Subject: Processors | January 24, 2016 - 12:19 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Tigerlake, rumor, report, processor, process node, Intel, Icelake, cpu, Cannonlake, 10 nm
A report from financial website The Motley Fool discusses Intel's plan to introduce three architectures at the 10 nm node, rather than the expected two. This comes after news that Kaby Lake will remain at the present 14 nm, interrupting Intel's 2-year manufacturing tech pace.
(Image credit: wccftech)
"Management has told investors that they are pushing to try to get back to a two-year cadence post-10-nanometer (presumably they mean a two-year transition from 10-nanometer to 7-nanometer), however, from what I have just learned from a source familiar with Intel's plans, the company is working on three, not two, architectures for the 10-nanometer node."
Intel's first 10 nm processor architecture will be known as Cannonlake, with Icelake expected to follow about a year afterward. With Tigerlake expected to be the third architecture build on 10 nm, and not coming until "the second half of 2019", we probably won't see 7 nm from Intel until the second half of 2020 at the earliest.
It appears that the days of two-year, two product process node changes are numbered for Intel, as the report continues:
"If all goes well for the company, then 7-nanometer could be a two-product node, implying a transition to the 5-nanometer technology node by the second half of 2022. However, the source that I spoke to expressed significant doubts that Intel will be able to return to a two-years-per-technology cycle."
(Image credit: The Motley Fool)
It will be interesting to see how players like TSMC, themselves "planning to start mass production of 7-nanometer in the first half of 2018", will fare moving forward as Intel's process development (apparently) slows.
Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2016 - 12:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, intel driver update utility, security
The Intel Driver Update Utility is not the most commonly found application on PCs but someone you know may have stumbled upon it or had it installed by Geek Squad or the local equivalent. Since Windows Vista the tool has been available, it checks your system for any Intel parts, from your APU to your NIC and then looks for any applicable drivers that are available. Unfortunately it was doing so over a non-SSL URL which leaves the utility wide open to a man in the middle attack and you really do not want a compromised NIC driver. The Inquirer reports today that Intel quietly updated the tool on January 19th to resolve the issue, ensuring all communication and downloads are over SSL. If you know anyone using this tool, recommend they update it immediately.
"Intel has issued a fix for a major security vulnerability in a driver utility tool that could have allowed a man-in-the-middle attack and a malware maelstrom on victims' computers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Eighteen year old server trumped by functional 486 fleet! @ The Register
- Solus Project: No Longer Just A Chrome OS Alternative @ Linux.com
- Google Chrome is getting a speed boost of up to 25 percent - and soon @ The Inquirer
- E-Mail Spam Goes Artisanal @ Slashdot
- Facebook Messenger: All your numbers are belong to us @ The Register
- IRS 'inadvertently' wiped hard drive Microsoft demanded in audit row @ The Register
- Synaptics IronVeil Fingerprint Security Technology @ eTeknix
- Through The Looking Glass - Questions Of VR's Viability On The PC @ Techgage
Subject: General Tech | January 20, 2016 - 07:06 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, ue4, nvidia, Intel, gdc 2016, GDC, epic games, DirectX 12, Codemasters, arm, amd
The 30th Game Developers Conference (GDC) will take place on March 14th through March 18th, with the expo itself starting on March 16th. The sessions have been published at some point, with DX12 and Vulkan prominently featured. While the technologies have not been adopted as quickly as advertised, the direction is definitely forward. In fact, NVIDIA, Khronos Group, and Valve have just finished hosting a developer day for Vulkan. It is coming.
One interesting session will be hosted by Codemasters and Intel, which discusses bringing the F1 2015 engine to DirectX 12. It will highlight a few features they implemented, such as voxel based raytracing using conservative rasterization, which overestimates the size of individual triangles so you don't get edge effects on pixels that are partially influenced by an edge that cuts through a tiny, but not negligible, portion of them. Sites like Game Debate (Update: Whoops, forgot the link) wonder if these features will be patched in to older titles, like F1 2015, or if they're just R&D for future games.
Another keynote will discuss bringing Vulkan to mobile through Unreal Engine 4. This one will be hosted by ARM and Epic Games. Mobile processors have quite a few cores, albeit ones that are slower at single-threaded tasks, and decent GPUs. Being able to keep them loaded will bring their gaming potential up closer to the GPU's theoretical performance, which has surpassed both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, sometimes by a factor of 2 or more.
Many (most?) slide decks and video recordings are available for free after the fact, but we can't really know which ones ahead of time. It should be an interesting year, though.
