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Intel Rumored to Commemorate 40th Anniversary of the 8086 with a Special Core i7 SKU?

Intel recently celebrated 20 years of the Pentium brand that made the company a household name, with a special Pentium 20th Anniversary Edition G3258 SKU. If rumors are to be believed, the company could do something similar with the upcoming 40th anniversary of its 8086 processor, the distant ancestor of today's x86 architecture. Some sources even suggest that the company could take advantage of its 8th generation Core product cycle to launch a "Core i7-8086K" SKU.

Pictures surfaced on social media of the said "i7-8086K" SKU in the flesh, complete with a part number "SR3QQ." Based on the same 14 nm "Coffee Lake" silicon as the i7-8700K, this chip has a nominal clock speed of 4.00 GHz, a maximum Turbo Boost frequency above 5.00 GHz, an unlocked multiplier, and 12 MB of shared L3 cache. Intel could choose June 8th (around the 2018 Computex and the actual anniversary of 8086), to launch the new SKU.

Apple to End the x86 Mac Era in 2020

One of the biggest tech stories of the 2000s was Apple's transition from the PowerPC machine architecture to Intel x86, which brought the Mac closer to being the PC it so loathed. The transition wasn't smooth, as besides the operating system, practically every third-party software developer (eg: Adobe), had to rewrite their software for the new architecture, with new APIs, and new runtime environments. Apple could be bringing about a similar change before the turn of the decade.

Apple already builds its own application processors for iOS devices, and some of the newer chips such as the A11 Bionic and A10 Fusion have already reached the performance levels of entry-level x86 desktop processors. It's only a matter of time before Apple can build its own SoCs for Macs (that's not just iMac desktops, but also Mac Pro workstations, MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro). That timeline is expected to be around 2020. Since these chips are based on the ARM machine architecture, they will mandate a major transformation of the entire software ecosystem Apple built over the past decade and a half. Intel shares dropped by as much as 9.2 at the first reports of this move.

Dear Intel, If a Glaring Exploit Affects Intel CPUs and Not AMD, It's a Flaw

Intel tried desperately in a press note late Wednesday to brush aside allegations that the recent hardware security-vulnerability are a "bug" or a "flaw," and that the media is exaggerating the issue, notwithstanding the facts that the vulnerability only affects Intel x86 processors and not AMD x86 processors (despite the attempt to make it appear in the press-release as if the vulnerability is widespread among other CPU vendors such as AMD and ARM by simply throwing their brand names into the text); notwithstanding the fact that Intel, Linux kernel lead developers with questionable intentions, and other OS vendors such as Microsoft are keeping their correspondence under embargoes and their Linux kernel update mechanism is less than transparent; notwithstanding the fact that Intel shares are on a slump at the expense of AMD and NVIDIA shares, and CEO Brian Kraznich sold a lot of Intel stock while Intel was secretly firefighting this issue.

The exploits, titled "Meltdown," is rather glaring to be a simple vulnerability, and is described by the people who discovered it, as a bug. Apparently, it lets software running on one virtual machine (VM) access data of another VM, which hits at the very foundations of cloud-computing (integrity and security of virtual machines), and keeps customers wanting cost-effective cloud services at bay. It critically affects the very business models of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba, some of the world's largest cloud computing providers; and strikes at the economics of choosing Intel processors over AMD, in cloud-computing data centers, since the software patches that mitigate the vulnerability, if implemented ethically, significantly reduce performance of machines running Intel processors and not machines running AMD processors (that don't require the patch in the first place). You can read Intel's goalpost-shifting masterpiece after the break.

AMD Struggles to Be Excluded from Unwarranted Intel VT Flaw Kernel Patches

Intel is secretly firefighting a major hardware security vulnerability affecting its entire x86 processor lineup. The hardware-level vulnerability allows unauthorized memory access between two virtual machines (VMs) running on a physical machine, due to Intel's flawed implementation of its hardware-level virtualization instruction sets. OS kernel-level software patches to mitigate this vulnerability, come at huge performance costs that strike at the very economics of choosing Intel processors in large-scale datacenters and cloud-computing providers, over processors from AMD. Ryzen, Opteron, and EPYC processors are inherently immune to this vulnerability, yet the kernel patches seem to impact performance of both AMD and Intel processors.

