Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

nVidia Launches Grid 2.0

September 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia has announced the release of its Grid 2.0 servers and expects it will have industry support. The idea is to deliver even most graphics-intensive applications to any connected device virtually.

Several major vendors including Cisco, Dell, HP and Lenovo have a GRID solution to run on 125 server models including new blade servers. Nvidia worked closely with Cytrix and Cmware to bring the powerful experience to the users.

Nvidia tells us that IT departments can offer their workers the instant access to powerful applications, improving resource allocation.

Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO of NVIDIA said:

“Industry leaders around the world are embracing NVIDIA GRID to provide their employees access to even the most graphics-intensive workflows on any device, right from the data center,”NVIDIA GRID technology enables employees to do their best work regardless of the device they use or where they are located. This is the future of enterprise computing.”

Nvidia GRID 2.0 doubles user density over the previous version, allowing up to 128 users per server. GRID 2.0 uses the latest Maxwell GPU architecture offering twice the performance over the previous generation of GRID. The new GRID 2.0 offers the blade server support and this is a big deal in enterprise market.

All new GRID 2.0 now supports Linux OS. This is something that was missing from the first version of the GRID server, and the driver is mature enough to be offered to the end users.

Nvidia doesn’t offer prices publicly but in case you are a big company and you want to test GRID 2.0 services you can sign up for 90 days evaluation.

You can test the Nvidia GRID vGPU acceleration on Windows desktop with 2D and 3D applications including Autodesk AutoCAD, Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS, Esri ArcGIS Pro and Siemens NX.

Courtesy-Fud

Does The Xbox One Mini Exist?

September 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The rumor mill might have been a bit broken when it was announced that Microsoft was about to launch an Xbox-mini.

The rumor claimed that Microsoft would be holding a launch event in October where people could expect the company to launch the Surface Pro 4, Lumia flagships and an “Xbox One Mini.”

It was claimed that the X-box mini would be third the size of the current console and lack a Blu-Ray drive.

However Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has now debunked this theory, stating that the rumors are simply “not real”. Although he didn’t say the project didn’t exist just that the rumor that it was coming out in October was “not real.”

Given the nature of reality, and theories that the universe is a holographic game being played two-dimensional gods, we are not ready to dismiss out of hand yet.

While the Xbox One Mini definitely won’t be happening the Lumia flagships; Cityman and Talkman, new Surface tablets including the Surface Pro 4, the eagerly awaited Band 2 and perhaps even a slimmer Xbox One is still a possibility at the event.

Courtesy-TheInq

Is Metal Gear Solid V Going To Be A Hit?

August 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

If Hideo Kojima really is on the outs at Konami, he’s at least going out with a bang. The embargo for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain coverage hit last night, and the first batch of reviews are glowing.

IGN’s Vince Ingenito gave the game a 10 out of 10, lavishing praise on the way it adapted the series’ stealth-action formula to an open-world environment.

“Right from the moment you’re told to get on your horse and explore the Afghan countryside, Phantom Pain feels intimidating, almost overwhelming in terms of the freedom its open world affords and the number of concepts it expects you to grasp,” Ingenito said. “It’s almost too much, especially given the relative linearity of previous Metal Gears. But what initially appeared to be an overly dense tangle of features to fiddle with instead unraveled into a well-integrated set of meaningful gameplay systems that provided me with a wealth of interesting decisions to make.”

Vince Ingenito

Whether players choose to sneak their way to victory or go in guns blazing, The Phantom Pain affords them a number of avenues to do so. The game’s day/night cycle and changing weather systems can make certain strategies viable (or not) at any given time. At the same time, a private army management meta-game lets players raid battlefields for resources and new recruits, which can then be put to use researching new technologies or using their skills to open up a variety of other strategic alternatives.

However, a perfect score doesn’t mean a perfect game, and Ingenito does identify at least one weak point in the game.

It’s a somewhat surprising criticism of the game, given Metal Gear Solid 4′s penchant for frequent and extended cutscenes larding the action with exposition and plot twists. While The Phantom Pain shows flashes of that approach (Ingenito noted the “spectacular” opening sequence), it ultimately produces a narrative he found “rushed and unsatisfying.”

Obviously, that failing was not enough to tarnish an otherwise fantastic game in Ingenito’s eyes.

“There have certainly been sandbox action games that have given me a bigger world to roam, or more little icons to chase on my minimap, but none have pushed me to plan, adapt, and improvise the way this one does,” he said. “Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain doesn’t just respect my intelligence as a player, it expects it of me, putting it in a league that few others occupy.”

