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Is Intel Trying To Divide To Conquer?

July 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel is trying to boost promotion of its desktop CPU platforms by dividing the market into six pieces.

According to Digitimes which has its paws on the cunning plan said that Intel is talking about something called an Enthusiast Tower.

An Enthusiast Tower, is not a ride at Disneyland, it is the gaming, video/audio content and high performance sector. What Intel defines as “mainstream” has high performance-price ratios.  “All-in-one (AIO) PCs”, “Mini PCs (NUC)”, “Portable AIO PCs” and “Compute Sticks” make up the remaining pieces of Intel’s marketing pie.

The Enthusiast Tower part of Intel’s business is doing well.  It is seeing growing sales, while demand for NUC products and Compute Sticks is also gradually picking up.

Intel said that its MiniPCs will support both Windows and Chrome OS, and the other five only Windows 8.1/10.

In early August, Intel will announce several K-series processors including Core i7-6700K, and Z170 chipsets and will unveil Skylake-S and Skylake-U series processors and H170/B150 chipsets in early September.

Intel will start mass shipping Skylake processors in October and November. Its top-end six-core and eight-core Broadwell-E processors will be in the shops in the first quarter of 2016. They will use LGA 2011-3 and supporting the X99 chipsets and DDR4 memory.


Will Intel’s Skylake Come To NUCs?

July 29, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel is expected to upgrade its Compute Stick and NUC solutions to Skylake processors starting October.

ECS, Gigabyte, Asustek and ASRock are expected to launch related products.

Sales for the Compute Stick and NUC have been rising and it appears that Intel sees gold in the mini PC segment’s potential. NUC s are seeing stable demand in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Intel is set to release solutions with its new Core m5/m3 processors codenamed Cedar City in the fourth quarter for the Compute Stick.

The new Compute Stick will feature 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage space and support Ultra HD. It will be based around the Core m3-6Y30 processor, which is set to release in October. It will also have Windows 10.

The version with the  Core m5-6Y57 vPro processor, will not come with a pre-installed operating system. In the first quarter of 2016, Intel is planning to launch inexpensive Atom x5 processors.

In November, Intel will launch two Skylake-based processors codenamed Swift Canyon, specifically for the NUC segment and will release high-end Core i7 processors at the end of the first quarter 2016 to improve the product line’s specifications and functions.


Samsung Targets 10nm FinFET

July 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung has put 10nm FinFET in its roadmap to stop its customers migrating to TSMC.
There were some rumours that Samsung may alter its schedule in order to prevent clients that might consider switching to 10nm chips from TSMC as that outfit is expected to skip the 14nm process and go straight to 10nm

Kelvin Low from Samsung Foundry confirmed in a video posted on YouTube that Samsung has formally added 10nm FinFET into the process roadmap, for chip designers working in mobile, consumer or networking market segment the new chips will provide significant performance and power consumption improvements.

Samsung LSI division has already shown off its first 10nm wafers which was a symbolic message to major clients that Samsung is more than capable of getting its 10nm production lines up and running without much hassle. Low expected 10nm products to appear at the end of 2016


Is ARM Being Hurt By Apple?

July 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Investors in ARM are deeply worried about its close relationship to the fruity cargo cult Apple.

ARM released its results which looked great, but investors were looking at its close ties to Jobs’ Mob which posted results which were disappointing.

Shares dropped 3.1 per cent on the back of Apple’s results. Apple uses ARM’s processor designs in its range of iThings.

It seems odd as ARMs Revenues rose 22 per cent to $17.5m for its second quarter, while pre-tax profits increased 32 per cent to $90.9m, compared with the same period last year.

The chip designer signed 54 processor licences for the three months, a “record” number.

Simon Segars, ARM chief exec, said a diverse range of companies chose to license ARM’s latest processors in the second quarter and physical IP for future product developments.

“ARM has been investing in advanced technology products for mobile devices, automotive applications and enterprise infrastructure, and in Q2 ARM signed licences for many of these new products. This licensing activity will help to grow the royalty revenue opportunity for years to come,” he said.


