Information technologi


  • China Stimulates Investments in Chips with Massive R&D Incentives
    on 23. september 2023 at 18:15

    China to offer chip companies a 120% deduction of R&D expenses before taxes through 2027.

  • Report Says Tesla Will Double Its Dojo D1 Supercomputer Chip Orders
    on 23. september 2023 at 18:03

    Tesla looks like it is building on its initial orders for Dojo D1 ASICs, reducing its dependency on Nvidia-powered supercomputing.

  • Seagate Lists FireCuda 512N SSDs for Handheld Consoles and Compact PCs
    on 23. september 2023 at 16:58

    Seagate is about to start sales of M.2-2230 FireCuda 520N SSDs for ROG Ally and Steam Deck consoles, as well as compact PCs.

  • China Increases Localization of Chipmaking Tools, But Still Lags Behind
    on 23. september 2023 at 15:50

    Chinese companies produce more wafer fab tools, but still cannot make competitive lithography scanners.

  • NFT Hype Collapse Means 95% of The Digital Assets Are Now 'Worthless'
    on 23. september 2023 at 15:48

    The collapse in value of NFTs, and how many NFT collections are now "worthless," has taken crypto enthusiasts by surprise.

  • How To Use Lists in Python
    on 23. september 2023 at 14:59

    Learn how to work with lists in Python by creating a real world project which has them at its heart.

  • GeForce RTX 4090 Can't Handle Samsung's Odyssey Neo G9 240Hz Monitor: Limited to 120 Hz
    on 23. september 2023 at 14:23

    Samsung's Odyssey Neo G9 display requires DisplayPort 2.1, cannot run at 240 Hz with GeForce RTX 40-series graphics cards.

  • CPU Benchmarks and Hierarchy 2023: Processor Ranking Charts
    by (Paul Alcorn) on 23. september 2023 at 12:33

    All of today's desktop CPU benchmarks compared, including Intel's 13th-Gen Core series and AMD's Ryzen Zen 4 and Threadripper.

  • Nuphy Air75 V2 Review: Redefining Low-Profile Keys
    on 23. september 2023 at 12:00

    The Nuphy Air75 V2 improves on the original in meaningful ways. Better battery life, more switch options, faster wireless for gaming, and brighter RGB, make this one of the best low-profile mechanical keyboards you can buy today.

  • Cisco to Acquire Splunk for $28 Billion, Accelerating AI-Enabled Security and Observability
    by Franklin Okeke on 22. september 2023 at 22:45

    On Thursday Cisco agreed to buy Splunk in a $28 billion deal intended to address AI-enabled security and observability issues.

  • Best Low-Code Platforms for Developers for 2023
    by Enrique Corrales on 22. september 2023 at 22:05

    Looking for a low-code platform to help you develop software quickly with minimal coding? Explore our list of top options to find out which is best for your team.

  • Best CI/CD Pipeline Tools for DevOps in 2023
    by Enrique Corrales on 22. september 2023 at 21:42

    CI/CD tools help automate and streamline the development and release process. Explore our list of top CI/CD tools to find out which one is best for your team.

  • Sabrent Ships 8TB SSD for PlayStation 5: High Capacity for a High Price
    on 22. september 2023 at 21:30

    Although Sony's PlayStation 5 game console fully supports off-the-shelf PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives, Sony initially limited the maximum capacity to 4 TB. Recently the company removed that cap as part of the PS5 8.00 firmware update, and now the system can support drives with up to 8 TB. Sabrent, in turn, is among the first SSD makers to offer an 8 TB drive specifically marketed for the PS5. "PC and PS5 enthusiasts have long anticipated the expansion of internal storage capacity, and now, this dream has become a reality with the introduction of the Sabrent 8TB Rocket 4 Plus SSD," a statement by Sabrent reads. Sabrent's Rocket 4 Plus 8 TB is based on a Phison platform and is actually a bit faster than the rest of the drives in the series. The manufacturer says that the SSD offers an up to 7,100 MB/s sequential read and up to 6,000 MB/s sequential write speeds. In order to keep the drive properly cooled under high loads, the drive comes equipped with a PS5-compatible aluminum heatsink that also doubles as a replacement for the drive bay's metal cover plate. Sabrent's 8 TB Rocket 4 Plus drive (SB-RKT4P-PSHS-8TB) can now be purchased from Amazon for $1,009.99, which is twice the price of Sony's PlayStation 5 console, and a $10 premium over a bare 8TB Rocket 4 Plus. This is of course a huge investment, but PS5's 825 GB of capacity available to end users is a fraction of what modern SSDs can provide 3 years later – and whose small capacity is quickly being consumed by modern, high-end games. For example, Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes up over 300 GB and Gran Turismo 7 nears 200 GB. Now that Sony's PlayStation 5 supports 8 TB SSDs, the console gets a yet another advantage over Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S consoles, which only support proprietary drives with an up to 2 TB capacity. Since these drives are essentially M.2-2230 SSDs encapsulated into a plastic case, it remains to be seen when an 8 TB drive will come to the latest generation of Xbox consoles.

  • AMD Ryzen Z1 Packs Zen 4 and Zen 4c Cores: CPUID Dump
    on 22. september 2023 at 20:02

    New CPUID Dump Shows AMD's Ryzen Z1 non-Extreme as Phoenix 2 APU with two Zen 4 and four Zen 4c cores.

  • JavaScript Best Practices
    by Rob Gravelle on 22. september 2023 at 18:46

    Learn about the best practices for web development and JavaScript programming, complete with code examples and real-world scenarios.

  • Microsoft 365 Copilot Release Date Set for November
    by Megan Crouse on 22. september 2023 at 17:23

    The AI assistant will launch across Microsoft products, from 365 to Windows, and includes a prompt writing tool.

  • Top 6 Wave Payroll Competitors and Alternatives for 2023
    by Chloe Goodshore on 22. september 2023 at 16:10

    Looking for an alternative to Wave Payroll? Here's our comprehensive list covering the top competitors and alternatives to help you find your best fit.

  • 7 Best Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) Software for 2023
    by Franklin Okeke on 22. september 2023 at 15:10

    What is the best CSPM tool for your business? Use our guide to review our picks for the best cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools for 2023.

  • Microsoft PowerToys 0.73.0: A Breakdown of the New Crop And Lock App
    by Mark W. Kaelin on 22. september 2023 at 14:00

    The Crop And Lock app in the latest release of Microsoft PowerToys, version 0.73.0, can help enhance your productivity.

  • Forrester’s 2024 Tech Leadership Predictions About AI, HR, Budget and Manufacturing
    by Esther Shein on 22. september 2023 at 13:30

    Organizations are already reaping up to 40% improvement from AI software development initiatives, and productivity and problem-solving gains will increase by 50%, the firm said.

  • ProtonVPN Review (2023): Features, Pricing and Alternatives
    by Luis Millares on 22. september 2023 at 13:26

    ProtonVPN is an all-around VPN that operates under Switzerland’s strong privacy laws, setting it apart from other services in the market.

  • ECS LIVA Q3D and ACEMAGIC T8 Plus micro-PCs Review: Jasper Lake and Alder Lake-N in a...
    on 21. september 2023 at 13:10

    Compact computing systems have gained significant market share over the last decade. Improvements in the performance per watt metric of processors have enabled the replacement of bulky desktop PCs by ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) machines with a 4 in. x 4 in. footprint. Motivated by IoT applications at the edge, some companies started creating x86 systems in sub-4x4 form-factors using Intel's Apollo Lake processors. ECS was one of the first mainstream vendors to pay attention to this segment with their LIVA Q Series using Intel's Atom series and AMD's first-generation Ryzen Embedded SoCs. With the introduction of more power-efficient platforms, Asian manufacturers such as ACEMAGIC, GMKtec, and MinisForum have also entered this micro-PC market with a wider range of processor choices. Intel introduced the Alder Lake-N (ADL-N) product family to take over Jasper Lake's role in the cost-conscious low-power PC market. As ADL-N ramps up and Jasper Lake winds down, we are seeing products based on both families being actively sold in the market. We took advantage of this opportunity to source two micro-PCs - the LIVA Q3D from ECS, and the T8 Plus from ACEMAGIC - and put them through our evaluation routine to study the benefits of ADL-N's Gracemont microarchitecture over Jasper Lake's Tremont. Read on for a detailed look at the results along with a discussion of the tradeoffs involved in pursuing a smaller-than-UCFF footprint.

