Intel is stacking memory on top of the new Xeons

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2013 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: Supercomputing Conference, Intel, SoC, Near Memory, knights landing

Intel spilled more beans about the new Near Memory architecture that will be accompanying their new Xeon release.  The memory will be stacked directly onto the CPU giving much quicker access than you would normally see from DDR3 which has to travel over the motherboard.  They have not disclosed expected speeds, which could be up to what we see in current CPU caches only in much larger sizes.  This is not quite a Xeon SoC but in the presentation The Register heard of Intel's plans to incorporate optical fabrics and switches onto the CPUs as well with size being the only limit.  Perhaps they do have a leg to stand on when they claim the return to power of homogeneous computing.

xeon_plus_memory_stack.jpg

"According to an EE Times report, Intel's Rajeeb Hazra, a VP and general manager of its data centre group, said Intel would customise high-end Xeon processors and Xeon Phi co-processors by closely integrating memory, both by adding memory dies to a processor package and, at a later date, integrating layers of memory dies into the processor along with optical fabrics and switches."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Intel claims Knight's Landing will slay HUMA and bare all CUDA's flaws

Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2013 - 12:53 PM |
Tagged: Xeon Phi, knights landing, Intel, 14nm

Intel has been talking up the Xeon Phi, first of the Knight's Landing chips which shall arrive in the not too distant future.  This new architecture is touted to bring a return of homogeneous systems architecture which will perform parallel processing on its many cores, currently 61 is the number being tossed around, at a level of performance that will exceed the GPU accelerated heterogeneous architecture being pushed by AMD and NVIDIA.  Whether this is true or not remains to be seen but many server builders may prefer the familiar CPU only architecture and as at least some of the Phi's will be available in rack mounted form and not just addin cards they may choose Intel out of habit.   You can also read about Micron's Automata Processor which The Register reports can outperform a 48-chip cluster of Intel Xeon 5650s in certain scenarios.

KNOTS01.jpg

"From Intel's point of view, today's hottest trend in high-performance computing – GPU acceleration – is just a phase, one that will be superseded by the advent of many-core CPUs, beginning with Chipzilla's next-generation Xeon Phi, codenamed "Knights Landing"."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

... And It's Gone. SATA Express Canceled from Intel 9-Series

Subject: General Tech, Chipsets, Storage | November 12, 2013 - 04:37 PM |
Tagged: Intel, 9-series, SATA Express

Intel is preparing to launch several processors next year. For back-to-school, Haswell will return with new SKUs and a new 9-series chipset; in the holiday season, Haswell-E will arrive for high-end (high wattage) enthusiasts on the X99 chipset; and, just before 2015, Broadwell-K will be available for the mainstream 9-series desktop.

SATA Express will not be accompanying them.

SATA Express.jpg

The specification, which more than triples SATA 6Gbps's "up-to 600MB/s" bandwidth rating, will not be validated for Intel 9 Series chipsets. Intel was originally rumored to be its launch partner. The host connector accepts connections from both SATA (up to two per host connector) and PCIe-based (one device, up to two lanes) hard drives. Two PCIe lanes provides 2GB/s of bandwidth.

It seems like the real benefit is to allow internal drives be connected with PCIe speeds through a ribbon-cable. Currently Intel has not given a reason to pass on the standard.

Source: VR-Zone

Linux support for Broadwell is looking good

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2013 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: Intel, linux, open source, Broadwell

Over the weekend 62 patches to the Linux kernel were released, enabling Broadwell GPU support well ahead of the processors scheduled release date.  Not only is this great news for open source enthusiasts who appreciate it when large companies like Intel release detailed driver code but also means that Broadwell should function well with Linux on its release date.  Phoronix also reports that more code is scheduled to arrive this week to enable other features which are unique to Broadwell, keep your eyes peeled for any specifications we can infer from the code as it becomes available

ph_image.php_.jpg

"While Intel's Broadwell processors won't be launching until 2014 as the successor to Haswell, this weekend the initial open-source Linux GPU kernel driver was published ahead of the Linux 3.13 kernel merge window. The changes are massive and it's looking like the Broadwell graphics improvements will be astonishing and provide significant improvements over Haswell and earlier generations of Intel graphics."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix

ARM TechCon 2013: Altera To Produce ARMv8 Chips on Intel 14nm Fabs

Subject: Processors, Mobile | October 29, 2013 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: techcon, Intel, arm techcon, arm, Altera, 14nm

In February of this year Intel and Altera announced that they would be partnering to build Altera FPGAs using the upcoming Intel 14nm tri-gate process technology.  The deal was important for the industry as it marked one of the first times Intel has shared its process technology with another processor company.  Seen as the company's most valuable asset, the decision to outsource work in the Intel fabrication facilities could have drastic ramifications for Intel's computing divisions and the industry as a whole.  This seems to back up the speculation that Intel is having a hard time keeping their Fabs at anywhere near 100% utilization with only in-house designs.

Today though, news is coming out that Altera is going to be included ARM-based processing cores, specifically those based on the ARMv8 64-bit architecture.  Starting in 2014 Altera's high-end Stratix 10 FPGA that uses four ARM Cortex-A53 cores will be produced by Intel fabs.

