Tag: graphics

Apple has Brexit on Imagination tech

Fruity tax-dodging cargo cult Apple has told British graphics maker Imagination it will stop using its graphics technology in the iPhone and other products with two years’ time.

Imagination had been leaning heavily on Apple lately and depends on it as its biggest customer. It is also unclear what Apple is going to do about its graphics technology.

It looks like Apple is trying to slash costs by bleeding its suppliers. It is widely expected to see interest in its iPhone declining and has been putting the thumbscrews on its suppliers to keep its margins and profits up.

Apple paid Imagination license fees and royalties totalling £60.7 million for the year to the end ofApril 2016, half of its total revenue, and is expected to pay about £65 million pounds for this year, Imagination said.

Imagination said Apple had not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer need Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information.

Apple’s notification had triggered talks on alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement.

AMD shows off Polaris-based Radeon RX 470 and RX 460

4528082378_4d5b9fb99e_zAMD has been showing off its latest Polaris based GPUs at E3 2016.

For those who came in late, Polaris is AMD’s bright new hope in the GPU world – a bit like Zen is for the CPU, only it appears to exist whereas Zen doesn’t.

THe Radeon RX 470 and RX 460  join the recently announced RX 480 as part of the company’s new Polaris family. Polaris is AMD’s newest GPU micro-architecture, which is based on the 14nm FinFet production process.

AMD is not telling us the prices of its new GPU, but it is possible to have stab at it. The  RX 480 is made for 1440p gaming, and the RX 470 will focus on delivering a “refined, power-efficient HD gaming” experience. The RX 460 will offer a “cool and efficient solution for the ultimate e-sports gaming experience.”

The 4GB version of the RX 480 will start out at $200, it’s safe to assume that these two other cards will launch at lower price points.

AMD says the chips are extremely thin, offering a very low Z-height, and will fit into thin and light gaming notebooks.

The entire new RX line will also support a wide variety of features that include DX12, Vulkan, HDR, HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.3/1.4, and H.265 encoding/decoding.

There is no release day  but since the RX 480 is scheduled to launch on June 29 the other two should be soon after. AMD is claiming that card outperforms $500 graphics cards in VR.

Sharp trying to sell off LED unit

sharp2Troubled Japanese telly maker Sharp has announced that it is chatting to several companies about selling off its LCD business.

Apparently the banks are under pressure for Sharp to find a partner for the loss-making division.

Sharp was given a $1.7 billion rescue in May but Sharp is struggling to make the investments it needs to keep its screen business competitive.

Its main lenders want the company to find a buyer for all or part of its ailing LCD business.

Chief Executive Kozo Takahashi told the press that he could not name names, but was in negotiations with multiple companies. He could not say when any deal would be finalised.

Takahashi stressed that a direct investment into Sharp itself was not being discussed.

Hon Hai Precision Industry has been suggested as a potential buyer and a state-backed fund is also considering a direct investment in Sharp or merging the company’s LCD unit with rival Japan Display.

Sharp’s July-September operating profit fell 86 percent to $29 million from a year earlier, dragged down by falling prices of smartphone displays and slow progress in reducing inventory.

Imagination flounders

flounder-6001It looks like having Apple as your number one customer has not done British graphics maker Imagination Technologies much good.

Imagination supplies graphics technology to Apple which if that company was doing well should mean that the UK outfit was flush with cash.

However, the company forecast a surprise loss for its first half after the semiconductor market turned weaker in the June quarter.

The company said overall unit shipments and royalty revenue for the quarter ended 30 June were slightly lower than its expectations, which was likely to lead to a loss for the first six months of its financial year.

The announcement has analysts bemused. It means that either the rest of Imagination’s business has dropped, or Apple must also being seeing a slump in its business

Doom for AMD coming

Dads Army Frazier - doomedThings are getting worse for the troubled chipmaker AMD which has just come up with a mixed set of results just when it needs to reassure everyone it is not going down the gurgler.

For the first time its revenues were below the billion mark at $942 million. AMD did warn us that things were going to be gloomy. Last week it said that results would be flat. The actually figure was an 8.5 per cent sequential decline and a 34.6 per cent drop from the same period a year ago. Flat apparently means a gentle incline.

It is not entirely AMD’s fault. The company needs PC sales and these are not happening. In fact IDC and its ilk don’t see things picking up for a while.

AMD’s Computing and Graphics division reported revenue of $379m, which was down 54.2 percent, year-on-year. Its operating loss was $147 million, compared to a $6 million operating loss for last year’s equivalent quarter.

Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO, in a statement said that strong sequential revenue growth in AMD’s enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom segment and channel business was not enough to offset “near-term” challenges in its PC processor business. This was suffering due to lower than expected consumer demand that impacted sales to OEMs, she said.

“We continue to execute our long-term strategy while we navigate the current market environment. Our focus is on developing leadership computing and graphics products capable of driving profitable share growth across our target markets,” she added.

In the semi-custom segment, AMD makes chips for video game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles. That segment did reasonably well, up 13 percent from the previous quarter but down eight percent from a year ago.

But AMD’s core business of processors and graphics chips fell 29 percent from the previous quarter and 54 percent from a year ago. AMD said it had decreased sales to manufacturers of laptop computers.

AMD does expect the third quarter to be better with an increase in revenue by six percent. Windows 10’s arrival should is expected to push a few sales its way.

LG Display accidently leaks Apple’s High Res plans

poison-appleThere has been a high-profile leak from one of Apple’s largest suppliers after LG Display mentioned in a press release about Apple buying up its high-resolution 8K display panels.

LG managed slipped into the press release: “Apple has also announced that they will release the ‘iMac 8K’ with a super-high resolution display later this year.”

