Tag: broadwell

Skylake desktop launch set for August

IMG0045566The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that that the silicon monster Intel is about to drop a clutch of Skylake desktop chips in August.

The rumour is based on the idea that every year Intel holds its Developers Forum in Mid-September but for reasons known only to the Gods has decided to change the date to Mid-August.

Fudzilla is certain that Intel plans to launch the desktop Skylake-S between August and October, while the production of dual-core and quad-core Skylake parts will start between June and July.

Skylake-S will launch as an unlocked desktop processor that will have TDPs from 65W to 95 W, but there will also be some 35W parts for All-in-One computers coming time (presumably in time fo Apple’s new iMacs).

For Fudz’ prediction to work, Broadwell 65W parts will have to be here in June and be announced at Computex. This will mean that the top Core i7 5775R SKU has a base clock of 3.3GHz, with a max turbo frequency of 3.8GHz, 6MB of cache, DDR3L 1600 MHz support and Iris PRO 6200 graphics.

Intel’s current Core i7 4790K is based on Haswell refresh core and it works at 4GHz and am 8MB cache, as well as Intel HD Graphics 4600. The Core i7 4790K has a TDP of 88W which is significantly more than 65W.

For Intel to make much impact with Skylight it will have to launch a Core i7 5770K variant that will works faster than the Core i7 4790K.

It also seems that Intel will go back on its word and bring in a new socket set based around 1364 pins. Intel was fond of saying that that Skylake will use the same LGA 1150 socket and this has lead some to suspect that there will be a socket 1150 version and an LGA 1364 version of the Skylake-S.

Intel’s Xeon SoC to ARM wrestle

arm-wrestlingIntel has lifted the veil on a new Xeon D family of processors which are the company’s first ever Xeon-based System-on-Chip (SoC).

The news is bad for ARM because it is wanted to dominate the microserver market and this package is exactly what it does not want out there.

The Xeon D line is built on Intel’s 14nm process technology and combines the performance of Xeon chips with the size and power savings of a SoC.

Intel says the Xeon D delivers up to 3.4x faster performance node and up to 1.7x better performance per watt compared to the company’s Atom C2750, which is part of Intel’s second-generation 64-bit SoC family.

Xeon D is the third generation and it’s actually based on Intel’s 14nm Broadwell architecture.

This puts Intel in the running for those customers who want low-power, high density infrastructure products. In fact Intel says that it can deliver  server class reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features in an ultra-dense, low-power device.

Cisco, HP, NEC, Quanta Cloud Technology, Sugon, and Supermicro have sworn their loyalty to the chip, before all their dark gods, and are committed to building microserves based on Intel’s new Xeon D options.

This means ARM has not got much time before actual products are out there.

Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel said that the growth of connected devices and demand for more digital services has created new opportunities for information and communication technology,” said.

“By bringing Intel Xeon processor performance to a low-power SoC, we’re delivering the best of both worlds and enabling our customers to deliver exciting new services.”

Intel’s kicking things off with two Xeon D processors, the D-1540 with 8 cores, 16 threads, 2GHz, 45W TDP and D-1520 with its 4 cores, 8 threads, 2.2GHz, 45W TDP. These have memory controllers capable of up to 128GB of addressable memory.

They also feature an integrated platform controller hub (PCH), integrated I/Os, and two integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

All of this is based on Intel’s Broadwell so should give a reasonable performance per watt.

Apple Air gets Broadwell

27151_1_intel_rejects_the_idea_that_they_are_going_bga_only_fullIntel’s disappointingly delayed Broadwell chips have found a customer in the fruity cargo cult in the shape of Apple’s MacBook Air.

From Intel’s perspective this is great news.  Not only will it get a customer for its silicon, the Tame Apple Press will start chanting that the chips are brilliant, innovative and state of the art.

Sure enough ITPro talks about how the “silicon giant’s fifth Generation Core processor” promises 90 minutes extra battery life compared to Intel’s fourth generation.

