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Is the PS4 Open To Pirating

May 18, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Hackers from Brazil have managed to discover a new exploit for the PS4 which enables them to bypass the DRM on any software and games.

A couple of weeks ago, a number of electronic stores in Brazil had been advertising the means to copy and run a series of ripped retail games on the console.

At the time little was known about the hack back then, but information gradually began to trickle out from customers and make its way around the web. Please see below for commentary from Lancope.

Gavin Reid, VP of threat intelligence, Lancope said that Sony was playing an arms race against groups that benefit from the abilities to copy and share games.

The hack originates from a Russian website and has been pushed into the public by Brasilian retailers. The hack isn’t necessarily a jailbreak for the PS4, nor is it really a homebrew technique.

What they did was use a retail PS4, with several games installed on it, with it’s entire game database and operating system (including NAN/BIOS).  This was then dumped onto a hacked PS4 via Raspberry Pi.

The entire process costs about $100 to $150 to install 10 games and $15 per additional game.

“Open source groups like Homebrew with more altruistic motivations of extending the functionality of the console alongside groups selling modified consoles specifically to play copied games and of course the resell of the games themselves at fraction of the actuals costs. This has happened historically with all of the major consoles. It would be highly unlikely not to continue with the PS4,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

ARM Sets New mBed Standard

May 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM has bought in a new assurance standard to work with embedded devices.

The ARM mbed Enabled program aims to increase the deployment rate of Internet of Things (IoT) products and supporting technologies by giving partners the ability to label them as interoperable mbed-based devices.

Arm said that the accreditation program will cover solutions entering a broad range of developer markets; from silicon and modules to OEM products and innovative cloud services. Accreditation will be free of charge.

ARM Zach Shelby, vice president of IoT business marketing, said that ARM mbed Enabled accreditation will assure the diverse IoT ecosystem that they are using technologies backed up by an expert community of innovators,.

“This will also instill confidence in end markets where interoperability, trust and security standardisation is required to unlock commercial potential.”

Since the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform was announced in October 2014, the mbed Partner ecosystem has continued to grow from the initial 24 launch partners. Today, 8 new partners are being announced including Advantech, Athos, Captiva, Espotel, Maxim Integrated, MegaChips, SmeshLink, and Tieto.

Courtesy-Fud

MediaTek Shows Off Helio X20

May 14, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek has announced a 10-core processor which it claims is the world’s first mobile processor with three processor clusters.

The Helio X20 is expected to make its way into devices in early 2016, and will “revolutionise” mobile processors, according to MediaTek.

This is down to its ability to reduce power consumption significantly by altering the number of cores working at any one time depending on the power needed to complete tasks.

MediaTek said that this has been made possible by the firm’s new Tri-Cluster CPU architecture that has three processor clusters each designed to handle different types of workloads more efficiently.

“If a user needs heavy performance, [the Helio X20] will invoke 2, 4, 8 cores, intelligently looking at the workload to decide how many it needs,” said MediaTek’s senior director of corporate sales for EMEA, Chet Babla, in a briefing with The INQUIRER.

“There will be a dramatic drop in power consumption compared to big.LITTLE architecture because of this.”

The Tri-Cluster CPU consists of one cluster of two ARM Cortex-A72 cores running at 2.5GHz for high performance, and two clusters of four ARM Cortex-A53 cores, one running at 2GHz for medium loads and one running at 1.4GHz for light activities.

MediaTek has also integrated a CorePilot 3.0 heterogeneous computing scheduling algorithm which controls which threads are allocated to the cores.

CorePilot 3.0 schedules the tasks for all CPUs and GPUs while managing power and thermal effects so that extreme performance can be attained while creating less heat.

This is said to reduce power consumption by 30 percent compared with conventional dual-cluster architectures on top of the increase in energy efficiency thanks to Helio X20′s supported ARM Mali-T880 GPU.

