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GLOBALFOUNDRIES Introduces 12LP+ FinFET Solution for Cloud and Edge AI Applications

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world's leading specialty foundry, announced today at its Global Technology Conference the availability of 12LP+, an innovative new solution for AI training and inference applications. 12LP+ offers chip designers a best-in-class combination of performance, power and area, along with a set of key new features, a mature design and production ecosystem, cost-efficient development and fast time-to-market for high-growth cloud and edge AI applications.

Derived from GF's existing 12nm Leading Performance (12LP) platform, GF's new 12LP+ provides either a 20% increase in performance or a 40% reduction in power requirements over the base 12LP platform, plus a 15% improvement in logic area scaling. A key feature is a high-speed, low-power 0.5 V SRAM bit cell that supports the fast, power-efficient shuttling of data between processors and memory, an important requirement for AI applications in the computing and wired infrastructure markets.

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.

Xilinx Announces Virtex UltraScale+, the World's Largest FPGA

Xilinx, Inc., the leader in adaptive and intelligent computing, today announced the expansion of its 16 nanometer (nm) Virtex UltraScale+ family to now include the world's largest FPGA — the Virtex UltraScale+ VU19P. With 35 billion transistors, the VU19P provides the highest logic density and I/O count on a single device ever built, enabling emulation and prototyping of tomorrow's most advanced ASIC and SoC technologies, as well as test, measurement, compute, networking, aerospace and defense-related applications.

The VU19P sets a new standard in FPGAs, featuring 9 million system logic cells, up to 1.5 terabits per-second of DDR4 memory bandwidth and up to 4.5 terabits per-second of transceiver bandwidth, and over 2,000 user I/Os. It enables the prototyping and emulation of today's most complex SoCs as well as the development of emerging, complex algorithms such as those used for artificial intelligence, machine learning, video processing and sensor fusion. The VU19P is 1.6X larger than its predecessor and what was previously the industry's largest FPGA — the 20 nm Virtex UltraScale 440 FPGA.

Intel Launches First 10th Gen Core Processors: Redefining the Next Era of Laptop Experiences

Today, Intel officially launched 11 new, highly integrated 10th Gen Intel Core processors designed for remarkably sleek 2 in 1s and laptops. The processors bring high-performance artificial intelligence (AI) to the PC at scale, feature new Intel Iris Plus graphics for stunning entertainment and enable the best connectivity with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3. Systems are expected from PC manufacturers for the holiday season.

"These 10th Gen Intel Core processors shift the paradigm for what it means to deliver leadership in mobile PC platforms. With broad-scale AI for the first time on PCs, an all-new graphics architecture, best-in-class Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3 - all integrated onto the SoC, thanks to Intel's 10nm process technology and architecture design - we're opening the door to an entirely new range of experiences and innovations for the laptop."
-Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms in the Client Computing Group

AMD Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the second quarter of 2019 of $1.53 billion, operating income of $59 million, net income of $35 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.03. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income was $111 million, net income was $92 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.08.

"I am pleased with our financial performance and execution in the quarter as we ramped production of three leadership 7nm product families," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We have reached a significant inflection point for the company as our new Ryzen, Radeon and EPYC processors form the most competitive product portfolio in our history and are well positioned to drive significant growth in the second half of the year."

BIOSTAR Formally Enables PCIe Gen 4 on its AMD 400-series Motherboards

BIOSTAR formally (officially) enabled PCI-Express gen 4.0 support for four of its socket AM4 motherboard models based on the AMD X470 and B450 chipsets, through BIOS updates. The updated BIOS lets you use PCI-Express gen 4.0 graphics cards on the topmost PCI-Express x16 slot, and the M.2 NVMe slot that's directly wired to the AM4 SoC. The expansion slots that are wired to the chipset are still restricted to PCIe gen 2.0. You will need a 3rd generation Ryzen "Matisse" processor for PCI-Express gen 4.0. Among the motherboards that receive PCIe gen 4.0 support through BIOS updates are the AB45C-M4S (B450MH), the AB35G-M4S (B45M2), the AX47A-A4T (X470GT8), and the AX47A-I4S (X470GTN). The links lead to the BIOS image files on BIOSTAR website, which you use at your own risk.