  • Asus Launches ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090: All a 4090 Can Be, For $3200
    on 21. september 2023 at 0:15

    When Asus teased its ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card back at Computex, it was clear that the company's ambitions were to develop no less than the world's fastest graphics card. The company meticulously described the card's advanced printed circuit board design, voltage regulating module, and cooling system, but it never revealed two important details: actual clocks and price. This week it disclosed both: the board will clock the GPU at 2.70 GHz out-of-box and will cost $3,199, twice the price of a reference GeForce RTX 4090. An Overclocker's Dream Comes True Asus proudly states that the ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 is ideal for overclocking enthusiasts. The board used the AD102 GPU equipped with 16,384 CUDA cores that has a peak frequency of 2700 MHz, surpassing NVIDIA's reference boost clock of 2520 MHz. In a physically unmodified (but LN cooled) state, an extreme overclocked ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 surpassed the 4 GHz GPU clock threshold earlier this year, an achievement that underscores its potential for overclocking. Since its debut at Computex, the card has secured three World Records and five top spots, totaling seven overclocking achievements in various benchmarks, Asus says. NVIDIA has dozens of add-in-board (AIB) partners producing factory overclocked graphics cards. But with EVGA and its Kingpin-edition graphics cards gone, there are not so many brands left which cater to demands of extreme enthusiasts. Asus is certainly one of them and with its range-topping ROG Matrix RTX 4090, the company went above and beyond with enhancements beyond reference designs. Through Hardware and Software The card employs a custom circuit board featuring a 24-phase VRM and a 12VHPWR connector, ensuring up to 600W of power for the GPU. This board is equipped with multiple sensors to oversee temperatures of various components (and even create a temperature map) and even measure currents on the card's 12VHPWR connector (more on this later). The ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 comes with a comprehensive closed-loop hybrid liquid cooling solution with a 360-mm radiator, magnetically connected fans, and RGB illumination. In a bid to improve efficiency of the cooler, Asus used a liquid metal thermal compound, which it uses for its gaming laptops and which is particularly hard to use for desktop PC components (marking a first in the GPU industry for Asus) since they tend to be located under a different angle. The ROG Matrix RTX 4090's strengths are not solely in its hardware though. Asus has enhanced its GPU Tweak III software, adding more monitoring and overclocking capabilities that leverage the card's advanced features and sensors. Users can customize various settings, including power targets, GPU voltage, and fan speed. The software also offers real-time temperature insights and tracks the card's performance at varying power settings. Another notable aspect is the card's Power Detector+ feature. This function examines the 12VHPWR connector, monitoring currents across all power rails to identify any irregularities, then recommends customers to reconnect the notorious plug if needed. A Niche Product Meanwhile, performance of the ROG Matrix RTX 4090 comes at a cost as the product's price doubles that of a standard GeForce RTX 4090. This greatly devalues the product in the eyes of average people. But the Asus ROG Matrix RTX 4090 is a niche product. It targets hardcore overclocking enthusiasts eager to maximize their hardware's performance. This card is for those who relish fine-tuning their systems for minor benchmarking improvements, making it a trophy piece for tech enthusiasts.

  • Intel High-NA Lithography Update: Dev Work On Intel 18A, Production On Future Node
    on 20. september 2023 at 23:20

    As part of Intel’s suite of hardware announcements at this year’s Intel Innovation 2023 conference, the company offered a brief update on their plans for High-NA EUV machines, which will become a cornerstone of future Intel process nodes. Following some changes in Intel’s process roadmap – in particular Intel 18A being pulled in because it was ahead of schedule – Intel’s plans for the next-generation EUV machines. Intel will now only be using the machines with their 18A node as part of their development and validation work of the new machines; production use of High-NA machines will now come on Intel’s post-18A node. High Numerical Aperture (High-NA) machines are the next generation of EUV photolithography machines. The massive scanners incorporate 0.55 numerical aperture optics, significantly larger than the 0.33 NA optics used in first-generation production EUV machines, which will ultimately allow for higher/finer quality lines to be etched. Ultimately, High-NA machines are going to be a critical component to enabling nodes below 2nm/20 angstroms. At the time that Intel laid out their “5 nodes in 4 years” roadmap in 2021, the company announced that they were going to be the lead customer for ASML’s High-NA machines, and would be receiving the first production machine. High-NA, in turn, was slated to be a major part of Intel’s 18A node. Size Comparison: ASML Normal & High NA EUV Machines But since 2021, plans have changed for Intel, seemingly in a good way. Progress on 18A has been ahead of schedule, such that, in 2022, Intel announced they were pulling in 18A manufacturing from 2025 to H2’2024. Given that the release date of ASML’s High-NA machines has not changed, however, that announcement from Intel left open some questions about how High-NA would fit into their 18A node. And now we finally have some clarification on the matter from Intel. High-NA machines are no longer a part of Intel’s production plans for 18A. With the node now arriving before production-grade High-NA machines, Intel will be producing 18A with the tools they have, such as ASML’s NXE 3000 series EUV scanners. Instead, the intersection between 18A and High-NA will be that Intel using the 18A line to develop and validate the use of High-NA scanners for future production. After which, Intel will finally use High-NA machines as part of the production process for their next-generation, post-18A node, which is simply being called “Intel Next” right now. As for the first High-NA development machine, Intel also confirmed this week that their schedule for development remains on track. Intel is slated to receive their first High-NA machine late this year – which as Pat Gelsinger put it in his keynote, is his Christmas present to Dr. Ann Kelleher, Intel’s EVP and GM of technology development. Finally, back on the subject of the Intel 18A process, Intel says that they are progressing well on their second-generation angstrom node. The 0.9 PDK, which should be the final pre-production PDK, is nearly done, and should enable Intel’s teams to ramp up designing chips for the process. Intel, for its part, intends to start 18A silicon fab work on Q1’2024. Based on Intel’s roadmaps thus far, that is most likely going to be the first revision of one of the dies on Panther Lake, Intel’s first 18A client platform.

  • Intel Announces Panther Lake Client Platform, Built on Intel 18A For 2025
    on 20. september 2023 at 18:30

    While the primary focus has been on Intel's impending Meteor Lake SoC due by the end of the year, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger unveiled more about their current client processor roadmap. Aside from a demo showing off a 'Lunar Lake' test box, Pat Gelsinger also announced Panther Lake, a new Intel client platform that is on track for a release sometime in 2025. Intel's updated roadmap has given the industry a glimpse into what lies ahead. Following the much-anticipated Lunar Lake processors set for a 2024-2025 timeframe, Panther Lake is set to bring all the technological advancements of Intel's 18A node to the party. As mentioned, Intel demoed Lunar Lake's AI capabilities with a live demo at Intel Innovation 2023. This included a pair of demos, one running an AI plugin called Riffusion within the Audacity software, which can generate music. The second was a demo running Stable Diffusion using a text-to-image generation model; it was a giraffe in a cowboy hat for reference. This was all done using a working Lunar Lake test box, which seamlessly looked to run the two demos with ease. Intel Client Processor Roadmap Name P-Core uArch E-Core uArch Process Node (Compute Tile) Release Year Meteor Lake Redwood Cove Crestmont Intel 4 2023 (December) Arrow Lake Lion Cove? Crestmont? Intel 20A 2024 Lunar Lake Lion Cove? Skymont? Intel 20A? 2024? Panther Lake ? ? Intel 18A 2025 Pivoting to the Panther Lake, Intel, via CEO Pat Gelsinger during Intel Innovation 2023, said that it's on track for release in 2025; we also know that Intel is sending it to fabs in Q1 of 2024. This means we're getting Meteor, Arrow, Lunar, and then Panther Lake (in that order) by the end of 2025. Panther Lake aims to build on Lunar Lake with all its tiles fabricated on the advanced 18A node. While (understandably) details are thin, we don't know what P-core or E-core architectures Panther Lake will use.  Intel's Innovation 2023 event was a starting point for Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger to elaborate on a comprehensive processor roadmap beyond the much anticipated Meteor Lake SoC, with the first Ultra SKU set to launch on December 14th; this about counts as a launch this year, barring any unexpected foibles. With Panther Lake on track for a 2025 release and set to go to fabs in Q1 of 2024, Intel's ambitious "5 nodes in 4 years" strategy is in full swing. While Lunar Lake paves the way with advanced on-chip AI capabilities on the 20A node, Panther Lake aims to build upon this foundation using the more advanced 18A node. Although specific architectural details remain scant, the sequential release of Meteor, Arrow, Lunar, and Panther Lake by the end of 2025 underscores Intel's aggressive push to redefine the client processor landscape.

  • Asus Quietly Begins to Sell Cheap ROG Ally Console with Non-Extreme CPU
    on 20. september 2023 at 12:30

    With a plethora of news coming from Intel early this week, it went almost unnoticed that Asus has begun to sell an inexpensive version of its ROG Ally portable game console. Unlike the original one, this unit carries AMD's Ryzen Z1 non-extreme accelerated processing unit that offers tangibly lower performance, which makes the gaming systems considerably less capable. The original Asus ROG Ally portable game console for $699 is based on the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme system-on-chip featuring eight Zen 4 general-purpose cores and a Radeon GPU featuring 12 RDNA 3 compute units (768 stream processors). By contrast, the cheaper Asus ROG Ally is powered by the vanilla AMD Ryzen Z1 that has six Zen 4 cores and a Radeon GPU with four RDNA 3 compute units (256 stream processors), which translates into a 25% lower general-purpose performance and a whopping 67% lower graphics performance. While a 20% lower CPU performance will inevitably affect game performance, it will not be a substantial performance drop; a 66% lower GPU performance will however dramatically drop framerates. Those gamers accustomed to the original ROG Ally performance based on the Ryzen Z1 Extreme SoC will probably find framerates on the cheaper model in demanding games unplayable. The cheaper version of the ROG Ally (RC71L-ALLY.Z1_512) is priced at $599 and can be ordered directly from Asus and Best Buy. By contrast, the higher-end version of the ROG Ally is officially priced at $699, and the unit is listed by virtually all retailers, including Amazon and Newegg. Whether $100 justifies up to 66% graphics performance degradation or not is something for everyone to decide, but it should be noted that getting an ROG Ally with Ryzen Z1 Extreme at its MSRP is pretty hard. Asus says that the only difference between $699 and $599 ROG Ally is the SoC, so the cheaper model still has a 7-inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080 and a 120 Hz refresh rate, 16 GB of LPDDR-6400 memory, a 512 GB SSD, and similar controls. Unfortunately, it is impossible to upgrade the handheld game console, and the only way to improve its performance if it is not enough is to attach an external GPU using the company's proprietary ROG XG Mobile connector, which will cost well over $1000.