Close inspection of kernel patches reveal code that forces machines running all x86 processors, Intel or AMD, to be patched, regardless of the fact that AMD processors are immune. Older commits to the Linux kernel git, which should feature the line "if (c->x86_vendor != X86_VENDOR_AMD)" (condition that the processor should be flagged "X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE" only if it's not an AMD processor), have been replaced with the line "/* Assume for now that ALL x86 CPUs are insecure */" with no further accepted commits in the past 10 days. This shows that AMD's requests are being turned down by Kernel developers. Their intentions are questionable in the wake of proof that AMD processors are immune, given that patched software inflicts performance penalties on both Intel and AMD processors creating a crony "level playing field," even if the latter doesn't warrant a patch. Ideally, AMD should push to be excluded from this patch, and offer to demonstrate the invulnerability of its processors to Intel's mess.

VIA Making a Comeback to x86 CPU Market with Zhaoxin R&D Monies

The only other active x86 architecture licensee than AMD, VIA Technologies, is planning a comeback to the x86 processor market, bolstered by R&D investment by Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor. VIA and Zhaoxin have been co-developing the ZX family of x86 processors for rollout in 2018, and at least on paper, the chips appear to have the chops to take on Intel's "Gemini Lake" SoCs. The new VIA-Zhaoxin combine CPU family begins with the KX-5000 "Wudaoku" SoCs launched late-2017. These are full-fledged SoCs, which completely integrate the chipset (including the southrbidge).

The KX-5000 chips feature 4 or 8 CPU cores without SMT, 2.00-2.20 GHz nominal CPU clock, 2.40 GHz boost clock, a dual-channel DDR4 IMC, a PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, an integrated graphics core, and platform I/O that includes SATA 6 Gbps, and USB 3.1 gen 2. This chip debuted on only one product from a major OEM, the Lenovo M6200 desktop model launched in China. 2018 could see a broader launch of VIA-Zhaoxin chips, with the KX-6000. While the older chips were built on the 28 nm process, the KX-6000 series will be built on the newer 16 nm process, feature 4 or 8 CPU cores clocked at speeds of up to 3.00 GHz, while retaining the feature-set of the KX-5000 series. These chips could realistically be touted as low-cost alternatives to Intel "Gemini Lake" SoCs, although Zhaoxin is making bold claims about its performance nearing that of AMD Ryzen processors.

IBM Unveils Industry's Most Advanced Server Designed for Artificial Intelligence

IBM today unveiled its next-generation Power Systems Servers incorporating its newly designed POWER9 processor. Built specifically for compute-intensive AI workloads, the new POWER9 systems are capable of improving the training times of deep learning frameworks by nearly 4x allowing enterprises to build more accurate AI applications, faster.

The new POWER9-based AC922 Power Systems are the first to embed PCI-Express 4.0, next-generation NVIDIA NVLink and OpenCAPI, which combined can accelerate data movement, calculated at 9.5x faster than PCI-E 3.0 based x86 systems. The system was designed to drive demonstrable performance improvements across popular AI frameworks such as Chainer, TensorFlow and Caffe, as well as accelerated databases such as Kinetica. As a result, data scientists can build applications faster, ranging from deep learning insights in scientific research, real-time fraud detection and credit risk analysis.

Intel Hires Raja Koduri, to Develop Discrete GPUs, This Time for Real

Intel hired Raja Koduri, who resigned as head of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), earlier this week. Koduri has been made Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of Intel's future discrete GPUs. That's right, Intel has renewed its dreams to power high-end graphics cards that compete with AMD and NVIDIA. Intel's last attempt at a discrete GPU was "Larrabee," which evolved into a super-scalar multi-core processor for HPC applications under the Xeon Phi line.

This development heralds two major theories. One, that Intel's collaboration with AMD RTG on graphics IP could only go further from here, and what is a multi-chip module of Intel and AMD IP now, could in the future become a true heterogeneous die of Intel's and AMD's IP. Two, that the consolidation of AMD's graphics assets and IP into a monolithic entity as RTG, could make it easier to sell it lock, stock, and barrel, possibly to Intel.

Intel CPU On-chip Management Engine Runs on MINIX

With the transition to multi-core processors, and multi-core processors with integrated core-logic (chipset), the need arose for a low-level SoC embedded into the processor with just enough compute power to make sure all the components you pay for start-up and function as advertised. Enter the Intel ME (management engine). This is a full-fledged computer within your Intel processor, which isn't exposed to you. It runs on its very own tiny x86 CPU core that isn't exposed, and its software is driven on an infinitesimally small ROM and RAM. Since you can't have software without some sort of operating-system, Intel chose MINIX for the job.

