Tag: Haswell

Intel’s eight core plans revealed

While Intel is about to release some of the first processors based on its Haswell-E specifications, it is starting to look like they will not be the eight core fiestas expected.

Of the three Haswell-E Core i7 CPUs expected, only one of them, the Core i7-5960X, will actually come with 8 cores, and that is the one which will cost an arm and a leg to buy.

The Core i7-5960X and the other two, the i7-5930K and i7-5820K, will contain only six cores.

Dubbed the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition, the flagship CPU of the first Haswell-E lineup and will have two more cores and four more threads than the company’s current Ivy Bridge-E based Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition processor.

Built around the 22nm Haswell architecture, this new 8-core CPU will head to the deep-pocketed gaming community.

The Core i7-5960X will be clocked at a 3.0GHz base, with a 3.3GHz boost frequency. It will also include support for the latest DDR4 2133MHz memory, and 20MB of L3 cache as well. In addition, its power rating will be 140 watts TDP, or only 10 more watts than the 6-core i7-4960X.

The new DDR4 memory controller resides on the processor and the RAM is directly connected to the CPU. The DDR4 modules themselves use only 1.2 volts of power, compared to DDR3’s 1.65/1.5 volts.

The two other Haswell-E Core i-7 chips are 6-core, 12-thread processors. Aside from clock speeds, their specifications are primarily the same. The i7-5930K runs at 3.5GHz, about a 3.9-4.0GHz boost, but it is nearly half the price. The i7-5820K, will run at a 3.3GHz base, with a 3.6-3.8GHz clock boost. It will list for around $300. Both will support a 15MB L3 Cache.

So the question is what is it about eight cores that make shelling out that sort of money cost effective? At that price Intel has priced the 8-core i7-5690X out of mainstream machines.

All three processors will be compatible with Intel’s upcoming x99 chipset and motherboards. We expect them out during the fourth quarter.

It is possible however that next year will be the year of the less-expensive, 6-core CPU. 

Intel Haswell refresh in the shops in May

The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn that Intel may release an update to its desktop Haswell “refresh” processors in May.

The source of the rumour is Hermitage Akihabara . It claims Intel will launch its new processors, including its flagship Core i7-4790K, on May 10 in most markets. These next generation Haswell chips will include Intel’s Z97 chipset, which provides support for faster and larger M.2 SATA Express drives.

The new Haswell desktop processors will offer a 100 MHz increase in clock speeds. The range is important to Apple fanboys as the chip is a direct successor to most of the chips currently used in the iMac. It might be that Intel wants to release the Chip for the iMac refresh that Apple is planning later this year.

Intel yesterday added brief specifications and prices of all “Haswell Refresh” desktop and mobile microprocessors to the official pricelist. Built on “Haswell” architecture, upcoming products will not have any new microarchitecture and power optimizations compared to last year’s products, and their only advantage will be slightly increased clock speeds.

A total of 44 chips have been introduced by Intel, 27 of which are for desktops while the rest are for mobile devices.

On the desktop side the Haswell Refresh will mean that there will be a new non-K king -the 3.6 GHz Core i7-4790 with some lower-power variations of it such as the 65 W TPD 4790S and the 45 W 4790T. We are expecting ten new Core i5s, and a bunch of low-end Pentium and Celeron models.

The mobile segment got five new quad-core processors clocked between 2.1 GHz and 2.5 GHz, and various Core, Pentium and Celeron dual-cores. All this means that there will be new chips being shipped in May and hopefully a spike in Intel’s results later in the year. 

Intel makes oven ready chips

Chipzilla has been telling the San Francisco Game Developers Conference about its latest cunning plans from low-power technologies to ultra-high-end desktop chips. [Didn’t we run this a few days ago, Nick? Ed.]

Several processors—from an Anniversary Edition Pentium to a monster 8-core Haswell-E—Intel were on display and a new technology dubbed Ready Mode. 