  • Intel Demos Lunar Lake Client Processor In Action, Silicon Pulled In To Intel 20A?
    on 19. september 2023 at 19:45

    As part of Intel’s Innovation 2023 conference, the company is not only showing off their current and soon-to-be-current products like Meteor Lake, but the forward-looking keynote by CEO Pat Gelsinger was also used to showcase future generations of Intel products. Perhaps the biggest surprise this year being Intel’s Lunar Lake platform, which is already up and running to the point where Intel can do demos on it. Lunar Lake is Intel’s 2025 client platform, which is scheduled to arrive after Meteor Lake (very late 2023) and Arrow Lake (2024). At last disclosure from Intel, it is going to be a brand-new platform, replacing the shared Meteor/Arrow platform. At this point, confirmed details are few and far between, other than that it will be bigger and better than Meteor Lake. Intel Client Processor Roadmap Name P-Core uArch E-Core uArch Process Node (Compute Tile) Release Year Meteor Lake Redwood Cove Crestmont Intel 4 2023 (December) Arrow Lake Lion Cove? Crestmont? Intel 20A 2024 Lunar Lake Lion Cove? Skymont? Intel 20A? 2024? Panther Lake ? ? Intel 18A 2025 In any case, as part of this year’s Innovation keynote, Gelsinger & co ran a pair of AI demos on their Lunar Lake test box. The first was Riffusion, an AI music generation plugin for Audacity that can generate music based on the style of another artist. The second demo was the now classic Stable Diffusion text-to-image generation model. Both demos were able to leverage the chip’s NPU, which is a new processing block for Intel client chips starting with the impending Meteor Lake. And while the demo was brief, it served its purpose: to show that Lunar Lake was back from the fab, and was already in good enough shape not just to boot and OS, but to show off controlled demos. Intel has made it clear over the past few years that they intend to move fast to make up for lost time and recapture leadership of the client market (both in terms of architecture and fabs), so they are eager to show off their progress here. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the demo was what wasn’t said, however: the process node used for Lunar Lake’s compute (CPU) tile. In Intel’s earliest (and still most recent) public roadmap, Lunar Lake was listed to be built on the Intel 18A process. However, other disclosures from Intel today indicate that they’re only going to be starting risk production of 18A silicon in Q1’2024. Which means that for Lunar Lake to be working today, it can’t be on 18A. Old Intel Client Roadmap, Circa 2022 That leaves 20A as by far the most likely alternative, which is due sooner and is already turning out working wafers. Which means that Intel is planning on using 20A over two generations of client processors: Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake. We’re still waiting on confirmation of this, of course, but all signs currently point to Lunar Lake having shifted to 20A since Intel’s previous update.

  • Intel Unveils Meteor Lake Architecture: Intel 4 Heralds the Disaggregated Future of Mobile CPUs
    on 19. september 2023 at 15:35

    During the opening keynote at Intel's Innovation event in San Jose, Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger unveiled a score of details about the upcoming Meteor Lake client platform. Intel's Meteor Lake marks the beginning of a new era for the chipmaker, as they move away from the chaotic Intel 7 node and go into a rollout of their Foveros 3D packaging with EUV lithography for their upcoming client mobile platform. Meteor Lake uses a tiled, disaggregated chiplet architecture for its client-centric processors for the first time, changing the very nature of Intel's consumer chips going forward. And, according to Intel, all of these changes have allowed them to bring some significant advancements to the mobile market. Intel's first chiplet-based consumer CPU breaks up the common functions of a modern CPU into four individual tiles: compute, graphics, SoC, and an I/O tile. Within the makeup of the compute tile is a new pair of cores, a P-core named Redwood Cove and a new E-core called Crestmont. Both these cores promise IPC gains over their previous counterparts, but perhaps the most interesting inclusion is a new type of E-core embedded directly into the SoC tile, which Intel calls 'Low Power Island.' These new LP E-cores are designed with the idea that light workloads and processes can be taken off the more power-hungry compute tile and offloaded onto a more efficient and lower-powered tile altogether. Other major additions include a first-for-Intel Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which sits within the SoC tile and is designed to bring on-chip AI capabilities for workloads and inferencing, paving the way for the future. With Meteor Lake, Intel is aiming to put themselves in a more competitive position within the mobile market, with notable improvements to compute core hierarchy, Intel's Xe LPG Arc-based graphics tile looking to bolster integrated graphics capabilities, and an NPU that adds various AI advantages. Meteor Lake also sets the scene for Intel and modular disaggregation, with Foveros 3D packaging set to become a mainstay of Intel's processor roadmap for the future, with the Intel 4 process making its debut and acting as a stepping stone to what will become Intel's next mainstay node throughout its fabs, Intel 3.

  • The Intel Innovation 2023 Keynote Live Blog (8:30am PT, 15:30 UTC)
    on 19. september 2023 at 14:30

    Kicking off this morning is Intel's annual technology conference, Innovation. The second year of the revived show once again has Intel's CEO Pat Gelsinger leading things off, with what's scheduled to be a 90 minute keynote. Intel has four major themes for this year's show: Accelerating the AI Era Transformative Innovation for the Future of Computing Hype vs. Reality: Bringing Modern Applications to Market Faster (Edge to Cloud) Building and Scaling Industry-Leading Next-Generation Systems and Platforms Expect to see AI everywhere - both in regards to silicon and promotional efforts. AI is the golden goose of the tech industry at the moment, and everyone is either making massive profits off of AI harfdware (NVIDIA), or wants to be (more or less everyone else, including Intel). Meanwhile, on the product front, this is the year that Intel's Meteor Lake client platform is scheduled to launch. The first Intel CPU built on their EUV-enabled Intel 4 process, Meteor Lake is also Intel's first disaggregated CPU, breaking up what would be a monolithic CPU into several chiplets. Coupled with a new VPU/NPU for AI, Meteor Lake will be a chip of several firsts for Intel when it arrives. The live blog will start with the opening keynote from Intel Innovation at 8:30am PT / 15:30 UTC / 17:30 CEST. So please join us for what should be an informative keynote.

  • Netgear Unveils Orbi 970 Wi-Fi 7 Quad-Band Mesh System
    on 19. september 2023 at 12:30

