October 27, 2014
Soft Machines Targets IPC Bottleneck (MPR)
A new technology called VISC promises greater performance by breaking down a single thread and executing it on multiple cores. The technology works in hardware on any program and any instruction set.
AppliedMicro ARMs for Embedded (MPR/NWR)
AppliedMicro’s new Helix family of ARMv8-compatible embedded processors is based on the company’s X-Gene server chips and also inherits DNA from its older PacketPro communications chips.
Freescale’s LS1 Gets 64 Bits (MPR/NWR)
Sporting 10G Ethernet and TDPs of 8W or less, the new QorIQ LS1043A and LS1023A are the first 64-bit ARM processors in Freescale’s low-cost LS1 series.
LTE Release 12 Evolves Before the Leap (NWR/MCR)
Release 12, the third LTE-Advanced iteration, enhances existing techniques that improve wireless coverage, capacity, and data rates. It also unlocks new capabilities and foreshadows major changes in Release 13.
Editorial: Long Road for ARM in Servers (MPR)
HP has launched its first ARM cartridges for its Moonshot server, but the specs show that these products exceed Intel’s performance only for certain workloads.
October 20, 2014
ARC HS38 Can Run High-Level OS (MPR)
The new HS38 CPU core from Synopsys can run full versions of embedded Linux using its MMU, cache-coherent SMP, optional L2 cache, and other new features.
Aquantia Enables 2.5GbE Over UTP (NWR)
Aquantia has extended the capability of its 28nm AQ2xxx PHYs from three speeds to five by using proprietary signal-processing capabilities to add 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps modes.
Editorial: Intel Pays to Play in Mobile (MCR)
Intel's $1.5 billion investment in China’s Tsinghua Unigroup adds to the billions of dollars the company has already spent in hopes of winning smartphone market share.
October 13, 2014
Tomahawk Delivers 32x100G Ports (NWR)
Broadcom sampled its long-rumored Tomahawk switch to lead customers, becoming the first vendor to offer 32 ports of 100Gbps Ethernet in a single 3.2Tbps switch.
Cortus Targets IoT With New Cores (MPR)
Cortus's new APS23 and APS25 cores offer small die sizes and low power consumption, tailoring them for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
Wi-Fi Moves From Combo to Baseband (MCR)
According to our new forecast, mobile processors with integrated Wi-Fi will outsell Wi-Fi combo chips by 2018, helping MediaTek and Qualcomm take share from market leader Broadcom.
Allwinner Launches Low-Cost Octa (MCR)
The A83T processor integrates two clusters of four ARM Cortex-A7 CPUs running at up to 2.0GHz and targets midrange white-box tablets.
KeyStone Targets Industrial Apps (MPR)
Texas Instruments has revised the specifications of some KeyStone II processors and added support for industrial and extended temperature ranges.
October 6, 2014
Cavium Touts Revolutionary Switch (NWR)
Mere weeks after acquiring Xpliant, Cavium launched the first chip from the Xpliant developers. The CNX880xx Xpliant Packet Architecture (XPA) scales from 880Gbps to 3.2Tbps and offers up to 32x100Gbps Ethernet ports.
Maxwell Illuminates the Masses (MPR/MCR)
Nvidia's new GTX 980 GPU delivers full Direct3D 12 support and enables global illumination by implementing the first real-time path-tracing rendering capability.
Cortex-M7 Doubles Up on DSP (MPR/MCR)
ARM's new 32-bit Cortex-M7 aims to bring higher-performance digital signal processing to MCUs for high-end embedded applications. The new architecture delivers 47% better compute performance than Cortex-M4.
September 29, 2014
MIPS Warrior Joins 64-Bit Battle (MPR/MCR)
The I6400 CPU is the first licensable core in Imagination Technologies’ Warrior family to implement a 64-bit architecture. As an interAptiv core, it fits in the middle of the MIPS lineup.
Kodo Pumps Up Network Bandwidth (NWR)
A simple yet powerful data-encoding scheme, Random Linear Network Coding, can improve network throughput by 2x to 10x, depending on its network layer and vertical application.
GPU Compute Enters Mobile Domain (MCR)
Mobile devices are adopting heterogeneous computing at a rapid clip, but benchmarks are lagging because of conflicts among OS vendors.
Editorial: Intel Delays Jeopardize Growth (MPR)
Surprising delays in Intel’s 14nm roadmap could reduce revenue during the PC selling season and affect other markets in 2015.
September 22, 2014
Haswell Crams 18 Cores Into Xeon E5 (MPR)
Intel's newest server processor, code-named Haswell-EP, provides a top-to-bottom upgrade of the company's popular Xeon E5 line as part of the new Grantley platform.
Intel Takes 40G Ethernet Mainstream (NWR)
Part of the new Grantley server platform, the Intel Ethernet Controller XL710 (Fortville) also serves high-volume 10GbE designs, replacing the venerable 82599 (Niantic) and associated X520 NICs.
Sparc64 XIfx Uses Memory Cubes (MPR)
Fujitsu’s new Sparc64 XIfx supercomputer processor uses Micron’s Hybrid Memory Cubes and numerous other improvements to push system-level performance toward 100 petaflops.
Intel Embeds x86 Into Telco Networks (NWR)
Intel's Open Network Platform reference architecture provides a validated set of SDN and NFV ingredients that are helping push x86 servers deeper into telecom infrastructure.
