Subject: Processors | December 8, 2016 - 09:00 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Xilinx, TSMC, standard cells, layout, FinFET, EDA, custom cell, arm, 7nm
Today ARM is announcing their partnership with Xilinx to deliver design solutions for their products on TSMC’s upcoming 7nm process node. ARM has previously partnered with Xilinx on other nodes including 28, 20, and 16nm. Their partnership extends into design considerations to improve the time to market of complex parts and to rapidly synthesize new designs for cutting edge process nodes.
Xilinx is licensing out the latest ARM Artisan Physical IP platform for TSMC’s 7nm. Artisan Physical IP is a set of tools to help rapidly roll out complex designs as compared to what previous generations of products faced. ARM has specialized libraries and tools to help implement these designs on a variety of processes and receive good results even on the shortest possible design times.
Design relies on two basic methodologies. There is custom cell and then standard cell designs. Custom cell design allows for a tremendous amount of flexibility in layout and electrical characteristics, but it requires a lot of man-hours to complete even the simplest logic. Custom cell designs typically draw less power and provide higher clockspeeds than standard cell design. Standard cells are like Legos in that the cells can be quickly laid out to create complex logic. Software called EDA (Electronic Design Automation) can quickly place and route these cells. GPUs lean heavily on standard cells and EDA software to get highly complex products out to market quickly.
These two basic methods have netted good results over the years, but during that time we have seen implementations of standard cells become more custom in how they behave. While not achieving full custom performance, we have seen semi-custom type endeavors achieve appreciable gains without requiring the man hours to achieve fully custom.
In this particular case ARM is achieving a solid performance in power and speed through automated design that improves upon standard cells, but without the downsides of a fully custom part. This provides positive power and speed benefits without the extra power draw of a traditional standard cell. ARM further improves upon this with the ARM Artisan Power Grid Architect (PGA) which simplifies the development of a complex power grid that services a large and complex chip.
We have seen these types of advancements in the GPU world that NVIDIA and AMD enjoy talking about. A better power grid allows the ASIC to perform at lower power envelopes due to less impedence. The GPU guys have also utilized High Density Libraries to pack in the transistors as tight as possible to utilize less space and increase spatial efficiency. A smaller chip, which requires less power is always a positive development over a larger chip of the same capabilities that requires more power. ARM looks to be doing their own version of these technologies and are applying them to TSMC’s upcoming 7nm FinFET process.
TSMC is not releasing this process to mass production until at least 2018. In 1H 2017 we will see some initial test and early production runs for a handful of partners. Full blown production of 7nm will be in 2018. Early runs and production are increasingly being used for companies working with low power devices. We can look back at 20/16/14 nm processes and see that they were initially used by designs that do not require a lot of power and will run at moderate clockspeeds. We have seen a shift in who uses these new processes with the introduction of sub-28nm process nodes. The complexity of the design, process steps, materials, and libraries have pushed the higher performance and power hungry parts to a secondary position as the foundries attempt to get these next generation nodes up to speed. It isn’t until after some many months of these low power parts are pushed through that we see adjustments and improvements in these next generation nodes to handle the higher power and clockspeed needs of products like desktop CPUs and GPUs.
ARM is certainly being much more aggressive in addressing next generation nodes and pushing their cutting edge products on them to allow for far more powerful mobile products that also exhibit improved battery life. This step with 7nm and Xilinx will provide a lot of data to ARM and its partners downstream when the time comes to implement new designs. Artisan will continue to evolve to allow partners to quickly and efficiently introduce new products on new nodes to the market at an accelerated rate as compared to years past.
Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2016 - 03:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, amd, gaming, watch dogs 2, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, rx 480x, rx 470
[H]ard|OCP have spent a lot of with Watch Dogs 2 recently, enough to create three articles covering the game of which two are now published. The first article focuses on performance at ultra settings and finding the highest playable settings that the GPUs they tested were capable of, without installing the high resolution texture pack. As it turns out, the game is much more graphically demanding than many other recent releases, so much so that only the Titan X and GTX 1080 was able to perform at 4k resolutions, the GTX 1070 and 1060, as well as the RX 480 and 470 only feature at lower resolutions.
The second article looks at performance with the texture pack installed, which did not have much effect on overall performance but significantly increased VRAM usage. Even the mighty Titan X struggled with this game, we will need a new generation of GPUs to utilize all the available graphics features available in this game. The last review will be up soon and will focus on what effect each of the graphical settings have on the visual appearance of the game.
"Watch Dogs 2 has been released on the PC. We will have a three part evaluation of performance and image quality starting today with performance comparisons. We will also find the highest playable settings for each graphics card and the gameplay experience delivered. Finally, a graphically demanding game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Ubisoft Giving Away Yet Another Free Game @ [H]ard|OCP
- Dishonored 2 update 1.3 brings performance boosts @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Tobii Tech 4C eye tracker for gaming @ Kitguru
- Wot I Think: Tyranny @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Gears of War 4 DirectX 12 Graphics Performance @ eTeknix
- Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is an off-brand Far Cry game @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Last Guardian Is Finally Here—and Yes, It Was Worth the Wait @ Wired
- Dead Rising 4 shambles onto Windows 10 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Nvidia launches GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 Indie Bundle @ HEXUS
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Graphics Performance Analysis @ eTeknix
- Mugs and mayhem: eight minutes of Prey @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Tenebra is a free horror game inspired by silent films @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 8, 2016 - 03:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, watercooling, tower 900, liquid cooling, E-ATX Case, case mods
You might remember mention of the Thermaltake 900 Vertical Super Tower on the podcast last night, if not it should be posted soon so you can catch up. This plus-sized tower was designed to give watercooling fanatics enough space to fit in whatever they can dream up and [H]ard|OCP received one for review. The design proved to be unfriendly for self contained watercoolers which have a two fan radiator, only single fan rads will fit in the front portion of the case. For the more serious, this case can contain up to three full enthusiast class radiators, 240, 280, 360, 480 or 540mm rads can be accommodated. The sheer size of the case makes installation convenient for those who will build a system worthy of this case. [H]ard|OCP gave this a gold, and offered some interesting modding suggestions on their conclusion page; check it out here.
