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Rumors Surrounding the LG NUCLUN 2 SoC

Subject: Processors, Mobile | December 1, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: TSMC, SoC, LG, Intel, arm

So this story came out of nowhere. Whether the rumors are true or false, I am stuck on how everyone seems to be talking about it with a casual deadpan. I spent a couple hours Googling whether I missed some big announcement that made Intel potentially fabricating ARM chips a mundane non-story. Pretty much all that I found was Intel allowing Altera to make FPGAs with embedded ARM processors in a supporting role, which is old news.


Image Credit: Internet Memes...

The rumor is that Intel and TSMC were both vying to produce LG's Nuclon 2 SoC. This part is said to house two quad-core ARM modules in a typical big.LITTLE formation. Samples were allegedly produced, with Intel's part (2.4 GHx) being able to clock around 300 MHz faster than TSMC's offering (2.1 GHz). Clock rate is highly dependent upon the “silicon lottery,” so this is an area that production maturity can help with. Intel's sample would also be manufactured at 14nm (versus 16nm from TSMC although these numbers mean less than they used to). LG was also, again allegedly, interesting in Intel's LTE modem. According to the rumors, LG went with TSMC because they felt Intel couldn't keep up with demand.

Now that the rumor has been reported... let's step back a bit.

I talked with Josh a couple of days ago about this post. He's quite skeptical (as I am) about the whole situation. First and foremost, it takes quite a bit of effort to port a design to a different manufacturing process. LG could do it, but it is questionable, especially for a second chip ever sort of thing. Moreover, I still believe that Intel doesn't want to manufacture chips that directly compete with them. x86 in phones is still not a viable business, but Intel hasn't given up and you would think that's a prerequisite.

So this whole thing doesn't seem right.

Source: Android

Shame about the name but power over WiFi would be nice

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2015 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: poWiFi, wireless power, iot

It is going to take some work as it is not currently that impressive but the experiment at Cornell University shows that power over WiFi is not impossible.  The experiment was not all that impressive, they charged a Jawbone headset @ 2.3mA and after 2.5 hours which they managed to charge the battery to 41% over a distance of 5-7cm.  Those results are poor compared to Qi and other wireless charging solutions on the market but are promising.  The power is transmitted by a wireless router that can also send and receive data so for wireless cameras and other low powered devices which transmit data this could be quite useful.  You can read the research paper by following the links from Hack a Day.


"There have been a few reports of power over WiFi (PoWiFi) on the intertubes lately. If this is a real thing it’s definitely going to blow all of the IoT fanboys skirts up (sorry to the rest of you *buzzword* fanboys, the IoT kids flash-mobbed the scene and they mean business)."

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Source: Hack a Day

Giving the R9 Nano some breathing space

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 25, 2015 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: radeon, r9 nano, mini ITX, amd, obsidian 250d, corsair

When Ryan tested out how the R9 Nano performs in tiny cases he chose the Cooler Master Elite 110, the Raijintek Metis, the Lian Li PC-Q33BL and their PC-Q30X.  The card did slow down somewhat because of a lack of airflow in the case but that was quickly remedied with a drill press and we saw vast improvements in the in-game frequencies.  [H]ard|OCP performed a similar experiment with the Cooler Master Elite 110 as well and found similar results.

They are now back at it again, this time testing in a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX case, which is large enough to accommodate a full sized GPU and provide improved airflow.  They tested the Nano against a GTX 980 Ti and a R9 Fury X as they cost a similar amount to the tiny little Nano.  They tested the cards at both 1440p and 4K resolutions and as you might reasonably expect the Nano fell behind, especially at 4K.  If you have a case which can fit a full sized GPU then the Nano does not make sense to purchase, however in cases in which the larger cards will not fit then the Nano's performance is unmatched.


"Our second installment covering our AMD Radeon R9 Nano in a Small Form Factor chassis is finally done. We will upgrade the case to a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX PC Case and compare the R9 Nano to price competitive video cards that can be installed. We game at 1440p and 4K for the ultimate small form factor experience."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Announces KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE Motherboard with Free Game

Subject: Motherboards | December 1, 2015 - 11:02 AM |
Tagged: Z170, Rainbow Six Siege, msi, motherboard, KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, krait gaming, krait

MSI has announced a partnership with Ubisoft and introduced a specially designed motherboard, the Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, which includes a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Standard Edition).


"With this new model you will receive a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege [Standard Edition]. But that’s not all, during this exclusive promotion MSI is also giving away a free copy of the game with the Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard. The promotion starts on Tuesday 1st of December, 2015."

The motherboard is based on the current Z170A KRAIT EDITION, and this new R6 SIEGE design offers the same gaming-oriented featues such as DDR4 Boost, Intel LAN, and high-end audio components, and both feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 support with Type-C and Type-A ports.


No specifics on pricing/availability just yet.

Source: MSI

Shuttle Shrinks Its Small Form Factor Lineup With XPC Nano Series

Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2015 - 05:51 PM |
Tagged: shuttle, SFF, broadwell-u, M.2, mini PC

Shuttle, once the king of compact PCs, is jumping right into the think of the tiny PC market with its new XPC Nano (NC01U) series, a half liter broadwell-powered black and gold affair. The XPC Nano boxes measure 5.55 x 5.55 x 1.14 inches, and while they are vesa mountable, the chassis design is nice enough to leave in the open as well.

Shuttle NC01U Series XPC Nano SFF PC.jpg

The mini PCs feature two USB 3.0 ports and a SD card slot on the front panel, an old-school RS-232 port on the left side, and the following ports on the back.

