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Is AMD Going To Rome

May 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has presented a long-term 7nm roadmap and the new codenames for the server products have an Italian theme.

The Zen-based server core, the product that will give a birth to the  Epyc line of data center / server products should debut next month with Naples. Naples is the first 32 core with 64 threads to launch, and this is a 14nm FinFET product. It is named after a city of very rude Italians who are sitting on a super volcano which will eventually explode and take most of southern Europe out with it.

Now Forrest Norrod, a SVP and General Manager of AMD’s enterprise, embedded and semi custom business group, has shared what will come after Zen and it appears the product names are keepting to the Italian theme.

The next in line is based on 7nm and is what the company internally calls Zen 2. Making the transistors smaller will let it put more transistors per square meter and give it a much better efficiency. In servers, it is all about the efficiency per square millimeter, or performance per watt metric.

The Zen 2 data center is codenamed Rome which is named after a city which worshipped a fire goddess and nicked most of its technology from the rest of Europe. Rome also invented exploding public toilets and Catholicism. 

GlobalFoundries said that 7nm risk production can start early next year, so we can expect to see the Zen 2 core at the end of 2018 at the earliest.

The Zen 3 based core is likely based on a 7nm+  process, whatever that might become. AMD’s client and data center group is in sync with its roadmap, at least partially. Both groups are planning to have Zen 2 and Zen 3 based products after they finally manage to ship Zen this year. AMD is using “Milan” as the codename for its Zen 3 product. It is named after a city which thinks it rules the whole of Italy. People from Milan also believe in putting blue cheese on pizzas, which makes them seen as barbarians by the rest of the country.

According to a Powerpoint deck, Milan is coming in its Blue Vein glory sometime before 2020. These time frames are not set in stone.

Forrest said that  a Zen based Epyc processor should be expected in 30+ 1S and 2S servers during 2017. 5000 Epyc CPUs are seeded with OEMs, end customers and partners and AMD is hoping that they will get to see the beauty of its Epyc platform and make some more designs.

Multiple Hypersacele providers have programs and evaluation for the Epyc processor,  hoping to score a good deal in the latter part of the year and beyond. AMD has confirmed that its Risorgimento should be on schedule to launch in June 2017. 

Courtesy-Fud

India Woos Apple Expansion, Offers Tax Concessions

May 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

India has proposed letting Apple Inc import mobile handset components intended for use in local manufacturing tax free, a top government official said.

The tax concessions will be subject to the condition of increasing local value addition over a period of time.

Apple Inc wants to expand its contract manufacturer’s facility in the southern Indian tech hub of Bengaluru, a federal minister said , as the iPhone maker seeks a bigger share in one of the world’s biggest smartphone markets.

Cupertino, California-based Apple last week started making iPhone SE at its Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron’s plant in Bengaluru..

Apple, which sold over 50 million iPhones in the March quarter, down 1 percent year-on-year, is looking for new markets as its sales in China have weakened.

Among a set of tax concessions, Apple had initially sought a 15-years tax holiday for all components that it would import for setting up a manufacturing facility in India.

A panel of ministries rejected that demand and has offered a phased program to increase the share of local production in the manufacturing, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary at the Ministry of Electronics and IT said.

“We have offered them tax exemptions on those components which could not be manufactured in India,” Sundararajan told Reuters, adding that local manufacturing component would have to be increased gradually.

Apple has agreed to increase local share in production over a period of time, but there was a difference between the plans of the two sides, she said.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

India wants Apple to raise value addition share in phases of 3,5,7 and 10 years as the local capacity builds up, part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to boost manufacturing.

Industry estimates the phased manufacturing program could increase local value addition in mobile phones manufacturing to 40-50 percent in the next three years.

Earlier, Ravi Shankar Prasad, the federal minister for Electronics and IT said government officials were in touch with Apple and other mobile phone manufacturers about expanding facilities and setting up new plants.

“It will be a little early to say that India and Apple have agreed on the common ground,” said the official, adding India was ready to work out a roadmap to encourage manufacturing.

Industry estimates total value of mobile phones produced in India touched near 900 billion Indian rupees ($13.90 billion) compared with 540 billion rupees in the previous year.

“We are waiting for Apple to come back,” said Sundararajan.

Intel Kittson Really A Successor To The Itanium Line

May 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has released the successors to the Itanium “Poulson” microprocessors and they are showing all the development and evolution of an Apple product.

The Itanium 9720, 9740, 9750 and 9760 CPUs are better known as “Kittson” and really are so similar to their predecessor you could not tell them apart.