The deal may give Intel pause about its outsourcing strategy. To date the chip giant has experimented with offering its leading-edge fab processes as foundry services to a handful of chip designers, Altera being one of its largest planned customers to date.

Altera believes that by combing the ARMv8 A53 cores and Intel's 14nm tri-gate transistors they will be able to provide FPGA performance that is "two times the core performance" of current high-end 28nm options.

alteraarm.JPG

While this news might upset some people internally at Intel's architecture divisions, the news couldn't be better for ARM.  Intel is universally recognized as being the process technology leader, generally a full process node ahead of the competition from TSMC and GlobalFoundries.  I already learned yesterday that many of ARM's partners are skipping the 20nm technology from non-Intel foundries and instead are looking towards the 14/16nm FinFET transitions coming in late 2014. 

ARM has been working with essentially every major foundry in the business EXCEPT Intel and many viewed Intel's chances of taking over the mobile/tablet/phone space as dependent on its process technology advantage.  But if Intel continues to open up its facilities to the highest bidders, even if those customers are building ARM-based designs, then it could drastically improve the outlook for ARM's many partners.

UPDATE (7:57pm): After further talks with various parties there are a few clarifications that I wanted to make sure were added to our story.  First, Altera's FPGAs are primarly focused on the markets of communication, industrial, military, etc.  They are not really used as application processors and thus are not going to directly compete with Intel's processors in the phone/tablet space.  It remains to be seen if Intel will open its foundries to a directly competing product but for now this announcement regarding the upcoming Stratix 10 FPGA on Intel's 14nm tri-gate is an interesting progression.

Source: EETimes

Intel 2014 Desktop "Roadmap": Broadwell-K Late 2014?

Subject: General Tech, Processors | October 28, 2013 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-E, Broadwell-K, Broadwell

Ivy Bridge-E was confirmed for this holiday season and Haswell-E was proclaimed to follow in Holiday 2014 bringing good tidings of comfort and joy (and DDR4). Broadwell, the Haswell architecture transitioned to a 14nm process technology, was expected to be delayed until at least 2015 because it was not on any roadmap before that.

broadwell-k.png

Image credit: VR-Zone China

Until recently when something called "Broadwell-K" popped up slated for late Holiday 2014.

VR-Zone China, the site which broke this story (machine translated), cautiously assumes Broadwell-K signifies the platform will first arrive for the mainstream enthusiast. This would align with Intel's current "K" branding of unlocked processors and make sense to be introduced for the Consumer product segment without a Business offering.

If true, which seems likely, the question then becomes why. So let us speculate!

One possible (but almost definitely incorrect) reason is that Intel was able to get the overclocking challenges at 22nm solved and, thus, they want to build hype over what the enthusiasts can accomplish. Josh Walrath, our monitor of the fabrication industry's pulse at PC Perspective, did not bother entertaining the idea. His experiences suggest 14nm and 22nm are "not so different".

But, in the same discussion, Ryan wondered if Intel just could not get power low enough to release anything besides the upper mainstream parts. Rather than delay further, release the parts as they can fit in whatever TDP their market demands. Josh believes that is "as good [of a theory] as any". This also seems like a very reasonable possibility to me, too.

Two other theories: yields are sufficient for the "K" market (but nowhere else) or that Intel could be throwing a bone to the mid-range (lower than Haswell-E) enthusiast by letting them lead. It could also be almost any combination of the above or more.

Or, of course, Broadwell-K could refer to something completely arbitrary. At this point, no-one knows but anyone can guess.

So then, your turn? Comments await.

Source: VR-Zone
Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer:

The Really Good Times are Over

We really do not realize how good we had it.  Sure, we could apply that to budget surpluses and the time before the rise of global terrorism, but in this case I am talking about the predictable advancement of graphics due to both design expertise and improvements in process technology.  Moore’s law has been exceptionally kind to graphics.  We can look back and when we plot the course of these graphics companies, they have actually outstripped Moore in terms of transistor density from generation to generation.  Most of this is due to better tools and the expertise gained in what is still a fairly new endeavor as compared to CPUs (the first true 3D accelerators were released in the 1993/94 timeframe).

The complexity of a modern 3D chip is truly mind-boggling.  To get a good idea of where we came from, we must look back at the first generations of products that we could actually purchase.  The original 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics was comprised of a raster chip and a texture chip, each contained approximately 1 million transistors (give or take) and were made on a then available .5 micron process (we shall call it 500 nm from here on out to give a sense of perspective with modern process technology).  The chips were clocked between 47 and 50 MHz (though often could be clocked up to 57 MHz by going into the init file and putting in “SET SST_GRXCLK=57”… btw, SST stood for Sellers/Smith/Tarolli, the founders of 3Dfx).  This revolutionary graphics card at the time could push out 47 to 50 megapixels and had 4 MB of VRAM and was released in the beginning of 1996.

righteous3d_01.JPG

My first 3D graphics card was the Orchid Righteous 3D.  Voodoo Graphics was really the first successful consumer 3D graphics card.  Yes, there were others before it, but Voodoo Graphics had the largest impact of them all.