“With the integration of MediaTek’s WorldMode Category 6 LTE modem with carrier aggregation and upgraded CorePilot 3.0 advanced scheduling algorithm, the Helio X20 is set to revolutionise the mobile processor industry and address the global demand for flagship mobile devices,” MediaTek said.

The Helio X20 also has several features designed to increase device display performance and multimedia experiences.

These include support for dual main cameras with a built-in 3D depth engine for a faster shot-to-shot experience, multi-scale de-noise engines for higher quality images, a 120Hz mobile display refresh rate for crisper and more responsive browsing, and an integrated ARM Cortex-M4 low power sensor processor to support always-on applications such as MP3 playback and voice activation.

Courtesy-TheInq

Is TSMC The King?

May 13, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

TSMC looks certain to keep its foot firmly on the throat of 28nm chip production, according to a new study.

Digitimes said that it looks like competition from Samsung Electronics, Globalfoundries, UMC and SMIC will not be enough to upset TSMC’s rule.

TSMC started its commercial 28nm process five years ago and now accounts for over 75 per cent of the global 28nm foundry market. In addition, the 28nm products also contributed 30 per cent to TSMC’s total revenues in 2014.

Initially 28nm capacity was triggered by rising demand for application processors for smartphones and tablets. TSMC had clients including Qualcomm, MediaTek, Apple and Nvidia.

Vlients from the mobile device sector will continue to fill TSMC with 28nm orders in 2015, but the SSD market is expected this year is likely to give another wave of demand for 28nm.

Controller chips for SSDs are to officially migrate into the 28nm process in 2015, and TSMC has an advantage to solicit more orders from SSD vendors.

TSMC has reportedly snapped up SSD controller chips orders from Marvell Technology, Phison Electronics and more recently from Apple. Thus, TSMC will see its share in the 28nm process market remain high and contribution of the 28nm products to its sales further increase in 2015.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft No Longer Interested In Salesforce Acquisition

May 11, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Rumors of a potential Salesforce acquisition have been swirling well over a week now, including the recent one that Microsoft was a likely bidder. According to a new report, however, it now looks like that’s not the case.

Microsoft considers Salesforce’s almost $50 billion market valuation too high and has no plans to make a bid for the cloud-software company in the near term, Reuters reported late on Thursday, citing unnamed sources. It may, however, reconsider the possibility in the future, the sources reportedly said.

Earlier this week, SAP — also widely considered a contender – said it had “zero interest” in making such an acquisition.

A Bloomberg report last Wednesday was what originally set off the wave of speculation about the possibility of a Salesforce acquisition, which could be the largest ever in the software industry. Sparking that report was news that Salesforce had been approached by a potential acquirer and hired a team of financial advisers to help it field such offers.

Both Microsoft and Salesforce declined to comment.

“Nobody is buying Salesforce,” said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group.

Rather, the company has engaged bankers to help it figure out a strategy to buy a small part of UK-based enterprise-software maker Sage Group, Pombriant believes. Based on an invitation he received for a “fireside chat” next Wednesday, in fact, he expects the two companies’ CEOs — Marc Benioff of Salesforce and Stephen Kelly of Sage — to explain the details soon, he said.

 

 

MediaTek Becomes The Second Largest LTE Chip Manufacturer

May 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek has established itself as the world’s second-largest maker of Long-Term Evolution (LTE)-enabled cellular baseband processors in 2014.

Beancounters at market research firm Strategy Analytics have added up the numbers and divided by their shoe size and worked out that the industry has a new number two.

While everyone knows that Qualcomm, has near total dominance of the high-growth LTE baseband segment in the past and had a 95 per cent share in 2013 a battle has been going on behind the scenes.

Other LTE baseband suppliers had too little of a share to be ranked behind Qualcomm, MediaTek had enough of an impact in the market in 2014 to get a second-place ranking from Strategy Analytics.

The research firm predicted that MediaTek will continue to gain shares in the LTE baseband segment thanks to increased traction in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market.

