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Current Articles

October 3, 2022

  • Raptor Lake Adds Little Cores
    Despite a short design cycle, Intel boosted the performance of its 13th Generation Core processor by up to 15% over the previous generation through higher clock speeds and more “efficiency” cores.
  • AMD Zen 4 Adds AVX-512
    Zen 4 increases IPC and runs much faster than Zen 3 owing to optimized circuits, a process shrink, bigger buffers, deeper queues, and a larger micro-op cache.
  • New SiFive CPUs Hit the Road
    SiFive has entered the automotive market, offering small embedded and application cores for ASIL B and ASIL D systems.

September 26, 2022

  • Snapdragon 6 Boosts Graphics and AI
    Qualcomm updated its Snapdragon 6 and 4 lines, moving to a new process, improving performance, and selectively adding features. The new nomenclature aligns with the 7- and 8-series.
  • Hopper, Startups Debut MLPerf Scores
    The MLPerf 2.1 inference release includes preliminary results that put Nvidia’s Hopper H100 in the performance lead. Asian startups Biren and Sapeon also made impressive debuts.

September 19, 2022

  • Updated Trident 4 Monitors Connections
    Broadcom has added a network-scanning engine to its 12.8Tbps Trident 4 Ethernet switch. Capable of fingerprinting every packet, the engine improves network security.
  • Cerebras Dives Into WSE Architecture
    The startup disclosed new details about how its tiny cores deliver tremendous performance and how its sparsity support boosts performance when training large AI models.
  • CXL 3.0 Opens New Use Cases
    The newly unveiled CXL 3.0 introduces memory sharing, direct device peer-to-peer memory access without involving a host, and multilevel switching. A new global fabric-attached memory can be shared by 4,096 hosts.

September 12, 2022

  • Nvidia Grace Supports AI Acceleration
    To tackle the largest AI models, Nvidia has designed a processor to feed its powerful new Hopper GPU. Grace has twice the memory bandwidth of any x86 processor and can hold GPT-3 in DRAM.
  • Lightmatter Connects Chiplets Optically
    Lightmatter’s Passage substrate is an active photonic interposer for interconnecting chiplets. All the photonic components and supporting electrical circuits reside in a single multi-reticle piece of silicon.

September 5, 2022

  • Intel PC Processors Move to Chiplets
    Meteor Lake will introduce a multidie arrangement using Intel’s silicon-substrate and advanced packaging technologies. This chiplet approach will appear across all PC price tiers beginning late next year.
  • Biren GPGPU Aims for the Clouds
    In the data-center accelerator race, the three-year-old startup has burst from the gate with a chiplet-based design that aims to compete with Nvidia for general-purpose-GPU (GPGPU) cloud computing.
  • Grai Matter Pivots to Floating Point
    The startup has made progress on its Grai VIP deep-learning accelerator, changing native processing from INT8 to FP16 and adding audio workloads to its target applications.

August 29, 2022

  • Untether Boqueria Targets AI Lead
    The startup’s unique at-memory architecture targets an eye-popping 30 teraflop/s per watt and 12,000 teraflop/s in a single card. The second-generation chip is due to sample in 1H23.
  • Editorial: MCUs Moving to RISC-V
    Renesas has introduced the first embedded processor with a user-programmable RISC-V CPU. Chinese processors are already adopting RISC-V; more will follow in a direct challenge to Arm.

August 22, 2022

  • Tomahawk 5 Switches at 51.2Tbps
    Broadcom is the first vendor to sample a 51Tbps data-center switch chip. The 5nm device features 100Gbps serdes and port speeds of up to 800G Ethernet.
  • Cognifiber Targets Purely Photonic AI
    The Israeli startup has built a proof-of-concept system for a simple optical neural network, but it will require additional effort to handle commercial AI models.
  • Functional Safety Moves to Chips
    Functional safety affects an increasing number of chip and IP designs. Vendors are precertifying chips, IP, and tools to make it easier for their customers to achieve certification.