ASUS Begins Enabling Limited PCIe Gen 4.0 on AMD 400-series Chipset Motherboards

ASUS believes that PCI-Express gen 4.0 support on older socket AM4 motherboards based on the AMD 400-series chipset is technically possible, even if discouraged by AMD. The company's latest series of motherboard BIOS updates that expose PCIe Gen 4 toggle in the PCIe settings, does in fact enable PCIe gen 4.0 to all devices that are directly wired to the SoC. These would be the PCI-Express x16 slots meant for graphics, and one of the M.2 slots that has PCIe x4 wiring to the SoC. Below is a list of motherboards scored by Chinese tech publication MyDrivers, which details the extent of PCIe gen 4.0 support across a number of ASUS motherboards based on the X470 and B450 chipsets.

AMD apparently did not explicitly block PCIe gen 4.0 for older chipsets. It merely suggested to motherboard manufacturers not to enable it, since the newer AMD 500-series motherboards are built to new PCB specifications that ensure PCIe gen 4.0 signal-integrity and stability. ASUS wants to leave it to users to decide if they want gen 4.0. If their machines are unstable, they can choose to limit PCIe version to gen 3.0 in their BIOS settings. Among other things, AMD's specifications for 500-series chipset motherboards prescribe PCBs with more than 4 layers, for optimal PCIe and memory wiring. Many of the motherboards on ASUS' list, such as the TUF B450 Pro Gaming, use simple 4-layer PCBs.

NVIDIA Brings CUDA to ARM, Enabling New Path to Exascale Supercomputing

NVIDIA today announced its support for Arm CPUs, providing the high performance computing industry a new path to build extremely energy-efficient, AI-enabled exascale supercomputers. NVIDIA is making available to the Arm ecosystem its full stack of AI and HPC software - which accelerates more than 600 HPC applications and all AI frameworks - by year's end. The stack includes all NVIDIA CUDA-X AI and HPC libraries, GPU-accelerated AI frameworks and software development tools such as PGI compilers with OpenACC support and profilers. Once stack optimization is complete, NVIDIA will accelerate all major CPU architectures, including x86, POWER and Arm.

"Supercomputers are the essential instruments of scientific discovery, and achieving exascale supercomputing will dramatically expand the frontier of human knowledge," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "As traditional compute scaling ends, power will limit all supercomputers. The combination of NVIDIA's CUDA-accelerated computing and Arm's energy-efficient CPU architecture will give the HPC community a boost to exascale."

AMD B550 and A520 Lack PCIe Gen 4 Capabilities?

Last Friday, we reported ASMedia working on new-generation socket AM4 motherboard chipsets that succeed the AMD B450 and A320, which could hopefully offer significantly cheaper alternatives to boards based on the feature-rich AMD X570 chipset. The DigiTimes story we cited was updated to clarify that the chipset only supports PCI-Express gen 3.0, and not the newer PCI-Express gen 4.0. There are two distinct ways of interpreting this information.

One, that motherboards based on B550 and A520 completely lack PCIe gen 4.0, including the main PCI-Express x16 (PEG) slot and the M.2 slot wired to the AM4 SoC; and two, that only the downstream PCIe lanes and the chipset bus are PCIe gen 3.0, while the main PEG slot and M.2 slot from the SoC remain gen 4. We lean toward the latter interpretation being more plausible, that AMD B550 and A520 motherboards will at least feature one PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot, and one M.2 slot that has PCI-Express 4.0 x4 wiring from the AM4 SoC; while the ASMedia chipset is connected to the SoC over PCI-Express 3.0 x4, and downstream PCIe lanes put out by the chipset are gen 3.0, too. These ASMedia-sourced AMD 500-series chipset motherboards could also implement the latest PCB, CPU VRM, and memory wiring specifications released by AMD that enable CPU and memory overclocking levels unattainable on motherboards based on older chipsets.