GameSpot’s Peter Brown likewise gave the game a 10 and praised its adaptable approach to missions, but enjoyed the story considerably more than his counterpart at IGN.

Peter Brown

“After dozens of hours sneaking in the dirt, choking out enemies in silence, and bantering with madmen who wish to cleanse the world, The Phantom Pain delivers an impactful finale befitting the journey that preceded it,” Brown said. “It punches you in the gut and tears open your heart. The high-caliber cutscenes, filled with breathtaking shots and rousing speeches, tease you along the way. Your fight in the vast, beautiful, and dangerous open world gives you a sense of purpose. The story is dished out in morsels, so you’ll have to work for the full meal, but it’s hard to call it ‘work’ when controlling Big Boss feels so good, with so many possibilities at your fingertips.”

Brown said prior knowledge of the series isn’t a prerequisite to enjoying The Phantom Pain, but added that “Fans of the series will find their diligence rewarded in ways that newcomers can’t begin to imagine.” They’ll also, in his estimation, be enjoying the pinnacle of the franchise.

“There has never been a game in the series with such depth to its gameplay, or so much volume in content,” Brown said. “The best elements from the past games are here, and the new open-world gameplay adds more to love on top. When it comes to storytelling, there has never been a Metal Gear game that’s so consistent in tone, daring in subject matter, and so captivating in presentation. The Phantom Pain may be a contender for one of the best action games ever made, but is undoubtedly the best Metal Gear game there is.”

Matt Wales

Eurogamer hasn’t published its full review yet, but Matt Wales weighed in with his impressions to date. Like Brown and Ingenito, Wales underscored the narrative approach as a major departure for the series.

“Beyond an outlandish, action-packed opening sequence… The Phantom Pain is a remarkably economical affair, telling its tale of ’80s cold war subterfuge through snatches of radio dialogue (courtesy of Ocelot), and the occasional return to Mother Base between missions,” Wales said. “It’s fascinating to see such restraint from Kojima, a man well known for his self-indulgence and excess, especially considering that The Phantom Pain is likely his Metal Gear swan song.”

On the gameplay side, Wales said The Phantom Pain “isn’t exactly a radical reinvention of the stealth genre,” but acknowledged the increased freedom players are given to accomplish the familiar assortment of objectives.

“Metal Gear Solid 5′s open world might not be vast, varied or stuffed full of things to do, but it’s a place of constant movement,” Wales said. “Night falls, day breaks, sandstorms sweep in, patrols come and go – and this organic sense of life means that missions are never predictable (no matter how often you play them) with tactical possibilities arising all the time. It’s a game of planning and reacting in a world that refuses to stand still, making every minute matter and every success feel earned.”

“The gameplay, storytelling, and protagonists in Metal Gear may shift with each new installment, but Kojima’s ability to surprise and enthrall gamers remains unchanged.”

Joe Juba

He also applauded the way The Phantom Pain managed to adopt an open-world design without the genre’s standard glut of padding.

“[E]verything you do feels meaningful and consequential,” Wales said. “Guard posts and roaming patrols aren’t simply there for colour as you traverse the world: one careless move into hostile territory and every single enemy on the map will know you’re coming, with more search parties and increased security radically altering the way a mission unfolds. And while other games tout choice and consequence as a headline feature, the Phantom Pain just gets on with it. Even the smallest action can have unexpected consequences – some significant and others barely perceptible.”

Game Informer’s Joe Juba gave the game a 9.25, currently one of the lowest scores the game has received on Metacritic (where it has a 95 average based on 15 critic reviews). Like some of the above reviewers, Juba was a bit disappointed at The Phantom Pain’s approach to storytelling, but noted that having the narrative take a step in to the background puts the focus on the game’s strongest point, its open-ended gameplay.

“A series can’t survive this long without evolving, and The Phantom Pain is a testament to the importance of taking risks,” Juba said. “An open world, a customizable base, a variable mission structure – these are not traditional aspects of Metal Gear, but they are what makes The Phantom Pain such an exceptional game. The gameplay, storytelling, and protagonists in Metal Gear may shift with each new installment, but Kojima’s ability to surprise and enthrall gamers remains unchanged.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is nVidia King Of The GPU Arena?

August 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia’s desktop GPUs accounted for nearly 80 percent of all sales in the segment in Q2 2015, its highest market share ever.

