AMD and NVIDIA are sticking with TSMC

Subject: General Tech | July 9, 2012 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, Samsung, amd, nvidia, 28nm, rumour

All of the speculation about the problems TSMC has had with their 28nm process and the possible issues they might have producing enough wafers to meet their clients demands.  Today we hear from DigiTimes that Qualcomm is going to switch to Samsung, possibly because TSMC was focusing on AMD and NVIDIA, but this is pure speculation at the moment.  What seems more reliable is that GPU vendors are stating that both AMD and NVIDIA are sticking with TSMC which makes a lot of sense, even if TSMC has problems delivering it is a better alternative than AMD or NVIDIA redesigning their graphics processors to be compatible with Samsung's process.  The story also mentions that in 2013 Brazos 2.0 and Hondo will be moved to a 28nm design, again likely sourced at TSMC.

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"While Qualcomm has reportedly switched foundry orders for its 28nm-based Snapdragon S4 processors from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to Samsung Electronics because TSMC's 28nm capacity has failed to meet its needs, Nvidia and AMD may not follow suit, according to graphics card makers.

TSMC has the upper hand over Samsung in 28nm technology, yield rate and price and therefore changing foundry partnership involves high risks, the sources said. In addition, Nvidia is expected to consider Samsung's ARM-based processors in competition with its Tegra 3 processors, the sources indicated."

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Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Design, User Interface

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In August of 2011 I reviewed the Acer AC700-1099, one of two Chromebooks available in the North American market. The review was almost entirely negative. The hardware wasn’t great and the operating system was a bit of a mess–capable of only the most basic tasks. 

Since then, the small surge of hype that surrounded the Chrome OS release has receded. You could be mistaken for thinking Google has abandoned it, but they haven’t. In typical Google fashion it has been slowly, quietly improved. Performance tweaks have allegedly improved web browsing, a proper file manager has been added and Google has just launched Google Drive, its cloud storage service. 

Such enhancements could address a lot of the concerns I had with the Acer rendition. Do they? That’s what we’re here to find out. Let’s start with the basics - what’s inside?

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The hardware inside the Samsung Series 5 is nearly identical to what was inside the Acer AC700-1099 that we reviewed late last year. We’re talking an Atom processor that must rely on its own IGP, two gigabytes of RAM and a tiny–but quick–16GB solid state drive. 

While the equipment is the same, the pricing has changed. When we reviewed the Acer Chromebook it was $349.99. That has been slashed to $279.99. The Series 5, which used to be priced at $429, is now sold for just $299.

Let’s see if improved software and a lower price can turn Chromebooks into winners. 

Samsung Galaxy S III Officially Announced at Samsung Unpacked

Subject: Mobile | May 7, 2012 - 02:09 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, Samsung, galaxy s3, galaxy s III, Android

Previous rumors of a quad core smartphone from Samsung proved to be true at the 2012 Samsung Unpacked event in London on Thursday. There, they officially unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S III Android 4.0 smartphone.

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The new smartphone runs the latest Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” mobile operating system with an updated version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface that adds additional functionality on top of the vanilla Android experience. Many sites have mentioned that Samsung really focused in on the software and experience aspects of the phone rather than the underlying hardware specifications and performance characteristics.

The company is introducing a number of new features with the Galaxy S III including voice control with S Voice, “S Beam” wireless file transfer, and a feature called “Pop up Play” that allows users to play videos while checking email and browsing the web. The S Voice feature lets users turn their phone on by saying “Hi, Galaxy” as well as writing emails, sending text messages, hitting “snooze” on the alarm, organizing schedules, and taking photos. Another feature that the Galaxy S III offers is NFC payment.

On the hardware side of things, the smartphone measures 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, and weighs 133g. On the outside, there is a 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED Pentile display with a resolution of 1280x720. There is a 1.9 megapixel camera on the front and a 8 megapixel camera on the back with backside illumination to improve low light performance. The phone is available in Pebble Blue and Marble White at launch, with additional color options to follow. Powering the software and HD display is a 2,100 mAh battery, 16, 32, or 64 (coming soon) Gigabytes of storage, microSD card slot, 1GB of RAM, and a Exynos 4 quad core processor. It also features 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi (support channel bonding), GPS, GLONASS (radio navigation system), NFC, and Bluetooth 4. As far as cellular technology, it supports EDGE, 3G, and 4G (depending on which model you buy–more on that below).

