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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

Courtesy-Fud

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.

Courtesy-Fud

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.

Courtesy-Fud

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.

Courtesy-Fud

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.

Courtesy-Fud

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.

Courtesy-Fud

Freescales Debuts Linux SoC

June 25, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Freescale has been showing off its two Linux-ready, 28nm i.MX7 SoCs.

Based around the Cortex-A7 cores and Cortex-M4 MCUs, the pair have lower power consumption than the predecessor the i.MX6.

The single-core, 800MHz i.MX7 Solo (i.MX7S) and dual-core, 1GHz i.MX7 Dual (i.MX7D) are the first use the Cortex-A7.

The reduced power consumption has happened at the expense of a performance reduction. The up-to-1GHz Cortex-A7 cores are slower than the i.MX6′s up to 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 cores. In addition, there’s no mention of the earlier Vivante GPUs or 3D acceleration. Like the UltraLite, there’s only a simple 2D image processing engine.

Freescale said the i.MX7′s Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 cores have a core efficiency levels of 100 ?W/MHz and 70 ?W/MHz, respectively. The SoC’s overall power efficiency is 15.7 DMIPS/mW, and a new Low Power State Retention (LPSR) mode runs at 250 ?W. In LPSR sleep mode, the i.MX7 consumes only 250 ?W, while supporting DDR self-refresh mode, GPIO wakeup, and memory state retention.

The savings are down to the newer Cortex-A7 architecture and a 28nm “ultra low leakage process,” as compared to the i.MX6′s 40nm process. The i.MX7 also features a new discrete power domain architecture.

The i.MX7 ships with Linux, and supports Android, and is aimed at wearables, Point-of-Sale gear and smart home controls.

The i.MX7 SoCs are paired with a new Freescale PF3000 PMIC which has features up to four buck converters, six linear regulators, an RTC supply, and a coin-cell charger. The chip is supposed to optimize peripheral power delivery, system memory and processor cores. The PMIC also supports one-time programmable memory for controlling startup sequence and output voltages.

The i.MX7 has a Cortex-M4 microcontroller unit (MCU) core for offloading processing. The Cortex-M4 can run Freescale’s own MQX, at up to 266MHz, compared to 200MHz on the SoloX.

Courtesy-Fud

 

AMD’s FIJI GPU Boast Over 8.5 Billion Transistors

June 18, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The Fiji GPU behind the AMD Radeon Fury line of graphics cards is definitely a one big chip with 8.6 billion transistors, but during our short chat with, Raja Koduri, Corporate Vice President and CTO, Visual Computing at AMD and we learned that the number is even higher.

Raja tells us that when we add the number of High Bandwidth Memory transistors that are sitting on the interposer, you get to more than 10 billion transistors for the Fiji GPU interposer chip.

This is a lot of transistors but again, the Fury graphics card is much smaller than the one based on GDDR5 memory, and this is what enables new form factors such as Fury Nano that fits on 6-inch (15.24 cm) size PCB.

The Fiji GPU packs 4096 Stream Processors and this is the highest number we saw until today and with aggressive prices, AMD will certainly put a lot of pressure on Geforce GTX 980 Ti sales. We still have to see what happens with the actual real-world performance as we expect to see the actual Fury X graphics cards in our systems before the end of this week.

Just for reference, Nvidia’s Titan X as well as the Geforce GTX 980 Ti both have 8 billion transistors, some 600 million less than the Fiji GPU.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is Samsung The King Of LTE?

June 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung Electronics has told the world that owns the largest number of patent rights essential for long-term evolution (LTE) technology in the world.

Writing in its official blog “Samsung Tomorrow” that it has more than 3,600 standard essential patents (SEP) for the LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology. That is 17 percent of all LTE-related SEPs.

We guess this means that if someone buys an LTE phone more than 17 per cent of the money which goes to buy patents should end up in Samsung’s bank account.

Samsung Electronics Digital Media & Communication Laboratory’s intellectual property application team head Lee Heung-mo said Samsung Electronics has established a solid foothold as the global leader and the first mover in the fourth-generation mobile telecom market.

“This also means that the company has become able to provide more convenience to customers by developing the latest technologies.”

The Taiwanese patent office conducted market research for the nation’s state-run National Applied Research Laboratory based on about 6,000 patent rights listed at the Patent and Trademark Office in the United States during the last two years.

LG Electronics and Qualcomm followed Samsung Electronics in second place with 14 percent of SEPs, each. Ericsson, Panasonic, Nokia and NTT DoCoMo hold the third spot with 5 percent, each.

