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The race of smaller nodes is quite exciting, with Apple reporting tapping TSMC for its future 10nm processors. We could expect TSMC to handle all of Apple's future A10 processors, which should hit production towards the end of the year.
TSMC will reportedly test out at 10nm pilot line within its 12 factories located in Hsinchu, with the company already starting a semiconductor intellectual property program, where it will partner up with other clients as we get deeper into 2015. With Samsung announcing 10nm production for 2016, the South Korean giant might be falling behind its competitors.
Sources of UDN have stated that the factory locations of TSMC that are working on 10nm are incredibly important to the Taiwanese manufacturer if it wants to secure a super client like Apple. If TSMC can indeed get its 10nm node production up to scratch in time, Samsung might lose out in its future contracts to Apple for the A10 processor.
I really have to stop reading about Intel's upcoming Xeon platforms, as I'm just going to disappoint myself that I'll never own one. The chipmaker is teasing its next-gen Xeon Skylake platform: Purley. The new architecture is going to be quite the leap over the current generation, with support for 6-channel DDR4, up from the quad-channel DDR4 support we have today.
Skylake Purley will be one of the biggest updates to the Xeon platform in quite a long time, with Skylake EX Purley supporting not just 6-channel DDR4, but up to eight processors that support 28 cores per chip, too. We also have the AVX 512 instruction set that will include the 100G OmniPath interconnect.
The OmniPath interconnect is something you've probably never heard of before, which is something that will be called Storm Lake. The PCH itself will be codenamed Lewisburg, with it sporting updated Ethernet controllers. The TDP that Skylake EX Purley processors will have will be between 45W and 165W, with CPUs slotting into something called Socket P. Another major update to the platform will see the number of PCIe slots increased to 48, with x4, x8 and x16 divisions allowed, which is a big upgrade to the platform.
Intel has already teased that it will begin talking about its plans for 10nm later this year, but rival Samsung has said that it plans to ramp up its 10nm production sometime in 2016.
Samsung has confirmed that the smaller node will be in "full production" sometime in 2016, but other than that, it was very coy about its plans. With Intel expected to be the first to 10nm, its rivals are now playing catch up, with 2016 being the year of 10nm technology. TSMC isn't far behind with 10nm, either.
The South Korean electronics giant has also confirmed that its 14nm FinFET technology is being made in four foundries, with two of them located in South Korea, and two of them in the United States.
Intel has said that the development of its 10nm technology is coming along well, with the chipmaker to begin talking about its plans for the future using 10nm later in the year.
President of Intel, Renee James, said during a recent Q&A session with stockholders at Intel's annual meeting: "The 10nm development is progressing very well. You will start to see start-up cost in the second half of the year on 10nm. We will talk about the timing of [10nm] later this year - the early part of next year about when that will happen".
We don't know much about Intel and its 10nm manufacturing process, but the company is wanting to increase transistor density, while reducing per transistor cost. This is something that other companies have failed to do with their shift into 14nm and 16nm FinFET processes, but Intel will hopefully see much more success with its 10nm technology.
Samsung is currently sitting at 14nm technology inside of its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge smartphones, but we won't stay there for long if ARM has any say in the matter.
ARM is reporting set for the Ares core to hit just 10nm, something that will "reach smartphone and tablet makers by the end of next year". Ares will be here first with 10nm, but ARM is already teasing its successor: Prometheus. Prometheus will consume just 600-750mW of power, but Linley Gwenapp from analyst firm The Linley Group, believes that Ares will still have a place in the world.
Gwenapp said: "Ares core could reach smartphone and tablet makers by the end of next year. ARM is already well advanced on a next-generation high-end CPU that will follow the A72. In fact, this project is so far along that the A72 team could 'steal' some portions of the next-generation design. For example, a new floating-point unit reduces latency by 33%. The prefetcher, also from the next-gen design, improves the data-cache hit rate to boost performance. The next-gen branch predictor reduces mispredictions by 20%".
We aren't even half way through the year but we're hearing about what Intel will be releasing in the second half of 2016, according to a new leaked roadmap from the chipmaker.
Intel is expected to launch the Skylake architecture during Computex 2015 next month, something that will include the flagship Core i7-6700K processor. But what about 2016? Well, we are looking at Intel moving into their first 10nm processors with the new Cannonlake architecture, which should be an extremely low-power CPU, something that is going to really take flight in Ultrabooks. The mobile parts will come out in 10nm first, with desktop CPUs made on the 10nm arriving sometime in 2017.
Moving onto the HEDT side of things, Intel will release its next-gen High-End Desktop processor in Q3 2016 in the form of Skylake-E. Before that, we should expect Broadwell-E in Q1 2016, which will work on the current LGA 2011-3 socket. The new Skylake-E architecture will launch sometime in the second half of 2016.
Earlier this week, Samsung broke ground on its new semiconductor fabrication facility at the Godeok Industrial Complex in Pyeongtaek, Korea.
The electronics company is the No. 2 chip maker based on revenue, and it's unknown what will be specifically manufactured at the facility. Some Korean news sources say DRAM memory chips will be the focus of manufacturing, with space allowed for mobile processors depending on global demand.
The new industrial complex will have more than $14 billion invested by Samsung, which is the largest amount it has invested in a single facility.
As pointed out by TechPowerUp, "AMD is planning to play a neat branding game with Intel."
You may have noticed with the upcoming series of CPUs and APUs to be released in 2016 by AMD that there has been a branding focus switch towards naming them as the "6th Generation," just as you commonly see with Intel's new processor releases.
This change is said to be due to ease of consumer clarity and the reported fact that retail channels much prefer this method. Keeping track of which generation of processor you own, sell or build into a system is generally much easier then remembering how old your 'Piledriver' chip may be.
At an Investor Day presentation, AMD took the time to discuss its new 'Zen' CPU core architecture and made sure to mention a large performance increase on the horizon.
In these talks, AMD announced that this new chip will offer a 40 percent increase in instructions per clock (IPC) over its 'Excavator' CPU core architecture, making a massive increase in performance.
Alongside this, 'Zen' will offer simultaneous multi-threading which TechPowerUp claims "will leverage the 14 nm FinFET process." We will see these chips put to use in desktop applications at first, scheduled for a 2016 launch.
It has further been established that AMD is looking towards unifying the CPU and APU into one socket, labeling it as the AM4 and we should also expect a further release of the 7th generation of A-series APUs in the near future.
Intel has just launched its new line of Haswell-EX Xeon CPUs, which include up to 36 threads (with the 18-core model), with up to 45MB of L3 cache, depending on the model.
The flagship Xeon E7-8890 V4 processor has 18 cores (36 threads), 45MB of L3 cache (LLC) and clock speeds that float between 2.5GHz and 3.3GHz in AVX workloads, and between 2.1GHz and 3.3GHz normally. This Haswell-EX powered Xeon CPU has a massive 165W TDP, packing some 5.6 billion transistors. All of this results in a wallet-busting price of $7175 or so.
The new Haswell-EX powered Xeon platform can handle up to 24 DIMMs per socket of either DDR3 or DDR4, with a full 8S server rack capable of consuming up to 12TB of DDR4 RAM. These new systems can handle up to 32 sockets, with 8-socket systems capable of taking 12TB of RAM, too.
Intel's Haswell-EX Xeon E7 v3 processors might culminate with the $7175 version in the E7-8890 v3, but it all starts with the 'entry-level' E7-4809 v3 which features 8 cores/16 threads, 2GHz clock speed, and 20MB of LLC cache.