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Microsoft’s Xbox One X Enhanced Games List Keep Growing

August 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Microsoft spent its Gamescom livestream detailing some of the games that will be enhanced for Xbox One X.

The company announced over 115 games that have been souped up for Microsoft’s new console, including including Halo 5, Dishonored 2, Halo Wars 2, Killer Instinct, Resident Evil 7, Gears of War 4, Rime, Star WarsL Battlefront II, Project CARS 2, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Smite, Rocket League, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ark Survival Evolve and a whole lot more. The full list is through here.

The firm also showed some new titles that will utilize the hardware, including Frontier Development’s Jurassic World Evolution, which is a theme-park-style game that’s due next summer (the title is coming to PS4 and PC, too). Microsoft also confirmed the existence of a special edition of last year’s ReCore, which was a big bet from Microsoft that unfortunately failed to deliver at the time.

Elsewhere, the platform holder pledged to support family and casual gamers, and announced that titles such as Disneyland Adventures and Zoo Tycoon will be updated for Xbox One X.

In terms of pre-orders, Microsoft detailed a special ‘Project Scorpio’ edition of Xbox One X. Similar to the ‘Day One Edition’ it created for the original Xbox One launch, this version of the console will feature a custom design and an exclusive vertical stand. It’s available only to those that pre-order.

It wasn’t just Xbox One X, however. Xbox One S bundles were also revealed, including a partnership with Warner Bros on Middle-earth: Shadow of War. The Shadow of War bundles will be priced at $279 for the 500GB S model (not available in the US) and $349 for the 1TB S edition (which is the same price as the current RRP). It will be bundled on October 10th alongside the launch of the game.

Finally, Microsoft showed off a limited-edition Minecraft version of Xbox One S. The newly designed machine will come with a special ‘Creeper’ Minecraft controller, with a second ‘pig’ controller sold separately. It will also include the Minecraft game, and is coming to retail on October 3rd.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Will Crackdown 3 Hurt The Xbox One X

August 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Microsoft has announced a fresh delay for the long-awaited Crackdown 3, which slips into next year.

The open-world action shooter was originally due for release on November 7th, notably as a launch title for the upcoming Xbox One X – Microsoft’s souped-up 4K-ready version of its current console.

However, Microsoft Studios Publishing general manager announced via Twitter that the game has been held back “so we can make sure we deliver all the awesome that Crackdown fans want.”

Now delayed until spring 2018, this means the only new first-party release that will take advantage of the device will be Forza Motorsport 7.

Microsoft will instead be relying on titles likely already in Xbox One owners’ collections to shift the powerful new console. At E3 2017, the platform holder confirmed Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Halo Wars 2 will receive free updates that take advantage of the Xbox One X hardware.

Third parties will also play a vital role in the new machine’s launch. Previously released titles including Final Fantasy XV, Resident Evil VII, Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Rocket League are all due free 4K updates, and forthcoming heavy hitters like Assassin’s Creed Origins and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will also be compatible with the new console.

With Xbox One’s major rival PlayStation 4 storming ahead at over 60m sales worldwide, Microsoft will no doubt be hoping the X will help close the gap. The platform holder has avoided sharing concrete Xbox One sales figures for some time now, but it’s believed to be significantly behind PS4.

Crackdown seems to have had a troubled development, originally unveiled as far back as E3 2014 with an initial 2016 release date. This is likely due to the game’s ambitious plans to use cloud computing to power fully destructible environments, although this is reported to be exclusive to the game’s multiplayer mode.

GamesIndustry.biz will be speaking to the game’s developer Sumo Digital at Gamescom next week to get an update on the project’s progress.

Courtesy-GI.biz

The Xbox One X To Get Unity Inside

August 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Unity has added Xbox One X support to its list of supported platforms.

The update gives users of the engine access to the new Xbox model’s 4K and HDR output. Ultimately, Unity users with an Xbox One development kit can now deploy to the Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X simultaneously.

“Taking advantage of the increased power and 4K HDR output of the Xbox One X is as easy as changing some quality settings,” asserts a brief blog post on the update from Unity.