Pantech, the nation’s third-largest handset maker which currently faces bankruptcy, held only one percent, while Korea’s state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute owned less than 1 percent, the report showed.

During the patent dispute with Apple, the U.S. International Trade Commission said Apple had infringed on Samsung Electronics’ SEPs though they had to be shared under a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” principle.

Samsung Electronics said it has pushed for securing the SEPs in this sector during the last 18 years and has competed with global telecom giants including Qualcomm, Nokia and Ericsson as a relative latecomer. It said securing leadership in SEPs may change the crisis of facing patent disputes to diversifying income sources.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Are Notebook Sales On The Rise?

June 12, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The PC maker Quanta Computer’s has reported a surprise hike in the sales of notebooks. According to the company its notebook shipments reached 3.4 million units in May, up 6.25 per cent on month from 3.2 million units in April. Quanta’s notebook shipments are estimated to grow 10 per cent sequentially to reach 10.89 million units in the second quarter. The outfit said that it will ship 4.29 million notebooks in June. Things might get even better in July when Windows 10 is scheduled to be released. The Tame Apple press is doing its best to play down the release, claiming that it is uncertain if the new operating system is able to attract consumers to purchase new PC devices. Part of this is because Redmond is allowing consumers to freely upgrade their existing PCs to Windows 10, making purchasing a new PC no longer important. Quanta is dependent on notebooks for 70 per cent of its revenues. The rest of its 14.1 per cent on-month revenue growth in May was mainly contributed by Apple Watch orders which could lead to tears if this market dries up. Courtesy-Fud

Acer Shifts Focus To IoT

June 8, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Acer is still churning out PCs, but the Taiwanese vendor is far more bullish about the Internet of Things (IoT), a market the company doesn’t want to miss out on.

Acer held a news conference not for a new consumer product, but to promote an upcoming miniature PC that will be sold to developers.

The PC, called the aBeing One, will arrive in the third quarter, and is aimed at developers working in the IoT area. It’s designed to connect to smart home and wearable products, and act as a hub that can analyze incoming data from the devices.

The PC vendor has spoken to many IoT companies looking for an affordable hardware system they can develop on, said Robert Wang, a general manager with Acer.

“Fast-moving IoT developers keep running into this issue,” he said after Acer’s news conference. “Now they can buy from us.”

It’s a big change for the vendor, given that it once focused on selling consumer notebooks. However, with PC sales sagging and competition rife in the mobile devices area, the company has been shifting toward enterprise products.

That emphasis was apparent at this week’s Computex show in Taipei. Acer notebooks and tablets were still on display, but equal billing was given to itscloud computing business, which is starting to power IoT devices, not only from Acer, but also its clients.

In addition, Acer is hoping to pave the way for more third-party IoT devices. It has partnered with Canonical to install a version of Ubuntu on its aBeing product, so that the hardware can serve Ubuntu developers working on smart connected gadgets.

 

 

MediaTek Debuts Contactless Heart Rate Monitor

June 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

While MediaTek might be known for its multi-core smartphone processors, the firm was very keen to show off its more adventurous side at Computex 2015.

With a booth almost entirely dedicated to the latest and greatest from its new Labs division, which aims to bring the latest innovations from developers to market, MediaTek offered something a little more unexpected compared to previous years.

Launched in autumn last year, MediaTek Labs is a worldwide initiative to help developers of any background or skill level to create and market wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

With the firm’s LinkIt Development Platform, based on the MediaTek Aster (MT2502) chipset, sitting at its core, the Labs programme provides developers, makers and service providers with both software and hardware development kits, technical documentation and business support.

Here’s a few of our favourite innovations showed off at Computex, based on either the LinkIt One platform, or the firm’s fresh Helio P10 smartphone family of SoCs.

Heart rate monitoring smartphone camera
This “contactless heartrate monitoring” technology is powered by the firm’s Visual Processing Application in its latest P10 smartphone SoC.

It makes use of a smartphone’s video camera to take a heart rate reading via the front-facing camera by stripping down the layers of the image taken by the camera in real-time to detect the pulse in a user’s temple.

We were rather dubious about how well this might work, so gave it a go. While it took a good few seconds to match up, you can see from the photo that it is almost as accurate as the portable ECG monitoring device we had clipped on our finger. Impressive stuff.

Wine brewer
Winning first prize in the ITRI Mobilehero competition in Taiwan last year, this nifty IoT wine brewing device was developed by a local start-up called Alchema.

It consists of five sensors thatmonitor the alcohol content and the brewing environment. The results we tasted were, shall we say, interesting, if a little on the sharp side.

Alchema looking to raise more funds on Kickstarter before the end of the year.

