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MWC 2015 - Qualcomm had some interesting things to talk about during Mobile World Congress this year, apart from having its chips in various new flagship handsets like the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.
Qualcomm confirmed the existence of its new 'Kryo' processor, a 64-bit chip that would be manufactured on the FinFET process, and sampled sometime in the next 6-12 months. The new Snapdragon 820 processor will be the first SoC to use Qualcomm's new "cognitive computing platform", something known as 'Zeroth', writes Patrick Moorhead for Forbes.
Moorhead expects to see Snapdragon 820 samples in the next 6-9 months, with a Snapdragon 820-powered smartphone to be unveiled in "December 2015, worse case October 2016". It could happen even sooner, with Snapdragon 820-powered devices shown off at MWC in March 2016.
Intel will soon be launching its new Atom processors, the "Braswell" based chips later this year, but before that happens we're going to see a new classification of its current mobile chips. This will help consumers have a better understanding of the power inside of the Atom processor.
Later this year Intel will be offering three different types of Atom processors, naming them like their Core processors with Atom x3, Atom x5 and Atom x7. Currently, Intel offers the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors. The Atom x7 for example, will feature more cores, better graphics engines and higher clock speeds than its Atom x3 processor.
At the bottom end of the scale we'll soon have the Atom range of processors, in the middle we'll have the Core M processors for "PC-level performance in tablet-thin designs" and the usual Core range of processors for everything else.
The International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) has just kicked off in San Francisco, where Samsung has just unveiled the world's first 10nm FinFET technology. Samsung Electronics Semiconductor Business chief, Kim Ki-nam teased the future for Samsung when he took the stage.
Ki-nam teased the company's 10nm DRAM technology, as well as a sneak peak at its 3D V NAND technology. Samsung expects that its technology will be used in countless devices going into the future, where Kim said Samsung is "expected to come in the future advent of IoT (Internet of Things) spread into a wide range of IT equipment, including the age of the data center (Data Driven World) 'and the silicon semiconductor technology it is possible to ensure the performance and low-power solution for the semiconductor chip that can process these data through the innovation".
We should hear more about Samsung's 10nm FinFET process as we move deeper into the year, as well as what devices and products will be powered by the 10nm technology. Exciting times!
Intel will be providing more details on its upcoming 10nm manufacturing process this week at the 2015 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), and how its new research will continue pounding on the door of Moore's law when it hits 7nm, and beyond.
The chipmaker expects to provide the first 10nm-based processors late 2016 or early 2017, as the company is hoping to dodge the delay train it hit with Broadwell at 14nm. Before 10nm is even here, Intel is teasing 7nm, saying that it will need to use new materials in order to build it. This means that 10nm will be the last product Intel builds using silicon, with Intel eyeing down a replacement for silicon, such as III-V semiconductor, such as indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs).
Then we have even more interesting points of Intel's shift to 7nm, which could see the company using new types of packaging. This includes 2.5D, which is something AMD is using on its upcoming Radeon R9 390X which uses HBM memory. 2.5D has separate dies which are placed side by side on an interposer. Intel would also be looking at 3D, where each die is stacked directly on top of one another. When it comes to 10nm, Intel is hoping to continue pushing Moore's law against the wall, all while reducing the price per transistor. 7nm is going to be a very exciting milestone, as it will shift away from silicon that has been used for decades now. Imagine the possibilities of a 3D stack of 7nm dies... that should have any enthusiast begging for more.
The time has come for Samsung to tease to the world that it has started the mass production of its 14nm FinFET process technology, moving from its current node at 20nm.
Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, System LSI Business, Samsung Electronics, Gabsoo Han, said: "Samsung's advanced 14nm FinFET process technology is undoubtedly the most advanced logic process technology in the industry. We expect the production of our 14nm mobile application processor to positively impact the growth of the mobile industry by enabling further performance improvements for cutting-edge smartphones".
This is quite the achievement, as the new 14nm FinFET processors offer up to 20% more speed, 35% less power consumption, and 30% productivity gain when compared to Samsung's current 20nm process technology. Samsung's new 14nm FinFET process will see its way into the company's upcoming Exynos 7 Octa later this year, as well as many other products in the near future.
