Chip designer ARM reported a 36 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit amid strong demand for its technology.
The British company said that expects 2015 revenue to meet the expectations of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.
ARM recorded net profit of $126.7 million for the three months to March 31 and revenue rose 22 percent.
Shares in ARM, which makes money by licensing its designs to chip makers, then collecting royalty revenue when the chips ship, were up by more than 5 per cent on the back of the news.
Processor-royalty revenue in dollar terms, a much-watched figure, rose 31 per cent on the year, the company said, adding that it has signed 30 processor licenses for a broad range of applications.
ARM CEO Simon Segars said: As the world becomes more digital and more connected, we continue to see an increase in the demand for ARM’s smart and energy-efficient technology, which is driving both our licensing and royalty revenues.@
Processor-licensing revenue was down 2 per cent in the quarter, which was in line with expectations following strong growth previously. Chief Financial Officer Tim Score told journalists he expects it to grow in future quarters.
Aside from smartphones and tablets, ARM said it is also seeing demand for its processors to be used for servers and networking and for the “Internet of Things”, a term used for the growing tendency for more items to be wirelessly connected.
ARM expects to benefit from the growth of the Internet of Things in areas such as health and in cars, Score said.
The last processor released was Poulson that was pretty advanced for its time, but is now getting so old that parts of the chip are haunted.
The Itanium 9500 series processors were designed for scalability in mind and targeted at the HPC market and Intel has been pretty quiet about a replacement.
KitGuru cornered an Intel suit and asked them if they were planning to can it completely, but the suit denied it.
“Intel remains committed to the Intel Itanium product line and to the delivery of the next-generation Intel Itanium processor, code named ‘Kittson’. [It] will be manufactured on Intel’s 32nm process technology and will be socket compatible with the existing Itanium 9300/9500 platforms, providing customers with performance improvements, investment protection, and a seamless upgrade path for existing systems,” the spokesman said.
Hang on a minute. Kittson was originally supposed to be on the 22nm process, so the downgrade to 32nm is a bit of a shock.
The only one still trying to flog the Itanium ecosystem is HP. However, HP is in process of transitioning to the x86-64 ecosystem as well, and once it does that, there will be virtually no demand.
Intel has also made it very clear that they have not announced any product after Kittson – which means Kittson will be the end of that branch of the evolutionary tree.
It is sad really IA64 was interesting and had some legs for businesses taking them away from x86 land. It just seems that it was a Betamax.
Microsoft Corp has finally rolled out a long-awaited suite of touch-friendly Office apps that allow Windows phone users to work on Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents on their phones with touch commands and to transfer them easily between devices.
Test versions of what Microsoft is calling its Office Universal apps are available to download immediately and full versions will be available by the end of the month, Microsoft said.
Many Office users have waited months for Microsoft to introduce the apps, which adapt their look and commands to the device being used, whether Windows Phone or tablet.
Microsoft, in a departure from tradition, has already released similar touch-friendly Office apps for Apple Inc’s iPad and iPhone, and for tablets running Google Inc’s Android.
The company’s reasoning was that those popular devices, which have dominated mobile computing, represented a bigger and more lucrative market for its Office products than its own Windows mobile devices.
Basic functions are free for everyone, but for advanced editing features, users must pay for a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office.
Microsoft is set to release a new version of Office for desktop PCs, and a new version of Windows, later this year.
MediaTek is working on two new tablet SoCs and one of them is rumored to be a $5 design.
The MT8735 looks like a tablet version of Mediatek’s smartphone SoCs based on ARM’s Cortex-A53 core. The chip can also handle LTE (FDD and TDD), along with 3G and dual-band WiFi. This means it should end up in affordable data-enabled tablets. There’s no word on the clocks or GPU.
The MT8163 is supposed to be the company’s entry-level tablet part. Priced at around $5, the chip does not appear to feature a modem – it only has WiFi and Bluetooth on board. GPS is still there, but that’s about it.
Once again, details are sketchy so we don’t know much about performance. However, this is an entry-level part, so we don’t expect miracles. It will have to slug it out with Alwinner’s $5 tablet SoC, which was announced a couple of months ago
According to a slide published by Mobile Dad, the MT8753 will be available later this month, but we have no timeframe for the MT8163.
But there’s nothing to see here as far as Torvalds is concerned. It’s just another day in the office. And all this in “Back To The Future II” year, as well.
Meanwhile under the bonnet, the community are already slaving away on Linux 4.1 which is expected to be a far more extensive release, with 100 code changes already committed within hours of Torvalds announcement of 4.0.
