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Imagination Debuts New Furian Architecture Based GPU

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Imagination Technologies announces a new, high-performance GPU core that supports the multiple, ultra-high-resolution displays for cluster, Head-Up Display (HUD) and infotainment that automotive manufacturers will install in car interiors after 2018.

The outfit claims that it has an 80 percent fillrate density improvement over the previous generation, the Furian Architecture-based four-cluster PowerVR Series8XT GT8540 GPU can simultaneously drive up to six 4K screens with complex UIs at 60fps.

It comes with built-in hardware virtualization capability, which means Imagination’s automotive OEMs can power all the modern vehicle’s many displays.

Imagination claims that its PowerVR hardware virtualisation can provide a complete separation of services and applications, ensuring they remain secure against system intrusion or data corruption. The platform can support up to eight applications or services running in separate containers at once, and automotive OEMs can deploy and remove services at will without affecting others running at once.

The PowerVR four-cluster Series8XT enables automotive OEMs to design their systems to prioritise either graphics or compute-based applications. The Series8XT GT8540 can support compute workloads on a single Shader Processing Unit (SPU) for ADAS functions such as lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and surround view, amongst others. Other tasks, such as infotainment and cluster, can run on the second SPU, using prioritising mechanisms to reach system performance targets.

Dominique Bonte, Managing Director and Vice President, ABI Research, said that Imagination Technologies is an automotive space leader which is a position becoming more important as the automotive industry moves closer to introducing Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicle. These need, powerful GPUs will be vital to power multiple high-resolution displays.Additional opportunities for advanced infotainment features including 5G-based 4K video streaming will emerge in the longer term.

Graham Deacon, Vice President PowerVR Marketing, Imagination Technologies, says: “PowerVR has a strong roadmap and this is reflected in the great success seen with the XT family and its selection by leading automotive players, such as Texas Instruments. We’re now targeting new markets with the rich features, such as safety and security through virtualisation.”

The PowerVR Series 8XT GT8540 is now ready for licensing. The PowerVR two-cluster Series8XT GT8525 has customers in segments including automotive and mobile.


Will Broadcom Acquisition Attempt Of Qualcomm Succeed

November 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has surged $61.81 on a rumor that some people close to the matter have heard that Broadcom is thinking about being bought.

From what we know, this is unlikely to happen and even if you look at Broadcom’s balance sheet, Qualcomm without the NXP acquisition has a market cap of $91.23 billion. Broadcom was bought by AVGO.

Avago Technologies bought Broadcom back in late May 2015 for $37 billion and the company today has a market cap of $117.707 billion –  simple mathematics demonstrate that Broadcom/AVGO would not be able to afford Qualcomm, but let’s wait and see what happens.

However, some sort of joint venture or merger would not be out of the question. Qualcomm has had quite a few success stories with previous mergers, including Atheros which helped Qualcomm a lot in the Wi-Fi and network portfolio.

Over the last two decades, Qualcomm made at least 43 acquisitions and if you ask Fudzilla, we would rather say that Qualcomm could snap Broadcom AVGO up and not the other way around.

Since the companies are doing similar things in the network space, there are likely to be a lot of concerns with regulatory agencies all over the world.

It is not every day that your stock jumps from $54.84 to $61.82 or 12.71 percent in a day. 

One good thing for Qualcomm is that Wall Street finally realized that despite the Apple dispute, Qualcomm is worth much more than was yesterday or the day before.


Samsung Chips Help Profit Margins

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Samsung Electronics  is expected to forecast a record third-quarter profit on Friday thanks to the strong market for memory chips, and as mobile earnings make a killing as rival Apple drops the ball.

The world’s biggest maker of memory chips and mobile phones has been the chief beneficiary of the semiconductor market, as mobile devices and servers demand ever greater processing power.

Brisk sales of the latest Galaxy Note 8 smartphone, launched in mid-September, also are likely to further boost its performance, analysts said.

Doh Hyun-woo, analyst at Mirae Asset Daewoo Securities said: “Samsung’s valuation is still comparatively lower than global competitors and fourth-quarter earnings will improve across the board and keep improving in 2018.”

Samsung’s July-September operating profit is expected to rise to $12.51 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters survey of 19 analysts. That is nearly three times ta year earlier and slightly better than the previous quarter.