Matt at Engadget managed to shoot some video of the new Samsung phone at the launch event, seen below.

While some models will run the Exynos 4 quad core processor, the US version will likely have a dual core Qualcomm processor due to incompatibilities between the necessary LTE radio and the Exynos 4 SoC. In the end, the general user experience should not suffer as a result but it is still regrettable that there is not a quad core part from a hardware perspective. Because the Exynos 4 SoC is based on older ARMv7 CPU cores and a Mali 400 GPU core, it will be faster in multithreaded tasks but the newer dual core Qualcomm in the LTE models will be faster in general usage thanks to the newer CPU technology and Android’s notoriously poor multithreaded performance. Users should not write off the dual core Galaxy S III phones on specifications alone.

The phone will be available for purchase in Europe at the end of May, with other countries to follow. No official word on pricing has been given yet.

Are you still excited for the US Galaxy S III now that it is official? Will you be upgrading or waiting on one of the other upcoming Android smatphones?

Source: Samsung

Samsung Teases Exynos 4 Quad Core Mobile Processor

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2012 - 11:47 PM |
Tagged: SoC, Samsung, quad core, galaxy s 3, Exynos 4, Android

Samsung has an event scheduled for May 3rd called Mobile Unpacked where it will be unveiling their latest Galaxy series smartphone. It seems as if the company was too excited about the new hardware to wait because they have teased small bits of information on the processor. The new chip has been named the Exynos 4 and is a quad core processor running at 1.4 GHz.

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Based on a 32nm HKMG (High-K Metal Gate) process node, Samsung claims the SoC uses 20% less power than it’s 45nm predecessors. The quad core processor is more power efficient thanks to the lower process node and the ability of the chip to turn individual cores off when not in use. As far as performance, the company claims the new quad core part is twice as fast as the older dual core 45nm chips. The Exynos 4 also has an integrated image signal processor for high quality camera processing and support for multi format codec (MFC) decoding. The MFC engine allows the chip to process a variety of 1080p HD video files.

A few things that are noticeably absent from the Samsung product page include any specific performance numbers, architecture details, and benchmarks. Samsung is keeping a tight lid on that information until the release but once reviewers get their hands on the Galaxy III independent benchmarks are soon to follow. The comparison between the Exynos 4 and NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 should be interesting.

Source: Samsung

Now that is an unholy alliance; Intel, Apple and Qualcomm go after Samsung

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: apple, Samsung, Intel, qualcomm

Apple is getting some help in its legal quest to force Samsung out of the mobile phone business, even though Samsung is one of their major suppliers.  Both Intel and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through Samsung's source code and are offering more potential infringements for Apple to use in their case.  Qualcomm helped develop the 3G standard and so possess quite a bit of intellectual property that pertains to the use of 3G, while Intel owns an immense amount of telecom and chip patents which Samsung may have infringed upon.  The Register speculates on just why Qualcomm and Intel would offer their legal teams to Apple, as well as pointing out the obvious irony of Apple attacking its memory and screen manufacturer.

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"CHIP VENDORS Intel and Qualcomm have agreed to help Apple in a lawsuit against Samsung by providing source code, according to one of Apple's lawyers.

Apple's seemingly never ending battle with Samsung over smartphone patents will get helping hands from Intel and Qualcomm as the firms hand over source code to support Apple's case. According to Andrew Fox, Apple's lawyer, Intel's and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through the source code and agreed to provide it to Apple."

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Source: The Register
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung
Tagged: ssd, sata, Samsung, 830, 6gbps

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

Samsung has been in the SSD business for a good long while now. My first "serious" SSD setup consisted of a pair of 32GB G.Skill 'FlashSSD's in a RAID. A few months later I upgraded to an Intel X25-M, starting working for PCPer, and have since seen a slew of different controller types come and go. Of those, Samsung and Intel both come to mind as the most reliable controllers out there. Of those two, Samsung has always been the primary choice of PC OEMs. It may have been because the Samsung controllers have always leaned towards the slow-but-steady approach. Other fire breathing controllers would be quick out of the gate but slow over time as fragmentation effects set in, while Samsung controllers would take the hit on random IOPS, but they maintained that lower level even after repeated and sustained abuse. They were not the fastest, but as a testament to their consistency, I continue to use one of the two aforementioned G.Skill drives in the PCPer Storage Testbed to this day.

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Read on for the full review!

Samsung's Tablet Phone, can the Galaxy Note do both jobs well?