“Growing revenue contributions from LTE basebands will lift MediaTek’s baseband revenue share over the next few quarters,” said Christopher Taylor, director of the Strategy Analytics RF and wireless component service.

In 2014 revenue from LTE baseband sales overtook revenue from 3G baseband sales for the first time, thanks to a strong push from the industry, the research firm said.

The global market for cellular baseband processors, which are used in mobile devices to process wireless communication, grew an impressive 14.1 per cent year-over-year to reach $22 billion in 2014.

Qualcomm, MediaTek, Spreadtrum, Marvell and Intel grabbed the top-five cellular baseband revenue share spots in 2014, the research company said.

Qualcomm had a 66 per cent revenue share of the cellular baseband processor market, followed by MediaTek with a 17 per cent share and Spreadtrum with a 5 per cent share, according to Strategy Analytics.

Courtesy-Fud

MediaTek Goes 20nm For 10 Cores

April 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

While everyone is rushing to 10nm process technology for smartphones, fabless chipmaker MediaTek is about to create a 10 core SoC using TSMC’s 20nm process tech.

According to Digitimes the outfit is about to enter volume production of its 10-core SoC series for smartphones in the third quarter of 2015.

Dubbed Helios X20, the SoC will be targeted at Chinese based smartphone makers who want to upgrade their flagship devices.

Marketing will begin in the middle of the second quarter. When it gets into the shops it will be the world’s first 10-core chip.

The Helios X20 uses a 2+4+4 design, delivering 40 per cent more performance than eight-core chips. While this will give a lot of power to a smartphone, it is not clear what it will do for battery life or the size of the beast.

Still it is nice to see that someone has found a new way of getting more life out of the 20 nm process and do something good with it.

Courtesy-Fud

ARM Appears To Be On The Rise

April 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Chip designer ARM reported a 36 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit amid strong demand for its technology.

The British company said that expects 2015 revenue to meet the expectations of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.

ARM recorded net profit of $126.7 million for the three months to March 31 and revenue rose 22 percent.

Shares in ARM, which makes money by licensing its designs to chip makers, then collecting royalty revenue when the chips ship, were up by more than 5 per cent on the back of the news.

Processor-royalty revenue in dollar terms, a much-watched figure, rose 31 per cent on the year, the company said, adding that it has signed 30 processor licenses for a broad range of applications.

ARM CEO Simon Segars said: As the world becomes more digital and more connected, we continue to see an increase in the demand for ARM’s smart and energy-efficient technology, which is driving both our licensing and royalty revenues.@

Processor-licensing revenue was down 2 per cent in the quarter, which was in line with expectations following strong growth previously. Chief Financial Officer Tim Score told journalists he expects it to grow in future quarters.

Aside from smartphones and tablets, ARM said it is also seeing demand for its processors to be used for servers and networking and for the “Internet of Things”, a term used for the growing tendency for more items to be wirelessly connected.

ARM expects to benefit from the growth of the Internet of Things in areas such as health and in cars, Score said.

Courtesy-Fud

 

ARM Buys Into Bluetooth For IoT

April 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM has announced the acquisition of two Bluetooth companies in a bid to expand its presence in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena, and has created a new portfolio dubbed ARM Cordio in the process.

The UK semiconductor designer has picked up Wicentric, a Bluetooth smart stack and profile provider, and Sunrise Micro Devices (SMD), a provider of sub-one volt Bluetooth radio intellectual property (IP).

Wicentric is a privately held company that focuses on the development of low-power wireless products. These include Bluetooth protocol stack and profiles for creating interoperable smart products, and the link layer for silicon integration.

SMD is also privately held and provides radio IP solutions including a pre-qualified, self-contained radio block and related firmware to simplify radio deployment.

“Central to all SMD radios is native sub-one volt operation,” explained ARM in justifying its acquirement. “Operating below one volt enables the radio to run much longer on batteries or harvested energy.”

Terms of the agreements have not been disclosed, but ARM said that both companies’ IP will be combined to form the ARM Cordio portfolio.