In fact the only improvement in “Kittson” lineup is slightly increased operating frequency in two models.

The new range has four and eight CPU cores depending on SKU, up to 32 MB of last level cache, and 2 DDR3 memory controllers. They are clocked at up to 2.66 GHz, and support Hyper-Threading technology. Other supported features are Turbo Boost and Virtualization technologies.

They have shedloads of RAS features, such as machine check architecture with ECC and parity protection, Instruction Replay technology, hot add and removal.

Each on-chip memory controller supports two interconnects to Intel 7500 and 7510 Scalable Memory Buffers. The CPU works with DDR3-800 and DDR3-1066 memory. The Itanium 9720 is rated at 130 Watt TDP and the 9740, 9750 and 9760 SKUs have 170 Watt TDP.

Courtesy-Fud

Square Enix Is Giving IO Interactive The Boot

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Square Enix is dropping IO Interactive, the Danish studio behind the long-running Hitman franchise.

In a statement released today, the Japanese publisher said the decision was part of a strategy to “focus our resources and energies on key franchises and studios.”

The withdrawal was in effect as of the end of the last financial year, on March 31, 2017, and resulted in a ¥4.9 billion ($43 million) extraordinary loss on the company’s balance sheet.

Square Enix has already started discussion with potential new investors, the company said. “Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.”

IO Interactive was acquired by Eidos in 2003, just before it launched Hitman: Contracts, the third game in what was already its signature franchise. Eidos was acquired by Square Enix in 2009, and it has launched four games in the time since: Mini Ninjas, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Hitman: Absolution, and Hitman, last year’s episodic take on its most celebrated IP.

The bold new structure implemented in Hitman saw the game’s missions being separately on digital platforms, with various live events and challenges taking place between the release of each one. Square Enix originally planned to give the entire series a boxed retail release, but that never materialised. It has never disclosed official numbers regarding the sales figures for Hitman, either as a series or for individual episodes.

However, the series’ ámbition was widely appreciated within the games press – it was named 11th best game of 2016 by Eurogamer, for example, and was Giant Bomb’s overall Game of the Year. When we talked to IO studio head Hannes Seifert last year, he described the pride his team felt at the “new feeling” the game created, and made it clear that plans for Hitman extended far beyond a single season of epsiodes.

“When we say an ever expanding world of assassination, it means we don’t have to take everything that’s out there, throw it away and make a new game,” he said. “We can actually build on that. Just imagine after two or three seasons, you enter at that point in time, the amount of content will just blow your mind. That’s where we want to be.”

Seifert stepped down as IO’s studio head in February this year. He was replaced by Hakan Abrak, IO’s former studio production director.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Can MediaTek Boost Revenues By 8 Percent In A Crowded Industry?

May 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek expects its second-quarter revenues to see sequential increase to $1.86 billion.

Gross margin for the quarter will be better than the prior quarter’s level thanks to a more favorable product mix.

MediaTek wants to ship more than 110 million SoC chips for smartphones and tablets in the second quarter.

Company vice chairman Ching-jiang Hsieh said at an April 28 investors’ conference that smartphone demand is picking up slowly, but should start to accelerate at the end of the second quarter when inventory in the smartphone industry supply chain drops.

MediaTek’s 10nm Helio X30 chips are already in mass production at TSMC. MediaTek’s 10nm smartphone chips will only be a insignificant portion of company revenues in 2017, when 16nm and 28nm products remain MediaTek’s major smartphone-IC product lines.

MediaTek will use TSMC’s 12nm process technology to build a new SoC solution targeted at mid-range smartphones later in 2017. The company will also move forward rolling out its next-generation product using a more-advanced 7nm process node, Hsieh noted.

Hsieh predicted that smartphone demand worldwide will come to 1.6-1.7 billion units in 2017, which will represent a single-digit increase compared to 2016. For MediaTek, it could be a challenge to post smartphone-chip shipment growth in 2017.

Digitimes claims that MediaTek’s smartphone-chip shipments for the first half of 2017 will reach just over 200 million units, which means the shipments will have to jump over 50 percent in the second half of the year in order to top the early 500 million units shipped in 2016.

Courtesy-Fud

Are eBooks Losing Steam In The U.K.?

May 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Ebooks are dying out and are being replaced by the good old fashioned non-digital versions with a bit of spine.

Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17 percent in the UK in 2016, according to the Publishers Association.