According to beancounters at the market research firm Mercury Research the GPU market is slowly dying.

The latest quarter was a decrease of 11 percent from Q1 2015 and a year-on-year decline of 21.7 percent so Nvidia is the undisputed king of a much smaller kingdom.

Mercury Research notes that the notebook GPU segment also witnessed a decrease to the tune of 34.1 percent year-on-year, mainly due to the continued improvements in the iGPU segment.

However when comparing both number of GPUs sold to partners and a four-quarter average of sales, Nvidia is the Windows and AMD is the FreeBSD.

AMD is dependent on its latest Radeon 300 series of cards to claw back something but at the moment it is looking like Nvidia is unstoppable.

Nvidia has continued to amass more sales over the course of the last year, and with its Maxwell-generation cards now available across all price tiers, it is unlikely has much to worry about from AMD.

Courtesy-Fud

Rovio Seeks Resurgence, Growth In Asia With ‘Angry Birds 2′

August 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Gaming

Finnish mobile gaming company Rovio Entertainment, popular for its high-flying “Angry Birds,” is hoping to rebound from a tough 2014 and to expand in Asia by tailoring its games to draw local consumers.

After reporting a 73 percent drop in its 2014 earnings due to a decline in the licensing of the “Angry Birds” brand, and cutting about 110 jobs, Rovio is focusing on going local, the company’s chief commercial officer Alex Lambeek told Reuters this week.

“(We have the) building capability to scale into parts of the world where we haven’t been strong in the past and a big part of that is actually working with partners, not trying to do everything ourselves,” said Lambeek, who joined the company from Fox International Channels in April.

“Angry Birds,” which was released in 2009 as a mobile game and fast became a hit, allowed players to fling an array of birds at pigs using a virtual slingshot.

“Angry Birds 2,” released last month, adds more characters, high-definition scenes, options to pick which bird to fling and the ability to compete with friends.

China accounts for a third of the nearly 40 million downloads of “Angry Birds 2″ since July 30, making it the top market. That is in line with the first “Angry Birds,” which Rovio said has seen nearly one billion Chinese downloads, out of what the company says is a total of 3 billion game downloads since 2009.

For Birds 2, Rovio partnered with Chinese mobile gaming company Kunlun Inc to make changes within the prompts and language used to target the way Chinese players are used to gaming, Lambeek said.

Chinese customers “want to be spoken to and listened to in their own language with their own specific humor,” he said.

Rovio hopes the new game renews interest in the brand ahead of May 2016′s “The Angry Birds Movie.”

 

 

 

AMD Still Losing Ground

August 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD is continuing to lose market share to Nvidia, despite the fact that its new best video card, the Fury is out.

AMD always had a get out of jail card when the last GPU market share numbers were out on the basis of it not having released anything. At the time NVidia had 76% of the discrete GPU market. This was when Nvidia’s best card was the GeForce GTX 980.

A lot happened in that time. There was the release of the Titan X in March, and before the GTX 980 Ti in June. AMD had its Hawaii architecture inside of the R9 290X, and the dual-GPU in the form of the R9 295X2. It was expected that the R9 390X might turn AMD’s luck around but that turned out to be another rebrand. Then there was the arrival of the R9 Fury X.

AMD has new products on the market: the R9 Fury X, R9 Fury, R9 390X and a bunch of rebranded 300 series video cards. But according to Mercury Research’s latest data, NVIDIA has jumped from 76% of the discrete GPU market in Q4 2014 to 82 per cent in Q2 2015.

AMD has 18 per cent of the dGPU market share, even after the release of multiple new products.

It is not that the Fury X isn’t selling well, but because of yield problems there will only 30,000 units made over the entire of the year.

AMD also rebranded nearly its entire product stack thus making no reason to buy a R9 390X if you own an R9 290X.

Sure there is 8GB of GDDR5 on board compared to the 4GB offered on most R9 290X cards, but that’s not enough to push someone to upgrade their card.

Tweaktown noted that  there was a big issue of the HBM-powered R9 Fury X not really offering any form of performance benefits over the GDDR5-powered GeForce GTX 980 Ti from NVIDIA. The 980 Ti beating the Fury X in some tests which it should not have.

Nvidia has plenty of GM200 GPUs to go around, with countless GTX 980 Ti models from a bunch of AIB partners. There is absolutely no shortage of GTX 980 Ti cards. Even if you wanted to get your paws on a Fury X, AMD has made it difficult.