MINIX is a Unix-like OS with an extremely small memory footprint. The OS was designed by Andrew Tanenbaum, originally as an educational tool to demonstrate that machines can still be built with extremely tiny code. If you're familiar with the "ring-level" system of hardware-access privilege by software, ring 0 would designate the "highest" level of access. A software with ring 0 access can erase your disk, flash your system BIOS, and even make your CPU run at any C-state. The OS kernel needs these privileges, and hence is a ring 0 software. Most user software, like the web-browser you're reading this on, runs at ring 3 (with the browser's own sandbox, the user-level, and API level forming inner levels). Intel ME runs at ring -3 (negative 3), and your OS has no power over it. Most system BIOS updates for Intel motherboards include a ROM update for ME. ME governs the functioning of the rest of the processor, its start-up, and booting. It also governs silicon-level security and management features that can't be compromised by malware.

On The Story of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Product Development

In a Forbes interview conducted by Anthony Leather, AMD officials Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Marketing John Taylor, Sarah Youngbauer of AMD's communications team, and James Prior, AMD's Senior Product Manager, have shed some light on the development process for AMD's equivalent of a flash hit - their HEDT, HCC Threadripper chips. Threadripper, which leverages AMD's Zen architecture used in their Ryzen and EPYC processors, makes use of an MCM design with up to 16 cores and 32 threads, with AMD's svelte Zen, 8-core base units linked through the company's high speed interconnect Infinity Fabric.

This has allowed the company to scale designs from four core processors with Ryzen 3, all the way towards the current cream of the crop Threadripper 1950X. It's an extremely scalable design, which brings with it improved yields and some pretty significant cost savings for AMD due to smaller dies. This, in turn, means the company is able to more agressively price their Ryzen and Threadripper processors compared to the competition, at least when it comes to high core and thread counts for the same price bracket - and the success of that business decision is showing.

For our forum lurkers, this article is marked as an editorial.

AMD to Build "Zen 2" and "Zen 3" Processors on 7 nm Process: CTO

AMD is in no mood to stick to the 14 nm process for as long as Intel has (building four performance x86 CPU micro-architectures on it). In an interview with EE Times, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster confirmed that the company's "Zen 2" and "Zen 3" CPU micro-architectures will be built on the next-generation 7 nm silicon fab process. Transition to the 7 nm process is not as straightforward as optically shrinking your chip designs and shipping them over to your foundry. Apparently it requires big technical changes for the chip design teams, which AMD feels are better executed while it's still riding on the success of its current "Zen" architecture.

"We had to literally double our efforts across foundry and design teams…It's the toughest lift I've seen in a number of generations," said Papermaster. He added that the 7 nm node requires new "CAD tools and [changes in] the way you architect the device [and] how you connect transistors-the implementation and tools change [as well as] the IT support you need to get through it." Papermaster predicts that 7 nm will be a "long node like 28 nm" in that chip designers will have to build several refinements to their designs on the node before the newer 4 nm node could be heralded. He urged semiconductor foundry companies to introduce EUV (extreme ultra-violet lithography), a technique used to etch transistors and circuits at the infinitesimally small 7 nm node, as soon as possible, so AMD could have more options at manufacturing its next generation processors.

Patent War Brewing Between Intel and Qualcomm-Microsoft over x86 Emulation

Intel rigorously defends its hold over its core intellectual property, the x86 CPU machine-architecture. AMD is the only active licencee of x86, and has a competitive line of processors across market segments. It has been a long-cherished dream of chipmakers without an x86 license to have Microsoft, the world's leading PC operating system manufacturer, somehow emulate their Win32 API, which is inherently designed for the x86 architecture, on the more widely licensed ARM architecture. As one of the largest ARM chipmakers, Qualcomm pushed for 2-in-1 (notebook-to-tablet) convertible PCs driven by its Snapdragon processors, which run Windows 10, complete with support for Win32 software, besides Microsoft's UWP apps.

