September 7, 2015
Skylake SpeedShifts to Next Gear (MPR)
In one of its largest product introductions ever, Intel completely revamped its PC-processor lineup. The Skylake chips offer several upgrades over previous generations.
Oracle Shrinks Sparc M7 (MPR)
Oracle’s new Sonoma server processor shrinks the 32-core Sparc M7 design to 8 cores while retaining the unique hardware accelerators and RAS features and adding InfiniBand.
Qualcomm Atheros Bids for Ikanos (NWR)
Qualcomm has made a $47 million offer through its Atheros division to acquire struggling xDSL specialist Ikanos Communications, potentially augmenting its broadband business with DSL and G.fast.
Allwinner A64: Four 64-Bit Cores, $5 (MPR/MCR)
Allwinner has shipped its $5 A64 processor in volume, bringing 64-bit tablets to the mass market. The chip includes four Cortex-A53 CPUs and a low-end Mali GPU.
August 31, 2015
Low-Rate LTE Delivers IoT WANs (NWR)
Low-bit-rate versions of LTE are challenging Wi-Fi and PANs for IoT connectivity. Altair and Sequans offer chips for LTE Categories 1 and 0, but module costs remain high relative to Wi-Fi.
Intel, Foundries Diverge at 10nm (MPR/NWR/MCR)
Intel’s transistor cost continues to fall with each new node, but the leading foundries no longer see this cost reduction. A close examination of each company’s technology explains this contradiction.
August 24, 2015
Inphi Turns PAM4 Into Family Affair (NWR)
Inphi is backing the emerging PAM4 modulation scheme with a family of PHY devices that handle 40-, 50-, 100-, and 400Gbps Ethernet speeds. An associated transimpedance amplifier completes the offering.
Lithography Woes Raise Chip Costs (MPR/NWR/MCR)
EUV delays have forced the development of several new techniques to extend optical lithography, but the added cost of these techniques is changing the economics of Moore’s Law.
August 17, 2015
Snapdragon 820 Upgrades Multimedia (MPR/MCR)
Qualcomm has designed a powerful visual-computing pipeline, including a speedy new GPU, superb ISP, and high-resolution-display engine.
Rambus Becomes a Chip Vendor (MPR)
Rambus has shipped its first chip-level product, the RB26 buffer controller for DDR4 LRDIMMs.
QuickLogic’s Smarter Sensor Hub (MCR)
QuickLogic’s new EOS-S3 sensor hub is a big advance over the company’s previous ArcticLink hubs. It adds an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU, hardware support for Sensory’s TrulyHandsFree speech-recognition technology, and more.
Editorial: Disruptions Open FPGA Markets (NWR)
Emerging FPGA markets and Intel’s acquisition of Altera have created a unique opportunity for new FPGA entrants. A Microsemi merger with Lattice would yield a stronger company positioned to win market share.
August 10, 2015
Editorial: Qualcomm Falls to Earth (MPR)
Despite a recent drop in revenue caused by declining Snapdragon shipments, Qualcomm should not let a 15% reduction in spending jeopardize its long-term growth plan.
25G Ethernet Draft Moves to Ballot (NWR)
In July, the IEEE 802.3by task force for 25Gbps Ethernet approved a draft that will move to a full 802.3 vote. Still under debate is a cable standard for three-meter links without forward error correction.
Synopsys Secures Bluetooth IP (MCR)
Synopsys has purchased a line of low-power RF intellectual property (IP), including hard macros for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radios, from Egyptian design house Silicon Vision.
ODP Standardizes Networking API (NWR)
The Linaro Networking Group has released a stable edition of the OpenDataPlane API, which seeks to enable software portability across SoCs from different vendors and has garnered broad industry support.
August 3, 2015
Broadcom Connects Cloud Servers (NWR)
Ten months after announcing its Tomahawk switch, Broadcom has begun sampling NetXtreme C-Series 25G and 50G Ethernet adapters and controllers for the server end of the wire.
What’s Inside Your Watch? (MCR)
The Apple Watch, Pebble Watch, and Android Wear watches use very different hardware designs, which help determine the cost, battery life, and features they can offer.
Imagination Raises OmniShields (MPR)
OmniShield enables processors to run multiple secure computing environments using Imagination’s MIPS CPUs, PowerVR GPUs, and Ensigma wireless connectivity.
July 27, 2015
Fiji Boosts Performance With HBM (MPR)
AMD’s Fiji GPU uses a tweaked architecture and the new High Bandwidth Memory to deliver a 20–30% performance boost on DX11 games and promises greater benefits for DX12.
FBAR Gets Excellent Reception (MCR)
Avago’s FBAR products appear in almost all premium smartphones, providing superior RF filtering that optimizes LTE data rates and reduces interference with GPS and Wi-Fi.
Kinetis Integrates Bluetooth for IoT (MPR)
Freescale is adding Bluetooth Low Energy to the Kinetis lineup, including the KW30Z BLE SoC, and to the dual-mode KW40Z, which offers concurrent BLE and IEEE 802.15.4 capability.
