Tag: Nvidia

AMD ignites fury at hardware sites

AMD, SunnyvaleAdvanced Micro Devices (AMD) appears to have found itself in the middle of a blazing row after being accused by several hardware review sites of being biased against the press. That is, the press it doesn’t like too much.

AMD introduced its Fury product last week to a blaze of publicity but it wasn’t long before different hardware sites said no samples were to be had for love or, even, apparently money.

The crux of the matter comes down to benchmarks – some sites have said that AMD’s Fury simply doesn’t cut the ice when compared to product from arch rival Nvidia.

The situation has become so tense that one wag has used footage from the Third Reich film Downfall to portray Adolf Hitler as a frustrated AMD fanboy.

Some sites have said that the situation looks pretty much like AMD has done its traditional thing of shooting itself in both feet at the same time.

AMD is keeping mum about the matter – apparently there has been a shortage of samples while the company cranks up either its takeover by a third party or a cyanide pill at the end of the day.

AMD’s Sunnyvale site (pictured) does have bad Feng Shui. It is on the wrong side of a freeway along with ill-fated Yahoo. S3 was there at one time too.

No AMD spinners could be contacted at press time.

EU quizzes Qualcomm rivals about evil

movies-60-years-of-bond-gallery-7EU antitrust regulators have sent a questionnaire to Qualcomm’s rivals asking if it has been committing any atrocities over the way it licenses products.

Qualcomm has been feeling the regulatory heat in Europe, the United States, China, Japan and South Korea in recent years as watchdogs focus on its licensing model and its power over patents.

The bulk of its revenue comes from selling baseband chips, which let phones communicate with carrier networks, but a large portion of its profit comes from licensing patents for its CDMA mobile technology.

The European Commission told Qualcomm last year that it was investigating the way it sells and marketed chips and its rebates and financial incentives offered to customers.

The EU competition authority asked about the impact of various Qualcomm practices such as pass-through rights where phone makers are allowed to use patents already licensed by Qualcomm.

It also wanted to know how they feel about cross-licences and mutual non-assertion provisions in which companies agree not to enforce patent rights against each other.

Recipients of the document of more than 40 questions have until mid-May to respond.

A Commission spokeswoman declined to comment and Qualcomm had no immediate comment.

This is one of two EU inquiries into the company. The other probe, begun in 2010, was triggered by a complaint from British cell phone chipmaker Icera, a subsidiary of Nvidia, about rebates and financial incentives.


OpenPOWER reveals hardware plans

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 09.25.15The OpenPOWER Foundation – a group backed by Google, IBM, Nvidia, Mellanox, Tyan and others, revealed its hardware plans to capture data centre business.

OpenPOWER has over 100 members worldwide and IBM claims, for example, that Power 8 microprocessors offer something close to 60 percent better price performance than the competition. The competition, by the way, is mainly Intel.

IBM claims the Power 8 microprocessor is the first CPU designed specifically for Big Data and analytics workloads.

OpenPOWER members showed a number of hardware elements in their plan to grab data centre business.

IBM and Wistron showed off a prototype of a high performance server using tech from Nvidia and Mellanox. IBM will deliver two systems to Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, with a throughput five to 10 times faster than existing supercomputers.

In the second quarter of this year, Tyan will release its TN71-BP012, using an OpenPOWER customer reference system and aid at large scale cloud projects.

Nviia, Tyan and Cirrascale have developed the Cirrascale RM4950, which is a GPU accelerated developer platform which will be available in volume in the second quarter of this year. That’s aimed at big data analytics and scientific computing applications.

Nvidia installs $10,000 computer in car

reddit7Chipmaker Nvidia introduced a $10,000 computer that it says will allow cars to learn the right and wrong reactions to different situations.

Basically they think it can work out what to do from experience rather than a rigid set of pre-defined situations. If this is applied to the roads of Italy this will mean that your car will never leave the garage and will simply quake with fear.

Jen Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia claimed that real driving is not about detecting but a skill of learned behaviour.

Talking to the company’s GTC 2015 conference in San Jose, Huang said his Drive PX computer was based on two of the company’s Tegra X1 processors and will crunch video from up to 12 cameras.

Over time the computer should learn, for example, to slow down for dogs and water buffalo crossing the road but not jam on the brakes for a coke can.

Today’s commercial autonomous systems are largely related to detecting when cars stray from their lanes or preventing collisions. Several fully self-driving cars have been developed as part of research projects, but they rely on highly detailed maps and are generally restricted to operating in controlled environments.

A DARPA project already proved the learning technology on a lower level, said Huang. A small autonomous robot was fed with 225,000 images of a backyard. When it started out, the robot ran straight into an obstacle, but after analyzing the images, it managed to successfully scoot around the yard without hitting objects, figuring out for itself how to get around.