This will integrate with the firm’s existing processor and physical IP targeting markets that require low-power wireless communications in the IoT space. The portfolio is available now for immediate licensing.

ARM is pushing its stance in the IoT market in a bid to monopolise on what is essentially the next big thing in tech before it becomes ubiquitous.

For instance, ARM joined forces with IBM in February to launch its mbed Device Platform as a starter kit with cloud support, offering developer tools with cloud-based analytics.

The mbed tool was announced last year and is primarily an operating system built around open standards to “bring internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability into one integrated tool” and make IoT deployment faster and easier and thus speed up the creation of IoT-powered devices.

Launching the mbed IoT Starter Kit Ethernet Edition with IBM means that the company can channel data from internet-connected devices directly into IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.

The IoT Starter Kit consists of an ARM mbed-enabled development board from Freescale, powered by an ARM Cortex-M4-based processor, together with a sensor IO application shield.

Courtesy-TheInq

Midiatek Developing Two SoC’s for Tablets

April 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek is working on two new tablet SoCs and one of them is rumored to be a $5 design.

The MT8735 looks like a tablet version of Mediatek’s smartphone SoCs based on ARM’s Cortex-A53 core. The chip can also handle LTE (FDD and TDD), along with 3G and dual-band WiFi. This means it should end up in affordable data-enabled tablets. There’s no word on the clocks or GPU.

The MT8163 is supposed to be the company’s entry-level tablet part. Priced at around $5, the chip does not appear to feature a modem – it only has WiFi and Bluetooth on board. GPS is still there, but that’s about it.

Once again, details are sketchy so we don’t know much about performance. However, this is an entry-level part, so we don’t expect miracles. It will have to slug it out with Alwinner’s $5 tablet SoC, which was announced a couple of months ago

According to a slide published by Mobile Dad, the MT8753 will be available later this month, but we have no timeframe for the MT8163.

But there’s nothing to see here as far as Torvalds is concerned. It’s just another day in the office. And all this in “Back To The Future II” year, as well.

Meanwhile under the bonnet, the community are already slaving away on Linux 4.1 which is expected to be a far more extensive release, with 100 code changes already committed within hours of Torvalds announcement of 4.0.

But there is already some discord in the ranks, with concerns that some of the changes to 4.1 will be damaging to the x86 compatibility of the kernel. But let’s let them sort that out amongst themselves.

After all, an anti-troll dispute resolution code was recently added to the Linux kernel in an effort to stop some of the more outspoken trolling that takes place, not least from Torvalds himself, according to some members of the community.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will Moore’s Law Become More Important In The Next Twenty Years?

April 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Moore’s Law will be more relevant in the 20 years to come than it was in the past 50 as the Internet of Things (IoT) creeps into our lives, Intel has predicted.

The chip maker is marking the upcoming 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law on 19 April by asserting that the best is yet to come, and that the law will become more relevant in the next two decades as everyday objects become smaller, smarter and connected.

Moore’s Law has long been touted as responsible for most of the advances in the digital age, from personal computers to supercomputers, despite Intel admitting in the past that it wasn’t enough.

Named after Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double approximately every two years.

Moore wrote a paper in 1965 describing a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit. He revised the forecast in 1975, doubling the time to two years, and his prediction has proved accurate.

The law now is used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development.

Many digital electronic devices and manufacturing developments are strongly linked to Moore’s Law, whether it’s microprocessor prices, memory capacity or sensors, all improving at roughly the same rate.

More recently, Intel announced the development of 3D NAND memory, which the company said was guided by Moore’s Law.

Intel senior fellow Mark Bohr said on a recent press call that, while Moore’s Law has been going strong for 50 years, he doesn’t see it slowing down, adding that Moore himself didn’t realise it would hold true for 50 years. Rivals such as AMD have also had their doubts.

“[Moore] thought it would push electronics into new spaces but didn’t realise how profound this would be, for example, the coming of the internet,” said Bohr.