TSMC Finally Goes 16nm FinFET

July 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

TSMC president and co-CEO Mark Liu has announced his outfit has begun volume shipment of chips based on its 16-nm FinFET manufacturing process.

He added that the ramping of the 16-nm process will be even more aggressive than that of its 20-nm process and he wants to gain foundry market share over the remainder of 2015 and well into 2016 on the back of the technology.

The foundry expects 16-nm processor shipments to begin contributing to revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015, since the process will ramp up during much of the third quarter.

TSMC moved quickly from 20-nm to 16-nm manufacturing claiming that 16 nanometer shared a similar metal backend process with 20 nanometer. In other words its 16 FinFET benefited from what it learnt doing 20-nanometer.

Liu also talked about the foundry’s 10-nm and 7-nm processes, saying that the recent product-like validation vehicle milestone was encouraging and that its plans are on-track.

TSMC plans to make 7-nm validation samples in the second quarter of 2017, just fifteen months after 10-nm validation.


AMD Adds Cheaper APU For Windows 10

July 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has added a more affordable chip to its A-Series line-up of desktop accelerated processing units (APUs), which the firm said enables more efficient processing in Windows 10 devices.

The A8-7670K APU is touted to combine the energy efficient processing power of a CPU with the graphics power of the firm’s Radeon GPU in one package.

This is much like the A10-7870K which AMD added to the Kaveri A-Series line of processors at Computex in May, bringing better performance for the online gaming, or ‘e-sports’, industry.

Like the new model, the A10-7870K was announced as a single processor delivering up to 48 percent higher frame rates in the most popular online games, as well as three times greater efficiency in DirectX 12 than “competing solutions”.

Powered by 10 compute cores, four CPUs running at up to 3.9GHz and six GPUs running at 757MHz, the new offering provides an even cheaper choice while still powering Windows 10 tasks such as video streaming and playing online games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and providing smoother user experiences.

The single processor design means that AMD can keep the price down compared with competing solutions that comprise a CPU and GPU.

“The A8-7670K APU provides the processing and graphics capability that budget conscious mainstream users need today,” said AMD.

“The new addition of the AMD A8-7670K APU allows us to deliver more options for discerning mainstream PC buyers, [with the] latest driver and feature support allowing incredible new entry points for impressive gaming technologies such as FreeSync and Virtual Super Resolution.”

As with most AMD APUs, the main features of the new chip include Heterogeneous System Architecture, which allows the CPU and GPU to work together in supported applications by quickly and automatically dividing and directing the right tasks to the appropriate cores.

It’s this feature that is said to help accelerate Windows 10, such as boosting performance in the new Microsoft Edge web browser with full graphics acceleration for HTML5 and WebGL.

It will also help protect sensitive data with hardware accelerated encryption and decryption when using Microsoft Bitlocker, AMD said.

The A8-7670K APU is available from today at selected e-tailers and participating system vendors for a suggested price of $117.99, about 75 quid.


AMD Misses Again

July 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Fabless chipmaker AMD has come up with a mixed set of results for the second quarter. The company managed to make as much cash as the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected, but missed revenue expectations.

In fact its revenues were below the psychologically important billion figure at $942 million.

We knew it was going to be bad. Last week we were warned that the results would be flat. The actual figure was $942m, an 8.5 per cent sequential decline and a 34.6 per cent drop from the same period a year ago.

As you might expect, there are some measures of this not being AMD’s fault. The company is almost entirely dependent on PC sales. Not only have these fallen but don’t look like they are going to pick up for a while.

AMD’s Computing and Graphics division reported revenue of $379m, which was down 54.2 per cent, year-on-year. Its operating loss was $147m, compared to a $6m operating loss for last year’s quarter.

Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO, in a statement said that strong sequential revenue growth in AMD’s enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom segment and channel business was not enough to offset near-term problems in its PC processor business.  This was  due to lower than expected consumer demand that impacted sales to OEMs, she said.