AMD Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" I/O Controller Die 12nm, Not 14nm

AMD Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" processors are multi-chip modules of two kinds of dies - one or two 7 nm 8-core "Zen 2" CPU chiplets, and an I/O controller die that packs the processor's dual-channel DDR4 memory controller, PCI-Express gen 4.0 root-complex, and an integrated southbridge that puts out some SoC I/O, such as two SATA 6 Gbps ports, four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, LPCIO (ISA), and SPI (for the UEFI BIOS ROM chip). It was earlier reported that while the Zen 2 CPU core chiplets are built on 7 nm process, the I/O controller is 14 nm. We have confirmation now that the I/O controller die is built on the more advanced 12 nm process, likely GlobalFoundries 12LP. This is the same process on which AMD builds its "Pinnacle Ridge" and "Polaris 30" chips. The 7 nm "Zen 2" CPU chiplets are made at TSMC.

AMD also provided a fascinating technical insight to the making of the "Matisse" MCM, particularly getting three highly complex dies under the IHS of a mainstream-desktop processor package, and perfectly aligning the three for pin-compatibility with older generations of Ryzen AM4 processors that use monolithic dies, such as "Pinnacle Ridge" and "Raven Ridge." AMD innovated new copper-pillar 50µ bumps for the 8-core CPU chiplets, while leaving the I/O controller die with normal 75µ solder bumps. Unlike with its GPUs that need high-density wiring between the GPU die and HBM stacks, AMD could make do without a silicon interposer or TSVs (through-silicon-vias) to connect the three dies on "Matisse." The fiberglass substrate is now "fattened" up to 12 layers, to facilitate the inter-die wiring, as well as making sure every connection reaches the correct pin on the µPGA.

Xbox "Project Scarlett" to be 8K and Ray-tracing Ready, AMD-powered, Coming 2020

Microsoft at its E3 2019 keynote dropped a huge teaser of its next-generation gaming console development, codenamed "Project Scarlett." The console is expected to pack some serious hardware that powers gaming at 8K resolution (that's four times 4K, sixteen times Full HD). That's not all, it will also feature real-time ray-tracing. Microsoft's performance target for the console is to be 4 times higher than that of the Xbox One X. The company is also giving the console its first major storage sub-system performance update in years.

At its heart is a new 7 nm semi-custom SoC by AMD and a high degree of customization by Microsoft. This chip features CPU cores based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture, which provide a massive leap in CPU performance over the current Scorpio Engine SoC that uses low-power "Jaguar Enhanced" cores. At the helm of graphics is a new iGPU based on the RDNA architecture that powers AMD's upcoming Radeon RX 5000 "Navi" graphics cards. It's interesting here to note that Microsoft talks about real-time ray-tracing while we're yet to see evidence of any specialized ray-tracing hardware on "Navi." In its teaser, however, Microsoft stressed on the ray-tracing feature being "hardware-accelerated."

ECS Shows Off LIVA and SFF Desktops Powered by Ice Lake, and Possibly Picasso

ECS at its Computex 2019 booth showed off its next generation of LIVA branded mini PCs and a new AMD platform SFF desktop. We begin with the retro-looking SF110-A320, an SFF desktop measuring 205 mm x 176 mm x 33 mm (WxDxH), with an AM4 socket, and the ability to power 35W TDP APUs. Its mainboard is driven by an AMD A320 chipset. We know that the A320 supports 12 nm Ryzen 3000-series "Picasso" APUs. It's quite possible that these desktops could ship with them, particularly their low-TDP variants. The iGPU of these chips are wired out to two DisplayPorts, an HDMI, and a D-sub (VGA) output. You drop in your own DDR4 SO-DIMM modules, an M.2-2280 SSD, or 2.5-inch SATA drive. Networking options include 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2, and 1 GbE wired networking. ECS includes a 90W power-brick.