Cavium Secures the Cloud (MPR/NWR)
The market leader for security coprocessors is protecting its turf by introducing its next-generation Nitrox V design. The new chip blunts the threat from Intel’s Coleto Creek.
July 20, 2015
i.MX7 Improves Power Efficiency (MPR/MCR)
Combining Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 CPUs, Freescale’s new i.MX7 processors deliver power efficiency for e-readers, wearables, IoT clients, and similar devices.
Freescale Overhauls the Data Plane (NWR)
Freescale’s second-generation Data Path Acceleration Architecture (DPAA2) will improve data-plane processing in future QorIQ processors. It also simplifies programming using higher-level abstraction and software objects.
Mobileye Increases Car EyeQ (MPR)
Mobileye’s fourth-generation EyeQ4 computer-vision processor for advanced driver-assistance systems offers new capabilities that will make self-driving cars a reality.
Editorial: Marvell’s Mobile Malaise (MCR)
Recent layoffs and losses indicate Marvell could be the next processor vendor to exit the mobile market. Smaller tablet-processor vendors are also under pressure.
July 13, 2015
QorIQ Chips Add More ARMs (MPR/NWR)
Freescale’s new eight-core LS1088A and quad-core LS1048A bring higher performance, improved packet acceleration, and dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports to the entry-level QorIQ LS1 series.
Wireless Charging From Afar (MCR)
New wireless-charging technologies are taking on established inductive-charging methods, promising more convenience and greater efficiency.
Sckipio Unites G.fast and PON in SFP (NWR)
Sckipio has developed an SFP-module reference design that implements G.fast, enabling residential gateways to support either PON or G.fast service.
Editorial: Tick, Tock…Boom! (MPR)
The slowing of Moore’s Law hinders Intel’s famous tick-tock model and could cause the company to abandon it by adding a new product to the cycle as early as next year.
July 6, 2015
Interview: NetSpeed CEO Rethinks SoC Design (MPR)
Sundari Mitra discusses her ideas on improving the design of complex chips and how she founded a company that does so using network-on-a-chip (NoC) IP.
Mellanox Bets on 25G, 50G Ethernet (NWR)
Spectrum is the follow-on to Mellanox’s Switch-X family, supporting a variety of Ethernet speeds up to 100Gbps. The company claims Spectrum is the only true nonblocking 100GbE switch.
Qualcomm Partners With Allwinner (MCR)
Chinese chip vendor Allwinner will resell Snapdragon processors to its local customers for use in low-cost cellular-enabled tablets, boosting Qualcomm in China and beyond.
June 29, 2015
Marvell Switches Enable New Markets (NWR)
Marvell has added 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps port speeds to its Prestera DX family of Ethernet switches. It has also added the 802.1Q suite of Time-Sensitive Networking standards to its LinkStreet switches.
Cavium Completes Octeon III Line (MPR/NWR)
Cavium plans to sample its midrange Octeon III processors next month. The CN72xx and CN73xx series include MIPS64-compatible processors that have 4 to 16 CPU cores.
Ceva Makes Waves in Wearables (MCR)
Ceva’s family of licensable digital basebands now combine with RF/AFEs from Catena and Maxscend. These cores target wireless applications ranging from wearables to routers.
June 22, 2015
Breaking Down Broadcom (MPR/NWR)
Avago’s acquisition of larger Broadcom means big changes ahead for Broadcom’s customers and employees. Counterintuitively, the deal should be good for competition.
Intel Grabs Altera for the Data Center (MPR/NWR)
Intel has offered to buy FPGA specialist Altera for $16.7 billion to augment its data-center presence. But the company must take FPGAs seriously if it is to make this deal work.
Imagination Whispers to Wearables (MPR/MCR)
Ensigma Whisper is Imagination’s new wireless-connectivity IP for IoT and wearable devices. The Whisper C5300 supports Bluetooth 4.1 and the C5400 supports 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Editorial: Consolidation or Innovation? (MPR)
The recent wave of semiconductor acquisitions assumes that growth is hard to find, but in most chip markets, innovation still leads to higher margins and expanding markets.
June 15, 2015
Sonics Offers Power-Management IP (MPR)
Sonics’ Ice-Grain is the industry’s first licensable power-management subsystem for SoC integration. The synthesizable intellectual property (IP) is scheduled for release later this year.
Stratix 10 Reimagines Registers (NWR)
Altera announced its Stratix 10 architecture on the heels of Intel’s acquisition bid, but the new FPGA family relies on more than Intel’s 14nm process to enable its unique features.
Hello Helio P10 (MCR)
An octa-core chip targeting midrange smartphones, MediaTek’s new Helio P10 is the industry’s first mobile processor to use TSMC’s 28nm HPC+ technology.
MediaTek Delivers Wi-Fi for IoT (MPR)
The MT7623 and MT7683 are quad-core processors designed for IoT gateways, whereas the MT7687 is a low-cost microcontroller for IoT clients.