Subject: Processors | December 12, 2018 - 09:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: xeon, Sunny Cove, processor, intel core, Intel, integrated graphics, iGPU, Foveros, cpu, 3D stacking
Intel’s Architecture Day was held yesterday and brought announcements of three new technologies. Intel shared details of a new 3D stacking technology for logic chips, a brand new CPU architecture for desktop and server, and some surprising developments on the iGPU front. Oh, and they mentioned that whole discrete GPU thing…
3D Stacking for Logic Chips
First we have Foveros, a new 3D packaging technology that follows Intel’s previous EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge) 2D packaging technology and enables die-stacking of high-performance logic chips for the first time.
“Foveros paves the way for devices and systems combining high-performance, high-density and low-power silicon process technologies. Foveros is expected to extend die stacking beyond traditional passive interposers and stacked memory to high-performance logic, such as CPU, graphics and AI processors for the first time.”
Foveros will allow for a new “chiplet” paradigm, as “I/O, SRAM, and power delivery circuits can be fabricated in a base die and high-performance logic chiplets are stacked on top”. This new approach would permit design elements to be “mixed and matched”, and allow new device form-factors to be realized as products can be broken up into these smaller chiplets.
The first range of products using this technology are expected to launch in the second half of 2019, beginning with a product that Intel states “will combine a high-performance 10nm compute-stacked chiplet with a low-power 22FFL base die,” which Intel says “will enable the combination of world-class performance and power efficiency in a small form factor”.
Intel Sunny Cove Processors - Coming Late 2019
Next up is the announcement of a brand new CPU architecture with Sunny Cove, which will be the basis of Intel’s next generation Core and Xeon processors in 2019. No mention of 10nm was made, so it is unclear if Intel’s planned transition from 14nm is happening with this launch (the last Xeon roadmap showed a 10 nm transition with "Ice Lake" in 2020).
Intel states that Sonny Cove is “designed to increase performance per clock and power efficiency for general purpose computing tasks” with new features included “to accelerate special purpose computing tasks like AI and cryptography”.
Intel provided this list of Sunny Cove’s features:
- Enhanced microarchitecture to execute more operations in parallel.
- New algorithms to reduce latency.
- Increased size of key buffers and caches to optimize data-centric workloads.
- Architectural extensions for specific use cases and algorithms. For example, new performance-boosting instructions for cryptography, such as vector AES and SHA-NI, and other critical use cases like compression and decompression.
Integrated Graphics with 2x Performance
Intel slide image via ComputerBase
Intel did reveal next-gen graphics, though it was a new generation of the company’s integrated graphics announced at the event. The update is nonetheless significant, with the upcoming Gen11 integrated GPU “expected to double the computing performance-per-clock compared to Intel Gen9 graphics” thanks to a huge increase in Execution Units, from 24 EUs with Gen9 to 64 EUs with Gen11. This will provide “>1 TFLOPS performance capability”, according to Intel, who states that the new Gen11 graphics are also expected to feature advanced media encode/decode, supporting “4K video streams and 8K content creation in constrained power envelopes”.
And finally, though hardly a footnote, the new Gen11 graphics will feature Intel Adaptive Sync technology, which was a rumored feature of upcoming discrete GPU products from Intel.
And now for that little part about discrete graphics: At the event Intel simply “reaffirmed its plan to introduce a discrete graphics processor by 2020”. Nothing new here, and this obviously means that we won’t be seeing a new discrete GPU from Intel in 2019 - though the beefed-up Gen11 graphics should provide a much needed boost to Intel’s graphics offering when Sonny Cove launches “late next year”.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 2, 2018 - 11:45 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: SoC, octa-core, mobile, Mali-G76, Kirin, Huawei, HiSilicon, gpu, cpu, Cortex-A76, arm, 8-core
Huawei has introduced their subsidiary HiSilicon’s newest mobile processor in the Kirin 980, which, along with Huawei's claim of the world's first commercial 7nm SoC, is the first SoC to use Arm Cortex A76 CPU cores and Arm’s Mali G76 GPU.
Huawei is aiming squarely at Qualcomm with this announcement, claiming better performance than a Snapdragon 845 during the presentation. One of its primary differences to the current Snapdragon is the composition of the Kirin 980’s eight CPU cores, notable as the usual 'big.LITTLE' Arm CPU core configuration for an octa-core design gives way to a revised organization with three groups, as illustrated by AnandTech here:
Of the four Cortex A76 cores just two are clocked up to maximize performance with certain applications such as gaming (and, likely, benchmarks) at 2.60 GHz, and the other two are used more generally as more efficient performance cores at 1.92 GHz. The remaining four A55 cores operate at 1.80 GHz, and are used for lower-performance tasks. A full breakdown of the CPU core configuration as well as slides from the event are available at AnandTech.