The engine maker is now appealing to developers to provide feedback on their experience deploying to Xbox One X, with a view to refining and updating the support.

The Xbox One X offers a more powerful version of the console, but for a price of £449, or $499, leading analysts have collectively suggested it may struggle to sell. The machine, previously known as Project Scorpio, will sell at a loss at its RRP, though some predict Microsoft will shift in excess of 20 million units by 2022.

It is worth noting that the original Xbox One debuted with a $499 RRP.

How appealing the Xbox One X’s increased resolution output will be to Unity’s legion of indie and microstudio users is yet to be seen, but support from such a prolifically employed tool may be seen as a considerable boon.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is Qualcomm Ready To Battle MediaTek

August 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Now that Qualcomm is lowering prices for its Snapdragon 450 chips to less than US$10.50, MediaTek is under pressure to follow suit for its Helio P23 series.

Digitimes claims that MediaTek will try to flog its Helio P23 chips at as low as less than US$10 to better compete with Qualcomm.

For those who came in late, Qualcomm cut prices for its Snapdragon 450 series introduced in June.

Built using 14nm process technology, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 is expected to bring more competition in the already competitive midrange and lower midrange mobile chip market segment.

Samsung uses 14nm process technology to fabricate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450 chips, has apparently offered US$2,500 per wafer enabling Qualcomm to lower the chip prices.

MediaTek contracts TSMC to manufacture its upcoming Helio P23 chips and has to pay the foundry more than US$3,500 for the cost of 16nm per wafer, the sources said.

MediaTek originally wanted the Helio P23 to sell for $15. However, the prices have recently been cut to $11-12 as the outfit vied for Chinese clients.

The Helio P23 series will appear in the fourth quarter of 2017, with target shipments for the chips of 5-6 million units monthly. The upcoming Helio P23 chips have obtained orders from Oppo, Vivo, Gionee and Meizu, the sources said.

MediaTek expects fierce price competition in the smartphone-SoC market particularly the mid-range segment in the second half of 2017. This means that it will not see any substantial improvement in gross margin in the rest of 2017.

MediaTek saw its gross margin grow to 35 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 from 33.5 percent in the first quarter. However, the gross margin slid from 35.2 percent during the same period in 2016.

Courtesy-Fud

Is GTA-V A Gaming Phenomena

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

A lot of exciting things have happened in the games industry since 2013. That time has seen the mobile game space rise to maturity; it’s seen Sony return to console dominance with PS4, and Nintendo bounce from its greatest heights to its lowest ebb.

And yet one thing has stayed consistent throughout that entire four-year period. Through it all, Grand Theft Auto V has steadily, unstoppably continued to sell huge numbers every single week. In 2017 so far, it’s the best-selling game in the UK; in the United States it charts in fourth place.

Previous entries in the Grand Theft Auto series were, of course, landmark titles in their own right – both culturally and commercially. Their content sparked controversy and, from the point when the series shifted into an extraordinary open world with Grand Theft Auto 3, their enormous sales pushed them into a mainstream consciousness that had generally glossed over videogames up to that point. Grand Theft Auto came to be the series that defined perceptions of games in the 2000s, perhaps even more so than Mario or Sonic had done in the 1990s.

Grand Theft Auto V, however, has quietly gone beyond that and become something even more. I say quietly, because it’s not necessarily something that you see if you’re an ordinary game consumer. For most of us, Grand Theft Auto V was a game – a really great, beautifully made, fantastic game – that we played for a pretty long time a few years ago. We’ve moved on, though sometimes it comes up in conversation, or you see a really crazy stunt video on YouTube; it’s part of gamer consciousness, but arguably no more than a number of other superb games of the same era.

Yet unlike all those other games, GTAV keeps on selling. People keep walking into shops and buying it; 340,000 copies in the UK alone this year. The only way to explain those sales is to assume that they are representative of GTAV being purchased along with, or soon after, the upgrades being made by many consumers to next-gen consoles or higher spec PCs. Far more than its predecessors, the game has become a cultural touchstone – something that you simply buy by default along with a new game system.