    Wi-Fi has seen rapid advancements over the last decade, starting with the introduction of 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) came with significant improvements in total throughput. The Wi-Fi 6E standard brought 6 GHz operation (where allowed) to consumers. A few years back, Wi-Fi 7 silicon was announced with multi-gigabit throughput and significant latency improvements. On the device side, consumers grappling with range issues typically used to augment their networks with extenders, while prosumers opted for multiple access points backed by a single router. In recent years, we have seen the rise of a new category of products - Wi-Fi systems / mesh networking kits. These bundles consisting of a router with one or more satellites attempted to make the setting up of a network extender-based configuration more user friendly and provide them with a seamless and unified product experience. The category has seen significant investment from traditional vendors like Netgear, TP-Link, etc., big vendors like Google (Google Wi-Fi and Nest Wi-Fi), as well as startups like eero (now, part of Amazon) and Plume. Netgear had jumped on the mesh-networking bandwagon quite early, and has enjoyed significant market success with their Orbi series of products. Unlike some of the other mesh networking vendors, Netgear uses a dedicated backhaul and also provides optional support for wired backhauls. While this provided tangible benefits over shared wireless backhauls, the costs associated with the additional radio has usually put the Orbi kits in the premium category. The company last updated its Orbi lineup in October 2021 with the launch of the RBKE960 Wi-Fi 6E mesh system based on Qualcomm's Networking Pro Series 1610 (integrating the IPQ8074 WiSoC and QCN9074 radios).Today, the company is introducing the Orbi 970 series with Wi-Fi 7 support. Building upon their experience with the RBKE960, Netgear has further optimized the antenna design and placement, and also enhanced the backhaul connection in a newly designed slim chassis with a smaller footprint. The quad-band design involves two 4x4 5 GHz, one 4x4 6 GHz, and one 4x4 2.4 GHz channels. The enhanced backhaul scheme in the Orbi 970 involves use of multi-link operation (MLO). The router and the satellite communicate using the dedicated 5 GHz backhaul channel along with the 6 GHz band. Multi-link operation is a new Wi-Fi 7 feature, and Netgear is taking advantage of that by using it in conjunction with their traditional dedicated backhaul channel. It must be noted that the 6 GHz channel is used for both fronthaul and backhaul. Netgear also demonstrated practical backhaul bandwidth of around 10 Gbps with this enhanced backhaul scheme. MLO is also available for fronthaul communication, assuming the client device supports it. The company has been making incremental improvements to the antenna placement for optimizing coverage, and the trend continues with the new industrial design. Each router / satellite includes 12 high-performance internal antennas complemented by high-power amplifiers. The availability of 320 MHz channels and the 16-stream support enable Netgear to advertise the Orbi 970 series as a BE27000 system, with theoretical total bandwidth of 27 Gbps. The router comes with 4x 2.5G + 1x 10G LAN ports and a 10G WAN port, while the satellite is equipped with 2x 2.5G + 1x 10G LAN ports. The 10G LAN ports on the router and satellite can be used to create a wired backhaul. As is usual for Orbi kits, the setup is done via a smartphone app. Netgear also provides a couple of value additions - 1 year of Netgear ARMOR powered by Bitdefender - a security / VPN solution, and a free month of a subscription-based Smart Parental Controls application. Netgear claims that a router and two satellites are enough to cover 10000 sq. ft., with each additional satellite providing an extra 3300 sq. ft. Pricing ranges from $2300 for the 3-piece kit to $900 for each satellite. Similar to previous Orbi kits, the Orbi 970 also utilizes a Qualcomm platform. The Wi-Fi 7 Networking Pro series was launched in May 2022, and our coverage detailed some of the key features such as MLO, AFC for optimized 6 GHz performance, and adaptive interference puncturing to allow channels to operate in a disjointed state in order to maximize bandwidth in the presence of interference. All of these features are present in the Orbi 970 routers and satellites, which utilize the Networking Pro 1620 platform. The kits are available for purchase today. Netgear has taken its time to perfect the firmware and app prior to release, as Wi-Fi 7 mesh kits from TP-Link (Deco) and Linksys (Velop) are already in the market. Interestingly, TP-Link also has a BE33000 Deco BE95 quad-band kit priced at $1200 for a 2-pack (compared to the $1700 for a similar Orbi 970 configuration). The key difference is that the Deco BE95 uses two 6 GHz channels instead of the two 5 GHz channels in the Orbi 970. So, while the availability of higher channel width in 6 GHz enables the Deco BE95 to advertise more available bandwidth (33 Gbps vs. 27 Gbps), range in the 6 GHz band might not be enough for optimal coverage. Of course, usage of a wired backhaul might result in the Deco BE95 providing overall better performance. The other mesh kits (from both TP-Link and Linksys) are BE11000 / BE22000 tri-band kits and don't compete against the Orbi 970 series. The pricing of the flagship mesh kits has slowly been creeping upwards every generation, but the increasing number of radios and antennas that need to be accommodated in the design leave vendors without much choice. With pricing between $1700 and $2300, the Orbi 970 series might not be for everyone. But, it is bound to be cheaper (and possibly more performant) than creating a wired backbone, installing a router, and complementing it with multiple low-cost access points. Gallery: Netgear Unveils Orbi 970 Wi-Fi 7 Quad-Band Mesh System

  • Intel Shows Off Work on Next-Gen Glass Core Substrates, Plans Deployment Later in Decade
    on 18. september 2023 at 13:01

    Although Intel’s annual Innovation event doesn’t kick off until tomorrow, the company is already publishing some announcements ahead of the show – and it’s not the trivial stuff, either. This morning the company is showing off their initial work on developing a glass core substrate and associated packaging process for their chips. As a result of their progress with research and development on the glass cores, Intel is now planning on introducing glass core substrates to its products in the second half of this decade, allowing them to package chips in more complex, and ultimately higher-performing configurations. There’s a lot to unpack from Intel’s relatively short announcement, but at a high level, glass core substrates have been under research for over a decade as a replacement for organic substrates, which are widely used in current-generation processors. Essentially the medium that typical silicon dies sit on, substrates play an important part in chip packaging. First and foremost, they provide the structural stability for a chip (silicon dies are quite fragile and flimsy), and they are also the means through which signals from silicon dies are carried, either to other on-package dies (i.e. chiplets), or to the large number of relatively sizable pins/pads on the back side of a chip. And, as chip sizes have increased over the years – and the number of pins/signals required by high-end chips has, as well – so has the need for newer and better materials to use as a substrate, which is what’s been driving Intel’s latest accomplishment. Ultimately, what Intel is aiming to do with glass core substrates is to improve upon what can be done with existing organic substrates, allowing for larger chips with more signals to be routed through the substrate more cleanly. And while this will potentially have benefits for all chips over a long enough time, the immediate focus is on high-end, multi-chiplet processors, where glass core substrates will offer better mechanical stability, better signal integrity, and the ability to more easily route a larger number of signals through a non-silicon medium. In short, Intel considers it one of the keys to making high-performance processors in the next decade.

  • AMD Releases EPYC 8004 "Siena" CPUs: Zen 4c For Edge-Optimized Server Chips
    on 18. september 2023 at 13:00

    AMD this morning is releasing the fourth and final member of its 4th generation EPYC processor family, the EPYC 8004 series. Previously disclosed under the codename Siena, the EPYC 8004 series is AMD’s low-cost sub-set of EPYC CPUs, aimed at the telco, edge, and other price and efficiency-sensitive marketing segments. Based on the same Zen4c cores as Bergamo, Siena is basically Bergamo-light, using the same hardware to offer server processors with between 8 and 64 CPU cores. First unveiled by AMD last summer at Financial Analyst Day 2022, Siena is AMD’s first dedicated entry into the telco, networking, and edge market. Compared to AMD’s general-purpose Genoa chips (EPYC 9004), Siena offers fewer CPU cores and lower performance overall, instead optimizing the chips and platform for lower costs and better energy efficiency for use in non-datacenter environments. More broadly speaking, this is the low-end segment of the 4th generation EPYC stack.

  • Intel Broadens FPGA Range with New Products Across All Six FPGA Platforms
    on 15. september 2023 at 20:30

    Intel's Programmable Solutions Group (PSG) is broadening its FPGA product range with the introduction of six new programmable platforms aimed at different types of customers and workloads. In addition to a new sub-family of Agilex 5-series offerings, Intel is launching its all-new Agilex 3 series offerings along with new Agilex. The highlight of today's announcement is the Intel Agilex 3 FPGA series of power and cost-optimized FPGAs in compact form factors. The family includes the Agilex 3 B-series FPGAs that boast a higher I/O density in compact form factors (compared to Intel Max 10 FPGAs) and are optimized for board and system management, including server platform management applications.  On the other side of the Agilex 3 spectrum is the C-series FPGAs that are engineered to provide supplementary capabilities, making them apt for a broad spectrum of complex programmable logic devices (CPLD) and FPGA applications across various industries. Intel says that its Agilex 3-series FPGAs will be available soon without disclosing when exactly. Another noteworthy introduction is the Intel Agilex 5 FPGA E-series based on the 2nd Generation Hyperflex FPGA architecture and tailored for embedded edge applications and therefore featuring high performance efficiency. Intel produces these FPGAs in house using its Intel 7 manufacturing technology (formerly known as 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin), which is why it says that these parts deliver 1.6 times higher performance per watt compared to competing FPGAs made on a 16 nm-class process technology (possibly referring to Xilinx's FPGAs built in this process node). Additionally, this FPGA series integrates an AI tensor block, a feature previously exclusive to Intel's premium programmable parts, positioning it as a solution for edge AI tasks. Intel will start sampling Agilex 5 E-series parts with design software in Q1 2024. A system simulator for these FPGAs will be available in the cloud in late 2024. Intel also said that it had begun shipments of its Intel Agilex 7 FPGAs with the R-Tile chiplet. These FPGAs offer a PCIe 5.0 interface with the CXL protocol on top that allow to quickly deploy programmable accelerators for specific tasks that can benefit from higher bandwidth and lower latencies. In addition to revealing new FPGAs, Intel also said that the first commercial product based on its F2000X infrastructure processing unit platform is now shipping. The part is the Napatech F2070X IPU that has two 100 GbE ports and is powered by the Agilex AGFC023 FPGA and an Intel Xeon D SoC. Rounding off the new introductions is the Nios V/c compact microcontroller, which is a soft-core IP, based on the RISC-V architecture, which can be programmed using the company's Quartus Prime Pro software.

