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Current Articles

July 22, 2019

  • CXL Enters Coherent-Accelerator War
    The Intel-developed interconnect targets data-center accelerators including GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. CXL competes directly with CCIX and OpenCAPI, which came earlier but garnered few chip designs.
  • Qualcomm Upgrades Low-End Phones
    Qualcomm’s new 215 mobile platform targets smartphones costing $75 to $125 in emerging markets. The entry-level chipset now has 64-bit CPUs, 802.11ac, NFC, dual ISPs, and support for two SIMs.

July 15, 2019

  • Rockchip Accelerates AI for IoT
    Rockchip’s new RK1808 is a neural-network processor designed for IoT and similar low-power devices. The RK3399Pro is an upgraded version of the RK3399, which the company previously supplied for Google Chromebooks.
  • ST’s Speed-Demon MCUs
    STMicroelectronics is shipping exceptionally fast microcontrollers that can reach 480MHz. The new dual-core STM32H7 MCUs add a Cortex-M4F to assist the Cortex-M7 main CPU. 
  • Editorial: Deal Fever Hits Comms Semis
    Networking chips have seen a recent acquisition flurry. Unlike previous scale-driven deals, most of this activity has been more strategic—it reflects portfolio expansion rather than simple market consolidation.

July 8, 2019

  • AMD Navi Debuts RDNA Architecture
    RDNA is AMD’s first major new graphics architecture in seven years. Its first incarnation is the gaming-focused Radeon RX 5700-series, implementing a new programming model and a comprehensive set of upgrades.
  • Mali-G76 GPU Boosts Area Efficiency
    Arm touted a 30% improvement in performance per unit area for its Mali-G76 design, but our analysis of the initial G76-based products reveals nearly a 40% gain.
  • Microchip Brings FlexE to Routers
    Microchip has elevated the former-Microsemi Meta line from the shadow of Digi OTN products to purpose-built Ethernet PHYs. The 1.2Tbps Meta-DX1 family handles 400G Ethernet combined with advanced features.

July 1, 2019

  • Zen 2 Boosts Ryzen Performance
    AMD’s new PC processors are based on the 7nm Matisse design, which includes the new Zen 2 microarchitecture. They outperform comparable Intel products on multithreaded benchmarks.
  • Aspinity Detects Voice in Analog Nets
    Aspinity’s Reconfigurable Analog Modular Processor (Ramp) provides always-on capability in low-power voice-activated devices, drawing just 10 microamps during active operation.
  • Intel Refreshes Xeon E Family
    Intel’s new Xeon E-2200 processors refresh the E-2100 series, targeting desktop and mobile workstations and small-office servers. A few embedded models offer lower power and longer availability.

June 24, 2019

  • Broadcom Samples Trident 4 Switch
    Broadcom’s first 7nm switch chip is also its first to offer compiler programmability. It marks the debut of the company’s Network Programming Language (NPL).
  • Hailo Illuminates Low-Power AI Chip
    Israeli startup Hailo is entering the highly competitive AI inference-engine market with a chip that runs the entire ResNet-50 neural network using only on-chip SRAM and consuming just 1.5W.
  • Knowles Adds AI to IA8201
    The IA8201 adds a midrange audio processor to the Knowles AISonic line, which includes neural-network functions for voice recognition in smart speakers, appliances, and other consumer gear.
  • Unisoc Launches Tiger T310
    The Tiger 310 is the first low-cost smartphone processor to include a big CPU to boost performance, helping the four-core design compete against eight-core products.

June 17, 2019

  • Habana Offers Gaudi for AI Training
    The startup expects its second AI chip to deliver better performance than Nvidia’s V100 GPU at half the operating power. It plans to sample Gaudi-based cards and systems this year.
  • MediaTek AI Engine Earns Top Marks
    The Helio P90 integrates a custom deep-learning accelerator, enabling it to take the top spot on the new AI Benchmark. MediaTek’s forthcoming 5G SoC will feature an enhanced version of this accelerator.
  • Silicon Labs Upgrades Wireless MCUs
    New Wireless Gecko Series 2 microcontrollers for IoT offer stronger security, enhanced radios, and Arm Cortex-A33 CPUs. These EFR32-series chips also feature the smallest packages in their class.

