October 12, 2015
Soft Machines Shows Progress (MPR)
Soft Machines disclosed a roadmap that includes both CPU cores and SoC reference designs based on its innovative VISC architecture. Initial estimates show compelling performance.
Cadence P5 Boosts Embedded Vision (MPR)
The Vision P5 video-processing unit (VPU) quadruples performance on popular vision algorithms while trimming power compared with the previous generation.
MoSys Offers BE3 Universal Memory (NWR)
MoSys is offering three serial memories in its third generation of Bandwidth Engine, including one optimized for use with EZchip’s NPS-400.
NetSpeed Gemini Adds Cache (MPR)
NetSpeed announced its second-generation Gemini coherent network-on-chip IP, improving configurability and adding a last-level-cache option called Pegasus.
Dialog Seeks to Diversify With Atmel (MPR/MCR)
Dialog Semiconductor, best known for its power-management chips, announced plans to acquire microcontroller-maker Atmel, reducing its reliance on revenue from Apple.
October 5, 2015
Editorial: Unlicensed to Kill? (NWR/MCR)
Should operators such as Verizon be permitted to deploy LTE Unlicensed, a more efficient protocol that could disrupt existing Wi-Fi users? The FCC must now decide.
Cognivue Extends Freescale’s Vision (MPR)
Freescale’s acquisition of Cognivue’s vision-processing cores give it a leg up in the competition for advanced driver-assistance systems in next-generation automobiles.
Microsemi Assembles FPGA Security (NWR)
Microsemi is offering unified security-design services under the EnforcIT brand. The company’s secure FPGAs are certified by Rambus’s Cryptography Research division to resist differential-power-analysis (DPA) attacks.
Toshiba TZ1000 Targets Things (MPR)
Toshiba has turned its sights on the Internet of Things with its TZ1000 line of wireless microcontrollers. The newest model upgrades the Bluetooth subsystem to version 4.1.
September 28, 2015
Snapdragon 820 Hits 600Mbps LTE (MCR)
Extending its technology lead, Qualcomm is the first to deliver a smartphone processor with integrated Category 12 LTE, 150Mbps on the uplink, and LTE Unlicensed.
Synopsys ARC Moves in XY Direction (MPR)
The Synopsys EM9D and EM11D add XY memory to the ARC DSP ISA, enabling the three-stage pipeline to sustain one 32x32-bit MAC operation per cycle.
Quantenna Debuts 8x8 MU-MIMO (NWR)
Quantenna is sampling a dual-band Wi-Fi chipset that uses a total of 12 streams to deliver nearly 10Gbps in aggregate, building on the company’s first-mover advantage in 4x4 MIMO.
September 21, 2015
Knights Landing Reshapes HPC (MPR)
Changing the way supercomputers are designed, Knights Landing combines an x86 processor and a high-performance (3 Tflops) floating-point accelerator in a single chip.
Omni-Path Takes On InfiniBand (MPR/NWR)
Intel offered the first details of its Omni-Path Architecture, a fabric that combines data-link technology from a Cray Aries switch and the MPI libraries from the former-QLogic InfiniBand line.
Editorial: China Accelerates Processor Push (MPR)
Announcements from Loongson and Phytium show that China’s government has placed a high priority on microprocessor development, challenging Intel, Qualcomm, and others.
Qualcomm Kryo Doubles Down (MPR/MCR)
Qualcomm says its new Kryo CPU, appearing in the Snapdragon 820, will deliver up to twice the performance of Cortex-A57, which would put it ahead of all other announced CPUs.
September 14, 2015
Hexagon 680 Adds Vector Extensions (MCR)
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 includes an updated DSP core with new Hexagon Vector Extensions (HVX) to enable data-, instruction-, and thread-level parallelism for fast image processing.
LTE Broadcast Opens New Channels (NWR/MCR)
As more users watch video on their phones, the wireless industry has developed a more efficient technique for delivering content to many users: LTE Broadcast.
3D XPoint Fetches Data in a Flash (MPR)
Intel and Micron are preparing a new type of memory called 3D XPoint that offers higher performance and greater endurance than flash.
PMC Storage Switch a PCIe Contender (NWR)
PMC-Sierra has introduced two storage products based on PCI Express. Whereas the Flashtec SSD controller is designed solely for the NVMe protocol, the Switchtec PSX device may have broader market potential.
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.