Apple is going to be putting AMD’s Polaris under the bonnet of its much needed iMac refresh.
According to Headlines & Global News in October the fruity tax-dodger is going to announce that its iMac is going to be refreshed after four years and will be finally dragged kicking and screaming into 2016.
AMD will be supplying the Radeon 400 Series Polaris graphics processing units which apparently will be in a powerful enough flavour to run Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology.
LG will supply 5K resolution monitors. Thus, this information further hinted that iMac 2016 will most likely be suited for gaming, if they can find anyone who writes for the comedy iOS software.
There is still an unknown as to what the CPU would be. All the original rumors had suggested that Apple had signed up for Kaby Lake. This made sense when Intel was likely to beat AMD Zen to market.
Since then, Intel has had a few delays on Kaby Lake and if Apple is going to use it, the iMac will have to be delayed until next year. This time table does not sit well with an October announcement. AMD is not likely to have Zen ready for it either, so this means that if Apple wants to launch in October then it will have to use the far more pedestrian and less interesting Intel Skylake.
Vega 10 is coming next year and it seems that it will be faster than the P100 card. P100 (21.2 TFlops) is a supercomputer part and has much higher theoretical performance than GP102 (10.97 TFlops). According to the raw numbers, AMD Vega 10 with 24Tflops, Vega 10 will significantly outperform Geforce Titan X.
Thanks to our well informed and reliable friends, Fudzilla has learned that you can expect as much as 24 TFlops of half precision performance and 12 TFlops of single precision performance. Both half precision and single precision numbers are higher than Nvidia scores with Pascal P100, its highest end Tesla chip.
Earlier we learned that HBM 2 won’t be really available before the end of the year and this is one of the main reasons why the Vega 10 had to be pushed to 2017. Nvidia announced the Tesla P100 but it always claimed that it plans to ship it in Q4 2016.
Bear in mind that the Titan X uses GDDR5X memory and scores significantly lower than the Tesla P100 and Titan X uses the GP102 chip that packs 12 billion transitions, while the P100 has 15.3 billion.
It is safe to say that Vega 10 will be rather a big chip and it gives you the idea that in case that Volta is not ready to launch in time to compete with Vega 10, Nvidia could have another Titan card based on the P100 with HBM 2 memory up its sleeves.
AMD is working hard to return on all fronts. The Polaris generation is a decent competitor in the mainstream market but it cannot really touch Nvidia in the high end sector. This might change with Vega 10 and it will make AMD / RTG a bit more competitive.
The Vega 10 includes 16GB of HBM 2 memory.
AMD has been on the blower to point out that figures from Mercury and Jon Peddie Research, show that it has been growing market share for the fourth consecutive quarter.
A spokesman for AMD said that for the last nine months, AMD has got its mojo back through its Radeon Technologies Group. During that time, the company has made significant investments in hardware, marketing, and software for the graphics line-up leading to four straight quarters of market share growth.
Mercury Research said that AMD gained three points of unit volume share in Q1 2016. The Mercury Research and Jon Peddie Research market share data for Q2 2016 shows AMD seeing its fourth consecutive quarter of desktop discrete GPU share growth, driven by AMD’s strongest quarter of channel GPU sales since 2015 and the commencement of shipping of the next generation Polaris GPUs.
In total discrete graphics, AMD gained 4.8 share points to 34.2 per cent of market by unit volume (based on Mercury Research). In desktop discrete sector, AMD saw a 7.3 share point increase, rising to 29.9 per cent market share.
“This is another positive testament AMD’s strategy is working as the company drives forward towards “Vega” offerings for the enthusiast GPU market, which AMD expects to bring to market in 2017 to complement our current generation of “Polaris” products,” the spokesperson said.
“AMD believes it is well positioned to continue this trend in market share gains with the recently launched Radeon RX 480, 470, and 460 GPUs that bring leadership performance and features to the nearly 85 per cent of enthusiasts who buy a GPU priced between $100 and $300,” she added.