Huawei claims that the improved CPU in the Kirin 980 results in "75 percent more powerful and 58 percent more efficient compared to their previous generation" (the Kirin 970). This claim translates into what Huawei claims to be 37% better performance and 32% greater efficiency than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845.
The GPU also gets a much-needed lift this year from Arm's latest GPU, the Mali-G76, which features "new, wider execution engines with double the number of lanes" and "provides dramatic uplifts in both performance and efficiency for complex graphics and Machine Learning (ML) workloads", according to Arm.
Real-world testing with shipping handsets is needed to verify Huawei's performance claims, of course. In fact, the results shown by Huawei at the presentation carry a this disclaimer, sourced from today’s press release:
"The specifications of Kirin 980 does not represent the specifications of the phone using this chip. All data and benchmark results are based on internal testing. Results may vary in different environments."
The upcoming Mate 20 from Huawei will be powered by this new Kirin 980 - and could very well provide results consistent with the full potential of the new chip - and that is set for an official launch on October 16.
The full press release is available after the break.
Subject: Processors | May 30, 2018 - 11:18 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: VideoCardz, rumor, report, processor, Intel, history, cpu, anniversary edition, 8086K, 8086
The 40th anniversary of the original Intel 8086 microprocessor launch is just days away (June 8), and ahead of this VideoCardz.com has posted screen captures of online listings for the rumored 8086 anniversary CPU - the Core i7-8086K.
(Screen captures above sourced from VideoCardz.com)
"Some retailers have already started listing the new SKU on their websites, indicating 70 USD/EUR premium over i7-8700K (~480/470 EUR). Not much is known at this point, but the CPU is rumored to be 5.0 GHz chip out of the box. It is, however, still expected to be a 6-core SKU."
Beyond the online retailer listings accidentally posted early, presumably, not much is known; though it seems fair to conclude that this may indeed be a higher-clocked version of the current i7-8700K and would therefore remain a 6-core/12-thread product. Intel is going to be at Computex beginning June 5 where they "will showcase how the company is powering the future of computing" so might we hear an announcement of a new product on the eve of the 8086 anniversary? The possibility is too logical to ignore.
Subject: Processors | January 18, 2018 - 01:17 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: update, spectre, security, restart, reboot, processor, patch, meltdown, Intel, cpu
The news will apparently get worse before it gets any better for Intel, as the company updated their security recommendations for the Spectre/Meltdown patches for affected CPUs to address post-patch system restart issues. Specifically, Intel notes that issues may be introduced in some configurations with the current patches, though the company does not recommend discontinued use of such updates:
" Intel recommends that these partners, at their discretion, continue development and release of updates with existing microcode to provide protection against these exploits, understanding that the current versions may introduce issues such as reboot in some configurations".
Image credit: HotHardware
The recommendation section of the security bulletin, updated yesterday (January 17, 2018), is reproduced below:
- Intel has made significant progress in our investigation into the customer reboot sightings that we confirmed publicly last week
- Intel has reproduced these issues internally and has developed a test method that allows us to do so in a predictable manner
- Initial sightings were reported on Broadwell and Haswell based platforms in some configurations. During due diligence we determined that similar behavior occurs on other products including Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake based platforms in some configurations
- We are working toward root cause
- While our root cause analysis continues, we will start making beta microcode updates available to OEMs, Cloud service providers, system manufacturers and Software vendors next week for internal evaluation purposes
- In all cases, the existing and any new beta microcode updates continue to provide protection against the exploit (CVE-2017-5715) also known as “Spectre Variant 2”
- Variants 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown) continue to be mitigated through system software changes from operating system and virtual machine vendors
- As we gather feedback from our customers we will continue to provide updates that improve upon performance and usability
Intel recommendations to OEMs, Cloud service providers, system manufacturers and software vendors
- Intel recommends that these partners maintain availability of existing microcode updates already released to end users. Intel does not recommend pulling back any updates already made available to end users
- NEW - Intel recommends that these partners, at their discretion, continue development and release of updates with existing microcode to provide protection against these exploits, understanding that the current versions may introduce issues such as reboot in some configurations
- NEW - We further recommend that OEMs, Cloud service providers, system manufacturers and software vendors begin evaluation of Intel beta microcode update releases in anticipation of definitive root cause and subsequent production releases suitable for end users
Intel recommendations to end users
- Following good security practices that protect against malware in general will also help protect against possible exploitation until updates can be applied
- For PCs and Data Center infrastructure, Intel recommends that patches be applied as soon as they are available from your system manufacturer, and software vendors
- For data center infrastructure, Intel additionally recommends that IT administrators evaluate potential impacts from the reboot issue and make decisions based on the security profile of the infrastructure
Intel has worked with operating system vendors, equipment manufacturers, and other ecosystem partners to develop software updates that can help protect systems from these methods. End users and systems administrators should check with their operating system vendors and apply any available updates as soon as practical.