What appears to be happening is that Apple will use Intel’s new Broadwell-Y Core M processors. Apple thinks that the fact they have 4.5W performance and fanless.

However Apple is not the only one to use this chip. Panasonic is also set to use the chipmaker’s latest release, revealing that the Broadwell processor powers its Toughbook 54 laptop, so has HP.  Toshiba has used the fifth generation Broadwell processors to improve the battery life of its Kira Ultrabook laptops, claiming they now have a 13 hour battery life.

What is a little odd is that the Core M is more of a business chip, being designed for Intel’s wireless offices rather than Apple’s normal consumer users.

It is also very late into the shops as Intel wrestled with the production process.  Apparently, the process took ages to fix the yields. But Intel is into high yields now, and in production on more than one product, with many more to come later this year.


Broadwell may be desktop bound after all

privacy-policy-512760_640Rumours that Intel was going to can its plans to bring its Broadwell chip to the desktop are now looking a little shaky.

The tech publication CHW.net claims  that it has confirmed the release of BDW-S and even BDW-K in a few weeks.

A recent roadmap showed showing BDW-K but no BDW-S in Q2 2015 but CHW found that  ASUS has listed support of 5th generation processors on the main spec sheets of various Z97 motherboards.

This might be a little weak evidence.  The specification of 5th generation support has been there for a long time and axing the chip has been a more recent decision.

The ASUS spec also mentions Broadwell-S too, something which has been dropped from the roadmap for ages.

But it is interesting because if BDW-S actually releases, it would mean that the launch of Skylake-S might be delayed a bit further, to allow Intel to make money on it.


Intel’s Skylake is delayed

menunggu-godot-samuel-beckettIt is starting to look like we will not see Intel’s new Skylake CPU until the Intel Developer Forum on August 15.

It had been expected that the sixth-gen announcements and corresponding 100-series chipsets would start to appear in the second quarter. But it appears that Intel was just talking about the lowest-end, Core M-branded members of the family.

A plausible recently leaked product roadmap puts both the mobile Skylake-U and desktop Skylake-S on the fast track to third quarter debuts between July and September.

This would suggest that everything is gearing up for a big IDF event.

This is bad news for the likes of Microsoft and hardware manufacturers who look to the release of a new chip to boost PC sales. There is some evidence that some buyers are refusing to upgrade until Skylake is out.

VR-Zone has its paws on a document that not just corroborates the August unveil deadline, but also hints at the aggressive TDPs of some of the roster’s members. The top-of-the-line quad-core K CPU will blow 95 watts of maximum heat, but there will be more energy-efficient 65 and 35W variants.

Of course there are some fears that Intel will make the same mistake that it did with Broadwell which was so late some of us dubbed it the Godot chip.

Glare from Windows 10 to affect sales

framedwindowsIf you’re thinking of buying a notebook now, complete with Windows 8.1 and current Intel chips, it may be time to postpone your buying decision.

That’s what Digitimes says is likely to be the effect of Microsoft’s move to release Windows 10 – formerly known as Windows 9 – next year.

According to the Taiwanese wire, suppliers to notebook manufacturers now expect to see fewer sales in this quarter than they’d expected.

In addition to the introduction of Windows 10, Intel is expected to introduce 14 nanometre Y series Broadwell chips at the end of December.

As Windows 8.x has been greeted with apathy and in some cases contempt, few people will be rushing to spend their hard earned cash on what’s going to become out of date technology any month now.

Broadwell will be Intel’s red-headed stepchild

Rupert-Grint-Ron-Weasley-Harry-Potter-GingerBroadwell is set to be the chip that Intel does not want to talk about as it enters next year with two chip line-ups.

Intel says that both Broadwell and Skylake will be in the shops in the same year, something the chip maker has managed to avoid doing before, with very good reason.