Jobs’ Mob hasn’t announced anything regarding an 8K display and in any event Apple never talks about unannounced products. It will also be jolly cross that a supplier leaked the information rather than it be presented to loving fans at one of its Nuremberg rally style press conferences.

Apple Insider found the press release but it was actually issued on March 31. This has lead some to believe it that it was an April fool’s gag. However it was not funny and was part of a press release which was jolly serious.

To put this in some perspective Apple’s 5K iMac was announced back in October to cheers and comments about it being ground breaking. The appearance of an 8K iMac this soon would be highly unusual because that would mean two in the same year.

LG’s 8K display technology is dubbed “Quad Ultra-High Definition,” with a resolution of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels. That’s two times the resolution of a 4K screen, with four times the number of pixels.  Even without Apple, the announcement is significant.

AMD results were better than expected

AMD surprised the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street by accouncing a better than expected third quarter result.

AMD made $1.46 billion which was made up of operating income of $95 million and net income of $48 million.

Analysts figures were stuffed up by AMD collecting a deal to supplying processors for new game consoles like Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One, which go on sale in November.

Rory Read, AMD president and CEO, said that AMD returned to profitability and generated free cash flow in the third quarter.

He said that it was all part of his strategic transformation plan which was outlined a year ago.

Read said he wanted to generate half of the outfit’s revenue from high-growth markets over the next two years.

“Developing industry-leading technology remains at our core, and we are in the middle of a multi-year journey to redefine AMD as a leader across a more diverse set of growth markets,” Read said.

But there was somethings to concern investors, some of whom thought the blow-out in the books from the console deal should have been higher.

Revenue from the company’s computing solutions segment revenue decreased six percent sequentially and decreased 15 percent year-over-year.

This was due to less notebook and chipset unit shipments, partially offset by an increase in desktop unit shipments.

Operating income was $22 million, compared with operating income of $2 million in the second quarter and an operating loss of $114 million in third quarter of last year 2012.

The microprocessor average selling price (ASP) was flat sequentially and decreased year-over-year, AMD said.

Graphics and visual revenue increased 110 percent sequentially and increased 96 percent thanks to AMD’s semi custom business.

But GPU revenue declined, this is because in the third quarter AMD customers began moving to new products. 

AMD chips give MacBook Pros a stinking headache

Users of 2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros are finding that their AMD graphics processors are letting them down and that they need a $500 logic board replacement.

Several threads on Apple’s Support Communities forum suggest that the problem presents itself as a graphical glitch or complete system lockup.

The problem appears to be caused when the MacBook Pro switches from the integrated Intel graphics chip to the discrete AMD GPU.

According to Apple Insider the first problems cropped up in February, but are increasing.

What appears to have happened is that Apple introduced the automatic graphics switching system, which shifts the processing load between the integrated chip and the discrete GPU based on what the user is doing.

First users get display discoloration, banding, and image distortion, but others say that their computers suddenly freeze without any warning. Rebooting rarely fixes the problem.

The majority of affected users are using early-2011 MacBook Pros with the AMD Radeon 6750M GPU. However failures are not limited to that chip as those using the Radeon 6490M, 6750M, and 6970M GPUs are also experiencing the problem.

Of course Apple has been slow to respond and have been telling users without AppleCare that they will have to buy a new logic board which will set them back $500 or more. They are also treated to a stare from the Apple Genius as to why they owned such an old laptop when the true Apple religion demands a yearly upgrade.

Apple 2011 laptop range appears to be mourning the death of Steve Jobs, with problems on the models now stretches over more than 140 pages with over 2,000 replies on one site alone. 

Nvidia forced to cut its prices

Nvidia has been forced to cut its prices on several of its leading graphics cards soon after the announcement AMD’s Radeon R9 280X.

According to Digitimes, Nvidia has offered price cuts for its more popular GTX 660 and GTX 650Ti Boost cards.  It said it will  will soon release an upgraded GTX 760.

The new prices are:  GeForce GTX 780 will cost $649; GeForce GTX 770, $399; GeForce GTX 760, $249; GeForce GTX 660, $179; GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB, $149; and the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB, $129

All this seems to be on the back of AMD announcing pricing for its R9 and R7 graphics cards which are much lower than competing Nvidia gear.

Digitimes thinks that this could be the beginning of a price war as Nvidia will reduce its graphics card prices again in November,  The theory is that Nvidia will want to make the  GTX 760, 770 and 780 more competitive going into Christmas.

What it is waiting for is for AMD announces official R290 and R290X pricing that should happen soon. Fudzilla claims that the R290X will end up with a $699 price tag.

AMD releases two new Radeons

AMD has released two Radeon GPUs as it attempts to extend its control over the gaming  graphics market.

The AMD Radeon R9 270X and AMD Radeon R9 280X, GPUs have both been designed with gamers in mind. The Radeon R9 270X graphics card is targeted for 1080p gaming and the Radeon R9 280X graphics card is designed for 2560×1440 resolution and loaded with 3GB of memory.

They both use Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, and Mantle, which is technology developed by AMD to harness the GCN-powered cores of both PCs and consoles.

Mantle-enabled games are supposed connect to the base-code of the GCN architecture and get hardware optimisation benefits. Radeon R9 Series graphics cards also have UltraHD (4K) and AMD Eyefinity.

Matt Skynner, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Graphics Business Unit, AMD said that the combo of GCN architecture and Mantle, unlocked graphics performance was entrenched in the DNA of all AMD-powered GPUs.

He said that there were also plans to install the same sort of technology in all AMD APUs too.

The Radeon R9 280X, which was codenamed Tahiti XT and will cost $299 while the Radeon R9 270X is based Tahiti LE will retail for $199.