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Analysts’ Choice Winners for 2018

January 22, 2019

Author: The Linley Group

To recognize the top semiconductor offerings, The Linley Group presents its 2018 Analysts’ Choice Awards. This year’s winner for Best Embedded Processor is Intel’s Myriad X. It adds video and crypto accelerators along with the Neural Compute Engine, which boosts AI performance to one trillion operations per second (TOPS). The design consumes a mere 2.5W (typical), suiting it for embedded, IoT, and mobile systems.

The open-source NVDLA wins our Best Processor IP Award. The NVDLA stands out for its technical features, which include configurable hardware for all neural-network layers, a choice of integer and floating-point data types, tensor-processing functions, and weight-compression algorithms. We chose Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710 as Best Mobile Processor. It was the industry’s first product employing two big CPUs and six little ones. At its release, it boasted a significant lead over other mid-premium designs in graphics performance, LTE data rates, and Wi-Fi data rates.

We picked the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC as Best Networking Chip. This unique design represents a new class of FPGAs that boost integration by including high-performance analog-to-digital converters (ADCs). In communications, the Xilinx chip serves in remote radio heads for wireless infrastructure as well as in cable modems for wired broadband.

For Best Server Processor, we chose Nvidia’s Tesla T4. Based on the Turing architecture, the T4 features 320 tensor cores that can each multiply two 4x8 matrices in a single cycle. The accelerator card delivers about 3x better AI performance per watt than its predecessor, the Tesla P4, and about 20x better than the Skylake-SP processors from Intel. TSMC wins our Best Technology Award for its 7nm FinFET process. The company not only beat other foundries to this node but also for the first time surpassed Intel, once the unchallenged industry leader, putting TSMC more than a year ahead of all competitors.

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