Intel said 2016 sales will climb in the “mid single-digit” percent range and said it didn’t need a buoyant personal-computer market to make piles of dosh.
Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich told analysts that Intel’s growth was not dependent on its PC business.
Intel is facing a weaker PC market and said that its revenue has been bolstered by demand for high-powered processors that run servers, the building blocks of cloud-computing centers.
Additionally, orders for memory chips and processors used in new markets for Intel — such as automotive and factory automation — are helping to boost sales, the CEO said.
Intel predicted gross margin, or the percentage of sales remaining after deducting the cost of production, of about 62 percent for 2016. It’s budgeting about $10 billion for spending on new plants and equipment and raised its quarterly dividend payout by 2 cents a share, the company said in a filing today. The higher payout is in line with Bloomberg’s dividend forecast for Intel.
IDC Corp predicted that PC shipments are on course to shrink 4.9 percent to below 300 million units this year, after peaking at 364 million in 2011.
Stacy Smith, Intel’s chief financial officer said that even if the PC market shrinks 10 percent, Intel expects to be able to grow in the low-single digit percentage range, said. If the market is flat, Intel will grow in the high-single digit percentage range, he said.
While Intel got more than twice as much revenue from selling PC chips as it did from its data-centre group in the recent period, the two units brought in almost the same amount of operating profit.
That change has been driven by Intel’s 99 percent market share in server chips and surging demand for the machines from operators of data centres, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Google, which are building up their capacity to provide computing power, storage and services via the Internet.
Bill Holt, Intel’s head of manufacturing said that Chipzilla could reduce the cost of transistors which makes it worth investing in new production techniques. The company is maintaining its lead over TSMC and Samsung.
Intel is also on track to cut losses by its mobile chip division and expects a reduction of about a $1 billion this year, Smith said. In 2016 it’s aiming to get another $800 million closer to profitability in that business, he said.
nVidia has unveiled the first version of two new virtual reality (VR) software development kits (SDKs).
The company said at the release of version 1.0 of GameWorks VR and DesignWorks VR that the SDKs will solve the power-guzzling problems associated with complex, immersive VR graphics processing.
“VR promises to dramatically change the way we experience everyday life, but delivering VR is a complex challenge, especially since it requires seven times the graphics processing power of traditional 3D apps and games,” said the firm.
The two SDKs aim to solve this by making use of the company’s GeForce and Quadro GPUs, providing developers with tools to create more engaging VR experiences by increasing performance, reducing latency, improving hardware compatibility and accelerating 360-degree video broadcasts. They also support Windows 10.
GameWorks VR is aimed at game and application developers, and includes a feature called VR SLI, which provides increased performance for VR applications where multiple GPUs can be assigned a specific eye to dramatically accelerate stereo rendering.
GameWorks VR also delivers specific features for VR headset developers, including Context Priority, which provides control over GPU scheduling to support advanced VR features such as asynchronous time warp. This cuts latency and quickly adjusts images as gamers move their heads, without the need to re-render a new frame.
There’s also a feature in the SDK called Direct Mode, which treats VR headsets as head-mounted displays accessible only to VR applications, rather than a typical Windows monitor, providing better plug-and-play support and compatibility for VR headsets.
Nvidia said that GameWorks VR is already being integrated into leading game engines, such as those from Epic Games, which has announced support for GameWorks VR features in an upcoming version of the popular Unreal Engine 4.3.
DesignWorks VR is aimed at developers of professional VR applications in markets such as manufacturing, media, entertainment, oil and gas, and medical imaging. It builds on the core GameWorks VR SDK with the addition of powerful tools.
Warp and Blend, which features new APIs that provide application-independent geometry corrections and intensity adjustments across entire desktops to create seamless VR CAVE environments, without introducing any latency.
Synchronisation, a tool to prevent tearing and image misalignment while creating one large desktop driven from multiple GPUs or clusters.
GPU Affinity, which provides dramatic performance improvements by managing the placement of graphics and rendering workloads across multiple GPUs.
Direct for Video, a feature that enables VR and augmented reality environments such as head-mounted displays, CAVEs/immersive displays and cluster solutions.
