Linley Newsletter — Analysis of microprocessor and semiconductor developments

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Most Recent | Archive: 2022   |   2021   |   2020

  September 27, 2022   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 27, 2022   Ryzen 7000 Upgrades to Zen 4 and 5nm
AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series processors for high-end desktops employ the new Zen 4 CPU to achieve greater performance and power efficiency.
  September 27, 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.
  September 20, 2022   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.
  September 20, 2022   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 20, 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.
  September 13, 2022   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 13, 2022   MediaTek T830 Accelerates 5G Broadband
To capitalize on growing adoption of 5G cellular for broadband access, MediaTek has boosted the throughput of its fixed-wireless-access chipset.
  September 13, 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.
  September 6, 2022   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.
  September 6, 2022   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.
  September 6, 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.
  August 30, 2022   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 30, 2022   ST BlueNRG Tracks People and Assets
ST’s newest BlueNRG microcontroller targets location services and reduces cost.
  August 30, 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.
  August 23, 2022   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.
  August 23, 2022   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 23, 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.
  August 16, 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.
  August 16, 2022   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 16, 2022   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.
  August 9, 2022   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.
  August 9, 2022   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 9, 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.
  August 2, 2022   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.
  August 2, 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.
  August 2, 2022   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 26, 2022   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 26, 2022   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.
  July 26, 2022   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.
  July 19, 2022   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.
  July 19, 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.
  July 19, 2022   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 12, 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.
  July 12, 2022   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.
  July 12, 2022   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.
  July 5, 2022   Arm G715 GPU Catches Some Rays
Ray tracing in smartphones takes a big step with Arm’s new Immortalis-G715 GPU, while the Mali-G715 version brings new features and better performance to mainstream devices.
  July 5, 2022   Cortex-X3 Powers Up
Arm’s new Makalu CPUs, branded Cortex-X3 and Cortex-A715, deliver performance and power-efficiency gains, respectively. The IP vendor also updated Cortex-A510 and the DSU-110.
  July 5, 2022   Enlightra Prunes Lasers From WDM
The startup’s technology can create a hundred optical data carriers from a single laser, greatly reducing the cost and power of high-bandwidth optical links that use wavelength-division multiplexing.

Most Recent | Archive: 2022   |   2021   |   2020


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