AMD CTO, Mark Papermaster, has told the world+dog that despite claims to the contrary Moore’s Law is not dead, it is getting better, and be going Vroom any day now.
Intel co-founder Gordon Moore said in 1965 that computing power would double every two years thanks to developments in technology over time leading to shrinking transistor sizes and while he has been right until now, Intel said it would move away from the prediction for the first time, shifting transistor size from two to 2.5 years.
Papermaster said that Moore’s Law is alive and well, and said only narrow-minded people think its evolution is just about transistor size.
“It’s not just about the transistor anymore; we can’t just have transistors improving every cycle. It does take semiconductor transistor improvements, but the elements that we do in design in architecture, and how we put solutions together, also keep in line with a Moore’s Law pace.
He said that AMD had adopted an idea called Moore’s Law Plus. This means you stay in a Moore’s Law pace of computing improvement. So you can keep in with a Moore’s Law cycle but you don’t rely on just semiconductor chips, you do it with a combination of other techniques.
These include design changes and how you architect those system solutions that will keep on the Moore’s Law pace.
You can mix and match combinations of CPU and GPU, other accelerators, different memory configurations, or how they are pieced together – there is room for lots of innovation at the next level.
I can’t remember how many times in the last 20 years that I’ve written up rumors that AMD is ripe for a takeover but now it seems it’s time to do it one more time.
This time the speculation is from the guys at Seeking Alpha – in a note to clients it suggests that it’s the magic X86 licences that could be the lure for a company with the financial muscle to make it go somewhere.
There aren’t that many of those around but the rumor mill mentions Qualcomm, Broadcom and Oracle as possible candidates.
There is, of course, the slight matter that Intel would no doubt spin up a legal challenge because it knows where it is with the AMD X86 licenses but might find itself losing that just like it lost it after AMD’s sale of its factories to GloFo.
Even more spectacularly, Seeking Alpha thinks that Intel could take over AMD but we can’t see that one being a goer.
Seeking Alpha doesn’t stop at Qualcomm, Broadcom, Oracle and Intel. It claims Microsoft, Samsung and even TSMC.
Heck, is it really going to happen? We’ve heard the rumors so many times before that perhaps it’s just that time of year.
MediaTek has some decent network products and Asus and Xiaomi have a few midrange routers based on its SoC (system on a chip). Now it looks likely that Microsoft’s One S will use two MediaTek SoCs for wireless connectivity.
It has been a while since IFIXIT tore apart the Xbox One S but no one really noticed that the wireless component of the console came from MediaTek.
The Xbox One S looks like a nice console, worth the investment and was a good design win for AMD as it has an AMD APU inside. There are two chips from MediaTek, inside – firstly, the MT7632TUN, which is probably a variation of the MT7632 wireless chip supporting 2×2 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 Module. It is interesting that Xbox uses a 2×2 MIMO approach as this will make the 801.11n wireless much faster than before.
The second chip is MediaTek’s MT7612UN which is likely a variant of 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO that will again make things much faster in the 5GHz band and getting closer to 1Gbps speeds with the ac.
MediaTek won some business with Amazon tablets last year, and adding Microsoft to its portfolio definitely means a lot for the company and boosts its wireless image.
Xbox One S should be available in the western part of Europe within the next three weeks and Amazon Germany claims to start shipping on the September 22. US customers can get one today and it starts at $269.99 for 500 GB + Halo bundle and it jumps to $349.99 Xbox One S 1TB Console – Madden NFL 17 Bundle or $359.99 for Xbox One S 2TB Console – Launch Edition.
Google is believed to be spending a small fortune getting content ready for the platform, particularly video games and apps, licensing sports leagues and shooting 360-degree videos.
Daydream is being hardwired into Android 7.0 which launched this week. Google says that Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Huawei, Xiaomi, Alcatel, Asus and LG had agreed to make “Daydream ready” smartphones.
