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Intel really wants to cosy up to Apple, with CEO Paul Otellini having made it very clear to investors and reporters that the chip-making company will continue to angle more business from Apple in mobile devices, with his mission to "ensure our silicon is so compelling [that] they can't ignore us".
Intel already have a strong relationship with Apple as they're the ones baking processors in all of Apple's desktop and notebook products, but Intel want to replace the ARM-based processors that you'll find in Apple's mobile lineup.
If we rewind a few years, we would have found stories of the iPod and iPhone architect Tony Fadell threatening to quite Apple in 2006 if the company had chosen to go with Intel for their forthcoming iPhone, where CEO Steve Jobs had actually favored. Intel's offerings at the time were not energy-efficient enough, but this was 2006 after all.
There has been a lot of debate back and forth about whether or not Ivy Bridge's "slight" heat problem is caused by Intel's choice to not use solder to attach the IHS to the core. Originally, people were blaming the higher density of the transistors, due to the 22nm process, for the heat issue. Then, someone decided to de-lid the chip and found TIM instead of solder.
First, let me recommend you not remove the IHS from your chip as it could damage your chip, not to mention it voids your warranty. Besides, someone else has already done it for you along with the testing needed to prove that the heat issue is due to the TIM used by Intel. Impress PC Watch wiped off Intel's TIM and replaced it with OCZ's Freeze Extreme and Coollaboratory's Liquid Pro to see the difference.
The results? As you can expect from the title of this news post, the TIM choice that Intel made did in fact yield higher temperatures. Load temperatures at stock settings results in an 8*C and 11*C drop in temperatures which is a pretty big change. Overclocking the chip to 4.6GHz resulted in even bigger differences: 15*C for the OCZ TIM and 20*C for the Coollaboratory TIM.
True, these also used a massive air cooler, but the results should be similar with any air cooler, just higher temps for all tests. Intel really dropped the ball here as these aren't low-end CPUs, these are unlocked, overclocking beasts. It would have been a marginal cost for a huge benefit.
With the Trinity APU launch coming soon, leaks will be coming more frequently and with more credibility. The leak today is from AMD's website itself (the file has since been removed) in the form of a PDF file which had some characteristics such as model numbers and graphics performance of the upcoming APUs.
The part of interest is the graph of the upcoming APUs' graphics performance relative to Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs. Why not Ivy Bridge? Well, the Trinity APUs shown in the graphic are embedded options and Intel hasn't launched any Ivy Bridge embedded options so this is a more apples-to-apples comparison.
What the graph shows is that the AMD R-464L has 206%, and the R-272F has 145% better performance than Intel i7-2710QE embedded chip in 3DMark 06 and Vantage v1.1.0 applications. However, that Intel chip is using the HD 3000 graphics which is noticeably slower than the HD 4000 graphics of Ivy Bridge.
Other specifications and features of the chips were not given, but with some digging, and educated guessing, it's reasonable to expect that the R-464L is a quad-core APU with HD 7660G graphics. The R-272F is likely a dual-core part featuring HD 7400G or 7500G graphics. The launch of Trinity is supposed to occur May 15, according to one source.
On June 3, Intel plans to launch some cheaper dual-core Ivy Bridge-based CPUs, prices of these new chips will range between $225 and $346. We're also looking at two Core i7 options, the first being the Core i7-3520M which clocks in at 2.9GHz with a turbo frequency of 3.6GHz, 4MB of L3 cache, a 35W TDP and pricing of $346.
The second Core i7 offering, the Core i7-3667U retains the same L3 cache, but mixes up the clock speed to 2GHz, with a turbo frequency of 3.2GHz, but we have a big change in the TDP, just 17W, it also retains the same $346 pricing.
The three Core i3 offerings are split into 2 options, one of them with a 17W TDP, the remaining two with 35W TDPs. The first one, Core i5-3320M has a clock speed of 2.6GHz, turbo at 3.3GHz, 3MB of L3 cache and a price of $225, the second, Core i5-3360M has a frequency of 2.8GHz, turbo up to 3.5GHz, the same L3 cache amount, but a price of $266. The final Core i5-3427U has a clock speed of 1.8GHz, turbo at 2.8GHz, 3MB L3 cache, and a 17W TDP, its price is set at $225.
If you thought the dual-core processor in your smart device was fast, I bet you thought the quad-core processors we're seeing in smart devices like the Samsung GALAXY S III which sports the Exynos 4 Quad is impressive, well, not so much.
TSMC have just announced a 28nm ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor which can run at over 3GHz. These processors are from the high performance for mobile applications (HPM) process node, but will also be made to operate at lower speeds between 1.5GHz and 2.0GHz, for less demanding user markets. The high performance chips are to be baked into tablets, mobile products and networking applications.
TSMC has said that the resulting SoC designs will have the lowest PPA landmark (which is a ratio measure of power to area) available in the market. When compared to the 40nm TSMC-made ARM chips, Cliff Hou, TSMC Vice President of R&D has said:
At 3.1 GHz this 28HPM dual-core processor implementation is twice as fast as its counterpart at TSMC 40nm under the same operating conditions. This work demonstrates how ARM and TSMC can satisfy high performance market demands. With other implementation options, 28 HPM is also highly suited for a wide range of markets that prize performance and power efficiency.
