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March 18, 2019

  • Syntiant Knows All the Best Words
    The NDP10x processors can recognize a 64-word vocabulary while consuming less than a milliwatt of active power. They target always-on keyword and speaker recognition in battery-powered devices.
  • Editorial: 5G Phones Are Gonna Be Big
    This year’s 5G smartphones will be oversized and expensive, limiting their sales, but chip vendors are developing new products that should improve next year’s models.
  • Broadcom Fills Out 5G-Network Line
    Broadcom recently announced two new switch chips that complete its 5G-network solution. Qumran2a and Jericho2c build on the initial 16nm StrataDNX family announced one year ago.

March 11, 2019

  • ST Debuts Its First Application SoCs
    STMicroelectronics debuted three new SoCs. The STM32MP1 line integrates Arm Cortex-A7 application CPUs with a Cortex-M4F real-time controller, a 3D GPU, and many MCU-like features.
  • Cadence ConnX Sensors and Radios
    Cadence designed its new ConnX B20 and B10 DSPs with wide vector engines to handle high-throughput signal processing in 5G radios as well as in automotive lidars and radars.
  • Exynos 9820 Has Samsung AI Engine
    The Exynos 9820 processor, which powers some Galaxy S10 phones, includes a 2-TOPS deep-learning accelerator that employs sparse computing to boost neural-network throughput.

March 4, 2019

  • Snapdragon X55 Modem Hits 7Gbps
    Qualcomm’s second-generation 5G modem increases data rates, adds new features such as FDD and standalone networks, and reduces power by improving the RF subsystem.
  • Arm Floats New ISA With Helium
    The Arm v8.1-M ISA includes the new M-Profile Vector Extension (MVE), comprising a set of features (code-named Helium) that will enable future Cortex-M CPUs to perform 128-bit SIMD operations.
  • Synaptics Pairs Ears With Brains
    Synaptics is expanding its AudioSmart DSP family with the AS-371 SoC that adds stronger security, application CPUs, and neural-network acceleration for next-generation smart speakers.

February 25, 2019

  • Arm Serves Up Neoverse N1
    The first Neoverse-branded CPU targets larger workloads in server and embedded applications. A 64-core reference design outperforms Intel’s mainstream Xeon processors.
  • Helios Expands Arm’s Neoverse
    Helios is Arm’s first multithreaded CPU. The company offers it in the Neoverse E1 CPU for networking and infrastructure as well as in Cortex-A65AE for automotive systems.
  • Editorial: AI and the Magic Compiler
    AI accelerators need lots of MAC units; the question is how to efficiently organize them. Some approaches increase software complexity, delaying the schedule and reducing delivered performance.

February 18, 2019

  • Xilinx Delivers Server Acceleration
    Xilinx is shipping complete solutions for AI inference acceleration. They comprise Alveo FPGA-based PCI Express cards, programmable-logic configurations, and software that works with common neural-network frameworks.
  • Habana Wins Cigar for AI Inference
    The Goya accelerator from Habana Labs offers industry-leading AI performance on ResNet-50 inference, but the company won’t disclose its architecture. We try to discern its secrets...
  • Exynos 7904 Boosts Low-Cost Phones
    Samsung’s Exynos 7904 powers the $150 Galaxy M20 smartphones that recently launched in India. It brings some higher-end features, like Cortex-A73 and face unlock, to this low price tier. 

February 11, 2019

  • Bitmain SoC Brings AI to the Edge
    Better known for cryptocurrency-mining ASICs, Bitmain is shipping several AI chips under its Sophon brand. Its latest is the BM1880 SoC for smart cameras and other edge systems.
  • Intel Zaps Some Coffee Lake GPUs
    Intel’s new F-model Coffee Lake processors disable the integrated GPU, effectively boosting output from the company’s overtaxed fabs. But they don't reduce the TDP or even the list price.
  • AMD Brings 7nm GPUs to PCs
    AMD’s new Radeon VII is the first 7nm GPU for gamers and high-end PC users. It’s a slightly defeatured version of the Radeon Instinct MI60 announced last year for data center and HPC.

February 4, 2019

  • Intel’s Sunny Cove Sits on an Icy Lake
    The heart of Intel’s forthcoming 10nm Ice Lake family, the Sunny Cove CPU boasts nine specialized ISA extensions and greater per-core performance with up to 33% more cache bandwidth.
  • WD Rolls Its Own RISC-V Core
    Western Digital (WD) developed its own RISC-V core, which it has also made available as open source. The Swerv CPU employs a dual-issue pipeline to deliver 5.0 CoreMarks per megahertz.
  • Ceva’s BX Hybrid Boosts DSP Engine
    Ceva’s new BX DSP cores employ a hybrid architecture that combines multicore scalar CPUs for control functions with a highly configurable five-way SIMD/VLIW DSP engine for signal processing.

January 28, 2019

  • Helio P90 Raises Mid-Premium Bar
    MediaTek’s new Helio P90 is a high-performance processor for mid-premium smartphones. Packing two Arm Cortex-A75 cores and six Cortex-A55s, plus a new GPU and AI engine, it’s a big leap over existing Helio chips.
  • AI Benchmarks Remain Immature
    As deep-learning workloads become more common, new benchmarks are emerging, including MLPerf for data-center training and AI-Benchmark for smartphone inference.
  • Editorial: More ASICs in the Cloud
    Amazon and Huawei have developed custom Arm processors and AI accelerators for their cloud servers, potentially blocking Intel and Nvidia from these systems. But is it worth the investment?

January 21, 2019

  • Analysts’ Choice Winners for 2018
    The Linley Group recognizes 2018’s top products in the categories of embedded, mobile, networking, server, processor IP, and related technology. And the winners are…
  • Intel Turns Graphics up to (Gen) 11
    The upcoming 10nm Ice Lake processors will employ Intel’s first mainstream GPU with 1Tflop/s of single-precision compute capability. The Gen11 graphics architecture also boosts power efficiency.
  • Microchip Previews RISC-V FPGAs
    Due to sample in 2H19, the SoC FPGAs combine the PolarFire FPGA design with SiFive’s U54-MC complex, comprising quad 64-bit application cores, a 64-bit monitor core, and an L2 cache. 

January 14, 2019

  • Ryzen Mobile Rises to 12nm
    AMD’s new Ryzen Mobile processors boost CPU and GPU clock speeds for mainstream laptop PCs and entry-level gaming notebooks. They match up well with Intel’s Whiskey Lake products.
  • Achronix eFPGA Serves AI Two Ways
    The next-generation Speedcore IP targets leading-edge 7nm technology while adding a machine-learning-processor block for AI. Speedster 7nm FPGA chips are scheduled to follow in 1H19.

January 7, 2019

  • Qualcomm Gets Serious About PCs
    The Snapdragon 8cx boosts CPU, GPU, memory, and I/O capabilities well beyond smartphone levels, enabling more-powerful Arm-based PCs beginning in mid-2019.
  • Barefoot Joins 400GbE-Switch Club
    The startup plans to bring programmability to 400G Ethernet, with samples of its Tofino 2 switch chip due in 1H19. Employing 50Gbps PAM4 serdes, the new product delivers 12.8Tbps of bandwidth.

December 31, 2018

  • Editorial: Chiplets Gain Design Winlets
    More companies are deploying multiple die in a single package using 2.5D and 3D approaches, including Intel’s new Foveros technology, but cost remains a problem.

December 24, 2018

  • Snapdragon 855 Is a Prime Choice
    Qualcomm’s next-generation processor for premium smartphones offers a “prime core,” a new AI accelerator, and multigigabit wireless connectivity, including 2Gbps LTE and optional 5G.

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