Google wants the software to be the Android of VR. It will provide a VR platform and other outfits will create the hardware and its Android chums will configure their smartphones to run the beast. But while the product is nearly good to go, so far no one has put their hand up and said they will be making headsets specifically for the platform.
The VR market is getting crowded from Facebook, Sony, Samsung Electronics and HTC. However there are a limited number of apps and even fewer games. Sony’s Morpheus headset is tethered to its PlayStation video-game console, but Google is focused on lower quality mobile-based VR, whereby consumers snap their phones into a visor or headset. With the headset on, Daydream presents users with an array of apps, from YouTube to HBO Now.
While we were hoping to see it bundled with some recently launched Polaris-based graphics cards, it appears that AMD wants to give some love to those that decide to buy AMD’s FX-series CPUs.
To be available in most popular retail/e-tail stores, the bundle will include a copy of the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game with a purchase of a 6- or 8-core AMD FX CPU. According to details provided by AMD, the promotion will run from August 23rd to November 14th or until the supply lasts.
Currently, some of the hot AMD FX-series CPUs like the 6-core FX-6300 or 8-core FX-8320 are selling for as low as US $100 and US $130, so bundling a US $60 game sounds like a really good deal.
Hopefully, AMD will decide to bundle the game with some of its Polaris-based graphics cards after Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gets its DirectX 12 patch later in early September.
AMD has put TrueAudio Next onto Github as part of its LiquidVR SDK.
AMD is trying to tackle the same audio problems as targeted by Nvidia’s VRWorks Audio. The aim according to the brief is to:
“Create a scalable AMD technology that enables full real-time dynamic physics-based audio acoustics rendering, leveraging the powerful resources of AMD GPU Compute.”
In other words, it will give immersive audio alongside VR headsets and allow audio to catch up a bit with graphics.
Writing in the GPU Open blog, Carl Wakeland, a Fellow Design Engineer at AMD, said that the 2D screen had resulted in sound never really getting a look in. Some games had bought in 3D audio as a novelty but this could be a distraction. But head-mounted display “changes everything.”
AMD TrueAudio Next is a significant step towards making environmental sound rendering closer to real-world acoustics with the modelling of the physics that propagate sound – AKA auralisation.
The new AMD TrueAudio Next library is a high-performance, OpenCL-based real-time math acceleration library for audio, with special emphasis on GPU compute acceleration. But it is not perfect yet, although the fact it has real-time GPU compute backing it up it is pretty good, apparently.
Wakeland says that two primary algorithms need to be catered for – time-varying convolution (in the audio processing component) and ray-tracing (in the propagation component).
“On AMD Radeon GPUs, ray-tracing can be accelerated using AMD’s open-source FireRays library, and time-varying real-time convolution can be accelerated with the AMD TrueAudio Next library.”
AMD uses a new ‘CU Reservation’ feature to reserve some CUs for audio, as necessary, and the use of asynchronous compute.
Allwinner’s H8VR chipset could free VR headsets from being attached to smartphones or PCs. The H8VR can fit in a plastic or cardboard VR headset. It also has a CPU, 4K video-processing capabilities, memory and storage.
The H8VR is targeted at low-cost VR headsets. Allwinner’s chips are already being used in low-cost smartphones and tablets, and the company played a big role in driving down mobile-device prices. The H8VR could do the same for VR headsets.
One VR headset with the chip, the V3 All In One, is selling for $109.99 on Geekbuying’s website and is available for $129.99 on Aliexpress.
VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive need to be attached to PCs due to heavy computing and power requirements. Mobile devices can also be plugged into headsets for VR.
Top chip makers aren’t developing specialized processors for independent VR or augmented reality headsets, with Qualcomm being an exception.
One popular stand-alone AR headset is Microsoft’s HoloLens, which uses Intel’s Cherry Trail processor. That chip, however, was made for tablets, not specifically for VR or AR. The VR strategies for Nvidia and AMD rely on their PC GPUs.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 can be used for VR with a companion Gear VR headset. One of the chips used in Note 7 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820, which is also being targeted at VR headsets. The chip has digital signal processors and a powerful GPU to amplify sounds, scenes and to recognize images, all of which improve VR.