  • ASRock's Low-Profile Arc A310 Fits Every PC and Every Budget
    on 14. september 2023 at 22:30

    ASRock this week has introduced an Intel Arc-based A310 Low Profile 4 GB graphics card. Aimed at the lower power/size/cost portion of the video card market, the entry-level A310 card carries a cut-down ACM-G11 GPU with 768 stream processors operating at 2.0 GHz and a 64-bit memory interface that connects 4 GB of GDDR6. And while its performance isn't anything to write home about, it fills out ASRock's lineup with a budget video card that can also easily be placed into low profile systems. Performance vise, ASRock's Arc A310 Low Profile graphics card should be comparable to higher-end integrated graphics solutions - which is to say that it's more for general desktop work than demanding games. Notably, as a current-generation Arc card, it incorporates Intel's feature-packed media playback engine, with hardware encoding and decoding for the majority of popular formats, such as AV1, H.264, H.265, and VP9, which makes it a good solution for home theater PCs (HTPCs) as well as office PCs. The low-profile card offers two display outputs, a DisplayPort (2.0) and an HDMI port (2.0b). In terms of power consumption, this is a sub-75W card (ASRock doesn't give a more precise figure than that), so you won't find any external power connectors as it's entirely bus-powered. Meanwhile, it looks like ASRock has opted to recycle the same dual-slot dual-fan cooling system they use for their other low-profile Arc card, the low-profile ASRock Arc A380.  Wrapping things up, ASRock has not listed a price for the card. Though judging from the cost of other Arc A310 cards on the market, it's likely to end up hitting shelves in the low $100 range.

  • Khadas Mind Premium Review: Raptor Lake-P in a Modular Portable Workstation
    on 14. september 2023 at 12:00

    Khadas is a well-known vendor in the ARM-based single-board computer (SBC) circles. Recently, the company made its first foray into the small form-factor x86 PC space with a rather unique product - the Khadas Mind. Unlike regular mini-PCs, the Mind is actually an ecosystem of products created with the aim of bringing a portable modular workstation to the market. Rather than relying on Thunderbolt to achieve this vision, the company has created a proprietary Mind Link connector and interface with an intent to produce a more close-knit set of products. The main processing unit in the ecosystem is the Khadas Mind, which comes with either an Intel Core i7-1360P (Mind Premium) or an Intel Core i5-1340P (Mind Standard). Equipped with the Mind Link Connector, it can interface to a variety of peripherals such as the Mind Dock and Mind Graphics. While the former provides additional I/Os, the latter is a full-featured eGPU enclosure with a variety of ports. Khadas sent across the Mind Premium along with the Mind Dock to provide us with an introduction to the Mind ecosystem. Read on for a detailed investigation into the performance and product experience delivered by Raptor Lake-P in an unusual package.

  • Western Digital Releases WD_Black SN770M: M.2-2230 SSD for Consoles
    on 12. september 2023 at 21:30

    Western Digital has unveiled a compact version of its WD_Black SN770 SSD, tailored mainly for handheld gaming consoles such as the Asus ROG Ally and Valve Steam Deck. The WD_Black SN770M delivers the performance typical of a midrange PCIe 4.0 SSD, with support for features like Microsoft's DirectStorage. As implied by its name, the WD_Black SN770M is built on the same platform as its larger counterpart, the WD_Black SN770. It offers comparable performance metrics: sequential read speeds of up to 5150 MB/s, sequential write speeds of up to 4900 MB/s, and random read/write IOPS of up to 740K/800K. While the SN770M's figures might not rival the latest PCIe Gen5 drives, keep in mind that these are compact SSDs designed for portable, heat and power-constrained consoles. Western Digital WD_BLACK SN770M SSD Specifications Capacity 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB Model WDS500G3X0G-00CHY0 WDS100T3X0G-00CHY0 WDS200T3X0G-00CHY0 Controller SanDisk NAND Flash ? Form-Factor, Interface Single-Sided M.2-2230, PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.4 DRAM N/A Sequential Read 5000 MB/s 5150 MB/s Sequential Write 4000 MB/s 4900 MB/s 4850 MB/s Random Read IOPS 460K 740K 650K Random Write IOPS 800K Avg. Power Consumption ? W ? W ? W Max. Power Consumption ? W (R) ? W (W) ? W (R) ? W (W) ? W (R) ? W (W) SLC Caching Yes TCG Opal Encryption No MTTF 1.75M Hours Warranty 5 years Write Endurance 300 TBW 0.33 DWPD 600 TBW 0.33 DWPD 1200 TBW 0.33 DWPD MSRP $74.99 $109.99 $219.99 Western Digital does not disclose what specific controller is or NAND is used in most of their drives these days. Notably, the company already offers an PCIe Gen 4 M.2-2230 drive for OEMs, the SN740, which lists the same performance specifications. So the SN770M may just be a retail redress of the SN740. Which, given how popular the SN740 has been as an aftermarket upgrade for the Steam Deck, it's more surprising that WD wasn't already selling a version of that drive in the retail market. In terms of storage capacity, the WD_Black SN770M is available in 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB variants, mirroring what its larger sibling provides. Given that both the Asus ROG Ally and Valve's Steam Deck ship with no more than 512 GB of storage, the 1 TB and 2 TB options present a substantial upgrade. The 1TB model, priced at $109.99, is available exclusively through Western Digital's online store and Best Buy. In contrast, the 2TB version is sold only at Best Buy for $219.99. Currently, the 500 GB model is available for $74.99 from Western Digital's online store, as well as other e-tailers, retailers, and resellers. All these drives come with Western Digital's five-year limited warranty. The M.2-2230 form factor was primarily developed for SSDs powering ultra-thin laptops, which typically don't demand top-tier performance. While there are indeed high-performance SSDs with the M.2-2230 form factor, most aren't designed for gaming systems. This makes it challenging for owners of portable consoles like the ROG Ally or Steam Deck to upgrade to a more advanced SSD. With the introduction of the WD_Black SN770M, Western Digital offers a retail solution tailored for gamers, blending solid performance with gaming-centric features, a combination rare in M.2-2230 drives.

  • TSMC Buys 10% Stake in IMS Nano from Intel
    on 12. september 2023 at 19:00

    Intel and TSMC have announced an agreement in which TSMC will acquire a 10% stake in IMS Nanofabrication. IMS, controlled by Intel, produces multi e-beam photomask writing tools, whose significance is on the rise. TSMC has collaborated with IMS Nano since 2012, and this investment is expected to deepen their partnership. TSMC's acquisition of a 10% stake in IMS Nano is priced at $430 million, aligning with the company's valuation of approximately $4.3 billion. Earlier this year, Intel divested a 20% stake in IMS Nano to Bain Capital for $860 million, aiming to enhance its independence and valuing the company at the same $4.3 billion. After this transaction with TSMC, Intel will still hold about 70% of the multi-e-beam photomask tool company. "TSMC has been working with IMS since 2012 on the development of multi-beam mask writers for advanced technology nodes," said Kevin Zhang, senior vice president of business development at TSMC. "This investment continues the long-term partnership between TSMC and IMS to accelerate innovation and enable deeper cross-industry collaboration." IMS Nanofabrication specializes in creating multi e-beam photomasks writing tools. The use of multiple e-beams accelerates the photomask creation process, a crucial advancement given that photomasks degrade faster with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. These multi e-beam tools enable chipmakers like Intel and TSMC to swiftly make minor adjustments to pellicles as part of yield improvements, variability lowering, and performance enhancement processes. Several years down the road these tools will be used for crafting photomasks for upcoming technology nodes that will use High-NA EUV lithography. "We are delighted to bring in new investors to help us build on IMS's leadership in multi-beam mask writing, which is the backbone of innovation in leading-edge semiconductor technologies," said Elmar Platzgummer, chief executive of IMS. "This is a testament to IMS’ expertise and leadership position in this integral technology. Together with our partners, we look forward to continuing to support innovation of next-generation technologies and deliver value across the semiconductor ecosystem." Intel believes that increased autonomy of IMS will positively impact the whole semiconductor production landscape by enabling the company to strategically tap into the expanding potential of multi-beam mask writing tools in the coming decade and further into the future.

  • The Apple 2023 Fall iPhone Event Live Blog (Starts at 10am PT/17:00 UTC)
    on 12. september 2023 at 15:00

    It's that time of the year again - Apple's fall iPhone event, where the Cupertino company to unveil its newest generation family of iPhones. This year's theme is "Wonderlust," and will be the backdrop for the launch of iOS 17 as well as what should be the iPhone 15 series. This year is widely expected to see Apple switch from their proprietary Lightning connector to the newer USB-C connector, in large part to comply with EU phone charger regulations. Besides the compatibility benefits that entails, the Lightning connector itself is coming up on 11 years old – fulfilling Apple's promise for 10 years of support and then-some. And while Lightning is the progenitor to the modern reversible connector, its lower overall pin count is limiting its functionality in some ways that the denser USB-C should help with. Internally, it's all but assured that Apple will introduce a new generation processor in the form of the A17. Fab partner TSMC's production schedule has their first-generation 3nm node, N3B, well in to volume production at this point, so we're expecting to see our first shipping 3nm smartphone SoC. TSMC has never published generalized performance figures comparing N3B to N4 (used on the A16 SoC), so there's little basis for making specific performance estimates in advance. But as a full node improvement from the N5/N4 family, N3B should provide a perky punch, especially if Apple invests their gains in power consumption instead of performance. Interestingly, Apple may be the only game in town for a while due to other chipmakers opting for the forthcoming N3E node due to costs – but that's a story for another time. Regardless, Apple's SoC silicon has a strong history of delivering industry leading performance and some unexpected innovations, and we expect the new chip to once again push the envelope in performance and efficiency, as Apple is wont to do. The live blog will start along with the event at 10am PT / 17:00 UTC / 19:00 CEST.