This Snapdragon + Windows 10 reference convertible is so impressive with its battery life and performance, that major PC OEMs such as Lenovo, HP, and ASUS have lined up to license the design and make their own designs. This would have been a licensable form-factor governed by Microsoft, much like how Intel governed the Ultrabook form-factor. This would hit hard at Intel's bottomline, because SoC makers with big R&D budgets like Qualcomm, Samsung, and NVIDIA, who each hold ARM licenses, could go on to power bigger and faster PCs which emulate x86, driving Intel out of the ecosystem. The company dropped the hammer earlier this week, in a passive-aggressive note without taking names, warning Microsoft and Qualcomm to cease from their efforts to build such a device.

Samsung Could Become Top Chipmaker in 2Q17, Dethrone Intel

Samsung could be on the verge of a historic dethroning of Intel as the dominant chipmaker in the IC world, if a recent report from IC Insights is to be believed. The report shows Samsung actually exceeding Intel's semiconductor sales in 2Q 2017, no doubt spurred on by mobile market growth and the proliferation of ARM based SOCs manufactured by Samsung.

Intel has held the dominant position for nearly a quarter century as its x86 architecture powered most PCs and notebooks/netbooks since 1993. The number of components they sell is not just limited to CPUs either: Intel is a provider of chips for everything from networking to thermal sensors, for Samsung to compete with such a giant in the semiconductor market at all (let alone exceed their sales) is quite a feat indeed.

Meet Microsoft's New Take on Windows: The Windows 10 S

The "RT" ghost is still alive in people's minds, as is particularly fluent on people's tongues whenever someone brings up Microsoft's new Windows 10 S OS. The one that limits the scope and variety of applications you can run on your own system. That forces you to go through Windows' still lackluster Store (sorry, but I've never seen such bad flow, bugs and hiccups on an app as I do in that one.)

It's only right, really - the reduced compatibility and walled-garden approach is there still, even if this one OS now isn't limited to ARM - or to x86, for that matter. This new approach now allows both UWP apps and Win32 apps which have been ported using Desktop Bridge from the store to work. However, expect Win32 apps with a native, non-ported installer to fail. Not all is bad, though: Windows has an amazing backlog for legacy hardware, software and applications, but that same legacy means it's more opened up to security vulnerabilities, and even applications which can wreak havoc on the system with excessive permissions, and unpatched issues.

AMD Community Update: BIOS Updates, Patches, Performance Improvements

Yesterday, we covered how Ryzen's performance has seen a needed lift-up through an upcoming update to Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. Performance improvements of up to 30% do wonders in bringing up the 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 1800X's performance up to speed with its svelter gaming enemy, the 4-core, 8-thread i/ 7700K. And through a community update, AMD has now shed some light on the ongoing crusade for adapting an entire ecosystem to its Ryzen line of processors architecture features. Case in point: BIOS updates and game patches,

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Update Brings Improved Performance to Ryzen

Some outlets are reporting that Stardock's Ashes of the Singularity is about to receive the much-referred-to patch that allows for improved performance on AMD's Ryzen line of processors. If you remember, rivers of ink flowed regarding AMD's Ryzen performance in gaming, with its monstrous, high-performance 8-core, 16-threaded design sometimes delivering performance below expectations. At the time, AMD clarified how Ryzen is a distinctive CPU architecture, similar yet fundamentally different from Intel's x86 implementation, promising upcoming patches from game developers that would allow Ryzen's architecture to truly deliver.

After Creative Assembly and Oxide Games vouched to improve Ryzen support, Oxide seems to be the first developer with a patch available (from version 25624 to 26118) that improves performance by up to 30%. Reportedly, it took the developers around 400 work-hours to improve the game code in respect to its execution on AMD hardware.

AMD Collaborates with Microsoft to Advance Open Source Cloud Hardware

At the 2017 Open Compute Project U.S. Summit, AMD announced their collaboration with Microsoft to incorporate the cloud delivery features of AMD's next-generation "Naples" processor with Microsoft's Project Olympus -- Microsoft's next-generation hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development with the OCP community.

Through Microsoft's contribution of the Project Olympus design much earlier in the cycle than many OCP projects, AMD was able to engage early on in the design process and foster a deep collaboration around the strategic integration of AMD's upcoming "Naples" processor. The performance, scalability and efficiency found at the core of Project Olympus and AMD's "Naples" processor means the updated cloud hardware design can adapt to meet the application demands of global datacenter customers.

