Podcast #524 - NVIDIA RTX Titan, Snapdragon 855, and Logitech Racing Wheels!

Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2018 - 06:02 AM |
Tagged: thermaltake, snapdragon 855, Silverstone, qualcomm, podcast, pixel, nvidia, logitech g29, chromium

PC Perspective Podcast #524 - 12/5/2018

Our podcast this week features discusion of the new RTX Titan, Snapdragon 855, NVIDIA AI technologies, the new Google Pixel Slate, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Today's Podcast Hosts

Jim Tanous: https://twitter.com/JimTanous
Allyn Malventano: https://twitter.com/malventano
Sebastian Peak: https://twitter.com/sebastianpeak
Josh Walrath: https://twitter.com/JoshDWalrath
Jeremy Hellstrom: https://twitter.com/jeremyhellstrom
Alex Lustenberg

Show Topics

00:04:27 - Logitech G29 Racing Wheel Review
00:14:38 - NVIDIA Titan RTX
00:20:33 - Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
00:39:48 - Intel MESO
00:46:35 - Mineral Oil-Cooled Raspberry Pi
00:50:54 - Google Pixel Slate
00:55:51 - NVIDIA AI Real-World Video
01:00:59 - NVIDIA PhysX Open Source
01:03:43 - New PowerVR Chips
01:08:54 - Microsoft's Chromium Browser?
01:15:36 - SilverStone PTS Compact ATX Power Supplies
01:18:28 - Thermaltake RGB Power Supply
01:21:29 - MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Picks of the Week

Jim - Beneath a Surface
Jeremy - MSI GV62 15-inch Gaming Laptop
Josh - Logitech G29 Racing Wheel
Allyn - NovelLife Electric Screwdriver
Sebastian - MUNT Roland MT-32 Emulator for Classic Games

Source: PCPer

Qualcomm talks more Snapdragon 855 - Performance, Features, and more!

Subject: Mobile | December 5, 2018 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 855, qualcomm, kryo 485, Hexagon 690, adreno 640

After yesterday's initial announcement of the Snapdragon 855 name and teasing a few key features, today Qualcomm has gone into more detail about what makes this new SoC tick.

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Starting from the top, we have the new Kryo 485 CPU cores.

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The CPU cores found in Kryo 485 are based on arm's A75 design with some customizations by Qualcomm in regards to data prefetch, and the out-of-order execution window size. Overall, Qualcomm is claiming a 45% performance boost for the Kryo 485 compared to the Kryo cores found in the Snapdragon 845 due to IPC increase generation-to-generation.

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Moving away from the BIG.little design seen in previous Snapdragon implementations, Snapdragon 855 is now utilizing what Qualcomm is referring to as a "Prime Core." Like BIG.little, the Prime Core setup consists of a set of four performance cores and four efficiency cores. The difference comes in the Prime Core itself, which is a part of the performance cores but can achieve an even higher clock speed than the rest of the performance cores (2.84 GHz vs. 2.42GHz).

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Moving onto the GPU, we have some sizable improvements on in the Adreno 640. Qualcomm is claiming a 20% performance increase in graphics rendering when compared to the Adreno 630 GPU found in Snapdragon 835. 

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Another area of focus is sustained performance. Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon 855 with Adreno 640 graphics provides a much more consistent performance outlook than other competitor's SoCs built on 7nm (likely Apple and Huawei).

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On the AI front, Qualcomm has made some major changes with what they are referring to as their “4th generation AI engine.” The AI engine consists of the Kryo CPU cores, Adreno GPU cores, and the all-new Hexagon 690 DSP.

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The Hexagon 690 DSP has gone through an overhaul, introducing Tensor processing units for the first time as well as performance increases for the scalar and vector cores.

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Developers will be able to target all of the AI engine through the use of integration with Google’s NN API on Android to help simplify picking the right hardware for a given AI task.

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In addition to the AI capabilities found in the AI engine, there have been some major changes to the Spectra Image Signal Processor (ISP) to enable AI workloads on photos and videos with major power savings.

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Touted as the world’s first “Computer Vision” ISP, the Spectra 380 provides some exciting capabilities without having to use the AI engine. For example, Snapdragon 855 thanks to the new Spectra 380 will not only be capable of “Portrait mode” photos as we’ve seen in many smartphones but now will be able to process the same portrait effect real-time for video, up to 4K HDR 60FPS.

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Some other capabilities of the CV-enabled Spectra ISP include object detection, which can be used for things such as real-time background replacement, in which you’ll be able to see the effect rendered in the preview window of your camera app, before even taking the photo.

Also on the Spectra side of things, Qualcomm is looking to make some changes on the image capture front, namely in the file format. While most Android phones currently use JEPG to capture images, Qualcomm with Snapdragon 855 is touting the advantages of the newer High-Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format.

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HEIF not only improves file sizes by using an encoding pattern based on H265, but also enables some exciting new metadata for things like HDR color data, Depth data, and multiple focal points. This new common metadata format should help software adoption of some of these new camera features.

While Apple has been using HEIF for a few years now in iOS, Qualcomm says they are merely using it for the file size savings, and not taking advantage of these new extensions.

Ultimately, this change will still lie in the software and phone vendors, so it remains to be seen if we’ll see large-scale adoption of HEIF as phones start to ship with Snapdragon 855 next year.

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As Qualcomm focused on yesterday, Snapdragon 855 will also be the platform that enables the first 5G capable phones, set to hit the market in the first half of 2019 from vendors such as Samsung. While the Snapdragon 855 will have to be paired with an additional modem in the form of Snapdragon X50 to achieve 5G, the integrated X24 modem still has some new connectivity features up its sleeve.