The company also showed off its latest LIVA Z3 Plus series mini PCs that appear to be ready for 10th generation Core "Ice Lake-U" SoCs, although the company won't mention it. There are two physical variants of the Z3 Plus, a shorter one that lacks a 2.5-inch drive bay, making you rely entirely on an M.2-2280 slot for internal storage (PCIe + SATA); and a taller variant with an additional 2.5-inch drive bay with SATA 6 Gbps. The shorter variant measures 117 mm x 128 mm x 37 mm (WxDxH), and the taller one about 47 mm in height. Both variants ship with 120W power bricks, take in two DDR4 SO-DIMM modules, one M.2-2280 SSD, and put out connectivity that includes HDMI and mDP display outputs, dual 1 GbE wired + 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2 networking, and four USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, from which one is a type-C.

AMD Announces 3rd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su at her 2019 Computex keynote address announced the 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family, which leverages the company's Zen 2 microarchitecture, and are built on the 7 nm silicon fabrication process at TSMC. Designed for the AM4 CPU socket, with backwards compatibility for older AMD 300-series and 400-series chipset motherboards, these processors are multi-chip modules of up to two 8-core "Zen 2" CPU chiplets, and a 14 nm I/O controller die that packs the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller and PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex, along with some SoC connectivity. AMD claims an IPC increase of 15 percent over Zen 1, and higher clock speeds leveraging 7 nm, which add up to significantly higher performance over the current generation. AMD bolstered the core's FPU (floating-point unit), and doubled the cache sizes.

AMD unveiled three high-end SKUs for now, the $329 Ryzen 7 3700X, the $399 Ryzen 7 3800X, and the $499 Ryzen 9 3900X. The 3700X and 3800X are 8-core/16-thread parts with a single CPU chiplet. The 3700X is clocked at 3.60 GHz with 4.40 GHz maximum boost frequency, just 65 Watts TDP and will be beat Intel's Core i7-9700K both at gaming and productivity. The 3800X tops that with 3.90 GHz nominal, 4.50 GHz boost, 105W TDP, and beat the Core i9-9900K at gaming and productivity. AMD went a step further at launched the new Ryzen 9 brand with the 3900X, which is a 12-core/24-thread processor clocked at 3.80 GHz, which 4.60 boost, 72 MB of total cache, 105W TDP, and performance that not only beats the i9-9900K, but also the i9-9920X 12-core/24-thread HEDT processor despite two fewer memory channels. AMD focused on gaming performance with Zen 2, with wider FPU, improved branch prediction, and several micro-architectural improvements contributing to a per-core performance that's higher than Intel's. The processors go on sale on 7/7/2019.

AMD X570 Unofficial Platform Diagram Revealed, Chipset Puts out PCIe Gen 4

AMD X570 is the company's first in-house design socket AM4 motherboard chipset, with the X370 and X470 chipsets being originally designed by ASMedia. With the X570, AMD hopes to leverage new PCI-Express gen 4.0 connectivity of its Ryzen 3000 Zen2 "Matisse" processors. The desktop platform that combines a Ryzen 3000 series processor with X570 chipset is codenamed "Valhalla." A rough platform diagram like what you'd find in motherboard manuals surfaced on ChipHell, confirming several features. To maintain pin-compatibility with older generations of Ryzen processors, Ryzen 3000 has the same exact connectivity from the SoC except two key differences.

On the AM4 "Valhalla" platform, the SoC puts out a total of 28 PCI-Express gen 4.0 lanes. 16 of these are allocated to PEG (PCI-Express graphics), configurable through external switches and redrivers either as single x16, or two x8 slots. Besides 16 PEG lanes, 4 lanes are allocated to one M.2 NVMe slot. The remaining 4 lanes serve as the chipset bus. With X570 being rumored to support gen 4.0 at least upstream, the chipset bus bandwidth is expected to double to 64 Gbps. Since it's an SoC, the socket is also wired to LPCIO (SuperIO controller). The processor's integrated southbridge puts out two SATA 6 Gbps ports, one of which is switchable to the first M.2 slot; and four 5 Gbps USB 3.x ports. It also has an "Azalia" HD audio bus, so the motherboard's audio solution is directly wired to the SoC. Things get very interesting with the connectivity put out by the X570 chipset.
Update May 21st: There is also information on the X570 chipset's TDP.
Update May 23rd: HKEPC posted what looks like an official AMD slide with a nicer-looking platform map. It confirms that AMD is going full-tilt with PCIe gen 4, both as chipset bus, and as downstream PCIe connectivity.