Strong global demand for DRAM chips will continue to outpace supply in 2018, while demand for NAND flash chips exceeded supply for six straight quarters as of last month, DRAMeXchange, a division of data provider TrendForce, said.

Samsung’s mobile division is seen posting operating profit of about 3 trillion won, compared to just 100 billion won in the third quarter of 2016. Pre-orders for the Note 8 hit the highest-ever for the Note series.

Lower liquid-crystal display (LCD) panel prices as well as one-off costs are expected to weigh on Samsung’s display business during the third quarter, analysts said.

However, the display business could improve in the fourth quarter on the back of sales of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for new Apple smartphones. However there are signs that Apple might be forced to reduce orders for these as fewer people are interested in its current “popping” iPhone range.

Samsung will only provide estimates for July-September revenue and operating profit on Friday, and will disclose detailed results in late October.


Imagination Builds A Neural Network

September 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Imagination Technologies has been showing off its standalone hardware IP neural network accelerator which is powered by its PowerVR architecture implementation for neural networks.

The tech means that companies can build SoCs for mobile, surveillance, automotive and consumer systems can integrate the new PowerVR Series2NX Neural Network Accelerator (NNA) for high-performance computation of neural networks at very low power consumption in minimal silicon area.

Neural networks such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) and Long Short Term Memory networks (LSTMs) are enabling an explosion in technological progress across industries. Neural Network Accelerators are a fundamental class of processors, likely to be as significant as CPUs and GPUs, both of which Imagination already delivers.

They could end up being used for photography enhancement and predictive text enhancement in mobile devices; feature detection and eye tracking in AR/VR headsets; pedestrian detection and driver alertness monitoring in automotive safety systems; facial recognition and crowd behavior analysis in smart surveillance; online fraud detection, content advice, and predictive UX; speech recognition and response in virtual assistants; and collision avoidance and subject tracking in drones.

There is a serious need for this particular type of technology.

According to the January 2017 Embedded Vision Developer Survey conducted by the Embedded Vision Alliance, 79 percent of respondents said they were already using or were planning to use neural networks to perform computer vision functions in their products or services.

A broader range of companies will be able to develop products and services with neural networks. Imagination customers are already developing and deploying NN based systems into markets including security, mobile, automotive and a set-top box.

Jeff Bier, founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance, said: “Numerous system and application developers are adopting deep neural network algorithms to bring new perceptual capabilities to their products.

In many cases, a key challenge is providing sufficient processing performance for these demanding algorithms while meeting strict product cost and power consumption constraints. Specialized processors like the PowerVR 2NX NNA, designed specifically for neural network algorithms, will enable deployment of these powerful algorithms in many new applications.”

As neural networks become increasingly common, dedicated hardware solutions like the 2NX NNA – which provides an 8x performance density improvement versus DSP-only solutions – will be required to achieve the highest possible performance with the lowest possible power and cost. In addition, neural networks are traditionally very bandwidth hungry, and the memory bandwidth requirements grow with the increase in size of neural network models.

This introduces significant challenges for SoC designers and OEMs in designing a system that can provide the required bandwidth to the NNA. The PowerVR 2NX can minimize bandwidth requirements for the external DDR memory to ensure a system is not bandwidth limited in terms of performance. Widespread availability of dedicated hardware like the PowerVR 2NX NNA will allow for further development of applications based on these neural network technologies.

PowerVR 2NX was designed from the ground-up and Imagination says that it can provide the highest inference/mW IP cores to deliver the lowest power consumption. It can also manage the industry’s highest inference/mm2 IP cores to enable the most cost-effective solutions.

It runs on a low bandwidth with support for fully flexible bit depth for weights and data including low bandwidth modes down to 4-bit and can manage a performance of 2048 MACs/cycle in a single core, with the ability to go to higher levels with multi core.

Chris Longstaff, senior director of product and technology marketing, PowerVR, at Imagination, said: “Dedicated hardware for neural network acceleration will become a standard IP block on future SoCs just as CPUs and GPUs have done. We are excited to bring to market the first full hardware accelerator to completely support a flexible approach to precision, enabling neural networks to be executed in the lowest power and bandwidth, whilst offering absolute performance and performance per mm2 that outstrips competing solutions. The tools we provide will enable developers to get their networks up and running very quickly for a fast path to revenue.”