In 1998 3Dfx released the Voodoo 2, and it was a significant jump in complexity from the original.  These chips were fabricated on a 350 nm process.  There were three chips to each card, one of which was the raster chip and the other two were texture chips.  At the top end of the product stack was the 12 MB cards.  The raster chip had 4 MB of VRAM available to it while each texture chip had 4 MB of VRAM for texture storage.  Not only did this product double performance from the Voodoo Graphics, it was able to run in single card configurations at 800x600 (as compared to the max 640x480 of the Voodoo Graphics).  This is the same time as when NVIDIA started to become a very aggressive competitor with the Riva TnT and ATI was about to ship the Rage 128.

Read the entire editorial here!

The silver lining behind Broadwell's delay

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2013 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Broadwell, delay

Making changes to the CPU in a line of machines creates a much larger impact on a company than changing the GPU, as even if the socket remains the same there are often feature additions and other obstacles to overcome.  DigiTimes points out that for vendors who are still rolling out new product lines based on Haswell the delay of Broadwell is good news as it gives them time to sell a few Haswell machines before the chip goes EOL.  For consumers looking forward to the discounts on this generation of machine when the next generation is released this news is not as welcome but then again, vendors won't need to recover as much lost income as they would have if Broadwell was released according to its original schedule. 

inventory_preview1.jpg

"Intel's decision to delay the mass shipment schedule of its 14nm Broadwell-based processors by one quarter from the end of 2013 is expected to buy brand vendors some time to finish their transition from Ivy Bridge to Haswell and allow them and Intel to readjust their steps in platform transitioning, according to sources from notebook players."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Poor yeilds will delay 14nm Broadwell chips

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2013 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: Intel, delay, Broadwell, 14nm

Sad news for those hoping to see Broadwell as Brian Krzanich confirmed that the delays we first heard about in June are still true and Broadwell will not be available until some time in 2014.  This slowdown of their Tick Tick strategy has been caused by the high density of defects on wafers which is driving the yields down on these chips which not only leads to less profitability but also means that supplies will be too low to go to market with.  He did give The Register some positive news, Intel is working on reducing the time it takes to implement changes to chips in production and within the next year they hope to be able to make changes to a chip three months before it is slated for release without negatively effecting yeilds.

Intel-14nm-Broadwell-Processor-Taped-Out-Months-Ago.jpg

"One of the biggest tasks that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has set himself is reconfiguring Chipzilla so that it's quicker to build and deploy new products.

So it's a pity he has had to delay the rollout of 14-nanometer Broadwell processor chips until the first quarter of next year due to problems with quality control."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Fujitsu Launches New Touch-Enabled Mobile Lineup

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2013 - 12:37 AM |
Tagged: tablet, msata, Intel, haswell, fujitsu, Bay Trail-T

Fujitsu recently launched several new mobile devices for business users running Intel's latest Haswell and Atom chips. The "All New In Touch" portfolio includes three new Lifebook notebooks and two Stylistic slate-style tablets. All of the new devices are 14" or smaller, have long battery life (according to Fujitsu), and will be available later this month.

Specifically, the lineup includes the following devices:

  • Lifebook T734
  • Lifebook T904
  • Lifebook U904
  • Stylistic Q584
  • Stylistic Q704

The Lifebook T734, T904, and U904 are notebooks powered by Intel's Haswell processors. They come with Windows 8.1, DDR3 memory (up to 12GB on some models), several storage options, backlit keyboards, and high resolution displays. The 734 can be fitted with an optical drive or second battery pack. The 13.3" T904 has a 2560x1440 IGZO rotatable/convertible display with touch and pen support while the 14" U904 has a 3200x1800 IGZO display.

Fujitsu Lifebook U904 Ultrabook.jpg

The Fujitsu Lifebook U904.

All of the notebooks come with Windows 8.1, touchscreens, and enterprise-friendly security features.

Beyond the touchscreen-enabled notebooks, Fujitsu is launching two new tablets under its STYLISTIC brand: the Q584 and Q704. The Q584 is a 10.1" tablet with 2560x1600 display, smart card shell, and dockable keyboard. It is semi-ruggedized and is dust and water proof. It is powered by an Intel Bay Trail-T (quad core) processor clocked at 2.4GHz and either a 64GB or 128GB mSATA SSD. Other features include a 2MP front and 8MP rear camera and Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and LTE radios.

Fujitsu Stylistic Q584 Business Ruggedized Tablet.jpg

The Fujitsu Stylistic Q584

The Stylistic Q704 steps the specifications up a bit to a 12.5" semi-ruggedized tablet powered by up to an Intel Haswell i7 vPro CPU, 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, and 256GB mSATA SSD. It has a 1920x1080 resolution display, 2MP front and 5MP rear cameras, and a smart card shell or dockable keyboard. Radios include Wi-Fi (dual band 802.11n), LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS.

The Stylistic tablets will come pre-loaded with Windows 8.1.

The entire Fujitsu lineup should be available later this month at various (not yet specified) price points. For business users, the new devices are worth a look (pending reviews that verify the battery life claims).

Source: Fujitsu