Skylake is supposed to be better technology, but having it so close to Broadwell will mean that punters will wait for it rather than buying something out-of-date.  They will not have long to wait. Broadwell will ship in the first quarter next year, but in the second half next year, users will be able to buy PCs with processors based on the newer Skylake architecture.

This sorry state of affairs has come about because Broadwell has been cursed with delayed chip shipments which lead to delayed manufacturing.  The world should have Broadwell machines already, but they are still not around.

Intel appears to have decided to put the whole mess behind it and move to Skylake as planned.

Chipzilla claims that Skylake chips will lead to the biggest PC innovations in the last 10 years. Skylake will bring wireless charging and data transfers, and also a significant increase in performance, battery life and power efficiency. At IDF Intel did not hardly bother showing off any Broadwell chips.

On the plus side, the transition to Skylake will also lead to Intel dumping Broadwell processors, which could help cut laptop prices by year end. That could benefit customers looking for low-cost laptops and prop up PC shipment volumes.


Intel talks about Core-M

Intel-Core-MIntel has finally split the beans on the chip it hopes will start to make an impact on the tablet market.

Broadwell-based processors will carry the brand name, Core M, and they will target tablets that are less than nine millimeters thick and need no fans.

If it all works, it means that tablets will finally get a PC-class processor if it fails then mobile users will have a hot melted ball of plastic in their laps.

For those who came in late Broadwell uses Chipzilla’s Intel’s 14-nm manufacturing process. Getting the secret sauce right has been tricky, Broadwell has been delayed several times due to some teething problems with this new process.

Intel claims it has got the process right and is now ready for volume production.

Intel VP and Director of 14-nm Technology Development Sanjay Natarajan provided Tech Report   with some details about Broadwell.

Most importantly, he said that the new 14-nm process provides true scaling from the prior 22-nm node, with virtually all of the traditional benefits of Moore’s Law intact. So rather than giving up on Moore’s Law, Chipzilla is doing its best to prop it up.

This 14-nm process uses second generation tri-gate transistors or FinFETs. This actually puts Intel well ahead of rivals which have not even come up with first-generation FinFET silicon.

Looking at the fins comprising Intel’s tri-grate transistors, they appear to have become closer together at the 14-nm node with something called the fin pitch reduced from 60 to 42 nm.  The fins themselves have grown taller and thinner. This improves density, while the new fin structure allows for increased drive current and thus better performance. It all means that Intel can use fewer fins for some on-chip structures, further increasing the effective density of the process. Fewer fins means the chips are more power efficient.

The gate pitch has been reduced from 90 to 70 nm and, as shown above, the spacing of the smallest interconnects has dropped even more dramatically, from 80 to 52 nm.

Natarajan said the new chip can flip bits at higher speeds than prior generations while losing less power in the form of leakage along the way.

What he suggests also is that Intel will eventually have to move beyond Moore’s Law if it is going to evolve. The reason is not the technology, but the cost of following Moore’s Law.

Chipmakers have had to use ever more exotic techniques like double-patterning—creating two separate masks for photolithography and exposing them at a slight offset—in order to achieve higher densities. Doing so increases costs.

If moving to finer process nodes cannot reduce the cost per transistor, the march of ever-more-complex microelectronics could slow down. Some chipmakers have hinted that we will be approaching that point very soon.

Intel claims that so far there is no problem and the math continues to work well. Currently there is a steady decrease in cost per transistor through the 14-nm node and this should flow into the 10-nm process.

Broadwell’s CPU cores have received a number of tweaks over Haswell’s which Intel claims has increased instruction throughput per clock by about five percent. In keeping with Broadwell’s mobile focus, Intel’s architects set a high standard for any added features in this revision of the architecture.  Now a new feature must contribute two per cent more performance for every  per cent of added power use. In the good old days a 1:1 was considered great.

Intel has done a fair bit on the graphics too. Broadwell-Y’s IGP is an increase in the number of modular “slices” of graphics resources included.  There are three versus two in Haswell. Each slice has its own L1 cache, texture cache, and texture sampling/filtering hardware.