The PowerVR 2NX NNA is available for licensing now.


Will Samsung Become The Largest Chip Manufacturer This Year

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The days of Intel being the world’s largest chip maker will be over in the second quarter as the mighty Intel has been felled by Samsung.

Nomura Securities said the South Korean consumer electronics maker will likely generate sales of $15.1 billion from semiconductors in the April through June period, higher than the $14.4 billion Intel is expected to have in the same time frame.

Nomura analyst CW Chung thinks Samsung will be the larger chipmaker with sales of $63.6 billion compared to Intel’s estimated $60.5 billion. One of the drivers of Samsung’s chip growth is the increasing prices of memory chips, which are found in everything from smartphones to servers.

“In the mobile era, demand for D-Ram [a type of memory chip] and SSDs [solid state drives] has surged, boosting their prices since last year amid tight supply,” said, an analyst at , in the report. “The memory chip market has grown bigger than the CPU market,” he said.

DRAM chip prices increased 25 percent in the first half of 2017, while NAND flash memory chip prices jumped 15 percent.

Chung thinks average selling prices will continue to increase in the third quarter. But it’s not just sales that are expected to surpass Intel. Nomura is forecasting Samsung will have more of a profit from its chips than Intel during the second quarter, to the tune of $6.6 billion compared to Intel’s $3.9 billion.


Will Imagination Technologies Be Acquired

July 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Imagination Technologies, which lost 70 per cent of its value after Apple dumped it earlier this year, has announced that it’s putting itself up for sale.

Imagination said back in April that Apple planned to stop licensing its designs within ’15 to 24 months’ in favor of developing its own graphics chips, which came as a blow to the company that relies on the iPhone maker for about half of its revenue.

After announcing plans to flog its two of its businesses, its embedded processor technology MIPS division and mobile connectivity unit Ensigma, Imagination said on Thursday that “it has received interest from a number of parties for a potential acquisition of the whole group.”

“The board of Imagination has therefore decided to initiate a formal sale process for the group and is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders,” the firm said in a statement.

“There can be no certainty that any offer will be made for Imagination, nor that any transaction will be executed, nor as to terms of any such offer or transaction.”

Since the announcement, shares in Imagination have risen 20 per cent. 

In its statement, Imagination said that it remained in dispute with Apple, after last month claiming that it doubted Apple could make its own chips for the iPhone and iPad without violating its patents. The New York Times reports that analysts believe lawsuits are likely.

Back in May, Imagination warned: “Imagination has been unable to make satisfactory progress with Apple to date regarding alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement.”

“Imagination has therefore commenced the dispute resolution procedure under the licence agreement with a view to reaching an agreement through a more structured process. Imagination has reserved all its rights in respect of Apple’s unauthorized use of Imagination’s confidential information and Imagination’s intellectual property rights.”

Apple currently holds an 8 per cent stake in Imagination Technologies, and this time last year speculation was rife that the firm was planning to purchase the chip maker, with the deal said to have been in the “advanced stages.”


Will RISC-V Ever Be Utilized

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The RISC-V open-source architecture, created by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has been around since 2010.

Anyone can use it but so far no one has bothered, although there is some theoretical interest in the tech. The RISC-V Foundation, which manages and promotes the architecture, counts Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, AMD, Huawei, and others among its 60 members.

The RISC-V design can be modified for PCs, servers, smartphones, wearables, and other devices.

Now a startup called SiFive is the first to make a business out of the RISC-V architecture.

They have converted the RISC-V instruction set architecture into actual silicon and created two new chip designs that can be licensed.

RISC-V shares the ethos of open-source software, with the community working together to share, advance, and modify the architecture.

Nvidia is expected to use the microcontroller-style RISC-V designs in its chips,

Companies like Google are developing chips in-house and could tweak RISC-V for servers, which could save them from buying Intel’s expensive chips.

SiFive’s new 32-bit E31 Coreplex processor design is targeted at IoT devices, wearables, and low-power devices. The 64-bit CorePlex E51 could be used in servers, network processors, storage devices, and edge computing devices.

Some other open-source chips like OpenSPARC have lingered around but are based on old designs. The RISC-V Foundation has aggressively promoted the architecture, especially at Hot Chips, an annual gathering of semiconductor professionals.

