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Fab plant TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) has issued an announcement today that confirms their much anticipated 28nm process tech to now be in volume production, with production wafers having already been shipped to customers at this point.
TSMC's 28nm manufacturing process comprises the following segments; 28nm High Performance (28HP), 28nm High Performance Low Power (28HPL), and 28nm Low Power (28LP), with there also being 28nm High Performance Mobile Computing (28HPM) volume production before the end of the year.
TSMC's Senior Vice President Jason Chen had the following to say during todays announcement:-
Being the first to 28nm volume production demonstrates TSMC's leadership in technology and brings great value to our customers through design wins with competitive products.
As we learned about a month ago, Intel has been planning the release of a new processor model to rest atop the i7-2x00 line; that being the 2700K. And we we had also established at that time, the processor's release date is today.
The Core i7-2700K looks not to seperate itself much at all from the 2600K on paper with its quad-core, LGA1155 package on 32nm Sandy Bridge silicon, 256KB L2 cache per core and 8MB L3 shared cache. It clocks in at 3.5GHz, but does of course sport an unlocked base clock ratio multiplier, as denoted by the 'K'.
ARM has unveiled a new chip that is set to enable more efficient and affordable mobile processors. Cortex A7 is based on ARM's 28nm fabrication and reportedly consumes five times less power and measured just one-fifth the size of the 45nm Cortex A8, which is found inside Apple's A4, Samsung's Hummingbird and Texas Instruments' OMAP3.
ARM will compliment the efficiency by pairing the Cortex A7 with quicker, more power hungry processing cores. The A7 is set to pave the way for sub-$100 smartphones, which will boost adoption rates in developing regions. ARM CEO, Warren East told the BBC:
We can see the developed world moving on and mobile being the nexus for all sort of consumer electronics. In the Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) we are seeing catch-up. As we look forward these smartphones are going to be totally ubiquitous and in the much less developed areas...
Given the ill received launch of AMD's FX (Bulldozer) CPU family no thanks to the lack of what mattered most, performance, it's hard to imagine how AMD can do much to rise above anytime soon, or even maintain the foothold they had in the market previously in terms of offering a more aggressive price/performance alternative.
However, it's looking like AMD still may have another playing card up its sleeve yet; this in the form of a new (B3) revision of the chips being worked on. A mention of the new stepping was spotted in a public AMD document entitled "BIOS and Kernel's Developers Guide (BKDG) for AMD Family 15h Models 00h-0Fh Processors"
This is potentially a good sign if what we saw from the Phenom launch is anything to go by. Many of you would recall When the first B2 stepping processors in the Phenom lineup were found to be flawed by the TLB (translation lookaside buffer) issue, which incurred quite the performance hindrance of at least 10%. It wasn't until AMD rectified the issue with the launch of the B3 stepping Phenoms four months later that Phenom became a lot more attractive.
Thanks to a chunky roadmap leak via a Chinese forum earlier today, we can gather up some more spicey details on Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs and associating platforms; also removing some of the haze thats still been surrounding it in terms of TDP ratings and backward/forward compatibility characteristics.
If said roadmaps are the real mcCoy, we can look forward to a maximum TDP of just 77W for the high-end models which is a good drop lower than the 95W peak for Sandy Bridge thanks to the brand new 22nm fab process. The diagram above seems like a bit of a dogs breakfast at first, but if you focus primarily on the upper region that's where the more interesting tid bits lie.
We can ascertain from this chart that just like Sandy Bridge, there will be unlocked 'K' series SKUs for Ivy Bridge as well; these of which top out at the aforementioned TDP of just 77W. Looking further down the chart, there are entries for quad core 65W 'S' and 45W 'T' SKUs not unlike Sandy Bridge, and also an SKU entry for a 35W dual core.
Even amongst all the lawsuits, bitching and injunctions, Samsung are still producing the A6 quad-core mobile chip for future Apple iOS-based devices. It was previously reported that Apple had signed a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) last month to supply A6 chips, but that deal seems to be on shaky grounds now. The Korean Times is now reporting that Apple and Samsung have maintained their buyer and supplier relationship and will do so going forward for the foreseeable future.
