March 30, 2015
14nm Xeon D Secures the Data Center (MPR)
Intel’s first 14nm server processor, Xeon D integrates eight Broadwell CPUs and achieves up to 3.4x greater performance than Atom microserver processors, blocking potential ARM-based competitors.
Marvell LTE Reaches Category 7 (MCR)
Marvell has advanced its LTE capabilities with the new PXA1826, a thin modem that uses carrier aggregation to achieve speeds of 300Mbps. The company also earned a significant win at Samsung.
Broadcom Doubles Up on Wi-Fi (MCR)
Broadcom launched the mainstream BCM43455 Wi-Fi combo and the premium BCM4359, which adds simultaneous dual-band capability.
Kandou Narrows Focus to Serdes IP (NWR)
Kandou Bus is targeting communications customers with the Glasswing family of serdes IP, the first member of which is a 125Gbps hard macro implementing the company’s 5-bit over 6-wire protocol.
March 23, 2015
Galaxy S6 Shows New Technologies (MCR)
The new Galaxy S6 is a trendsetting smartphone that includes emerging technologies such as UFS, LPDDR4, 2x2 Wi-Fi, and wireless charging, plus the industry’s first 14nm application processor, the Exynos 7420.
Flex Logix Promotes FPGA IP (NWR)
A startup has developed a hierarchical switching matrix for FPGAs based on work from UCLA. Flex Logix is licensing these IP blocks to semiconductor companies.
Editorial: NXP Deal Builds Auto Giant (MPR)
NXP’s pending acquisition of Freescale will shake up the microcontroller market, particularly in the automotive segment, but Freescale’s networking processors could be up for grabs.
PowerVR G6020 GPU Gets Small (MCR)
Imagination made its new Series6XE GPU small enough for wearables and IoT applications. Also on deck are new PowerVR video encoders.
March 16, 2015
Intel Sofia Targets Low-Cost Phones (MPR/MCR)
The newly branded Atom x3 is Intel’s first integrated smartphone processor. The Atom x7 (Cherry Trail) for tablets improves graphics performance, but its CPU speed falls flat.
UltraScale+ Adopts 16nm FinFETs (NWR)
Xilinx has introduced Kintex and Virtex FPGA families, as well as a Zynq MPSoC, in an UltraScale+ architecture based on TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process. It also launched SDSoC, a compiler tool that eases Zynq development.
March 9, 2015
Qualcomm Bolsters Midrange for 2015 (MCR)
Qualcomm improved its midrange and low-end smartphone processors with the Snapdragon 620, 425, and 415, but its next high-end processor has slipped to 1H16.
Octeon Fusion-M Goes Macro (MPR/NWR)
Cavium has launched a new Octeon Fusion lineup that extends its integrated wireless-base-station processors to macrocells and supports more users than competing products.
MT8173 Brings Cortex-A72 to Tablets (MPR/MCR)
MediaTek is sampling one of the industry’s first Cortex-A72 processors, plus it added CDMA to extend its smartphone lineup for 2015.
Cadence HiFi 4 Creates 3D Sound (MPR)
Extending Cadence’s family of licensable audio DSP cores, HiFi 4 can process complex object-based surround-sound algorithms such as Dolby Atmos and DTS-X.
March 2, 2015
EZchip’s Tile-MX Grows 100 ARMs (MPR/NWR)
The Tile-Mx100 is an ARMv8 processor with 100 coherent CPU cores as well as packet accelerators and high-speed I/O interfaces for 100Gbps networking applications.
Spreadtrum Nears RDA Merger (MCR)
Rising low-end shipments helped boost Spreadtrum’s revenue as it prepares to merge with RDA, but the company hopes new LTE chips will improve its average selling price.
February 23, 2015
AMD Unearths Excavator CPU (MPR)
Using the new Excavator CPU, AMD’s Carrizo processor delivers more performance and features than its predecessor, despite sticking with 28nm technology. Carrizo-L extends the line downward.
CoreMark-Pro Tests Embedded Mettle (MPR)
EEMBC’s new CoreMark-Pro effectively characterizes the performance of CPU cores that serve in general-purpose embedded systems and run mostly C-based applications.
Honey, I Shrunk the FPGA (MCR)
Lattice’s new Ice40 UltraLite FPGA competes with QuickLogic’s PolarPro 3, providing a tiny, inexpensive programmable-logic chip for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Intel Becomes #2 in Broadband ICs (NWR)
The pending acquisition of Lantiq will scale Intel’s broadband business primarily by adding DSL chipsets. It also signals that Intel views home gateways as strategic.
