Back in January Microsoft wrote up a controversial edict that tried to shorten Skylake's lifecycle on legacy Windows OS and lock newer CPU hardware--including Kaby Lake and Zen--exclusively to Windows 10. After tons of pressure from the PC crowd, Redmond relented on Skylake...but what about Kaby Lake and Zen? Both processors are on the horizon, and PC enthusiasts need to know if their OS will be compatible.
Microsoft has now confirmed to PC World that its decision concerning Kaby Lake and Zen is final: Windows 10 only. "As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support," a Microsoft spokeswoman told PC World, reiterating the initial proclamation. "This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon."
Earlier this year Tesla showed their intent to beef up their chip expertise with the hiring of former AMD and Apple CPU designer Jim Keller. That move indicated that Tesla might be considering building their own chips for their cars which previously seemed far-fetched since they had stuck with NVIDIA and Mobileye for so long.
Then, following a high-profile accident which resulted in a death of a customer Tesla dropped Mobileye as a chip supplier which seemed sudden but may have made more sense since they were acquiring chip experts like Jim Keller.
Now, Tesla appears to be expanding their hiring to GPU engineers with the hiring of Anand Mandapati who was most recently employed by Apple according to his LinkedIn.
Just as we're recovering from the massive $1650 price of the Core i7-6950X, we're now seeing leaked benchmarks of Intel's upcoming Kaby Lake-based Core i7-7700K processor.
Some CPU benchmark results have been spotted on SiSoft SANDRA 2015, with the Intel Core i7-7700K processor rocking a default clock speed of 4.2GHz, and a Turbo Boost frequency of 4.5GHz. The Core i7-7700K looks like it might feature 8MB of L3 cache, and of course - HyperThreading technology.
We can expect a refreshed Z270 chipset that will co-exist with the current Z170 platform, meaning that LGA1151-based boards might support the new Kaby Lake processors with a simple BIOS update.
As for the performance of the Core i7-7700K, we're looking at just under 10% more performance over the older Skylake-based Core i7-6700K. The Core i7-7700K scores 151.94 FOPS in SiSoft SANDRA's "Processor Arithmetic" performance, while the older Core i7-6700K scores 140.88 GOPS. Comparing its "Processor Multimedia" score, the Kaby Lake-based Core i7-7700K is capable of 379.8 Mpix/s, while the Core i7-6700K scores 353.8 Mpix/s.
Is the upgrade to the Core i7-7700K worth it for existing Core i7-6700K owners? Probably not, unless there are some changes that we don't know about in the upcoming Z270 chipset.
Researchers at Princeton University have created an open-source 25-core processor that can be scaled in an array to create "a single system containing millions of cores."
Princeton's new computer chip is called Piton, and it's a many-core open-source research processor aimed at revolutionizing data-center and enterprise-grade cloud-based solutions that power the internet--from email to Facebook and Twitter--with a cheap yet extremely efficient new scalable CPU architecture. The Princeton Piton Processor is a 25-core customized CPU designed by Professor David Wentzlaff and his team, featuring 25 modified OpenSPARC T1 cores that operate at a 1GHz per-core clock frequency. Piton is also outfitted with 460 million transistors, and was taped-out in IBM's 32m SOI process. Piton's main advantage is that it's scalable, meaning an array of some thousand Piton chips could be combined in an array to "enable thousands of cores on a single chip."
"The Princeton researchers designed their chip specifically for massive computing systems. Piton could substantially increase processing speed while slashing energy usage. The chip architecture is scalable - designs can be built that go from a dozen to several thousand cores, which are the independent processors that carry out the instructions in a computer program. Also, the architecture enables thousands of chips to be connected into a single system containing millions of cores," reads a Princeton report.
You've got to hand it to AMD, they have been having a great past 12 months or so, riding the success of their new Polaris architecture, and the tease of Zen has investors pleased. So much so, that AMD stock has increased by a massive 330% in the last year, rising another 8% today on the back of the positive news of Zen from IDF 2016.
AMD has had a few years of financial grief, but it looks like the company is getting past this, returning to profitability in Q2 and should hopefully continue that with the sales of the Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 throughout the rest of 2016, and into 2017. But the last week has been all about Zen, AMD's next-gen CPU architecture, which has been impressing us for quite a while now. AMD's new Zen architecture looks to have the company on an even playing field with Intel once again, who has had a monopoly on the market for what feels like forever.
Zen won't see the light of day for consumers and gamers until early 2017, but it will be delivering a 40% improvement of IPC (Instructions Per Clock), which is beyond impressive for something that has probably only reached testing phases now. AMD will continue to improve its Zen craft, with next-gen motherboards also featuring new connectivity like M.2 SSD support, USB Type-C and support for the likes of DDR4 RAM, and more.
Intel might want to be worried about what AMD is cooking with its upcoming Zen architecture, with AMD unveiling a bunch of details on the next-gen architecture being made on the 14nm process.