Microsoft Distances Itself from Intel - Announces ARM Cloud Server Platform

Microsoft is looking to reduce costs in its Azure cloud computing platforms for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data. And after having developed a version of Windows for servers that use ARM processors, in a joint work with Qualcomm and Cavium, Microsoft seems to also be looking forward to leave its dependency on Intel products as nothing but a memory. Microsoft's ARM server design, dubbed Project Olympus, looks to hardware innovations so as to reduce costs, boosting competitiveness and flexibility in regards to other big players in the cloud space, like Amazon and Alphabet. That the design is open source is also a boon to other businesses and Microsoft partners.


Though the design isn't "deployed into production yet (...) that is the next logical step," said Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division. "This is a significant commitment on behalf of Microsoft. We wouldn't even bring something (...) if we didn't think this was a committed project and something that's part of our roadmap."

AMD's Ryzen Debut: Onwards to the HEDT Market or The Stumbling Hype Train

I should break down the bad news first: we here at TechPowerUp won't be able to provide you with a timely, straight-from-the-oven Ryzen review. Like some other publications, our Ryzen review sample failed to arrive on time. And trust us - we did will it to do so as much as we could, risking a Stranger-Things-esque nosebleed. Alas, to no avail.

The good news is that while we won't be able to offer you our own review of AMD and Jim Kellers' latest high-performance x86 brainchild, we will still strive to bring you meaningful coverage on it. This article aims to make an overall aggregation on review consensus, benchmarks and capabilities of the newest AMD CPU. Trying to add something, we'll also try and evaluate whether AMD learned - or didn't learn - something from its Bulldozer launch fiasco, in a pure marketing perspective. This will justify the editorialized nature of this article, but only after we dive straight to the numbers. Without further ado, follow on to the numbers.

Following Ryzen's Launch, Intel's CPUs Likely to See Price-Cuts

Let's quietly approach the elephant in the room: Intel's pricing structure will hardly stand the onslaught of AMD's Ryzen, which, if early benchmarks are to be believed, has apparently caught Intel with its pants down. Even purely from the leaks that have been following us non-stop in the last several months, it's obvious that AMD managed to outdo itself in the best way possible, managing to develop an architecture which offers up to 52% more performance than their previous one. Intel, which was enjoying the sun-shaded comfort of carrying a virtual, high-performance x86 monopoly, grew stagnant in innovation, ensuring it would stretch its bottom-line by way of minimal R&D investment - just enough to be able to name their improvements as a "new generation" of processors each year.

This in turn has led to an interesting outlook in the high-performance x86 market: customers aren't blind, and they see when a company is stretching its fingers in their pockets. A stagnant performance increase on Intel's customer processors with almost a decade of single-digit increments and paralyzed core-counts to an (admittedly strong) architecture have taken away a lot of customers' goodwill towards Intel. That Intel still has strong brand cognition is a no-brainer, but it doesn't have as much brand credit these days, on account of the low performance gains, and tick-tock falter, than it did in the days of Athlon 64. AMD has the benefit of being the underdog, of coming up with something new, fresh and performant (with headlines claiming it is the latest revival of a sleeping giant)... and those are all points that put pressure on Intel to reignite interest on its products.

The Power of Marketing - AMD's Ryzen Hype Train Hyperloops On

AMD did it again: building-up such a tremendous speed on its new products' hype train that the Ryzen 7 1700X, Ryzen 7 1800X, and Ryzen 7 1700 managed to jump straight to first, second, and fourth spots of Amazon's list of best-selling CPUs, respectively, dethroning even Intel's mighty i7 7700K. Granted, it isn't hard for the processors from one or the other manufacturer to quickly jump and wrangle about the spots on retailer's best seller lists - there Are only two manufacturers of consumer-grade, high-performance x86 CPUs. But keep in mind: this is a pre-order we're talking about, with nothing but leaks and marketing maneuvering for consumers to base their purchase on.

IBM and NVIDIA Team Up on World's Fastest Deep Learning Enterprise Solution

IBM and NVIDIA today announced collaboration on a new deep learning tool optimized for the latest IBM and NVIDIA technologies to help train computers to think and learn in more human-like ways at a faster pace. Deep learning is a fast growing machine learning method that extracts information by crunching through millions of pieces of data to detect and rank the most important aspects from the data. Publicly supported among leading consumer web and mobile application companies, deep learning is quickly being adopted by more traditional business enterprises.

