Processor Conference 2014
Focuses on processors for networking and communications applications
October 22 - 23, 2014 - Save the Date!
Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA
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.
June 16, 2014
Rockchip Steps Up Its Game (MPR/MCR)
The RK3288 is the first production device to integrate Cortex-A17 CPUs. Rockchip hopes the new application processor will help it move up to high-end tablets.
AMD Steamrolls PCs and Embedded (MPR)
AMD has revamped its notebook and embedded processors using its Steamroller CPU and GCN GPU, which offer significantly greater performance than their predecessors.
Editorial: White Boxes Unlock Switching (NWR)
A growing software ecosystem for bare-metal 10G/40G Ethernet switches promises to open white-box networking to a broader set of data-center operators.
Intel Cuts Tablet Deal With Rockchip (MCR)
Intel will collaborate with Rockchip, a leading vendor of ARM-based tablet processors, to create a quad-core x86 tablet processor that both companies will sell.
Synopsys Floats New ARC DSPs (MPR)
The ARCv2DSP ISA brings more than 100 DSP instructions, complemented by optional hardware accelerators, to the ARC EM series, the tiniest licensable CPUs from Synopsys.
June 9, 2014
ThunderX Rattles Server Market (MPR)
With its forthcoming 48-core ARMv8 server processor, Cavium is ready to take on Xeon E5 at the heart of the dual-socket server market.
Compass-EOS Lights Up Routers (NWR)
Compass-EOS has invented a chip that packs more I/O bandwidth than any other device. Using this chip, it has developed unique routers that are being deployed by Tier One operators.
Wireless Charging Resonates (MCR)
Broadcom has shipped a wireless-power receiver chip for multiple standards, but the battle between the Powermat, Qi, and Rezence standards is just starting to heat up.
June 2, 2014
Marvell's Armada Reaches 28nm (MPR/NWR)
Marvell's new dual-core Armada 385 and single-core Armada 380 are the first Armada-family processors manufactured in 28nm high-k metal-gate (HKMG) technology. Their 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores are the fastest in the Armada 300 series.
Andes Adds Configurability (MPR/MCR)
Like Tensilica and others, Andes now offers its customers the ability to add custom instructions and logic to its licensable CPUs, delivering big performance and power-efficiency improvements.
Altera Hardens Floating-Point DSP (MPR/NWR)
Altera is offering the FPGA industry's first hard DSP blocks with floating-point capability in both the current 20nm Arria 10 and the upcoming 14nm Stratix 10.
May 26, 2014
Transactional Memory Accelerates (MPR)
Transactional memory is a promising technique that can greatly improve performance in systems with many CPUs and threads. Initial implementations from IBM and Intel set the stage for broad adoption.
CMOS Moves to the RF Front End (MCR)
By combining devices built in more-analog-friendly CMOS processes with the advanced digital capabilities of mobile processors, engineers are finding ways to reduce costs while increasing the flexibility of mobile devices.
XLP Automates Packet Processing (MPR/NWR)
Offloading the main CPU cores, Broadcom's XLP processors perform fully autonomous packet processing, delivering scalability and wire-rate performance in networking and communications applications.
Kinetis Microcontrollers Climb K2 (MPR)
In the biggest expansion of its microcontroller lineup in four years, Freescale rolled out second-generation Kinetis products that add new features, expand memory capacity, and reduce power.