Now it seems that next year could be a lot worse for AMD. Nvidia will have its GP100 and GP104 out next year powered by Pascal. This will cane AMD’s Fiji architecture. Then Nvidia will swap to 16nm process when its Maxwell architecture is already power efficient. Then there is the move HBM2, where be should see around 1TB/sec memory bandwidth.

All up the future does not look that great for AMD.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Microsoft Besting Sony In Video Game Software Space?

August 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The validity of framing the console market as a ‘race’ or a ‘war’ is open to question, but there’s no doubt that it’s a lot more fun when you do. The notion that there is a hard, immovable line between winning and losing simply doesn’t make much sense from a business perspective, but it makes for lively debate and – from an entirely selfish perspective – good copy.

For the first six months of this console generation that was certainly the case: the Xbox One tripping, stumbling and backtracking, with the PlayStation 4 marketing department lying in wait, pointed comments at the ready. Microsoft is dealing with the fallout from that disastrous period even now, its own reluctance to disclose hardware sales figures compounded by Sony’s eagerness to provide an update at every opportunity. At the last count, in July, the PlayStation 4 had sold more than 25 million units. The Xbox One, on the other hand, has sold…. well, we haven’t been given an official worldwide figure in 2015 so far.

In terms of sales, then, it’s very clear which console is ‘winning’ the generation, and it has been from the very first day. In terms of content, though, the debate is more nuanced, the outcome far less certain. Sony’s development resources have long been regarded as a unique strength when compared to Microsoft, effectively guaranteeing a superior crop of exclusive games regardless of how well the PlayStation hardware is selling. Whether that’s still true in terms of first-party studios is almost besides the point, because in terms of available, exclusive games there’s a strong argument that the Xbox has been a more attractive platform since the launch of Titanfall more than a year ago. By the end of this year, that point may well be beyond debate.

“I wouldn’t even say the gap has closed,” says Kudo Tsunoda, one of the leading executives in the Xbox games business. “We’ve got a lot more exclusive games than any other platform.”

Tsunoda and the various studios he oversees are celebrating the second Xbox showcase in less than two months. The first, at E3, is generally regarded as a key battleground within the console war, and a significant proportion of those who watched this year believed that Microsoft emerged victorious despite an impressive showing from Sony. The second, at Gamescom, was an Xbox victory by default, with Sony electing to steer clear of the event for the first time in years. Even so, Microsoft presided over 90 minutes of new games, not all of which were exclusive to the Xbox One, but none of which were on show at E3. Whether those exclusives came from first-party studios (Halo and Gears of War) or via chequebook-and-pen (Tomb Raider and Quantum Break) is largely irrelevant. For perhaps the first time in this console generation Xbox owners have an undeniable right to feel smug.

“There’s a reason we’re able to put on two shows of content together,” Tsunoda continues. “We’ve got seven exclusives coming this holiday, and then everything coming in 2016. Not just the blockbusters, but the ID@Xbox games, the indie games. We’re giving people a lot more.”

Microsoft’s early mistakes have been formative for the Xbox One, its underlying strategy switching from closed and controlled to open and inclusive. Sony recorded several huge PR victories by simply responding to those initial bad choices, but Microsoft has since proved more committed to the stance that Sony initially claimed as its own. An early indicator was Sony’s refusal to allow EA Access onto the PlayStation Network due to stated concerns that it didn’t offer “good value” to the consumer, but just as likely down to competition with its own planned streaming service, PlayStation Now. Microsoft allowed its customers to make that choice for themselves. Had you been asked to guess the stance each company would adopt even a few months before, it’s likely those roles would have been reversed.

Tsunoda repeats the idea that MIcrosoft is ‘listening to the fans’ throughout our interview, making it quite clear that it’s a message the company wants us to hear. However, while it would be naive to believe that any multinational corporation is motivated principally by altruism, the strategy for Xbox One is increasingly guided by consumer demand.

Two incoming services perfectly illustrate the degree to which Microsoft has pivoted since the days of mandatory online checks and a prohibition on used games. Xbox Preview is a more tightly controlled version of Steam Early Access, and just the sort of concept that walled gardens were formed to exclude. Backwards compatibility, meanwhile, demands little in the way of explanation. Equally, its importance cannot be overstated, to the consumers who spend so much on games every console generation, and to those who believe that companies like Microsoft should be treating their creative heritage with more respect.

