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MediaTek To Spin-Off Virtual Reality Unit

May 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek is so confident about its VR plans it is going to spin off its VR division to form an independent company in June.

A recent Chinese-language Economic Daily News report claims that Mediatek wants the spun off business to drive VR sales. It all sounds pretty good but MediaTek have sort of denied the rerport.

Well we say sort of denied it. What it has told the Taiwan Stock Exchange  that it was not the report’s source, which is not quite the same thing.The spin off could go ahead, but MediaTek is denying that it told the EDN its cunning plans. But then again the EDN did not name its source either. Without a denial from the company we are none the wiser.

MediaTek’s VR unit was set up between end-2015 and early-2016 to focus on the development of the company’s VR solutions for handsets, the EDN thought.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Can eSport Be Used A Promo Tool?

May 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

While some publishers establish their own eSports divisions and appoint chief competition officers, Take-Two is approaching the competitive gaming trend with a bit more caution. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz in advance of the company’s financial earnings report today, CEO and chairman Strauss Zelnick said the field was promising, but still unproven.

“eSports we find very interesting,” Zelnick said. “It is, however, still more a promotional tool than anything else. And most people see eSports as an opportunity to increase consumer engagement in their titles, and depending on the title, to increase consumer spending within the title.”

To date, Take-Two’s biggest eSports endeavor has been an NBA 2K tournament with 92,000 teams competing for a $250,000 prize. The final 16 teams are set to compete in a single-elimination tournament this weekend, with the finals taking place during the NBA Finals next month.

“It’s just the beginning for us,” Zelnick said of the tournament. “It’s very gratifying so far, but we have yet to see it as a stand-alone profitable business. We see it more as an adjunct to consumer engagement in our titles.”

Zelnick also addressed the company’s digital revenues, which for the first time made up more than half of its revenues for the year. While the industry has shifted heavily toward digital in recent years, Zelnick doesn’t see this as some sort of tipping point or a harbinger that physical goods are in for declines from here on out.

“This year was a little different because we had a very significant portion of this year’s revenue through digital distribution,” Zelnick said. “And that’s a reflection of the power of titles like Grand Theft Auto Online as well as PC titles, 90 percent of which are digitally delivered. With frontline console releases, your numbers are more like 20 percent from digital distribution. So physical distribution remains the lion’s share of our revenue.”

While Zelnick acknowledged the growth of digital distribution is a good thing for Take-Two, he specified that it wasn’t a strategy for the company because it’s ultimately out of his hands.

“We want to be where the consumer is, and we’re not really the ones who vote,” Zelnick said.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

nVidia Outs The Tesla M10

May 24, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia has been talking about its Tesla M10 GPU designed to run on the latest version of the company’s GRID technology.

For those who came in late, GRID technology is supposed to give servers a kick in the graphics back-end. It powers virtual desktops and support cloud-powered gaming.

Nvidia says the Tesla M10 GPU can support up to 64 desktops per board and 128 per server with two boards. This means shedloads of virtual machines  which are potentially dead and alive.

The new graphics card ccan support Citrix’s XenApp and virtual PCs running Windows, or power virtual workstations that need the performance for professional graphics work.

The M10 is a bit like the M6 and M60 as a GPU accelerator – unlike the M10 motorway which is a disappointingly short road connected the M1 to the A414 just south of St Albans.

Companies making use of virtual machines or looking to substitute hardware for more efficient virtual systems can access the GRID and Tesla tech for less than $2 per month per user for use with virtual apps and remote desktop sessions, and the firm will provide virtual PCs for less than $6 per month per user.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is EA Cautious About The 3rd Person Shooter Market?

May 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

EA is telling the world that it wants into the third-person action market with an open world game, but it does not appear to be happening any time soon.

EA Studios VP Patrick Söderlund told us in 2015 that EA wanted to expand its portfolio into gigantic action games like Assassin’s Creed or Batman or GTA and CFO Blake Jorgensen said something similar.

