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Redesigned Apple MacBook Pro Coming This Summer with up to 64 GB of RAM and 10-Core Processor

According to Bloomberg, which first predicted the arrival of Apple custom processors in MacBooks, we have another piece of information regarding Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro lineup, set to arrive this summer. As you are aware, MacBook Pro right now comes in two different variants. The first is a smaller 13-inch design that is powered by Apple's M1 chip, while the second is a 16-inch design powered by an Intel Core processor. However, it seems like that will no longer be the case when the next-generation lineup arrives. Starting this summer, all of the MacBook Pro models will have Apple's custom silicon powering these devices, which bring Intel's presence to an end.

And the successor to the now-famous M1 chip seems to be very good. As per the report, Apple is upgrading the architecture and the total core count. There are two different chips, codenamed Jade C-Chop and Jade C-Die. Both are 10-core designs, equipped with two small and eight big cores. The difference between the two is the total number of graphics cores enabled. The smaller version will have 16 graphics cores, while the bigger one will have 32 graphics cores. On the SoC, there will be an updated Neural Engine, for better AI processing. These new processors will come with up to 64 GB of RAM in selected configurations as well. The report also notes the arrival of HDMI port, SD card slot, and MagSafe for charging.

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.

Linux Gets Ported to Apple's M1-Based Devices

When Apple introduces its lineup of devices based on the custom Apple Silicon, many people have thought that it represents the end for any further device customization and that Apple is effectively locking-up the ecosystem even more. That is not the case we have today. Usually, developers working on Macs are always in need of another operating system to test their software and try it out. It means that they have to run some virtualization software like virtual machines to test another OS like Linux and possibly Windows. However, it would be a lot easier if they could just boot that OS directly on the device and that is exactly why we are here today.

Researchers from Corellium, a startup company based in Florida, working on ARM device virtualization, have pulled off an incredible feat. They have managed to get Linux running on Apple's M1 custom silicon based devices. The CTO of Corellium, Mr. Chris Wade, has announced that Linux is now fully usable on M1 silicon. The port can take full advantage of the CPU, however, there is no GPU acceleration for now, and graphics are set to the software rendering mode. Corellium also promises to take the changes it made upstream to the Linux kernel itself, meaning open-source and permissive license model. Below you can find an image of Apple M1 Mac Mini running the latest Ubuntu OS build.

Marvell Unveils the Industry's Most Comprehensive Custom ASIC Offering

Marvell today announced a unique custom ASIC offering that addresses the stringent requirements of next generation 5G carriers, cloud data centers, enterprise and automotive applications. Marvell's comprehensive custom ASIC solution enables a multitude of customization options and a differentiated approach with best-in-class standard product IP including Arm -based processors, embedded memories, high-speed SerDes, networking, security and a wide range of storage controller and accelerators in 5 nm and beyond. By partnering with Marvell, customers gain enhanced performance, power and area resulting in accelerated time-to-market and providing optimal returns on investment.

Traditionally, data infrastructure manufacturers and cloud data center operators have had to choose between securing standard products or a full custom silicon solution designed in-house, while developing or licensing foundational IP as needed. Now, for the first time, Marvell is offering full access to its broad and growing portfolio of industry-leading data infrastructure standard product IP and technologies, which can be integrated and enabled in custom ASIC solutions at the most advanced technology nodes.

Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

In a historic day for the Mac, Apple today announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple today also introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS, which delivers its biggest update in more than a decade and includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple silicon. Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance. And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

Intel joins CHIPS Alliance to promote Advanced Interface Bus (AIB) as an open standard

CHIPS Alliance, the leading consortium advancing common and open hardware for interfaces, processors and systems, today announced industry leading chipmaker Intel as its newest member. Intel is contributing the Advanced Interface Bus (AIB) to CHIPS Alliance to foster broad adoption.

CHIPS Alliance is hosted by the Linux Foundation to foster a collaborative environment to accelerate the creation and deployment of open SoCs, peripherals and software tools for use in mobile, computing, consumer electronics and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The CHIPS Alliance project develops high-quality open source Register Transfer Level (RTL) code and software development tools relevant to the design of open source CPUs, SoCs, and complex peripherals for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and custom silicon.

Intel Launches Data Streaming Accelerator

Intel has today launched a new product called Data Streaming Accelerator known as Intel DSA shortly. The new device is going to be present inside every future Intel processor with a goal of "optimizing streaming data movement and transformation operations common with applications for high-performance storage, networking, persistent memory, and various data processing applications."