Nvidia’s new SDKs come with a set of APIs and libraries for headset and app developers, including a new Multi-Res Shading Technology. This is the first time this technology has been made available publically, Nvidia said, and is touted as an “innovative rendering technique” that increases performance by as much as 50 percent while maintaining image quality.
Developers can download the VR SDKs from the Nvidia developer website. The updated release of DesignWorks VR can be accessed by registering at the above link.
Nvidia unveiled DesignWorks in August, a suite of rendering tools aimed at changing the design industry and how designers work on creations.
The software allows rendering at large scale, and in VR, giving designers the ability to collaborate with others and incorporate live video. This means they can render and see their designs with greater accuracy, and share those designs with others.
Troubled chipmaker AMD is putting a lot of its limited investment money into the “Boltzmann Initiative” which is uses heterogeneous system architecture ability to harness both CPU and AMD GPU for compute efficiency through software.
VR-World says that stage one results are finished and where shown off this week at SC15. This included a Heterogeneous Compute Compiler (HCC); a headless Linux driver and HSA runtime infrastructure for cluster-class, High Performance Computing (HPC); and the Heterogeneous-compute Interface for Portability (HIP) tool for porting CUDA-based applications to C++ programming.
AMD hopes the tools will drive application performance from machine learning to molecular dynamics, and from oil and gas to visual effects and computer-generated imaging.
Jim Belak, co-lead of the US Department of Energy’s Exascale Co-design Center in Extreme Materials and senior computational materials scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said that AMD’s Heterogeneous-compute Interface for Portability enables performance portability for the HPC community.
“The ability to take code that was written for one architecture and transfer it to another architecture without a negative impact on performance is extremely powerful. The work AMD is doing to produce a high-performance compiler that sits below high-level programming models enables researchers to concentrate on solving problems and publishing groundbreaking research rather than worrying about hardware-specific optimizations.”
The new AMD Boltzmann Initiative suite includes an HCC compiler for C++ development, greatly expanding the field of programmers who can leverage HSA.
The new HCC C++ compiler is a key tool in enabling developers to easily and efficiently apply the hardware resources in heterogeneous systems. The compiler offers more simplified development via single source execution, with both the CPU and GPU code in the same file.
The compiler automates the placement code that executes on both processing elements for maximum execution efficiency.
Samsung appears to have stolen a march on Intel and TSMC by coming up with a 10-nano FinFET processed S-RAM
According to Electronic Times Intel and TSMC’s products are still being processed at 14-nano and 16-nano so Samsung’s 10-nano S-RAM, will open the way for a generation of Giga-Smartphones. S-RAM is faster than D-RAM and is used for CPU’s cache memory.
It means that Samsung’s 10-nano technology will be mass-produced on full-scale in early 2017. The theory is that 10-nano AP will combine Gigabyte modem chips into one faster chip.
Samsung is showing its plans to the ISSCC. They will have a 128 Megabyte (MB) capacity and a cell area of 0.040 µm2. This compares to the 14-nano S-RAM (0.064 µm2) that Samsung Electronics introduced in the past, its cell area is reduced by 37.5 per cent.
In an ISSCC scientific paper, Samsung said that it built a large-scale fast cache memory in the smallest area. An AP for a smartphone with S-RAM, can minimize Die’s area and improve its performance.
All this means that Samsung Electronics has surpassed Taiwan’s TSMC and developed the next-generation system semiconductor.
Intel postponed its schedule for developing next-generation 10-nano system semiconductor from 2016 to 2017 due to increase of production costs. Samsung Electronics is targeting end of next for commercialising 10-nano processing.
Samsung Electronics has also developed 14-nano flat-surface NAND-Flash, and this is also first ever in industries. Toshiba, Micron and others have announced that after they finish developing 15 to 16-nanos, they are giving up on flat-surface NAND-Flash.
It had been thought that 14-nano NAND-Flash, which reduces area of Floating Gate by about 12.5% compared to 16-nano, will greatly contribute to Samsung Electronics in reducing production cost of NAND by reducing Silicon Die’s area.