“We feel like there’s a huge opportunity for us to continue to invest in new areas of the business like the action genre where we haven’t competed historically. There’s a very ripe opportunity for us to invest in and we’ve been able to bring great talent in to build out that part of the business.”

But according to Game Radar it is not going to happen any time soon. Blake is quoted as saying that the outfit was building an action genre product that’s probably will appear in three or four years.

We can expect something new from EA next year which has not been announced, Blake said. But this will not be anything like the big games which have captured popular attention.

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia Shows Better Than Expected Profit

May 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia forecast better-than-expected revenue for the current quarter demand for its chips has risen, while its rival, AMD has a knap while waiting for its Zen technology to arrive.

Shares of the company, which also reported profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates, were up 7.5 percent in extended trading.

The chipmaker last week unveiled its GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 graphics processors based on its Pascal technology.

Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the new Pascal GPU architecture will give a giant boost to deep learning, gaming and VR. The  processors were in full production and would be available later this month.

Revenue from its gaming business, which designs graphics cards such as GeForce for PCs, rose 17 percent to $687 million.

The company has weathered a shrinking personal computer industry by focusing on game enthusiasts, who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for processors used in playing graphically demanding games. Revenue from its data center business, which includes its Tesla processors, rose 62.5 percent to $143 million.

The company said it expected second-quarter revenue to be $1.35 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.28 billion for the quarter. Nvidia’s net income rose to $196 million in the first quarter ended May 1 from $134 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 13.4 percent to $1.31 billion, while analysts were expecting $1.26 billion.

The company also said it intends to return about $1 billion to shareholders in fiscal 2017 through quarterly dividends and share buybacks.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will AMD’s Zen Processor Be Quad-Core?

May 12, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

In May 2015, we reported that AMD’s first Zen CPUs, launching in Q4 2016, would most likely be quad-core chips based on a presentation slide showing the company’s Zen core units scaling up to four cores with shared L3 cache. According to new information released one year later, this may not be the case and, the company could be preparing to launch eight and six-core variants in a tight efficiency race against Intel’s ‘Kaby Lake’ CPUs.

AMD’s official “Zen-based Quad Core Unit” slide” was released May 6, 2015 during its Financial Analyst Day when the company claimed its new platform will have a more competitively-focused IPC design, higher core counts, lower latency caches and will be based on second-generation 14nm Low-Power Plus (LPP) process technology.

On Wednesday, sources close to the folks at Italian site Bitsandchips.it now suggest that AMD will produce 8-core and 6-core Zen x86 chips initially – and only in the event of bad yields will OEMs and ODMs decide to use quad-core variants. Due to the fact that Intel is launching 6-core and 10-core high-end Broadwell-E processors later this month, it appears AMD will be initially focused on bringing back some high-end desktop (HEDT) market share from Intel’s stagnant performance numbers.

In recent benchmarks, the Core i7 6950X is only about 10 percent faster than the Core i7 5960X in Cinebench multi-threaded performance, while the former Haswell-E chip is actually slightly faster in Cinebench single-threaded tests. This is a great place for AMD to gain some ground against Intel’s ‘Kaby Lake’ CPUs in Instructions Per Clock (IPC) by launching Zen with a higher number of cores, at least initially.

We mentioned in August 2015 that Zen uses SMT (hyperthreading) just like Intel’s cores and will be switching back to a single FPU-per core design. With this market approach, every core will be able to run two simultaneous threads just like Intel’s CPUs. This is AMD’s way of breaking from the “core pair” implementation that was established in Bulldozer in October 2011, also known as Clustered Multithreading (CMT).