But there is already some discord in the ranks, with concerns that some of the changes to 4.1 will be damaging to the x86 compatibility of the kernel. But let’s let them sort that out amongst themselves.
After all, an anti-troll dispute resolution code was recently added to the Linux kernel in an effort to stop some of the more outspoken trolling that takes place, not least from Torvalds himself, according to some members of the community.
An upcoming MediaTek SoC has been spotted in GFXbench and this tablet-oriented chip has created a lot of speculation thanks to the choice of GPU.
The Cortex-A53 based MediaTek MT8163 was apparently tested on a dev board with 2GB of RAM and the benchmark failed to identify the GPU. GFXbench identified the GPU as a part coming from “MediaTek Inc. Sapphire-lit”.
Spinning up the rumour mill
This is where the speculation starts, as many punters associated the GPU with AMD, and the presence of the word “Sapphire” also prompted some to conclude that AMD’s leading GPU add-in-board partner had something to do with it.
The Sapphire word association doesn’t look like anything other than clutching at straws, because it’s highly unlikely that an AIB would have much to do with the process of licensing AMD IP for mobile graphics.
However, this does not necessarily mean that we are not looking at a GPU that doesn’t have anything to do with AMD. The fact that MediaTek’s name is on it is perhaps more important, because it suggests an in-house design. Whether or not the part is indeed an in-house design, and whether it features some AMD technology, is still up for debate.
Why would MediaTek need AMD to begin with?
MediaTek relies on ARM Mali GPUs, although it uses Imagination GPUs on some designs. So where does AMD fit into all this?
As we reported last month, the companies have been cooperating on the SoC graphics front for a while, but they are tight lipped about the scope of their cooperation.
MediaTek is a supporter of HSA and a founding member of the HSA Foundation, but this doesn’t prove much, either, since the list of founding members includes ARM, Imagination, Texas Instruments, Samsung and Qualcomm.
Using AMD technology on SoCs would have to be a long-term strategy, built around the concept of using AMD IP to boost overall SoC performance rather than just GPU performance. This is why we do not expect to see the fruits of their cooperation in commercial products anytime soon.
Improved compute performance is one of the reasons MediaTek may be inclined to use AMD technology, but another angle is that “Graphics by AMD” or “Radeon Graphics” would sound good from a marketing perspective and allow MediaTek to differentiate its products in a saturated market.
Intel has released details of its next -generation Xeon Phi processor and it is starting to look like Intel is gunning for a chunk of Nvidia’s GPU market.
According to a briefing from Avinash Sodani, Knights Landing Chief Architect at Intel, a product update by Hugo Saleh, Marketing Director of Intel’s Technical Computing Group, an interactive technical Q&A and a lab demo of a Knights Landing system running on an Intel reference-design system, Nvidia could be Intel’s target.
Knights Landing and prior Phi products are leagues apart and more flexible for a wider range of uses. Unlike more specialized processors, Intel describes Knights Landing as taking a “holistic approach” to new breakthrough applications.
The current generation Phi design, which operates as a coprocessor, Knights Landing incorporates x86 cores and can directly boot and run standard operating systems and application code without recompilation.
The test system had socketed CPU and memory modules was running a stock Linux distribution. A modified version of the Atom Silvermont x86 cores formed a Knights Landing ’tile’ which was the chip’s basic design unit consisting of dual x86 and vector execution units alongside cache memory and intra-tile mesh communication circuitry.
Each multi-chip package includes a processor with 30 or more tiles and eight high-speed memory chips.
Intel said the on-package memory, totaling 16GB, is made by Micron with custom I/O circuitry and might be a variant of Micron’s announced, but not yet shipping Hybrid Memory Cube.
The high-speed memory is similar to the DDR5 devices used on GPUs like Nvidia’s Tesla.
It looks like Intel saw that Nvidia was making great leaps into the high performance arena with its GPU and thought “I’ll be having some of that.”
The internals of a GPU and Xeon Phi are different, but share common ideas.
Nvidia has a big head start. It has already announced the price and availability of a Titan X development box designed for researchers exploring GPU applications to deep learning. Intel has not done that yet for Knights Landing systems.
But Phi is also a hybrid that includes dozens of full-fledged 64-bit x86 cores. This could make it better at some parallelizable application categories that use vector calculations.
However, the survey also showed limited awareness of the watch. The poll was taken after Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook debuted the product last week, and only about half of respondents said they had heard news of the timepiece in the last few days.
Also, in an encouraging sign for Apple, roughly 13 percent of survey respondents who did not own an iPhone said that they would consider buying one in order to buy an Apple Watch, which needs an iPhone to work fully.