The RISC-V architecture is modular, meaning that independent co-processing circuits can be attached to the central RISC-V design which makes the RISC-V highly flexible.

The goal of SiFive is to monetise the RISC-V design but at a modest cost. The new chip designs can be licensed for a fixed price from SiFive, but the company will not charge royalties. That makes it attractive alternative compared to chip designs from ARM and Imagination Technologies, which charge licensing fees and royalties.

SiFive will make chips starting later this year. The company earlier released the HiFive1 low-power board based on its RISC-V chip. The boards sold in the thousands.

The company did not provide the licensing prices for the CorePlex designs, but ordering them will be straightforward, SiFive officials said.


Will Imagination Go Against Apple

May 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple’s many attempts to strong-arm its suppliers by cutting off their money supply unless they give it huge discounts are starting to get some kick-back from its suppliers.

The fruity-cargo cult has told Imagination Technologies that it no longer needs its tech and it will be inventing its own GPUs from now on. The move left Imagination high and dry and forced its share price down the low.

The only way for Imagination to keep its contracts with Apple is to offer huge price cuts on its licencing.

Imagination has allowed itself to become rather too dependent on Apple over the years which mean that it is vulnerable to this sort of issue.

Now the company has started a “dispute resolution procedure” with Apple, its biggest customer, after not resolving a standoff over licensing between the two companies.

Imagination said in April that Apple had notified the British firm it was developing its own graphics chips and would no longer use Imagination’s processing designs in 15 months to two years’ time.

But Imagination points out that Jobs Mob has been using its tech since the days of the iPod, and it cannot really make its own gear without tripping over its patents.

The company said it been unable to make satisfactory progress with Apple on an alternative commercial arrangement for the current license and royalty agreement. In other words, Apple is either sticking to its guns and really wants to make its own chip, or Imagination is not cutting its prices enough.

Apple is expecting its iPhone sales to continue falling, and it needs to keep its margins down. Apple has taken a similar move against Qualcomm with the aim of getting cheaper licencing.

Meanwhile Imagination also said it planned to sell two businesses, its embedded processor technology MIPS and mobile connectivity unit Ensigma.


Are Motherboard Shipments Decreasing?

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

With the global decline in PC shipments finally showing signs of slowing, motherboard vendors are expecting to see a correlated slowing of overall volume in 2017, with some estimates hovering near 10 percent from last year.

Last month, a market research report from Global Information Inc showed the global volume of motherboard shipments in Q4 2016 dropping 5.2 percent from Q3 and 13.6 percent year-over-year. Total shipments for 2016 were estimated to be less than 50 million units, and this was even forecasted at the beginning of the year. As the fourth quarter approached, vendors said that sales of Kaby Lake motherboards were not living up to expectations, while the overall market remained in a state of weaker demand. The report covered vendors including AMD, ECS, Foxconn, Gigabyte, Intel, Jetway, Microstar, Pegatron, QCI, T&I, and Wistron.

Notebooks, exchange rates and component shortages to blame

According to the latest report, three problems are affecting the ability of motherboard vendors to increase sales numbers. First, sources within the motherboard industry have pointed out that notebooks have gradually taken market share from the build-it-yourself PC market, mainly as a result of “better specifications, smaller form factors, and cheaper prices”. Second, the vendors have experienced a large exchange rate hike over the past two years, from 6.2 percent in April 2015 to 6.8 percent in April 2017. Finally, rising component prices and various component shortages have also contributed to difficulties in production operations. So in order to remain profitable, some vendors have focused on reducing shipments and changing their focus to other product segments, including gaming notebooks and mobile devices.

Sources within the industry note that even while Intel’s Kaby Lake processor lineup and Z200 series chipset have not sold as much volume as anticipated, it is possible that the imminent thread of AMD’s Ryzen 5 and 7 lineups has continued to stimulate prices cuts across the board to keep up on platform sales. Many retailers have now begun offering more serious price cuts when bundled with compatible motherboards, and this trend is expected to continue with the release of AMD’s Ryzen 3 and Intel’s Z300 and X299 series chipsets later this year.