We thought Ready Mode was something which was used for Turkey to tell you if it was properly cooked, but Chipzilla said it is a power saving trick. Ready Mode “takes advantage of new power-saving states in Intel’s 4th gen Core desktop processor, combined with software and board level optimizations, which enable OEM desktop computers that are instantly ready and always connected while sipping power.”

Basically it allows a Fourth Generation Core processor to enter a low C7 power state, while the OS and other system components remain connected.

The headlines had to go to the Core i7 Extreme Edition 8-Core Processor Haswell- E.

Like Ivy Bridge-E and Sandy Bridge-E, Haswell-E is an “extreme” variant of Haswell. Haswell-E Core i7-based processors will be pimped up with up to eight processor cores. Haswell-E, however, will connect up to high-speed DDR4 memory and be paired to the upcoming Intel X99 chipset.

It will be Intel’s fastest chip and will be in the shops in the second half of 2014.

Also there was a little bit of news on the The 14nm shrink of Haswell, Broadwell.  Word on the street is that Broadwell will be the first desktop processor to feature Iris Pro graphics. Intel VP Lisa Graff confirmed the chips will be called 5th Gen Core processors and that they will be supported by the company’s 9-series chipsets.

Intel also announced that some newer desktop processors based on the existing Haswell micro-architecture were being tarted up for release.

Codenamed “Devil’s Canyon”, they resolve some overclocking problems that appeared  with Ivy Bridge.

Intel started using a lower-performing thermal interface material between Ivy Bridge chips and their integrated heat spreaders, which resulted in higher temperatures under load that could hinder overclocking.

Devil’s Canyon processors use an improved thermal interface material and updated packaging materials, to fix the problem.

The processors will arrive mid-year according to Intel and will work with upcoming motherboards based on the Intel 9 Series chipsets.

Apparently, Intel plans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Pentium brand, with a “Pentium Anniversary Edition” processor sometime mid-year. Not much is known about it other than it will be available in an unlocked version and will support Intel’s Quick Sync Video technology.

Intel oven ready mode released

Chipzilla has been telling the San Francisco Game Developers Conference about its latest cunning plans from low-power technologies to ultra-high-end desktop chips.

Several processors iwere on display and a new technology dubbed Ready Mode.

We thought Ready Mode was something which was used for turkey to tell you if it was properly cooked, but Chipzilla said it is a power saving trick. Ready Mode “takes advantage of new power-saving states in Intel’s 4th gen Core desktop processor, combined with software and board level optimizations, which enable OEM desktop computers that are instantly ready and always connected while sipping power”. Whatever that means.

Basically it allows a “Fourth Generation Core” processor to enter a low C7 power state, while the OS and other system components remain connected.

The headlines had to go to the Core i7 Extreme Edition 8-Core Processor Haswell- E.

Like Ivy Bridge-E and Sandy Bridge-E, Haswell-E is an “extreme” variant of Haswell. Haswell-E Core i7-based processors will be pimped up with up to eight processor cores. Haswell-E, however, will connect up to high-speed DDR4 memory and be paired to the upcoming Intel X99 chipset.

It will be Intel’s fastest chip and will be in the shops in the second half of 2014.

Also there was a little bit of news on the the 14nm shrink of Haswell, Broadwell. Word on the street is that Broadwell will be the first desktop processor to feature Iris Pro graphics. Intel VP Lisa Graff confirmed the chips will be called 5th Gen Core processors and that they will be supported by the company’s 9-series chipsets. No surprise there, then.

Intel also announced that some newer desktop processors based on the existing Haswell micro-architecture were being tarted up for release.

Codenamed “Devil’s Canyon” they resolve some overclocking problems – read bugs – that appeared with Ivy Bridge.

Intel started using a lower-performing thermal interface material between Ivy Bridge chips and their integrated heat spreaders, which resulted in higher temperatures under load that could hinder overclocking.

Devil’s Canyon processors use an improved thermal interface material and updated packaging materials, to fix the problem.

