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.
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.
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.
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.
In a move which will get the Nvidia fanboys jolly cross, AMD has said that its new Vega line-up will actually compete with their favourite chip maker in the notebook market.
Nvidia is not used to competition and has been jacking up prices lately for somewhat disappointing chips, but AMD is saying that it thinks its new offerings can force Nvidia to pull its finger out.
At the AMD Tech Summit in Beijing this weekend, AMD vice president Scott Herkelman took the stage to discuss the upcoming Vega-powered graphics cards. He didn’t give anyone a release date but said that AMD’s plans were to put a bit of competition in the notebook GPU market.
AMD plans to decrease the overall footprint of the upcoming mobile GPUs by stacking VRAM dies and freeing up more internal space without sacrificing performance. Size is an important consideration for notebook manufacturers, but this announcement was light on details.
Sadly it was not clear if he was talking about rolling out Vega to discrete mobile or if it will be included in AMD’s “APUs” — a CPU/GPU combo that delivers a smaller overall footprint but a lot less graphical performance.
Herkelman said Vega-powered mobile chips will provide notebook manufacturers with the horsepower they’ll need for their products to drive virtual reality and “the latest and greatest AAA games.” This hints at discrete GPUs powered by the new Vega architecture.
AMD’s previous architecture, code-named “Fiji,” never made much impact in the notebook market, in part due to its power demands. However this could not have been the only reason. Nvidia did well bringing its 10-series GPUs to notebooks despite causing the city lights to dim when anyone plugged it in.
AMD’s Vega-powered GPUs will be available in 4GB and 8GB options, on account of the way the new chips will stack memory. Herkelman told Beijing throngs that Vega-powered chips were “just around the corner.”
TSMC is currently manufacturing the MediaTek 10nm, deca core based Helio X30 and it looks like in 2018, TSMC might be ready for 7nm and twelve core SoCs from the same house.
Samsung and Qualcomm are already pumping out millions of 10nm SoCs as we speak, and it all looks ready for the March 29 date, ot shall we say today’s introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. Samsung’s usual strategy is to ship the phone in the following month making the actual shipping happening at the beginning of Q2 2017. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ are just the first of many 10nm based phones to come. Samsung uses both the Snapdagon 835 and the Exynos 8895 both 10nm SoCs for its phones.
MediaTek, on the other hand, is getting ready to start shipping its Helio X30 10nm deca-core and we saw prototype devices at the Mobile World Congress 2017. The SoC looks like it’s much improved compared to last year’s flagship Helio X20.
Recent information implies that the new SoC planned for next year might be the 7nm twelve core and it remains to be seen what the core configuration will be. MediaTek had a hard time fighting the Samsung’s Exynos 8890, the Huawei Kirin 955 / 960 and the Snapdragon 820 last year. The upcoming Exynos 8895 and Snapdragon 835 in 10nm look like very solid performers too. For MediaTek, it remains to be seen if the additional two cores and twelve core design can make a difference. It seems that everyone else in the spectrum stops at eight cores but MediaTek decides that more is better. Just remember, MediaTek was the first company to push the industry from the usual four cores to now a standard eight cores, so it had some good vision at the right time.
The mobile industry managed to get ahead of the rest of the chip industry, at least when it comes to the transition to new manufacturing processes. Snapdragon 835 is the world’s first 10nm SoC developed by the Samsung’s fab while Samsung and MediaTek took their time and only officially announced their 10nm offering roughly a month ago.
Time will tell if it will be realistic to expect 7nm SoC ready in 1H 2018 for the next generation refresh. With Xiaomi making its own, codenamed Pinecone, a Surge S1 branded core and possibly even a higher end core, the pressure will be on manufacturers like MediaTek which relies on China based phone manufacturers. Huawei has been manufacturing a few varieties of Kirin for a while now and sells a lot of phones. There are still a few big names in China including Oppo and Vivo which don’t have their own in house SoC.
Xiaomi wants to compete with some big names such as Huawei, as the big players have their own chips. But regardless of the fact that Xiaomi did a great job appealingto a world population with Hugo Bara’s hire, Oppo is the company which is using mostly Qualcomm and some MediaTek and it remains the number one in China market.
US, Europe and most other developed markets will embrace the big players including Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and Huawei’s SoC solutions, with little space for the rest of the SoC competition. It will be tough to compete in the future but it will definitely bring some much needed innovation.
It is expecting to make 50 million of the chips before July, according to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News.
For those who came in late the “A11” chips is what is going to be powering the next iPhone which will be launched in September. If you believe the Tame Apple Press the chip and the phone are going to be super, game changing and exciting. Those hacks who have not sold their press credibility are saying that the chip will probably be the only thing that Apple has changed since the iPhone 6.
