Snapdragon showdown; Z10 versus the Lumia 920

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2013 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, blackberry z10, nokia, Lumia 920, qualcomm, snapdragon s4

The hardware found in the new Blackberry Z10 and Nokia's Lumia 920 are almost exactly the same, with both based off of the dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 at 1.5GHz.  That makes this video from The Inquirer all about the performance of the operating system and the user interface.  They pit these two smartphones against each other in numerous head to head competitions, ranging from a boot time test that shows you should never turn off your Z10 to email testing which Blackberry was smart enough to focus on more than the other features.  Head on over and check out the 6 minute competition.

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"BOTH BLACKBERRY AND MICROSOFT are fighting to take the number three spot in the UK smartphone market with their respective flagship devices, the Blackberry Z10 and the Nokia Lumia 920."

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Mobile

Source: The Inquirer

CES 2013: Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800 SoCs

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2013 - 06:05 AM |
Tagged: SoC, qualcomm 800, qualcomm 600, qualcomm, krait, ces 2013, CES, arm, adreno 330, adreno 320

Qualcomm introduced two new high end mobile processors at CES earlier this week. Known as the Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800, the new SoCs take the company’s Krait CPU cores to the next level. Both of the new chips are based on a 28nm HPm manufacturing process and feature faster (and more efficienct) CPU and GPU portions.

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The Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 is SoC with four Krait 300 CPU cores clocked at 1.9GHz along with an Adreno 320 GPU, and 4G LTE modem. The Snapdragon 600 also supports LPDDR3 RAM. The Adreno 320 GPU features suport fro OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL, and Renderscript Compute technologies. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 600 is 40% faster than the Snapdragon S4 Pro processor used in devices like the Google Nexus 4 smartphone. Also, the Adreno 320 GPU is up to 3-times faster than the previous-generation A225.

The Snapdragon 600 SoC is inteded for smartphones, and we should start to see the new processor shipping with new devices by Q2 2013.

Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 800 processor takes performance up yet another notch over the company’s existing chips. The new SoC includes four Krait 400 CPU cores clocked at 2.3GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU, support for 2x32-bit LPDDR3 at 800MHz (12.8Gbps), and a 4G LTE modem. The chip also features two image signal processors (ISP) that can handle up to four cameras and 55MP (total) resolution. Devices with the Snapdragon 800 processor will be able to record 1080p30 video as well as encode and decode stored videos with up to 4K resolutions. As far as wireless, the Snapdragon 800 includes a 4G LTE modem and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The upcoming SoC can handle 4K video output and HD audio in the form of DTS-HD, Dolby Digital+, and 7.1 Surround Sound.

The Adreno 330 GPU in the Snapdragon 800 chip also supports OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL, and Rednderscript Computer technologies. It can output 4K video and reportedly offers up to twice the compute performance versus the Adreno 320 GPU in the Snapdragon 600 processor.

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 800 processor as a whole is up to 75% faster than the Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC. Qualcomm is aiming this processor at “premium” high end devices including Smart TVs, tablets, consumer electronics devices (ie: blu ray players with apps), and smartphones. Qualcomm expects to see devices powered by the new SoC become available sometime around the middle of 2013 (1H’13).

The new chips appear to offer up some noticeable performance and efficiency improvements over the current generation of Snapdragon processors. The Snapdragon 800 in particular is an impressive-sounding design. I am interested to see how it stacks up against competing chips such as NVIDIA’s Tegra 4, Samsung’s next-gen Exynos lineup, and whatever chip Apple has up its sleeve for the next iPad/iPhone refresh. This year is shaping up to be an exciting year for ARM-based SoCs!

If you are interested in the new silicon, Qualcomm has teased a few more details on its blog.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Qualcomm

CES 2013 Video: Intel Demonstrates Power Efficiency of Clovertrail, Tegra 3 and Krait

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2013 - 08:18 AM |
Tagged: video, tegra 3, qualcomm, power, nvidia, krait, Intel, clovertrail, ces 2013, CES

One of the more interesting demonstrations from CES thus far has come from Intel in the form of power consumption comparisons between three of the current tablet SoC solutions.  Intel pits the Clovertrail SoC against NVIDIA's Tegra 3 and Qualcomm's Krait in a battle of power efficiency during video playback.  What you'll see is that Intel's test shows the Clovertrail processor able to not only run near but surpass the power efficiency of the ARM-based processors shown.

This is an incredibly powerful collection of tools that Intel has presented and we are hoping to be able to dive into a similar level of detail in the future.  By utilizing direct monitoring of power VRMs on the processor we could even see the power consumption of the CPU cores in comparison to the GPU cores and even against the L2 cache in some instances. 

Intel is on a mission to prove that they are not only competitive today in the tablet SoC market but that they are a leader in the market.  More to follow!!

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Intel versus ARM; the hunting cry of a krayt dragon

Subject: Systems | January 4, 2013 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: arm, Intel, krayt, atom, qualcomm, cortex a15, tegra 3

AnandTech managed to get their hands on an Samsung designed ARM Cortex A15 processor powered tablet, which they compared to several competitors such as Intel's Atom, Qualcomm's Krait and NVIDIA's Tegra 3.  The test names may seem unfamiliar with Sunspider, Kraken and RIABench providing performance comparisons though the power consumption tests will be familiar to all.  Read on to see how the next generation of chips from the main contenders for your mobile device spending compare.

