Tag: mips

Warrior charges into chip war

Imagination’s first MIPS based Warrior CPU core will be delivered to device makers by the end of the year.

It will mean the first shots in a war to make the MIPS architecture a more potent rival to ARM and x86.

Imagination is better known for its graphics chips, which are, are already under the bonnet of the pricier smartphones and tablets. Last year it bought MIPS Technologies to try to build a CPU business as well.

MIPS chips are more common in network gear such as routers and gateways, and in home media products including TVs and set-top boxes. Imagination MIPS would work in low-power servers and Android smartphones and tablets.

Warrior chips, also dubbed MIPS Series 5, are part of that cunning plan.

According to PC World,  the first chip will be the MIPS P5600. This is a 32-bit design that will be offered with as many as six cores and a clock speed of 2GHz.

This is twice the performance of the current proAptiv MIPS chips at the same clock speed and manufacturing process.

Imagination said the P5600 will be available for licensing in the current quarter,  which means it should appear in products in about 18 months.

Mark Throndson, Imagination’s director of processor technology marketing said that the Warrior chips can handle 128-bit SIMD, which allows more instructions to be run in parallel, improving performance in areas such as video and audio playback.

There are also hardware virtualisation capabilities which will improve security, because multiple operating systems will be able to run on a single core without those data sets being able to interact.

This will be handy for set-top boxes that have to handle security schemes for Hulu, Amazon and Netflix or banking apps.

The P5600 provides a wider data address space of 40 bits, that will allow it to address more memory than normal 32-bit MIPS processors.

The company has said it will release further Warrior designs next year, including the first 64-bit Warrior CPU. 

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”. 

Intel's usual troops missing from IDF stage

For Tuesday morning’s keynote presentation at IDF-SF 2013, there were none of the usual Intel standard bearers. New CEO, Brian Krzanich, did a major part of the presentation along with Renée James, Intel’s President.

Before the presentation started, one of the old guard, Mooly Eden was spotted standing in the aisle way wearing his signature cap.

Also sitting in the audience’s VIP seats was former Intel CTO Justin Rattner. Rattner retired in June of this year and we missed his imitations of TV’s Mister Wizard.

CEO Krzanich gave his overview of the “new and improved” Intel. Krzanich laid out Intel’s vision and described how Intel is refocusing – away from its traditional CPU centric design philosophy to a system centric solution based around SoCs (system-on-a-chip) and broader integration.

Intel’s foundry capabilities were touted as reducing the die size to 20nm which is now shipping, with 14nm in the works. This will allow wearable computers. The obvious ones are smart watches – Intel’s engineering sample is many generations behind the competition in looks. The not-so-obvious areas they’ll address will be in the healthcare industry.

Krzanich said: “Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel’s strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing.”

He continued: “Intel plans to lead in every segment of technology from the traditional to the emerging. Intel will continue with its data center revolution/evolution by increasing the computing power and lowering the kilowatts used in the rack space.” Krzanich stated that “the traditional PC is in the process of reinventing itself” with most notably tablets and 2-in-1 PC platforms.

The CEO said that Intel is introducing this week “Bay Trail,” Intel’s first 22nm SoC for mobile devices. “Bay Trail” is based on the company’s new low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, which will power a range of Android and Windows designs.

[Remember Intel’s commitment to Wimax?-Ed]

Krzanich showed the first Intel phone with the 22nm SoC with Intel data LTE and voice 3G. He claimed that “by next year you will see LTE data and LTE voice in the same phone”. Then, he showed a demonstration of LTE Advanced. LTE advanced will have carrier activation switching from 30Mbps (Megabits per second) to 70 Mbps. He said the San Diego group is working on this. Could this be Qualcomm?

Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The new lower-power products will extend Intel’s reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Things to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance.

The tablet marketplace is a key ingredient for the atom processor family. “The Hallway tablet systems price point will go below $100 by Q4 2013,” Krzanich said. 