Intel has started sending out its Knight’s Landing version of Xeon Phi and this one has a 72-core coprocessor solution manufactured on a 14nm process using shiny new 3D Tri-Gate transistors.
The coprocessors use Intel’s’s Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture that stuffs cores into a single chip, which itself is part of a larger PCI-E add-in card solution for supercomputing.
Add-in cards run alongside these engines, such as NVIDIA’s Tesla GPUs to help with the number crunching.
Knight’s Landing succeeds the Knight’s Corner, which has up to 61 cores. Knight’s Landing has double-precision performance which can do more than 3 teraflops and over 8 teraflops of single-precision performance. It also has 16GB of on-package MCDRAM memory, which Intel says is five times more power efficient as GDDR5 and three times as dense.
In making the announcement Charlie Wuischpard, vice president and general manager of HPC Platform Group at Intel said that supercomputing was entering a new era and being transformed from a tool for a specific problem to a general tool for many,”
“System-level innovations in processing, memory, software and fabric technologies are enabling system capabilities to be designed and optimized for different usages, from traditional HPC to the emerging world of big data analytics and everything in between. We believe the Intel Scalable System Framework is the path forward for designing and delivering the next generation of systems for the ‘HPC everywhere’ era.”
A Chinese website has leaked details about Broadwell-E which sounds pretty plausible.
According toXfastest there will be four new processors under the new High-End Desktop (HEDT) banner for Broadwell.
Of the range, it would appear that the Core i7-6950X is the most interesting. It has a 10-core CPU with Hyper Threading, which means that it has 20 threads to play with and 25MB of L3 cache.
However the CPU clockspeed is a little on the slow side, running at just 3.0GHz. This will be a problem with software that is not properly tuned to take full advantage of large core counts and threads. It will be behind the Core i7-6700K which is a quad-core Skylake processor clocked at 4GHz to 4.2GHz on Turbo. The Core i7-6950X has more L3 cache, but it might lose to the Devil’s Canyon Core i7-4790K which can manage 4GHz to 4.4GHz.
For those who like their clockspeed, Chipzilla will release two faster-clocked six-core Broadwell-E processors and an eight-core CPU that strikes a balance between clockspeed and core count. The specs that Xfastest found show:
Intel Core i7-6950X: 10 cores, 20 threads, 25MB L3 cache, 3.0GHz
Intel Core i7-6900K: 8 cores, 16 threads, 20MB L3 cache, 3.3GHz
Intel Core i7-6850K: 6 cores, 12 threads, 15MB L3 cache, 3.6GHz
Intel Core i7-6800K: 6 cores, 12 threads, 15MB L3 cache, 3.4GHz
All of these processors will have a Turbo clockspeed, though information about this is unavailable. All socket LGA2011-v3 CPUs should be compatible with existing X99 Express chipset motherboards.
As far as leaks go, it seems particularly credible to us. No word of price or release dates yet though.
Intel is refreshing its embedded “Braswell” lineup of Celeron N3000, N3050, N3150 and Pentium N3700 systems-on-a-chip.
Details and model numbers of the SoCs were spotted by spotted by CPU World in a Product Change Notification.
It looks like the new processors will have increased burst frequency for better CPU and GPU performance.
Celeron and Pentium N3xxx SoCs are based on C core stepping, and it seems that Intel is replacing this with D-stepping. The chips will have the numbers N3060, N3160 and N3710. The integrated graphics unit will be rebranded to HD Graphics 405 on the Pentiums, and to HD Graphics 400 on the Celerons.
D-stepping chip samples will appear in a couple of weeks with the first production chips shipped on January 15, 2016.
The embedded N3000 will be refreshed too, although details on that are unavailable.
Chipzilla is planning to release new mobile and desktop models. The desktop SoCs will have a performance boost and a rebranded GPU. The TDP increased from 6 Watt to 6.5 Watt, and they will have the J3060, J3160 and J3710 product numbers.
The desktop Celeron J3060, J3160 and Pentium J3710 models are available at the end of November for samples, and mid-January of 2016 for production parts.
AMDs’ head graphics guy, Raja Koduri promised that AMD will have two new GPUs out next year.