U.S. Tech Industry, Including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, Ban Huawei

The United States tech industry has overnight dealt a potentially fatal blow to Chinese electronics giant Huawei, by boycotting the company. The companies are establishing compliance with a recent Executive Order passed by President Donald Trump designed to "stop the import, sale, and use of equipment and services by foreign companies based in countries that are potential adversaries to U.S. interests," particularly information technology security. Google has announced that it will no longer allow Huawei to license Android, and will stop updates and Google Play access to Huawei smartphones. Huawei can still equip its phones with open-source Android, but it cannot use Google's proprietary software, including Google Play Store, Chrome, and all the other Google apps. Intel decided to no longer supply processors and other hardware to Huawei, for use in its laptops and server products. Sales of AMD processors will stop, too. Qualcomm-Broadcom have decided to stop supply of mobile SoCs and network PHYs, respectively. Microsoft decided to stop licensing Huawei to use Windows and Office products.

The ban is a consequence of the U.S. Government placing Huawei on a list of banned entities, forcing all U.S. companies to abandon all trade with it, without prior approval from the Department of Commerce. Trade cuts both ways, and not only are U.S. firms banned from buying from Huawei, they're also banned from selling to it. Huawei "buys from" over 30 U.S. companies, (for example, Windows licenses from Microsoft). CNN reports that U.S. firms could lose up to $11 billion in revenues.

BIOSTAR Racing X570GT8 Zen 2 Motherboard Pictured and Detailed

MSI, without naming its product, teased its MEG X570 Ace motherboard late last week, obeying the cardinal rules of a teaser, such as not putting out clear pictures or names. BIOSTAR probably wanted to do something similar, but ended up leaking glaring details and pictures of its flagship socket AM4 motherboard based on the AMD X570 chipset, the Racing X570GT8. The X570 is AMD's first in-house design chipset for the AM4 socket after "Promontory" and FM2-based "Bolton," supplied by ASMedia. It was necessitated by the need to get downstream PCIe connectivity from the chipset to be certified for the latest generations (gen 3.0 or later), by AMD, and overcome many of the connectivity limitations of ASMedia "Promontory," from which AMD carved out previous socket AM4 chipsets.

Design compulsions of being a flagship product aside, there are signs of a clear focus on strengthening the CPU VRM on the Racing X570GT8, to cope with the rumored Ryzen 9 series 16-core "Zen 2" processor. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8+4 pin EPS connectors, conditioning it for the processor with a 12-phase VRM. There are two metal-reinforced PCI-Express x16 slots wired to the AM4 SoC, and we get the first glimpse of the PCI-Express gen 4.0 lane switching and re-driver circuitry. We haven't seen anything to suggest that the downstream PCIe lanes from the X570 chipset are gen 4.0, yet, but we expect them to at least be gen 3.0. The presence of three M.2 slots bodes well for the downstream PCIe lane count. ASMedia "Promontory" puts out a paltry eight gen 2.0 lanes. It's also interesting to see an active fan-heatsink cooling the X570 chipset, indicating a rather high TDP compared to the 3-5 Watt TDP of the 400-series "Promontory" low-power variant chipsets. The component choices by BIOSTAR look premium and are a callback to its T-Power glory days enthusiasts remember.

AMD Ryzen 3000 "Zen 2" a Memory OC Beast, DDR4-5000 Possible

AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen (3000-series) processors will overcome a vast number of memory limitations faced by older Ryzen chips. With Zen 2, the company decided to separate the memory controller from the CPU cores into a separate chip, called "IO die". Our resident Ryzen memory guru Yuri "1usmus" Bubliy, author of DRAM Calculator for Ryzen, found technical info that confirms just how much progress AMD has been making.