All this means is that Broadwell’s display block can drive 4K displays and can using fixed-function hardware in conjunction with the graphics EUs to process H.265 video.  This means that H.265 decoding on Broadwell-Y is “fast enough for 4K” and the chip can handle 4K resolutions at 30 Hz.

Intel plans another “new era”

broadwellChipmaker Intel is has been telling hacks and hackettes that it is going to be lifting the kimono on a “new era” of hardware next month.

It’s unclear what Intel could be announcing at IFA 2014 on September 5, 2014, in Berlin, Germany.  The smart money is on the company applying liberal coats of candle grease to wax lyrical about its next gen CPUs.

For those who came in late, Intel is widely expected to release new 5th-generation processors based on the company’s Broadwell architecture towards the end of this year.

After all Intel has already spilled the beans on its Core M, a super-thin processor that could pave the way for ultra-thin laptops and hybrids. They have also talked about Llama Mountain, a concept device powered by Core M that’s only 7.2mm thick and wears a 12.5-inch display.

Intel’s IFA 2014 presentation could also contain more information about these two devices as well, but that would be old news.

Intel needs to grab a few headlines its Devil’s Canyon CPU was found to offer a modest performance boost over older Intel chips and was greeted by a loud sounding yawn from the press.

Apple blames Intel

gala_appleApple has been forced to delay its coming 12-inch MacBook because the chipmaker Intel keeps delaying its Broadwell chip.

To be fair Apple has not confirmed plans to launch a 12-inch MacBook yet, but that is normal. But it is also normal to know when the product is likely to be shipped and this one is going to be late.

The news of a 12-inch MacBook emerged in October and trusted KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo said the device would combine the portability of an 11-inch MacBook Air with the productivity of the larger 13-inch version. The analyst claimed that Apple put its Retina display onto this 12-inch MacBook.

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News claims that with Intel’s delays with Broadwell, Apple will have to push back the launch date.

It claims that Apple will not be able to ship its purported 12-inch MacBook Air until late 2014 or early 2015.

The problem is the technical issues that Intel is having with its  14-nanometer Broadwell chips. The chips in question have faced numerous delays and the problems are not going away.

Word on the street is that Intel’s U series Broadwell chips destined for Apple’s upcoming MacBooks may not ship until February next year.

Apple was supposed to release this model in autumn, with mass production set to commence in the third quarter. The 12-inch MacBook will boast a redesigned chassis with an ultra-thin profile, as well as a revamped trackpad that would ditch the fan and the mechanical trackpad button.

Apple’s MacBook will not be the only major release affected by Intel’s continued Broadwell delays. Several other Apple products may face similar hurdles. The first Broadwell chips designed for iDevices are not expected to start shipping until early 2015, while those designed for the Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac may not ship until mid-2015.

All this means is that Jobs’ Mob will not have any major product launches for ages.

Intel’s Q3 shows a profit dip

Brian KrzanichA UK executive at Intel once pointed out to me that a billion of anything is a lot of something.

And Intel released its third quarter results late yesterday evening, turning in a net profit of $2.95 billion, down from the same quarter last year of $2.97 billion. The Q3 net profit is based on sales of $13.48 billion but turned in a gross profit margin of 62.4 percent.

Intel expects the fourth quarter to be flat, but claimed at an analyst conference after its results were released that there are signs of an uptick in the X86 market.

Its customers, including giants like Dell, HP and Acer, and industry analysts such as Gartner and IDC may beg to differ that the PC market is recovering.

Meanwhile the chip behemoth admitted that sales to consumers continued to be sluggish. Right now the firm’s strength seems to be in the server market, where margins are high.

Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO, needs to do something to address the company’s so far woeful performance in tablets and smartphones. Most handset makers use chips based on ARM technology which are far cheaper than Intel processors.

While Intel has been a leader in process technology, it is having trouble getting the right yields on 14 nanometre technology – and it admitted as much last night.