While it is not really designed for the great unwashed, Nvidia thinks its Drive PX will find a home in the R&D departments of car makers.

One proponent of autonomous driving, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, said the most difficult part of realizing the technology was at speeds between 10- and 50 miles per hour.

“It’s fairly easy to deal with things that are sub five or 10 miles per hour, you just make sure it hits nothing” said Musk, who was speaking alongside Huang at the event.

“From 10 to 50 miles per hour in complex suburban environments, that’s when you can get a lot of unexpected things happening. Once you’re above 50 miles per hour, it gets easier again.”

An additional element of Drive PX will ensure that actions learned in one car are shared with others, which should mean that cars will start to recognise bad drivers and get out of their way.
Nvidia didn’t say which auto makers would be using the platform, which will be available from May, but did say that it’s already receiving enquiries from car companies about the technology.


Nvidia adds a new Agent of Shield

Agents of SHIELD returnsNvidia might not have had many nibbles for its Shield concept, but today it released a TV console to the range for lots of people to ignore.

In this case it has released an Android-based living room device capable of 4K playback and capture.

During its Game Developers Conference 2015 press event, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang insisted that the world wanted an Android based console TV.

“First, it’s based on the most popular OS in the world. Second, the richness of the Google Play store, with it huge range of applications,” Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said. “Third, it syncs with all my other devices. Finally, it has an incredible voice search capability,” he said.

He claimed it was the the “world’s irst Android 4K TV” and it could receive and capture 4K at up to 60 fps video “very soon.” The living room entertainment device also packs Android TV functionality so users can access a library of movies, TV and more.

Nvidia Shield is part of the GPU makers cunning plan to make gear away from its traditional markets.

The Nvidia Shield can run both local, and streamed games via its Nvidia Grid subscription based game streaming service, up to 1080p at 60fps. The gaming-centric device will launch with more than 50 games on the Grid store.

The set-top box and console hybrid is based around a Tegra X1 processor, with a 256-bit Maxwell GPU with 3GB of memory. Its body features a MicroSD slot, a Micro USB 2.0 port, two USB Type-A 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet port, and HDMI port.

The device will ship bundled with the Shield Controller for USD$199.

Nvidia takes lead in add in graphics

nvidia-shieldJon Peddie Research (JPR), which specialises in tracking the graphics and multimedia sectors, said that Nvidia took the lead in add in boards (AIBs) in the fourth quarter of 2014.

However, the overall shipments of AIBs fell by 17.52 percent, compared to the same quarter in 2013.

JPR puts the decline down to incursions from tablet sales and machines that use embedded graphics chips, rather than the discrete chips used in AIBs.

While there is still money to be made in the games market, JPR said AIBs tied to desktop PCs fell from 63 percent in the first quarter of 2008 to only 36 percent in this quarter.

AMD showed a drop of desktop AIBs of 16 percent, while it seems that Nvidia managed to grow its share by 5.5 percent. Nvidia now has 76 percent of this particular segment.

Total shipments in the quarter amounted to 12.4 million units.


Nvidia graphics cards launch in March

nvidia-gangnam-style-330pxReliable sources said Nvidia is to release a number of products in March this year, while the price of existing products drops this month.
The GeForce GT 930 2GB, the 940 2GB, the GTX 950 2GB and the GeForce GTX 950 Ti 2GB will all be released in March this year.
This month the price of existing GTX 950, 960 and 960 Ti drops 0 with the prices at amazon being £162, £160 and £270 respectively.
The new cards are expected to use the Nvidia “Maxwell” architecture.
The GTX 950 Ti 2GB supports a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels, has 80 texture mapping units, takes 85 watts, has a memory speed of 1350MHz, a memory bandwidth of 86.4 GBsec and will be released on the 1st of March this year.  It will use 28 nanometre transistors.
While Nvidia still generates most of its revenues from graphics products, it is now making a serious attempt to diversity its business into different spheres,


Nvidia and AMD stuffed by TSMC’s Apple friendship

two-applesNvidia and AMD have had their move to 16nm and 20nm designs hampered by the limited capacity of both nodes at manufacturer TSMC.

According to WCCFTech.com,  AMD GPUs are made by TSMC as are Nvidia’s chips.  But it looks like all TSMC’s capacity has been sucked up by Apple and Samsung.

This is hard on Nvidia which already had to make the chips in its GTX 980 and 970 cards, using the 28nm process instead of the 20nm it wanted. Nvidia thought it was better to skip 20nm and go straight to 16nm for future designs.