Of course, individual game consoles have had must-own games before; how many people bought Halo with the original Xbox, or Mario 64 with the Nintendo 64? Never before, however, has there been a game like GTAV, which has served as a touchstone for an entire era of gaming. The closest point of comparison I can think of is something like The Matrix, which was the go-to DVD for people buying new DVD players in the late 1990s, or Blade Runner’s Directors’ Cut, which served a similar role for Blu-Ray. Nothing before now in the realm of videogames comes close.

Something we don’t know, however, is what people are actually doing with those new copies of GTAV; the huge question is whether they’re buying them for the game’s excellent single-player experience, or whether they’re diving into GTA Online. The online game has been a runaway success for publisher Take Two, and has definitely helped to prolong the longevity of GTAV, but it’s hard to quantify just how much it has to do with the continued strong sales of the game itself.

That question is important, because if people are primarily buying GTAV as an online game, it makes it a little easier to categorize that success. In that case, it would belong alongside titles like League of Legends, World of Warcraft or Destiny; enormous, sprawling games that suck up years upon years of players’ attention.

From a commercial standpoint, the industry is still a little unsure what these games are or what to do about them; they are behemoths on the landscape that everyone else needs to navigate around, but while many people share an intuition that they collapse revenues for other games in the same genre, it’s not entirely clear as yet what influence they really have on everything else on the market. If GTAV fits in with those titles, albeit on a level of its own to some degree, then it makes sense; it fits a pattern.

My sense, however, is that GTAV is something entirely different. It’s not quite, as Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick rather bombastically claimed at E3, that there are no “other titles… clustered around GTA from a quality point of view.” GTAV is a brilliant game, but it’s hard to support the claim that there’s nothing else out there of similar quality.

Rather, it’s that GTAV has struck a series of notes perfectly, stitching together a combination of elements each of which is executed flawlessly and which combined to make a game that is memorable, replayable, funny, challenging, and – vitally in this era – a never-ending source of entertaining video clips for YouTube or Twitch. Almost every aspect of GTAV is good, but there’s no single part you can point to and say, “this is why this is the game that defines an era.” The magic lies in the sum, not the individual parts.

And perhaps it’s something more than even that; perhaps GTAV isn’t just the right game, it’s also a game that’s appeared at the right time.

Think of the average age of a game consumer, which is well into the thirties at this point. Think of how games have come to be a part of our cultural conversation; no longer in a dismissive way, but as a field of genuine interest, a source of inspiration for other media, a topic of watercooler conversation. Think too of how videogames have begun to inform the aesthetics of the world, from the gloss of Marvel’s movies to the more obvious homages of Wreck-It Ralph or (god help us) Pixels. Somehow they’ve even managed to rope Spielberg into adapting inexplicably popular execrable teenage gamer fanfiction novel Ready Player One. Games are embedded as part of the world’s culture and, more importantly, part of how we talk about that culture.

GTAV arrived, in stunning, endlessly discussable, endlessly uploadable form right at the moment when that transition was being completed. There’s no way to quantify this, but I’ll wager GTAV holds a special record that’ll never go in Guinness’ book. I’ll wager it’s the most talked-about game of all time. Not because of controversy or scandal; it’s a game that’s just been talked about in conversation after conversation, four years of discussing stunts and jokes and achievements and easter eggs, until the game became embedded in our collective consciousness until it was The Game You Buy When You Finally Get A PS4.

There’s never been a game that occupied a place in the public consciousness quite like GTAV; but now that such a place exists for games in our collective cultural consciousness, perhaps it won’t be very long before more fantastic games roll up to take on similar roles.

Courtesy-GI.biz  

Is AMD Making A Comeback

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has announced its Q2 2017 results and they are a bit better than Wall Street expected with $1.22 billion revenue versus an expected $1.16 billion.

AMD managed to score $1.222 Billion revenue or 19 percent year over a year from $1.027 Billion in the same quarter last year. Compared to the previous quarter, AMD had a 24 percent increase from $984 million to $1.222 billion. Traditionally, Q2 is not a fast quarter for CPU / GPU companies.