The processors will arrive mid-year according to Intel and will work with upcoming motherboards based on the Intel 9 Series chipsets. 

Intel to release Haswell refresh early

There is a Digitimes  rumour coming out of Taiwan which suggests that there will be sooner-than-expected Haswell CPU refresh by Intel.

The 22nm Haswell family, which debuted in June 2013, will reportedly get 20 new desktop and mobile models added next month.

Citing its motherboard makers sources in Taiwan, Digitimes claims that the Haswell refresh would be timed with the release of new Intel 9-series chipset-based motherboards, also due out this Spring.

It does make sense. An earlier refresh would give Intel more selling time to the existing flagship family of CPUs, while exposing consumers to newer, potentially more power-friendly chips of the same name. It would be nice to see a more energy-efficient 4775 to replace the 4770 CPU for example.

Chipzilla also needs a buffer to cover for the Broadwell delay which has come about because of a”defect density issue.” Broadwell chips, which are built on a newer, smaller 14nm process, are due out later this year. A Haswell refresh could enable Intel push the release to Q4 instead of Q1 which was originally expected.

However the move will not encourage anyone one to upgrade, unless smoke is actually pouring out of the back of their machines. An Intel CPU from the Haswell or Ivy Bridge families will be just as good as anything, that Chipzilla is likely to release in the refresh. 

Intel gives more info on Haswell

When Haswell launched last year Chipzilla kept very quiet about die sizes, transistor counts and almost anything surrounding the interface between Haswell and its optional embedded DRAM.

However, in the lead up to ISSCC, Intel has been filling in some of the details which we were lacking. At launch Intel only disclosed transistor counts and die areas for Haswell ULT GT3 (dual-core, on-die PCH, GT3 graphics) and Haswell GT2 (quad-core, no on-die PCH, GT2 graphics).

Now Intel has shown Anantech the minimum and maximum configurations for Haswell.The 4+3 Quad-Core T3e has die size of 260mm2 + 77mm2 and 1.7B transistors; The ULT 2+3 Dual-Core GT3 has a 181mm2 die 1.3B transistors.

The 4+2 Quad-Core GT2 has a die size of 177mm2 and 1.4BThe addition of a third graphics slice to a Haswell core accounts for around 300M transistors. That would put the ULT2+2 configuration at around 1B total transistors.Intel has also provided some additional information on the Crystalwell (embedded DRAM) design and configuration.

Intel explained how it arrived at the 128MB L4 eDRAM cache size, but is did not say the operating frequency of the memory or the interface between it and the main CPU die. Now it is saying that the 128MB eDRAM is divided among eight 16MB macros.

The eDRAM operates at 1.6GHz and connects to the outside world via a 4 x 16-bit wide on-package IO (OPIO) interface capable of up to 6.4GT/s. Haswell ULT variants use Intel’s on-package IO to connect the CPU/GPU island to an on-package PCH. In this configuration the OPIO delivers 4GB/s of bandwidth at 1pJ/bit.

When used as an interface to Crystalwell, the interface delivers up to 102GB/s at 1.22pJ/bit. That amounts to a little under 1.07W of power consumed to transmit/receive data at 102GB/s.

One of the things that Intel is keen on sharing now is how how it achieved power savings with Haswell, including using a new stacked power gate for the memory interface that reduced leakage by 100x over Ivy Bridge.

Haswell’s Full Integrated Voltage Regulator is a hot topic in Intel’s ISSCC papers. FIVR ends up being 90 per cent efficient under load and can enter/exit sleep in 0.32µs, requiring only 0.1µs to ramp up to turbo frequencies. 

Intel releases new batch of fourth-generation Core processors

Fashion bag maker Intel has taken time out from its busy round of catwalks and shows to release a new batch of fourth-generation Core processors designed for notebooks.

Nine new mobile Haswell CPUs have hit the shops and are a mix of Core i5 and i7 chips that will power performance portables, though a couple are ultra-low-voltage (ULV) processors that can be used in Ultrabooks.