“If you’re 20-something [the law] might seem somewhat remote and irrelevant to you, but it will be more relevant in the next 20 years than it was in the past 50, and may even dwarf this importance.

“We can see about 10 years ahead, so our research group has identified some promising options [for 7nm and 5nm] not yet fully developed, but we think we can continue Moore’s Law for at least another 10 years.”

Intel believes that upcoming tech will be so commonplace that it won’t even be a ‘thing’ anymore. It will “disappear” into all the places we inhabit and into clothing, into ingestible devices that improve our health, for example, and “it will just become part of our surroundings” without us even noticing it.

“We are moving to the last squares in the chess board, shrinking tech and making it more power efficient meaning it can go into everything around us,” said Bohr.

The Intel fellow describes the law as a positive move forward, but he also believes that we need to have a hard think about where we want to place it once products become smart as they can become targets for digital attacks.

“Once you put intelligence in every object round you, the digital becomes physical. [For example] if your toaster becomes connected and gets a virus it’s an issue, but not so important as if your car does,” he said.

“We have to think how we secure these endpoints and make sure security and privacy are considered upfront and built into everything we deploy.”

Bohr explained that continuing Moore’s Law isn’t just a matter of making chips smaller, as the technology industry has continually to innovate device structures to ensure that it continues.

“Moore’s Law is exponential and you haven’t seen anything yet. The best is yet to come. I’m glad to hand off to the next generation entering the workforce; to create new exciting experiences, products and services to affect the lives of billions of people on the planet,” added Bohr.

“Moore’s Law is the North Star guiding Intel. It is the driving force for the people working at Intel to continue the path of Gordon’s vision, and will help enable emerging generations of inventors, entrepreneurs and leaders to re-imagine the future.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Global Foundaries Sheds Light On 14nm Game Plan

April 10, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Global Foundries clarified details of the ramp up of 14nm chip production at fab 8 manufacturing facility in New York.

It has apparently  has taped out multiple 14nm designs and is tweaking its equipment using a lead product at the moment. The company is on track to start high-volume shipments of 14nm chips this year.

Jason Gorss, a spokesman for Global Foundries said that the outfit’s 14nm FinFET technology is maturing and on schedule at our Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York,.

“The early version (14LPE) is qualified in our fab and our lead product is yielding in double digits. Since 2014, we have taped multiple products and testchips and are seeing rapid progress, in yield and maturity, for volume shipments in 2015.”

The comment follows a statement from Mubadala Development last week week which claimed htat Global Foundries had begun ramping manufacturing of 14nm chips for customers.

Mubadala, which owns GlobalFoundries, did not provide any details. Even though production is currently not in high volume, it is clear that GlobalFoundries ships certain chips to clients.

It is not clear what 14nm chips GlobalFounfries produces at present, but it is highly likely that the company makes Samsung Exynos 7420 application processors for its process tech partner.

Another early partner of GlobalFoundries with its 14nm FinFET production could be Apple, which is expected to use Samsung’s 14nm process tech to make its upcoming A9 system-on-chip.

Global Foundries licensed Samsung’s 14LPE (low-power early) and 14LPP (low-power plus) process technologies last year.

This process uses FinFET transistors and rely on back-end-of-line (BEOL) interconnects of 20nm manufacturing technology. The14nm FinFET transistors allow a performance boost for chips by 20 per cent at the same power or cut power consumption by 35 per cent without decreasing performance or complexity.

Courtesy-Fud

Was Crytek Saved By Amazon?

April 9, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The deal that helped Crytek recover from its recent financial difficulties was Amazon, according to a report from Kotaku.

The online retail giant signed a licensing deal for CryEngine, Crytek’s proprietary game engine. Sources within the company put the deal’s value at between $50 million and $70 million, and suggested that Amazon may be using it as the bedrock for a proprietary engine of its own.

However Amazon uses the technology, though, the importance of the deal for Crytek cannot be overstated. Last year, during the summer, it became apparent that all was not well at the German developer. Employees hadn’t been fully paid in months, leading to an alleged staff walkout in its UK office, where a sequel to Homefront was in development. Koch Media acquired the Homefront IP and its team shortly after.