Sales of physical books and journals went up by seven percent over the same period, while children’s books surged 16 percent. The same trend is on display in the US, where ebook sales declined 18.7 percent over the first nine months of 2016.

According to the Association of American Publishers, paperback sales were up 7.5 percent over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1 percent.

Some of this might be due to the death of tablets and e-readers which turned out not to be the game changing hardware that the Tame Apple Press and Steve Jobs told us.

The Sales of e-readers have declined by more than 40 percent between 2011 and 2016, according to consumer research group Euromonitor International.

“E-readers, which was once a promising category, saw its sales peak in 2011. Its success was short-lived, as it spiralled downwards within a year with the entry of tablets,” Euromonitor said in a research note.

One of the things we have noticed in research book sales is that people are grabbing PDF versions of books and never reading them. But in any case, it does look like the traditional book has another few hundred years life left in it.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Apple Compete With Venmo

May 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

For a while now the Tame Apple Press has been enthusing about Apple’s moves to set up own money-transfer service, but now it looks like it is actually happening.

The cunning plan is to allow iPhone users to send cash to other iPhone users so that they can buy more Apple gear and get themselves deeper into debt with their friends rather than the banks.

The company has recently held discussions with payments industry partners about introducing its own Venmo competitor, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks. The service would allow iPhone owners to send money digitally to other iPhone owners, these people said.

The new service is expected later this year, although some Apple deep throats have warned that the company still has not made up its mind.

Another cautioned that an announcement and launch date may not yet be set.

Part of the problem is that once again Apple is showing up at the banks and telling them about a service it is setting up and expecting them to nod their heads and do what they are told.

Apple previously held talks with banks about such a service back in 2015 but did not end up launching anything because the banks told it to go forth and multiply.

The reason is obvious. The new Apple product would compete with offerings from big US banks as well as PayPal, its millennial-popular subsidiary Venmo, as well as Square Cash in the increasingly competitive world of digital money-transfers. Chase’s QuickPay service processed $28 billion in transfers last year, while Venmo registered $17.6 billion in volume and is still doubling year over year.

In short, Apple is arriving on the scene too late and expecting to boss people about and the banks are saying no. The banks see these services have typically been money losers for  new entrants in the space, but are the gateway to the next generation of payment and personal finance services that could upend traditional consumer banking relationships.

Apple is desperate to prop up its Apple Pay service. Apple Pay which was launched with much fanfare is not getting the sort of use that Apple or its reluctant banking partners expected.

Long-time Apple analyst Gene Munster recently told the Wall Street Journal that he estimates Apple saw $36 billion in 2016 Apple Pay transactions, well below his original prediction of $207 billion.

If Apple pushes through this Venmo style service, backed with its own debit card, it could hack off the bankers even more. Visa has been named as one of Jobs’ Mob’s partners and it is possible that the banks could pressure Visa into not working with Apple. It would be too much competition.

Courtesy-Fud

Can AMD’s Radeon RVX Vega Compete With nVidia’s 1080 Ti

May 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

During an AMA session, AMD’s Global Marketing Manager for Desktop Processors, Don Woligrosky, answered plenty of questions and revealed a bit more information about the upcoming Radeon RX Vega graphics card.

In an AMA session at Tom’s Hardware site, Don Woligorsky said that Radeon RX Vega performance looks really nice when compared to the Geforce GTX 1080 Ti and the Titan Xp. This certainly sounds good for AMD as it has been a while since the company had a decent competition in the high-end graphics card market.

Nvidia has recently equipped its Geforce GTX 1080 Ti and GTX 1060 graphics card with faster GDDR5 memory, which has put additional pressure on AMD’s lineup and while AMD rebranded RX 500 series is keeping the company afloat in the mainstream market, the company still needs to bring a high-end graphics card to the market.

On a similar note, AMD pretty much confirmed that RX Vega will be launching in this quarter, which means it has to launch in the next two months.

Courtesy-Fud

NAND Prices Appear To Be Sckyrocketing

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

NAND flash prices have been inflating excessively lately and Phison Electronics chairman Khein Seng Pua warned that prices are set to go up again in the third quarter as end-market demand surges.
He told Digitimes that while prices might decrease a little in the second quarter, Chipmakers’ ongoing transition from 2D to 3D NAND memory has led to tight supply and inflated the chip prices.

System OEMs are reluctant to deliver their products as the more they sell the more they lose due to soaring NAND flash costs, Pua warned.

Meanwhile, chipmakers’ supply to channel distributors has been falling short of demand prompting the distributors to promote lower-capacity storage devices.