The full list of affected processors from Intel's security bulletin follows:
- Intel® Core™ i3 processor (45nm and 32nm)
- Intel® Core™ i5 processor (45nm and 32nm)
- Intel® Core™ i7 processor (45nm and 32nm)
- Intel® Core™ M processor family (45nm and 32nm)
- 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processors
- 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors
- 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors
- 5th generation Intel® Core™ processors
- 6th generation Intel® Core™ processors
- 7th generation Intel® Core™ processors
- 8th generation Intel® Core™ processors
- Intel® Core™ X-series Processor Family for Intel® X99 platforms
- Intel® Core™ X-series Processor Family for Intel® X299 platforms
- Intel® Xeon® processor 3400 series
- Intel® Xeon® processor 3600 series
- Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series
- Intel® Xeon® processor 5600 series
- Intel® Xeon® processor 6500 series
- Intel® Xeon® processor 7500 series
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v2 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v3 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v4 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v5 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v6 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 v2 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 v3 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 v4 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v2 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v3 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v4 Family
- Intel® Xeon® Processor Scalable Family
- Intel® Xeon Phi™ Processor 3200, 5200, 7200 Series
- Intel® Atom™ Processor C Series
- Intel® Atom™ Processor E Series
- Intel® Atom™ Processor A Series
- Intel® Atom™ Processor x3 Series
- Intel® Atom™ Processor Z Series
- Intel® Celeron® Processor J Series
- Intel® Celeron® Processor N Series
- Intel® Pentium® Processor J Series
- Intel® Pentium® Processor N Series
We await further updates and developments from Intel, system integrators, and motherboard partners.
Subject: Processors | January 8, 2018 - 12:00 AM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: Threadripper, ryzen, processor, price cut, cpu, CES 2018, CES, amd
AMD announced today a price drop for most of its Ryzen processor lineup, making the company's multi-core-focused parts even more competitive to Intel in terms of cost-to-performance. While not every Ryzen and Threadripper processor is seeing a price reduction, many parts are being reduced by up to 30 percent.
|Processor||Cores/Threads||Previous SEP||New SEP||Percent Reduction|
|Ryzen 7 1800X||8/16||$499||$349||-30.1%|
|Ryzen 7 1700X||8/16||$399||$309||-22.5%|
|Ryzen 7 1700||8/16||$329||$299||-9.1%|
|Ryzen 5 1600X||6/12||$249||$219||-12.0%|
|Ryzen 5 1600||6/12||$219||$189||-13.7%|
|Ryzen 5 1500X||4/8||$189||$174||-7.9%|
|Ryzen 5 2400G||4/8||$169||N/A|
|Ryzen 3 1300X||4/4||$129||$129||N/A|
|Ryzen 3 2200G||4/4||$99||N/A|
Note also in the price chart the new "G" series Ryzen APUs with integrated Radeon Vega graphics. Check pcper.com for more info on this new part.
Some of the new prices are already reflected, and in some cases reduced further, at retailers like Amazon.
To determine the new prices, AMD performed comparative price testing with its online retail partners last quarter, and determined that these new prices were the best balance between performance and value.
With second generation Ryzen processors not scheduled to launch until later this spring, the price drop not only helps AMD move existing inventory, it also keeps the company at the top of enthusiasts' minds in the midst of the fallout around the recent processor security issues, one of which primarily affects Intel processors.
Subject: Storage | January 5, 2018 - 08:45 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: RS4, RS3, patch, meltdown, KB4056892, cpu, 960 EVO, 900P, 850 EVO
While the Meltdown announcements and patches were in full swing, I was busily testing a round of storage devices to evaluate the potential negative impact of the Meltdown patch. Much of the testing we've seen has come in the form of Linux benchmarks, and today we saw a few come out on the Windows side of things. Most of the published data to date shows a ~20% performance hit to small random accesses, but I've noted that the majority of reviewers seem to be focusing on the Samsung 950/960 series SSDs. Sure these are popular devices, but when evaluating changes to a storage subsystem, it's unwise to just stick with a single type of product.