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The primary upgrade in the Snapdragon X24 modem is the ability to go beyond Gigabyte LTE, with speeds of up to 2Gbps on LTE networks through the use of technologies like 7 Carrier Aggregation and 20 LTE layers. Techniques like these should help bridge the gap between 4G and 5G while 5G networks are being built out and coverage is sparse.

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On the Wi-Fi front, the Snapgradon X24 modem in Snapdragon 855 will be capable of both Wifi-6 (802.11ax) as well as 60GHz 802.11ay (the successor to 802.11ad). However, it will depend on the handset manufacturers as to whether or not these technologies are implemented in the RF and antenna design stages.

Overall, Snapdragon 855 looks to be a promising upgrade over the previous Snapdragon 845 in many areas. Stay tuned for more news from the Snapdragon Tech Summit, including tomorrow's focus of always on always connected PCs featuring Snapdragon SoCs.

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 855, enabling 5G connectivity

Subject: Mobile | December 4, 2018 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: sub-6, snapdragon 855, qualcomm 3d sonic sensor, qualcomm, mmWave, 5g nr

Today during their Day 1 keynote at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm has revealed some initial details of their next-generation Snapdragon 855 mobile platform.

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The biggest focus of Snapdragon 855 lies in the connectivity. Paired with the Snapdragon x50 5G modem, Snapdragon 855 will be the first available product to support even faster LTE networks, but also will enable true 5G NR mmWave and Sub-6 GHz radio technology.

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Combined, sub-6 connectivity for wide area coverage, mmWave technology for very high bandwidth applications, as well as high-speed LTE, represent the full breadth of the 3GPP 5G NR standard for mobile connectivity.

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In addition to the hardware support in Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm also discussed today worldwide carrier rollout plans for 5G technology in 2019, including commitments from all four major US carriers for both Sub-6 and mmWave networks.

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In addition, Samsung has announced they will be shipping their first 5G-enabled smartphone, powered by Snapdragon 855, in the first half of 2019.

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Other exciting aspects of Snapdragon 855 include the new 4th generation AI engine, consisting of the CPU, GPU, and Hexagon DSP, with claims of up to 3x the performance of Snapdragon 845 in certain AI workloads.

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The Image Signal Processing part of the Snapdragon 855 also sees an update. Qualcomm is touting the ISP as able to do advanced Computer Vision techniques directly on the ISP, without having to use traditional CPU or GPU resources. This will bring massive power savings to operations such as object detection and background replacement.

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Also announced today is the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor, what Qualcomm is billing as the world’s first ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for under display applications. As opposed to the optical solutions we see in shipping phones today, this new ultrasonic sensor should bring more speed and accuracy to under display fingerprint sensors.

Things are just getting started here at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit, so stay tuned this week for more information on topics such as 5G, Snapdragon 855, and Qualcomm-powered always on always connected PCs!

Source: Qualcomm

Samsung Completes Development of 7nm Process Technology

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2018 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 855, Semiconductor, Samsung, qualcomm, process tech, lithography, euv, 7nm, 5nm

According to an article on sedaily.com (translated) Samsung is almost six months ahead of schedule with its 7nm EUV process technology and has managed to complete the development phase as well as secure its first customer in Qualcomm. Samsung is pushing hard and fast with its process technology as it competes with TSMC and other semiconductor foundries and has invested $6 billion in a dedicated EUV line at its foundry in Hwaseong, Korea that is slated for completion in the second half of next year with production ramp-up in 2020.

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Reportedly, Samsung's first 7nm product will be a 7nm LPP (low power plus) node achieved using Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography or EUV. Samsung has set up production conditions and finalized the development of the 7nm EUV process on its Hwaseong S3 line which is located near the future site of the dedicated EUV line mentioned above. The engineers and designers that developed the 7nm process and production line have reportedly shared the design database and methodologies necessary to begin sample production for customers and have moved onto to developing Samsung's 5nm process (which is still in the early stages). Getting the EUV process up and running is an impressive feat and the expertise that Samsung is gaining will be a major breakthrough in the barrier to entry of single-digit nanometer processes.

Samsung has managed to build out 10 extreme ultraviolet lithography units and is allegedly on track to produce the Snapdragon 855 for Qualcomm towards the end of this year or early next year on its new low power 7nm process node. Note that previous reports suggested TSMC would be producing the Snapdragon 855 with SDX50 5G modem so we may have to wait to see how TSMC responds in readying production this year for confirmation on who ultimately wins Qualcomm's orders. As the node number are a bit of marketing speak (they can pick the features they want to measure for the marketing to an extent heh), Samsung notes that its 7nm process can produce dies about 40% smaller than its 10nm process. Further, the smaller process can offer 10% more performance or up to 35% more power efficiency at the same level of performance which will be a huge boost to mobile processors and products! Thanks to the smaller process node, smartphone and tablet manufacturers could produce devices with similar dimensions but larger batteries or thinner devices with the same amount of portable power (I'd vote the former, smartphones are already very thin).

Samsung hopes to press on and complete the development of its 5nm process next year and once the dedicated EUV line in Hwaseong is fully up and running in 2020 the company plans to start mass producing products for its customers on 7nm, 6nm, and 5nm processes!

In all, this is very good news for Samsung and the wider market in general as it will add competition and encourage TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and even Intel (with its semi-custom stuff) to continue advancing what is possible and developing and refining the EUV and other even more exotic process technology methods that will be necessary for the extremely complicated and difficult problems they will face in moving beyond 5nm into 3nm and smaller nodes! We are definitely getting to a point where we will within the next decade have to figure out the once-impossible or reinvent the way we process information (e.g. quantum computing) to get things to go any faster. I am very excited and interested to see where the semiconductor industy and global computing as a whole will go from here!

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Source: SE Daily