AMD had 33 percent non-GAAP gross margin. Non-GAAP operating expenses were at $381, 25 million in licensing gain and managed to decree its debt from $,.408 to $1,375 quarter to quarter. This is not a great difference quarter to quarter but year over year the debt dipped from $2,012 million to $1,375 in just a year.

This was enough to get AMD’s share price to rise to $15.50  or 9.85 percent up from the previous close. The jump mainly is a result of an expectation that the third quarter revenue will increase about 15 percent year over year. This could imply revenue about $1.50 billion, beating Wall Street predictions of $1.39 billion. Once again, people who should know things are surprised and didn’t do their homework well.

Operating income of $25 million doesn’t seems like a lot but compared to a $29 million loss in Q1 2017 it does look like an improvement.

The revenue on computer and graphics increased 51 percent year over the year and this means one thing. Zen is working quite well for the company as both Ryzen and Epyc. GPU sales of R500 series to miners contributed a lot, let alone the normal demand from mainstream gamers.

Net revenue in computer and graphics jumped to $659 million with $7 million operating income in Q2 17. A year ago, in Q2 2016, AMD made $435 million from the same segment with an $81 million loss in the process. Quarter over quarter, AMD jumped 11 percent.

Fudzilla expects that in Q3 2017 these numbers will further increase as Threadripper, EPYC.  Ryzen 3, EPYC and Vega will gain some traction too. All eyes are on Threadripper, EPYC as well as Ryzen 7 and 5 parts, that have a good chance of increasing profitability and gross margin.

AMD expects that the gross margin will rise from 33 percent in Q2 to 34 percent Q3 2017. The gross margin in financial 2016 was only 31 percent and you need higher margins to fuel your R&D and operations.

Quarter to quarter, AMD expects that Q3 might be 23 percent (plus or minus 3) and gross margin increase to 34 percent. Overall, 2017 can be up mid to high teens percent from $4.272 million revenue in financial 2016.

Lisa pointed out that AMD returned to non-GAAP net income profitability in the quarter, driven by strong growth in its Computing and Graphics segment.
The Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom segment for AMD showed a slight revenue decline of five percent year-over-year and increased 44 percent sequentially, due to seasonality. Microsoft will start shipping Xbox One X in November, featuring the semi-custom SoC from AMD. AMD reminded us that Sony recently passed a milestone of 60 million PlayStation 4 consoles shipped, meaning things are good in the console business.

Mayor PC OEMS have announced premium Ryzen-based desktop systems with wide availability for the back-to-school and holiday seasons. Ryzen 3 should start shipping later this week while Ryzen Threadripper should be available in early August.

Ryzen Pro is schedule for availability in Q3 and Ryzen Mobile following later this year to complete the circle.

Overall AMD is improving, and competition is a good thing. 2018 will definitely be an interesting year but we expect a lot of pressure from Intel and Nvidia for back to school and the holiday season.

Courtesy-Fud

Is The Gaming Industry Going Through A Nostalgic Summer

July 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

I had been repeating that this summer for games offers little outside of some decent Nintendo titles.

“You keep forgetting Crash Bandicoot,” said my retail friend.

I laughed. “Sure, it’s a nice piece of nostalgia,” I reasoned. “But it’s hardly going to set the market alight.”

“Pre-orders are brilliant,” came the reply. “We’ve upped our order twice. I think it’s going to be the biggest game of the summer.”

I shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve written extensively about the marketplace’s current love of nostalgia, and that trend only seems to be accelerating. In the last two weeks alone, we’ve seen the news that original Xbox games are coming to Xbox One, the reveal of the Sega Forever range of classics for smartphones, and now the best-selling SNES Mini.

The trend isn’t new. Classic re-releases have been standard for over a decade. However, the recent surge in nostalgia can be traced back to the onset of Kickstarter and the indie movement, which brought with it a deluge of fan-pleasing sequels, remakes and spiritual successors.

The trend reached the mainstream around the 20th anniversary of PlayStation, with Sony tapping into that latent love for all things PS1. And today, nostalgia is a significant trend in video games. Look at this year’s line-up: Sonic Mania, Yooka-Laylee, Super Bomberman, Wipeout, Crash Bandicoot, Thimbleweed Park, Micro Machines, Metroid II… even Tekken, Mario Kart and Resident Evil have found their way to the top of the charts (even if they never really went away).