The chip will will be built on a 10nm FinFET process. TSMC has been making these since the middle of last year and has been shipping them to other customers in the first calendar quarter of 2017.
According to the unreliable Tame Apple Press TSMC is to deliver 100 million “A11” chips before the end of 2017. This figure is important because it slightly ahead of what was delivered by the end of 2017 for the A10 Fusion. This all implies that Apple is expecting to sell more iPhone 8s than iPhone 7s. At this point, we find it extremely doubtful.
Analyst at IDC have added up some numbers and divided them by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that global shipments of augmented and virtual reality headset devices are expected to reach 99.4 million units in 2021.
To put this number into perspective that would be a 10-fold increase from the 10.1 million units shipped in 2016.
The shipment value of AR headsets during the forecast period will grow from $209 million in 2016 to $48.7 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, VR headsets will expand from $2.1 billion in 2016 to $18.6 billion in 2021, IDC tells us.
Most AR headsets are expected to cost well over $1000 which means that the tech is far less accessible to consumers initially, though that’s probably for the best as the AR ecosystem and wide social acceptance are still a few years away, IDC added.
It has been quite some time since Qualcomm announced Snapdragon X16, the world’s first Gigabit LTE modem. The same GigabitLTE Snapdragon X16 modem is now part of the Snapdragon 835 – a 10nm SoC that is about to debut in a dozen high end phones.
Many people who are not close to the matter are having a hard time to understand why it’s important to get faster modems in an everyday device. Many moan that the speeds they are getting from their carriers are not even touching the Cat 4 maximum speed of 150 Mbps on a download but they are forgetting that these are the best case scenario speeds for Cat 4. What happens is that the average speed increases with new technology as most carriers are now using the Cat 6 300 Mbps maximum speed network.
Today, Telstra in Australia, Sprint in the USA, EE in the UK and a few others have announced or have already deployed their versions of the Cat 16 category GigabitLTE capable of sub 1 Gbps speeds.
It’s a typical technology cat and mouse game. We need faster phones to get the faster internet from carriers. What many people need to understand is that they won’t really get 1 Gbps download speeds as this is a maximum, but the average speed might increase for many.
If you are getting – let’s say – 30 to 60 Mbps today with Cat 6, a Gigabit LTE could increase your speeds to 60 Mbps to 120 Mbps. In our case, in Vienna Austria, we see around 80 Mbps to 100 Mbps, and GigabitLTE could double the speed to 160 Mbps to 200 Mbps. You would need a GigabitLTE phone as well as a GigabitLTE capable network to get to the GigabitLTE speeds. There are two options – the Snapdragon 835 powered phone or the Samsung Exynos 8895. They both support GigabitLTE speeds and the launch of GigabitLTE phones will speed up the deployment of this technology worldwide.
Don’t forget that Samsung Galaxy S8 is likely to ship with both Exynos 8895 and Snapdragon 835, both supporting GigabitLTE speeds.
With the mass introduction of the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 phones starting with the Samsung Galaxy S8, followed by GigabitLTE deployment by the carriers, we expect that the average download and upload speed will increase, enabling the next generation of content and applications. It looks likely that AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are already committed to the GigabitLTE, likely coming this year. Worldwide, there are 15 companies who plan to launch GigabitLTE this year.
If you are one of the skeptical ones that say we don’t need faster internet on the phone, I can remember one very rich man that goes by the name of Bill Gates who wasn’t convinced in the success of the internet. That definitely doesn’t mean that he was right about it, as now even Gates and the rest of the world have the capability of 100s of Mbps speeds on a smartphone device, something that didn’t really exist just a decade ago.
The same performance delta can be associated with internet speed as 3G stopped at 3.6 Mbps / 7.2Mbps. Speed eventually got to 21.6 Mbps with HSPA+. That was some ten years ago and today it is normal to have a Cat 6 LTE 4K network capable of 300 Mbps and, in some cases, advanced carriers get to 600 Mbps, and in the case of Telstra, it even gets to 1Gbps speeds. Qualcomm is planning to ship Snapdragon X20 with 1.2 Gbps maximum speeds in early 2018 and it is already sampling a modem that exceeds GigabitLTE’x magical number.
GigabitLTE with 1Gbps speed is just an introduction to 5G speeds, and it can be viewed as a gateway to 5G. 5G is a new communication technology that will enable a huge technology leap. One of the things that may become a reality is 4K or even 4K 360 video as the default. This will push the need for more and higher resolution VR capable Head Mounted Devices (HMD) and enable new games and applications that we cannot even imagine today.
