New chip from ARM takes aim at smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and more
ARM on Tuesday added to its mobile arsenal by announcing its Cortex-A17 processor, a mid-range part the company hopes will find its way into a number of different devices. According to ARM, the Cortex-A17 boasts a 60 percent performance uplift over Cortex-A9 processors, making it the fastest mid-range solution available. ARM also claims that it offers superior efficiency.
Ivytown will slip into Intel's Xeon E7 chip family
Intel's codenames for processors sound like directions someone might give you if you get lost in the country. Take a wrong turn off of I64 in West Virginia, for example, and you might be told that Ivytown is on the other side of Ivy Bridge, not to be confused with Sandy Bridge. In reality, Ivytown is Intel's codename for an upcoming 15-core Xeon processor based on Ivy Bridge and designed for high-end servers.
AMD's foray into ARM-based server SoCs begins with the Opteron A Series
A milestone has been reached in Sunnyvale less than a month into 2014. Chip designer AMD formally introduced its first 64-bit ARM-based server system-on-chip (SoC) previously codenamed "Seattle" and now called Opteron A1100. The chip is fabricated using a 28-nanometer process technology and is the first of its kind from an established server vendor. Along with the new SoC, AMD also unveiled a new development platform intended to make software design on the Opteron A1100 Series quick and easy.
AMD just fleshed out its Opteron 6300 Series of server processors with a pair of new chips, one of which is a 12-core part and the other a 16-core offering. These additions to what AMD calls "Warshaw" are intended for enterprise applications and feature AMD's "Piledriver" core architecture. They're also fully socket and software compatible with the existing Opteron 6300 Series.
The big news in processors today is the official launch of AMD's Kaveri APUs with Radeon R7 graphics, but if you'd rather wait to see what Intel has up its sleeve, you'll have to get cozy for a few months. Word on the web is that Intel is preparing to refresh its Haswell processor line with nearly two dozen new CPUs sometime in the second quarter of 2014, likely starting in May.
The boys and girls at AMD officially launched the company's 2014 A-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) with integrated Radeon R7 graphics. You know the parts by their codename "Kaveri," which AMD says is representative of a major architecture improvement. Kaveri sports completely redesigned cores, new Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features, new accelerators, and enhanced power management on a new 28nm manufacturing process.
Things you need to know to become a PC hardware expert
Knowledge is power, and when it comes to PCs that’s especially true, because only by knowing how your components’ specs actually affect performance can you get the maximum power you need for the type of computing you do—and avoid being seduced by features that sound impressive on the box but won’t do squat to improve your experience. Knowing your stuff has other benefits, too. An in-depth understanding of what makes all your parts tick enables you to better troubleshoot problems, upgrade in ways that make sense, and converse with other nerds in your own secret language. Turn the page to begin your crash course in PC spec-speak.
Note: This article was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Moving to 64-bit could introduce big performance gains in some apps
Intel has a lot of catching up to do in the mobile space. The big dog on campus in mobile is ARM, which powers many of the smartphones and tablets currently available. One thing Intel is looking at to change the tide is 64-bit computing in mobile, which it demonstrated during an investor meeting. The demonstration consisted of an Android tablet with a 64-bit Atom processor inside based on Silvermont.
It's no secret that Intel fell behind in the mobile race. Even though Intel is the largest semiconductor company in the world, most smartphones and tablets run on ARM hardware. Intel chief Brian Krzanich told analysts and investors at a meeting this week that he's "a little embarrassed" at how he and his company "seemed to have lost our way" in terms of its mobile portfolio.
Since the beginning of time (or thereabouts), Intel has dominated the x86 scene, even when AMD blazed a trail into 1GHz territory (Athlon) and 64-bit computing (Athlon 64) on the consumer side several years ago. Both of those architectures represent design wins for AMD, and if we fast forward to today, AMD has done well to get its hardware inside all three major game consoles, especially the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, both of which feature x86 foundations.