It’s not just software, either. Accessories firms, hardware manufacturers and merchandise makers are all getting in on the act. I even picked up a magazine last week (on the shelves of my local newsagent) dedicated to the N64. This is the industry we live in.

Nostalgia has manifested itself in several different ways. We’ve seen re-releases (Xbox Originals, Sega Forever, NES Mini, Rare Replay), we’ve seen full remakes and updates (Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2), plus sequels and continuations (Elite Dangerous, Shenmue 3). We’ve seen a plethora of spiritual successors (Yooka-Laylee, Bloodstained, Thimbleweed Park) and we have also witnessed old-fashioned game elements re-introduced into modern titles (split-screen multiplayer, for instance).

It’s not just games. We’ve recently seen nostalgia-tinged TV such as Twin Peaks, Stranger Things and X-Files, plus the cinematic return of Ghostbusters, Baywatch, and Jurassic Park. Yet this trend isn’t so new for film and TV (or music, either). And that’s because they’re older mediums. The demand for nostalgia tends to come from those aged 30 or above, and with video games being such a young industry, we’re only starting to see the manifestation of this now.

It’s perhaps also more significant in games because of just how different the experiences of the 1990s are to what we have today. In terms of tech, visuals, genre and connectivity, video games have moved so quickly. We simply don’t get many games like Crash Bandicoot or Wipeout anymore, which makes the demand for them even more acute.

Can it last forever? Or is this destined to be another gaming gold mine that gets picked to death? It’s difficult to say. Nostalgia isn’t like MMOs or futuristic shooters. This isn’t a genre, but an emotion ‘sentimental longing for a period in the past’. In theory, the clamour for old games and genres should get broader. In ten years’ time, those brought up on a diet of DS and Wii will be approaching 30. They’ll be reminiscing of the times they spent on Wii Sports and Viva Pinata. And the nostalgia wheel turns again.

Nevertheless, what we’re starting to see now is changing expectations of consumers. No longer are they pandering to every Kickstarter that promises to resurrect a long lost concept (sorry Project Rap Rabbit), and they will not tolerate a nostalgic releases that fails to deliver (sorry Mighty No.9). Lazy ports or half-hearted efforts will not win you any fans. If you want good examples of how to do it, look at Nintendo with the inclusion of Star Fox 2 in the SNES Mini, or the documentaries hidden in Rare Replay, or the special PS1-style case that Sony created for the new Wipeout. This is the games industry and the same rules apply. You cannot get away with rubbish.

Of course, big companies can’t live off nostalgia alone. Nintendo can’t build a business from just re-selling us Super Mario World (even if it seems to try sometimes). These moments of retro glory can often be fleeting. Will a new lick of paint on Crash Bandicoot revitalise the brand and deliver it back to the mainstream? It’s not impossible, but unlikely. More often than not you see a brief surge in gamers reminiscing over a time gone by, and then the IP drifts back to the era from which it was plucked. Musical comebacks are often short-lived and movie remakes are, typically, poorly received.

Yet there are exceptions every now and then. Major UK 1990s pop group Take That made its big comeback in 2006, but it did so with a modernised sound that has seen the band return to the top of the charts and stay there for over 10 years. In 2005, the BBC’s Doctor Who returned after 16 years. It was faster paced and far more current, and it remains a permanent fixture on Saturday night TV.

And last year’s Pokémon Go, which stayed true to the IP whilst delivering it in a new way and through new technology, has elevated that brand to the heights not seen since the late 1990s.

“Nostalgia is a seductive liar, that insists things were far better than they seemed. To be successful with it in the commercial world, you need to keep that illusion alive”

They say nostalgia is a seductive liar, that insists things were far better than they seemed. To be truly successful with it in the commercial world, you need to keep that illusion alive. You must create something that looks and sounds like it comes from a different era, but actually plays well in the modern age. And that’s true whether it’s Austin Powers or Shovel Knight.