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"The previous article focused on an admittedly not too interesting comparison: Intel's Atom Z2760 (Clover Trail) versus NVIDIA's Tegra 3. After much pleading, Intel returned with two more tablets: a Dell XPS 10 using Qualcomm's APQ8060A SoC (dual-core 28nm Krait) and a Nexus 10 using Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual (dual-core 32nm Cortex A15). What was a walk in the park for Atom all of the sudden became much more challenging. Both of these SoCs are built on very modern, low power manufacturing processes and Intel no longer has a performance advantage compared to Exynos 5."

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Systems

Source: AnandTech

Qualcomm announces "Streamboost" to give your Home Network some Brains

Subject: Networking | January 4, 2013 - 04:30 AM |
Tagged: streamboost, qualcomm, qos, D-Link, ces 2013, alienware

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With CES right around the corner, we’re about to be buried in a deluge of announcements from consumer electronics vendors.  Since I was not able to get out to CES in person this year, Qualcomm offered to give me a sneak peek at their new “Streamboost” technology they’ve just announced and will be showing at CES.  I got to spend some time on the phone with Ciera Jammal, their PR rep and Michael Cubbage, Director of Business Development in their networking unit.  For those of you that may not recognize Michael’s name, he was one of the co-founders of Bigfoot Networks that brought us their “Killer Gaming” line of Ethernet and wireless products.  Acquired by Qualcomm in the fall of 2011, the merged Bigfoot and Qualcomm teams have now released “Streamboost”.

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So, what is Streamboost you ask?  Simply put, it’s an innovative Quality of Service engine that’s much, much more than what’s available for consumer QoS today.  QoS on most current consumer products only looks at what ports traffic is flowing across and prioritizes the traffic based on a simple list of what ports should be given priority at the expense of traffic on lower priority ports.  There’s no analysis of what the actual traffic is and in cases where different types of traffic flows over the same port (port 80 for example) it doesn’t offer any benefit at all.  The Streamboost engine on the other hand, will actually inspect the packets in real time, determining not only what port the traffic is using, but what the traffic actually is.  So for example, Streamboost will be able actually be able to tell that one stream is 1080p YouTube video while another is Standard Definition Netflix traffic, even though they are both on port 80, and give both streams the bandwidth they need. 

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Once the engine determines what type of data is moving through the connection, it will give that connection the bandwidth it needs to run optimally, but no more.  The “no more” piece is important because it frees up bandwidth for other applications and connections.  If there is not enough bandwidth available for the “Optimal” setting, it will then drop back and make every effort to give the connection what’s been determined to be the “Minimum acceptable” bandwidth needed for that type of traffic.

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How does Streamboost know what bandwidth is Optimal and what bandwidth is Minimum?  Well, Qualcomm has studied various types of traffic ranging from YouTube to Netflix to Call of Duty to torrents, and they’ve come up with the Optimal and Minimum bandwidth values for all types of traffic.  This data will be included in a “Detection and Policy Table” on the router that the Streamboost engine will reference.  My first thoughts when I heard this was that it sounded great, but what happens when that table gets out of date?  Qualcomm has thought of that as well and Streamboost includes an opt-in, cloud based service that will keep your router’s table up to date.  Not only that, but if the router encounters a new type of traffic not in its table, it will capture a few packets and send them up to the cloud (anonymized of course) to be analyzed and added to future table updates.  Your router should actually perform better as it’s table is updated and will be better after a year than it was on Day 1.  However, if you’re not interested in being part of the “Opt In crowd”, the engine can also be manually updated at any time.

The UI looks great and will let you drill down into your bandwidth use either by application or device.  Speaking of devices, Streamboost can detect the various types of devices on your network and lets you prioritize based on those criteria as well.

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D-Link and Alienware are the first two partners onboard with Streamboost and will be showing routers with the technology at CES as well as releasing them this spring.  All in all, after speaking to Qualcomm, I think I’m going to hold off my planned router upgrade until I can get my hands on a new router with Streamboost built in.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Click here for the full press release!

Source: Qualcomm

ARM snaps graphics marketshare from the dragon

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 22, 2012 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: arm, qualcomm, marketshare, SoC, imagination, Vivante, jon peddie, mali

ARM has made some serious impact on the mobile market with their Mali GPU on their SoC, with Jon Peddie Research reporting they have doubled their market share over the past year.  That number is even more impressive when you pair it with the 91.3% growth in the mobile GPU market.  Another player, Vivante, quadrupled their share of the market and while their products are found primarily in Asia you may recognize them as a member of the HSA.  Their success comes at a cost to Imagination and Qualcomm, both of whom have seen their market shares drop. NVIDIA is currently making up 2.5% of the GPU market for tablets and smartphones which is not too bad when you consider that the other four main players all license their processors out while NVIDIA remains the sole provider of its Tegra SoCs.  Get more numbers at The Inquirer.

