The Evolution of the Always On, Always Connected PC

The Evolution of the Always On, Always Connected PC

Last year Qualcomm provided the first true AOAC PC experience with partners HP, ASUS, and Lenovo with its Snapdragon 835 SoC. This fall will see the release of second-generation hardware based on the faster and more efficient Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform that includes new processing cores, improved graphics system, and a faster peak speed LTE modem. The first system released using this configuration is the Lenovo C630 WOS, a sleek and stylish design that provides a premium fit and finish.

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Huawei Kirin Cheating Extends to Geekbench, P20 Pro Tested

Huawei Kirin Cheating Extends to Geekbench, P20 Pro Tested

After that AT story was posted, I started talking with the team that builds Geekbench, one of the most widely used and respected benchmarks for processors on mobile devices and PCs. It provides a valuable resource of comparative performance and leaderboards. As it turns out, Huawei devices are exhibiting the same cheating behavior in this benchmark.

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AMD CEO remains confident after foundry partner shift

AMD CEO remains confident after foundry partner shift

Despite historically impressive stock performance this summer, AMD is faced with a pair of news items that might get some investor attention. One of the partners that AMD was working with on its transition to 7nm technology has announced today that it would no longer be pursuing so-called “leading edge” silicon manufacturing. As a result, AMD must now depend on a single production source, the same used by NVIDIA, Apple, and Qualcomm.

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New NVIDIA chip shows ability to adapt to changing AI, graphics landscape

New NVIDIA chip shows ability to adapt to changing AI, graphics landscape

Yesterday NVIDIA formally announced its next-generation graphics architecture called Turing, named after the early 20th century computer scientist credited as the father of artificial intelligence. This new GPU does more than traditional graphics workloads, embedding accelerators for both AI tasks and a new graphics rendering technique called ray tracing.

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Intel SSD 660p: Cost Benefit Analysis of QLC Flash

Intel SSD 660p: Cost Benefit Analysis of QLC Flash

Solid State Drives offer responsiveness and throughput unmatched by rotating media, but the persistent challenge has remained bringing the costs down far enough to spur greater adoption. SSDs came into the mainstream over a decade ago, and since then we have witnessed gradual increases in density in the form of process shrinks, a shift to multi-layer 3D cell structures, and by increasing the number of bits stored per flash memory cell. With those advances come greater capacity products at reduced cost. While this progression is typically slow going, every once in a while a company comes along and shakes things up with a step change in either performance, capacity, or cost. The Intel® SSD 660p aims to take a shot at the latter while maintaining class-leading performance.

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AMD builds semi-custom SoC with Zen and Vega for Chinese gaming market

AMD builds semi-custom SoC with Zen and Vega for Chinese gaming market

Continuing down the path with its semi-custom design division, AMD today announced a partnership with Chinese company Zhongshan Subor to design and build a new chip to be utilized for both a Chinese gaming PC and Chinese gaming console.

The chip itself will include a quad-core integration of the Zen processor supporting 8 threads at a clock speed of 3.0 GHz, no Turbo or XFR is included. The graphics portion is built around a Vega GPU with 24 Compute Units running at 1.3 GHz. Each CU has 64 stream processors giving the “Fenghuang” chip a total of 1536 SPs. That is the same size GPU used in the Kaby Lake-G Vega M GH part, but with a higher clock speed.

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Intel confirms first graphics chips will land in 2020

Intel confirms first graphics chips will land in 2020

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich disclosed during an analyst event last week that it will have its first discrete graphics chips available in 2020. This will mark the beginning of the chip giant’s journey towards a portfolio of high-performance graphics products for various markets including gaming, data center, and AI.

Some previous rumors posited that a launch at CES 2019 this coming January might be where Intel makes its graphics reveal, but that timeline was never adopted by Intel. It would have been drastically overaggressive and in no way reasonable with the development process of a new silicon design.

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NVIDIA chips power world’s most powerful supercomputer

NVIDIA chips power world’s most powerful supercomputer

Last week the US Department of Energy debuted a new supercomputer with the name Summit, built by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, that is eight times faster than the previous top US-based supercomputer (named Titan) that was launched just five years earlier. For some AI applications and workloads Summit will be more than 100x faster than Titan. This supercomputer recaptures the top performing spot for the United States for the first time since 2013 and unseats the Chinese-based Sunway TaihuLight with 60% better performance.

Summit is comprised of 4,608 servers with 9,216 IBM Power9 processors but at the core of the massive level of computational capability is the 27,648 flagship NVIDIA Volta graphics chips that are capable of drastically accelerated AI and machine learning performance.

Though built by the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge, NVIDIA is the company that benefits the most from its launch. As the market continues to adopt GPU technology in high performance computing systems, NVIDIA’s leadership position with these platforms provides long-term leadership stability for the company.