The third generation Ryzen processors will be able to match their Intel counterparts when it comes to memory overclocking. In the Zen 2 BIOS, the memory frequency options go all the way up to "DDR4-5000", which is a huge increase over the first Ryzens. The DRAM clock is still linked to the Infinity Fabric (IF) clock domain, which means at DDR4-5000, Infinity Fabric would tick at 5000 MHz DDR, too. Since that rate is out of reach for IF, AMD has decided to add a new 1/2 divider mode for their on-chip bus. When enabled, it will run Infinity Fabric at half the DRAM actual clock (eg: 1250 MHz for DDR4-5000).

Announcing DRAM Calculator for Ryzen v1.5.0 with an Integrated Benchmark

Yuri "1usmus" Bubliy, who practically wrote the book on AMD Ryzen memory overclocking, presents DRAM Calculator for Ryzen v1.5.0, the latest version of the most powerful tool available to help you overclock memory on PCs powered by AMD Ryzen processors. The biggest feature-addition is MEMBench, a new internal memory benchmark that tests performance of your machine's memory sub-system, and can be used to test the stability of your memory overclock. Among the other feature-additions include the "Compare Timings" button, which gives you a side-by-side comparison of your machine's existing settings, with what's possible or the settings you've arrived at using the app.

Motherboards vary by memory slot topology, and DRAM Calculator for Ryzen can now be told what topology your board has, so it can better tune settings such as procODT and RTT. The author also de-cluttered the main screen to improve ease of use. Among the under-the-hood changes are improved SoC voltage prediction for each generation of Ryzen. The main timing calculation and prediction algorithms are improved with the addition of the likes of GDM prediction. Also added is support for 4-DIMM system configurations. A bug in which the imported HTML profiles were automatically assumed to be specific to Samsung b-die mode. A number of minor changes were made, detailed in the change-log below.

DOWNLOAD: DRAM Calculator for Ryzen by 1usmus

BIOSTAR Presents A68N-5600E For Home Entertainment and Everyday Computing

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, introduces the new A68N-5600E SoC motherboard featuring a power efficient AMD PRO A4-3350B Processor and AMD Radeon R4 graphics. The BIOSTAR A68N-5600E is perfect for home entertainment and everyday home computing from web browsing to basic office applications. Watch videos on Netflix and YouTube with high-definition and immersive visuals, thanks to the AMD Radeon graphics, and high-resolution display with HDMI support. The A68N-5600E sports an ultra-compact Mini-ITX form factor, perfect for small-form-factor PCs and HTPCs.

AMD Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results- Gross margin expands to 41%, up 5 percentage points year-over-year

AMD today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2019 of $1.27 billion, operating income of $38 million, net income of $16 million and diluted
earnings per share of $0.01. On a non-GAAP(*) basis, operating income was $84 million, net income was $62 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.06.

"We delivered solid first quarter results with significant gross margin expansion as Ryzen and EPYC processor and datacenter GPU revenue more than doubled year-over-year," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We look forward to the upcoming launches of our next-generation 7nm PC, gaming
and datacenter products which we expect to drive further market share gains and financial growth."

Intel Also Announces Mobile 8th Gen Intel Core vPro Processors

Intel in addition to updating its 5G strategy, also announced availability of its 8th generation Core vPro "Whiskey Lake" mobile processor SoCs. Built as multi-chip modules with the CPU and PCH dies sitting on a single package, the new Core vPro i7-8665U has identical specifications to the original i7-8665U from Q3-2018, but with the addition of vPro, a set of additional features relevant to large organizations, such as AMT (active management technology), and TXT (trusted execution technology). OEM majors Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Panasonic are giving finishing touches to enterprise notebooks based on the new chip, which by itself could be priced around $500.

Samsung Profits Tank as DRAM, NAND Flash, and SoC Prices Slump

Samsung Electronics Q1-2019 preliminary reads like a horror story to investors, as the company posted its worst drop in operating-profit in over four years. Operating income fell 60 percent in the quarter ending March 2019, to about USD $5.5 billion, beating Bloomberg analysts who had predicted a 56 percent drop. Sluggish sales to IoT major Amazon, smartphone major Apple, and other handset makers, compounded by swelling inventory in the supply chain, has triggered sharp drops in DRAM prices that were offsetting critically low NAND flash prices. Demand for Samsung SoCs (application processors) is also on the decline.