Test conditions were as follows:
- ASUS Prime Z270-A + 7700K
- C-States disabled, no overclock.
- ASUS MCE disabled, all other clock settings = AUTO.
- Intel Optane 900P 480GB (Intel NVMe driver)
- Samsung 960 EVO 500GB (Samsung NVMe driver)
- Samsung 850 EVO 500GB (Intel RST driver)
- NTFS partition.
- 16GB test file. Sequential conditioning.
- Remainder of SSD sequentially filled to capacity.
The first results come from a clean Windows Redstone 3 install compared to a clean Windows 10 Redstone 4 (build 17063), which is a fast ring build including the Meltdown patch:
The 960 EVO comes in at that same 20% drop seen elsewhere, but check out the 850 EVO's nearly 10% *increase* in performance. The 900P pushes this further, showing an over 15% *increase*. You would figure that a patch that adds latency to API calls would have a noticeable impact on a storage device offering extremely low latencies, but that did not end up being the case in practice.
Since the 960 EVO looked like an outlier here, I also re-tested it using the Microsoft Inbox NVMe driver, as well as by connecting it via the chipset (which uses the Intel RST driver). A similar drop in performance was seen in all configurations.
The second set of results was obtained later, taking our clean RS3 install and updating it to current, which at the time included the Microsoft roll-up 01-2018 package (KB4056892):
Note that the results are similar, though Optane did not see as much of a boost here. It is likely that some specific optimizations have been included in RS4 that are more beneficial to lower latency storage devices.
As a final data point, here's what our tests look like with software polling implemented:
The above test results are using an application method that effectively bypasses the typical interrupt requests associated with file transfers. Note that the differences are significantly reduced once IRQs are removed from the picture. Also note that kernel API calls are still taking place here.
Well there you have it. Some gain and some lose. Given that a far lower latency device (900P) sees zero performance hit (actually gaining speed), I suspect that whatever penalty associated with Meltdown could be easily optimized out via updates to the Windows Inbox and Samsung NVMe drivers.
Subject: General Tech | December 20, 2017 - 02:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: krzanich, Intel, cpu, gpu
Intel's recent releases have not been terribly exciting, the chips offer small incremental efficiency improvements each generation, with a few enterprise level features added which do not benefit enthusiasts. The majority of the changes have been to the sockets, something many feel Intel could have left alone. This may change, according to the memo from CEO Brian Krzanich who describes the coming years at Intel as akin to the mid-eighties when they risked everything to move from producing memory to producing CPUs and other chips. This change will not focus solely on CPUs; he intends to capitalize on the IP which Intel has acquired recently as well as branching into the mysterious GPU which has been announced. Drop by Slashdot for links.
"Anything that produces data, anything that requires a lot of computing, the vision is, we're there." The memo also underscores the dramatic change in the nature of Intel's business as it approaches its 50th anniversary in July 2018. "We're just inches away from being a 50/50 company, meaning that half our revenue comes from the PC and half from new growth markets," Krzanich wrote."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Android trojan has miner so aggressive it can bork your battery @ The Register
- Last Minute Shopping? Let the INQ Christmas Gift Guide 2017 help... @ The Inquirer
- Ubuntu 17.10 Temporarily Pulled Due To A BIOS Corrupting Problem @ Slashdot
- Facebook flashes ramped-up face-recog tech. Try not to freak out @ The Register
- Assassin's Creed IV : Black Flag Is FREE For A Limited Time! @ TechARP
Subject: Mobile | October 17, 2017 - 03:50 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: SoC, Snapdragon 636, snapdragon, qualcomm, octa-core, mobile platform, Kryo 260, Kryo, cpu, adreno, 8-core
Qualcomm's latest mobile platform is the Snapdragon 636, positioned (at least numerically) between the Snapdragon 630 and 660 introduced earlier this year, and offering a very impressive set of features for mid-range devices - even reaching parity with the Snapdragon 800-series in some respects.
Qualcomm claims CPU performance gains of up to 40% from the Kryo 260 cores in the Snapdragon 636 compared to the ARM Cortex-A53 cores found in the Snapdragon 630, and the switch to Kryo brings the new Snapdragon 636 closer to the specs of the Snapdragon 660 - also an 8-core Kryo 260 design (though the higher-numbered platform does boast slightly higher clocks from its eight CPU cores at 2.2 GHz vs. 1.8 GHz from the 636).
