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.
As Intel’s Atom division gets buried under a scandal over its C2000s only having an 18 month life expectancy, Intel has released its new Atom CPU 3000 range to replace it.
To be fair to Intel, the C3000 is a superior product. At the top end it will have 16 core CPUs which are designed for enterprise servers. According to Intel they will have features borrowed from the Xeon line, such as hardware virtualization, and RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability).
These chips will head to the NAS and IoT markets and they can deal with several parallel data streams. Not as fast as Kaby Lake and Broadwell, they will be placed as reliable workhorses in the network. That is if they don’t repeat the problems of the flawed C2000 Atom series of products. These had quality control issues, which Intel claims that it has fixed.
The new line is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2017. The Intel ARK shows a dual-core Atom C3338 with Denverton cores fabbed at 14nm. That SoC will get a 1.5 Ghz base frequency and 2.2 Ghz boost.
Each pair of Denverton cores will have two megabytes of level two cache. The new chips support for up to 128 gigabytes of DDR4-2400 memory and thus include support for 10Gb Ethernet as well as 16 lanes of PCI-Express 3.0 connectivity. Here are the highlights.
Thermal design points down to 8.5 watts.
Enhanced performance from 2 to 16 cores and frequencies from 1.5 Ghz to 2.2 Ghz.
Built-in hardware virtualisation to enable dynamic provisioning of services as communication service providers extend network functions virtualization to the network edge.
Intel x86 64-bit software support.
Integrated Intel QuickAssist technology with up to 20 Gbps of compression/encryption throughput.
4 x 10 GbE integrated Intel Ethernet to enable high-speed connectivity to the network.
ECC memory for data integrity and system reliability through automatic data correction.
Flexible I/O lanes providing up to 16 SATA 3.0, 16 PCIE3, and 4 USB 3.0.
Extended temperature range and long-life support for dense network, storage, industrial IoT and autonomous driving environments.
Although it is still a long way off into the future, TSMC said that it is on track to start risk production of 5nm chips in the first half of 2019.
Company co-CEO Mark Liu told the outfit’s annual supply chain management shindig that TSMC’s 7nm process will be ready for risk production later in the first quarter of 2017, with volume production scheduled for 2018.
He added that TSMC will start using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) for an improved version of its 7nm process technology, and fully implement the lithography to make 5nm chips.
TSMC’s 10nm technology will be mostly headed for mobile devices. Lui said the foundry was gearing up for commercial shipments of chips built using the process later in the first quarter.
Shipments will expand rapidly in the second half of this year and is upping its R&D spending for 2017 by 15 per cent. To $10 billion, up from the $9.5 billion allocated for 2016. All this is pretty much in line with what we expected. Making 5nm predictions for 2019 is all very well, but by the time that year arrives most of us will have forgotten. Risk production is also a long way away from actually getting the chips working and in the shops.
According to details provided over at EA’s Origin site, those looking to play the new Mass Effect game will need at least an Intel Core i5-3570 or AMD FX-6350 CPU, 8GB of RAM and Nvidia Geforce GTX 660 2GB or AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB graphics card.
The recommended system requirements rise up to an Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD FX-8350 CPU, 16GB of RAM and either an Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB or AMD RX 480 4GB graphics card.
Both minimum and recommended system requirements include at least 55GB of storage space as well as a 64-bit version of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 OS.
The official release for the game is set for March 21st in the US and March 23rd in Europe and it will be coming to PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Those with EA Access and Origin Access should get the game five days earlier.
Troubled Japanese chipmaker Toshiba has begun shipping samples of its third-generation 3D NAND memory product.
The new 512 gigabit, 64-layer device has three-bit-per-cell triple-level cell (TLC) technology and will be part of Tosh’s BiCS FLASH product line. This technology will enable a 1-terabyte chip solution later this year.
For those who came in late, BiCS FLASH is a 3D flash memory stacked cell structure.
Sample shipments of the new 512Gb devices have begun, with mass production scheduled for the second half of 2017.
The new flash memory product has 65 percent greater capacity than the previous generation technology, which used 48 layers of NAND flash cells.
In addition to the new 512Gb device, Toshiba’s BiCS FLASH lineup also includes a 64-layer 256Gb offering, which is currently in mass production.
According to Scott Nelson, senior vice president of TAEC’s memory business unit, “The introduction of our third generation BiCS FLASH coupled with the industry’s largest 1TB chip solution strongly reinforces Toshiba’s flash leadership position. These innovations underline our commitment to developing leading-edge memory solutions, and we will continue to advance our 3D technology to meet the ever-increasing storage market demand.”
The chip will be used in data centres but also consumer SSD products so it could be cheap enough to get into high-end gaming rigs.
