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.
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.
MT6795 Improves Visual Experience (MPR/MCR)
As people watch more video on their smartphones, MediaTek wants to make these devices more like high-end televisions by adding new video features to its processors.
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.
New Foundries Vying for 20nm Wafers (MPR/NWR/MCR)
The 20nm node promises to be an inflection point, offering two new foundry options and incurring a host of new technical challenges, such as the need for double patterning.
GPGPU Benchmarks Still Evolving (MPR)
Current GPU-compute benchmarks are often limited in scope and niche oriented, but the benchmarking landscape is improving.
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.
Editorial: Google DIY Phone Sounds Loony (MCR)
Project Ara creates a modular smartphone architecture, allowing you to literally build your own phone, but this customizable device won't meet your needs.
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
Tilera Deal Expands EZchip’s Market (MPR/NWR)
EZchip's $130 million deal for Tilera combines the market leader in merchant NPUs with a pioneer in manycore technology, improving its competitive position.
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.
Avago Acquires PLX for PCI Express (NWR)
Avago has agreed to acquire PLX Technology for $309 million. The merger ensures a steady supply of PCI Express switches and could lead to innovative new products.
HiSilicon Pushes LTE-A, Octa-Core (MPR/MCR)
Huawei's house brand has delivered the industry's first mobile processor to integrate 300Mbps LTE-Advanced: the Kirin 920.
Qualcomm Adds LTE to Femtocells (MPR/NWR)
Qualcomm plans to sample FSM90xx processors in 4Q14 for residential and SMB small cells. This new line adds LTE to the company's low-power base-station products.
June 30, 2014
AMD Upgrades Embedded G-Series (MPR)
The new G-Series SoCs are more power efficient than previous models and have a better GPU as well as an ARM security coprocessor.
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.
Editorial: Samsung Sitting Out on Servers (MPR)
Despite the large opportunity in ARM server processors, Samsung has terminated its efforts to enter this market, leaving more room for other suppliers.
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.
SlimPort Links USB and 4K Video (MCR)
The new SlimPort Pro chipsets from Analogix enable 4K displays for smartphones without incurring royalty fees.
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.