AMD wanted to drop from 28nm to 20nm for its new GPUs but hit the same capacity issue which stuffed up the delivery of AMD’s 20nm R9 300 series graphics cards. We expected these in February and March of this year but now they are at least two months behind.

AMD’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster has warned that there would be 20nm and 28nm products in 2015 but no 14nm or 16nm products until 2016.

And the reason is because Apple’s 16nm A9 chip, which is being made by TSMC has priority and what is left is being taken by Samsung which outsources a lot of work to TSMC.

AMD and Nvidia are stuffed. The only other manufacturer with spare 14nm capacity is Intel and it is not very likely that Intel will sell capacity to its rivals.

What this means then is that the world is not getting cutting edge GPU technology from the two top vendors because Apple has a huge control of TSMC and Intel is Intel.

Nvidia takes the licensing route

nvidia-gangnam-style-330pxIn a bid to generate more revenues, graphics firm Nvidia is to start licensing its GPU designs to other companies.
Nvidia has already started licensing its “Kepler” graphics processor and, according to Digitimes Research, it will do the same for its future processor Maxwell.
The move is not entirely unexpected – Nvidia is following in the footsteps of British chip company ARM.  ARM’s business is essentially rooted in licensing – its engineers design cores which are then fabricated by its customers.
The research house claims that although Nvidia has, in principle, been ready to license its intellectual property since June 2013, the big leap forward will come with the release of its Maxwell processor.
It believes Maxwell will show a performance boost of as much as 160 percent and that will be a revenue generator for the company.
Nvidia has a collection of something over 7,000 patents and has recently been increasingly litigious, filing lawsuits against giants Samsung and Qualcomm for allegedly infringing its patents.  It may find that these two companies will not necessarily become customers unless courts find in Nvidia’s favour.

Nvidia puts high-end graphics in car

indy1909Nvidia unveiled a new processor aimed at powering high-end graphics on car dashboards as well as auto-pilot systems.

Before the Consumer Electronics Show, Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the Tegra X1 chip would provide enough computing for automobiles with displays built into mirrors, dashboard, navigation systems and passenger seating.

“The future car is going to have an enormous amount of computational ability,” Huang said. “We imagine the number of displays in your car will grow very rapidly.”

The Tegra X1 has twice the performance of its predecessor, the Tegra K1, and will come out in early 2015, Nvidia said.

A platform combining two of the X1 chips can process data collected from up to 12 high-definition cameras monitoring traffic, blind spots and other safety conditions in driver assistance systems, Huang said.

The chips can help detect and read road signs, recognise pedestrians and detect braking vehicles before you do.

Nvidia has been struggling to compete against larger chipmakers like Qualcomm in smartphones and tablets and thinks that its Tegra mobile chips will be better off in cars and is already supplying companies including Audi, BMW and Tesla.

In the third quarter, revenue from Tegra chips for automobiles and mobile devices jumped 51 percent to $168 million. While this is not bad it is a Fiat 500 to Nvidia’s Mac Truck of total revenue of $1.225 billion.


Windows 7 update malware spotted by AMD

Huntsman spider, Wikimedia CommonsSoftware giant Microsoft appears to have despatched an update which behaves like malware to its Windows 7 customers.

Microsoft has confirmed that a recent update, with the catchy title KB 3004394, is causing a range of serious problems and recommends removing it.

It was first flagged by AMD’s Robert Hallock who noticed that the update blocks the installation or update of graphics drivers such as AMD’s new Catalyst Omega. Nvidia users are also reporting difficulty installing GeForce drivers.

Hallock recommended manually uninstalling the update, advice now echoed officially by Microsoft.

However, the update does not just kill off graphics drivers. Microsoft’s Answer Forum has dark mutterings that USB 3.0 drivers are broken and User Account Control prompts have gone haywire. Microsoft has acknowledged that it even prevents the installation of future Windows Updates.

The Windows Defender service has been disabled by the update.

This is the third time in three years Microsoft has issued software and firmware updates to their Xbox platform which have “bricked” the consoles. In August 2014 and April 2013 PC updates caused widespread Blue Screens of Death.

AMD executive jumps to Glofo

_66236467_ratroyrimmerJohn Docherty is departing his position as Senior Vice President (SVP) of Manufacturing Operations at AMD to join GlobalFoundries (GloFo) as SVP of Global Operations.

Docherty would appear to be a bit of a loss for AMD.  He has more than 35 years of semiconductor manufacturing experience and while he was at AMD he had hands-on experience with APU, CPU and GPU manufacturing. His CV includes senior positions at Motorola Semiconductor, LSI Agere Systems and ATI.

However his switch to GlobalFoundries might turn out to be good for both AMD and GlobalFoundries, as a former SVP at AMD he knows exactly what GlobalFoundries’ most prominent customer needs.