When the company’s management eventually addressed the rumors, it had already secured the financing necessary to take the company forward. No details of the deal were offered, but it’s very likely that Crytek got the money it needed from Amazon.

We have contacted Crytek to confirm the details, but it certainly fits with the perception that Amazon could emerge as a major creator of game content. It has snapped up some elite talent to do just that, it acquired Twitch for a huge sum of money, and it has been very open about where it plans to fit into the overall market.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

Is MediaTek Working On A Secret GPU?

April 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

An upcoming MediaTek SoC has been spotted in GFXbench and this tablet-oriented chip has created a lot of speculation thanks to the choice of GPU.

The Cortex-A53 based MediaTek MT8163 was apparently tested on a dev board with 2GB of RAM and the benchmark failed to identify the GPU. GFXbench identified the GPU as a part coming from “MediaTek Inc. Sapphire-lit”.

Spinning up the rumour mill

This is where the speculation starts, as many punters associated the GPU with AMD, and the presence of the word “Sapphire” also prompted some to conclude that AMD’s leading GPU add-in-board partner had something to do with it.

The Sapphire word association doesn’t look like anything other than clutching at straws, because it’s highly unlikely that an AIB would have much to do with the process of licensing AMD IP for mobile graphics.

However, this does not necessarily mean that we are not looking at a GPU that doesn’t have anything to do with AMD. The fact that MediaTek’s name is on it is perhaps more important, because it suggests an in-house design. Whether or not the part is indeed an in-house design, and whether it features some AMD technology, is still up for debate.

Why would MediaTek need AMD to begin with?

MediaTek relies on ARM Mali GPUs, although it uses Imagination GPUs on some designs. So where does AMD fit into all this?

As we reported last month, the companies have been cooperating on the SoC graphics front for a while, but they are tight lipped about the scope of their cooperation.

MediaTek is a supporter of HSA and a founding member of the HSA Foundation, but this doesn’t prove much, either, since the list of founding members includes ARM, Imagination, Texas Instruments, Samsung and Qualcomm.

Using AMD technology on SoCs would have to be a long-term strategy, built around the concept of using AMD IP to boost overall SoC performance rather than just GPU performance. This is why we do not expect to see the fruits of their cooperation in commercial products anytime soon.

Improved compute performance is one of the reasons MediaTek may be inclined to use AMD technology, but another angle is that “Graphics by AMD” or “Radeon Graphics” would sound good from a marketing perspective and allow MediaTek to differentiate its products in a saturated market.

Courtesy-Fud

Did AMD Commit Fraud?

April 6, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD must face claims that it committed securities fraud by hiding problems with the bungled 2011 launch of Llano that eventually led to a $100 million write-down, a US court has decided.

According to Techeye US District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers said plaintiffs had a case that AMD officials misled them by stating in the spring of 2011 and will have to face a full trial.

The lawsuit was over the Llano chip, which AMD had claimed was “the most impressive processor in history.”

AMD originally said that the product launch would happen in the fourth quarter of 2010, sales of the Llano were delayed because of problems at the company’s chip manufacturing plant.

The then Chief Financial Officer Thomas Seifert told analysts on an April 2011 conference call that problems with chip production for the Llano were in the past, and that the company would have ample product for a launch in the second quarter.

Press officers for AMD continued to insist that there were no problems with supply, concealing the fact that it was only shipping Llanos to top-tier computer manufacturers because it did not have enough chips.

By the time AMD ramped up Llano shipments in late 2011, no one wanted them any more, leading to an inventory glut.
AMD disclosed in October 2012 that it was writing down $100 million of Llano inventory as not shiftable.

Shares fell nearly 74 percent from a peak of $8.35 in March 2012 to a low of $2.18 in October 2012 when the market learned the extent of the problems with the Llano launch.

Courtesy-Fud