Advanced Micro Devices has said that it remains ahead of schedule with its Fusion chips - or APUs (accelerated processing unit) as it likes to call them. The low-power “Ontario” SoC (System-on-Chip), aimed at netbooks and low-end notebooks, will be the first Fusion chip on the market when it makes its debut during the fourth quarter.
AMD has, in fact, pushed in Ontario’s launch, which was previously scheduled for next year, citing accelerated development owing to great interest from consumers. However, the company plans to steer clear of the burgeoning tablet market for now, restricting Ontario to netbooks and low-end notebooks.
The FCC took a stand back in 2003 saying that Selectable Output Control (SoC) was unnecessary, and could harm consumers. But a recent petition from the MPAA has resulted in a partial waiver, allowing SoC to be implemented in certain circumstances. SoC is an anti-counterfeiting technology that would force digital content to be output only to an HDCP compliant HDMI port.
The FCC will allow SoC to be used only on "high value" content. Specifically, any digital content (i.e. video on demand or streaming) that is not available on DVD or Blu-ray at the time, can be protected with SoC for up to 90 days. The rationale for this is a bit confusing. The FCC statement says, "Consumers simply cannot expect to be able to access something that does not yet exist." In short, the FCC doesn't need to fully protect people with older TVs because the expectation of getting this high value content is not assumed.
What this comes down to is that for owners of older TVs without an HDMI, you may be denied access to some special content that is made available before an official DVD release. Those with newer TVs however, may be able to get pre-release access to upcoming movies. How do you feel about this? Is it a reasonable trade-off, or should the FCC have held firm?
A pair of Intel executives today outlined Intel's latest system-on-chip (SoC) products for embedded applications. The big news here is that an upcoming SoC product will be built around Intel's Atom architecture and, for the first time, let other companies create PCI Express compliant devices that connect directly to the chip, Intel said.
Code named Tunnel Creek, Intel envisions the upcoming SoC being used for in-vehicle infotainment and IP media phones. It's a highly integrated part that combines an Atom processor core, memory controller hub, and graphics and video engine all onto a single chip.
According to Intel, the GPU crams 50 percent more graphics performance than existing Menlow chipsets, and as a bonus, it's also smaller and cheaper to produce. Even still, things like hardware video encode acceleration and active noise cancellation DSP has been added in.
Look for Tunnel Creek to arrive by the end of the year.
LucidLogix has managed to pull in an additional $8 million of venture capital to continue developing its multi-GPU Hydra products. A Lucid representative said the cash would be used to both accelerate adoption of Hydra, and do new R&D on multi-GPU products. Lucid also took the opportunity to remind us that a new version of the Hydra driver is on the way.
The Hydra system is s system on a chip (SoC) that allows a PC to accept two different GPUs and make use of them for scalable 3D graphics. So instead of needing two identical Nvida cards for SLI, you can use any models (even an ATI card) and see a performance benefit. The upcoming driver update will add DX11 support as well as support for up to three GPUs.
MSI is currently integrating the Hydra SoC into their motherboards and expects to release several mid-range options in the coming months. If this technology takes off, you may never have to wonder what to do with your old video card again, you could just keep using it.
The e-Reader market has taken a turn, headed toward more expensive multi-purpose devices (e.g., Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s expected full-color multi-touch Kindle). This puts existing single-function e-Readers, which are priced relatively high, in some jeopardy. To keep the ‘pure’ e-Reader market alive and healthy, something cheaper and faster is going to be needed, and Freescale has obliged with a new chip, the i.MX508.
The i.MX508 strips all pretenses about function and focuses exclusively on e-reading. According to Freescale the i.MX508 “is the first system-on-chip (SoC) designed specifically for eReaders that incorporates a high performance 800MHz ARM Cortex™-A8 processor and an integrated E Ink® display controller, certified by E Ink to drive the newest and next generation Vizplex™ panels.”
Freescale says its new chip will decode a PDF file five-times faster than the ARM9 chip, and three times faster than the ARM11. Page turns are down to half a second. It supports low power DDR2 memory. And it is more energy efficient.
The i.MX508 also costs less then existing chips, about $30 less per unit. Ian King of Bloomberg.com figures this reduction in cost could lead to e-Readers in the $150 price range, perhaps by the end of this year.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is showing up in all manner of mobile devices all of a sudden. We’ve recently seen the 1GHz chip in the likes of the Google Nexus One, HTC HD2, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10, and the Toshiba TG01. Now Qualcomm looks to be pushing the industry to see the Snapdragon as more than a mobile phone processor with their new “Snaptop” prototype.
The Snaptop is a touchscreen tablet with a nifty kickstand to prop it up on a table for use as more of a laptop replacement. It has a slim wireless keyboard with integrated trackball. The device is currently running a modified version of Android 1.6.
Much like the Lenovo U1 with its detachable Snapdragon-powered screen, this product is really just a concept. We have no indication that you’ll be able to buy one of these at all. If you could though, would you?
Many TVs with the new Intel Media Processor CE 3100, a SoC specifically designed for consumer electronics, will be showcased during the upcoming CES 2009. Intel had unveiled its new SoCs triggered at consumer electronics during the Intel Developer Forum earlier this year.
Yahoo doesn’t want the technology to be restricted to high-end TVs alone. Yahoo’s Patrick Berry, VP of its Connected TV Initiative, told Cnet that he expects internet-enabled consumer electronics devices to become commonplace by 2010.
As previous attempts at providing a rich internet experience through TV sets failed due to unpalatable intricacy of those ill-fated technologies, the two companies have tried to make the Widgets Channel as simple as possible.
Lucid has now raised $32 million in all. It intends to use the funds to propagate its multi-GPU HYDRA technology, which is an alternative to Nvidia SLI and ATI Crossfire multi-GPU solutions.
“Our recent announcements and engagements with major partners have demonstrated that we can deliver and commercialize our technology,” said an optimistic Offir Remez Hydra, Lucid’s founder and VP of business development. Hydra scores over SLI and Crossfire due its unique ability to extract 100% linear performance from each of the GPUs – it supports up to four GPUs from the same manufacturer.
Lucid can pat its back for having secured fresh funding when most venture capitalists have pulled in their horns as the global economy wades through a turbulent storm.
Nvidia and Opera have teamed up to provide a rich web browsing experience on mobile platforms. Nvidia will now provide “an optimized Opera 9.5 browser in its suite of pre-integrated, in-house and third-party software for the NVIDIA Tegra family of computer-on-chip Windows Mobile and Windows CE solutions.”
The web browsing experience currently available on most smartphones leaves a lot to be desired. But browsing on mobile devices is destined for a considerable leap in the near future as success of mobile devices is beginning to rest heavily on the browsing experience they offer.
Intel has unveiled its new system-on-a-chip (SoC) offering for embedded systems. The Intel EP80579 microprocessors, based on the Pentium M core, will be integrated in a host of products that roughly fall under the umbrella of industrial robotics, security, storage and communication devices. Each of the new integrated processors has a CPU core, memory controller, IO controller and acceleration technology onboard.
Intel has not only curtailed the appetite for power of these chips by 34% but also reduced their size by 45%. Since this is only the first of the eight such chips, a lot lies in store in terms of improvements.It is known that Intel will soon – sometime next year – integrate the Atom’s core into its SoC products.
The company has literally made even highly diverse devices, which employ its new SoC products, more compatible with each other, as the revamped integrated processors are all based on its X86 architecture. The chip manufacturer has thrust its weight behind MIDs (mobile internet device) and the new crop of its integrated processors will be employed in them; besides an entire gamut of consumer electronics products.