November 23, 2015
Intel’s FM10000 Is a Switch, Controller (NWR)
Intel has introduced its unique Red Rock Canyon chip in three distinct versions that span switch, controller, and hybrid controller/switch use cases.
Kirin 950 Takes Performance Lead (MPR/MCR)
HiSilicon’s latest custom processor is poised to be the first Cortex-A72 device to ship in a smartphone (the Huawei Mate 8), exceeding the performance of current-generation phones.
November 16, 2015
Cortex-A35 Extends Low End (MPR/MCR)
The new Cortex-A35 is ARM’s smallest and most power-efficient 64-bit design. It will serve as the “little” core in smartphone processors and also in embedded and IoT applications.
ARM Dons Thicker Armor (MPR)
ARMv8-M is a new subset of the ARMv8 architecture that’s optimized for future Cortex-M CPUs. It improves TrustZone security and supports the new Amba 5 AHB5 bus.
PMC Doubles Router OTN Density (NWR)
PMC-Sierra’s latest combined OTN/Ethernet PHY for routers, the Meta 240G, doubles the port density of its predecessor and adds AES-256 encryption features from the company’s optical-transport-specific Digi line.
November 9, 2015
Qualcomm Serves a Teaser (MPR)
Qualcomm’s first server processor is a prototype that includes 24 custom ARM CPUs, representing a credible first step toward mainstream server products expected in 2017.
5G Aims to Connect Everything (NWR/MCR)
Work has already begun on the 5G cellular standard, which will improve data rates, reduce the cost of IoT devices, and accelerate the deployment of small cells.
Marvell Debuts 1Gbps Automotive PHY (NWR)
Marvell has jumped ahead of the IEEE 802.3 committee’s nascent single-pair 1000Base-T1 standard by sampling a physical-layer device intended for 1Gbps in-car networks.
VeriSilicon Adds Vivante to IP Mix (MPR)
The last standalone company offering GPU cores is no more, as VeriSilicon expands its IP portfolio beyond DSPs.
ARM CoreLink Snoops Six Aces (MPR)
To increase data-transfer bandwidth in high-performance processors, ARM has introduced a new CoreLink cache-coherent interconnect (CCI-500) and memory controller (DMC-500).
November 2, 2015
AMD Embeds Carrizo (MPR)
AMD’s Embedded R-Series processors improve integration and performance but still struggle to match the power efficiency of Intel’s embedded Atom processors.
Editorial: No Synergy? No Problem (NWR)
The new model for semiconductor mergers is to combine dissimilar product portfolios. This approach is more innovative than the dying like-swallowing-like model, but it’s more challenging than many companies anticipate.
Mali-470 GPU Targets Wearables, IoT (MCR)
Purpose-built for ultralow-power designs, the Mali-470 will reshape the wearable landscape, extending practical battery life while maintaining performance.
October 26, 2015
Marvell MoChi Changes SoCs (MPR/NWR)
The AP806 and Armada A3700 are Marvell’s first embedded processors to implement its new MoChi scheme, which allows designers to easily add processing engines and I/O chips.
Sarda Delivers Granular Power (MPR/MCR)
After Intel removed its integrated voltage regulator from Skylake PC processors, startup Sarda hopes to capitalize by offering GaAs voltage regulators with a low profile and fast switching.
Editorial: Self-Driving Cars Accelerate (MPR)
Powerful new video processors (VPUs) support deep learning from data collected in real road tests and simulations, accelerating the development of autonomous vehicles.
MoSys Gearbox Expands 100G Options (NWR)
The MoSys LineSpeed family has expanded with the new MSH321, which supports the OIF’s Multi-Link Gearbox 1.0 and 2.0 standards, and the MSH221 100Gbps retimer for optical modules.
Marvell Exits Smartphones (MCR)
A long time coming, Marvell’s decision to exit the mobile market leaves almost the entire smartphone-processor supply in the hands of three large vendors.
Ceva Enables Deep Learning (MPR)
Ceva’s deep-learning neural-network (CDNN) framework enables designers to build embedded computer-vision applications optimized for the company’s XM4 DSP.
October 19, 2015
Skylake Scales Graphics, Fixes Media (MPR)
In an attempt to displace discrete GPUs, Intel increased the graphics performance of its Gen9 GPU by 40–50%, finally achieving 1Tflops of single-precision compute capability.
LoRa Alliance Drives Low-Power WAN (NWR)
Founded by Semtech and several chip, module, and OEM companies, the LoRa Alliance is promoting a low-power long-range IoT WAN for linking sensors to gateways.
TI Sitara Chips Sprout DSPs (MPR)
Texas Instruments brings DSP cores to the Sitara family for the first time with its new AM57x processors, which also boost general-purpose performance using 1.5GHz Cortex-A15 CPUs.
iPhone 7 Dials 411 for InFo (MCR)
A new packaging technology has helped TSMC win more of Apple’s business. A variant of wafer-level packaging (WLFO), InFo reduces package height and improves performance.
EZchip Gives Mellanox Brains (NWR)
Although Mellanox says its purchase of EZchip will be immediately accretive, the deal appears more forward looking than most recent semiconductor-industry acquisitions.
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.