Zen has been built from the ground up, with integrated SMT (simultaneous multi-threading), which is a first for AMD and will "take efficient advantage of a longer pipeline", reports PC Perspective. AMD will be doubling the CPU thread count, stepping up against Intel's HyperThreading technology with the new Zen-based range of processors. There's also a high bandwidth and low latency caching system that will be used to "feed the beast", thanks to the 14nm process we're looking at greater power efficiency and a nice speed boost of 40% more instructions per clock (IPC).
If you don't think the 40% increase in IPC is real, Ryan Shrout from PCPer says "AMD proved to me today that the claims are real and that we will see the immediate impact of that architecture bump from day one". I've been hearing internal rumblings that Zen is underpromised right now, and will have even more performance - and now that Shrout has had AMD prove the performance of Zen to him, my excitement meter has just shifted further into 'please, can I have it now'.
Renowned overclocker Elmor has set a new world record by pushing Intel's i7 6950X an insane 91% past its base clock speed.
At this year's Intel IDF 2016 "Technical Innovation" event, Elmor was able to overclock Intel's Broadwell-E i7 6950X CPU to 5731 MHz, which is 91.06% past the CPUs base clock speed. Elmor achieved this speed by using liquid nitrogen cooling on an ASUS Rampage V Edition 10 X99 motherboard, an ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Ti Matrix video card, and G.Skill's Trident Z DDR4 RAM.
For more info on Intel's Broadwell-E i7 6950X Extreme Edition CPU, check out our official review.
Intel used a benchmark slide during its presentation at ISC 2016 to detail their Xeon Phi processors being 2.3x faster than NVIDIA GPUs in neural network training. According to Intel's data and comparisons, the Xeon Phi is also 38% better at scaling. Well, NVIDIA isn't happy and it's ready to fight, taking to a new blog post saying "We'd like to address these claims and correct some misperceptions that may arise".
First off, NVIDIA claims that Intel used Caffe AlexNet data that is 18 months old, with four Xeon Phi servers against four Maxwell-based GPUs. The latest version which is publicly available, and NVIDIA providing a link to it in their blog, sees NVIDIA's four Maxwell GPUs delivering 30% faster training time than the four Xeon Phi servers. Using four of the new Pascal-based Titan X GPUs, training is a whopping 90% faster than four of Intel's Xeon Phi servers, and if you want to put the boot heel on Intel's neck, just a single DGX-1 machine from NVIDIA is 5x faster than four Xeon Phi servers.
NVIDIA goes into great detail on its blog so be sure to check it out, with the post finishing with NVIDIA saying "It's great that Intel is now working on deep learning. This is the most important computing revolution with the era of AI upon us and deep learning is too big to ignore. But they should get their facts straight".
AMD is working towards Zen as we speak, but more leaked details have arrived on the 4-core and 8-core CPUs which will feature 8 and 16 CPU threads in total, respectively. The new details are on the clock speeds and TDP, with the 16-threaded Zen CPU clocking in at 2.8Ghz base frequency and up to 3.2GHz boost. The new 16-thread CPU will be a 95W part according to the leaks.
If we compare it to Intel's Broadwell-E based, 16-threaded Core i7-6900K processor, which is also made on the 14nm process, Intel has a higher 130W TDP. AMD's 8-core/16-thread Zen-based CPU has a TDP of just 95W in comparison, 35W less than Intel's offering with the 6900K. AMD has some great efficiency tricks up its sleeve with Zen, but the 14nm process used by Intel is different to the 14nm FinFET process that Samsung and Globalfoundries use for AMD's new CPUs.
Performance wise, we already expect over 40% more instructions per cycle (IPC) over the previous generation CPU architecture from AMD, codenamed Excavator. The older FX-8350 from AMD was an 8-threaded CPU (4 physical CPU cores) codenamed Orochi, while the Zen-based Summit Ridge CPU is twice as fast in Cinebench 15, according to AMD. If we're looking at twice the efficiency per core, the new 4- and 8-core processors are going to be rather large improvements for AMD, putting them on a more level playing field against Intel.
Originally planned to be exclusively supported by Windows 10, Microsoft has reverted its policy and decided Skylake will be supported by Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as well.
"Enterprise customers are moving to Windows 10 faster than any version of Windows. At the same time, we recognize that, in some instances, customers have a few systems that require longer deployment timeframes," explains Shad Larsen, Director of Windows Business Planning. "We listened to this feedback and today are sharing an update to our 6th Gen Intel Core (Skylake) support policy. We have extended the support period from July 17, 2018 to the end of support dates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1; and we will provide all applicable security updates."
The change means Windows 7 support until 2020 and 8.1 until 2023. It does not apply to Kaby Lake and future Intel processors which will not be supported by Windows versions older than Windows 10.