Deep learning and other artificial intelligence capabilities are being used across a wide range of industry sectors; in banking to advance fraud detection through facial recognition; in automotive for self-driving automobiles and in retail for fully automated call centers with computers that can better understand speech and answer questions.

Intel to Contract-manufacture ARM Processors at its Fabs

Intel is opening up its silicon manufacturing facilities to fabless chip-makers, beginning with the manufacture of ARM SoCs. The company entered a licensing deal with ARM that allows ARM SoC designers such as Qualcomm, Apple, and Samsung, to manufacture their SoCs at Intel fabs. Intel is among the first fabs with a working 14 nm node, and is on-track for sub-10 nm node development.

Intel had a crack at the market segments typically addressed by ARM SoCs, with its own x86 chips, which failed to see the kind of volumes ARM chipmakers were pushing. The company has now changed tactics to open its fabs up to those ARM SoC makers, letting them manufacture their designs on proven silicon-fabrication tech, in geographically important locations. Intel has its cutting-edge fabs located in Costa Rica and Malaysia.

Softbank Acquires ARM for $32 Billion

Japanese conglomerate Softbank acquired British CPU architecture designer ARM in a USD $32 billion deal on Monday. Softbank's bid of $32 billion is a 43 percent premium over ARM's current valuation of $22.3 billion, and the Cambridge-based firm will recommend its shareholders to approve of its acquisition. Shares of ARM surged 45% on the LSE, adding £7.56 billion to its market value. The company reported revenues of $1.49 billion in 2015. ARM founder Herman Hauser, however, isn't happy with the board's decision. "This is a sad day for me and a sad day for technology in Britain," he stated.

ARM designs CPU architectures, which it then licenses to other processor and SoC manufacturers, many of which are fabless themselves, making it an intellectual property giant. None of ARM's products are "tangible" or physical. While Intel, for example, designs CPU architectures (eg: x86), implements it (eg: Core i7, Celeron), and manufactures it (at its Costa Rica and Malaysia fabs) ARM's product is not tangible. It has a CPU architecture, which clients such as Samsung, Huawei, and Qualcomm license, implement (eg: Exynos, Kylin, Snapdragon), and contract-manufacture, through fabs such as GlobalFoundries, TSMC, and ST Microelectronics.

G.Skill Trident Z First to Achieve DDR4-5000 - A Frequency Record

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, announces the world's first DDR4 memory overclocking record to break past the mind-blowing 5GHz barrier, achieved with G.SKILL Trident Z Series DDR4 memory engineered with Samsung ICs and the MSI Z170I GAMING PRO AC motherboard. With this achievement in the official record books, the world's top 7 memory frequency records are now dominated by G.SKILL memory.

Surpassing the 5GHz frequency speed barrier had been the ultimate aspiration of the memory overclocking community since the last year's launch of the Intel Skylake platform. This historic milestone is finally succeeded today by the renowned Taiwanese overclocking legend, Toppc, under liquid nitrogen cooling. "We are extremely excited to achieve this great milestone together with Samsung components and MSI motherboard," says Tequila Huang, Corporate Vice President and Director of R&D, G.SKILL International. "We will continually push hardware performance to the limits and provide enthusiasts with even more advanced products."

PlayStation 4K to Feature a 2,304-SP AMD "Polaris" GPU

Sony's upcoming 4K Ultra HD game console, which its fans are referring to as the "PlayStation 4K," while being internally referred to by Sony as "NEO," could feature a very powerful GPU. AMD could custom-design the SoC that drives the console, to feature an 8-core 64-bit x86 CPU based on the "Jaguar" micro-architecture, running at 2.10 GHz; and a GPU component featuring 36 compute units based on "next-generation Graphics CoreNext" architecture.

36 next-gen GCN compute units sounds an awful lot like the specs of the Polaris10 "Ellesmere" chip in its Radeon R9 480 configuration, working out to a stream processor count of 2,304 - double that of the 1,152 on the current-gen PlayStation 4. The SoC is also rumored to feature a 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface holding 8 GB of memory. This memory will be used as both system and video memory, just like on the current-gen PlayStation 4. The memory bandwidth will be increased to 218 GB/s from the current 176 GB/s. Besides 4K Ultra HD gaming, this chip could also prepare Sony for VR headsets, leveraging AMD's LiquidVR tech.
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