Docherty could assist with 14nm FinFET production to ensure it arrives at market sooner. AMD will be relying on 14nm silicon from GlobalFoundries in order to counter Nvidia’s upcoming GPU architecture, codenamed ‘Pascal’, based on TSMC’s 16nm process, which is said to be launching in 2016.

In fact, the whole move could be seen as a vertical integration attempt by AMD who founded GlobalFoundries back in 2009 as a separate company. GlobalFoundries announced a partnership with Samsung back in April to collaborate over the 14nm process.

Docherty would also be interested in taking advantage of the poor relations between Samsung and AMD’s archrival Nvidia, particularly if GloFlo and Samsung have any success with 14nm FinFET.

AMD’s R9 390X will put the wind up Nvidia

1-AMD-s-New-Steamroller-Architecture-to-Bring-Significant-PerformanceFigures leaked to the great unwashed by deep throats within AMD show that its next-gen flagship gaming graphics card will really put the wind up its envious competitor, Nvidia.

Dubbed the R9 390X, the card has numbers which make Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture-based GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 look a bit weak.

Let’s be clear, the GTX 980 and GTX 970 are damn fine cards – they are both faster and more power efficient than their predecessors, a tough act for AMD to follow. AMD was already behind in the power consumption stakes with its R9 290X performing well, but consuming much more power than the GeForce GTX 980.

It appears that AMD has cracked the high power consumption of its previous generation graphics cards.

Leaked benchmarks claim to show that a yet unknown graphics card is over 15 per cent faster than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980, yet consumes only 12W more power on average.

Several websites, including WCCFTech, claim that the style of the leaked slides is the same as those that appeared for several previous GPU launches too, so there is some credibility to the results as well.

This means that AMD could well be launching a stunning graphics card early in 2015 which will give Nvidia a good kicking.

It certainly needs to do something. Nvidia is in charge of the above $300 market, with its GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 out-performing AMD’s equivalents both in terms of speed and power efficiency. Nvidia is expected to launch its GTX 960 soon too, which will further cement its dominance a little lower down the price range.


US splashes out on two more supercomputers

15013The US is going to spend $325 million on two new supercomputers, one of which may eventually be built to support speeds of up to 300 petaflops.

Deeply embarrassed by the fact that China has been ruling the super computer league tables for a while now, the US government is taking steps to unseat them from the top.

The US Department of Energy, the major funder of supercomputers used for scientific research, wants to have the two systems, each with a base speed of 150 petaflops, possibly running by 2017. Going beyond the base speed to reach 300 petaflops will take additional government approvals.

The DOE also announced another $100 million in “extreme” supercomputing research spending.

The funding was announced at a press conference at the US Capitol attended by lawmakers from both parties.

The two systems, which will be built at the DOE’s Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, “will ensure the United States retains global leadership in supercomputing”.

Republican Chuck Fleischmann said, supercomputing was one of those things that that the US could step up and lead the world again,” he said. The Oak Ridge lab is located in his state.

Republican Bill Foster warned that the US’s technology lead is not assured and he blamed that most chip making was done over overseas.

Foster believed there is good bipartisan support for supercomputing research, but the research may face a problem if GOP budget proposals in the House slash science funding by double-digit percentages.

The US government is under pressure to abandon science funding because some constituents think it is better that people learn more about Jesus.

China has the top-ranked system, the Tianhe-2, at about 34 petaflops, and Japan and Europe have major investments underway in this area.

The new system to be built at Oak Ridge will be called the Summit. It will use about 10 megawatts of power, which is close to the power usage of Oak Ridge’s existing supercomputer, the Titan, which is ranked No. 2 in the world. The Summit will run five times faster than the Titan, despite using the same amount of power.

The new system to be built  at the Lawrence Livermore lab in California will be known as Sierra.

These systems will use IBM Power CPUs and Nvidia’s Volta GPU, the name of a chip still in development.

Your car will be watching you

bigbrotherBy 2019 shipments of factory installed driver monitoring systems (DMS) with inward facing cameras will reach 6.7 million in number.

The systems include eye tracking technology which analyses the movements of your eyelids and the direction you’re gazing in and allows for personalisation in your vehicle, security, health tracking, distraction and detection of fatigue, according to market research firm ABI Research.

Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Volkswagen already have some of these features but Toyota has deployed advanced eye tracking systems in its Lexus brand and both Volvo and General Motors will install similar systems in the future.

And in a further twist, chip companies Nvidia and Intel ears are perking up as they sense business headed their way.

It’s not just cars that will deploy such systems, however.  ABI Research said in its report that companies SmartDrive and Lynx are targeting commercial vehicle fleets.