Koduri was talking to Forbes about how AMD needed to get some new architectural designs and create brand new GPUs into the shops.
He added that this is something that AMD has been pretty pants about lately.
He promised two brand new GPUs in 2016, which are hopefully going to both be 14nm/16nm FinFET from GlobalFoundries or TSMC and will help make Advanced Micro Devices more power and die size competitive.
AMD’s GPU architectures have gotten rather elderly, he said.
AMD also wants to increase its share in professional graphics. Apparently this is so low that any competition it brings Nvidia could significantly help their market share in this high margin business. The company has hired
Sean Burke to help drive this forward. Sean was a president at Flex and Nortek and a senior executive at Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and Dell. For those who came in late he was the father of Dell’s Dimension and Compaq’s Prolinea.
Koduri’s cunning plan is to capture consumer and professional graphics will be by providing fully immersive experiences that range from education and medicine to gaming and virtual reality with plenty of overlap in between.
He is also interested in expanding into “instinctive computing” applications which involve medicine, factory automation, automotive and security. These are computing applications that are more natural to the environment and less obvious to the user and should come as natural user experiences.
Koduri has three make attack plans. The first is to gain discrete GPU market share in 2016 and 2017 as well as win the next generation of consoles, which will be 4K. Ironically the AMD chips in the consoles on the market at the moment can handle 4K but they don’t.
Koduri wants console makers will continue to stick with Radeon IP for their next generation consoles and give Advanced Micro Devices an even bigger advantage in the gaming space.
DirectX 12 in the latest shipping version of Windows does seem to give Radeon GPUs a significant performance uplift against Nvidia, he said.
Over the last few months both have been busy with new releases. Nvidia has its GeForce GTX 950 and GTX 980 Ti, while AMD put its first HBM-powered cards in the Radeon R9 Fury X, Fury and the super-small R9 Nano into the shops.
According to JPR, overall GPU shipments are up quarter-over-quarter – with AMD’s overall GPU shipments up 15.8 per cent. But before AMD fanboys get all excited by a surprise return to form from AMD, JPR said that that NVIDIA “had an exceptionally strong quarter”. Nvidia saw an uptick of 21.3 per cent.
The PC market as a whole increased by 7.5 per cent quarter-over-quarter but decreased 9 per cent year-over-year. Nivida’s discrete GPU shipments were up 26.3 per cent according to JPR, while AMD’s discrete GPUs spiked by 33 per cent.
AMD’s mobile GPU shipments for notebooks increased by 17 per cent, while NVIDIA had 14 per cent.
Intel has expanded its family of low-power Xeon D processors to include better support for network and storage in order to speed up the move towards cloud-ready communications.
The fresh Xeon D-1500 products come in nine flavors and are said to offer more performance, energy efficiency, and twice the maximum memory of the previous iteration, making them ideal for dense environments in networking, cloud and enterprise storage, as well as IoT applications, Intel said.
“Billions of devices are becoming connected – from smartphones to cars to factories – and that brings new use cases and service opportunities that drive unprecedented growth in network and storage demands,” explained Intel. “Today’s networks are not designed in a way that allows communications providers to quickly or cost effectively expand their infrastructure.”
Intel believes that for us to take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) and enhance mobile computing experiences, communications networks need to be “re-architected”, with increased programmability and built-in flexibility throughout the infrastructure to handle the anticipated increase in volume and complexity of data traffic.
“Networks are facing extraordinary demands as more devices become connected and new digital services are offered,” said Intel VP of the data center group, Sandra Rivera. “Building intelligence throughout the communications infrastructure and using a standards-based approach offers service providers the foundation to build agile, cloud-ready networks that allow them to expand their services capabilities.”
Intel said that more than 50 vendors are currently building systems using these new Xeon D-1500 chips.
As part of the same networking communications focus, Intel also unveiled a host of Ethernet controllers.
The Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10000 Family is said to combine Ethernet technology with advanced switch resources for use in high-performance communications network applications and dense server platforms.
With up to 200Gbps of high-bandwidth multi-host connectivity and multiple 100GbE ports, the FM10000 Ethernet controller delivers a better packet processing capability that should help to reduce network traffic bottlenecks within and between servers.