Samsung is betting heavily on the success of its Galaxy S10 family of smartphones to recover from losses faced in the three component markets. Prices of DRAM prices fell 22 percent YoY, and NAND flash continues to slide by roughly that much, at 23 percent. NAND flash prices have been on a continuous decline over the past 3 years. DRAM prices, on the other hand, rallied in that period, and it's only now that it posted its first price-drop since 2016. NAND flash prices are expected to slide further down, as oversupply and failure of newer technologies like QLC taking off, hurt NAND flash manufacturers.

AMD "Cato" SoCs Figure in Futuremark SystemInfo

AMD could be giving finishing touches to its new generation of embedded SoCs codenamed "Cato." The chips surfaced on screenshots of UL Benchmarks (Futuremark) SystemInfo, across three models: the RX-8125, the RX-8120, and the A9-9820. For the uninitiated, the RX series embedded processors are part of the company's Ryzen Embedded family. The RX-series are differentiated from the A-series either by microarchitecture, or lack of unlocked multipliers, or other features, such as integrated graphics.

"Cato" is shrouded in mystery. One possible explanation could be AMD manufacturing the existing "Raven Ridge" IP on its refined 12 nm process, and "Zen+" enhancements to its CPUs. SystemInfo reading 8 logical processors could be a case of a 4-core/8-thread CPU configuration with SMT enabled. Another theory pegs this to be a new silicon, based on new IP, and 8 CPU cores. This is less probable since AMD is less stingy with SMT across its product-stack, and is hence less likely to deprive an 8-core silicon of SMT. If the latter theory is true, then this could simply be a case of the SystemInfo module not correctly detecting the prototype chips.

Intel Announces Broadest Product Portfolio for Moving, Storing, and Processing Data

Intel Tuesday unveiled a new portfolio of data-centric solutions consisting of 2nd-Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Optane DC memory and storage solutions, and software and platform technologies optimized to help its customers extract more value from their data. Intel's latest data center solutions target a wide range of use cases within cloud computing, network infrastructure and intelligent edge applications, and support high-growth workloads, including AI and 5G.

Building on more than 20 years of world-class data center platforms and deep customer collaboration, Intel's data center solutions target server, network, storage, internet of things (IoT) applications and workstations. The portfolio of products advances Intel's data-centric strategy to pursue a massive $300 billion data-driven market opportunity.

Several Gen11 GPU Variants Referenced in Latest Intel Drivers

The latest version of Intel Graphics drivers which introduce the company's latest UWP-based Graphics Command Center app, hide another secret in their INF. The file has pointers to dozens of variants and implementations of the company's next-generation Gen11 integrated graphics architecture, which we detailed in a recent article. Intel will implement Gen11 on two key processor microarchitectures, "Ice Lake" and "Lakefield," although later down the line, the graphics technology could trickle down to low-power Pentium Silver and Celeron SoC lines, too, with chips based on the "Elkhart Lake" silicon.

There are 13 variants of Gen11 on "Ice Lake," carved using execution unit (EU) count, and LP (low-power) aggressive power management. The mainstream desktop processors based on "Ice Lake," which are least restrained in power-management, get the most powerful variants of Gen11 under the Iris Plus brand. Iris Plus Graphics 950 is the most powerful implementation, with all 64 EUs enabled, and the highest GPU clock speeds. This variant could feature on Core i7 and Core i9 brands derived from "Ice Lake." Next up, is the Iris Plus Graphics 940, with the same EU count, but likely lower clock speeds, which could feature across the vast lineup of Core i5 SKUs. The Iris Plus 930 comes in two trims based on EU count, of 64 and 48, and could likely be spread across the Core i3 lineup. Lastly, there's the Iris Plus 920 with 32 EUs, which could be found in Pentium Gold SKUs. There are various SKUs branded "UHD Graphics Gen11 LP," with EU counts ranging from 32 to 64.
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