This announcement comes as Toshiba talks about off-loading its lucrative SSD operations to pay for the accounting fiasco and the dodgy nuclear power plant deal it lost billions on.
A previous report about Western Digital, Foxxcon, SK Hynix and Micron Technology have now also thrown their hats in the ring to purchase a majority share in Toshiba’s memory spin-off.
It seems that we will have to wait a bit for the rest of the Ryzen lineup as, according to AMD, six-core and quad-core parts will be coming sometime in the second quarter and the second half of this year.
While its octa-core Ryzen 7 lineup is already up for pre-order with availability expected on March 2nd, the rest of the lineup will be coming later, with six-core Ryzen 5 lineup, which should compete with Intel’s Core i5 Kaby Lake lineup, coming in Q2 2017, and the quad-core Ryzen 3 lineup coming sometime in the 2H 2017.
According to AMD’s own slides from the press event held earlier this week, the Ryzen 5 1600X SKU should be able to compete with Intel’s flagship Core i5-7600K SKU, offering up to 69 percent higher performance.
The AMD Ryzen 7 eight core lineup is selling like hotcakes -whatever they are – and is already on the top of Amazon’s best seller list, with the Ryzen 7 1700X leading the way, but the six core and quad core parts may hit the sweet spot and let AMD regain market share.
MediaTek is planning a Helio X30 in 10nm later this year but news from Taiwan indicates that some key customers didn’t order the new flagship 10 core chip.
One of the main reasons might be the increased competition in the Chinese market and companies cannot afford to have two designs of the same phone with Qualcomm or a MediaTek chip in. The rumor is that Xiaomi, MediaTek’s big customer, might be coming up with its own Pinecone SoC and this will put some additional pressure on MediaTek’s high-end. There might be two Pinecones SoCs targeted at the mainstream and high end market.
LeEco, another big MediaTek customer is going through tough financial times, and was not interested in making big orders. Hope, which is the number one smartphone vendor in China, is usually a big customer. Another big one that usualy goes with MediaTek is the current number 3 in China, Vivo. The number two, Huawei has its own Kirin SoC while the number Four, the fruity Apple has its own SoC.
Oppo is MediaTek’s big hope as is Vivo. Oppo and Vivo are expected to sell 120 million and 100 million smartphones respectively in 2017.
The upcoming Snapdragon 835 SoC is also going to give Mediatek bother. It is shaping up to become one of the best, if not the best phone SoC of all times. MediaTek usually has a pricing advantage over most of its competitors so it might compete against it on price.
This is a TSMC manufactured chip based on the the long relationship that the company has with the biggest chip foundry which is across the street from MedaiTek’s headquarter in Hsinchu, Taiwan. The end result might be the massive cancellation of 10nm wafer orders at TSMC, as there wont be anyone who would want to buy. The timing could not be worse, as this is the first time MediaTek wanted to take the leap of faith and bet on the farm with the latest and greatest 10nm . Now it looks like it will have to cancel a lot of the 10nm orders. Still a few phones with Helio X30 deca core will hit the market.
The fatal clock timing flaw that causes switches, routers and security appliances die after about 18 months of service is apparently a feature of some Juniper products.
Cisco was the first vendor to post a notice about the problem earlier this month saying the notice covers some of the company’s most widely deployed products, such as certain models of its Series 4000 Integrated Services Routers, Nexus 9000 Series switches, ASA security devices and Meraki Cloud Managed Switches.
Juniper is telling its customers something similar:
“Although we believe the Juniper products with this component are performing normally as of February 13, 2017, the [listed] Juniper products could after the product has been in operation for at least 18 months begin to exhibit symptoms such as the inability to boot, or cease to operate. Recovery in the field is not possible. Juniper product with this supplier’s component were first placed into service on January 2016. Jupiter is working with the component supplier to implement a remediation. In addition, Juniper’s spare parts depots will be purged and updated with remediated products.”
The products in the warning comprise 13 Juniper switches, routers and other products including the MPC7E 10G, MPC7E (multi rate), MX2K-MPC8E, EX 920 Ethernet switches and PTX3000 integrated photonic line card.
So far neither Cisco nor Juniper have blamed Intel for the fault. However, Chipzilla did describe a flaw on its Atom C2000 chip which is under the bonnet of shedloads of net gear.
Intel said that problems with its Atom chip will hurt Intel’s 2016 Q4 earnings. CFO Robert Swan said that Intel was seeing a product quality issue in the fourth quarter with slightly higher expected failure rates under certain use and time constraints.
Swan said that it will be fixed with a minor design fix that Intel was working with its clients to resolve.
Intel had hoped it would see the back of its short-lived low-power Atom chips for servers. They were used in micro servers but also networking equipment from companies.
HPE and Dell are keeping quiet about the clock technology, though both are rumoured to use it. They might be hoping that Intel will come up with a fix so they can pretend it never happened.