Of course, AMD will eventually release a 16-core x86 Zen APU with Greenland integrated graphics, but this is not expected to compete with Intel until 2017 when 10-nanometer Cannonlake CPUs are released later in the year. AMD can also produce an 8-core and even 6-core version of this Zen APU

Bristol Ridge APUs will initially take dual-core and quad-core designs

Meanwhile, the company is planning to announce some new dual-core and quad-core APUs later this month at Computex 2016, codenamed Bristol Ridge, to compete with current Intel 6th-generation Skylake CPUs. These 7th-generation APUs are built using four ‘Bulldozer’ CPU cores and eight GPU cores, and AMD will categorize them as “entry level” CPUs when they launch later this summer. Already, HP has announced an Envy x360 15-inch convertible with dual-core and quad-core Bristol Ridge parts based on the AMD FX naming scheme.

GlobalFoundries has been ramping up production of its second-generation 14-nanometer technology, also known as 14 Low-Power Plus (14LPP) since Q4 2014 and provided some validation on production samples in December 2015. AMD has said in the past that it will not pay GlobalFoundries (or any foundry) to develop custom silicon for its architectural designs. With this in mind, the company is relying heavily on the success of the GF second-gen 14LPP process technology and fully-depleted silicon technology to restore its core PC business back to levels it has not experienced in years. The improvements should help AMD gain traction in both TDP efficiency and performance that will allow the company to effectively scale Zen designs across more market segments in years to come.

Courtesy-Fud

 

TSMC Working On Apple’s A11 Processor

May 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Apple’s partner in crime, TSMC has begun to tape out the design for Apple’s A11 processor built on a 10nm FinFET process.

Digitimes’ deep throats claimed TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to the customer for validation in the first quarter of 2017.

This means that TSMC could begin small-volume production for Apple’s A11 chips as early as the second quarter of 2017 and building the chips will likely start to generate revenues at TSMC in the third quarter. The A11-series processor will power the iPhone models slated for launch in the second half of 2017.

TSMC is expected to get two-thirds of the overall A11 chip orders from Apple.

The company is officially refusing to comment on Digitimes’ story, but it does fit into what we have already been told about Jobs’ Mob’s plans for next year.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Shows Off New FinFet Process

May 4, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung Electronics is introducing a third 14-nano FinFET system semiconductor process that has lower electricity consumption and production cost than previous cost.

According to the Electronic Times, Samsung said that it will soon be completing development of Low-Power Compact (LPC) 14-nano FinFET process. Strategic partners of Samsung’s foundry business are predicting that this process will be used in anger by the end of the year.

All this is moving fast Samsung mass-produced Low Power Early (LPE) Chips, which are 1st generation chips just last year. It has just mass-produced second 2nd generation 14-nano LPP66 (Low Power Plus) chips that have 15 per cent lesser electricity consumption compared to LPE chips.

The Exynos 8 Octa Series and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 443 820 which is under the bonnet of the Galaxy S7 are mass-produced through 14-nano LPP process.
Samsung’s third generation process reduces the number of masks that are used for wafer manufacturing process. It is expected that 14 nano will be around for as long as 28 nano was.

Even when 10-nano and 7-nano processes are developed, there will be many fabless manufacturing companies will still use cost-efficient 14-nano process.

Qualcomm, Samsung and Mediatek recently introduced new 14 and 16-nano AP products that are inexpensive. They will be used for Snapdragon 443 625, Exynos 7870, and Helio P20, and this indicates that a number of chips produced by 14-nano process will increase.

Samsung’s 14-nano LPC process, will start a war with Taiwan’s TSMC in a battle to secure customers. TSMC has three types of 16-nano FinFET processes. It’s first 16-nano FinFET process arrived at the end of 2014.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is Motorola Going To Court?

May 2, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Lenovo owned Motorola has been slapped with a $5m class action lawsuit over allegations of shoddy customer service and not honoring warranty policies.

News of the lawsuit comes via Trusted Reviews, which learned this week that the complaint was filed against Motorola on 21 April in Illinois, accusing the company of “unfair, unscrupulous, immoral and oppressive” business practices.