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"CHIP DESIGNERS ARM and Vivante have achieved significant market share gains in the system-on-chip (SoC) GPU market while Imagination and Qualcomm have seen their market shares fall."

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Source: The Inquirer

Qualcomm Joins HSA Foundation to Further Heterogeneous Computing Standards

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2012 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, hsa, APU, amd, AFDS

The HSA Foundation announced today that Qualcomm would be joining as its newest Founder-level member. The mobile ARM System on a Chip company joins AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies (the company who licenses out PowerVR graphics), MediaTek, Samsung, and Texas Instruments. Reportedly, the HSA Foundation has doubled its total members since its inception in June where it was announced at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS 2012).

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Senior Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm Jim Thompson has stated that the company is joining the HSA Foundation in an effort to standardize aspects of heterogenous computing. Those programming and hardware standards will then be incorporated into devices running future Snapdragon ARM processors.

HSA Foundation President Phil Rogers welcomed the mobile communications giant to the organization by stating the following.

“It’s great to see an innovative company like Qualcomm, which has revolutionized the wireless communications market, placing their support behind HSA.”

It is unclear from the press release where Qualcomm and the HSA Foundation will go from here, but it is promising to see additional companies lending their expertise to further heterogeneous computing standards. Here's hoping that the HSA Foundation is the opposite of the PC Gaming Alliance and actually gets things done to further the technology. After all, AMD is betting the company on APUs and could likely benefit from a big HSA programming standard push and the low power computing prowess of the ARM chip designers in its ranks.

Samsung versus Qualcomm; don't judge a tablet by its cover

Subject: Mobile | September 13, 2012 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: tablet, Snapdragon S4 Pro, Samsung, qualcomm, ice cream sandwich, Exynos 4412

You are likely already somewhat familiar with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, running Ice Cream Sandwich on a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4412.  Externally it looks almost identical to the 10.1" engineering sample that Qualcomm pulled out in front of The Inquirer today but internally they are very different.  Inside the Qualcomm tablet is the new 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, running a hair faster than the Exynos and with a different architecture.  That customized architecture showed up in the testing, the Qualcomm tablet benchmarked higher the Samsung, much higher than the 100MHz speed difference would imply.  However not all was perfect with the usability of the tablet, though The Inquirer does point out this is a tablet still in development and the software is not quite ready for prime time.

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"The INQUIRER took the chance to test Qualcomm's developer tablet Snapdragon processor against the Exynos quad-core chip used in Samsung's popular Galaxy Note 10.1.

On paper, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Qualcomm development tablet are quite similar. Both devices run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and have 10.1in touchscreens."

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Mobile

Source: The Inquirer

Exclusive partner is another word for single point of failure

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2012 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: TSMC, apple, qualcomm, fab

If you believe the rumours, TSMC recently turned down offers from both Apple and Qualcomm to make those companies the exclusive partner of TSMC's smartphone chip production.  Now, that sort of deal does tend to line the pockets of the supplier quite nicely, as the customer must pay to recompense the lost business from other customers.  It also gives the manufacturer the ability to specialize their production lines for one specific type of chip which will eventually bring the cost per wafer down.  On the other hand, this type of deal can stifle innovation on a general level as the manufacturer doesn't need to worry about attracting other customers, nor designing fabrication plants capable of producing multiple types of chips.  Then there is TSMC in specific, a company which has a long history of providing supplies to companies both sides of the war, be it GPU, CPU or a mixed chip.  As arms dealers proved long ago it is far more profitable to sell to both sides than to only supply one belligerent.  Read DigiTimes take on this topic here.

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"A recent Bloomberg report cited unnamed sources as saying that Apple and Qualcomm had been rebuffed in separate attempts to invest cash in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in a bid to secure exclusive access to smartphone chips. Digitimes Research analyst Nobunaga Chai has commented saying that he sees no good reason why TSMC should accept the investment."

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Source: DigiTimes

Qualcomm Atheros Launches Two New Killer Networking Cards

Subject: Networking | April 18, 2012 - 07:33 PM |
Tagged: wi-fi, qualcomm, networking, killer, Ethernet

Qualcomm Atheros today launched two new networking cards for the desktop and laptop markets. A subsidiary company of Qualcomm (formerly Killer Networks), the Wireless-N 1202 and E2200 provides Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity based on Killer Networks’ technology.

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The Wireless-N 1202 is a 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module with 2x2 MIMO antennas which should provide plenty of Wireless N range. On the wired side of things the E2200 is a Gigabit Ethernet network card for desktop computers. Both modules are powered by Killer Network’s chip and the Killer Network Manager software. The software will allow users to prioritize gaming, audio, and video packets over other network traffic to deliver the best performance. Director of Business Development Mike Cubbage had the following to say.

“These products create an unprecedented entertainment and real-time communications experience for the end user by ensuring that critical online applications get the bandwidth and priority they need, when they need it.”

The E2200 Gigabit Ethernet NIC is available for purchase now, and the Wireless-N 1202 module will go on sale in May. More specific information on the products will be available after the official launch date (today) so stay tuned to PC Perspective.