The Snapdragon 636 also features the same X12 LTE modem found in the existing Snapdragon 630/660, which is capable of up to 600 Mbps download speeds (3 x 20 Hz carrier aggregation, 256-QAM) and 150 Mbps peak upload (2 x 20 Hz aggregation, 64-QAM).
Graphics duties are performed by the Adreno 509, and 18:9 FHD+ displays are supported. The Snapdragon 636 also includes the Hexagon 680 DSP (which we first saw in the Snapdragon 820) with Spectra 160 ISP for supported image capture "of up to 24 megapixels with zero shutter lag while supporting smooth zoom, fast autofocus and true-to-life colors for outstanding image quality", according to Qualcomm.
This new Snapdragon 636 also offers Qualcomm's Aqstic codec (another feature inherited from the 800-series) for high-resolution audio up to 24-bit/192 kHz PCM, along with dual-oscillator support (separate clock generators for 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz based sample rates!) and a 130dB dynamic range with a very low THD+N of -109dB.
To expand on what the Aqstic codec in the SD636 provides, the separate clock generators are a fascinating addition in a world where many codecs resample the common 44.1 kHz - pretty much all digital music at or below CD quality - to 48 kHz during playback. Having a proper 44.1 kHz clock means native playback without the interpolation and subsequent filtering required when altering the original signal to an incompatible sample rate.
The Snapdragon 636 - which is both "pin and software-compatible" with existing Snapdragon 660 and 630 mobile platforms, according to Qualcomm - is expected to ship to customers beginning in November.
Subject: Processors | August 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Xeon W, xeon scalable, xeon, workstation, processor, Intel, cpu
Intel has officially announced their new workstation processor lineup, with Xeon Scalable and Xeon W versions aimed at both professional and mainstream workstation systems.
"Workstations powered by Intel Xeon processors meet the most stringent demands for professionals seeking to increase productivity and rapidly bring data to life. Intel today disclosed that the world-record performance of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors is now available for next-generation expert workstations to enable photorealistic design, modeling, artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, and virtual-reality (VR) content creation."
The first part of Intel’s product launch announcement are the new Xeon Scalable processors, first announced in July, and these are dual-socket solutions targeting professional workstations. Versions with up to 56 cores/112 threads are available, and frequencies of up to 4.20 GHz are possible via Turbo Boost. Intel is emphasising the large performance impact of upgrading to these new Xeon processors with a comparison to older equipment (a trend in the industry of late), which is relevant when considering the professional market where upgrades are far slower than the enthusiast desktop segment:
“Expert workstations will experience up to a 2.71x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system and up to 1.65x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”
The second part of announcement are new Xeon W processors, which will be part of Intel’s mainstream workstation offering. These are single-socket processors, with up to 18 cores/36 threads and Turbo Boost frequencies up to 4.50 GHz. The performance impact with these new Xeon W CPUs compared to previous generations is not as great as the Xeon Scalable processors above, as Intel offers the same comparison to older hardware with the Xeon W:
“Mainstream workstations will experience up to a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system4 and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”
Full PR is available from Intel's newsroom.
Subject: Processors | August 8, 2017 - 12:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: processor, Intel, cpu, Core, coffee lake, 8th generation core
Intel has announced a live event on August 21 to reveal the new 8th-generation Core processor family. The Facebook Live stream will be available on both Intel's Facebook page or simply by visiting the Intel Newsroom, and it begins at 8:00 PDT (11:00 EDT) on 8/21.
What exactly is being discussed? Intel provides these bullet points for the event which is to take place just before the upcoming national solar eclipse:
- Don’t be caught in the dark. Learn how the 8th Gen Intel Core processor family will offer blazing fast performance.
- Hear directly from Gregory Bryant, senior vice president of the Client Computing Group at Intel, and others about the details on the latest processor family and what it can help you do.
- Discover how immersive experiences will bring you from spectator to participant with 8th Gen Intel Core processor capabilities.
- Don’t just take our word for it. See the power of 8th Gen Intel Core technology come to life in the hands of a VR creator and imaging technologist.
- Get a sneak peek at some of the amazing system designs based on 8th Gen Intel Core processors.
- Start planning for what new 8th Gen Intel Core processor-based device to purchase in the holiday season and even before.
- Don’t worry, you won’t miss the solar eclipse. Tune in before it descends upon Oregon and the West Coast and then makes its way across the U.S.
- See how the 8th Gen Intel Core processor is designed for today and what comes next.
We will cover the event which will provide official details on the rumored Coffee Lake CPU lineup. Stay tuned!