The lawsuit’s main plaintiff, Douglas Lynch, decided to take legal action after a long-drawn out battle over a Moto 360 repair. He contacted Motorola for a replacement after the backplate of his smartwatch cracked, and was informed that a replacement would take four days to reach him.

The replacement failed to arrive, and Lynch was eventually sent a Moto 360 two months later that was a cheaper model than the one he had purchased.

Lynch isn’t alone in having a bad experience with Motorola. Girard Gibbs LLP, one of the law firms handling the case, told Trusted Reviews that Motorola owes “thousands of people” compensation.

This is evident on Reddit, where pissed off Motorola customers have flocked to tell similar stories.

One Redditor said:  ”I have had some of the worst support from them on my Moto G 3rd gen I bought last year.

“I tried to buy an extended warranty plan they supposedly offered, but their website was so jankedy that even after a few escalations over a FEW MONTHS to various higher ups in their support department with no resolution to the problem I finally just gave up and decided to never buy a Motorola phone again.”

Another added: “Wish someone would do the same in the UK as they wouldn’t replace my 6 month old 360 and I ended up having to pay about £120 to get it fixed when it was a hardware problem.”

Esfand Nafisi, an attorney at Girard Gibbs LLP, explained that the actual compensation owed is “likely higher” than the $5m referred to in the original filing, adding: “We want these issues to be resolved for all consumers.”

Motorola said in a statement: “Motorola has a long history of providing exceptional products and services to its customers. We are aware of the lawsuit, and are investigating the claims, which we believe to be without merit.”

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Will nVidia’s Mid-Range Pascal Processor Debut In Q3?

April 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

According to the latest report, Nvidia plans to launch next-generation mainstream segment graphics cards, based on GP106 GPU, in Autumn, or late Q3/early Q4 2016.

According to a report coming from Sweclockers.com, Nvidia’s mainstream graphics cards, which will be based on a GP106 Pascal GPU, should be coming in Autumn, and be ready for sales by the time for a Christmas shopping season.

Meant to replace the currently available Maxwell-based GTX 960 and GTX 950 graphics cards, the upcoming mainstream Geforce graphics cards, most likely named as the GTX 1060 and GTX 1050, could end up with two enabled graphics processing clusters (GPCs), which means that SKUs could end with up to 1280 CUDA cores.

While the upcoming GP104-based graphics cards should cover the higher-end consumer market, the mid-range market is mostly the cash-cow for companies so having that segment on store shelves before Christmas shopping season is quite important.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Getting In Bed With Sugon?

April 22, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Our sources are confident that AMD is about to announce a joint venture deal with China-based Sugon company.

Sugon might not be a name you’ve heard much about, but the company has now made a direct deal to manufacture server-based hardware for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In their own words:

“Sugon Information Industry Co., Ltd. (Sugon for short) is a national high-tech enterprise established on the basis of the major scientific research achievements of the National High Technology Research and Development Program (the 863 Program) with the vigorous promotion by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”

The company specializes in R&D and manufacturing of high-performance computers (HPCs), enterprise servers and datacenter products, and they also do some software design and system integration as well. Between 2009 and 2014, they were on China’s TOP 100 supercomputer list consecutively by market share.

Sugon made news recently with its Nebula high-performance computer that managed to get ranked second place in the 35th Global Supercomputer TOP 500 Competition. The supercomputer they built topped a 3 petaflops per second system peak and a 1.271 petaflops times per second measured Linpack speed. These numbers easily made it the third supercomputer in the world with performance measuring over a petaflop (PF).

AMD is about to announce a joint venture with this company, and if the deal includes any cooperation with future next-generation products such as AMD’s Zen x86 high-end CPU, then the Silicon Valley company might be on the right track here. The performance of AMD’s server-based Zen products plus the potential use of Tarnhelm Zen meets AMD’s Greenland APU server product, which sounds like a great idea. Fudzilla has mentioned the existence of up to a 16-core Zen APU with Greenland HMB 2.0 GPU, DDR4 support and a super fast interconnect with coherent fabric more than a year ago.