The cheapest one is the i5-4310M at $225 and it will have two cores which will run at 2.7GHz. If you spend $40 more, you can pick up a i5-4340M which goes to 2.9GHz. For thinner systems, there is the 2GHz i5-4310U and the 1.5GHz 4360U. Oddly, the 4360U costs more than the other ULV chip despite having a lower clock speed because it uses Intel’s HD 5000 graphics.

Intel has released five new Core i7 processors for the gaming market. There is one dual-core version, the $346 i7-4610M. The remaining ones are all quad cores, ranging from the 2.8GHz i7-4810MQ to the 3.1GHz i7-4940MX Extreme Edition, which is priced at $1,096. The i7-4860HQ only runs at 2.4GHz, but makes use of HD 5200 graphics.

The chips are a bit of a yawn. They are not significantly better than their predecessors only managing 100MHz higher than the third generation Haswell CPUs. Still, faster is better. They should be released under the bonnet of products in a few months. 

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU, part two

[Part one is here]

Kirk Skaugen, senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel took over in the second half of Wednesday’s IDF Keynote presentation. He began talking about the “2 in 1” computing platform. That raises the question: Have Ultrabooks slipped off Intel’s road map just when HP is announcing its HP ZBook 14 Ultra Workstation?

Kirk Skaugen

 

Perhaps they are simply not selling in the volume predicted at a couple past IDFs when Ultrabooks were announced? Skaugen put it this way: “Now we’ve stopped counting [OEM designs], and assumed that the entire world has gone thin”. He added that more than 40 percent of all Core notebooks have been designed with touch. Seventy percent of today’s Ultrabooks are touch-enabled, on the way to 100 percent touch later this year.

Skaugen said by this year’s holidays, the 2-in-1 form factor will be selling in the $999 down to $349 price range. He said that by the year’s end, there will be 60 2-in-1 devices in that future marketplace. Examples he showed were the Sony Duo 13-inch slider, the Dell XP 11, the Sony detachable – which only weighs 780 grams and handles both wired and wireless, and the Dell XP 12, which is a flip screen. An application from CyberLink will be provided on Haswell machines by the end of the year to energise content creation.

Skaugen handed over to Tami Reeler, Microsoft VP who discussed the Windows 8.1 released to developers. There was the usual sales story about how wonderful Windows 8 is.

In August, Windows 8 had the highest demand and sales, which was probably prompted by the back to school movement. She discussed Windows XP and its end of support in April 2014. She also claimed that “three quarters of the corporate users have moved to a modern Windows from Windows XP” – but she didn’t specify whether they were using Windows 7 or Windows 8.x.

Tami Reeler talks Windows 8 with Kirk Skaugen

Intel says that it has the business community handled with fourth generation core CPUs, SST Pro 1500 SSD, location-based security in the enterprise, and its new Pro-WiDI plus password free VPN connections – which got a round of applause from the audience.

Mario Müller, VP of IT Infrastructure at BMW, was next to join Kirk Skaugen on stage. There was some banter about a new BMW for everybody in the audience. Müller said that 55,000 of its 120,000 employees will be getting core i5 computers, but none of the audience will be receiving a BMW, unfortunately.

Mario Müller and Kirk Skaugen discussing new BMW i8 Plug-In Hybrid Sports Car 

Skaugen returned to topic saying that Bay Trail has 140 design wins and it runs all operating systems faster – Android, iOS, Chrome, and Linux. He talked about the Cinnabar benchmark using the fourth generation Broadwell 14 nm CPU. The chips will include AVX 3.2, DDR4 and PCI Express 4.0 support among their improved feature set.

Bay Trail SoCs are aimed at tablets and convertibles with screen sizes priced at $599 or below and will ship in tablets running Windows 8 and Android, ranging down to below $100 in price. When Chinese tablet OEMs start selling $100 price point 7-inch tablets with Bay Trail inside, then Intel will have to be taken very seriously by the ARM and MIPS partners.