  • Intel Unveils Barlow Ridge Thunderbolt 5 Controllers - TB5 Launching In 2024
    on 12. september 2023 at 13:00

    The USB-IF and VESA released the specifications of USB4 v2 and DisplayPort 2.1 in Q4 2022. At that time, Intel also announced that their next-gen Thunderbolt specifications would build upon these standards. However, concrete details were not divulged. Today, the company is unveiling Thunderbolt 5 officially with discrete controllers in tow for both hosts and peripherals. Thunderbolt 5: Technical Details The USB4 v2 specifications have been public for almost a year now. As a result, the capabilities of Thunderbolt 5 on the technical front are not much of a secret. In fact, Intel had detailed most of them last year. The technical aspects described above include: PCIe Gen4 x4 support (64 Gbps full duplex) DisplayPort 2.1 support (up to 80 Gbps) Asymmetric operation (120 Gbps transmit / 40 Gbps receive), in addition to the regular 80 Gbps transmit / 80 Gbps receive Usage of PAM3 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation with three levels) enabling more data transfer in each clock cycle A few additional details were provided as part of today's announcement. These are in addition to Thunderbolt 4 features. Compulsory requirement to support dual 6K monitors Compulsory 140W PD support for charging, up to 240W optional Doubled Thunderbolt networking bandwidth (from 10 Gbps full duplex to 20 Gbps full duplex) Existing Thunderbolt 3 cables up to 1m can also support the new speeds Thunderbolt 5 also supports up to 240W power delivery (USB-PD EPR specifications). This is useful for gaming notebooks and other power-hungry systems connecting to a Thunderbolt 5 dock (and relying on it as a power source). However, this is an optional feature and is likely to be relegated to premium Thunderbolt 5 peripherals. The compulsory features related to the increase in available bandwidth translate to support for high-refresh rate high-resolution monitors, and support for external SSDs and eGFX with PCIe Gen4 x4 links. The Barlow Ridge Thunderbolt 5 Controller Family Intel is bringing Thunderbolt 5 to the market with discrete silicon first. The Barlow Ridge family includes controllers for both hosts and accessories. Silicon meant for accessories are equipped with one upstream and three downstream Thunderbolt 5 ports. For computers, the controller takes in a DisplayPort 2.1 input along with a PCIe Gen4 x4 link to interface with the host. The technical aspects of Barlow Ridge such as package size and TDP will be made public in the coming months. Intel expects Thunderbolt 5-equipped computers and accessories to launch in 2024. Technical collateral and other developer resources will become available in Q4 2023. Based on the Thunderbolt 5 details presented today, it is clear that Thunderbolt ports will continue to remain the Type-C port that does it all. We would have liked some of the optional features (such as USB3 20G support) to become compulsory, but the other exciting updates in Thunderbolt 5 may make it easy for consumers to look past that. In any case, we have seen recent USB4 / Thunderbolt 4 implementations supporting that standard, so it is likely that at least some Thunderbolt 5 host ports will also support that standard. Gallery: Thunderbolt 5 Press Deck

  • Epos Winds Down Former Sennheiser Gaming Headphone Business
    on 11. september 2023 at 22:15

    Epos has announced that it will be exiting the gaming headphone business and will instead focus on enterprise communications products. The company's gaming products division, which was formerly part of the legendary Sennheiser, was responsible for shipping a number of notable gaming headsets over the past decade. However, the continuing weakness of the wired consumer audio market – and especially the gaming market – has taken its toll. Established in 2020 when Sennheiser and its partner Demant decided to part ways from their joint venture of nearly 20 years, Demant-owned Epos became the new home for what were Sennheiser's enterprise and gaming product divisions. While hopes were high for Epos as the gaming market has been growing in the recent years, Epos's gaming business performed weaker-than-expected in 2022 – 2023. And, facing a situation where additional investments would be required to keep the gaming division alive, Demant has decided to cut its losses and focus on enterprise communications. According to social media posts from Epos staff members, the company has already laid off all of its gaming division employees. Though the company has stated that it will continue to support customers and sell off inventory of existing products in the coming months. That self-off process is expected to take a decent bit of time, with Epos expecting it to stretch in to 2024. "Since the demerger of our joint venture with the Sennheiser group, our Gaming business has faced a volatile market environment," said Søren Nielsen, President & CEO of Demant. "Following extraordinary demand sparked by the pandemic in 2020, the gaming market has slowed down significantly due to weak consumer sentiment, and we do not see a viable path to creating a profitable business without significant investments in products, brand and distribution. We of course regret the impact our decision will have on affected employees and would like to thank all employees who have worked very hard to build the Gaming business under difficult circumstances."  Looking ahead, Demant's primary focus will be on fortifying its position in the enterprise solutions market. The company aims to expand its product range for businesses and grow its distribution partnerships. Financially, Demant anticipates some minor one-time costs in 2023 due to this shift. However, the overall financial forecast for the year and beyond remains stable. The Gaming division accounted for approximately 15% of the Communications segment's revenue in the first half of 2023. By 2024, with the combination of this phase-out and previous cost-saving measures, Demant expects its operational expenses in Communications to drop to DKK 450-500 million ($65 - $72 million) annually. This reduction is anticipated to lead to improved margins and a more favorable financial position in the near future.

  • Qualcomm Extends Deal To Supply 5G Modems for Apple Through 2026
    on 11. september 2023 at 12:15

    Qualcomm just shot over a brief note this morning, announcing that the company has signed an extended agreement with Apple to supply 5G modem-RF chips for their smartphones and other products that will be released in 2024, 2025, and 2026. The unusual Apple-related announcement, notably coming from a vendor rather than the tech juggernaut itself, underscores the cold-but-necessary relationship between Apple and Qualcomm: Apple has made it no secret that the company wants to develop their own modems and end their reliance on Qualcomm. But with this latest deal, they are clearly not there yet. Which means that, at least for the next few years, Qualcomm's Snapdragon modems are going to remain a core part of Apple’s mobile product lineup. The timing of this announcement comes a day before Apple’s annual fall iPhone event – this year’s titled “Wonderlust” – where the iPhone 15 family of phones is widely expected to be introduced. Qualcomm and Apple’s most recent agreement, prior to today’s announcement, runs through the end of 2023, and the iPhone 15 generation of phones is widely expected to use some version of Qualcomm’s 5G modem and RF front-end. Past that, Apple has been hard at work on development their own 5G modem, based in large part on the cellular modem technology they purchased from Intel back in 2019. With their own modem, Apple would no longer need to rely on Qualcomm for a critical component of their phones, a significant point of friction for the company given the costs and royalties involved. Today’s announcement of a new deal with Qualcomm, however, throws some cold water on those expectations. As always, the devil is in the details – Qualcomm’s agreement is not an exclusive agreement – but it means that Apple has, at a minimum, determined that they need to hedge their bets and have a deal in place with Qualcomm to purchase modems for the next few years should they are needed. As with the previous deal, Qualcomm’s public expectation is that Apple will do a phased roll-out rather than a hard switch – leaving Qualcomm with possibly as little as a 20% share of Apple’s phones in 2026 – but at 3 years out, plans can and do change, as we’ve since seen with the original Apple-Qualcomm deal. Ultimately, as Apple’s modem development project is an internal project for a specific component, it’s likely the notoriously tight-lipped company will have anything else to say on the matter until they’re ready to ship a modem in volume. But by letting Qualcomm speak about their future together for the next three years, it makes it clear that Apple isn’t going to be setting off on their own – at least, not quite yet.

  • Best CPUs for Gaming September 2023
    on 11. september 2023 at 11:00

    As we move into the cooler fall season, the CPU market is constantly changing, much like the weather. The overall CPU market has plateaued slightly, as both Intel and AMD have relatively good stocks of their current 13th Gen Core and Ryzen 7000 CPUs at present. With new launches expected later this year, including Intel's 14th Gen Core series, we expect nothing further from AMD until next year at the earliest. As it stands, both Intel and AMD have a strong hand in the desktop market. AMD has their Zen 4-based Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 7000X3D with 3D V-Cache, which cater to both enthusiasts and gamers alike. At the same time, Intel's 13th Gen Core series hybrid architecture brings both performance and competition to the market. Other than the Microcenter-exclusive AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D (6C/12T) and the entry-level Ryzen 5 7500F launched in July, not much has changed in our last guide regarding available chips to choose from. The Ryzen 5 5600X3D with 3D V-Cache is a more affordable option on AM4 and Zen 3 with 3D V-Cache for gamers on a tighter budget, while the AMD Ryzen 5 7500F offers a more affordable option for the AM5 platform, but without the RDNA2 integrated graphics. Looking at a broader overview of the current CPU market, the top end is dominated by the Intel Core i9-13900K (8P+16E/32T) and AMD's Ryzen 9 7950X (16C/32T). The other flagship CPU primarily targeted at gamers is the Ryzen 9 7950X3D (16C/32T), which has 3D V-Cache packaging, giving the gamers 96 MB of L3 V-Cache on one CCD and 32 MB on the other. AMD and Intel also have mid-range offerings (Core i7/i5 and Ryzen 7/5) offering decent levels of compute performance and, when paired with a competent discrete graphics card, are more than adequate for gaming.