Another LinkIt-powered device MediaTek showed off at Computex was a wearable aimed for the elderly. Using Bluetooth and accelerometer sensors, the wristband tracker detects the users’ wrist motions and raises an alarm, alerting those that are linked to the watch via a smartphone app if their elderly family member, loved one or friend’s device has detected a sudden movement that could resemble a fall or accident.

Sitting at the more mature end of the LinkIt developer platform spectrum, but still less than a year old, is an electric-scooter rental company called Skuro Moto. We spoke to its chief executive Frank Chen, who is running the company at the tender age of 24 after developing the idea while at university.

Skuro works with electric-vehicle maker Ahamani EV Technology to provide a rental service at Yuan Ze University in Taiwan. The bikes reduce costs for riders by about 30 percent thanks to a monitoring system enabled by the LinkIt chip that lets riders see their power usage. They can also be started by a swipe of a student identity card, to save the trouble of lost keys.

 

Courtesy-TheInq

Can MediaTek Score Big In China’s 4G Arena?

June 5, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek wants to grow its 4G chip market share in China during the second half of 2015 with the aim of scoring half the market.

According to Digitimes the outfit currently has 20 per cent of China’s 4G chip market and is looking to push its 4G chip market share in China to more than 50% in the second half of 2015.

This is a step up from earlier targets as MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-chiang remarked recently that the company is aiming to reach a 40 per cent share.  That comment was only a few months ago, and so any 50 per cent target means that its ambitions must be being more than met.

MediaTek just released the P10 series of its Helio family for mid-range 4G smartphones. The Helio P10 is a 64-bit SoC based on eight Cortex-A53 cores and clocked at 2GHz, and will be available in the third quarter of 2015.

MediaTek said that using TSMC’s 28nm HPC+ process, the Helio P10 can save up to 30 per cent more power compared to existing smartphone SoCs manufactured using 28nm HPC process.

MediaTek previously announced its 10-core Helio X20 series, which integrates a multi-mode Cat 6 LTE modem.

Courtesy-Fud

 

GameStop Acquires ThinkGeek

June 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Last week it was reported how Geeknet Inc. was in the process of being bought out by retailer Hot Topic for $16 a share or $37 million in cash.

However we have just discovered that deal was squashed because Thinkgeek got a better deal from Gamestop.

GameStop offered $20 per share and Hot Topic wanted away. GameStop’s $20 per share deal also includes $37 million in cash and comes out to a total valuation of $140 million.

Geeknet must pay Hot Topic a three percent “break-up fee,” which GameStop has agreed to reimburse.

What this will mean is that ThinkGeek customers can pick up ThinkGeek merchandise in GameStop stores.

The press release also mentions the potential of offering GameStop PowerUp Rewards members “exclusive, unique and cutting edge merchandise related to their favorite entertainment.”

The deal should be concluded by the end of GameStop’s second financial quarter of 2015, which will happen in August.

Courtesy-Fud

Cortex M May Provide Boost For IoT Developers

June 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM has announced a new subsystem of its Cortex-M processor line specifically designed for the Internet of Things.

ARM IoT for ARM Cortex-M uses a specifically reserved set of IP addresses that allows manufacturers to create system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices including sensors and other IoT mainstays.

The resulting products should, it is hoped, have a power consumption of 1W, which the company points out can make a 60 percent improvement in battery life over 1.2W, and means that product life can be measured in years. The optimization process is the TSMC 55ULP, first revealed by TSMC last September.

The resulting SoC uses the Open Innovation Platform to exploit a range of disposable IP addresses and provide communication systems that can offer anything from Flash NAND to Bluetooth to LTE. It’s up to the licensee of the chip to find the best combination for their product.

None of this is going to reach the high street any time soon, but as use cases start to emerge, licences change hands and the manufacture kicks in, you can expect to see a lot more gadgets using this configuration.

“With industry expectations of hundreds of billions of new smart connected sensors by 2030, we see a growing demand for highly customized chips,” said James McNiven, general manager for systems and software at ARM.

“Creating a highly tailored SoC is complex. The ARM IoT subsystem for Cortex-M enables companies to simplify the process and improve time to market. It enables our partners to focus finite design resources on the system functionality that differentiates them in their market.”

The system is available for immediate licensing from today, with optimization for the company’s IBM-backed mbed OS and Corio Bluetooth Smart Radio. Other radios such as WiFi and 802.15.4 are available.

Inking a deal with TMSC couldn’t come at a better time for the fabrication specialist after it was revealed recently that Qualcomm was planning to ditch it as a supplier.


Courtesy-TheInq