  • 1 x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x Audio combo jack

Inside, Shuttle is using Intel’s Broadwell U processors and there are options from Celeron 3205U up to the Core I7 5500U. This chip is cooled by an allegedly “whisper quiet” heatpipe cooler. There are two DDR3L memory slots for up to 16GB RAM, a 2.5” (7mm) drive slot, and one M.2 port for a solid state drive. It further comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

The XPC Nano systems will come pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home. The base model starts at $279 and there is a $10 mail in rebate if bundled with a keyboard and mouse from Shuttle’s website.

The base SKU with a Celeron 3205U (1.5GHz) and 2GB RAM is currently available for $275.77 on Newegg. The higher end models do not appear to be for sale yet, but should be soon. Product specifications can be found here (PDF)

Source: Shuttle

Lenovo and Razer Announce Partnership for New Gaming PCs

Subject: Systems | November 27, 2015 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: y-series, razer, Lenovo, gaming pc, gaming desktop

Lenovo has partnered with Razer for co-branded Razer Edition computers, which will be special versions of Lenovo’s Y series gaming systems. Lenovo says the first device will be officially announced at CES, with a prototype on display at DreamHack Winter 2015 in Sweden.


The prototype Razer Edition desktop (featuring Skittles-inspired ground effects)

These upcoming products will clearly add some style (and color) to Lenovo's gaming computers, and while thus far only this desktop concept has been shown the Y-series from Lenovo includes gaming laptops as well, which presumably will receive the Razer treatment going forward. It is notable that the concept incorporates multiple colors with its lighting effects (which should be customizable) considering Razer is known for a black and green color scheme.

"PC gaming today offers a rich and immersive experience – thanks in part to cutting-edge graphics performance, superior processing power, and peripherals designed specifically for gaming. Lenovo will employ its system design and engineering expertise, while Razer will enhance the immersive experience for gamers. All forthcoming Lenovo Razer Edition products will be co-branded and reflect the edgy Lenovo Y series look and feel with iconic Razer elements like customizable Chroma lighting effects."


The details as far as specs and configuration options for the desktop shown are not known, and this seems to be primarily a new branding/style for the Y-series line. More might be known after DreamHack, the event which calls itself "the world's largest digital festival", which runs November 26 - 29 in Jönköping, in the south of Sweden.

Source: Lenovo

Wattage per litre? That is a new one SilverStone

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 1, 2015 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, modular psu, 80 Plus Platinum, Strider Platinum ST55F-PT, 550W

As the title implies, the Silverstone Strider Platinum ST55F-PT is smaller than you might expect a 550W PSU to be, at just under 6" square.  That this PSU is designed for computers of a small size is reinforced by the fact that there is only a pair of PCIe 6+2 plugs, not a problem for small systems but worth noting if you were planning on adding a second GPU.  [H]ard|OCP's testing shows that the PSU easily meets the 80 Plus Platinum standard and not only was the power delivered impressively stable but the PSU also operated quietly.  It will cost you a small premium but if you need a solid, quiet and small PSU this review is worth checking out.


"SilverStone comes to us today with a Platinum rated PSU that is also billed as having a "Power Density (of) 305W per liter." While this is a bit odd, the messaging seems to be big power in a little footprint. Let's see how this "ultra silent" fully modular PSU stacks up when it comes to serving up big-time power under big-time pressure."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Raspberry Pi Zero Released for $5

Subject: Systems | November 26, 2015 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, raspberry pi zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a new version that lowers the cost of gigahertz-class computing devices to just $5. It is based on a 1.0 GHz ARM11 core from Broadcom that is about 40% faster than the original Raspberry Pi. It also has 512MB of RAM, which is a lot for embedded or hobbyist applications. In fact, it doubles the original Raspberry Pi Model A (and is on part with the Model B). Storage is handled by a microSD card slot, as is the case with every previous Raspberry Pi except the Compute Module.


They also offer an alternative to the $5 price tag. If you pick up the print edition of MagPi magazine #40, which is the Christmas 2015 issue, you will receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that they printed 10,000 copies of this magazine. This is probably much more interesting than a CD-ROM demo of Battlezone II.

Due to high demand, I'm not sure when you can expect to get one though.

Source: Raspberry Pi

Samsung Announces Mass Production of 128GB DDR4 Sticks

Subject: Memory | November 26, 2015 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: TSV, Samsung, enterprise, ddr4

You may remember Allyn's article about TSV memory back from IDF 2014. Through this process, Samsung and others are able to stack dies of memory onto a single package, which can increase density and bandwidth. This is done by punching holes through the dies and connecting them down to the PCB. The first analogy that comes to mind is an elevator shaft, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.


Anyway, Samsung has been applying it to enterprise-class DDR4 memory, which leads to impressive capacities. 64GB sticks, individual sticks, were introduced in 2014. This year, that capacity doubles to 128GB. The chips are fabricated at 20nm and each contain 8Gb (1GB) per layer. Each stick contains 36 packages of four chips.

At the end of their press release, Samsung also mentioned that they intend to expand their TSV technology into “HBM and consumer products.”

Source: Samsung

Apollo Lake is coming next summer

Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2015 - 04:20 PM |
Tagged: Intel, apollo lake, 14nm, rumours

DigiTimes has heard rumours that Intel will be refreshing their processor lineup with Apollo Lake processors in June and August 2016, with devices powered by the new processors in October.  This is rather good news considering how slowly new PC sales have been growing over the past year, it is nice to see that we will still have some new CPUs in the coming year.  Details are rather scarce, the 14nm chips will come in dual and quad-core options and use the new Gen9 GPU which will support Ultra HD output. You can expect 6-10W TDP, these are very much mobile oriented chips.


"Seeing the trend, Intel is scheduled to mass produce its next-generation Apollo Lake-based processors in June-August 2016 with related entry-level PC products becoming available in the market in October 2016, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

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Source: DigiTimes