Fun fact: a modern smartphone has greater computational capabilities than a typical home computer from a decade ago, yet requires only a fraction of the electrical power. Okay, maybe that's not a statement we'd file under "fun", but it is definitely a fact, and smartphones are only bound to get better – faster and smarter than they've ever been before.Hardly a surprise, the boost in performance brought by each consecutive smartphone generation comes thanks to a newer and better system-on-chip solution (a.k.a. SoC). This is the "brain" of your smartphone, containing the central processing unit (GPU) and the graphics processing unit (GPU), as well as an image processor, sound output circuitry, and a small amount of super-fast memory called cache, among other goodies – all on a single piece of silicon smaller than a penny. The Snapdragon 845: what we think we knowQualcomm's next flagship Snapdragon platform, likely to be called the Snapdragon 845, could be similar to the … [Read more...] about Snapdragon 845 chip rumors and expectations: what we know so far
What central processing unit
This month Semico reduced our semiconductor growth outlook for 2015 and 2016. The slowdown is mainly due to lower sales of electronic devices such as new convertible notebooks and even smartphones. TSMC reported near-term uncertainty due to higher than seasonal inventories, customers’ cautious inventory management, along with active inventory reductions. The new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus rolled out in September with a record-breaking 13 million first week sales, due in part to an opening week that included a broader geographic area which included China. Will there be shortages during the peak holiday sales season? For more than a year, the IPI has been pointing to a better second half for 2015, but reports from the major foundries continue to indicate slower manufacturing activity and fewer units being produced. Is there a major imbalance on the horizon? Semico’s indicators point to an efficient inventory level which means if we have a good holiday season will companies begin … [Read more...] about What’s On Your Holiday Gift List?
This year more than 26 people provided predictions for 2015. Most of these came from the EDA industry, so the results may be rather biased. However, ecosystems are coming closer together in many parts of the semiconductor food chain, meaning that the EDA companies often can see what is happening in dependent industries and in the system design houses. Thus their predictions may have already resulted in their investment in tool development.The predictions are segregated into four areas: Markets, Design, Semiconductors, and Tools and Flows. In this segment predictions related to design are explored.“In electronics, years rarely offer an earth-shaking technological moment,” cautions Chi-Ping Hsu, senior vice president, chief strategy officer for EDA and chief of staff to the CEO at Cadence. “They are more likely to represent the fruits of long labor in various ways, but they can be profoundly significant.” He asks us to consider that 40 years ago, in 1975, the … [Read more...] about What Will Change In Design For 2015?
When computer scientist Jack Dongarra traveled to China in May to see the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, he was ready to be impressed. And the machine, built by the National University of Defense Technology, in Changsha, didn’t disappoint. By early June, Tianhe-2 had demonstrated a peak speed of 33.86 petaflops: some 34 million billion floating point operations per second, far more than what it needed to place first on June’s Top500, a biannual list of the fastest supercomputers, compiled and adjudicated by Dongarra and his colleagues. But Tianhe-2 isn’t just fast; it could also be a bellwether for the field of scientific supercomputing. The Intel-based machine is a hybrid that uses 32 000 multicore central processing units (CPUs) and 48 000 “coprocessors”—separate “accelerator” chips that incorporate dozens of cores that are specially designed to churn through the floating-point arithmetic operations needed for simulations of climate and … [Read more...] about What Intel’s Xeon Phi Coprocessor Means for the Future of Supercomputing
If you pay passing attention to computer news, you may have noticed in recent years that semiconductor giant AMD has been heavily pushing the term “APU.” If you are not into the nitty gritty of microarchitecture design, you may wonder what exactly an APU is, and how it relates to the similar term CPU.The core concept of an APU is blessedly simple: an APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) combines the functionality of a CPU and a GPU, two pieces of hardware found in basically any computer.The CPU (Central Processing Unit), commonly called a processor, carries out all the instructions for computer programs. Every action you take on your computer, whether running a game or simply typing a letter, must go through the CPU.The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a piece of hardware that allows a computer to render images quickly. Creating 3D images often involves complex processes like rendering polygons, mapping textures, and using complicated equations involved in animation. … [Read more...] about What’s an APU, and should you buy one for your PC?
