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CES 2016 - In a meeting room at Intel's CES 2016 Mega-Booth, I had a chance to go hands-on with Intel's latest small and tiny form factor PC offerings. This includes the new line-up of Compute Sticks, the latest 4th generation NUCs, and a secret NUC which we reported on last month called Skull Canyon.
The new lineup of Intel Compute Sticks is said to be night and day compared to the original model, which many agree has limited applications outside turning dumb-TVs into smart-TVs with a Windows OS. The original compute stick fell short in a few tasks, and Intel has worked to remedy these pitfalls. For starters, the entry Compute Stick, based on a Cherry Trail SoC, will have much more powerful graphics. One issue with the original was that the fan would turn on if it was stuck behind a TV after about 15-30 minutes of streaming, but Intel focused heavily on improving the graphics processor, so tasks such as streaming do not make the SoC work too much harder.
Intel has also introduced more powerful Core m3 and Core m5 (with vPro) variants, which they hope, will satisfy the demands for digital signage. All three new Compute Sticks address the slow Wireless N WIFI on the original with 2x2 Wireless AC. All three variants will also have a microSD card slot for storage expansion.
A bug in Intel Skylake processors has been discovered by the hardwareluxx.de community and passed onto mathematicians at Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), who have tested and confirmed it with Intel.
"Intel has identified an issue that potentially affects the 6th Gen Intel Core family of products," they say. "This issue only occurs under certain complex workload conditions, like those that may be encountered when running applications like Prime95. In those cases, the processor may hang or cause unpredictable system behaviour."
Online retail giant Amazon will soon sell its own brand of silicon on its digital storefront.
According to reports from Bloomberg, Amazon will start selling its own custom platform-on-chip and semiconductor line as part of its move into the data-center market.
The chips--called Alpine--are based on ARM's 32-bit v7 and 64-bit v8 chips, and are being manufactured by the Israel-based Annapurna Labs facility which Amazon acquired in January 2015 for an estimated $360 million. The Seattle-based retailer purchased the facility to bolster its Amazon Web Services and fold in IC technology into its ever-expanding brand.
A doctorate thesis co-authored by one of AMD's higher up graphics engineers Mike Mantor has revealed a new Zen APU with some tantalizing features.
The key takeaways are High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) and 128GB/s bandwidth, but there's also the Onion3, a next-gen interconnect said to be fully memory coherent and capable of 50GB/s total bandwidth, and some notes about more graphics compute units (CUs), so you can assume a larger onboard GPU.
Last we heard, Zen APUs were said to come in 2017, but this sighting may mean plans have changed and they could arrive sooner.
Intel has just finished their acquisition of Altera, another chip designer that focuses on FPGA's, for a whopping $16.7 billion. This is one of the largest acquisitions that Intel has ever made, and is one that is designed to allow them to compete in a variety of new areas without having to completely reinvent the wheel.
FPGA cards have become highly useful for some industries, particularly the financial sector, for intense computational tasks. Drop-in cards that bypass the host machine and are connected directly to the network via an RJ45 connection. This'll allow them to enter that highly specialized market with products that are already developed. They also want to use this to help with their presence with connected devices and the Internet of Things.
In regards to the acquisition, Intel said that "We will apply Moore's Law to grow today's FPGA business, and we'll invent new products that make amazing experiences of the future possible â€" experiences like autonomous driving and machine learning." Intel continues by explaining that "In addition to strengthening the existing FPGA business, PSG will work closely with Intel's Data Center Group and IoT Group to deliver the next generation of highly customized, integrated products and solutions."
Intel has released a new driver for its 6th gen Core, Core M, and related Pentium processors used in combination with Intel HD Graphics 510, 515, 520, 530, Intel Iris Graphics 540, or Intel Iris Graphics 550. Note this should include all Surface Pro 4 models.
The purpose of the driver is to fix various graphics corruption, display flickering, and stability issues. Hit the source for the full details and the download.
AMD's next-gen AM4 platform is beginning to take shape, with the Bristol Ridge-based family of CPUs and APUs appearing on the Zauba shipping database.
The leaked processors have been sent over to AMD's testing facilities in India, with one batch being the quad-core APU prototypes with a 65W TDP, while the other batch are quad-core CPUs with the same 65W TDP. Both the CPUs and APUs were shipped in late October, with the new AM4-based motherboard shipping on November 16. You'll notice that the motherboard was shipping with "FOC" stamped on it, which stands for Full Operational Capacity - meaning the AM4 motherboard is ready for action.
AMD's new Bristol Ridge parts will allow for DDR4 support, with big performance-per-watt gains, and more.
AMD is working on what it refers to as Zen+ and Zen follow-on CPUs: new generations of CPUs all set to arrive within the next three to five years, each aimed at satisfying high-end customers.
The news was announced by AMD CEO Lisa Su at the 19th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this week. While the company has previously indicated there would be more to come from Zen, it was all very vague and lacking a concrete timeline as we have now.
If you're currently rocking a non-K Intel Skylake processor and are interested in doing a little overclocking of your own, ASRock might just be the next motherboard manufacturer for you.
Providing what ASRock has named in its recently issued press release as "a nice Christmas present for the overclocking community named SKY OC," this new SKY OC technology means that you're able to update your BIOS through the official ASRock website and play around with overclocking values on various Intel Z170 chipset processors, including Intel i7, i5, i3 and Pentium chips.
This update has been tested in-house on an Intel Core i5-6400 processor, with MSI engineers being able to push a 60% frequency boost out of the chip, sitting on an ASRock Z170 Pro4 motherboard. As with most great news, there are also some minor negatives, explained by this Taiwanese manufacturer as coming in two forms. Firstly, the Intel onboard graphics will be disabled when SKY OC is running, meaning you'll have to run a video card, in addition to the CPU Turbo Ratio and C-State becoming disabled when using this new technology.
Recently we reported that Intel Skylake processors were bending under the pressure of some after market coolers, urging a few select manufaturers to issue press releases addressing the issue as a whole.
In another advancement, MSI has announced what it calls 'CPU Guard 1151', designed as a tool that is placed around your socket and "strengthens the corners to withstand more vertical pressure," suitable for Intel 6th Generation processors, including Intel Xeon E3 v5, Core, Pentium and Celeron models.
While MSI claimed in its press release that this new technology "was used during an overclocking event, helping top overclockers push their Skylake CPU to the max, breaking world records," there isn't any substantial information provided about the product just yet. We'll let you know if there is further published information on how you can buy this product for yourself, or if it will come pre-attached to new MSI motherboards.