Sony Duo slider as a tablet 

The discussions turned towards 3D. By Q2 2014, Intel predicts there will be collaboration over a 3D camera specification that will be implemented into Ultrabooks. We were told that Intel has had high numbers of downloads for its 3D SDK. It has the $100,000,000 Experience  and the Perceptual Computing Fund to work with.

Skaugen showed a 2D/3D camera that fits into the bezel of an Ultrabook. He gave an example of 3D functionality with a video showing children playing with an Ultrabook which had a 3D camera installed. Their expressions were of surprised joy.

3D developers should be glad to know that Project Anarchy is a free 3D game production engine and is ready to be downloaded and used.

Gonzague de Vallois, VP Sales and Marketing for Gameloft, showed off the company’s latest Android 3D auto racing game, referred to as Asphalt 8: Airborne, which takes advantage of Bay Trail and 3D graphics. At $4.99 it’s pretty affordable.

Gameloft’s Asphalt 8, for Android

Sundar Pichai, Senior VP Android Chrome & Apps at Google talked about the just-introduced Haswell CPU Chromebook and its stunning performance, extended battery life, and 3D capabilities. He also presented Doug Fisher from Intel’s Software and Services Group with an official Google Beanie cap – what a new hire at Google wears for their first days. After Pichai left the stage, Fisher said something about ‘that is a give away’.

Sundar Pichai gives Doug Fisher a Google Beanie

Over 1,000 Intel engineers are working on Google Android and Chrome.

Research firm NPD says Chromebooks represent 20-25 percent of the $300-or-less computer segment. Clearly, Intel has embraced Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems as a target market to put a lot of “Intel Inside”. 

HP claims first workstation Ultrabook

Hewlett Packard showed off its ZBook 14 with Thunderbolt technology for high-speed data transfer – touted to be four times faster than the current USB 3.0.

HP Z mobile and desktop workstations now can take advantage of high-speed data transmission between Z workstations, displays and peripherals, for a fast and versatile I/O connection.

Intel’s Thunderbolt controller chips interconnect a PC and other devices. They transmit and receive information for both PCI Express (PCIe) and DisplayPort protocols. The controller chip switches between the two protocols to support communications over a single cable. Multiple devices can be connected to one Thunderbolt port.

The HP ZBook 14 with Thunderbolt joins HP’s Z Portfolio of workstations and displays that are engineered, tested, and certified for use by professionals in such diverse areas as CAD, architecture, design, engineering and animation. Those in the fields of education, healthcare, government, and film will also benefit from the Z product family.

The HP ZBook Mobile Workstations have a thinner and lighter industrial design than their predecessors. The HP ZBook family includes HP ZBooks 14, 15 and 17.

They ship with Intel’s Haswell, although graphics are provided by AMD and Nvidia including Keplar based professional graphics.

Other workstations, the HP Z420, Z620 and Z820, will include Intel Xeon E5-1600v2 and E5-2600v2 families of processors (Ivy Bridge) and 16 percent faster memory. HP’s Z620 is their most versatile workstation, with up to 24 discrete processing cores, up to 192 GB of ECC memory, up to 12 TB of high-speed storage, and up to NVIDIA K6000 or dual NVIDIA K5000 high speed graphics abilities. The HP Z420, their most popular workstation, offers expandability in an accessible tool-free mini-tower form factor.

A fair few Thunderbolt products were on display at IDF. The Thunderbolt product showcase brochure shows more than 90 devices which have been certified for either the Mac or the PC, including the Sonnet xMac Mini Server, LaCie5 Big, and G-Technology G-RAID. Add the ATTO ThunderLink FC 1082, Apple Thunderbolt Display, and Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera to that list.

The workstations and enhanced versions of the existing line are all set to be available next month.

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU: Part One

Wednesday’s IDF Keynote started by asking the audience to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of lives lost on 9-11 in 2001. From there, it was business as usual with product hype and promises of future success.