Even though the Wii U is scheduled for release in roughly five weeks, we still know next to nothing about what Nintendo has put under the hood. Sure, we can make a few educated guesses based on what we’ve seen (and we can flood the world with plenty of uneducated guess as well), but we haven’t heard much in terms of technical specs. And by much, I mean anything at all. For all we know, the console could be so high-tech that it becomes self-aware. Then, not content to simply play Mario games with you, it will hack into NORAD and then ask if you want to play a game. When it then displays “Global Thermonuclear War,” feel free to sweat.Then the other day Nintendo’s President, Satoru Iwata gathered four of the Wii U’s engineers together for a session of his semi-regular “Iwata Asks” series, which originally began back in 2006 as a way to talk about the Wii. Since then, Iwata has occasionally chosen several employees, many of which were likely … [Read more...] about What the new Wii U specs tell us about Nintendo
Up until recently, the line between low-power ARM processors and x86 CPUs has been distinct: ARM-powered devices consisted primarily of tablets, 2-in-1 hybrids, and convertibles, while x86-powered machines were mostly laptops.It wasn’t until the advent of Windows 8 and Windows RT in 2012 that we saw a lot of crossover, with Intel Core CPUs appearing in several tablets and convertibles, such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro, as well as a handful of ARM-based PCs, such as HP’s 21-inch Slate 21 k100 All-in-One Desktop PC, which is powered by Android.In response, chip giant Intel’s primary competitor, AMD, announced recently that it will, in parallel with the company’s next-generation of x86 processors, develop its own 64-bit ARM-based CPUs, which are code named “Project SkyBridge.”The product roadmap entails, according to AMD, the creation of pin-compatible processors for either architecture that can be socketed interchangeably into one-size-fits-all … [Read more...] about What is AMD’s Project SkyBridge, and what will it do for computing?
Hewlett-Packard announced this week that it has signed a new open-source bundling license agreement with Novell to offer customers what it hopes will be simple, cost-effective Linux solutions on HP servers.The offering includes integrated open-source solutions, technical software and proactive service options that are supported and certified on HP ProLiant servers and BladeSystem technologies.With the Enterprise Linux 8-License Value Pack featuring Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, HP becomes the only major hardware vendor to offer the same enterprise Linux license packages across one-, two- or four-processor servers.The offering lowers the cost per CPU (central processing unit) regardless of whether those CPUs are single- or dual-core, physical or virtual. A single license is calculated per server rather than per image, meaning a customer can run multiple instances on virtual machines on the same physical server at no additional charge."In the last six months, HP has fortified … [Read more...] about HP, Novell Simplify Open-Source License Process
What does a systems engineer in charge of a computer network for a major medical facility do to trim expenses and administer much-needed performance medicine to mission-critical applications? In the case of Orlando's Florida Hospital, network administrators surgically removed failing proprietary software and hardware and implanted open source technology.That procedure took five years to flush out all of the costly proprietary apparatuses and phase in the replacement open source operating system and integration management software. Today, Florida Hospital is on the leading edge of network server and disaster data recovery technology and is fostering similar changes throughout its parent management network of seven hospital campuses run by the Adventist Health System (AHS) [*correction]."Our central IT department is too small, so we did this transition on our own. Now we are seeing signs of the Linux operating system spreading elsewhere in the system. The central office has a large … [Read more...] about CASE STUDY The OSS Cure for What Ails Hospital IT
Modeling Supersizing Supercomputers: What’s Next?Supercomputers excel at highly calculation-intensive tasks, such as molecular modeling and large-scale simulations, and have enabled significant scientific breakthroughs. Yet supercomputers themselves are subject to technological advancements and redesigns that allow them to keep pace with the science they support. The current vision of future supercomputers calls for them to be very heterogeneous — for example, rather than a central processing unit (CPU) with memory, disk and At the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, the Linux-based supercomputer is composed of nearly 2,000 processors. Image courtesy of DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory interconnect, the CPU will contain cores of smaller CPUs making up a larger whole — and have different types of processors, such as vectors and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The location and type of memory will be more complex … [Read more...] about Supersizing Supercomputers: What’s Next?