Announced officially by AMD and to be held on February 28th at Ruby Skye in San Francisco, the new Capsaicin and Cream event promises “a feature-packed show highlighting the hottest new graphics and VR technologies propelling the games industry forward”.
Streamed live, the event will include the main Capsaicin & Cream part, which will hopefully include a bit more details on the actual lineup of graphics cards based on the new Vega GPU, as well as the Cream developer sessions which promise “inspiring talks focused on rendering ideas and new paths forward, driven by game industry gurus from multiple companies including Epic and Unity”.
The event will start at 10:00 AM PST, while the livestream is scheduled to start at 10:30 AM PST (20:00 CET).
For many, the success of Resident Evil 7 and its atmospheric campaign has offered a glimpse of what a “killer app” for virtual reality might look like; the game that shifts the common perception of VR from an intriguing glimpse of the future, to an essential part of contemporary entertainment. The term will be familiar to anyone who has seen the launch of a new console, but, as a panel of experts discussed today at Casual Connect Europe, VR defies such easy categorization.
The discussion was triggered by nDreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh, who was in the crowd to watch a panel that included representatives from Valve and Nvidia. When asked to pin down his definition of the term “Killer App,” O’Luanaigh said, “it’s less about revenue, more something that everybody talks about. A lot of people say that VR hasn’t had that killer game yet.
“If we look to the consoles we might say, ‘You have to have your Mario or your Sonic.’ But do you?”
“There’s lots of cool stuff out there, but nothing that really makes you feel, ‘Oh my god, this is so amazing, I have to go and buy a headset.’ We’re all saying that we want games like that to come, and as budgets go up hopefully that will happen. It’s really about where that game might come from.”
For Chet Faliszek, who has become the globe-trotting representative for Valve’s VR efforts, the very notion of a ‘Killer App’ seemed to belong more to traditional game hardware – the consoles made by Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Microsoft. “We have so few data points to extrapolate from to figure out what this is,” he said. “If we look to the consoles we might say, ‘You have to have your Mario, or your Sonic.’ But do you?”
Faliszek referred to a talk he gave the previous day, in which he suggested smartphones as a more appropriate comparison for VR technology. “What was the killer app for the App Store?” he asked the crowd the previous day. “I would argue it was flexibility; the ability to become different for each person. If you’d have asked me 20 years ago what feature do I most want on my phone, I probably would say something about making phone calls; now I rarely make a phone call.
Faliszek emphasized this point again, and suggested that some of the difficulty analysts have faced in grappling with the VR market relates to this kind of misunderstanding. “That’s why there’s slower growth in virtual reality than other people predicted – the analysts,” he continued. “Whereas I think people in the [VR] industry have the understanding that, if you demo ten individual things, out of those one person would say, ‘Why is this thing in there?’ And the next person would go, ‘That’s the best thing ever.’
“Today’s high-end becomes tomorrow’s mainstream… If you develop for the high-end, you know that’s going to have the longest tail”
“You have these personal reactions… Everybody finds that thing in there that they want to have.”
It was telling that, when asked about the most impressive applications for virtual reality right now, Faliszek listed tools for creativity: Google’s Tilt Brush, and the VR development capabilities offered by engines from Unity and Epic. There is a desire for a fully formed consumer market for VR to hurry up and arrive already, but the truth may be that, even a year after the launch of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the space is still best defined by its creators and the broad range of use cases they are attempting to discover.
However, one basic truth was mentioned on several occasions, starting with O’Luanaigh’s original question about the importance of positional head-tracking and motion controls becoming standard in mobile VR. These are core features the current high-end of VR hardware – including, but not limited to, the HTC Vive – but Faliszek also believes this is the smartest target for any developer wanting to reach the largest possible audience.
“If you want to make the most money in VR, you should make [games] for the largest addressable market,” he said. “The largest addressable market right now may be headsets that are rotational only, but they will be museum piece in a couple of years. If you make something that has positionally tracked head and motion controls you can probably still be selling that game years from now – or some version of that. If you did rotational only? Someone has to pull a headset out of the closet to experience that. The shelf life of that product is going to be much shorter.”
Faliszek made a similar point the day before, advising Casual Connect’s attendees that, “today’s high-end becomes tomorrow’s mainstream. If you really want to think about the largest addressable market, it’s not about the number of headsets out there for any one platform. It’s what will become the standard. If you develop for the high-end, you know that’s going to have the longest tail.”
Despite the probable advantage in the number of headset owners, then, mobile VR may have to reach a better technological standard to be a better commercial opportunity. No part of the VR market offers a huge installed base at present anyway, and, as Faliszek pointed out, “a game that works on 5 million [mobile] headsets this year isn’t necessarily going to work on 50 million headsets in a few years’ time.”