“With backwards compatibility, it isn’t something that we just think gamers might want,” Tsunoda says. “We know. We’re looking for and soliciting that feedback. It was the number one most requested feature for Xbox One by far.”

Sony has no plans to match Microsoft in this respect, and the possibility of monetising those games through PlayStation Now makes it very unlikely that it ever will. For Microsoft, it’s part of a broader view of gaming with Windows 10 at its core, which should, in theory, unite the previously disparate tendrils of Microsoft’s sprawling organisation. PC and console, past and present, existing in harmony, each interacting with and complementing the other. Cross-Buy, Cross-Play, console to PC streaming; one might say that Microsoft should have been doing this for years already. According to Tsunoda, this is a first step.

“For a long time we’ve had PC gamers and console gamers who weren’t really able to play together,” Tsunoda says. “That’s why Cross-Play is still such a powerful idea. You should be able to play what you love, and play together, regardless of what device you’re playing on. It’s about connecting people.

“With backwards compatibility, it isn’t something that we just think gamers might want. We know”

“It’s a really unique value that only we can offer. You still need very gamer-focused values, but there are lots of things you can do with our technology. We’ve really got a lot more going on [than our competitors]. We’re doing things that can’t be done on any other console.

If Microsoft is pushing towards a more holistic approach to its games business, then a few reminders of its clumsier past still remain. One is perched just below the television directly to our left: Kinect, a device once positioned as an integral part of the future of Xbox, a future that Tsunoda was instrumental in selling to the press and public. These days, though, it feels additive, and that’s being kind. In more than 150 minutes of press conferences across E3 and Gamescom Kinect barely merited a single mention, while a new announcement, the Chatpad, offered a core-friendly alternative to the search and chat functions that represent a huge chunk of why anyone might still use it.

“I don’t think it’s an alternative [to Kinect]. It’s just about giving people a choice in how they can do things,” Tsunoda replies. “There’s still a lot of great voice capabilities that you can use with Kinect, but there’s also a lot of great possibilities for communication with the Chatpad. You can also customise a lot, with specific buttons for specific functions. With everything we do, we’re trying to give people the choice.”

In terms of games, though, Tsunoda offers only Just Dance 2016 as a specific example – which is developed and published by Ubisoft – accompanied by the vague promise that, “There’s still Kinect games coming as well.” This may be what ‘choice’ starts to look like when Microsoft loses faith in one of its possible futures. It should be noted that Kinect is now listed under the “More” section on the Xbox One Accessories page, beneath “Controllers,” beneath “Headsets and Communication,” grouped in the same vague category as the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner and the Xbox One Media Remote.

The fear of obsolescence created by the doldrum in which Kinect now resides also haunts the HoloLens, another promising device that Microsoft has just finished thrusting into the public eye. It stole the show at E3 with an immaculately orchestrated Minecraft demo, only for its limited field-of-view to be scrutinised by the press, and its early utility as gaming hardware to be questioned by none other than the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.

For Tsunoda, who is also closely involved with the development of HoloLens, the difference between watching a demonstration and actually experiencing it first-hand is more pronounced than any product he’s ever worked on – including Kinect. However, there is more common ground between the two devices than one might think.

“You should think about it in the same way that you would a phone or your computer. It does a lot of things,” Tsunoda says. “Obviously, gaming is a big part of what you do on those machines as well. But that’s what it is: an untethered holographic computer. You can do a lot in the gaming and entertainment space, but it has a lot of other functionality as well.

“Microsoft is a leader in depth-sensing technology: with Kinect, but also the stuff we’re doing with HoloLens as well. A big part of what we’re doing there is an environmental understanding that comes from having pushed our knowledge in depth-sensing. That’s what you’ll see us do as a company. [Kinect] is still a part of the platform, and there’s still Kinect games coming of course, but then also we’re pushing that depth-sensing technology forward with what we’re doing with HoloLens.”

It’s all a part of Microsoft’s future of gaming, whatever that turns out to be. Right now, though, Xbox might finally have emerged from PlayStation’s shadow.

Courtesy-GI.biz

More Details Uncovered On AMD’s ZEN Cores

August 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Our well informed industry sources have shared a few more details about the AMD’s 2016 Zen cores and now it appears that the architecture won’t use the shared FPU like Bulldozer.

The new Zen uses a SMT Hyperthreading just like Intel. They can process two threads at once with a Hyperthreaded core. AMD has told a special few that they are dropping the “core pair” approach that was a foundation of Bulldozer. This means that there will not be a shared FPU anymore.