That leads to a larger question: like Allwinner and Qualcomm, will the top chip makers consider a specialized VR chip, much like they do for tablets and smartphones? It’s a possibility, if VR headset shipments explodes. IDC projects9.6 million headsets to ship this year, reaching 64.8 million by 2020.
It takes a lot of money to make and sell microprocessors – it always has done and it probably always will, but it seems to some that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is burning an awful lot of that rare commodity.
That’s according to analysts at Kasteel Research which believes that AMD’s liquidity is deteriorating and it’s burning cash “like a high roller billionaire” – whatever that is.
Nevertheless, looking at the position as objectively as possible, AMD has several irons in its fire including one that will challenge Intel at the high end, just like the old Opteron days.
AMD, according to Kasteel, got an injection of $351 million from its JV with Nantong Fujitsu so it’s got about one billion in the bank. High roller billionaires typically have several billions to play with when they’re partying like it’s 1999.
It seems to need a billion dollars a quarter if it’s playing its cards right on the green baize.
Analysts at Kasteel describe AMD as “burning cash machine” and has a serious cash flow problem – compared to Netflix – which is, of course, a completely different kettle of fish.
To be fair to Kasteel, it does admit it is going to short AMD in the next two or three days.
As an outsider limey, I believe that this is what is called playing the stock market, and it’s a dangerous game and a different sort of gamble to the roll of the dice, to poker, or to playing billiards [what they?] for money.
Let’s face it, as the snap from AMD’s website shows, Dr Lisa Su knows that the only way her company will fare well is to take risks. And although AMD has always been the underdog to the Great Intel, it’s good for any corporation to have competition.
Otherwise we’d all be eating the same highly processed but probably extremely nutritive food, init?
AMD recently mentioned that it has built hardware directly with Samsung and there is a further option to tap the company in the future for product ramps.
Analyst Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights and Security made the announcement after AMD investors questions about where AMD was building most of its hardware became a little more pointed.
AMD has said that it has bought $75 million in wafers from GlobalFoundries in Q2, that number struck Moorhead and co as a bit on the small side.
Moorhead questioned AMD on the deal and was told:
“AMD has strong foundry partnerships and our primary manufacturing partners are GLOBALFOUNDRIES and TSMC. We have run some product at Samsung and we have the option of enabling production with Samsung if needed as part of the strategic collaboration agreement they have with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to deliver 14nm FinFET process technology capacity.”
If AMD has options to build at Samsung that could be a bad sign for GlobalFoundries. After all it only spun off the outfit because it wanted a more agile manufacturing partner. GlobalFoundries struggled with its customer base and AMD had to cancel its Krishna and Wichita parts and move to TSMC.
When GloFo canned its 20nm and 14nm XM nodes and licensed 14nm technology from Samsung only to experience delays with that too.
Getting more out of Samsung might not result in significant volumes but the option to do so will keep GloFo or TSMC clean if they run into ramping or yield problems. GloFo’s licensed version of Samsung’s 14nm could easily be done by Samsung.
A report from financial analysts Seeking Alpha has issued guidance on the share price of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and said the company’s outlook is quite bright.
The report said that only 11 months back AMD was one of the most shorted stocks in the USA largely as a result of falling revenues and losses.
But, said Bill Maurer at Seeking Alpha, all that has completely changed now. Analysts think that AMD’s share price is currently overvalued.
It all hangs on how well AMD performs when it releases its earnings next week.
The introduction of the RX 480 was supposed to help out on revenues but there’s a question mark over how well it’s contributed to the bottom line.
On the bright side, the arrangement it had with Nantong Microelectronics terminated in the quarter and that ended up meaning a net cash bonus of over $320 million.