“We continue to execute our long-term strategy while we navigate the current market environment. Our focus is on developing leadership computing and graphics products capable of driving profitable share growth across our target markets,” she added.

In the semi-custom segment, AMD makes chips for video game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles. That segment did reasonably well, up 13 percent from the previous quarter but down 8 percent from a year ago.

But AMD’s core business of processors and graphics chips fell 29 percent from the previous quarter and 54 percent from a year ago. AMD said it had decreased sales to manufacturers of laptop computers.

Figures like this strap a large target on AMD’s back with a sign saying “take me over” but AMD is not predicting total doom yet.

For the third quarter, AMD expects revenue to increase 6 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, sequentially, which is a fairly conservative outlook given the fact that Windows 10 is expected to push a few sales its way.

AMD supplies chips to the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles and these seem to be going rather well.


Intel’s 2nd Quarter Profits Up

July 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The maker of chips and bits, Intel is doing better than the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected.

Intel issued its quarterly results today and saw growth in its data centers and Internet-of-Things businesses offset weak demand for personal computers that use the company’s chips.

Intel said that it was expanding its line-up of higher-margin chips used in data centers to counter slowing demand from the PC industry. Its cunning plan to buy Altera for $16.7 billion in April was all about trying to do this.

Revenue from the data centres grew 9.7 percent to $3.85 billion in the second quarter from a year earlier, helped by cloud services companies and demand for data analytics.

Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith was predicting robust growth rates of the data center group, Internet of Things group and NAND businesses.

Revenue from the PC business, which is still Intel’s largest, fell 13.5 percent to $7.54 billion in the quarter ended June 27.

However there was more doom about the PC market which Smith said was going to be weaker than previously expected.

Research firm Gartner thinks global PC shipments will fall 4.5 percent to 300 million units in 2015, and life is going to be pretty pants until 2016.

Intel forecast current-quarter revenue of $14.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Wall Street predicted a revenue of $14.08 billion.

The company’s net income fell to $2.71 billion from $2.80 billion a year earlier.

Net revenue fell 4.6 percent to $13.19 billion, but edged past the average analyst estimate of $13.04 billion. Intel’s stock fell about 18 percent this year.


Is Intel’s Core-i5 6500 Skylake Going For Cheap?

July 16, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Skylake will show its face in August, for both the notebook and desktop markets, and we have some new information about the upcoming desktop parts.

Two cheapest desktop parts in the Core i5 league are called the Core i5 6500 and Core i5 6400. The Core i5 6500 will replace the Core i5 4590 processor and the new Skylake part will work at 3.2GHz. With the help of turbo it will reach 3.6 GHz with at least one of its cores. This is still a quad-core, four thread processor and it comes with 6MB of cache memory.

The processor supports both DDR4 2133 and DDR3L 1600 RAM, and its graphics core works at up to 1050 MHz. This is a 65W TDP part, which is significantly better than 84W TDP with Core i5 4590.

The Core i5 4590 has four cores 6MB cache and is clocked to 3.3GHz by default, and up to 3.6GHz with turbo. We expect that Core i5 6500 ends up at $202 for the box version and $192 for the tray version without a cooler.

The slowest Core i5 version of Skylake is called Core i5 6400 and this one works at 2.7GHz, with turbo capability up to 3.3GHz. It still has 6MB of cache and supports DDR4 2133 and DDR3L 1600 but its graphics core is slowed down to 950MHz. This is still a 65W TDP processor that will end up even cheaper in retail. The Core i7 and Core i5 Haswell processors are expected to launch in Q3 2015, followed by Core i3 and Pentium version in Q4 2015.


Did Intel Delay It’s Cannonlake 10nm Processors?

July 10, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A couple of weeks ago Intel said they were delaying its Cannonlake processors and its next-generation Kaby Lake processors.

These were originally scheduled for early 2016, reportedly will be pushed back until September 2016 for the consumer version and January 2017 for the enterprise one.