Zen will use a scheduling model that is similar to Intel’s and it will use competitive hardware and simulation to define any needed scheduling or NUMA changes.

Two cores will still share the L3 cache but not the FPU. This because in 14nm there is enough space for the FPU inside of the Zen core and this approach might be faster.

We mentioned this in late April where we released a few details about the 16 core, 32 thread Zen based processor with Greenland based graphics stream processor.

Zen will apparently be ISA compatible with Haswell/Broadwell style of compute and the existing software will be compatible without requiring any programming changes.

Zen also focuses on a various compiler optimisation including GCC with target of SPECint v6 based score at common compiler settings and Microsoft Visual studio with target of parity of supported ISA features with Intel.

Benchmarking and performance compiler LLVM targets SPECint v6 rate score at performance compiler settings.

We cannot predict any instruction per clock (IPC improvement) over Intel Skylake, but it helps that Intel replaced Skylake with another 14nm processor in later part of 2016. If Zen makes to the market in 2016 AMD might have a fighting chance to narrow the performance gap between Intel greatest offerings.

Courtesy-Fud

As Profits Fall Lenovo Decides To Give Employees The Boot

August 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Lenovo has reported not very good financial results, and the shedding of five percent of the workforce.

The firm revealed a 50 percent drop in net profits, when measured against the same period last year, and an 80 percent slide in pre-tax income, again against Q2 2014.

The firm spoke of the severe challenges and tough environment that it finds itself in, explaining that this led to a quarterly revenue increase of three percent to $107bn, the 80 percent drop in pre-tax income to $52m, and a 51 percent profit drop to $105m.

Gross profits increased by 22 percent to $1.6bn, while operating profit dropped 67 percent year over year to $96m.

Times, we are given to understand, are tough and tough decisions have to be made. These decisions are couched in terms of increased efficiency and increased share value. They include the dunking of smartphone inventory worth $300m, and presumably post-Superfish clean up work.

“Last quarter, we faced perhaps the toughest market environment in recent years, but we still achieved solid results,” said Yuanqing Yang, chairman and CEO of Lenovo.

“But to build long-term, sustainable growth, we must take proactive and decisive actions in every part of the businesses. We will reduce costs in our PC business and increase efficiency in order to leverage industry consolidation increase share and improve profitability. We will come through these efforts as a faster, stronger and better aligned global company.”

The meat of the efforts comes later, after the positives. “This effort will reduce expenses by about $650m in the second half of this year and about $1.35bn on an annual basis. These actions will include a reduction of 3,200 people in our non-manufacturing workforce around the world,” reveals the firm in its financial statements (PDF).

“This equates to about 10 percent of non-manufacturing headcount and about five percent of our total population of around 60,000 people.”

There are positives. Lenovo’s PC sales dropped by three percent year over year, but were still good enough for the firm which said that it has seen gains in all geographies.

Quarterly sales of mobile devices, which include Motorola models, were up by 22 percent, but that part of the firm accounts for a $292m chunk of overall pre-tax losses.

Courtesy-TheInq

Console Software Sales Strong And Growing

August 13, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

As the 7th console generation was coming to an end several years ago, there was much pessimism regarding the impending launch of the 8th generation. Just as 7th generation software sales were starting to lag, mobile gaming exploded, and PC gaming experienced a renaissance. It was easy to think that the console players were going to be going elsewhere to find their gaming entertainment by the time the new consoles hit the scene. However, the 8th generation consoles have had a successful launch. In fact, the Sony and Microsoft consoles are as successful as ever.

A comparison of the year over year console software sales suggests that the 8th generation is performing better than the 7th generation – provided you exclude the Nintendo consoles. The following graph shows physical and digital software sales for years 1 through 3 of each generation for the Xbox and PlayStation platforms.

The annual numbers take into account the staggered launch cycle, so year 1 comprises different sales years for Xbox 360 and PS3. The data shows that the Sony and Microsoft platforms have outperformed their 7th generation counterparts, especially in the first two years of the cycle. The 8th generation outperforms the 7th generation even in an analysis that excludes DLC, which now accounts for an additional 5-10 percent of software sales.

However, the picture is far different if we include the Nintendo platforms. The graph below shows the same data, but now includes the Wii and Wii U in their respective launch years.