Indeed, nostalgia isn’t always about the past, it can help take us into the future. One unique example comes in what Nintendo did with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The company altered the traditional Zelda formula with that 3DS game, and made it more palatable to fans by dressing it in the same world as 1991’s A Link To The Past. It worked, and set the company up to take an even larger risk with its seminal Breath of the Wild.

If the SNES Mini taught us anything, the clamour for all things 1990s remains strong. For developers and publishers who were smart enough to keep hold of their code from that era, they may well reap the benefits.

However, there’s a broader market opportunity here than just cashing in on past success. There’s a chance to resurrect IP, bring back lost genres, and even rejuvenate long-standing brands in need of innovation.

It’s a chance for the games industry to take stock and look to its past before embarking on its future.

Courtesy-GI.biz

GTA V Still Riding High In England

July 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

GTA V unit sales dropped 10% this week (in terms of boxed sales), and yet the game still returned to the top of the UKIE/GfK All-Formats Charts.

It was a very poor week for games retail in general, with just 171,389 boxed games sold across the whole market. The lack of new releases is the main reason for the drop, and that’s a situation that won’t be getting any better during the course of the summer.

The only new games in the Top 40 are 505 Games’ Dead by Daylight at No.16, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood at No.23 and Ever Oasis at No.28.

Although the data shows a difficult week, there were a few positives. Dirt 4, after a disappointing first week, is showing some resilience. The Codemasters game is now at No.2, although sales did drop 49% week-on-week.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is back at No.5 with a 45% jump in sales, driven by an increase in available Switch stock, while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had a 68% sales jump (but still sits outside of the Top Ten at No.12).

And Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands returns to the Top Ten after a 31% sales boost, driven by price activity at games retail.

Elsewhere, Horizon: Zero Dawn, which was No.1 last week, has dropped down to No.8. The game had been on sale for several weeks, but now it has returned to a premium price point. Tekken 7 has dropped to No.10, while Wipeout Omega Collection, which was No.1 just three weeks ago, has now fallen to No.14.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is e3 Leaving Los Angeles

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

The organizers behind the Electronic Entertainment Expo are considering taking the show away from its traditional home at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

During a roundtable interview, ESA CEO Mike Gallagher said his organisation might explore other possible locations if the center fails to upgrade and modernise its facilities, GameSpot reports.

The exec specifically hopes to see increased floor space and a smoother route between the West and South halls, currently separated by a length corridor. If these expectations are not met, E3 may be hosted in another venue – and, by extension, away from Los Angeles.

E3 2018 is already booked in for June 12th to 14th next year, once again at the convention center. The venue will also host E3 2019, but no decision has been made for 2020.

The ESA has previously attempted to hold E3 at an alternative location. In 2007, the show became the E3 Media and Business Summit and was around Santa Monica. This was part of an attempt to make it more industry focused, capping the attendance to shut out bloggers and non-industry professionals, as well as bringing the costs down for exhibitors.

However, the experiment proved to be unpopular and E3 has been held in the LA Convention Center ever since 2008.

In stark contrast to its 2007 decision, E3 officially opened its doors to the public for the first time this year, selling 15,000 tickets to consumers who wanted to attend the show.

GameSpot reports the ESA has now revealed attendance for this year’s event came in at 68,400 – boosted in part by those public tickets. The 30% increase over last year’s 50,300 brings attendance figures close to the 70,000 peak seen in 1998 and 2005, according to IGN.

The ESA has yet to confirm whether it will sell public tickets for E3 2018. Gallagher said his team is gathering feedback from attendees – both industry and consumer – before confirming how the show will be structured next year.

Courtesy-GI.bz

Intel Kaby Lake With AMD GPU Expected Later This Year

June 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A few days ago, Videocards had an update on the engineering samples that got leaked. 

One thing caught our attention, the Intel(R) HD Graphics Gen9 with 694C:C0 graphics. It took us some time to ask round, and it turns out that a Kaby Lake with AMD graphics combination might be the right lead.

We already told you that Apple is likely to be the customer who nicely asked Intel to make such a Frankenstein chip. What Apple wants, Apple gets is the mantra and it is very hard to say no to hundreds of thousand sales guaranteed by the Apple logo used on any of their products.