February 16, 2015
Cortex-A72 Takes Big Step Forward (MPR)
ARM has taken some of the wraps off its next-generation 64-bit CPU, code-named Maia. The new Cortex-A72 outperforms Cortex-A57 by about 30%.
FPGAs Target Remote Radio Heads (NWR)
Remote radio heads, already a favored implementation for macrocells, are finding a new role in small cells as part of the cloud RAN. FPGAs could play an important part.
GC7000 Goes for GPU Gold (MPR/MCR)
Vivante is making its strongest push into the big leagues by introducing the GC7000 line, a complete top-to-bottom upgrade of its GPU lineup.
Editorial: PCs Get Thinner, Dumber (MPR)
Intel is pushing PC makers toward its premium low-power processors, but instead of spending more money, they are choosing slower processors.
February 9, 2015
Kalray Clusters Calculate Quickly (MPR/NWR)
A little-known company has packed 256 VLIW CPUs onto a chip to deliver industry-leading performance per watt and impressive packet-processing performance.
Huawei Aims for Midrange Phones (MCR)
Huawei’s first 64-bit processor, the Kirin 620, targets smartphones costing as little as $130. The chip combines eight Cortex-A53 CPUs with a Category 4 LTE baseband.
MT2601 Targets Android Wear (MPR)
The MT2601 is MediaTek’s first processor targeted at wearable devices that run Google’s Android Wear operating system.
February 2, 2015
Cortex-A57 Is Most Efficient CPU (MPR/MCR)
Tearing down the leading mobile processors shows that Cortex-A57 is on target, Cortex-A53 is not, and brawny CPUs from Apple and Nvidia cost more but lead in performance.
CES Sees New MU-MIMO Chipsets (NWR)
Anticipating OEMs’ rush to offer 802.11ac Wave 2 access points, Wi-Fi chipset vendors touted their next-generation MU-MIMO platforms at the recent Consumer Electronics Show.
Foundries Find FinFETs at 14nm (MPR/NWR/MCR)
Everything changes at 14nm, including the transistor architecture and which foundries are leading the way in this technology transition. Hint: TSMC is not.
January 26, 2015
Broadwell Comes to Notebooks (MPR)
Intel introduced the first mainstream Broadwell processors, targeting notebook PCs, indicating that its 14nm technology is now in full production. Cherry Trail is soon to follow.
Tegra Tops Mobile-GPU Teardowns (MCR)
We tear down some leading application processors to find out which mobile GPU offers the best blend of performance and efficiency.
Editorial: Broadcom Hits the Brakes (MPR/NWR)
After a decade of aggressive growth, Broadcom is retooling for a slower pace and is focusing on adjacent markets. The company will remain a leader, but it risks missing or being late to emerging markets.
Allwinner Offers More Dollar Deals (MPR)
Allwinner’s newest bargain products are two new quad-CPU devices: the Cortex-A7-powered H3 and the A64, the company’s first 64-bit processor integrating Cortex-A53.
January 19, 2015
Tegra X1 Doubles GPU Performance (MPR/MCR)
Nvidia’s first 20nm device, the new Tegra X1 mobile processor, adds a Maxwell GPU, 64-bit Cortex-A57 CPUs, and more memory bandwidth.
Analysts’ Choice Winners for 2014 (MPR/NWR/MCR)
The Linley Group recognizes 2014’s top products in the categories of embedded processors, mobile processors, PC/server processors, and processor IP. And the winners are…
Broadcom Releases OpenFlow Software (NWR)
The newest release of Broadcom’s OpenFlow Data Path Abstraction (OF-DPA) software uses the Open Networking Foundation’s table-type patterns to ease application development on Broadcom switches.
January 12, 2015
Year in Review: Imagination Renews Battle With ARM (MPR/MCR)
For the processor-IP industry, the past year’s most anticipated event was the arrival of the first production devices integrating 64-bit ARM CPU cores.
Year in Review: Data-Center Networks Outpace Others (NWR)
Last year saw 28nm technology finally reach Ethernet chips, whereas the first 20nm FPGAs reached production. Intel will be the vendor to watch in 2015 as it introduces several new products targeting data centers.
January 5, 2015
Year in Review: New Competitors Challenge Xeon (MPR)
The past year saw the first 64-bit ARM server processors enter production, along with IBM’s Power8, which is now a merchant processor. Intel must fend off these new challengers to maintain its server dominance.
Packet Architects Synthesizes Switches (NWR)
A Swedish startup has developed a high-level synthesis tool paired with a configurable switch intellectual-property (IP) core targeted at FPGAs and ASIC/SoC designs.
Broadcom Merges GNSS, Sensor Hub (MCR)
Targeting smartphones and fitness bands, Broadcom adds Galileo satellite support and sensor-hub capability to its popular GPS chip.