What it looks like now is that Chipzilla will launch its 14nm Skylake processors for desktops in August and for notebooks in the fourth quarter. Cannonlake, originally planned to directly succeed Skylake in 2016, have been postponed and Intel has inserted the 14nm Kaby Lake platform between them as a buffer. The enterprise version of Kaby Lake processors being postponed to 2017.

This is starting to look like a spectacular mess. Notebook brand vendors which are usually in May-July, have been delayed by 3-6 months. Dell’s process for its Kaby Lake-based enterprise notebooks is expected to start in January 2016.

Most brand vendors will start on the consumer version of Kaby Lake between July-October 2015.

All this is making Kaby Lake a little more important than many thought. Earlier it was believed that the “Kaby Lake” was just a temporary solution in order to refresh Intel’s product lineup before all-new 10nm “Cannonlake” chips hit the market, which is something that happened to “Broadwell”. It now appears that the “Kaby Lake” is a product family that will be Intel’s primary product lineup for a long time.

Such launch schedule indicates that the world’s No. 1 maker of microprocessors will not release its 10nm chips until sometimes in 2017.

Normally Intel would be worried about someone else, such as AMD stealing its thunder, but in this case its rivals have troubles of their own so it might just get away with it. Sure it might hack off some of its venders, but it has time to get its process schedule right thanks to its rivals dropping the ball.


Has AMD Lost The Battle With Intel

July 9, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD is losing ground against Intel and it is not just because of poor PC sales.

It is true that both Intel and AMD have been suffering from a decline in PC and server sales lately, but figures from Amercia’s markets show that AMD is being eaten alive by Intel

Firstly AMD’s results show a dropoff compared with Chipzilla, which continues to pull ahead. AMD’s revenue has been headed in the wrong direction.

AMD’s revenue of $5.5 billion last year is essentially flat with 2012 and down 14% from 2010. And while Intel hasn’t been exactly growing like wildfire, it’s been steadily increasing revenue.

When you compare the two with each other the gap gets worse. In 1990 AMD had revenue that was more than a quarter of Intel’s. That ratio climbed back to about 15 per cent on AMD’s resurgence in the mid 2000s.

Now, AMD’s revenue is 9.9 per cent of Intel’s.

According to a note to clients from Christopher Roland at FBR there is little reason to buy a new PC with this version of Windows.
New versions of Windows give PC makers a boost as consumers bought new machines – but that’s not likely to be the case with Windows 10 since Microsoft is writing the software to run perfectly well on existing PCs. Windows 10 is also free upgrade to current

Windows users. AMD is expected to lose an adjusted 37 cents a share this year.

This means that Microsoft’s free Win10 could be the nail in AMD’s coffin. Historically, consumers have overwhelmingly upgraded their PC operating systems through the purchase of new PC hardware.

“While this was our original outlook for the Win10 upgrade cycle, we recently reduced our 2H15 and 2016 PC outlook as Microsoft is offering consumers a free Win10 cloud upgrade for all Win 7 and 8.1 owners,” Rolland said.


Will nVidia’s Quadro Debut In August?

July 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia appears to be readying new members of its professional Quadro range of graphics cards in time for the August SIGGRAPH 2015 event.

According to VideoCardz the latest Nvidia graphics driver for the Quadro range of graphics cards includes a telltale text string revealing Nvidia’s dark satanic intension.
The new driver adds support for:

NVIDIA_DEV.13F0.1152.103C = “NVIDIA Quadro M5000″
NVIDIA_DEV.13F1.1153.103C = “NVIDIA Quadro M4000″

At the same time last year Nvidia revealed details of the Quadro Kxx2 and since SIGGRAPH 2015 scheduled to start on 9th August (runs until 13th Aug, takes place in downtown LA) it looks like the latest Quadro graphics cards will be also launched.

Of course driver strings do not reveal much detail however the Quadro professional graphics range will be based upon the Maxwell architecture GM204GL graphics processor. We are expecting a 256-bit GPU with a a 4GB or 8GB frame buffer versions.

