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Current Articles

January 22, 2018

  • Neural Engines Rev Up Mobile AI
    New mobile processors integrating neural-network engines can directly run machine-learning tasks ranging from keyword-spotting for voice UIs to complex biometrics such as face, iris, and voice identification.
  • Editorial: Meltdown: Who’s at Fault?
    Two new security exploits known as Meltdown and Spectre affect many processor vendors, but Intel bears the brunt because of its high market share and aggressive use of speculative execution.

January 15, 2018

  • Analysts’ Choice Winners for 2017
    The Linley Group recognizes 2017’s top products in the categories of embedded, mobile, networking, server, processor IP, and related technology. And the winners are…
  • Marvell Delivers 802.11ax Powerhouse
    Targeting access points and residential gateways, the company’s new Wi-Fi chips include a 5.0GHz 8x8 radio plus a dual-band 4x4 radio with integrated Bluetooth 5.

January 8, 2018

  • Redpine Scores IoT Triple Play
    The RS14100, the company’s first microprocessor, combines a Cortex-M4 CPU with a complete radio subsystem for three IoT protocols: 802.15.4, Bluetooth 5, and Wi-Fi.
  • Synaptics Takes Fingerprints to Infinity
    A new fingerprint sensor is the first to operate through the display, enabling phones with so-called infinity displays to place the sensor behind the display instead of on the phone’s back.

January 1, 2018

  • Year in Review: IP Suppliers Take More RISC-V
    In 2017, the open-source movement picked up momentum as new RISC-V CPUs came to market, but the leading CPU-IP vendors delivered higher-performance cores that address lucrative growth segments in automotive, deep learning, and virtual reality.
  • Year in Review: Embedded Chips Soar to 100GbE
    In 2017, vendors announced embedded processors that have 100G Ethernet interfaces, as well as media processors that support 4K UltraHD and HDR. Also, corporate mergers continue to shrink the field of major processor vendors.
  • Gemini Lake Targets Tiny PCs
    Intel’s new Pentium Silver processor offers modest upgrades to the earlier Apollo Lake while attempting to fight off Qualcomm in Windows tablets and 2-in-1 PCs.

December 25, 2017

  • Broadcom Axes Ethernet-Switch Foes
    The company is sampling the industry’s first 12.8Tbps Ethernet switch chip, doubling bandwidth relative to Tomahawk 2 and adding support for the new 50Gbps, 200Gbps, and 400Gbps Ethernet standards.
  • Editorial: RISC-V Picks Up Steam
    Western Digital plans to shift one billion cores per year to RISC-V, and Esperanto is developing the first high-performance RISC-V CPU, adding fuel to an already hot technology.
  • MediaTek Eases Transition to NB-IoT
    The MT2621 integrates two RF front ends that connect to legacy 2G networks as well as new Cat-NB2 IoT networks. It also integrates a Bluetooth radio and Cortex-M4 sensor hub.

December 18, 2017

  • Marvell Is Benevolent Host to Cavium
    The acquirer is looking to Cavium for profitable growth and product diversification. Cavium brings mostly complementary products for the networking market.
  • SecureRF Locks Up the Keys
    SecureRF offers licensable cryptographic intellectual property (IP) that’s resistant to quantum-computing attacks. It delivers the IP as synthesizable RTL cores as well as in a software tool kit.
  • Efinix Improves FPGAs
    Startup Efinix has sampled its first Quantum programmable logic devices, which employ a new logic-cell design that potentially increases gate density by 2–4x and halves power consumption.

December 11, 2017

  • Quantum Computing Now Available
    Quantum computers will eventually pose a threat to traditional microprocessors. IBM already offers cloud-accessible prototype systems as it races Google for “quantum supremacy.”
  • Open-Silicon IP Targets Networking
    Better known as an ASIC vendor, Open-Silicon is supplying new networking IP that builds on its existing Interlaken core. The new cores include Ethernet PCS, FEC, and Flex Ethernet IP.
  • Qualcomm-TDK Packs RF Front Ends
    Qualcomm’s joint venture (JV) with TDK has yielded a family of highly integrated RF-front-end (RFFE) products, which include devices that support the new 600MHz LTE band (band 71).