Subject: Processors | January 17, 2016 - 02:20 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Windows 8.1, Windows 7, windows 10, Skylake, microsoft, kaby lake, Intel, Bristol Ridge, amd
Microsoft has not been doing much to put out the fires in comment threads all over the internet. The latest flare-up involves hardware support with Windows 7 and 8.x. Currently unreleased architectures, such as Intel's Kaby Lake and AMD's Bristol Ridge, will only be supported on Windows 10. This is despite Windows 7 and Windows 8.x being supported until 2020 and 2023, respectively. Microsoft does not believe that they need to support older hardware, though.
This brings us to Skylake. These processors are out, but Microsoft considers them “transition” parts. Microsoft provided PC World with a list of devices that will be gjven Windows 7 and Windows 8.x drivers, which enable support until July 17, 2017. Beyond that date, only a handful of “most critical” updates will be provided until the official end of life.
I am not sure what the cut-off date for unsupported Skylake processors is, though; that is, Skylake processors that do not line up with Microsoft's list could be deprecated at any time. This is especially a problem for the ones that are potentially already sold.
As I hinted earlier, this will probably reinforce the opinion that Microsoft is doing something malicious with Windows 10. As Peter Bright of Ars Technica reports, Windows 10 does not exactly have an equivalent in the server space yet, which makes you wonder what that support cycle will be like. If they can continue to patch Skylake-based servers in Windows Server builds that are derived from Windows 7 and Windows 8.x, like Windows Server 2012 R2, then why are they unwilling to port those changes to the base operating system? If they will not patch current versions of Windows Server, because the Windows 10-derived version still isn't out yet, then what will happen with server farms, like Amazon Web Services, when Xeon v5s are suddenly incompatible with most Windows-based OS images? While this will, no doubt, be taken way out of context, there is room for legitimate commentary about this whole situation.
Of course, supporting new hardware on older operating systems can be difficult, and not just for Microsoft at that. Peter Bright also noted that Intel has a similar, spotty coverage of drivers, although that mostly applies to Windows Vista, which, while still in extended support for another year, doesn't have a significant base of users who are unwilling to switch. The point remains, though, that Microsoft could be doing a favor for their hardware vendor partners.
I'm not sure whether that would be less concerning, or more.
Whatever the reason, this seems like a very silly, stupid move on Microsoft's part, given the current landscape. Windows 10 can become a great operating system, but users need to decide that for themselves. When users are pushed, and an adequate reason is not provided, they will start to assume things. Chances are, it will not be in your favor. Some may put up with it, but others might continue to hold out on older platforms, maybe even including older hardware.
Other users may be able to get away with Windows 7 VMs on a Linux host.
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2016 - 12:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, earnings
Even with the difficulties the PC market encountered over 2015 Intel still managed to make a good sized profit. Compared to Q4 of 2014 their profits shrank a mere 1% down to $8.76bn, a feat unequalled by other silicon slingers as the entire market shrunk by about 10%. Their data centre group provided the most impressive results, a 5% increase in revenue likely spurred by the growth of hosting providers for the various Clouds which formed or grew over the past year. The Inquirer also points out the release of the sixth generation of the Core family of processors certainly didn't hurt them either.
"INTEL HAS POSTED strong quarterly profits in its fourth quarter earnings, revealing results that were higher than Wall Street was expecting despite a tough year for the PC market."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers! @ The Register
- The Day Netflix Blocked My VPN is the world's new most-hated show @ The Register
- Android Banking Malware SlemBunk Part of Well-Organized Campaign @ Slashdot
Subject: Motherboards | January 14, 2016 - 08:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: unlocked, overclocking, oc, LGA 1151, Intel K series, Intel, evga, bios, BCLK
An upcoming BIOS update for EVGA Z170 motherboards to allow BCLK overclocking on non-K Intel processors.
The news came from EVGA Product Manager Jacob Freeman via Twitter this afternoon:
New Z170 BIOS for BCLK OC'ing on non K CPU's coming right up
— Jacob Freeman (@EVGA_JacobF) January 15, 2016
Update: The new BIOS 1.07 enabling non-K BLCK OC is now available from EVGA.
We have been following the story of BCLK overclocking of locked Skylake CPUs since early last month, when Techspot published benchmarks from an Intel Core i3-6100 clocked at 4.70 GHz - thanks to a pre-release ASRock BIOS. The BIOS has since been released, and other vendors are updating their Z170 motherboards to support these locked processors as well, the latest being EVGA.
It remains to be seen if Intel will have anything to say about their cheaper "locked" processors becoming more attractive to potential overclockers, as the unlocked K parts have provided a nice profit margin for the company. So far, board partners are moving forward seemingly unimpeded with the updates to remove the overclocking limitations, and that's great news for enthusiasts.
Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2016 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, drone, wearables, realsense, DOMINATION
Intel is planning on getting inside a wider variety of pants, as well as drones and robots in the very near future, diversifying out of a PC market which has not been growing at an attractive place for over a year. They certainly have the budget to do so as well as several technologies which will give them powerful leverage in those markets. One example that immediately leaps to mind is selling drones with Intel RealSense sensors installed, the extra functionality that would be added to the drone would be impressive. Intel's Curie SoC will be found in eyeglasses and clothing in the not too distant future and they have partnered with robot manufacturers to ensure their chips will compatible with the wide variety of operating systems used in controlling robots. You can glean more about their plans over at The Register.
"The need to control not just the processor itself, but the whole surrounding software and connectivity platform, was very clear in Intel’s launches and keynotes a last week's Consumer Electronics Show."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel Skylake delays, Win10 and stock glut blamed for Q4 PC sales shrinkage @ The Register
- Nest software bug forces thermostat offline, leaving users in the cold @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft starts offering Windows 10 upgrade pop-ups to SMB customers @ The Inquirer
- Pro-Level Video Editing with LightWorks on Linux @ Linux.com
- Snapper: SUSE's Ultimate Btrfs Snapshot Manager @ Linux.com
- Using Over 3000A to Rapidly Charge an iPhone @ Hack a Day
- 3D Printing Metal from Rust @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | January 11, 2016 - 03:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Skylake, bug
You may remember the infamous Pentium FDIV bug, which could cause the wrong decimal results to be given in an answer to complex mathematical calculations which caused much consternation among scientists in the early 90's. Now there is a new bug to remember, found on Skylake processors, which can cause the processor to freeze during complex calculations such as you would do in Prime95 or if you contribute to the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search project. The issue has been replicated on both Windows and Linux systems and on different motherboards, signifying that the issue does indeed come from the CPU. While having a freeze is certainly better than getting an incorrect result, it is still inconvenient and we hope that Intel's BIOS update will arrive soon. You can follow the detection and investigation of the bug and what is being done over at The Register.
"The good news is that the bug's triggered by complex workloads. It was turned up by prime number experts the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), who use Intel machines to identify and test new large prime numbers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New AMDGPU Details & Looking Forward To Major Radeon Linux Improvements In 2016 @ Phoronix
- HTC Vive VR headset will be available to pre-order from 29 February @ The Inquirer
- Linux 4.4 kernel emerges with better support for Intel Skylake and Raspberry Pi @ The Inquirer
- Nvidia GPUs Can Leak Data From Google Chrome's Incognito Mode @ Slashdot
- Flat Camera Uses No Lens @ Hack a Day
- AVM FRITZ!Box 3490 AC1750 Gigabit Modem Router Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2016 - 03:45 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, Intel, compute stick
On the high end, in terms of Compute Sticks at least, two products are available. At the low end of the two, a Core m3 processor will be present, and Windows 10 will be pre-installed for $399. The high-end variant will have a faster Core m5 processor, but no pre-installed OS for $499. It seems odd that a choice in SoC will be tied to the OS, but I'm guessing the Intel doesn't want to have too many SKUs for a potentially low-volume product.
Regardless of the above choice, both Core M-level Compute Sticks, above, have 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, HDMI, and 3x USB ports. They also have Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.1 for wireless connectivity.
Beyond the above two products, a low end, Intel Atom-based Compute Stick is available. Just one SKU will be available, though. It has the same Intel Atom x5-Z8300 that was present on the Zotac PC Stick. It also has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, HDMI, and 2x USB ports. It has Wireless AC, but Bluetooth 4.0 (instead of the Core M version's 4.1). It will be available for $159.
Release dates are not announced, but the Atom-based Compute Sticks are in production, and the Core M-based one will enter production next month.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | January 8, 2016 - 02:38 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, kaby lake, linux, mesa
Quick post about something that came to light over at Phoronix. Someone noticed that Intel published a handful of PCI device IDs for graphics processors to Mesa and libdrm. It will take a few months for graphics drivers to catch up, although this suggests that Kaby Lake will be releasing relatively soon.
It also gives us hints about what Kaby Lake will be. Of the published batch, there will be six tiers of performance: GT1 has five IDs, GT1.5 has three IDs, GT2 has six IDs, GT2F has one ID, GT3 has three IDs, and GT4 has four IDs. Adding them up, we see that Intel plans 22 GPU devices. The Phoronix post lists what those device IDs are, but that is probably not interesting for our readers. Whether some of those devices overlap in performance or numbering is unclear, but it would make sense given how few SKUs Intel usually provides. I have zero experience in GPU driver development.