June 10, 2019

  • DSP-IP Vendors Target 3D Navigation
    DSPs are well suited to simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). Cadence’s new Vision Q7 improves SLAM performance, and Ceva is also offering a new SLAM SDK that works with its DSPs. 
  • Editorial: AI Needs Flexibility…For Now
    AI accelerators must handle the myriad types of neural networks available now and in the future, but over time, chip designers will focus on efficiently executing a smaller set of models.

June 3, 2019

  • Arm Mali-G77 Goes to Valhall
    Arm’s new Mali-G77 GPU boosts area and power efficiency by 30% and machine-learning performance by 60%. The new Mali-D77 display unit includes features that target VR headsets.
  • Achronix Debuts FPGAs for AI
    The new Speedster7t FPGA family from Achronix competes with Intel and Xilinx by offering faster DSP blocks optimized for machine learning, optional GDDR6 memory, 400G Ethernet, PCI Express Gen5, and novel internal routing.
  • Arm CPUs Approach Intel Complexity
    Our die-photo analysis reveals that the largest Arm-compatible CPUs, such as the Samsung M4, consume up to 70% of the area of the Intel Skylake CPU after adjusting for IC-process differences.

May 27, 2019

  • Cortex-A77 Improves IPC
    Arm’s next-generation big core offers more per-clock performance than Cortex-A76 by increasing the reorder window and by adding two new function units and a level-zero cache.
  • Arm Machine-Learning Core Scales Up
    Arm’s machine-learning processor core is now available for general licensing, although it has yet to receive a brand name such as Cortex or Mali. A single core delivers up to four trillion operations per second. 
  • Xilinx Enters Smart-NIC Market
    With its $400 million acquisition of Solarflare, Xilinx is bringing important server-networking intellectual property in house. The move enables it to offer FPGA-based network interface cards.

May 20, 2019

  • EUV Processes Reach Mass Production
    After many years of research, semiconductor foundries finally in 1Q19 brought extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography to production, as Samsung and TSMC delivered 7nm wafers using that technology.
  • Lattice Lessens Power With SensAI
    Lattice offers SensAI RTL for its low-power Ice40 and ECP5 FPGAs that enable them to perform image recognition using neural networks while consuming as little as 10mW.
  • Ambarella Expands Vision to ADAS
    Using its experience in video processing, Ambarella has developed the new CV2-series chips for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that employ custom logic for machine learning and image processing.

May 13, 2019

  • Tesla Rolls Its Own Self-Driving Chip
    By building a custom ASIC that delivers up to 74 trillion operations per second (TOPS) of neural-network acceleration, Tesla set a new high-performance mark for autonomous-driving processors.
  • Intel Warms Up Coffee Lake
    A broad line of 9th Generation processors exhibits only minor improvements over previous Coffee Lake parts. A leaked PC roadmap relies mainly on 14nm chips through 2020.
  • Huawei Ascends in AI Accelerators
    Huawei is shipping the first deep-learning accelerators based on its in-house Ascend 310 chip. These Atlas modules target smart cameras and edge compute with up to 64 TOPS of peak performance.

May 6, 2019

  • Fabu Aims to Deliver ADAS Processors
    The autonomous-vehicle-technology startup is preparing to tape out a Level 3 ADAS processor that integrates a 5.5-TOPS inference engine. It targets cameras, lidar, and radar sensors.
  • AMD Accelerates Ryzen Embedded
    The new dual-core Ryzen Embedded R1000 processors, now sampling, improve CPU throughput, graphics performance, and Ethernet connectivity at the same power as the current V1000 models.
  • Editorial: Apple Shuffles 5G Landscape
    Qualcomm won a major victory by settling its long-running legal feud with Apple and forcing Intel out of the modem market. But Apple may have the last laugh.

April 29, 2019

  • Marvell Brings 400GbE to Enterprises
    Marvell’s new Prestera CX 8500 family upgrades the company’s Ethernet switching portfolio with 400Gbps Ethernet and PAM4-based network interfaces, scaling from 2.0Tbps to 12.8Tbps.
  • Qualcomm Advances Into AI Chips
    Taking another run at the lucrative data-center market, Qualcomm disclosed plans to offer the Cloud AI 100, an AI-inference accelerator for servers, and claimed industry-leading performance per watt.
  • Cortus FPS69V Uses 64-Bit RISC-V
    Cortus has added five new CPUs to its RISC-V lineup, ranging from the tiny APS1V to its first multicore and 64-bit designs. All except the FPS69V are already in production.

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