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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.

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

  • 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.

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. 
  • 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).

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. 

August 4, 2014

  • Clearer Case for Coherent Optics (NWR)
    Optical-module and transceiver-IC vendors are building a case for coherent communications, which improves spectral efficiency for links delivering 100Gbps and above.

July 28, 2014

  • LTE Unlicensed Rocks the Boat (NWR/MCR)
    A controversial proposal to extend LTE into unlicensed spectrum offers performance benefits, but initial coexistence features may not adequately protect Wi-Fi users. 
  • Vitesse Switch Takes Industrial Aim (NWR)
    Vitesse has sampled a new SparX-IV switch with features normally reserved for carrier markets. This product serves what the company says are emerging applications in industrial Ethernet and SMB platforms.
  • ST Sensor Hub Sleeps Soundly (MCR)
    STMicroelectronics' new 32-bit microcontroller combines signal-processing and sensor-hub control functions for applications such as voice-command recognition and multiple-input pedestrian geolocation.
  • Editorial: MHz Isn’t a Number Anymore (MPR)
    In a power-constrained era, frequency is a variable and no longer a simple number. SoC vendors should adapt by providing frequency-versus-power curves for critical components like CPUs and GPUs.

July 21, 2014

  • Intel Customizes Server Processors (MPR)
    New cloud-computing workloads are driving the need for application-specific processors. In response, Intel disclosed a semicustom processor program and a Xeon processor with an integrated FPGA.
  • TI Slashes Sitara Power (MPR)
    Texas Instruments' new Sitara AM437x embedded processors upgrade to ARM's Cortex-A9 and consume much less power than Cortex-A8-based Sitara processors, but some compromises were required.
  • Greyhound Brings 10G to SMB Market (NWR)
    Broadcom has announced a 10G Ethernet switch targeting SMB, embedded, and industrial applications. Greyhound is also the company's first announced 28nm Ethernet switch.

July 14, 2014

  • Mellanox Upgrades Switch to 100Gbps (NWR)
    Mellanox is sampling a 100Gbps upgrade to its SwitchX-2 architecture, which it dubs Switch-IB. The chip is the company’s seventh-generation InfiniBand switch and features 36 EDR ports.
  • ARM and Linaro Boost v8 Design (MCR)
    ARM's new Juno is a hardware/software-development platform for designing application processors that integrate ARMv8 CPUs. It includes a test chip that boots to 64-bit Android or Linux

July 7, 2014

  • LPDDR4 Doubles Power Efficiency (MCR)
    The next generation of mobile memory doubles bandwidth at similar power but requires changes to the system design. Future alternatives include WIO2 and more radical approaches.

June 30, 2014

  • LTE-Advanced Gets CoMPed (NWR/MCR)
    3GPP Release 11 extends LTE with a number of features that emphasize performance and network efficiency, including carrier aggregation and coordinated multipoint (CoMP) transmission.

June 23, 2014

  • MediaTek Targets Every Thing (MPR/MCR)
    The highly integrated MT2502 targets smartwatches that sell for less than $30. MediaTek also rolled out two IoT processors with integrated Wi-Fi: the MT7681 and the MT7688.
  • PLX Touts Unified PCIe Switching (NWR)
    PLX Technology has taped out the first member of a long-promised ExpressFabric family of switch chips intended to unify server, storage, and interconnect domains using PCI Express.
  • Editorial: Bailing Out of Smartphones (MCR)
    Broadcom is the latest processor supplier to exit the market, and Nvidia no longer targets mainstream smartphones. This consolidation leaves only a few vendors fighting for third place.
  • MediaTek Readies for 4K Race (MCR)
    The new quad-core MT8127 and dual-core MT8117 tablet processors are MediaTek’s first devices to implement an H.265 video decoder in hardware.

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