Subject: Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 05:59 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy note, tablet

The Samsung Galaxy Note is probably the biggest cellphone since the ill fated N-Gage, though instead of being a portable gaming system that thinks it is a phone you have a phone which thinks it is a tablet.  Dual purpose devices have a somewhat flaky reputation but some combination tools end up being more useful than their separate component pieces. With an ARM cortex A9 powering a 5.29" 800 x 1280 AMOLED screen this Android device seems to have a lot of promise.  Read the full review at Hardware Look to see how well Samsung combined the two devices into one.

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"The Samsung Galaxy Note is a smartphone that has gone in the opposite direction of the conventional modern technology. As we see technology advancing, we see it getting smaller and smaller, the Samsung Galaxy Note is the largest smartphone on the market, posing a huge 5.29-inch display..."

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Samsung's lean green random access memory machine

Subject: Memory | March 23, 2012 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, Samsung Green PC3-12800, low profile, low power

There is a reason that Samsung's branding of these new DIMMs is green; they suck a mere 1.35V at their full speed of DDR3 1600MHz @ 11-11-11-28 and with the low profile they will fit in just about any machine.  Of more interest to some readers would be their overclocking potential, which TechPowerUp explored and discovered that 2400 MHz with 1.575V was not only possible but also stable.  They also went the other way and discovered the DIMMs could still run at stock speeds at 1.2V which gives you a lot to tweak on this RAM.  Read on to see how the DIMMs performed and to learn a little about tWCL as well.

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"Several tech forums are buzzing about Samsung's lastest "Green" 30 nm DDR3, that sips the voltage, and sits on a tiny low-profile PCB. We snagged a pair to see what all the fuss is about, and boy, were we surprised!"

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Memory

 

Source: TechPowerUp

Need to ram some DIMMs into a tight area? Samsung's got your back

Subject: Memory | February 29, 2012 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, Samsung Green 8GB VLP 1600MHz, low profile

With the way that current generation motherboards squeeze the DIMM slots in close to the CPU socket and with the enourmous size of high end coolers, low profile DIMMs are not just for SFF PCs anymore.  Samsung's new Green VLP kit is not only incredibly low profile it is also versatile and intended to run at a variety of speeds from 1600MHz @ 11-11-11-28 with 1.5v of power to 800MHz @ 6-6-6-18 pulling 1.35v.  Overclock3D's testing did reveal one small problem with these DIMMs; by focusing on lower power and lower profile first they did sacrifice performance.  On the other hand if you are in such tight confines that only these DIMMs will fit, slow RAM beats no RAM every time.

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"With their own RAM sticks Samsung have redefined what we consider Low Profile to be. Does the performance match up?"

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Memory

 

Source: Overclock3D

MWC 12: Samsung to compete with Tegra on quad-core CPU

Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: tegra, Samsung, quad-core, MWC 12, MWC, exynos

While details are still sparse as we await the official start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona tonight/tomorrow, it appears that Samsung plans to announce a new quad-core processor as part of its Exynos line.  It will be the first Samsung SoC based on 32nm technology rather than the 45nm currently in production and will be available in both quad- and dual-core variant.

According to the story over at Unwiredview it will be available in frequencies ranging from 200 MHz all the way up to 1.5 GHz while offering lower power consumption than current options.  I am curious how this actually stacks up though as we have seen that Tegra 3 doesn't REALLY offer lower power consumption and longer battery life even though that was a promise from NVIDIA.  It definitely can offer less power consumption per performance unit, but in the end battery life is king for these mobile devices.  

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What about graphics performance?  The story had this to say:

The new Exynos comes paired with the latest version of Samsung’s own graphics chip, which has 4 pixel processors and 1 geometry engine with 128 KB L2 cache. The graphics support OpenGL ES 2.0 and can generate up to 57 MPolygons/s.

Samsung claims that the new processor will offer 26% more performance compared to Exynos parts based on the 45nm process and I assume they are referring to dual-core vs dual-core results.  Other claims include battery life improvements of "up to 50%" - we'd love to see it but we'll wait for actual devices to ship and showcase it before really getting excited. 

The good news is that quad-core performance will be coming to more devices and NVIDIA won't be the only SoC designer on the block offering them.  The use-cases for quad-core performance on a mobile device, phone or tablet, may still be in question though we never doubt the software side of the equation to utilize as much horsepower as it is provided. 

Source: Unwiredview