It is clear that the platform has two separate GPUs, the Intel HD Graphics Gen9 and 694C:C0. The latter is probably one of AMD’s GPUs and it’s hard to tell if this is all integrated solution sitting in the same package, or rather two separate chip platform. We would go for the all integrated solution, as it makes more sense and saves a lot of space and BOM cost.

Sysoft goes one step forward calling the platform “Intel Kaby lake Client platform Kaby lake Client System (Intel Kaby lake DDR4 RVP17)”. It is listed as a desktop platform too.

GFX data base is very certain that 694C:C0 is an AMD device. This is not by any means a confirmation but it is the first time that we saw an Intel Kaby Lake CPU matched with both Intel Gen 9 graphics and AMD GPU. If you are an investor and looking for ways to make money, bear in mind that we are a news service and not any kind of advisory board. You do it at your own risk and leave us out of it.  

We would expect this Kaby Lake with 694C:C0 solution to ship later this year. 

Courtesy-Fud

Is Apple Behind The Intel and AMD CPU-GPU Teaming

June 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

It has already mentioned the existence of an Intel based CPU with Radeon graphics. Our sources are very confident that Apple is the company behind this order.

We called this deal licensing that led to many false conclusions but if Intel wants to use Radeon graphics it implies that there is some deal/license/cross license in place.

Apple doesn’t want to use Nvidia graphics in any of its products and it currently only uses Radeon based GPUs discrete form for both its desktops and notebooks. It turns out that a whole integrated solution with Intel CPU and Radeon graphics is something that Apple was very interested in.

The Mac Book Pro 13-inch currently uses Intel Iris Graphics 540 or Intel Iris Graphics 550 graphics and this is not really enough for high-end users. A Radeon core in the same thermal envelope will simply offer more.

The 15-inch Mac Book Pro comes with a Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and Intel HD Graphics 530 or Radeon Pro 455 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching to Intel HD Graphics 530.

An industry veteran, once the CEO of ATI Technology, explained to me back in 2007 why AMD needed to integrate the Radeon core on its CPU. If you have been with us for a while, this became known as Fusion. It all comes down to the fact that an integrated solution is cheaper, and the thermal envelope goes down.

A notebook with an Intel CPU and Radeon graphics will simply be more powerful and performance-per-watt efficient than a notebook with discrete CPU and discrete Radeon GPU. More importantly, the price of the APU – an all integrated CPU with a GPU – will be much lower than for two separate chips.

It also enables a smaller and cheaper motherboard. Apple is likely to be the first company to announce an Intel based CPU powered with Radeon graphics and Intel should pitch this project to other manufacturers too. We have heard that many people call this Kaby Lake – G, something that Bench Life mentioned in April this year.

Courtesy-Fud

Are PC Makers Rushing To Make Windows On ARM Devices

June 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

HP, Asus and Lenovo will be the first hardware makers to churn out ARM-based Windows 10 PCs.

Qualcomm says the three vendors will be making PCs with its Snapdragon 835 SoC (system-on-chip) and its X16 LTE chipset for wireless broadband connectivity.

The chipmaker said that all the models will be fanless and will offer all-day battery life.

Qualcomm has previously said it expects the ARM PCs to hit the market by the end of the year, and getting HP, Asus and Lenovo on board early means that there will be products in the shops fairly soon.

Qualcomm executive VP Cristiano Amon said that consumers experience mobility in nearly every aspect of their lives and they’ve come to expect more from their PCs than legacy computing models are able to provide.

“With compatibility for the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will enable Windows 10 hardware makers to develop next-generation modern device form factors and deliver unparalleled anything, anywhere creation experiences with up-to-Gigabit Class LTE connectivity.”

Each of the devices is set to run custom versions of Windows 10 that Microsoft has been developing for ARM chips.

The vendors are supposed to be interested because the ARM PCs will offer a longer battery life and require less cooling than traditional x86 processors.

This will mean that they will be thinner and with smaller form factors and do what most users want, rather than providing extra computing power which can’t be used.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen said the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will mean that users now can take advantage of new always on, always connected experiences available to them.

