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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.

Source: EE Times

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.

Source: Bloomberg

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.

Source: BBC

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.Source: GiantBomb

NVIDIA Launches World's First Deep Learning Supercomputer

NVIDIA today unveiled the NVIDIA DGX-1, the world's first deep learning supercomputer to meet the unlimited computing demands of artificial intelligence. The NVIDIA DGX-1 is the first system designed specifically for deep learning -- it comes fully integrated with hardware, deep learning software and development tools for quick, easy deployment. It is a turnkey system that contains a new generation of GPU accelerators, delivering the equivalent throughput of 250 x86 servers.

The DGX-1 deep learning system enables researchers and data scientists to easily harness the power of GPU-accelerated computing to create a new class of intelligent machines that learn, see and perceive the world as humans do. It delivers unprecedented levels of computing power to drive next-generation AI applications, allowing researchers to dramatically reduce the time to train larger, more sophisticated deep neural networks.

AMD Accelerates Availability of Mobile 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors

AMD today announced early availability of its new mobile 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors, timed to support an exciting new notebook design by HP Inc. Equipped with advanced video, graphics, performance, and security features designed to boost productivity and enhance the entertainment experience, 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors (codenamed "Bristol Ridge") also provide outstanding energy efficiency.

New OEM PC designs powered by mobile 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors -- from ultrathin notebooks and convertibles to sleek All-in-Ones -- will come to market first with HP in the new HP ENVY x360, and with other OEM announcements expected later in the year. AMD will officially introduce 7th Gen A-Series APUs and showcase a wide range of OEM designs at Computex 2016, May 31-June 4, 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan.

AMD FirePro S9300 x2 Server GPU Helps Create Largest Map of the Universe

AMD today announced that researchers at the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) will harness the AMD FirePro S9300 x2 Server GPU, the world's fastest single-precision GPU accelerator, to analyze extraordinary amounts of data to help create a new, very detailed 3D map of the largest volume of the Universe ever observed. Rather than using traditional dish-shaped telescopes, CHIME consists of four 100-metre-long cylindrical reflectors which cover an area larger than five professional hockey rinks and gathers signals for the critical computational analyses supplied by the AMD FirePro S9300 x2 GPU cluster.

The CHIME project was created to investigate the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is speeding up rather than slowing down. Using consumer technologies similar to those found in common radio receivers, the telescope collects radio waves that have travelled through space for up to 11 billion years and feeds them into a massive supercomputer powered by a series of AMD FirePro S9300 x2 GPUs. The intense number crunching required to map the Universe's expansion in this way was previously cost-prohibitive, but is now being enabled by AMD FirePro GPUs. The anticipated results will help create a highly-detailed map showing the intensity of the hydrogen radiation from billions of galaxies, which will help scientists understand the accelerating expansion of the Universe.

AMD Expands Low-Power G-Series Processor Family

At Embedded World today, AMD announced its 3rd Generation AMD Embedded G-Series SoCs and the Embedded G-Series LX SoC, providing customers a broadened portfolio of performance options. The latest offerings expand developers' ability to scale x86 platforms, starting with the entry-level AMD Embedded G-Series LX SoC, which is pin compatible to the previous generation G-Series SoC devices. Also announced today are two new, higher performing 3rd Generation AMD Embedded G-Series SoCs, codenamed "Prairie Falcon" and "Brown Falcon," which introduce for the first time pin compatibility for G-Series processors with the higher performance AMD Embedded R-Series SoC.

The new products expand upon the low power capabilities of the award-winning AMD Embedded G-Series SoC platform, bringing scalable performance, power, and price across the CPU, GPU, multimedia, and I/O controller hardware, helping to lower development costs for AMD customers. Together, the new G-Series processors deliver immersive, graphically rich experiences across a broad range of platforms, from entry-level to mainstream gaming, digital signage, imaging, and industrial control.

AMD Offers New Thermal Solutions and Processors for Near-Silent Performance

AMD today launched new thermal solutions, including the flagship AMD Wraith Cooler, as well as the new AMD A10-7860K and new AMD Athlon X4 845 desktop processors. Designed for the consumer who cares about how their desktop PC runs, sounds, and looks, AMD now offers new thermal solutions that generate less than one-tenth the noise of their predecessors -- running at a near-silent 39 decibels, about as quiet as a library.