Intel also announced the Ethernet Controller X550 family, a low-power, low-cost 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity device it said can offer a performance boost to data center servers and network appliances.
Intel first introduced its Xeon D 1500 processor family in March, in what is probably best described as the meeting point between the Xeon E3 and Atom SoCs.
Aimed at powering server, storage and compute applications at the “network edge”, the Xeon D SoCs take the best bits of the E3 and Atom SoCs.
AMD’s EMEA component sales manager Neil Spicer is “confident” his outfit can return to profitability in 2016.
Talking to CRN http://www.channelweb.co.uk/crn-uk/news/2433958/amd-confident-profitability-will-return Spicer said he is sure that profitability will return as long as the company sticks to its principles.
“From a personal stance, I am confident [AMD can be profitable]. I believe we are working with exactly the right customers, and over the last few years we have become much simpler to execute and do business with.”
He said that in order to achieve profit, the company must ensure it is investing in the right areas.
“Moving forwards to 2016, we have to have profitable share growth,” he said. “So it’s choosing the right business to go after, both with the company itself and the ecosystem of partners. There is no point in us as a vendor chasing unprofitable partners.
“We want to focus [in the areas] we are good at – that’s where we are going to invest heavily. That’s things like winning the graphics battle with gaming and so forth, and we want to be part of this Windows 10 upgrade cycle.”
Spicer so far has been a little optimistic this year. He thought that Windows 10 would drive an upgrade refresh, particularly as AMD works so well with the new OS.
He also thinks that the combination of Windows 10, the advent of e-sports – competitive online gaming – and new technology and products AMD is launching, means “PC is an exciting market”.
Of course Spicer was extremely enthusiastic about Zen which he thinks will help its play in the high-end desktop space, and the server area. More cynical observers think that Zen will be AMD’s last roll of the dice.
AMD said that Globalfoundaries has demonstrated silicon success on the first AMD products using GloFlo’s 14nm FinFET process technology.
We are pretty sure that it is talking about the prototypes for Zen, but AMD is not being that specific. Nevertheless, AMD is being enthusiastic.
As a result of this milestone, Gloflo silicon-proven technology is planned to be integrated into multiple AMD products that address the growing need for high-performance, power-efficient compute and graphics technologies across a broad set of applications, from personal computers to data centres to immersive computing devices, AMD said.
Er that will be Zen then.
AMD said that it has taped out multiple products using 14nm Low Power Plus (14LPP) process technology and is currently conducting validation work on 14LPP production samples.
Today’s announcement represents another significant milestone towards reaching full production readiness of Globalfoundries’ 14LPP process technology, which will reach high-volume production in 2016, AMD said.
The 14LPP platform taps the benefits of three-dimensional, fully-depleted FinFET transistors to enable customers like AMD to deliver more processing power in a smaller footprint for applications that demand the ultimate in performance.
Mark Papermaster, senior vice president and chief technology officer at AMD said that FinFET technology is expected to play a critical foundational role across multiple AMD product lines, starting in 2016.
“Globalfoundaries has worked tirelessly to reach this key milestone on its 14LPP process. We look forward to Globalfoundaries continued progress towards full production readiness and expect to leverage the advanced 14LPP process technology across a broad set of our CPU, APU, and GPU products.”
Mike Cadigan, senior vice president of product management at Globalfoundaries said that the 14nm FinFET technology is among the most advanced in the industry.
“Through our close design-technology partnership with AMD, we can help them deliver products with a performance boost over 28nm technology, while maintaining a superior power footprint and providing a true cost advantage due to significant area scaling.”
Globalfoundaries 14LPP FinFET is ramping with production-ready yields and excellent model-to-hardware correlation at its Fab 8 facility in New York.
AMD said that in January, the early-access version of the technology (14LPE) was successfully qualified for volume production, while achieving yield targets on lead customer products.
The performance-enhanced version of the technology (14LPP) was qualified in the third quarter of 2015, with the early ramp occurring in the fourth quarter of 2015 and full-scale production set for 2016.
The PC will make a comeback, but the so-called Tablet revolution is history, according to the Chipmaker who missed out on it.