Apple overcame skepticism about the iPad and iPod when they first debuted, but the survey suggests that the world’s largest technology company has work to do to make the watch ubiquitous.
The new watch, a test of Cook’s leadership, is the company’s first new product in five years, and it hits stores on April 24.
It allows users to check email, listen to music and make phone calls from their wrist. Apple will sell various versions, from a $349 ‘sport’ edition to a $17,000 18-karat gold timepiece.
Ipsos surveyed 1,245 Americans online between March 9 and March 13. The data was weighted to reflect the U.S. population and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the poll.
More than half of respondents, 52 percent, agreed with the statement that smartwatches are a “passing fad.”
One-quarter of respondents said they were interested in purchasing the Apple Watch, but 69 percent said they had no desire, and 6 percent said they were unsure.
Initial demand for the watch is expected to come primarily from existing iPhone users, but its wider success is seen depending on whether developers create enticing apps tailored to the device, so-called killer apps.
HBO’s standalone streaming service will launch on Apple Inc devices in April, ahead of the season premiere of hit series “Game of Thrones,” the network said, a move to reach millions of viewers who do not subscribe to pay television packages.
The new HBO Now service will cost $14.99 a month. It will include the network’s past, present and future series plus its lineup of Hollywood movies, HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Plepler said at an Apple event in San Francisco.
It is the first time the premium network will be available to people with Internet access who shun traditional TV bundles with dozens of channels. Other media companies including CBS Corp and Dish Network Corp also are taking steps to reach those audiences.
“This is a transformative moment for HBO,” Plepler said after an introduction by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The move by Time Warner Inc’s HBO could threaten the video businesses of cable and satellite companies, which are fighting to keep customers from dropping their TV packages. It also amps up competition with streaming services such as Netflix Inc. HBO’s library of hits includes “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.”
Starting in early April, HBO Now will be available through the Apple TV box and on iPhones, iPads and the iPod touch. The fifth season of “Game of Thrones” premieres April 12.
Apple will be the exclusive digital provider of HBO Now for three months. The network also is aiming to convince traditional TV distributors to offer the service as early as April.
One of the hottest things we learned at the Mobile World Congress is that MediaTek is working with AMD on mobile SoC graphics.
This is a big deal for both companies, as this means that AMD is getting back into the ultra-low power graphics market, while MediaTek might finally get faster graphics and gain more appeal in the high end segment. The choice of ARM Mali or Imaginations Technologies GPUs is available for anyone, but as most of you know Qualcomm has its own in-house Adreno graphics, while Nvidia uses ultra-low power Maxwell GPUs for its latest SoCs.
Since Nvidia exited the mobile phone business, it is now a two horse race between the ever dominant Qualcomm and fast growing MediaTek. The fact that MediaTek will get AMD graphics just adds fuel to the fire.
We have heard that key AMD graphics people are in continuous contact with MediaTek and that they have been working on an SoC graphics solution for a while.
MediaTek can definitely benefit from faster graphics, as the recently pictured tablet SoC MT8173 powered by two Cortex-A72 clocked up to 2.4GHz and two Cortex-A53 has PowerVR GX6250 graphics (two clusters). The most popular tablet chip Appel’s A8X has PowerVR Series 6XT GXA6850 (octa-core) which should end up significantly faster, but at the same time significantly more expensive.
MediaTek MT6795 a 28nm eight-core with a 2.2GHz clock and PowerVR G6200 GPU at 700 MHz, which is 100 MHz faster than one we tested on the Meizu MX4, which was one of the fastest SoCs until Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 came out in late February.
AMD and MediaTek declined to comment this upcoming partnership, but our industry sources know that they both have been working on new graphics for future chips that will be announced at a later date. It’s cool to see that AMD will return to this market, especially as the company sold of its Imageon graphics back in 2009 – for a lousy $65 million to Qualcomm. Imageon by ATI was the foundation for Adreno graphics.
We have been reassured some 18 months ago by some AMD senior graphics people, that “AMD didn’t forget how to make good ultra-low power graphics” and we guess that this cooperation proves that.
Facebook Inc, United Continental Holdings Inc, BMW AG and others have spent weeks at Apple’s headquarters, working with the smartwatch to test and fine-tune apps that will debut alongside the device, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the process.
The watch, which will let consumers check their email, pay for goods at retail stores and monitor personal health information, will be Apple’s first major product launch since the iPad in 2010.
The company has scheduled a special event in San Fransisco on March 9 where it is expected to showcase Apple Watch, which will be launched in April.
Apple uses extreme measures to keep its work secret – Internet access is blocked inside the rooms and no outside materials can be brought in, Bloomberg reported, citing a person who attended the tests.
Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller and Facebook spokeswoman Johanna Peace declined to comment. Reuters could not immediately reach United Continental and BMW for comment outside regular business hours.
German carmaker BMW said on Thursday its talks with Apple did not involve developing or building a car, denying a German magazine report.
AMD Liquid VR is not a retail product – it is an initiative to develop and deliver the best Virtual Reality (VR) experience in the industry.
AMD Liquid VR was announced at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and the company describes it is a “set of innovative technologies focused on enabling exceptional VR content development” for hardware based on AMD silicon.
Developers will soon get access to the LiquidVR SDK, which will help them address numerous issues associated with VR development.
Platform and software rather than hardware
If you were expecting to see a sexy AMD VR headset with a killer spec, the announcement may be disappointing. However, if you are a “what’s under the bonnet” kind of geek, there are a few interesting highlights.
AMD has put a lot of effort into minimising motion-to-photon latency, which should not only help improve the experience, but also keep you from experiencing motion sickness, or hurling over that new carpet that really ties the room together.
Headline features of LiquidVR SDK 1.0 include:
Async Shaders for smooth head-tracking enabling Hardware-Accelerated Time Warp, a technology that uses updated information on a user’s head position after a frame has been rendered and then warps the image to reflect the new viewpoint just before sending it to a VR headset, effectively minimizing latency between when a user turns their head and what appears on screen.
Affinity Multi-GPU for scalable rendering, a technology that allows multiple GPUs to work together to improve frame rates in VR applications by allowing them to assign work to run on specific GPUs. Each GPU renders the viewpoint from one eye, and then composites the outputs into a single stereo 3D image. With this technology, multi-GPU configurations become ideal for high performance VR rendering, delivering high frame rates for a smoother experience.
Latest data latch for smooth head-tracking, a programming mechanism that helps get head tracking data from the head-mounted display to the GPU as quickly as possible by binding data as close to real-time as possible, practically eliminating any API overhead and removing latency.
Direct-to-display for intuitively attaching VR headsets, to deliver a seamless plug-and-play virtual reality experience from an AMD Radeon™ graphics card to a connected VR headset, while enabling features such as booting directly to the display or using extended display features within Windows.
You can grab the full AMD LiquidVR presentation here. (pdf)
What’s next for LiquidVR?
It all depends on what you were expecting, and what the rest of the industry does. AMD hopes LiquidVR will be compatible with a broad range of VR devices. LiquidVR will allow hardware makers to implement AMD technology in their products with relative ease, enabling 100Hz refresh rates, the use of individual GPUs per each eye and so on.
To a certain extent, you can think of LiquidVR as FreeSync for VR kit.
Oculus CEO Brendan Irbe said achieving presence in a virtual world is one of the most important elements needed to deliver a good user experience.
He explained where AMD comes in:
“We’re excited to have AMD working with us on their part of the latency equation, introducing support for new features like asynchronous timewarp and late latching, and compatibility improvements that ensure that Oculus’ users have a great experience on AMD hardware.”
Raja Koduri, corporate vice president, Visual Computing, AMD, said content, comfort and compatibility are the cornerstones of AMD’s focus on VR.
AMD’s resident graphics guru said:
“With LiquidVR we’re collaborating with the ecosystem to unlock solutions to some of the toughest challenges in VR and giving the keys to developers of VR content so that they can bring exceptional new experiences to life.”
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s 3300 frames of AMD’s virtual reality vision.
It looks like the Mantle API developed by AMD is slowly reaching its end of its useful life.
Mantle has apparently served its purpose as a bridge between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 and AMD is starting to tell new developers to focus their attention on DirectX and GLnext.
Raja Koduri, the Vice President of Visual and Perceptual Computing at AMD said in a blog post:
The Mantle SDK also remains available to partners who register in this co-development and evaluation program. However, if you are a developer interested in Mantle “1.0″ functionality, we suggest that you focus your attention on DirectX® 12 or GLnextGLnext.
This doesn’t mean a quick death for Mantle. AMD suggest it will support its partners and that there are still titles to come with support for Mantle. Battlefield Hardline is one of them and it’s a big one.
Back in November AMD announced a Mantle update, telling the world that there are four engines and 20+ launched or upcoming titles, and 10 developers publically announced their support for Mantle.
There are close to 100 registered developers in the Mantle beta program. The Frostbite 3 engine (Battlefield Hardline), CryEngine (Crysis series), Nitrous Engine (Star Citizen) and Asura Engine (Sniper elite) currently have support for Mantle. Some top games including Thief and Sid Meir’s Civilization Beyond Earth also support Mantle.