With The Pitfalls Samsung Still Very Profitable

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung is better than Apple at making money. Sure, it might not have margins as good as the fruity cargo cult, it might not make as much cash, but it appears to be unstoppable.

How many companies can have the majority of the press against them, produce a phone which caught fire, has its Vice Chairman and several executives locked up for corruption, and still make a pile of dosh which eclipses the sun?

Samsung Electronics is reporting record earnings thanks mostly to its chip division and the quarters ahead could be even better if its newest smartphone, Galaxy S8, is a success.

Samsung is seeing a boom in memory chips and a sudden spike in demand from smartphones and servers.

Shares of Samsung, Asia’s biggest company by market capitalization and the world’s largest memory chip maker is near record highs after gaining nearly 17 percent so far this year, on top of the 43 percent surge in 2016.

Now Wall Street is expecting Samsung’s January-March operating profit to have risen 41 percent from a year earlier to $8.44 billion. This is Samsungs’ highest profit since the third quarter of 2013.

The Galaxy S8 is out from April 21 so the most analysts are predicting even greater profits in the second quarter.

Analysts expect tight supply conditions for memory chips to continue this year, particularly in NAND flash chips used for long-term data storage, keeping Samsung’s margins padded. That leaves the mobile division as the key earnings variable, they said.

It is starting to look like the Note 7 fiasco only delayed Samsung’s march to dominance and the S8 will help Samsung regain its lead over Apple.

If you think all this is par for the course, imagine that if the press hated Apple, Tim Cook was locked up for cutting an illegal deal over a golf course with President Trump and the iPhone 7 caught fire,  It is unlikely that Apple would recover, let alone make record profits. 


Can Apple Succeed Without Imagination?

April 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Imagination Technologies, the leading graphics processing unit supplier for Apple, issued a press statement on Monday saying that the fruit-themed gadget maker will no longer use the group’s intellectual property in new products manufactured 15 months to two years from now.

The development is a major hurdle for Imagination, the British chip designer that has provided PowerVR graphics processors for iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple TVs and Apple Watches since 2007. The company’s partnership with Apple accounted for roughly half of its annual revenues, in addition to the royalties it had been receiving on account of iPhone and iPad devices. Those royalties, which totaled £60.7 million ($75.8 million) for the year ending April 2016 and £65 million ($81.2 million) for 2017, are set to expire roughly 15 months to two years from now, before Q2 2019.

Apple currently holds more than an eight percent share in Imagination, and become a key investor in mid-2009 after raising its stake to 10 percent. At one point last year, Apple was in the process of holding “advanced acquisition talks” but ultimately decided against a full takeover, according to the Financial Times. Following the talks, Chinese state-owned company Tsinghua then took a three percent stake in the British company.

Last February, Imagination also announced that longtime CEO Hossein Yassaie would be stepping down as part of a major business restructuring operation. This was followed by across-the-board operating cuts by £15 million over the next year into April 2017 – including £2 million from its PowerVR product series.

In its press release on Monday, Imagination states that Apple “has not presented any evidence” to claim that it will no longer require [Imagination technologies], “without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence has been requested by Imagination but Apple has declined to provide it”.

Imagination: Alternative GPU designs will be impossible without patent infringement

In a serious call against disparagement, the British-based R&D company believes that Apple will not be able to produce any substantive GPU alternatives on its own without violating its patents, intellectual property and confidential information. But with a determination to take its mobile graphics in-house, Apple still confidently insists it has an A-series alternative underway for the next generation of product announcements scheduled for 2018.

The original iPhone featured a low-power ARM RISC CPU with assistance from a PowerVR MBX directly descended from Imagination’s Dreamcast GPU. Nine years later, the iPhone 7 came with a custom six-core PowerVR 7X6 GT7600 Plus with OpenCL 2 support and accelerated computer vision technologies.

Apple has already taken several key employees

Imagination’s rebuttals have not appeared without legitimate grievance, however. Back in October, it was revealed that at least 25 of its employees and management personnel jumped ship to Apple over the past two years. Names include notable ex-COO John Metcalfe, Senior Design Manager Dave Roberts, VP of Hardware Engineering Johnathan Redshaw, and Senior Software Engineering Manager Benjamin Bowman – who is now a GPU architect for the Cupertino company. While the list of grievances prior to today’s breakup is not against the law, it is considered a serious exodus of raw talent that is evidently justified in Imagination’s disconcerted press statement.