Then there is the Tesla M60. This GPU based general purpose computing product is expected to be based upon a fully-fledged GM204 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 memory.


Will nVidia Drop Its Prices?

June 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia is about to release a range of price cuts in a bid to see off AMD in the longer term.

While the price cuts have already happened in the US, in the EU Nvidia’s GTX 980, GTX 980Ti and Titan X are still kept high  because people were buying them at the prices the Green Goblin was asking.

In the US where competition between AMD and Nvidia is tighter, the prices dropped by 10 per cent. Ironically since Europeans are more loyal to Nvidia in the high-end graphics cards market the outfit decided they could continue to pay.

According to Kitguru the new R9 Radeon 300 series appears to have upset the apple cart. The cards have been launched at similar prices or lower than Nvidia’s top tier products. Apparently Europeans were thinking of going cheaper since the Green Goblin did not seem to admire their loyalty.

It could force AMD to drop its prices as it can’t remain competitive selling top-end graphics at prices higher than Nvidia’s while having weak selling figures in non-US countries.

It will force AMD to sell its freshly launched Fury X at prices lower than planned, and for such a new card this move damage AMD. Nvidia was expected to drop prices of course, but only for its lower-end products like the 700 or 600 series.


RedHat Goes PaaS With Linux

June 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Red Hat has announced the release of OpenShift Enterprise (OSE) 3, a new version of its Platform-as-a-Service offering.

Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)7, Openshift is built on Docker Linux containers with Kubernetes orchestration using technology developed in collaboration with Google.

The news comes in a busy week for Red Hat, which has also announced a new productivity tie-up with Samsung and taken a leading role in the formation of a new alliance known as the Open Container Project to standardise containers.

Users will have access to a wide range of apps via the Red Hat Container Certification Programme. Middleware solutions including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise, Web Server (Tomcat) and JBoss A-MQ messaging are also included.

Included are a number of tools to help developers create and collaborate, with web, command line, and integrated development environment interfaces. Options include direct code-push from GIT and source to image building. There is also flexibility for deployment, rollback and integration.

In addition, a preview of Openshift Dedicated has been released. The public cloud service based on OpenShift 3 will succeed Openshift Online, which already hosts 2.5 million applications online, allowing businesses to quickly build, launch and deploy bespoke apps.

Ashesh Badani, vice president and general manager, OpenShift, Red Hat, said, “This release of OpenShift Enterprise 3 employs open source containers and orchestration practices to change the developer experience and move the platform in the direction of what customers are asking for – a flexible platform for a microservices architecture.

“Our continued upstream work in the Docker and Kubernetes communities enable us to deliver the most updated technology platform for developers and operators, enabling them to remain competitive through quicker innovation.”

To assist users, Red Hat is offering a range of enterprise administrator courses to teach users how to deploy, configure and manage the system, which can result in a Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Platform as a Service – a worthy certificate for any office wall.

OpenShift 3 is available now with bespoke pricing models based of socket and core pairings.



AMD’s Quantum Has Intel Inside

June 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Project Quantum PC system, with graphics powered by two of the new Fiji GPUs may have got the pundits moist but it has been discovered that the beast has Intel inside

KitGuru confirmed that the powerful tiny system, as shown at AMD’s own event, was based upon an Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard with an Intel Core i7-4790K ‘Devil’s Canyon’ processor.

Now AMD has made a statement to explain why it chose to employ a CPU from one of its competitor in what is a flagship pioneering gaming PC.

It told Tom’s Hardware that users wanted the Devil’s Canyon chip in the Project Quantum machine.

Customers “want to pick and choose the balance of components that they want,” and the machine shown off at the E3  was considered to be the height of tech sexiness right now.

AMD said Quantum PCs will feature both AMD and Intel CPUs to address the entire market, but did you see that nice Radeon Fury… think about that right now.

IT is going to be ages before we see the first Project Quantum PCs will be released and the CPU options might change. We would have thought that AMD might want to put its FinFET process ZEN CPUs in Project Quantum with up to 16 cores and 32 threads. We will not see that until next year.