Think about Facebook live with 360 VR capabilities? We don’t think that this is far off.
Washington D.C. intends to become the home of eSports in the United States, with a strategy that includes sponsorship of the NRG Esports team and the construction of a $65 million stadium.
The city’s plans, which were revealed to Mashable, will be executed by Events D.C., the District of Columbia’s convention and sports authority. The deal with NRG Esports is among the first instances of a city sponsoring a pro gaming organisation, and Washington D.C. will now have its logo and branding on NRG teams’ uniforms, livestreams and websites.
NRG, which has teams competing in Overwatch, Counter-Strike: GO, Hearthstone and Rocket League, has roots in the world of traditional sports. It was founded by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, the co-owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and counts the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal and the baseball stars Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins among its investors.
“This is just another prong in our strategic approach to continue to make D.C. a great place to live and work and play,” Events D.C. chairman Max Brown told Mashable, highlighting the number of students attending the city’s many universities.
“There are lots of younger kids who are here and are coming here every year through our universities, so we think it makes a lot of sense for us as a city to plant a flag [for eSports], and ultimately be the capital of eSports like we’re the capital of the United States.”
There are other “prongs” to the city’s strategy, the most notable being the construction of a new stadium. The arena will be used by the WNBA team the Washington Mystics, as well as other events, but it is being built “with eSports in mind.”
“A $65 million 4,200-seat, state-of-the-art arena,” Brown added. “[It will] come online in late-2018, early-2019. Fully tailored and wired for esports.”
This is one of these “we told you so” moments, as we’ve already written many details about AMD 32 core Naples server – a data center processor.
Lisa Su, the famous CEO of AMD, has shared with the world that a server part based on Zen architecture is scheduled for Q2 2017 and it looks like the company will meet the goal.
Naples attacks the core of Intel’s success, the data center network. Many have heard the term cloud computing and we might disappoint some of you when say that a “cloud” is just another server computer sitting at some data center around the world.
Whenever you open any photo from the cloud – for example Facebook or Google Photos – you are requesting stuff from one of the data center machines. This is where Naples fits in, as this is the CPU that targets the server and data center markets.
Naples has 32 cores and 64 Hyper thread support and it is the first of many processors to launch in the coming quarters. The support for 8-channels memory per Naples devices makes this data center / server SoC rather unique. The dual socket server supports up to 32 DIMMS of DDR4 on 16 memory channels delivering up to four terabytes of total memory capacity. This will play an important role in some memory intensive systems.
A two socket Naples system supports 16-channels memory, effectively doubling the memory channels.
AMD is using the very fast Infinity Fabric coherent interconnect that should increase the performance of Naples in dual socket configurations. The processor is a complete fully integrated SoC and comes with high-speed I/O supporting 128 lanes of PCIe 3.
AMD’s Senior Vice President, Forrest Norrod, said that the scalability will increase with AN Infinity Fabric connection. When you add a second CPU, you can expect a 2X increment in performance. Naples, it is important to mention, has the chipset inside of the SoC, making it a server SoC rather than just a CPU.
Some might ask why would you need a 128 lines of PCIe 3 and the simple answer is that the system will be able to have faster access to your superfast network cards of Radeon Instinct cards.
Naples also comes with a highly-optimized cache structure for high-performance, energy efficient compute as well as dedicated security hardware.
It comes as a surprise that AMD didn’t talk in detail about the Zeppelin clusters that are the key element of any Naples Zen based server core. Zeppelin comes with eight Zen cores, each having 512 KB cache (4 MB for eight cores) and an additional 16 MB of L3 cache where four Zen processors get access to 8MB. PCIe Gen 3 is integrated on the Zeppelin cluster that also integrates the SATA 3 and 10GbE card. AMD secure processor, DDR4 memory controlleras well as server control hub are the part of Zeppelin cluster.
You need four Zeppelin clusters to get the 32 core based Naples. Norrod said to expect Naples generation of Zen based server and data center products to ship in the second quarter of this year. Experience has taught us to bet on the latter part of the quarter, with late May / early June – that’s Computex time – as a possible launch timeframe.
AMD made a short Naples introduction video, below.
Asustek is choosing suppliers for its VR head-mounted display (HMD) devices so it can have its production start in the third quarter of 2017.
According to Digitimes, Samsung Display is likely to get the display panels work and the OEM production will take place in Taiwan. Samsung Display is the top choice for AMOLED panel supply among HMD developers becuase it has been making them a bit longer.