If for some reason you just can't wait for the official announcement of the upcoming Trinity platform, then do I have some good news for you. Chinese site EXPreview has supposedly come across AMD presentation slides which detail the upcoming APU. The slides do look to be legitimate as some of the details match what AMD has already released.
AMD has already made public that the new Trinity APU will feature the updated Bulldozer CPU cores dubbed Piledriver. The slides purport that the new cores will process more instructions per clock while leaking less power. The APUs are set to come in dual- and quad-core versions that range from 2.0GHz to 3.8GHz. The TDP appears to top out at 100W.
The lower clock speeds are partially expected due to the fact that the CPU shares its die with a powerful graphics processor. Speaking of the graphics processor, the GPU included on die has up to 384 ALUs which can clock all the way up to 800MHz. The GPU appears that it takes up over half of the silicon die.
The die is, if the slides are right, 246mm2, which is slightly bigger than Llano and quite a bit larger than Ivy Bridge, even though Ivy Bridge has more transistors. This is because Ivy Bridge is built on a 22nm process whereas the new Trinity APU will be built using a 32nm SOI process. Once the official launch date comes, we will be able to confirm this information. Stay tuned.
Last week, we reported on the Ivy Bridge high temperatures, and whether it was because Intel used TIM instead of solder on the IHS, but now things seem to have changed. A PC EVA forum member has used a Core i7 3770K processor, slapped a Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler and Prolimatech PK-1 thermal grease, and has tested the chip with and without the IHS on to see if there was a difference with thermal performance.
They used AIDA64 Extreme Edition for idle and load average temperature monitoring, with Prime95 smashing the CPU to generate load. Testing was done at 4.5Ghz with 1.2V on the core. The results?
As we can see, even with the cheaper thermal paste and the IHS layer removed, the cooling performance is relatively unchanged. This also allows a 5-percent margin of error. This is another piece of evidence to show that the heating performance is nothing to do with the IHS, by most likely something to do with Ivy Bridge's revised manufacturing process. This means that an Ivy Bridge should reach lower stable 24/7 clock speeds than a Sandy Bridge chip, but offer it with lower power consumption numbers.
China is looking to define a national standard processor architecture, sources say. If this project is successful, it could be that the new standard would be a requirement in any project that seeks government funding, such as a computer purchases for a school. More important, which architecture will they select?
There are at least 5 architectures that are up for consideration. The Chinese government could also create their own, or extend an existing one. It's somewhat unlikely that they would define their own, especially by committee. You have to realize that a new architecture hasn't been defined here in the West in over two decades.
Officials of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology held the initial meeting of the so-called China National Instruction Set Architecture initiative in March. They hosted representatives from about 20 China organizations, which included communications giants Huawei and ZTE as well as a number of academic groups.
China would prefer to have its own IP rather than paying a foreign company to license it. "I got the impression it's a matter of months," before the processor group chooses a national standard, said Robert Bismuth, vice president of business development at MIPS Technologies. "I actually think this will happen," Bismuth added. "Longsoon is really launching in systems into the government sector."
More as it comes.
Well, well, Samsung have made today quite interesting by announcing the Exynos 4 Quad processor which will be baked into Samsung's next Galaxy smartphone. Samsung have actually come out and revealed this, by saying:
Already in production the Exynos 4 Quad is scheduled to be adopted first into Samsung's next Galaxy smartphone that will officially be announced in May.
Samsung's new Exynos 4 Quad processor is built on a 32nm process, and hits 1.4GHz and sports over twice the processing power of it's predecessor which is thanks to its High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) low-power technology. We should expect power savings of around 20-percent. Samsung's Senior VP of Product Strategy Team, Hankil Yoon, says:
The application processor is a crucial element in providing our customers with a PC-like experience on mobile devices. Samsung's next Galaxy device, which will be officially announced soon, offers uncompromised performance and ground breaking multitasking features, thanks to Exynos 4 Quad's powerful performance and efficient energy management technology.
Samsung are also shopping the Exynos 4 Quad to other handset manufacturers such as Meizu, noting that the Exynos 4 Quad is pin-to-pin compatible with the Exynos 4 Dual, which powers both the GALAXY S II and Note, which gives the huge benefit of being able to update product designs with minimal costs, which is always good.
What causes Ivy Bridge's high temperatures? It could be that Intel used TIM instead of solder for the IHS
Nearly every review of Ivy Bridge, including those that were done with engineering samples, has noted that Ivy Bridge runs up to 20*C hotter when overclocked than Sandy Bridge did. People were quick to jump to conclusions on why this was the case, and often these people had nothing to base the conclusions on.
No, these conclusions that people were parroting across the web were wrong. The true answer resides in the fact that, apparently, Intel did not use fluxless solder to attach the IHS (that metal cover over the silicon die) to the Ivy Bridge die. Instead, they have gone back to an older way of doing things and used regular thermal interface material (TIM).
TIM has some major disadvantages to fluxless solder. The biggest, and root cause of this issue is the fact that it doesn't transfer heat nearly as well as fluxless solder. However, it does come with some advantages. You are able to remove the IHS without much risk of damaging the die itself. Could it be that Intel kept extreme overclockers in mind when making this decision? The issue is discussed in more detail at the source below.