Kirk Skaugen, GM of Intel’s client computing group told the Intel Global Capital Summit that there are more than a billion PCs that are more than three years old and a third of a billion that are over five years old. People are coming back to the PC and refreshing their systems.
It used to be that people upgraded every two years or so, but in the last five years silicon has got so powerful that no one saw the need. The problem is that they still don’t and Skaugen hopes that two-in-one detachable-screen systems, will be a major growth driver.
Sales of two-in-one systems are up 150 per cent, he claimed, and are leading to people wanting to refresh their PCs up to 18 months earlier than they would have. Mini computers are another growth market.
Without the growth in two-in-ones, the laptop market in the US would have shown 4 per cent negative growth, Skaugen said. However the new forms created a one per cent growth. He thinks the new hardware that such systems are starting to carry, particularly 3D cameras are going to have people rushing back to laptops.
The big loser in all of this is going to be the tablet market. Intel had got the growth in tablets wrong, he said, and is now revising its forecasts.
“18 months ago many people thought that tablet sales were going to cross over PCs in 2014. Now we’re sure they won’t ever. Intel has taken a billion units out of our forecasts in the last year,” he said.
That is just as well because Intel never made a sustainable dent into the tablet market, but it also fulfilled our predictions that the technology never solved any problems. It was still the same toy that Microsoft had been attempting to sell without success for years and they never had a use.
A website based its article on one forum post claims that AMD Zen meets all expectations because he knows someone who works in AMD. So it must be true.
The fact that AMD Zen “meets all expectations” got us excited until we looked a bit deeper. It turns out that the report is based on a guy who swears he knows a guy that use to work for AMD on K12 L2 cache design. It is not clear if he met the guy in a pub or not.
His other colleague that still works there tells him that the test chip has meet all of the expectations and the team didn’t find any significant bottlenecks and this got the partners on the server side very excited. We have had our share of AMD Zen exclusive news, but it will take a while until this chip hits the market, we expect it in late 2016.
At the stage of development AMD should actually be in the end phase anyway and if everything went fine, the test chip should be running. The last few quarters are used to further optimise the design.
AMD definitely needs a break and Zen is a new architecture on a new manufacturing nod, which is a most complicated and complex thing you can do in chip development. If all continues to go well, the K12 might ship in limited quantities toward s the end of the 2016 and in serious quantities by 2017. Intel should have a Kaby Lake 14nm successor to Skylake launching in a similar timeframe which gives AMD a fighting chance.
Intel has 99 percent of the server market share according to Bloomberg report . If K12 gets even close to performance of Intel desktop and server chips,AMD has a realistic chance of recovery. Server manufacturers don’t really like the one player only market, as the increase competition could drive the prices down.
AMD has announced Radeon Software Crimson, a “mini graphics operating system” to replace the firm’s Catalyst Driver and work alongside the standalone Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) chip division announced a month ago.
RTG was launched as a dedicated focus for amateur and professional gamers on virtual reality and augmented reality, and the group’s senior vice president, Raja Koduri, said that Crimson will have the same focus on software.
“We have been delivering graphics drivers for 20 plus years. “These so-called drivers have evolved into a graphics mini operating system, Radeon Software, which we deliver on a regular basis to all users,” said Koduri.”
Crimson loads games in less than one second, 10 times faster than the previous Catalyst Driver, according to the firm.
The OS has new features along with greater stability and improved performance. For example, one feature at the core of the software, Radeon Settings, is a user interface built on a new architecture. It was based on ‘three fundamental principles’ when it was designed: responsiveness, discoverability and ease of use.
“We combined these and you now have at your fingertips the ability to control your GPU through one modern application,” said RTG senior manager Terry Makedon.
Other features include a new brushed metal UX design, faster start-up, better navigation, a new Game Manager, an updated Overdrive feature and new video, display and Eyefinity tools.
Users can also change the software to set overclock settings for games so they can run the video card at higher speeds than the factory defaults, and the ability to launch a game with different preset graphics settings so they run at their optimum.
Radeon Software Crimson will arrive by the end of the year, AMD said, and has a feature set for all types of user, whether a dedicated gamer or developer.