The new AMD Wraith Cooler combines near-silent operation with unique styling via a sleek fan shroud and LED illumination. Providing superb cooling, the new design delivers 34 percent more airflow and 24 percent more surface area for heat dissipation than its predecessor.

AMD Zen Architecture Supports Up to 32 Cores per Socket: Leaked Linux Patch

AMD's next-generation "Zen" x86-64 CPU micro-architecture will support up to 32 cores per socket, according to leaked Linux kernel patch on LKML. We know from older reports, that AMD clumps groups of four cores in subunits it calls "Zen quad-core units." Not to be confused with its current "module" design, a quad-core unit is a group of four completely independent cores, which share nothing other than an L3 cache. TechFrag used this bit to deduce that the "Zen" architecture is scalable up to eight quad-core units per socket, or 32 cores per socket.

Source: TechFrag

QNAP Intros TS-251+ and TS-451+ High-value NAS Servers

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the release of the quad-core 2-bay TS-251+ and 4-bay TS-451+ NAS that provide an uncompromising high-performance and scalable storage solution for small offices and workgroup users with appealing affordability. The new models feature virtualization readiness, containerized applications, advanced backup solutions, real-time & offline video transcoding, QvPC Technology, HDMI video playback with an included remote control, and many more functions that are beneficial for businesses and SOHO users to build a cost-efficient and modern storage solution.

The TS-251+ and TS-451+ are powered by a 22nm 64-bit quad-core Intel Celeron 2.0GHz processor (burst up to 2.42GHz) with 2GB/8GB energy-efficient DDR3L RAM. They also include dual Gigabit LAN ports, and can deliver up to 225 MB/s throughput and up to 205 MB/s transfer speeds with AES 256-bit volume & folder encryption."The TS-251+ & TS-451+ are ideal choices for those who demand the superior performance of a quad-core x86-based NAS without breaking the budget," said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP. "Both NAS are speedy, versatile and provide future-proof scalability."

AMD Achieves High-End Embedded Performance Leadership with New R-Series

AMD today announced new AMD Embedded R-Series SOC processors that establish performance leadership across a targeted range of embedded application market requirements for digital signage, retail signage, medical imaging, electronic gaming, media storage and communications and networking. Designed for demanding embedded needs, the processors incorporate the newest AMD 64-bit x86 CPU core ("Excavator"), plus third-generation Graphics Core Next GPU architecture, and state-of-the-art power management for reduced energy consumption. Combined, these AMD innovations and technologies provide industry-leading graphics performance and key embedded features for next-generation designs.

The single-chip system-on-chip (SOC) architecture enables simplified, small form factor board and system designs from AMD customers and a number of third party development platform providers, while providing astounding graphics and multimedia performance, including capability for hardware-accelerated decode of 4K video playback. With a robust suite of peripheral support and interface options, high-end AMD Radeon graphics, designed for the industry's first Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) 1.0 certification, and support for the latest DDR4 memory, the new AMD R-Series SOC addresses the needs of a wide range of markets and customers.

CPU Whiz Jim Keller Leaves AMD

Jim Keller, one of the lead architects of AMD's x86 CPU architectures, has left the company. He held the post of Chief Architect of Microprocessor Cores at AMD. With his association, AMD's launched some of its most successful CPU architectures, such as the original K7 (Athlon, Athlon XP, Duron); the very first 64-bit x86 architecture, and K8 (Athlon64). Keller then left AMD to join Apple, in its development of the A4 and A5 SoCs, before rejoining AMD in 2012 to begin work on the "Zen" architecture.

Keller's departure doesn't throw "Zen" in jeopardy. "Jim helped establish a strong leadership team that is well positioned for success as we enter the completion phase of the "Zen" core and associated system IP and SoCs," said AMD in a statement. "Zen" remains on-track for sampling in 2016, and its "first full year of revenue" in 2017, which would indicate a market launch some time in 2016. AMD CTO Mark Papermaster will take over as additional charge of Keller's position.

Source: Hexus.net
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