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When we first reported on the story of Intel moving away from socketed CPUs in 2014, most people were worried - myself included. But I did sit back and think about it in the aftermath of posting the news, and wondered if AMD would use this chance to make a move on the CPU market. Well, they have, where The Tech Report has received a nice note from AMD's Chris Hook:
AMD has a long history of supporting the DIY and enthusiast desktop market with socketed CPUs & APUs that are compatible with a wide range of motherboard products from our partners. That will continue through 2013 and 2014 with the "Kaveri" APU and FX CPU lines. We have no plans at this time to move to BGA only packaging and look forward to continuing to support this critical segment of the market.
Server admins, rejoice. AMD has updated it's Opteron line with more choices that use the updated Bulldozer core, Piledriver. The new Opteron 4300 and 3300 series of processors are destined for the mid-range and entry-level performance segments and give potential customers more choices.
In total, nine new Opteron processors were unveiled today and their specifications range from a 4-core, 25W part, the 3320E, all the way up to the 4386, an 8-core, 95W part. The highest priced Opteron to be released today is the 4376HE at $501, with most of the parts being under $400.
"The Piledriver core architecture shared by the AMD Opteron 4300 and 3300 Series processors provides optimized performance, power and price for today's customer," said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, general manager, Server Business Unit, AMD. "These new processors are ideal for cloud providers, web hosts and small- and medium-sized businesses who want to address their space and power constraints. With a simple upgrade, existing customers can obtain more performance and improved energy efficiency and new customers will obtain compelling value and ROI."
You can read the full press release and get the full details directly from AMD so that nothing is lost in translation.
Intel is on a mission to reduce the power consumption of its x86-based chips. Intel has done this through continual die-shrinks, new architectures, and the Atom processor line. The upcoming Haswell architecture is said to drop power consumption to under 10 watts, as measured by the TDP, but that isn't soon enough for tablet makers.
Intel wants to get their chips into all of the new Windows 8 tablets, but the current Ivy Bridge architecture bottoms out at 17 watts, a bit hot and battery hungry for most tablets. The Surface Pro is a rare exception and is using one of these Ivy Bridge ULV processors, but will have battery life more similar to a laptop than a tablet.
An industry insider is saying that a future Ivy Bridge revision will reduce power consumption, though the exact consumption numbers were not discussed. It's not clear when this new revision of silicon would come, but one thing is for sure, you shouldn't expect it before the end of the year.
Intel's budget line of CPUs has remained based upon the older Sandy Bridge architecture, even though Ivy Bridge has been out for over half a year now. Reports have now surfaced that these low-end CPUs will be updated to the 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture by early 2013, even as Haswell gets close to making an appearance.
The current Pentium G870, G645, and G645T will cease to be produced as Intel makes room in their line up for the Pentium G2130, G2020, and G2020T. Similarly, the Celeron G555, G550, and G550T will be phased out in favor of the new G1620, G1610, and G1610T processors.
Intel is also planning on shipping dual-core mobile Ivy Bridge chips in Q1 of 2013. Haswell is widely expected to make its debut in Q3 of 2013.
It's about time we got some competition out of China, where they're close to unveiling details on a new 8-core processor designed and developed entirely within the country of China. The new CPU is a custom design and ready to take on competitors Intel, AMD and ARM in the PC, server and supercomputer categories.
Development on the chip began over a decade ago in 2001, by Loongson Technology, a group that receives funding from the Chinese Academy of Science. The first processor they developed was the 32-bit Godson-1, which was followed by the 64-bit Godson a few years later and since then, the chips have been used in low-power notebooks since 2008. Late last year, the Shenwei supercomputer was turned on, and powered by the same design.
The latest chip out of the company is the Godson-3B1500, which sports a 1.35GHz clock speed, and is capable of performing 172.8 gigaflops of performance while chewing just 40W of power. The chip is manufactured under a 32nm process, sporting 1.14 billion transistors. Loongson CPUs aren't compatible with Microsoft's WIndows OS, which will hinder its adoption - big time. There are still plenty of places this chip is destined to reach - mobile devices being an absolutely huge market, for example.
For as long as I remember, I've loved having the ability of upgrading the CPU in my computer - back in the days of the original Pentium (and even before that), and the glory days of the Celeron 300A - the option was always there, but it could have its days numbered.
According to a report, starting with Intel's Broadwell generation of processors, Intel will only offer mainstream desktop CPUs in BGA packaging - killing upgrade options, and hurting PC makers. Starting with Broadwell, Intel's CPUs will depart the current land grid array (LGA) and micro pin grid array (µPGA) packages, and only offering chips in ball grid array (BGA) form factors, just like their Atom processors.