The Korean Times cites an executive from an Apple parts supplier in Korea, where it says Apple have concluded that Samsung is a critical business partner and can't sever times with them just yet. Samsung is already producing the A6 processor for future iOS devices at a manufacturing plant based in Austin, Texas which opened back in 2007. TSMC will still manufacturer chips for Apple, but the volume is expected to be very low.
While many will take these numbers with a grain of salt since they came direct from Intel, it's not hard to believe how strong performing Intel's Sandy E is up against its old aged X58/LGA1366 predecessor, and with the (quite disappointing) benchmarks out on Bulldozer, it only puts AMD in an even dimmer light.
Intel has shared some internal test results of its soon to be launched Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition processor; a six cored / 12 threaded beast clocked in at 3.3GHz with 15MB of cache. The results were directly compared to the top dog in Intel's current flagship platform, the Core i7 990X EE, which runs a stock clock of 3.46GHz.
A breakdown of all the results can be read via the source link below, but to summarize here, the i7 3960X looks to be about 15% quicker on average. Its best improvement was actually seen in 3DMark 11's Physics test where it bested the Core i7 990X by 36%. And throughout the tests there was one particular standout attribute; its memory benchmarks where it left the 990X for dead over and over and scored up to 111% better in some instances.
Only 1 month to go!
Bulldozer has launched. Yes, officially launched. After all of the delays, rumors, and hoopla, its here. AMD's next-generation Bulldozer architecture launches today and with it, a tonne of reviews go live.
Of course, without bias (sarcasm intended), I think the best one is from our NerdGasm reviewer extraordinaire, Shane Baxtor.
AMD's Bulldozer unfortunately does not topple Intel's enthusiast champion CPU, the 2600K, but it does come close. What Bulldozer introduces is a new direction for AMD as well as a new price point for end users.
Models and pricing of the Bulldozer CPUs vary as all new releases do. AMD have made sure to bulldoze any pre-existing price barriers and instead of having a price premium on their just-released new goodies, they've given us a really great starting point on pricing to combat the never-ending flow of CPUs from Intel. There are four different AMD FX CPUs that launch today, we have the FX-8150, FX-8120, FX-6100 and finally, FX-4100. With clock speeds of 3.6, 3.1, 3.3 and 3.6GHz, respectively. The FX-8150 and FX-8120 are eight-core chips, FX-6100 sports six cores and the cheaper FX-4100 has just four-cores.
Price wise they are definitely hitting sweet-spot territory, with Suggested Retail Prices (US) of $245, $205, $165 and $115 for the FX-8150, FX-8120, FX-6100 and FX-4100, respectively.
Intel is currently staying quiet on whether there will be a new Core i7 introduced to combat the impending launch of AMD's Bulldozer, but it seems there is going to be a bigger, badder brother released in the LGA1155 lineup. It is rumored that Intel is going to drop the 2700K onto the market, which will be a minor clock speed increase over the already available Intel Core i7 2600K. The 2600K is a 3.4GHz part with the 2700K set to be a 3.5GHz part, with Turbo enabled those speeds will be 3.8 and 3.9GHz, respectively.
The 2600K known is for its super high overclocking ability, with 4.5GHz+ achievable with decent air cooling, so the 2700K should achieve the same type of overclock as its just a 2600K with an extra 100MHz in the trunk. The conservative speed bump will keep the gates open for a future 2800K, as Intel need to keep a space between regular Sandy Bridge and the Extreme chips. We should soon what happens, but there are already people who have cranked up an engineering sample of the 2700K to an impressive 5GHz on air cooling.
Impressive? It's impressive, with a silent K.
AMD's FX-series of Bulldozer CPUs are expected to hit next week and now theres news of the FX-8120 (in its 95W TDP model) popping up at a Ukraine-based e-tailer, Fixer. The product is tagged with the code 'FD8120FRGUBOX', with the FX-8120 SKU listed at approximately $221 US dollars - above rumored 1000-unit price of $205 that was around a few weeks ago.
This is in-line with the pre-order pricing that sprung up from Bottom Line Technologies (BLT) just a month ago. The 8-core FX-8120 should have a stock clock speed of 3.1GHz and has hit Fixer's warehouse a few days ago. No other word on other SKUs has hit yet.