"It's a tower and it's super! Thermaltake's new Tower 900 is not close to your typical PC computer enclosure. It is built for a very specific customer; the enthusiast that wants plenty of room to do highly customized build and then have the ability to easily show it off is the target demographic for this chassis."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5t @ Modders-Inc
- Cooler Master MasterBox 5t Review @ OCC
- Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5T @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master Masterbox 5t @ eTeknix
- Corsair's Carbide Series Air 740 @ The Tech Report
- Rosewill Gram @ techPowerUp
Subject: Editorial | December 8, 2016 - 04:00 PM | AlexL
Tagged: podcast, Thrustmaster, thermaltake, tablet, snapdragon, razer, nvidia, microsoft, Mechwarrior, Khronos, Intel, hp, evga, Deepcool, AUKEY
PC Perspective Podcast #428 - 12/8/16
Join us this week as we discuss Khronos Group, Enterprise SSDs, Water cooled cases and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom
Program length: 1:13:35
- Join our spam list to get notified when we go live!
- Win a White Special Edition Corsair RM1000i Power Supply!
- Week in Review:
- 0:04:16 AUKEY KM-G3 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review
- 0:08:06 Thrustmaster TMX Review: Budget FFB for Xbox One and PC
- 0:15:16 Deepcool GamerStorm GENOME Liquid-Cooled Case Review
- 0:23:06 EVGA SuperNOVA 550W G3 Power Supply Review
- 0:28:01 Qualcomm and Microsoft Bring Full Windows 10 to Snapdragon Devices
- News items of interest:
- 0:32:07 Razer Joins The Khronos Group
- 0:36:54 Thermaltake Launches Water Cooling Friendly E-ATX Tower 900 Series Case
- 0:39:32 Intel Z270 Express and H270 Express Chipsets Support Kaby Lake, More PCI-E 3.0 Lanes
- 0:42:12 MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Announced on Unreal Engine 4
- 0:46:10 HP Launches Ruggedized Apollo Lake Powered Convertible Tablet For Students
- 0:47:33 Micron Launches 5100 Series Enterprise SSDs - 3D TLC up to 8TB!
- 0:52:12 WD and HGST Refresh Enterprise SSDs to Include 8TB, Push HDDs to 12TB and Beyond
- 1:02:37 NVIDIA Releases GeForce 376.19 Drivers (and Two Contests)
- 1:04:14 The Khronos Group Announces VR Standard Initiative
- Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Storage | December 8, 2016 - 05:59 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Seagate, external hard drive, cloud storage, cloud backup, amazon drive, amazon
Seagate and Amazon have partnered up to offer a new USB external hard drive called the Seagate Duet that, while functioning as you would expect an external drive to, also automatically keeps files synced between itself and the user's Amazon Drive cloud storage. The Duet is based on Seagate's Backup Plus drive series and is a 1TB drive with two platters and PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) technology that spins at 5400 RPM. It connects to PCs over USB 3.0.
During the initial setup, users provide their Amazon Drive login to the Duet software which will upload all media files stored on the external drive to Amazon Drive as well as download any files stored on Amazon Drive regardless of whether they were uploaded by the Duet or other devices not using the Duet software.
Seagate offers a two year warranty on the drive which will be an Amazon.com exclusive and available on December 10th for $99.99. The Duet does come at quite the premium over other drives (even Seagate's own) with non-automatic cloud syncing 1TB USB 3.0 drives coming in at around $50 and 2TB drives able to be found easily for less than the Duet's $100 price.
However, there is a bit of a saving grace in that the Seagate Duet does come with one year of free Amazon Drive Unlimited storage which normally costs $59.99 a year.
For enthusiasts, there are cheaper 1TB or higher capacity drives for the same price as the Duet, but I find myself thinking that this would be a great gift for family members to help them protect their precious family photos and videos from a drive failure or lost drive! With the holidays coming up fast, if you have not figured out the perfect gift yet this may just be the thing to buy – and if something does happen, the real gift is that their photos are safely backed up!
Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2016 - 05:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy note 7, verizon, recall
If you are one of the 7% that like living dangerously and are not returning your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 you may find yourself unable to charge it. Samsung are going to push out an update on December 19th which will disable the devices ability to charge. The incendiary devices suffer from a design flaw which does not leave enough space for the battery to swell, which can lead to an electrical short in the battery which ends badly for both the device and the owner. Verizon has decided to take an interesting stand and will be blocking this update, allowing those who wish to continue using this device to continue to do so. Pop over to The Inquirer for more details.
"THE REMAINING owners of the highly flammable Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have their devices remotely killed from 19 December when an over-the-air update will prevent their devices from charging."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Free HITMAN™ game code when you purchase a Radeon™ RX 470 graphics card or eligible system!
- Maybe You Can Print in Metal @ Hack a Day
- AMD virty encryption not quite there, claim boffins @ The Register
- My name's Jeff B and I'm here to say: Canada's getting an AWS region around the way @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 9, 2016 - 06:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: giveaway, hitman 2016, amd, rx 470
If you purchase a Radeon RX 470 or a system with said GPU and an FX 8370, 8350 or 6350 you can get a copy of the latest Hitman game for free. If you purchased a card recently you should still be eligible, just pop over to the redemption page, sign in and redeem your code.
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