Broadcom Advances 11ac MIMO (MCR)
Broadcom has delivered its second 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac chip for smartphones, adding a separate Bluetooth antenna, but this product may not be enough to spark interest in the new Wi-Fi standard.
September 15, 2014
Broadwell-Y Launches 14nm Era (MPR)
Core M targets 2-in-1 PCs and tablets, fitting into a thermal envelope of just 4.5W TDP while offering a preview of mainstream 14nm Broadwell products.
Intel’s 14nm Graphics Broadside (MPR/MCR)
Broadwell delivers a next-generation GPU with 20% better compute performance, 50% more texturing, and OpenCL 2.0 compatibility. This GPU will scale from high-end PCs to low-cost tablets.
Movidius Eyes Computational Vision (MCR)
Movidius intends to add panoramic 3D visual awareness to mobile devices. Its Myriad 2 SoC performs real-time computational photography on image streams from up to six high-definition cameras.
The Big Get Bigger in Comm ICs (NWR)
Although the communications-semiconductor industry declined modestly in 2013, the overall market for application-specific standard products was relatively healthy, with segment-specific issues creating a drag on broader growth.
September 8, 2014
Tradeoffs Abound for 56Gbps I/O (NWR)
As the OIF and the IEEE 802.3bs task force develop new specifications for 56Gbps serial interfaces, proponents of traditional NRZ coding are battling PAM4 backers for mindshare.
Sparc M7 Tops 10 Billion Transistors (MPR)
Sporting 32 cores and more than 10 billion transistors, Oracle’s Sparc M7 server processor is the largest microprocessor ever—and one of the most powerful.
Nitero Smartphone Chips Beam WiGig (MCR)
Nitero's new NT4600 chipset for 60GHz 802.11ad enables smartphones and tablets to wirelessly transmit 4K video to UltraHD displays.
September 1, 2014
X-Gene 2 Aims Above Microservers (MPR)
AppliedMicro's 28nm X-Gene 2, which is currently sampling, delivers Xeon E3–class compute performance, Xeon E5–class memory bandwidth, and highly integrated, low latency 10GbE networking.
Intel Buys Axxia for Base Stations (MPR/NWR)
Intel is aiming to make a bigger splash in wireless infrastructure by acquiring the former LSI networking business. It faces many execution challenges that could hinder ongoing success, however.
Samsung First With 20nm Processor (MPR/MCR)
The Exynos 5430 and 5433 are the first application processors in 20nm, providing power and performance advantages over 28nm products. Samsung also announced its first LTE-Advanced modem chip.
August 25, 2014
MEMS Integration Drives Applications (MCR)
MEMS sensors are becoming more integrated with each generation, reducing cost and enabling new uses in mobile devices.
Cavium Attacks Switching Market (NWR)
Cavium is entering the market for data-center switch chips by acquiring startup Xpliant. The multicore-processor leader is betting that software-defined networking will break Broadcom’s near monopoly.
Editorial: Who Ordered All This Pi? (MPR)
Raspberry Pi and Arduino are often used for prototypes and one-off projects, but some companies are now planning to enter production using a new Pi design.
August 18, 2014
Nvidia’s First CPU Is a Winner (MPR/MCR)
Nvidia's 64-bit Denver CPU uses dynamic instruction translation to outperform other mobile processors while offering full ARMv8 compatibility. It will appear in Tegra K1-64 later this year.
The Case for Open Instruction Sets (MPR)
Two UC Berkeley professors make the case that an open instruction-set architecture would enable free competition in CPU design and that RISC-V is the best open ISA available.
The Case for Licensed Instruction Sets (MPR)
ARM makes the counterargument that a licensed instruction set fills a commercial need for support, reliability, and compatibility, enabling a robust ecosystem that provides value for an ISA.
Inphi Snaps Up Cortina (NWR)
Inphi has signed an agreement to purchase Cortina Systems for $126 million. The immediately accretive acquisition will help the company double its revenue.
Allwinner A33: Four Cores, Four Bucks (MCR)
Allwinner is selling a four-core processor for four bucks, targeting low-cost, commodity Android tablets.
Microsemi Buys Mingoa for OAM (NWR)
Microsemi’s FPGA business recently gained some differentiated intellectual property when the company acquired Mingoa, a specialist in Ethernet operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM).
Who Killed Broadcom’s Baseband Biz? (MCR)
Although Broadcom positioned its withdrawal from the cellular-baseband market as a fiscally prudent decision, the move was triggered several months earlier by another company.
August 11, 2014
Broadcom Boosts Small Cells (MPR/NWR)
Broadcom's new BCM617x5 wireless base-station processors add crest-factor reduction, better carrier aggregation, more-powerful CPUs and DSPs, and support for China Mobile’s Zuc.
Marvell Puts IoT on a Chip (MPR)
Marvell has combined a basic ARM microcontroller with Zigbee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi radios to create a family of processors for the Internet of Things.
Wearables Give New Life to Old GPUs (MCR)
Imagination has tweaked its older-generation PowerVR Series5 GPUs to produce the new Series5XE, a family of tiny graphics cores targeting low-power applications in wearable devices.
Editorial: Time for 802 to Wake Up (NWR)
The IEEE must remain vibrant and active to prevent its 802 LAN/MAN groups from succumbing to turf wars. The 802.3 Ethernet group could be a model for revamping the organization.