Intel seems to be spotlighting health. It opened with a feel-good video of Jack Andraka, child prodigy and biology whiz. Andraka is a high school sophomore who won the youth achievement Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in December 2012 for inventing a new method to detect a lethal form of pancreatic cancer.

From there, Intel moved into its theme of “The Internet of Things.” One thing that aroused curiosity was a dull white plastic wristband on every seat. It became an attention-getter later in the programme. In the meantime, everyone got a shot at the podium to talk about their pet project.

Doug Fisher, VP General Manager Software and Services Group, gave a few brief remarks, then introduced Dr. Herman Eul, VP General Manager Mobile and Communications Group. He started off with a video about MTV and Intel getting together to improve the audience’s experience because they do not really understand how wireless works, and what are its limitations.

 
Eul said the goal is to make the mobile platform smarter, the CPU more powerful, and the imaging performance better. He did a brief introduction of “Bay Trail,” the next-generation Atom Z3000 ,  focusing on it being used as a gaming platform. He showed that it is capable of running Windows – which is called heavy legacy software – or running Android OS, Apple OS, Chrome OS, or Linux OS. Bay Trail is a 64-bit processor, built using Intel’s Silvermont 22nm micro-architecture. There will be six variants of the chip available – with dual and quad-core configurations. Clock speeds will range from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz.

Bay Trail’s Hardware and Software supports:  

  • Windows (32/64-bit) and/or Android and/or Chrome
  • Displays resolutions up to 2500 x 1600 (Retina display)
  • Dual independent displays
  • Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology
  • Up to 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • USB 3, HDMI, Displayport, SD card, NFC, 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS
  • X 11, Open GL 3.0 graphics
  • Up to 13MP camera on the rear with Zero shutter lag, burst mode, digital video stabilization, 1080p recording at 60FPS and up to 2MP on the front.

Eul then brought Victoria Molina on stage, a fashion industry consultant and former executive for Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, and the Gap, who explained her virtual shopping experience application. They developed it using the Intel Android SDK in about a week  – but gave no information on the experience level of their programmers.

Molina said the most important part of this application is the fit map, an important factor in making the apparel attractive on the wearer, to attain a “cool” outcome. The application uses an avatar based around the person’s measurements, height and weight, and a facial photograph. The shopper goes out to the web site where they want to shop and chooses the clothing to virtually try on before purchasing. Next, the website pulls up sample clothing from their product lines.

After you build your ensemble of clothing, then you can adjust the clothing so the fit is tight, medium, or loose. After deciding on your look, you go through the “Cat Walk” show-n-tell process. That means the avatar is dressed with each one of the outfits in the size and drape you want and it looks like you are a model on a fashion show runway. Molina said, “This will revolutionise the online shopping experience. Because of the huge “cool factor”.

Next, Intel focused on a Bay Trail small-form-factor tablet running and editing videos. Eul invited Jerry Shen, chief executive of Asus, to introduce its T100, a 2-in-1 Bay Trail notebook with over ten hours of battery life. “We are very excited about the Bay Trail quad-core promise,” Shen said.

Asus is more optimistic than Intel regarding battery longevity. Intel claims Bay Trail tablets could weigh as little 14.1 ounces and offer more than eight hours of battery life when the users are watching high-definition video.

Neil Hand, Dell’s VP of Tablets, showed its  Venue 8-inch, Windows 8.1, Bay Trail tablet that is going to be shipping soon. He said it has 4G LTE.
 
Eul talked briefly about upcoming Merryfield, a 22nm SoC which is build on the Silvermont architecture specifically for smartphones. We were told that Airmont, a 14nm process engineering SoC with all the features of Bay Trail for tablets, is on schedule for Q3 2014 release.

Finally, Eul satisfied our curiosity by showing his audio DJ idea which activated those dull white plastic bracelets that were sitting on each chair. A video was projected onto the giant screens in the auditorium showing the Keynote audience and the wristbands lighting up in synch with Eul’s music.

The presentation took another turn with Kirk Skaugen, Senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel which will be covered in part two.