“Channel distributors particularly those in China have turned to promote 96GB SSDs instead of 128GB ones due to insufficient chip supply,” Pua said.

Distributors have even experienced tight supply of 8GB and 4GB eMMC devices.

Pua believes NAND flash prices will soon see correction following excessive gains but Apple’s new iPhone will take a lot of NAND flash from the market and push prices up again.

Chipmakers’ transition to 3D NAND memory will become smooth in general between May and June, which will help ease the supply shortages, Pua indicated.
The industry’s output of 64-layer 3D NAND will account for more than half of the total output in the fourth quarter of 2017 Pua said.

Courtesy-Fud

Can AMD Go Wireless In The Virtual reality Space?

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

You might seen we’ve writing about millimeter waves several times. and we usually attributed this term to 5G. AMD has just acquired Nitero, a millimeter wave company that wants to use this technology to cut the cord on your VR and AR headset. 

AMD has figured out that cables are a very limiting factor in a Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. This is not a big secret as even if you only had a few minutes to play with one, you quickly realize that making things wireless is more comfortable.

The acquisition provides AMD with a broader portfolio of IP capable of enabling VR headset and solution providers with key technology required to create more immersive computing experiences.

Mark Papermaster, AMD chief technology officer and senior vice president said:

“Unwieldly headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of VR. Our newly acquired wireless VR technology is focused on solving this challenge, and is another example of AMD making long-term technology investments to develop high-performance computing and graphics technologies that can create more immersive computing experiences.”

Nitero has designed a phased-array beamforming millimeter wave chip to address the challenges facing wireless VR and AR. This is the same frequency that Intel and Qualcomm will use for Wi-Gig. This enables very fast speeds within a room, but due to its high frequency the signal won’t really penetrate any walls.

This is not that important for the VR and AR markets as we don’t see a case where you need to leave an office or a room with the VR / AR headset on.

The 60GHz technology has the potential to enable multi-gigabit transmit performance with low latency in room-scale VR environments. It will rely heavily on the beamforming characteristics to solve the requirement for line-of-sight associated with traditional high-frequency mm-wave systems. The main goal is potentially eliminating wired VR headsets and letting users to become more easily immersed in virtual and augmented worlds.

Nitero co-founder and CEO Pat Kelly said:

“Our world class engineering team has been focused on solving the difficult problem of building wireless VR technologies that can be integrated into next-generation headsets. We are excited to play a role in furthering AMD’s long-term technology vision.”

Pat joined AMD as corporate vice president, Wireless IP highlighting the importance of the whole acquisition and the whole technology potential. Fudzilla calls this a step in the right direction. 

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Goes Custom Power With Ryzen

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has released a new custom “balanced” power plan for those using Ryzen CPU on Windows 10 OS.

Until today, AMD Ryzen CPU users were limited to using the “high performance” plan in Windows 10 OS, at least if they want to get most performance out of their Ryzen CPU. Now, AMD has released a new tweaked “balanced” power plan that should provide a compromise between performance and power efficiency which “automatically balances performance with energy consumption on capable hardware”.

According to the explanation posted by AMD’s Robert Hallock, the new power plan reduces the times and thresholds for P-state transition in order to improve clockspeed ramping as well as disables core parking for “more wakeful cores”.

These tweaks are apparently enough for the new plan to provide similar performance to the Microsoft’s “high performance” power plan setting, at least according to AMD’s own slides. As far as power is concerned, the new balanced power plan does not change how the processor handles low-power idle states, so basically, you’ll get additional performance without compromising the power efficiency.

The new balanced plan is quite simple to install and you can find both the download link as well as check out further explanation over at AMD’s community blog. AMD will also include the final power plan with next AMD chipset drivers for Ryzen CPUs.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Macs Virus Free

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The myth that Macs are somehow more secure than other operating systems appears to be a myth according to a Threat Report by McAfee Labs.

Attacks on Macs have risen by 744 percent in 2016 and there are more than 460,000 malware samples on Mac machines found. Although this is not a particularly high number you have to acknowledge that this is one security company and on a single machine.

It appears that after years of leaving Macs alone, virus writers are suddenly taking an interest in knocking them over and the security by obscurity measures, along with faith-based defences are not working.

The Tame Apple Press has rushed to say that “despite the dramatic increase in macOS malware attacks, Mac owners need not be too alarmed”.

One newspaper even said that the attacks were just irritating and not like the “true malware attacks” that Windows users have to suffer.