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AMD momentum accelerates with chip advances for 2018 and 2019

AMD momentum accelerates with chip advances for 2018 and 2019

By nearly any measure, 2017 was a banner year for AMD. The company was able to return not only to relevancy but transformed itself into an entity with technological advantages over rivals that had previously towered over them. CEO Dr. Lisa Su has realigned the corporate warship, pushing execution in key markets and product segments where its technology can flourish, rather than hap-hazard attempts in areas in does not posses a chance of success.

At the company’s event in Taipei, Taiwan during the annual Computex technology trade show, Su and other key executives trumpeted up past and current successes before describing the future of its roadmap for consumer and enterprise products for 2018 and 2019. A combination of 2018 chip launches and advanced process technology integrations for 2019 show an AMD that appears to be smelling blood in the water.

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Intel fights back against AMD, Qualcomm

Intel fights back against AMD, Qualcomm

Over the last year and half, Intel has been under siege from various competitors in the consumer PC product segments. Once dominant and seemingly untouchable, Intel must now deal with an AMD that started its resurgence in the processor market in early 2017 and has been gaining market share and significant momentum amongst buyers, media, and analysts that follow these fields.

Qualcomm is also guilty of taking a poke at Intel with its low power Snapdragon processors working their way into new Windows 10 notebooks that focus on portability, integrated cellular connectivity, and extreme battery life.

During the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan this week, Intel is trying to prove to its partners and the public that it is back on message, reengaged with an aggressive agenda for the consumer desktop and mobile markets once again. Though consumer PCs may not be a growth market in most developed countries, there is acceleration in undeveloped locales.

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NVIDIA woos customers with massive AI training systems

NVIDIA woos customers with massive AI training systems

During a presentation in front of machine learning and data scientists in Taiwan, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announced on stage a new data center class system that promises to offer customers an unparalleled level of performance for artificial intelligence and HPC (high performance compute) applications.

NVIDIA’s leadership position in the world of machine learning and AI processing is a well understood topic at this point, though with continued pressure from companies like Intel and Google, the graphics giant must continue to prove to developers and investors that it is not losing a step to advancements other chip designers are making. With interest in the company’s capabilities in machine learning driving the stock up to all-time highs, every announcement and partnership is scrutinized.

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Defining the Always On, Always Connected PC

Defining the Always On, Always Connected PC

The future of the notebook PC lies in merging the familiarity of Windows with experiences and capabilities that are unique to smartphones. This should include a renewed emphasis on battery life, targeting days rather than hours of real-world usage. Deep sleep and hibernate states that force portions of the system to be inaccessible for dynamic updating and that slow the ability for the user to interact with PC should be eliminated. Ubiquitous internet access through high speed, Gigabit-class LTE can provide uninterrupted data support without the hassle and reliability concerns of Wi-Fi and comes with a connected standby experience where your data is ready when you need it.

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Huawei’s growth a threat to US technological dominance

Huawei’s growth a threat to US technological dominance

Though founded in 1987 and rising to as high as 83rd in the Fortune 500 list, Huawei remains an enigma to many investors and consumers in the US. It has grown to become the world’s third largest smartphone vendor behind only Samsung and Apple. (In Q3 of 2017 Huawei surpassed Apple to be #2 on that list.) Huawei doesn’t come by this success easily though as it spent more than $14B on research and development in 2017.

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AMD making moves in consumer PC, graphics, and data center

AMD making moves in consumer PC, graphics, and data center

In the build up to earnings season this month, AMD is eager to get out from under some of the problematic and lingering concerns that have followed it. Deftly navigating around a potentially serious security concern and trying to find ways to offset the risk involved in too much of its graphics business being associated with the volatile cryptocurrency markets, AMD continues to put itself in a position for growth.

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Graphics vendors could be hit by shift in crypto markets

Graphics vendors could be hit by shift in crypto markets

A recent financial downgrade from Susquehanna Financial for AMD stock has raised questions about the viability of companies that are dependent on at least some of their revenue from cryptocurrency mining on GPUs. The obvious players in the field are AMD and NVIDIA, the two largest suppliers of graphics chips that double as compute processors for specific workloads including, AI, machine learning, and cryptocurrency mining for Bitcoin-like alt-coins. The downgrade from the firm is based on information that a company called Bitmain, that I wrote about two months ago, is close to selling a new ASIC to mine today’s most popular cryptocurrency called Ethereum.

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How SoftBank Buyout of Qualcomm could affect the entire technology world

How SoftBank Buyout of Qualcomm could affect the entire technology world

A Financial Times report yesterday states that former Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, who was recently removed as executive chairman from the board of directors and moved to a standard sitting role on the board, is in talks with “several global investors” to buy out the San Diego chip giant. Of the key potential partners in this deal is SoftBank, an international conglomerate holding company that owns or has key holdings in companies like Arm, Sprint, and Alibaba.

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Intel hardware updates address security this year with new chips

Intel hardware updates address security this year with new chips

In continuing follow up from the spectacle that surrounded the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities released in January, Intel announced that it has provided patches and updates that address 100% of the products it has launched in the last 5 years. The company also revealed its plan for updated chip designs that will address both the security and performance concerns surrounding the vulnerabilities.

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