The share price currently stands at over $5. AMD’s biggest phone the processors based on Zen architecture are promised to start shipping later this year. This should have an effect on the stock value.
Naples is a 32 Zen core Opteron with 64 threads. The 16 core Zen version with a BGA socket is codenamed Snowy Owl. AMD thinks that Snowy Owl will be a great match for the communication and network markets that needs a high performance 64-bit X86 CPU.
Snowy Owl has 16 cores and 32 threads, all based on 14nm FinFET Zen transistors. The processor supports up to 32MB of shared L3 cache. We also mentioned a processor cluster codenamed Zeppelin. This seems to be the key to the Zen architecture as more Zeppelin clusters are creating more core Opterons.
Each Zeppelin has eight Zen cores and each Zen core has 512KB dedicated L2 cache memory. Four Zen cores share 8MB of L3 memory making the total L3 cache size 16MB. Zeppelin (ZP) comes with PCIe Gen 3, SATA 3, 10GbE, sever controller Hub, AMD secure processor as well as the DDR4 Memory controller. AMD is using a super-fast coherent interconnect to create more than one Zeppelin core.
One Zeppelin cluster would make an 8 core, 16 thread CPU with 4MB L2 and 16MB L3 cache and in our case product codenamed Snowy owl has 16 cores, 32 threads 8MB of L2 (512KB x 16) and 32MB L3 (4x8MB).
The Snowy Owl with 16 cores uses a SP4 Multi Chip Module (MCM) BGA socket, while the Naples uses MCM based SP3. These two are not pin compatible but 16 and 8 core Zen based Opterons will fit in the same socket.
Snowy Owl has four independent memory channels and up to 64 lanes of PCIe Gen3. When it comes to storage, it supports up to 16 SATA or NVME storage channels and 8x10GbE for some super-fast networking solutions.
As you see, there will be plenty of Zen based Opteron possibilities and most of them will start showing up by mid-2017. The TDP Range for Snowy Owl is sub 100W and capable of sinking the TDP down to 35W. Yes, we do mean that there may well be a quad core Zen Opteron too.
Sony is over the hump. That’s the message that the company wanted investors and market watchers to understand from its presentations earlier this week. Though it expressed it in rather more finessed terms, the core of what Sony wanted to say was that the really hard part is over. Four years after Kaz Hirai took over the corporation; the transition – a grinding, grating process that involved thousands of job losses, the sale or shuttering of entire business units and protracted battles with the firm’s old guard – is over. The restructuring is done. Now it’s time for each business unit to knuckle down and focus on profitability.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, of course; even as Hirai was essentially declaring “Mission Complete” on Sony’s seemingly never-ending restructuring, the company noted that it’s expecting sales in its devices division (largely focused on selling Xperia smartphones) to decline this year, and there are concerns over soft demand for products from the imaging department, which provides the camera components for Apple’s iPhones among others. Overall, though, Sony is in a healthier condition than it’s been in for a long time – and it owes much of that robust health to PlayStation, with the games and network services division’s revenue targets rising by enough to make up for any weakness in other divisions.
When Hirai took over Sony, becoming the first person to complete the leap from running PlayStation to running Sony itself (Ken Kutaragi had long been expected to do so, but dropped the ball badly with PS3 and missed his opportunity as a consequence), it was widely expected that he’d make PlayStation into the core supporting pillar of a restructured Sony. That’s precisely what’s happened – but even Hirai, surely, couldn’t have anticipated the success of the PS4, which has shaved years off the firm’s financial recovery and given it an enviable hit platform exactly when it needed one most.
Looking into the detail of this week’s announcements, there was little that we didn’t already know in terms of actual product, but a lot to be read between the lines in terms of broad strategy. For a start, the extent of PlayStation’s role as the company’s “pillar” is becoming ever clearer. Aside from its importance in financial terms, Sony clearly sees PS4 as being a launchpad for other devices and services. PlayStation VR is the most obvious of those; it will start its lifespan as an added extra being sold to the PS4’s 40 million-odd customer base, and eventually, Sony hopes, will become a driver for additional PS4 sales in its own right. The same virtuous circle effect is hoped for PlayStation Vue, the TV service aimed at PlayStation-owning “cable cutters”, which has surpassed 100,000 subscribers and is said to be rapidly growing since its full-scale launch back in March.