According to an interview from Inside HPC with Dr. Qing Ji, Deputy General Manager of the HPC Division at Sugon, the overseas company plans to expand to the western market.  Is this a Coincidence?

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is TSMC Taking A Fall?

April 19, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

On Thursday Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced an 18 percent quarterly revenue decline for Q1 2016 from the same timeframe a year ago in Q1 2015. The chip manufacturing giant also announced Q1 2016 net profit of $2 billion USD ($64.78 billion TWD), representing an 8.3 percent quarterly profit decline from the same timeframe a year ago in Q1 2015.

For TSMC, Q1 2016 was marked by a reduction of demand for high-end smartphones, while smartphone demand in China and emerging markets had upward momentum. Beginning Q2 2016 and onward, the company expect to get back onto a growth trajectory and is projected to hit a 5 to 10 percent growth rate in 2016.

“Our 10-nanometer technology development is on track,” said company president and co-CEO Mark Liu during the company’s Q4 2015 earnings call. “We are currently in intensive yield learning mode in our technology development. Our 256-megabit SRAM is yielding well. We expect to complete process and product qualification and begin customer product tape-outs this quarter.”

“Our 7-nanometer technology development progress is on schedule as well. TSMC’s 7 nanometer technology development leverage our 10-nanometer development very effectively. At the same time, TSMC’s 7-nanometer offers a substantial density improvement, performance improvement and power reduction from 10-nanometer.

These two technologies, 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer, will cover a very wide range of applications, including application processors for smartphone, high-end networking, advanced graphics, field-programmable gate arrays, game consoles, wearables and other consumer products.”

In Q1 2016, TSMC reached a gross margin of 44.9 percent, an operating margin of 34.6 percent and a net profit margin of 31.8 percent respectively. Going forward into Q2 2016, the company is expecting revenue between ~$6.65 billion and ~$6.74 billion USD, gross margins between 49 and 51 percent, and operating profit margins between 38.5 and 40.5 percent, respectively.

Chips used for communications and industrial uses represented over 80 percent of TSMC’s revenue in FY 2015. The company was also able to improve its margins by increasing 16-nanometer production, and like many other semiconductor companies, is preparing for an expected upswing sometime in 2017.

In February, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan where TSMC’s 12-inch Fab 14 is located, a current site of 16-nanometer production. The company expected to have a manufacturing impact above 1 percent in the region with a slight reduction in wafer shipments for the quarter.

“Although the February 6 earthquake caused some delay in wafer shipments in the first quarter, we saw business upside resulting from demand increases in mid- and low-end smartphone segments and customer inventory restocking,” said Lora Ho, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of TSMC.

“We expect our business in the second quarter will benefit from continued inventory restocking and recovery of the delayed shipments from the earthquake.”

In fiscal year 2016, the company will spend between $9 and $10 billion on ramping up the 16-nanometer process node, constructing Fab 15 for 12-inch wafers in Nanjing, China, and beginning commercial production of the 10-nanometer FinFET process at this new facility. Samsung and Intel are also expected to start mass production of 10-nanometer products by the end of 2016.

During its Q4 2015 earnings call, company president and co-CEO Mark Liu stated the company is currently preparing and working on a 7-nanometer process node and plans to begin volume production sometime in 2018. Meanwhile, since January 2015, a separate research and development team at TSMC has been laying the groundwork for a 5-nanometer process which the company expects to bring into commercial production sometime in 1H 2020.

So far in Q1 2016, shipments of 16 and 20-nanometer wafers have accounted for around 23 percent of the company’s total wafer revenues.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is TSMC Readying For Intel?

April 14, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn about TSMC ramping up production of Intel’s XMM 7360 LTE modem.