Following the statement, Imagination shares plunged by nearly 70 percent, leading to its insistence that it has reason to go to court with the Cupertino company if it finds enough evidence to present a case. This decade, several GPU vendors have taken SoC vendors to court, including Nvidia with Samsung and Qualcomm, and an ongoing AMD case against LG, MediaTek, Sigma and Vizio.

Apple, however, has chosen to remain silent when asked for evidence that its in-house technologies would not violate existing patents. The question is whether Apple will choose to license any needed patents – from Imagination or others – or if it is not talking because GPU development is a lot more competitive now that programs aren’t tied to a specific architecture.

As AnandTech notes, there hasn’t been a new major GPU vendor in nearly a decade aside from Qualcomm’s acquisition of ATI’s Imageon brand (now Adreno) in 2009. It will be interesting to see how this development unfolds and the precautions Apple will need to take in hiding technical details of any upcoming graphics developments. Imagination, on the other hand, now has to work much harder in making up for lost revenues and may have some related announcements over the next few weeks.


Samsung Preparing 7nm Processor For 2018 Debut

March 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Despite having its CEO behind bars, Samsung will be ready for volume production of its 7nm process node in 2018.

Samsung Electronics demonstrated its foundry technology roadmap at the China Semiconductor Technology International Conference (CSTIC) held in Shanghai on March 12.

Samsung  VP of Technology at Ho-Kyu Kang said that all chipmakers will have a few headaches when trying to move to sub-10nm process technology, and will have a hell of a time improving yield rates for the node.

He said that gate-all-around field-effect transistors (GAA FET) technology will be the approach to overcome the issue.

Samsung will adopt the GAA FET structure to develop its 7nm and 5nm process nodes, said Kang.

Samsung will also use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography once it achieves a breakthrough in the technology, Kang added.

Samsung’s 7nm process have been earmarked for high-end chip applications such as GPUs, artificial intelligence (AI), servers and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Kang said that 5nm should be ready for volume production in 2020, Kang unveiled.

Meanwhile Samsung has launched its FD-SOI process technology to provide a low-cost alternative to FinFET technologies, and introduced a 28nm FD-SOI node designed specifically for IoT devices, he added.


Imagination Shows Off PowerVR Furian Architecture

March 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Imagination Technologies has lifted the kimono on its next-generation PowerVR Furian architecture, which it is billing as an entirely new GPU architecture designed for the evolved graphics and compute needs of next-generation consumer devices.

The company said that applications such as VR/AR and convertibles require higher graphics resolutions and frame rates, and emerging applications such as ADAS and machine intelligence require increased compute efficiency.

Devices designed for these applications are often designed in sub-14nm process technologies. Furian, embedded products will be able to deliver high-resolution, immersive graphics content and data computation for sustained time periods within mobile power budgets, the company said.

Furian’s architecture improvements are designed for enhanced power efficiency, widening the industry-leading performance per mW gap over competing solutions, with the benchmark already set by the PowerVR Rogue architecture.

The goal is to provide the industry’s most complete and efficient range of GPU IP cores across a wide range of performance operating points.

Sam Rosen, managing director and VP, video, OTT and AR/VR, ABI Research said: “Emerging applications such as AR/VR and machine learning put intense new requirements on the GPU. GPU systems must do more than in typical rendering scenarios, including a great deal of general purpose computation.”

He said that it was important to have a GPU microarchitecture that is adept at mixing graphics and compute workloads at different stages inside a single frame of rendering.

Mark Dickinson, EVP PowerVR business unit, Imagination said that Furian was created to address a new class of emerging applications, with a focus on efficient scalability that will extend to multiple generations of PowerVR IP cores.

“We’re excited to start rolling out the first 8XT IP cores based on Furian. These cores will further cement the leadership of PowerVR at the high end of mobile performance.”

Furian is designed to address the increasing compute requirements across multiple applications and market segments with efficient use of compute APIs including OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.0 and OpenVX 1.1.

Furian adds a bi-directional GPU/CPU coherent interface for efficient sharing of data; and a transition to user mode queues from kernel mode queues which reduces latency and CPU utilization for compute operations.