AMD will tell developers a bit more about Mantle at the Game Developers Conference 15 that starts today in San Francisco and will talk more about its definitions of an open platform. The company will also tackle on new capabilities beyond draw calls and it will remain there for the people who are already part of the Mantle program.
However, AMD suggests new partners should look the other way and focus on alternatives. When we spoke with Raja and a few other people from AMD over the last few quarters, we learned that Mantle was never supposed to take on DirectX 12. You should look at Mantle as AMD’s wish list, that’s what AMD wanted and needed before Microsoft was ready to introduce DirectX 12. Mantle as a low-level rending API and keep in in mind that it came almost two years before DirectX 12.
The Battlefield 4 Mantle patch came in February 2014 roughly a year ago and it showed a significant performance increase on supported hardware. Battlefield Hardline is the next big game to support Mantle and it comes in two weeks. CryEngine also supports Mantle, but we will have to wait and see if the support will ever translate into an actual game with Mantle support.
Spotted by GforGames site, in a GeekBench test results and running inside an unknown smartphone, MediaTek’s MT6795 managed to score 886 points in the single-core test and 4536 points in the multi-core test. These results were enough to put it neck to neck with the mighty Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC tested in the LG G Flex 2, which scored 1144 points in the single-core and 4345 in the multi-core test. While it did outrun the MT6795 in the single-core test, the multi-core test was clearly not kind on the Snapdragon 810.
The unknown device was running on Android Lollipop OS and packed 3GB of RAM, which might gave the MT6795 an edge over the LG G Flex 2.
MediaTek’s octa-core MT6795 was announced last year and while we are yet to see some of the first design wins, recent rumors suggested that it could be powering Meizu’s MX5, HTC’s Desire A55 and some other high-end smartphones. The MediaTek MT6795 is a 64-bit octa-core SoC clocked at up to 2.2GHz, with four Cortex-A57 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores. It packs PowerVR G6200 graphics, supports LPDDR3 memory and can handle 2K displays at up to 120Hz.
As we are just a few days from Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 which will kick off in Barcelona on March 2nd, we are quite sure that we will see more info as well as more benchmarks as a single benchmark running on an unknown smartphone might not be the best representation of performance, it does show that MediaTek certainly has a good chip and can compete with Qualcomm and Samsung.
According to Toms Hardware one of the unexpected features of DirectX 12 is the ability to use Nvidia GPUs alongside AMD GPUs in multi-card configurations.
This is because DirectX 12 operates at a lower level than previous versions of the API it is able to treat all available video resources as one unit. Card model and brand makes no difference to a machine running DX12.
This could mean that the days of PC gamers having to decide between AMD or Nvidia could be over and they can pick their referred hardware from both companies and enjoy the best of both worlds. They will also be able to mix old and new cards.
However there might be a few problems with all this. Rather than worrying about your hardware optimization software developers will have to be on the ball to make sure their products work.
More hardware options means more potential configurations that games need to run on, and that could cause headaches for smaller studios.
It would appear that the world is rushing to Nvidia to buy its latest GPU at the expense of AMD.
According to the data, NVIDIA and AMD each took dramatic swings from Q4 of 2013 to Q4 of 2014 with Nvidia increasing its market share over AMD by 20 per cent and AMD’s market share has dropped from 35 per cent at the end of 2013 to just 24 per cent at the end of 2014.
Meanwhile, Nvidia has gonr from 64.9 per cent at the end of 2013 to 76 per cent at the end of 2014.
The report JPR’s AIB Report looks at computer add-in graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics for desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments.
In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry using discrete chips and private high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.
On a year-to-year basis, total AIB shipments during the quarter fell by 17.52 per cent , which is more than desktop PCs, which fell by 0.72 percent .
However, in spite of the overall decline, somewhat due to tablets and embedded graphics, the PC gaming momentum continues to build and is the bright spot in the AIB market.
The overall PC desktop market increased quarter-to-quarter including double-attach-the adding of a second (or third) AIB to a system with integrated processor graphics-and to a lesser extent, dual AIBs in performance desktop machines using either AMD’s Crossfire or Nvidia’s SLI technology.
The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs declined from a high of 63 per cent in Q1 2008 to 36 per cent this quarter.
So in other words It is also clear that the Radeon R9 285 release didn’t have the impact AMD had hoped and NVIDIA’s Maxwell GPUs, the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, GTX 970 and GTX 980 have impacted the market even more than expected.
This is ironic because the GTX 970 has been getting a lot of negative press with the memory issue and AMD makes some good gear, has better pricing and a team of PR and marketing folks that are talented and aggressive.