With over 10 years of cooperation, Intel have been a mainstay in Apple hardware - taking over from Apple's co-designed chips with PowerPC due to them reportedly having issues with slimming down their laptop range, turning to the processor giant for some help.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, Intel's CFO Stacy Smith stated "for a customer like Apple you'd have to take a big step off performance to step off our architecture. That is what in essence enables us to win across different customers."
This is a rather big statement from Intel, but lets be honest here - Intel is at the top and it will stay that way for a long period of time no matter what happens.
There has been some rumors that Apple are looking to move in from Intel in order to utilize ARM architecture in their products, however nothing tangible has come to light as of yet.
According to new reports, Intel will launching its new Haswell-EX based Xeon E7 CPUs in Q2. The flagship Xeon E7-8890 v3 will arrive with a clock speed of 2.5GHz, rocking 18 cores and 18 Hyper-Threaded cores for a total of 36 threads. It'll have 45MB of L3 cache, and a TDP of 165W.
The new Haswell-EX family of Xeon processors will arrive with 4/10/12/14/16 threads with varying thread counts due to HT. Frequencies will also range between 2GHz for a handful of the CPUs, right up to 3.2GHz on the E7-8893 v3 which is a 4-core CPU. The new Xeon E7 processors will feature multiple improvements and technologies, including AVX and TSX instructions, as well as support for DDR4 RAM.
AMD and NVIDIA have been in the headlines quite often lately, with AMD now in the headlines for something completely different. The chipmaker has acknowledged that some consumers have purchased counterfeit processors from Amazon.
The fake processors have heatspreaders that say that they are an FM2+ AMD A8-7600 but the CPU underneath of the heatspreader is just an older AMD APU, which is not compatible with the AM2+ motherboard at all. The CPU that most people seem to be securing is the very old AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ which will not work on current motherboards.
AMD has released a statement to Overlock3D, saying: "It is apparent that this isolated incident is not related in any way to AMD's manufacturing or packaging, however AMD takes any reports of product tampering very seriously. As part of our ongoing efforts to help ensure consumers and businesses are sold only genuine AMD processors, we thoroughly investigate these extremely rare incidents in an effort to determine the source of the altered products, and consider all available legal remedies - including both civil and criminal prosecution - against persons found to have engaged in fraudulent actions affecting AMD products".
Apple and Intel have been partnered together for a while, ever since Steve Jobs announced that Mac systems would use Intel processors back in 2005.
At the time it was quite the shock, as Intel was the biggest chipmaker that made processors for PCs that ran Windows, and Microsoft were Apple's biggest enemy at the time. The tides have changed however, as Google was simply a search engine at the time, but they are now Apple's biggest competitor by far. Well, during an interview with Business Insider last week, Intel CFO Stacy Smith talked about how Intel is so far ahead of the competition, that when it comes to PC processors that Apple uses, the company has no choice but to use its CPUs.
Smith said: "Apple is a great partner of ours. Like Intel they like bringing really cool stuff to the market... As long as we're bringing great technology to the marketplace, we're enabling them to do great Apple products". Smith continued: "Our leadership over the rest of the industry is extending. We're not delayed relative to the industry. We're actually ahead of the industry". Smith also added: "For a customer like Apple you'd have to take a big step off performance to step off our architecture. That is what in essence enables us to win across different customers".
Intel is expected to unveil its new 10nm processors sometime in early 2017, with the news coming from Intel's GM for the Middle East and North Africa region, Taha Khalifa.
Khalifa, when talking about the new Intel CPUs, said: "We have been consistently pursuing Moore's Law and this has been the core of our innovation for the last 40 years. The 10nm chips are expected to be launched early 2017". When it comes to this year though, we should expect Intel to unveil its new 14nm Skylake processors in the second half of the year.
Intel was originally meant to roll out its 14nm processors in late 2013, but there were various technical setbacks with the Broadwell architecture, which was eventually delayed into 2014. This has pushed back the rest of Intel's upcoming processors, with the 10nm-based Skylake being included. Intel will most likely unveil tablet and mobile parts under its 10nm umbrella, before moving it into the desktop family in the later parts of 2017.