Japanese site, PC Watch, has said that the Haswell processors might be the last desktop chips arriving in LGA packaging. This would mean you won't be upgrading your CPU anymore, with no way of changing the CPU on the motherboard when this happens. It all begins with Broadwell in 2013, where all mainstream desktop processors being made available in BGA.
This might not sound like a threatening move by Intel, but by doing this - you're going to receive a CPU physically soldered onto your motherboard. This is no easy feat, and will be done in very sophisticated manufacturing facilities. Maybe we're going to see a throwback to the old school days of physically modding your motherboard or CPU to achieve something better - or an upgrade in this case.
Some leaked roadmaps of Intel's next-gen Atom tablet chips have been made available, teasing the new chips that will be baked into tablets in early 2014. The new chips sport quad-core CPUs, and DirectX 11-capable GPUs. All of this is built on a 22nm process, named Valley View-T.
Bay Trail-T should arrive before hand, and will be given out to OEMs to bake into their tablets. We should see these new Bay Trail-T-based devices teased at CES 2014 (we're already talking about CES 2014!!) and the main competitors should be working with ARM Cortex-A15 architecture SoCs, or NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoCs. Intel's new Bay Trail-T, when compared to its predecessor, Clover Trail, is quite impressive. Built on a 22nm process, it pushes new lower power consumption numbers, as well as increased performance. Clover Trail finds itself on the 32nm process, and its competition, the ARM Cortex-A15 being built on the 28nm process.
Moving on to Valley View-T, where we'll see Intel drop the hyper-threading capabilities, but increase the core count from two to four. Moving from a dual-core design, to a proper quad-core design should see performance improvements of around 50-60%. Backed up by a new GPU based on the HD 4000 series, as well as new LP DDR3-1067 RAM, we should expect performance to increase, big time.
If you're in the market of building a new server, folding farm, or other system in which you wish to stuff many cores, the new Opteron 6300 series of processors could be the ones you're looking for. AMD has officially launched the new series of Opteron server processors, which feature the updated Piledriver cores.
AMD is saying that performance of these new chips is up to 24 percent better than that of the Opteron 6200 processors, which are based upon the older Bulldozer architecture. Piledriver cores are an updated version of Bulldozer that look to lower power consumption, while increasing performance.
The new chips feature varying core counts, from lowly quad-cores all the way up to 16-core monsters. Clock speeds range from 1.8Ghz all the way to 3.5GHz. With Turbo Core, the max frequency of some parts will boost all the way to 3.8GHz. The majority of the parts are in the 115W TDP category with the 6386 S being a 140W part.
We all know Samsung doesn't just twiddle their thumbs after their release a flagship smartphone, where earlier this year we saw the release of the phenomenally popular Galaxy S III, and now we're seeing the rollout of the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II. These two smartphones represent just a sliver of what Samsung actually sell, and now we're hearing more talk on the Galaxy S III's successor, the Galaxy S IV.
Sources are claiming that Samsung recently produced a test version of their 28nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) processor which goes by the codename "Adonis", that will eventually be baked into their next-gen flagship smartphone. Adonis is a quad-core design, which will most likely end up with the name Exynos 5400, and uses ARM's Cortex A15 architecture. The new chip should ship with better GPU abilities, that reportedly use very little power. Samsung currently use the Cortex A15 architecture in their Exynos 5250, but that is built on the older, and less efficient 32nm process.
ARM have announced two new Cortex-A50 series chips that will bring forth 64-bit compatibilities to ARM SoCs. ARM have a bunch of licensees of the new chips including AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon, Samsung and STMicroelectronics.
ARM's press release points to two specific chips, the Cortex-A57, which is a high-performance solution that would most likely see the light of day in servers, and the second is the Cortex-A53 which has the same capabilities of the A57, but is much more power-efficient. Better yet, the two chips can be combined into the single package if needed with the A53 cores taking care of low-impact workloads and stay on while the system sits in the idle, while the A57 cranks up only when the workload requires it.
This type of processor layout is called "big.LITTLE", according to ARM, who already offer licensees the ability to pair up a Cortex-A15 CPU with a Cortex-A17 chip to receive similar results. ARM says that the new processors should scale well enough so that they get baked into smartphones, tablets, laptops and servers. Being 64-bit capable is another huge feature, but they'll also fully support 32-bit programs and operating systems, too.