  • Minisforum Unveils Mini-ITX Motherboard with MXM Slot for… SSDs
    on 9. september 2023 at 0:00

    Minisforum continues to diversify its business beyond compact PCs and this week it introduced a rather unusual Mini-ITX motherboard with an MXM slot. Typically used for graphics cards, Minisforum's Eyertec AD650i motherboard instead comes with an MXM adapter to house up to three M.2 SSDs. All together, the Mini-ITX board is able to drive 4 M.2 SSDs, as well as a couple of SATA SSDs for good measure. [making the platform suitable for an HTPC, NAS, or a small desktop that needs three M.2 drives.] The Minisforum AD650i Mini-ITX motherboard itself is based on Intel's laptop-grade Core i7-12650H processor (6P + 4E CPU cores, up to 4.70 GHz, 24 MB cache, UHD Graphics with 64 EUs, 45W PBP) that can be paired with up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory using two SO-DIMMs, an M.2 NVMe/PCIe SSD, and two SATA 3.0 drives. Meanwhile, the MXM carrier board can add three more M.2 SSDs (albeit with a PCIe interface) that can be set to work in RAID0, RAID1 and RAID5 modes. Since Minisforum supplies the MXM adapter for three M.2 drives with the Eyertec AD650i motherboard, it clearly positions the unit for NAS and similar devices that need to feature a lot of storage devices. Though as there are not a lot of high-capacity M.2-2280 SSDs around that can rival hard drives in terms of per-TB cost, the platform will likely land in something of a niche portion of the NAS segment. Those who would like to use the Eyertec AD650i for a PC, the MXM slot is not limited to SSDs and can technically be used to install a graphics card. But as MXM graphics cards have fallen out of favor (in place of soldered-down solutions), finding one worth installing is a whole other matter. Rounding out the rest of the I/O options for the AD650i, the board comes with a USB4-capable USB-C port, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth adapter, a 2.5 GbE port, and two HDMI display outputs. Minisforum's Eyertec AD650i is now available from the company for ¥2,599 ($313 without VAT), which is not a particularly low price. Though, given the fact that we are dealing with a unique product, this is not something unexpected, but a price that high underscores the fact that this is likely to be a niche product.

  • TSMC: Short Supply of HPC GPUs to Persist for 1.5 Years
    on 7. september 2023 at 17:30

    The reports about an insufficient supply of compute GPUs used for artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) servers became common in recent months as demand for GPUs to power generative AI applications exploded. TSMC admits that the biggest compute GPU supply bottleneck is its chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS) packaging capacity, as it is used by virtually everyone in the AI and HPC business. The company is expanding CoWoS capacity but believes that its shortage will persist for 1.5 years. "It is not the shortage of AI chips," said Mark Liu, the chairman of TSMC, in a conversation with Nikkei. "It is the shortage of our CoWoS capacity.  Currently, we cannot fulfill 100% of our customers' needs, but we try to support about 80%. We think this is a temporary phenomenon. After our expansion of [advanced chip packaging capacity], it should be alleviated in one and a half years." TSMC currently produces the vast majority of processors that power popular AI services, including compute GPUs (such as AMD's Instinct MI250 and NVIDIA's A100 and H100), FPGAs, and specialized ASICs from companies like d-Matrix and Tenstorrent as well as proprietary processors from cloud service providers, such as AWS's Trainium and Inferentia as well as Google's TPU. It is noteworthy that compute GPUs, FPGAs, and accelerators from CSPs all use HBM memory to get the highest bandwidth possible and use TSMC's interposer-based chip-on-wafer-on-substrate packaging. While traditional outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) companies like ASE and Amkor also offer similar packaging technologies, it looks like TSMC is getting the lion's share of the orders, which is why it can barely meet demand for its packaging services. Industry analysts believe that OSATs are less motivated to offer advanced packaging services because it requires them to invest hefty amounts of capital and poses more financial risks than traditional packaging. For example, if something goes wrong with a mainstream processor that sits on an organic substrate, an OSAT loses only one chip, whereas if something goes wrong with a package carrying four chiplets and eight HBM memory stacks, the company loses hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Since OSATs do not get substantial margins making those chiplets, such risks slow down the expansion of advanced packaging capacity at OSATs, even though advanced packaging costs significantly more money than traditional packaging. Just like its industry peers, TSMC is spending billions on upcoming advanced packaging facilities. For example, the company recently announced plans to spend nearly $2.9 billion on a packaging fab that is rumored to come online in 2027.  "We are increasing our capacity as quickly as possible," said C.C. Wei, chief executive of TSMC, at the company's earnings call earlier this year. "We expect these tightness somewhat be released in next year, probably towards the end of next year. I will not give you the exact number [in terms of processed wafers capacity], but CoWoS [capacity will be doubled in 2024 vs. 2023]." Source: Nikkei

  • The Be Quiet! Silent Loop 2 AIO Cooler Review: Quiet and Unassuming
    on 7. september 2023 at 13:30

    A familiar presence here at AnandTech, Be Quiet! has settled in to distinct niche for itself in the PC peripherals market over the years by simply living up to the company's name. Tuning their device designs for minimal acoustics, the company successfully expanded into all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers back in 2016. It's a product segment where, even though the design of closed-loop systems is quite restrictive, the company’s engineers have always been trying to innovate and differ from the competition. A prime example of this approach could be the Pure Loop series that hit the market back in 2020, which had a decoupled liquid pump. Jumping forward to the present, today we are taking a look at the latest AIO cooler series from Be Quiet!, the Silent Loop 2. This is an advanced cooler series that is designed to fully maximize the performance-to-noise ratio for demanding users. The Silent Loop 2 series consists of four coolers that are, as is usually the case, practically identical with the exception of the radiator size, which ranges from 120 mm to 360 mm. For our review we received the most popular version of the series, the 280 mm Silent Loop 2 cooler.

  • ASML to Deliver First High-NA EUV Tool This Year
    on 7. september 2023 at 2:00

    In a promising sign for the development of the next generation of EUV lithography machines, ASML has revealed that the company is set to deliver the industry's first High-NA extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography scanner by the end of the year. That machine, the 0.55 numerical aperture (NA) Twinscan EXE:5000 pilot scanner, is being developed for chipmakers so that they may learn how to efficiently use High-NA EUV technology. Following those R&D efforts, high volume manufacturing of chips using High-NA scanners expected to commence in 2025, when ASML begins shipping the commercial-grade Twinscan EXE:5200 scanner. "A few suppliers had some difficulties in actually ramping up and also giving us the right level of technological quality, so that led to some delay," said ASML CEO Peter Wennink, in a brief interview with Reuters. "But in fact, the first shipment is still this year. Currently, the most sophisticated EUV scanners in various fabs are ASML's Twinscan NXE:3400C and NXE:3400D. These scanners are equipped with 0.33 numerical aperture (NA) optics, delivering a 13 nm resolution. Such a resolution is suitable to print chips on manufacturing technologies featuring metal pitches between 30 nm and 38 nm. However, when pitches drop below 30 nm (at nodes beyond 5 nm), 13 nm resolution will not be enough and chipmakers will have to use EUV double patterning and/or pattern shaping technologies. Given that double patterning EUV can be both costly and fraught with risks, the industry is working on High-NA EUV scanners, which have a 0.55 NA, to achieve an 8nm resolution for manufacturing technologies intended for the latter half of the decade. ASML's High-NA scanners will once again change configurations of semiconductor fabs as they will not only employ new optics, but will also need a new and bigger light source, which will require new fab structures leading to significant investments. Though ASML's High-NA scanners are expected to be significant investments themselves, with various reports pointing to $300 - $400 million per unit, up from over $200 million per 0.33 NA EUV scanner. Intel had originally planned to use ASML's High-NA tools for its 18A (1.8 nm) production node, which was set for high-volume manufacturing in 2025, coinciding with ASML's anticipated delivery of its Twinscan EXE:5200. However, Intel later pulled in the commencement of its 18A production to the latter half of 2024, apparently opting to use ASML's Twinscan NXE:3600D/3800E with two exposures, as well as Applied Material's Endura Sculpta pattern-shaping system to reduce usage of EUV double patterning. Intel is expected to be the alpha customer for ASML's pilot High-NA scanner, so when it receives the machine later this year, its developers and engineers will be able to adjust Intel's process technologies to the upcoming production tools. Given the timing of the tools versus Intel's own process node plans, for the moment it remains unknown just how and when they will integrate the tools into their processes. As 18A is expected to be a long-term node, Intel may still be intending to use High-NA EUV with it, even if that option isn't viable at the start. Meanwhile, Samsung Foundry and TSMC are slated to start production of chips on their 2 nm-class nodes (SF2, N2) in late 2025. Though just how High-NA machines factor into their plans remains equally up in the air.