The reason the rumor mill is going mental over this particular yarn is because the modem is expected to be in the black heart of the forthcoming iPhone 7.

Analyst Steve Mullane of BlueFin Research Partners said that TSMC is “planning to double the production starts” of Intel’s XMM 7360 LTE modem in the current quarter. The analyst says that this “correlates with the timing of the Apple A10 processor production ramp in preparation for the iPhone 7 launch in September.

We had been expecting Apple to buy this modem for the iPhone SE as Jobs’ Mob tried to dump Qualcomm’s version. It turned out that the iPhone SE was just the iPhone 5c with a better chip so an improved modem was not needed. There has been a little bit of a panic at Qualcomm which has been running a series of ads in which they claim that their modems are superior to an unnamed “Team Blue’s” modems. It is fairly clear that Qualcomm sees Intel’s new modems as a threat.

The theory is that for phones sold in North America and other regions in which CDMA is popular and wireless specs are important, Apple will use Qualcomm. In regions in which, perhaps, such features are unimportant to potential buyers, the iPhones with Intel inside.

The Tame Apple Press is hinting that all Apple is doing is getting a second source for LTE modems and wants someone like Intel in place if it needs them. The reason it needs to spin this particularly story is because Apple Fanboys like to make much mock about Intel in the mobile area.

Having Intel inside an Apple device is terrible if you know nothing about technology but everything about branding – pretty much every Apple fanboy. They are insisting that the XMM 7360 doesn’t even have the performance/feature set of the Qualcomm modem that Apple is likely to use in the iPhone 7 this year.

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia’s Pascal Packed With 56 Streaming Multiprocessor Cores

April 8, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The total number of SM cores on the chip has been confirmed by Nvidia senior engineers at the deep dive Tesla P100 GP100 technical session. If there were 60 total SMs (streaming multiprocessor) enabled on the chip, you would end up with 3,840.

There are two possible reasons; first and most likely is that Nvidia did this to increase the yield of the GPU. There might be hard to get all parts of the gigantic chip working and the yield increase when you disable these four SM’s. The other possible reason would be that the parts of these remaining four SM (streaming multiprocessor) cores don’t work, or Nvidia plans to enable with future products or that some consumer products will get all 60 SM models enabled in necessary. This could result in a separate part number after GP100 later down the road.

Nvidia also confirmed that GP100 has the 15.3 billion transistors on a TSMC manufactured 16-nanometer FinFET package with a 300W TDP and 610mm2 die as well as most of the other specs for the HPC products (not to be confused with Geforce Pascal card that will be announced in later date.).

Courtesy-Fud

Is The Call Of Duty Game Headed To Space?

April 1, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The next installment of first-person shoot-and-crouch game Call of Duty will take place in space, according to reports, and will not be a direct sequel to Ghosts.

Reports from as far and wide as Eurogamer and Shinobi have this as a pretty sure thing, and we do not consider it an unbelievable proposition.

There have been a few Call of Duty games so far and they have all been terrestrial. The canon has strayed into the near future, but has not yet gone the extra mile into the far future.

Going into space opens Call of Duty to aliens and lasers, and could make the game much more like Halo or any other popular punch-space-aliens-in-the-face games.

Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward is mute, and Activision declined to comment when Eurogamer called at its door. The last time we considered Activision was when the firm was expanding his horizons, and its coffers, by acquiring pastel coloured smartphone crack maker King Digital Entertainment, and taking on Candy Crush and mobile gaming to increase its roster.

The internet has taken the space story and run with it. Twitter is the scene of a lot of Buzz Lightyear memes already, while some people just hope that the incoming title has a bit of the charm and playability of earlier titles like Modern Warfare.

Let us all hope that, at the very least, players will not be charged with shooting and securing garish candies in a nightmare pastel world for the sake of the galaxy. Oh, and let’s also hope that Call of Duty retains the dog feature that everyone liked in the last one.

Courtesy-TheInq