, 750 MHz maximum iGPU clock, and 2.30 GHz maximum CPU Turbo Boost frequency. The J3355 features a dual-core "Goldmont" CPU running at 2.00 GHz with 2.50 GHz Turbo Boost, and an iGPU with 12 EUs, with 700 MHz maximum clocks.

The upcoming ECS Liva Z "Apollo Lake" also comes with two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 8 GB of memory, integrated eMMC storage options of 32 GB and 64 GB (for the OS), and an M.2-2280 slot for internal storage expansion. Display outputs include mini-DisplayPort and HDMI. Network connectivity includes two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, and a WLAN controller with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 support. The rest of its connectivity includes three USB 3.1 type-A ports, and one USB 3.1 type-C port. The company didn't reveal pricing or availability.
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