The data shows how much the “Wii bubble” contributed to the explosive growth in software sales in 2008, the year the Wii really took off as a family and party device. This data corroborates a broader theme EEDAR has seen across our research – new, shortened gaming experiences that have added diversity to the market, especially mobile, have cannibalized the casual console market, not the core console market. People will find the best platform to play a specific experience, and for many types of experiences, that is still a sofa, controller, and 50 inch flat-screen TV.

The shift in consoles to core games is further exemplified by an analysis of sales by genre in the 7th vs. 8th generation. The graph below shows the percentage of sales by genre in 2007 versus 2014, ordered from more casual genres to more core genres. Casual genres like General Entertainment and Music over-indexed in 2007 while core genres like Action and Shooter over-indexed in 2014.

It has become trendy to call this console generation the last console generation. EEDAR believes one needs to be very specific when making these claims. While this might be the last generation with a disc delivery and a hard drive in your living room, EEDAR does not believe the living room, sit-down experience is going away any time soon.

Courtesy-GI.biz

AMD Coherent Data Reaches 100 GBs

August 10, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

After a lot of asking around, we can give you some actual numbers about the AMD’s coherent fabric.

The inter-connecting technology already sounded very promising, but now we have the actual number. The HSA, Heterogeneous System Architecture MCM (Multi Chip Module) that AMD is working on can give you almost seven times faster score than the traditional PCIe interface.

Our industry sources have confirmed that with 4 GMI (Global Memory Interconnect) links AMD’s CPU and GPU can talk at 100GB/s. the traditional PCIe 16X provides 15GB/s at about 500 ns latency. Data Fabric eliminates PCIe latency too.

AMD will be using this technology with the next gen Multi Chip module that packs a Zeppelin CPU (most likely packed with a bunch of ZEN cores) and a Greenland GPU that of course comes with super fast HBM (High Bandwidth Memory). The Greenland and HBM can communicate at 500 GB/s and can provide highest performance GPU with 4+ teraflops.

This new MCM package based chip will also talk with DDR4 3200 memory at 100GB/s speed making it quite attractive for the HSA computation oriented customers.

 

Courtesy-Fud

AMD’s x86 16-core Heterogenous EHP Processor Spotted

August 6, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

It was rumored back in April about AMD’s upcoming Exascale Heterogeneous Processor (EHP) with 16 cores and a Greenland APU, and now it seems that the rest of the world has caught up to the news.

A paper was submitted at IEEE and it was the first time AMD mentioned sixteen Zen cores wrapped around the GPU and powered by HBM 2 memory. We believe that this is a 16-core processor with 32 thread support and not 32 core as many reported. We will know soon enough and then can have another “we told you so” headline.

We would not be surprised if we hear more about this AMD processor at the Hot Chips conference on August 23rd. The EHP computing solution uses a silicon interposer and an APU chip that, almost as a raison d’être for AMD over the past several years, packs a GPU and CPU into a well-tuned band.  All this will be surrounded by die-stacked DRAM.The Italian website that brought this news back to life claims that AMD expects to ship the product between 2016 and 2017. That is the sort of timing you can expect with the rest of the ZEN based cores on the market. One can only hope that it will happen sooner rather than later. AMD needs to get more of the high performance compute market and earn some profits.

The IEEE article gives a bit of light on AMD exascale computer strategy:

Exascale computing requires very high levels of performance capabilities while staying within very stringent power budgets. Hardware optimized for specific functions is much more energy efficient than implementing those functions with general purpose cores. However, there is a strong desire for supercomputer customers to not have to pay for custom components designed only for high-end HPC systems, and therefore high-volume GPU technology becomes a natural choice for energy-efficient data-parallel computing. To fully realize the capabilities of the GPU, we envision exascale compute nodes comprised of integrated CPUs and GPUs (i.e., accelerated processing units or APUs) along with the hardware and software support to enable scientists to effectively run their scientific experiments on an exascale system.  [In the paper submitted to IEEE...] We discuss the hardware and software challenges in building a heterogeneous exascale system, and we describe on-going research efforts at AMD to realize our exascale vision.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD To Use Superfast Fabric

August 5, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has come up with a new interface, interconnect technology it calls coherent fabric.

It is a new inter-chip connection that will be used in the Exascale Heterogeneous Processor (EHP). Coherent fabric is primary interconnect for IP on AMD SOCs, APUs, CPUs and GPUs beginning with the next generation CPU SOC and followed by the Greenland GPU ASIC. Incoherant fabric, on the other hand, is something worn by loud American tourists and is sometimes called a Hawaiian shirt.