Most of the attacks were just adware which automatically generates and displays advertising material, including banners or pop-ups, whenever a user is online, the Tame Apple Press  tried to reassure Apple fanboys.

Last summer, Mac owners were warned about a new malware dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Elanor – a nasty piece of code that infects the OS X operating system and gives hackers complete access to the files on the computer.

Courtesy-Fud

Is AMD’s Ryzen 3 Coming In The 2H Of 2017

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

After launching the Ryzen 7 CPU lineup, AMD will launch its mainstream Ryzen 5 lineup in just under a week, but today we have additional information about an entry-level Ryzen 3 SKU, the Ryzen 3 1200.

Scheduled to launch sometime in the second half of this year, the Ryzen 3 lineup will compete well against Intel’s Core i3 dual-core lineup. It is still not clear if AMD will include dual-core SKUs in its Ryzen 3 lineup, but it is most likely that all will be quad-core SKUs with and without SMT-enabled. Earlier rumors also suggest that there will be a Ryzen 3 1200X SKU that should be similar but with support for XFR (eXtended Frequency Range) technology, which may give it a further overclocking boost.

According to details leaked by ASRock’s support page and originally spotted by Computerbase.de, the Ryzen 3 1200 SKU works at 3.1GHz frequency (most likely 3.4GHz Turbo) and has a 65W TDP.

Courtesy-Fud

Blizzard Entertainment Wins Cheating Lawsuit

April 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Blizzard Entertainment has asked for $8.5 million in damages from Bossland, a German company that makes and sells cheats and hacks for its most popular games.

This is the latest and probably final step in a legal complaint Blizzard filed in July 2016, which accused Bossland of copyright infringement and millions of dollars in lost sales, among other charges. Cheat software like Bossland’s Honorbuddy and Demonbuddy, Blizzard argued, ruins the experience of its products for other players.

According to Torrent Freak, Bossland’s attempt to have the case dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction failed, after which it became unresponsive. It also failed to respond to a 24-hour ultimatum to respond from the court, and so Blizzard has filed a motion for default judgement.

The $8.5 million payment was calculated based on Blizzard’s sales projections for the infringing products. Bossland had previously admitted to selling 118,939 products to people in the United States since July 2013, of which Blizzard believes a minimum of 36% related to its games.

“In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00,” the motion document stated. “While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages.

“Notably, $200 approximates the cost of a one-year license for the Bossland Hacks. So, it is very likely that Bossland actually received far more than $8 million in connection with its sale of the Bossland Hacks.”

Update: The court has granted Blizzard’s motion for default judgement, ordering Bossland to pay $8.56 million in damages.

That number was calculated based on 42,818 sales of Bossland’s products in the US. The court ruled that the German company should not be allowed to sell Honornuddy, Demonbuddy, Stormbuddy, Hearthbuddy and Watchover Tyrant in the country from now on, as well as any future products that exploit Blizzard’s games. Bossland will also have to pay $174,872 in attorneys’ fees.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Are Big Changes In Store For DDR5 In 2018?

April 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Last week, the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association announced that it now has a full standard for the widely anticipated DDR5 memory that is expected to arrive in June 2018, based on new Hybrid DIMM technologies such as NVDIMM-P, which is intended to give servers the ability to store RAM data in between reboots.

DDR5 to use 3D chip stacking with TSVs

As with any new forecasted memory standard, the association says that DDR5 (Double Data Rate 5) memory will offer improved performance with greater power efficiency as compared to previous generation DRAM technologies. DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density of DDR4 along with improved channel efficiency, making it ideal for high performance combined with improved power management and cost savings.

DDR5 is expected to become the industry’s first DIMM approach that will include 3D chip stacking using through-silicon vias (TSVs), similar to what Toshiba has been doing with NAND flash since 2015. Since TSVs can be placed anywhere on the chip rather than just at the edge, it’s easy to implement a wide data bus with higher performance and low-power through shorter distances.

NVDIMM-P: Combining NVM or NAND flash with DRAM memory space

Mian Quddus, Chairman of the JEDEC Board of Directors, said that increasing server performance requirements are driving the need for more advanced technologies, and the standardization of next generation memory such as DDR5 and the new generation persistent modules NVDIMM-P will be essential to fulfilling those needs.

The organization has announced that it is also working on a standard for non-volatile hybrid memory called NVDIMM-P, or “Non-Volatile Dual Inline Memory, Persistent,” that basically would map DRAM and NAND to the same memory space. The proposed standard effectively provides both byte- and block-level drive access.

Courtesy-Fud

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