Microsoft’s aggressive promotions on mixed reality (MR) technologies also prompted Acer, Dell, Asustek, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and China-based 3Glassses, to expand into the market. Samsung’s Gear VR has had the strongest shipment performance in 2016, delivering over four million units worldwide. Samsung has also recently announced a new version of Gear VR for 2017 using the Oculus technology.
Microsoft’s jointly developed mixed reality HMD for developers will begin shipping in March.
Rumors are starting to come in that Nvidia’s coming Volta will give AMD’s Radeon RX Vega a good kicking thanks to Taiwan Semiconductor’s 12 nm fabrication process over Vega’s 14 nm.
Vega had been touted to be a key threat to Nvidia, and its newly announced GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
After years of not having competition, Vega has forced Nvidia to get off its backside and come up with something that can at least match it.
Not much information has been known or leaked about the Pascal successor, other than the fact that it will be working with TSMC particularly in the manufacturing of the upcoming Volta GPUs.
It appears that Volta might be a die shrink, which could give it performance gains. Global Foundries has proven this in its 12nm process achieving 15 percent improvements in performance while consuming 50 percent less power than the 16nm process.
The rumors are that Nvidia will use TSMC’s updated 16nm design to solidly outperform Vega’s own improvements in performance and power from a shrunken fabrication process
It will use GDDR6 memory or the HBM2 just like Vega to deliver speeds of 16Gbps from the 10Gbps in the GTX 1080’s GDDRX5.
Volta is not expected to appear until 2018 which means Nvidia will still be trying to milk its somewhat dull Pascal architecture for a while longer. We expect Volta to appear in the GTX 30 series, the GTX 3080 and 3080 Ti in the high-end of the market with the 3070 in the mid-range.
The GTX 20 series will be Pascal refresh GPUs to be launched within this year. The question is will all this be too little and too late.
As the reviews of Ryzen came out, it is pretty clear that there are some test scenarios where Intel chips work slightly better, and AMD claims that is due to coding problems.
John Taylor, CVP of Marketing at AMD, told PCPer that developers simply aren’t used to AMD Ryzen yet. He said to fix this problem AMD’s seeding of a targeted 1000+ developer systems in 2017 will help address the performance anomaly.
He said that developers are already leveraging optimisations that uniquely apply to the Intel platform.
Already Bethesda has announced a strategic relationship with AMD to optimise for Ryzen CPUs, primarily through Vulkan low-level API optimizations, for a new generation of games, DLC and VR experiences, he said.
Oxide Games also provided a public statement today on the significant performance uplift observed when optimizing for the 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 CPU design. These optimisations are not yet reflected in Ashes of the Singularity benchmarking. Creative Assembly, developers of the Total War series, made a similar statement today related to upcoming Ryzen optimizations.
CPU benchmarking deficits to the competition in certain games at 1080p resolution can be attributed to the development and optimization of the game uniquely to Intel platforms – until now.
Even without optimisations in place, Ryzen delivers high, smooth frame rates on all ‘CPU-bound’ games, as well as overall smooth frame rates and great experiences in GPU-bound gaming and VR. With developers taking advantage of Ryzen architecture and the extra cores and threads, we expect benchmarks to only get better, and enable Ryzen excel at next generation gaming experiences as well.
Taylor said that game performance will be optimised for Ryzen and continue to improve from at-launch frame rate scores.
He “sort of” has a point. AMD is having to compete with developers making years of Intel optimisations. It has only itself to blame being nearly out of the market for so long. It is not clear if developer kit seeding will fix this problem. Still AMD does have the names of the industry behind it.
In addition to launching the new Geforce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, Nvidia has also lowered the price of its Geforce GTX 1080 graphics card, pushing it down to US $499, a good US $100 price cut from its official launch price.
As you already know, Nvidia launched the Geforce GTX 1080 in two versions, Founders Edition, priced at US $699 and the standard custom version from partners, priced at US $599. In order to make more room for the new Geforce GTX 1080 Ti, which has a great and rather surprising price of US $699, Nvidia has decided to cut the price of the GTX 1080 down to US $499, putting a lot of pressure on AMD and its Radeon lineup.
Major retailers/e-tailers are yet to adjust to the new price as the Geforce GTX 1080 is still selling well over US $550. Currently, the price of the Geforce GTX 1070 is not changed and it will probably keep its US $349 price tag.
As far as performance goes, AMD currently has no answer for the GTX 1080 or the upcoming GTX 1080 Ti as the closest competitor is the Radeon R9 Fury X, which sells well above US $650 (if you can find it available) and is quite far behind in most game benchmarks.
AMD’s big answer should be the upcoming Radeon RX Vega and this time around, Nvidia has pulled the first move, putting a lot of pressure on AMD and giving it a baseline for its upcoming Radeon RX Vega lineup.