August 15, 2022

  • Google’s Tensor DLA Lags in Area, Speed
    Among flagship-smartphone processors, Google’s first custom design has the largest AI engine but the worst AI performance. In contrast, the Dimensity 9000’s AI engine is the most efficient.
  • TI AM625 Updates Industrial SoCs
    TI has updated its low-cost SoC family with 64-bit CPUs, lower power, and improved security and functional-safety support, enabling it to target automotive as well as industrial applications.
  • Intel Finally Gives Up on Optane
    Intel and Micron have developed a revolutionary new memory technology called 3D XPoint, but under the Optane brand it never met expectations as either an SSD or DIMM replacement.

August 8, 2022

  • Qualcomm Leaps Forward With W5+
    Qualcomm has updated its smartwatch platform with new chip designs. Reduced power enables a visible watch face even when idle; reduced chipset area enables smartwatches that operate globally.
  • Apple Loses GPU-Performance Lead
    Our die-photo analysis reveals that Samsung devoted too little area to its AMD-powered GPU, contributing to its performance shortfall. MediaTek and Intel both outperform the latest Apple chip.
  • Intel Shines Light on Copackaged Optics
    Intel’s eight-laser silicon-photonics research chip could be a breakthrough for copackaged optics. It places the laser array on a silicon chip that can eventually be integrated in the package.

August 1, 2022

  • MediaTek Delivers Efficient Cortex-X2
    Our die-photo analysis reveals that the Dimensity 9000 features the smallest Cortex-X2 design, but Apple’s Avalanche CPU still leads in performance and power efficiency.
  • Enlightra Team Demos Photonic AI Engine
    A research team led by Enlightra’s founders demonstrated a new method of photonic AI inference that is smaller than earlier photonics implementations. Using photonics also provides opportunities for resource sharing that aren’t available with electronics.
  • Editorial: OEMs Lack Good Value Options
    Overly cautious about rising development costs and risk, vendors aren’t refreshing their lower-cost processors, hurting themselves and customers. They must consider business cases other than merely chasing the biggest customers.

July 25, 2022

  • Editorial: Nanometer Nonsense
    Both leading foundries allowed customers to claim they were using a 4nm process when, in fact, they were using 5nm technology. This situation renders node names meaningless.
  • MCX Unifies NXP Microcontrollers
    NXP is unifying its microcontroller offering with the new MCX family. Although this doesn’t indicate the end of the older families, it will be the focus for new designs that need modern features.
  • Cadence Cuts ConnX Costs
    New ConnX 110 and 120 DSP cores upgrade the company’s BBE DSPs and are compatible with the higher-performance ConnX B10 and B20. They target wireless communications, radar, and lidar.

July 18, 2022

  • Imagination Launches RISC-V Core
    Imagination Technologies has unveiled its first Catapult family member. Based on the RISC-V architecture, the CPU core targets real-time applications, putting Cortex-R52 in its sights.
  • Gaudi2 Makes Impressive MLPerf Debut
    In the latest round of MLPerf Training results, Graphcore’s Bow offers a modest improvement and Habana’s Gaudi2 triples performance over its predecessor, vaulting past Nvidia’s A100 on one benchmark.
  • RISC-V Extension Eliminates Division
    RISC-V International, the governing body of the open-standard instruction set, recently approved four new specifications that address multiplication, bootloaders, and debugging, reducing the gap with Arm.

July 11, 2022

  • AlphaICs Joins Crowded Edge-AI Market
    AlphaICs is sampling a test version of its Gluon edge-inference accelerator chip. Given moderate performance, the company plans changes to improve the production version, with an architectural overhaul planned for the second generation.
  • Intel 10nm Processors Target Comms
    New Intel Atom processors have 4 to 24 CPUs and target enterprise networking and SMB storage. They extend the Snow Ridge product line and largely replace the Denverton family.
  • Dimensity 9000 Now Available in Plus Size
    MediaTek and Qualcomm announced midlife kickers for their premium-smartphone processors, delivering the Dimensity 9000+ and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, respectively, and showing that not all 4nm processes are the same.

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