December 4, 2017

  • Synaptics SoC Targets OTT STBs
    User-interface specialist Synaptics has remolded itself as a media-processor vendor. Its first new product is the VideoSmart BG5CT, designed primarily for streaming-video set-top boxes.
  • PLSense Advances Subthreshold MCUs
    The startup’s ARC-based test chip proves subthreshold-voltage blocks for use in a forthcoming microcontroller. That MCU promises long battery life for IoT designs. 
  • X-Gene Gains New Life in Spinoff
    Macom has completed a spinoff of its ARMv8 server-processor products, branded X-Gene, resulting in a standalone company called Project Denver Holdings.

November 27, 2017

  • Intel Adds AMD GPU to Kaby Lake
    Intel announced plans to team up with archrival AMD to build a highly integrated notebook processor, then announced it had hired that company’s top GPU architect.
  • Knowles IA8508 Hears Voices
    The new Knowles processor integrates three custom Tensilica DSPs to handle near- and far-field audio/speech processing in audio headsets, digital assistants, smart speakers, and voice-activated remote controls.
  • Xeon Scalable Scales Networks
    Skylake-SP delivers big increases in packet-processing performance while Lewisburg multiplies the crypto-acceleration speed. Together with software improvements, the Purley platform enables high-end NFV applications such as vEPC.
  • Microsoft Brainwave Uses FPGAs
    Microsoft’s Project Brainwave implements a soft processor in an FPGA, creating a flexible deep-learning accelerator that outperforms GPUs for some AI workloads.

November 20, 2017

  • Centriq Aces Scale-Out Performance
    Qualcomm’s new Centriq 2400 products show greater efficiency in performance per thread, per watt, and per dollar than x86 server processors but fall short in per-core throughput.
  • Mellanox Brings More Smarts to NICs
    The new BlueField SmartNIC and Innova-2 adapters enable heterogeneous computing and offer dual 25G Ethernet ports. The former uses an ARMv8 SoC, whereas the latter integrates a Xilinx FPGA.
  • Arm Gets Assertive With 4K Displays
    Arm has developed a new display-processing subsystem comprising the Mali-D71 DPU, the Assertive Display (AD-5) coprocessor, and CoreLink memory-management unit (MMU-600).
  • FPGAs Accelerate Deep Learning
    Leading cloud-service providers are experimenting with FPGAs for deep learning, but harnessing the memory and DSP capacity of these devices requires considerable hardware and software effort.

November 13, 2017

  • i.MX Processor Hits 3,000 CoreMarks
    NXP’s i.MX RT1050 is the fastest Cortex-M7-based processor. The company reused its i.MX 6ULL chassis, replacing the Cortex-A7 CPU but retaining most of the other subsystems.
  • Editorial: IBM Accelerates Deep Learning
    IBM is researching improvements in system design, circuit design, and even physical design with a goal of achieving a 10,000x performance gain for its AI workloads.

November 6, 2017

  • Ryzen Marches Into Laptops
    The first Ryzen Mobile processors, based on the Raven Ridge design, combine four Zen CPUs with a Vega GPU to deliver strong performance in ultrathin laptop PCs.
  • Arm Cooks Up Recipe for IoT Security
    To help thwart hacker attacks and increase consumer confidence in IoT, Arm is proposing a set of industrywide specifications it calls the Platform Security Architecture (PSA).

October 30, 2017

  • Epyc Benchmark Battle
    Third-party testing shows that AMD’s new Epyc server chips offer strong competition to Intel’s Xeon Scalable Gold and even Platinum products, delivering similar or better performance at lower prices.
  • Centec Modernizes Enterprise Ethernet
    Centec has optimized its new Duet2 Ethernet switch chip for next-generation enterprise designs, delivering high integration for multigigabit switching.
  • Lidar Points the Way for Self-Driving
    Lidar is a critical component that will be required to deliver Level 4/5 autonomy. In these vehicles, advanced processors will fuse data from the lidar, radar, and image sensors.
  • Editorial: Intel Hides Behind ICC
    Intel’s published SPEC CPU scores lead the industry, but much of this lead comes from its proprietary compiler. For customers that use GCC, the performance story is quite different.

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