AMD’s GMI – Global Memory Interconnect, extends the coherent fabric between chips on the same multi-chip module (MCM) package. The coherent fabric extends between packages using combo phys which also support PCIe interconnection.

All this sounds rather complicated, but is basically a faster way for Zen SoC to talk to the Greenland Die on future processors.

Coherent fabric will speed up the communication in Zen CPUs between the cores and cache, host controllers, eg. USB, SATA or GbE, memory controllers, PSP, timer, counter, ACPI or legacy interface, combo phys and GMI layers. GMI phys of Zen die will talk directly with GMI phys of Greenland HBM 2.0 graphics die and uses coherent fabric too.

Our industry sources did not want to go into the specifics of achievable speeds of this interconnect, but the promise of a significant improvement is there. And of course the upcoming AMD’s 16 core Heterogenous EHP Processor will benefit from the fast coherent fabric interconnect.

AMD’s coherent fabric is the direct competitor to Nvidia’s NVlink interconnection that is expected in 2016 with the Pascal GPUs.

Courtesy-Fud

Sony Finally On Solid Ground Thanks To The PS4

July 31, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The PlayStation business has had another phenomenal quarter in the first four months of 2015, selling three million PS4 units and turning in an operating income of $160 million from revenues of $2.365 billion. There are now 25.3 million PlayStation 4 units in the hands of players worldwide – a number achieved in less than two full years.

The console continues to be the company’s fastest seller – outpacing the PS2, which took two years and eight months to reach the 20 million mark. Furthermore, thanks to dropping production costs for PS4 hardware, a 12 per cent increase in sales from the same quarter last year translated to a massive 350 per cent rise in operating income.

A strengthening dollar again hurt Sony’s bottom line, having an estimated impact of 15.6 billion Yen on the revenue total of 288.6 billion Yen, but this was massively outweighed by the increase in sales and the efficiency gains of Sony’s operation. On the strength of the results, Sony has added another 20 billion Yen in operating income to the sector’s full year forecast.

The sales rate of PS4 shows a healthily steady growth in player base, returning to a gradual upswing after a huge blip in Q3, 2014. Sony has upgraded it full year forecast from 16 million units to 16.5 as a result – a figure which would show a substantial increase on 2014′s 14.8 million total. By Sony’s own reckoning, the end of Q1 2016 will see nigh on 40 million of the consoles in homes. Vita sales once again went unmentioned in the report, whilst the gradual decline of PS3 continued.

Hardware wasn’t the only success story. Network, (“Network includes network services relating to game, video, and music content provided by Sony Network Entertainment Inc.”) mad almost as much in revenues, netting around 105.8 billion Yen compared to Hardware’s 129.5 billion. The Other category (Other includes packaged software and peripheral devices) brought in 30.6 billion.

Overall, the corporation turned a healthy profit, banking $676 million in net from sales of nearly $15 billion. Whilst the PlayStation business is very healthy indeed, it’s far from Sony’s only, or even biggest, success story: Devices, Imaging, Financial Services and Music all continue to return a higher operating income.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

Samsung To Sell Monitor That Can Wirelessly Charge Smartphones

July 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Samsung Electronics wants to unclutter your home with a monitor that can wirelessly charge smartphones and other mobile devices.

The SE370 monitor will come in 23.6-inch and 27-inch formats and is the industry’s first to have an integrated wireless charging station, the South Korean manufacturer said Monday.

But your phone will have to support the Qi wireless charging standard, which was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and is supported by makers such as Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and Huawei.

The charging area is on the stand for the monitor, and an LED lights up when it’s in use. The monitor has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and is optimized for video games, with richer black hues when it’s in game mode. The screen will not distort graphics with stutter and lag and has a response time of 4 milliseconds, Samsung said.

Compatible with Mac OS X and Windows 10, the SE370 also has an eye-saver mode that reduces blue light, which is believed to cause eye strain and sleep problems.

Samsung did not provide information about pricing or availability for the SE370 monitor and did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

The company’s Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge flagship smartphones support the Qi and rival Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standards for wireless charging. Earlier this year, Samsung released its own branded charging pad to juice them up.

The latest Qi specification, announced last month, will allow manufacturers to provide much faster wireless power charging options than earlier versions.

The platform has also caught on with makers such as Ikea, which launched a collection of furniture in April with built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers.

Qi had been competing with PMA and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). Following a decision earlier this year, however, the two organizations announced their merger in June, with a new name yet to be decided.