  • Arm's Clients and Partners Signal Interest to Invest $735 Million Ahead of IPO
    on 7. september 2023 at 1:00

    According to fresh SEC filings from Arm, the chip IP designer has secured a slew of industry investors ahead of the company's impending IPO. Aiming for a strong start to what Reuters reports is projected to be a $52 billion IPO valuation, Arm has been seeking out major industry customers as cornerstone investors, successfully lining up nearly a dozen companies from their efforts. Altogether, AMD, Apple, Cadence, Google, Intel, MediaTek, NVIDIA, Samsung, Synopsys, and TSMC have signaled an interest to purchase up to an aggregate of $735 million of Arm's American Depositary Shares (ADS), SoftBank, the owner of Arm, disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While the exact number of shares to be purchased has not been disclosed – and may very well change ahead of the IPO as the current inquiries are non-binding – at the upper-end price of $51/share, a $735 million purchase would represent just over 15% of the 95.5 million Arm shares that SoftBank intends to offer as part of the IPO. Or, measured against the projected $52 billion valuation of the company, this would leave the cornerstone investors owning a collective 1.4% of Arm. The list of companies that plan to purchase Arm shares is pretty impressive as it contains not only Arm's partners and clients like Apple, Cadence, Google, Samsung, and TSMC, but also customer-rivals, such as AMD and Intel, who both use Arm IP in some of their chips while competing with Arm designs in other chips. Meanwhile, some of Arm's other big customers are notably absent from the cornerstone investor group, including Qualcomm and Amazon. Overall, the cornerstone investors represent a mix of fabless chip designers and tool vendors, as well as all three of the world's leading fabs themselves. For Intel's part, the company is establishing its Intel Foundry Services group to produce chips for fabless chip designers, and virtually all of them use Arm's cores. Therefore, close collaboration with Arm is something that IFS needs to have, and a good way of making friends with Arm is to own a piece of it. "80% of TSMC wafers have an Arm processor in them," said Stuart Pann, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel Foundry Services, at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia & Technology Conference, reports Tom's Hardware. "The fact that our organization, the IFS organization, is embracing Arm at this level, investing in Arm, doing partnerships with Arm should give you a signpost that we are absolutely serious about playing this business. Because if you are not working with Arm, you cannot be a foundries provider." Interestingly, the head of Intel's foundry unit even said that IFS will have to focus more on Arm and RISC-V going forward as both instruction set architectures are going to drive chip volumes and volumes is what Intel wants at its fabs. Meanwhile Apple, one of the founders of Arm back in the 1990, extended its license agreement with Arm beyond 2040, which is a testament that the company is confident of the ISA and its development, at least for now. Keeping in mind that for now all of Apple's products use at least one Arm's CPU core, it is not reasonable that the companies are going to remain partners for the foreseeable future.

  • Intel Foundry Services to Make 65nm Chips for Tower Semiconductor
    on 5. september 2023 at 22:00

    In quite an unexpected turn of events, Intel on Tuesday announced that its foundry division would produce chips for contract chip maker Tower Semiconductor. Tower was a previous acquisition target for Intel, with that deal unraveling just a few weeks ago due to a lack of regulatory approval from China. But, as it would seem, despite the failure of the acquisition, it seems that Intel and Tower will be working together after all – just with Intel doing fab work for Tower. Under the new deal, Intel will make chips for Tower's customers at its Fab 11X in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, which is one of Intel's leading-edge fabs. Based on the agreement's conditions, Intel Foundry Services will provide a 'new capacity corridor of over 600,000 photo layers per month' for Tower to meet the anticipated client needs for 300mm advanced analog processing, something that Intel has not done at its own fabs for a while. IFS will produce chips for Tower starting from 2024, when Tower's process flow is qualified at its fab. In return, Tower plans to invest up to $300 million in procuring of fab tools and other fixed assets for Intel's Fab 11X. While the two companies remain tight lipped about actual products that IFS will produce for Tower Semiconductor, they did imply on power management ICs using Tower's 65 nm power management BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) process. Meanwhile both firms have alluded to utilizing other production nodes at Intel’s Fab 11X, including 65 nm radio frequency silicon-on-insulator (RF SOI), which would be the first time when Intel will use SOI of any kind. "As we look to the future, our primary focus is to expand our customer partnerships through high-scale manufacturing of leading-edge technology solutions," said Russell Ellwanger, chief executive officer of Tower Semiconductor. "This collaboration with Intel allows us to fulfill our customers' demand roadmaps, with a particular focus on advanced power management and radio frequency silicon on insulator (RF SOI) solutions, with full process flow qualification planned in 2024. We see this as a first step towards multiple unique synergistic solutions with Intel." For Tower, the deal marks a progressive move towards greater expansion, catering to a growing clientele in 300 mm technologies. The augmented scale from this deal enables Tower to address broader opportunities using its current production nodes, but also to bolster relationships with large clients with massive needs, laying the groundwork for development of future production nodes. Intel, on the other hand, will be able to fully use its Fab 11X capacity in New Mexico without needing to invest in all of the tools that will eventually end up installed there. "We launched Intel Foundry Services with a long-term view of delivering the world's first open system foundry that brings together a secure, sustainable, and resilient supply chain with the best of Intel and our ecosystem," said Stuart Pann, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Intel Foundry Services. "We are thrilled that Tower sees the unique value we provide and chose us to open their 300mm U.S. capacity corridor."

  • ASRock Reveals 4x4 Box 7040 Series: SFF PCs with AMD Phoenix and USB4
    on 5. september 2023 at 16:00

    ASRock Industrial has introduced a new lineup of NUC-like systems based on AMD's Ryzen 7040-series 'Phoenix' processors for laptops and compact desktops. The new 4x4 Box 7040 series compact PCs can be used for a wide variety of workloads given their high performance, advanced built-in graphics, rich connectivity, and USB4 support. ASRock's 4x4 Box 7040 systems are built around AMD's latest generation, Zen 4-based Ryzen 7 7840U (8C/16T, 5.10 GHz, Radeon 780M with 768 stream processors, AI accelerator) or Ryzen 5 7640U (6C/12T, 4.90 GHz, Radeon 760M with 512 stream processors, AI accelerator) CPUs. The mini-PCs can be equipped with up to 64 GB of DDR5-5600 memory using two SO-DIMMs as well as two M.2 SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 x4 or SATA interface. The processor is cooled down using an active cooling system to ensure its consistent performance under high loads, though the manufacturer does not disclose its noise level. Traditionally for ASRock's 4x4 Box PCs, connectivity department of the company's new compact machine is quite advanced as it as a Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.2 adapter, one 2.5 GbE port and one GbE port, two USB4 Type-C connectors with DP Alt Mode support on the front, three USB Type-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen2, two USB 2.0), four display outputs (two DP 1.4a using USB-C, two HDMI 1.4b), and a TRRS audio jack for headsets. The system measures 117.5×110.0×47.85mm (4.63×4.33×1.88 inches) and can be mounted on the backside of a display using VESA mounts to save some desk space. ASRock's 4x4 Box 7040 series systems are listed on the company's website, so expect them to become available shortly. In addition, the company also offers 4x4 7040 motherboards based on AMD's Ryzen 7 7840U or Ryzen 5 7640U SoCs for system integrators that have access to miniature chassis or would like to use these platforms for their own embedded designs.

  • GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme Motherboard Review: Flagship Z790 With Impressive VRM Thermals
    on 5. september 2023 at 13:00

    Over the years, motherboard manufacturers have consistently pushed the limits on top-end motherboards with striking designs and PCBs filled to the brim with the latest controllers and feature sets. Although these typically come with a high price premium, these 'flagships' represent the latest components, designed to operate the fastest processors to deliver leading-edge performance while offering the best controllers available at the time of manufacture. One such model is the GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme, which is the direct successor to the Z690 Aorus Xtreme, and boasts a premium feature set, including support for DDR5-8000 memory, dual Thunderbolt 4 Type-C, as well as 10 GbE and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity. Sitting at the top of GIGABYTE's Z790 range of motherboards, the Z790 Aorus Xtreme is designed for Intel's 13th (and 12th) generation Core series processors, and as such, benefits from advancements such as PCIe 5.0, native USB 3.2 G2x2 connectivity through a front panel header, and 10 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports directly located on the back panel. In a market with a massive choice of motherboards, the GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme has plenty of bells and whistles and appeals to users looking for the best motherboard designs and technology. Despite not being cheap, GIGABYTE, over the last couple of generations on both AMD and Intel chipsets, has offered good levels of value while offering solid performance levels. Today we're taking a closer look at the Z790 Aorus Xtreme to see how it stacks up against other LGA1700 motherboards with our Intel Core i9-13900K and if there's any value to be had amid the solid and premium feature set offered by GIGABYTE.