Significantly, Furian features a new 32-wide ALU cluster design for increased performance density and efficiency. A new instruction set architecture (ISA) in the primary and secondary ALU pipelines enables improved utilization of resources and thus efficiency, and multi-threading optimizations allow efficient and very flexible access to on-chip local compute memory.

Furian manages a 35 per cent GFLOPS density improvement for improved compute and gaming performance efficiency and an 80 per cent fillrate density improvement for improved UI and casual gaming performance efficiency. This means a 70-90 per cent gaming density improvement.

Imagination has already licensed the first Furian IP cores to multiple partners with initial RTL delivered. The first GPU core variants based on Furian will be announced in mid-2017.


Is Intel Trying Remove Qualcomm

February 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The Apple Press, which has turned on Qualcomm of late for daring to stand up to Jobs’ Mob, is putting about a story that Intel is going to take over all Apple’s modem work.

For those who came in late, Apple put Intel under the bonnet of some of its iPhone 7s. This gave Intel shedloads of free support from the US trade press. After all, if Apple had put its modem into the iPhone then it must be super cool and advanced too.

The suggestion was that the only reason that Intel did not get the full LTE modem contract for its iPhones was because they weren’t equipped to support legacy CDMA networks such as those used by Verizon and Sprint.

However, that was not exactly true and it was more likely that it was part of an overall campaign by Apple to force Qualcomm to drop its prices. This campaign recently expanded to a complaint to the iTC and other court action by Apple.

Now it seems that Intel is positioning itself to take the entire modem contract. Its new 7560 Baseband Processor can manage LTE Category 16/13, with download speeds of 1Gbps and upload speeds of 225Mbps. It supports up to 8×4 MIMO, up to 35 LTE bands, and all the current evolutions of LTE, GSM, and CDMA.

The question is if Apple will want to spite Qualcomm that much. The problem is that Qualcomm modems are far better that what Intel has on offer. Apple had to throttle the Qualcomm modems it installed in the iPhone 7 so that the Intel modems did not look so bad.

Intel now is at Cat 16 and Qualcomm already announced Cat 18 modem with 1.2Gbps speeds, or 20 percent better. It feels like Intel is always at least one step behind Qualcomm.

Strategically Apple does not really need the advanced modem features that Qualcomm offers and most of its users might not spot the difference.  At the moment Qualcomm is providing technology which is ahead of what Apple needs at the moment but that cannot last. If Apple does go all Intel for the iPhone 8 it is almost certain that it will change its mind for later models.


Is Samsung Readying A 10nm SoC

August 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Of course, it is that time of the year. Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek and now Samsung will have 10nm SoCs ready for  phones in early 2017. Of course Samsung wants to use its own 10nm SoC in the Galaxy S8 that is expected in late February 2017, but probably with a mix of 10nm Snapdragon too.

Samsung’s next generation Exynos’ name is very uninspired. You don’t call your much better chip just the Exynos 8895, but that might not be the final name.

The Korean giant went from Exynos 7420 for Galaxy S5 and first 14nm for Android followed a year after with Exynos 8890 still 14nm but witha  custom Exynos M1 “Mongoose” plus Cortex-A53eight core combination.

The new SoC is rumored to come with a 4GHz clock. The same leak suggests that the Snapdragon 830 can reach 3.6 GHz which would be quite an increase from the 2.15Ghz that the company gets with the Snapdragon 820. Samsung’s Exynos 8890 stops at 2.6GHz with one or two cores running while it drops to 2.3 GHz when three of four cores from the main cluster run. Calls us sceptics for this 4GHz number as it sounds like quite a leap from the previous generation.

Let us remind ourselves that the clock speed is quite irrelevant as it doesn’t mean anything, and is almost as irrelevant as an Antutu score. It tells you the maximal clock of a SoC but you really want to know the performance per watt or how much TFlops you can expect in the best case. A clock speed without knowing the architecture is insufficient to make any analysis. We’ve seen in the past that 4GHz processors were slower than 2.5GHz processors.

The fact that Samsung continued to use Snapdragon 820 for its latest greatest Galaxy Note 7 means that the company still needs Qualcomm and we don’t think this is going to change anytime soon. Qualcomm traditionally has a better quality modem tailored well for USA, China, Japan and even the complex Europe or the rest of the world.



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