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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.
ASUS is known for making some incredible products including motherboards. Their internal overclocking team has used an ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE motherboard along with an Intel i7-3770K to smash 5 world records. This required extreme cooling which came in the way of liquid nitrogen. The records are for benchmark scores and additionally managed 7Ghz on the new Ivy Bridge chip.
The records, as follows, attest to the quality components and engineering that go into ASUS products.
- AquaMark 3: 536638 marks using a Radeon HD 7970 graphics card clocked at 1600MHz core and 1900MHz GDDR5
- PiFast: 10.3 seconds with Intel Core i7-3770K set to 6930MHz
- 3DMark 2001 SE: 164589 marks using a GeForce GTX 580 clocked at 1553MHz core and 1250MHz GDDR5
- SuperPi: 5 seconds 187ms with Intel Core i7-3770K set to 6961MHz
- SuperPi 32M: 4 minutes 52 seconds and 953ms with Intel Core i7 set to 6735MHz
NVIDIA have finally started discussing Tegra 4 or "Wayne" in more detail, as well as covering Tegra 3+ at HTC's Freqs event in Seattle on Thursday. NVIDIA didn't give much info on it, but we should expect a clock speed increase or other minor updates to the chip.
Another device 'Grey' should also launch side-by-side with Tegra 4, and will be the first Tegra-based device to sport LTE support. It would also be the first device from NVIDIA to benefit from the company's acquisition of Icera. Original roadmaps pegged NVIDIA to hit up to 2GHz for the Tegra 3+, but the newer roadmaps point to it hitting mid-range smartphones rather than high-end devices.
Tegra 3+ devices should be made available by the end of this year, but Wayne and Grey are not expected until next year. Android- and Windows 8-based devices should sport the ability to have Tegra 4, but Grey is most likely going to be limited to Android. It will be good to see what NVIDIA can do for Windows devices, I'm getting more excited by the day for smart devices with news like this.
Naming things can be difficult. Think about how hard it was to name your kids. If you don't have kids, think about how hard it was for your parents to name you! A similar crisis plays out when the Intel engineers are trying to come up with the codename for upcoming Intel CPU architectures.
I have to take a moment and apologize for the corny Shakespearean title. It's just that from Intel's perspective, it's true. It doesn't really matter what they call the chip as the name has no influence on the design. The codename just has to be something "nice name that could pass the legal test."
Usually Intel codenames are based on locations in North America, so Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge actually break this mold for, what I can tell, the first time ever. To understand how Intel came up with Ivy Bridge, we actually have to look at Sandy Bridge first. Arie Harsat is the Intel engineer who came up with Sandy Bridge.
Now, Sandy Bridge wasn't always Sandy Bridge. First it was "Gesher," the Hebrew word for "bridge," because Harsat saw the new architecture as "a bridge into the future." However, this name didn't pass the legal test because Gesher is also a former political party in Israel. The name was changed to its English meaning and the word "Sandy" was tacked on. Harsat doesn't remember where the word Sandy came from. It could be a reference to beach sand, which is one of the main ingredients in silicon.
Intel, as is tradition, is saying out with the old and in with the new as it ushers in Ivy Bridge, the next generation CPU architecture based upon its 22nm tri-gate transistors. What's interesting this time is that Intel is phasing out low end CPUs while the upcoming launch will be the high end CPUs.
The parts on the chopping block come from the i3, Pentium, and Celeron line of products--not exactly blistering performance stuff. But every product has its place, such as these are useful in low-cost PCs. Intel has advised its partners that it will end shipments of the following processors as of April 16th, 2013:
- Celeron P4600 (2.0 GHz)
- Core i3-370M (2.4 GHz0
- Core i3-390M (2.6 GHz)
- Pentium P6100 (2.0 GHz)
- Pentium P6200 (2.13 GHz)
- Pentium P6300 (2.2 GHz)
Orders will continue to be accepted with the ability to cancel until October 16, 2012. Past that date, no more cancellations can be made. Intel's justification for killing these low end processors is that a "shift of market demand" has occurred. If you want to grab one of these processors, you best do it within a year.