The DSA processor will replace an existing solution that is Intel QuickData Technology, which was previously used for data movement. This new dedicated processor has a much-needed purpose to free up CPU cycles from doing IO work like moving data to/from volatile memory, persistent memory, memory-mapped I/O, and through a Non-Transparent Bridge (NTB) device to/from remote volatile and persistent memory inside a chip. In addition to the usual data movement operations, the DSA processor can create and test CRC checksums for any errors in storage and networking applications.

Intel Sets Up New Network and Custom-logic Group

In recent conversations with Intel customers, two words kept coming up: disruption and opportunity. Disruption because almost every single executive I talk with has seen business disrupted in one way or another or is worried about keeping up with new technology trends and keeping a competitive edge. And opportunity because when these customers discuss their needs -- be it how to better leverage data, how to modernize their infrastructure for 5G or how to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics workloads -- they realize the massive prospects in front of them.

To help our customers capitalize on the opportunities ahead, Intel has created a new organization that combines our network infrastructure organization with our programmable solutions organization under my leadership. This new organization is called the Network and Custom Logic Group.
Both original organizations executed on record design wins and revenues in 2018. Their merger allows Intel to bring maximum value to our customers by delivering unprecedented and seamless access to Intel's broad portfolio of products, from Intel Xeon processors SoC, FPGA, eASIC, full-custom ASIC, software, IP, and systems and solutions across the cloud, enterprise, network, embedded and IoT markets. To that end, FPGA and custom silicon will continue to be important horizontal technologies. And this is just the beginning of a continuum of Custom Logic Portfolio of FPGA, eASIC, and ASIC to support our customers' unique needs throughout their life cycles. No other company in the world can offer that.

AMD Patents Variable Rate Shading Technique for Console, VR Performance Domination

While developers have become more and more focused on actually taking advantage of the PC platform's performance - and particularly graphical technologies - advantages over consoles, the truth remains that games are being optimized for the lowest common denominator first. Consoles also share a much more user-friendly approach to gaming - there's no need for hardware updates or software configuration, mostly - it's just a sit on the couch and leave it affair, which can't really be said for gaming PCs. And the console market, due to its needs for cheap hardware that still offers performance levels that can currently fill a 4K resolution screen, are the most important playground for companies to thrive. Enter AMD, with its almost 100% stake in the console market, and Variable Rate Shading.

As we've seen with NVIDIA's Turing implementation for Variable Rate Shading, this performance-enhancing technique works in two ways: motion adaptive shading and content adaptive shading. Motion adaptive shading basically takes input from previous frames in order to calculate which pixels are moving fast across the screen, such as with a racing perspective - fast-flying detail doesn't stay focused in our vision so much that we can discern a relative loss in shading detail, whilst stationary objects, such as the focused hypercar you're driving, are rendered in all their glory. Valuable compute time can be gained by rendering a coarse approximation of the pixels that should be in that place, and upscaling them as needed according to the relative speed they are moving across the frame. Content adaptive shading, on the other hand, analyzes detail across a scene, and by reducing shading work to be done across colors and detail that hasn't had much movement in the previous frame and frames - saves frame time.

Microsoft's xCloud is a Push Towards Game Streaming Future, Powered by AMD

Microsoft has announced their xCloud initiative, a game streaming effort that looks to bridge the gap between local and stream-based gaming. xCloud is looking to bring true, platform-agnostic gaming with much lower bandwidth requirements due to a number of technologies being researched and worked on by Microsoft. Chief among these are low-latency networking, encoding, and decoding advances - all crucial parts of the puzzle for solving latency and poor image quality issues. xCloud aims to allow for "high-quality experiences at the lowest possible bitrates that work across the widest possible networks" - with 4G and 5G support. For now, the test version of xCloud only requires a minimum 10 Mbps connection, which is already very impressive in abstract - though of course it would require more info on the rendering specs being delivered to the recipient's system for deeper analysis.

One big takeaway here is that this xCloud initiative is fully powered by AMD's own hardware - as it should be. Using AMD custom hardware such as that found within Microsoft's Xbox consoles takes away the work and investment in building even more emulation capabilities on a server level, which would only add additional overhead to the streaming service. By using AMD's own custom hardware, Microsoft circumvents this issue - but entrenches itself even more on AMD's own product portfolio, both now and in the foreseeable future.

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