Courtesy-Fud

Is AMD Out Of The Woods?

May 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD reported an 18.3 percent jump in quarterly revenue but the chipmaker’s second-quarter gross margins forecast raised some concerns.

AMD said it expected adjusted gross margins to be about 33 percent in the current quarter, compared with 34 percent in the first quarter.

But the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street were not impressed. Chipmakers who want to be profitable, trade on gross margin and there is concern that AMD’s is too low to make much dosh.

AMD launched a few of its Ryzen range of desktop processors in the first quarter and plans to unveil its Naples chips targeting the server market in the second quarter.

The Ryzen chips helped boost the company’s revenue in the first quarter ended April 1.

Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su said that “all of the feedback that we’ve gotten so far from both our customers and from end-users has been very strong.”

However, total revenue was weighed down by its business that supplies graphics cards used in gaming consoles such as the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

Revenue in the business rose 5 percent to $391 million, but came in below analysts’ average estimate of $442.1 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

AMD also forecast low double-digit percentage revenue growth for the full year.

Revenue rose to $984 million in the first quarter, from $832 million a year earlier. AMD’s net loss narrowed to $73 million from $109 million.

Courtesy-Fud

nVidia Shows Off GameWorks Technology

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Nvidia has revealed a few more details about its GameWorks Flow technology, which should provide fluid effects for realistic combustible fluid, fire and smoke simulation.

Following in the footsteps of Nvidia Turbulence and FlameWorks technologies, the new GameWorks Flow library provides both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 implementations and can run on any recent DirectX 11- and DirectX 12-capable GPUs.

The GameWorks Flow uses an adaptive sparse voxel grid which should provide both maximum flexibility as well as the least memory impact. It is also optimized for use of Volume Tiled Resources, which allows volume textures to be used as three-dimensional tiled resources.

Nvidia has released a neat simulation video of the GameWorks Flow implementation in DirectX 12, which shows the fire and the combustion process with an adaptive sparse voxel grid used in both the fire and to compute self-shadowing on the smoke, increasing both the realism and visual effects.

Hopefully, game developers will manage to implement Nvidia’s GameWorks Flow without a significant impact on the performance.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Motherboard Shipments Decreasing?

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

With the global decline in PC shipments finally showing signs of slowing, motherboard vendors are expecting to see a correlated slowing of overall volume in 2017, with some estimates hovering near 10 percent from last year.

Last month, a market research report from Global Information Inc showed the global volume of motherboard shipments in Q4 2016 dropping 5.2 percent from Q3 and 13.6 percent year-over-year. Total shipments for 2016 were estimated to be less than 50 million units, and this was even forecasted at the beginning of the year. As the fourth quarter approached, vendors said that sales of Kaby Lake motherboards were not living up to expectations, while the overall market remained in a state of weaker demand. The report covered vendors including AMD, ECS, Foxconn, Gigabyte, Intel, Jetway, Microstar, Pegatron, QCI, T&I, and Wistron.

Notebooks, exchange rates and component shortages to blame

According to the latest report, three problems are affecting the ability of motherboard vendors to increase sales numbers. First, sources within the motherboard industry have pointed out that notebooks have gradually taken market share from the build-it-yourself PC market, mainly as a result of “better specifications, smaller form factors, and cheaper prices”. Second, the vendors have experienced a large exchange rate hike over the past two years, from 6.2 percent in April 2015 to 6.8 percent in April 2017. Finally, rising component prices and various component shortages have also contributed to difficulties in production operations. So in order to remain profitable, some vendors have focused on reducing shipments and changing their focus to other product segments, including gaming notebooks and mobile devices.

Sources within the industry note that even while Intel’s Kaby Lake processor lineup and Z200 series chipset have not sold as much volume as anticipated, it is possible that the imminent thread of AMD’s Ryzen 5 and 7 lineups has continued to stimulate prices cuts across the board to keep up on platform sales. Many retailers have now begun offering more serious price cuts when bundled with compatible motherboards, and this trend is expected to continue with the release of AMD’s Ryzen 3 and Intel’s Z300 and X299 series chipsets later this year.

Courtesy-Fud

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