Essentially, this means that two major Sony launches – its first major foray into VR and its first major foray into subscriber TV – are being treated as “PlayStation-first” launches. The company is also talking up non-gaming applications for PSVR, which it sees as a major factor from quite early on in the life cycle of the device, and is rolling out PlayStation Vue clients for other platforms – but it’s still very notable that PlayStation customers are being treated as the ultimate early adopter market for Sony’s new services and products.
To some degree, that explains the company’s desire to get PS4 Neo onto the market – though I maintain that a cross-department effort to boost sales of 4K TVs is also a key driving force there. In a wider sense, though, Neo is designed to make sure that the platform upon which so much of Sony’s future – games, network services, television, VR – is being based doesn’t risk all of those initiatives by falling behind the technology curve. Neo is, of course, a far less dramatic upgrade than Microsoft’s Scorpio; but that’s precisely because Sony has so much of its corporate strategy riding on PS4, while Microsoft, bluntly, has so little riding on Xbox One. Sony needs to keep its installed base happy while encouraging newcomers to buy into the platform in the knowledge that it’s reasonably up-to-date and future proof. Microsoft can afford to be rather more experimental and even reckless in its efforts to leapfrog the competition.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Sony’s manoeuvring thus far is that the company has managed to position the PlayStation as the foundation of such grand plans without making the mistake Microsoft made with the original Xbox One unveiling – ignoring games to the extent that the core audience questioned whether they were still the focus. PSVR is clearly designed for far more than just games, but the early focus on games has brought gamers along for every step of the journey. PlayStation Vue, though a major initiative for Sony as a whole, is a nice extra for PlayStation owners, not something that seems to dilute the brand and its focus. On the whole, there’s no sign that PlayStation’s new role at the heart of Sony is making its core, gaming audience love it any less.
On the contrary; if PlayStation Plus subscriptions are any measure, PlayStation owners seem a pretty happy bunch. Subscriptions topped 20 million recently, according to the firm’s presentation this week, which means that over 50% of PS4’s installed base is now paying a recurring subscription fee to Sony. PlayStation Plus is relatively cheap, but that’s still a pretty big chunk of cash once you add it up – it equates to an additional three or four games in the consoles attach ratio over its lifetime, which is nothing to be sniffed at, and will likely increase the profitability of the console by quite a few percentage points. In Andrew House’s segment of this week’s presentation, he noted that the division is shifting from a packaged model towards a recurring payments model; PlayStation Plus is only one step on that journey and it’s extremely unlikely that the packaged model (be it digital or a physical package) will go away any time soon, but it does suggest a future vision in which a bundle of subscriptions – for games, TV, VR content and perhaps others – makes up the core of many customers’ transactions with Sony.
That the truly painful part of Sony’s transition is over is to be celebrated – a healthy Sony is a very good thing for the games business, and we should all be hoping Nintendo gets back on its feet soon too. The task of the company, however, isn’t necessarily about to get any easier. PS4’s extraordinary success needs to be sustained and grown, and while early signs are good, the whole idea of using PlayStation as a launchpad for Sony’s other businesses remains an unproven model with a shaky track record (anyone remember the ill-fated PSX, a chunky white PVR with a PS2 built into it that was supposed to usher in an era of PlayStation-powered Sony consumer electronics?). But with supportive leadership, strong signs of cooperation from other parts of the company (the first-party Spiderman game unveiled at E3 is exactly the kind of thing the relationship between PlayStation and Sony Pictures should have been yielding for decades) and a pipeline of games that should keep fans delighted along the way, PlayStation is in the strongest place it’s been for over a decade.