However, the ARM and MIPS based 7-inch tablets have been there for over a year with good quality graphics, wi-fi, and reasonable gaming performance. Intel has some hurdles to jump over to gain a bigger chunk of that marketplace.

Renée James, Intel’s President, talked about the company’s involvement in the healthcare world and wearables.

Referring to health care as it relates to technology, she gave an example: “one person’s complete genomic data is approximately 1 PB, or 25 filing cabinets of information”.

“Genomic data cost for one person was in the hundred thousand dollar range less than four years ago,” James said. “Soon it will be in the $1000 range, which makes it plausible for use as a cancer fighting tool.”

James introduced Eric, an Intel employee who for over 20 years has been fighting cancer.

Eric came up and told his story about having his genomic data sequenced and taking that data to his doctors. About a month after they had the data they had a meeting with all his doctors including the East Coast doctors on Skype.

Eric said by having his genomic data, the doctors figured out that over the 20 year period of time, 90 percent of those drugs they had given for his cancer treatment could not work for him.

The doctors created a new set of drugs specifically typed for his genome, and in less than 90 days, he was completely cancer free and has remained cancer free. Understandably, Eric received resounding round of applause from the audience.

When one can see directly how technology impacts one person’s life in the extreme, we are all glad to be in this industry. 

Intel attempts to re-invent itself

For yesterday’s “keynote” presentation at IDF-SF 2013, there were none of the usual Intel standard bearers. Intel’s newly hatched CEO, Brian Krzanich, did a major part of the presentation along with Renée James, Intel’s President.

Before the presentation started, one of the old guard, Mooly Eden  was spotted standing in the aisle way wearing his signature cap.

Also sitting in the audience’s VIP seats was former Intel CTO Justin Rattner. Rattner retired in June of this year and we missed his imitations of TV’s Mister Wizard.

CEO Krzanich gave his overview of the “new and improved” Intel. Krzanich laid out Intel’s vision and described how Intel is refocusing – away from their traditional CPU centric design philosophy to a system centric solution based around SoCs (system-on-a-chip) and broader integration.

Intel’s foundry capabilities were touted as reducing the die size to 20 nm which is now shipping with 14 nm is in the works. This will allow wearable computers. The obvious ones are smart watches – Intel’s engineering sample is many generations behind the competition in looks. The not-so-obvious areas they’ll address will be in the healthcare industry.

Krzanich said: “Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel’s strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing.”  There you go.

He said, “Intel plans to lead in every segment of technology from the traditional to the emerging. Intel will continue with its data centre revolution/evolution by increasing the computing power and lowering the kilowatts used in the rack space.” Krzanich stated that “the traditional PC is in the process of reinventing itself” with most notably tablets and 2-in-1 PC platforms. See?

The CEO said that Intel is introducing this week “Bay Trail,” Intel’s first 22nm SoC for mobile devices. “Bay Trail” is based on the company’s low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, which will power a range of Android and Windows designs.

Krzanich showed the first Intel phone with the 22 nm SoC with Intel data LTE and voice 3G. He claimed that “by next year you will see LTE data and LTE voice in the same phone”. Then, he showed a demonstration of LTE Advanced. LTE advanced will have carrier activation switching from 30Mbps (Megabits per second) to 70 Mbps. He said the San Diego group is working on this. Could this be QUALCOMM?

Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The lower-power products will extend Intel’s reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Fangs to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance.

The tablet marketplace is a key ingredient for the atom processor family. Krzanich said, “the Hallway tablet systems price point will go below $100 by Q4 2013.” However, the ARM and MIPS based 7-inch tablets have been there for over a year with good quality graphics, WiFi, and reasonable gaming performance. Intel has some hurdles to jump over to gain a bigger chunk of that marketplace.

Renée James, Intel’s President, talked about its involvement in the healthcare world and wearables. Referring to health care as it relates to technology, she gave an example “one person’s complete genomic data is approximately 1 PB, or 25 filing cabinets of information”. She said, “genomic data cost for one person was in the hundred thousand dollar range less than four years ago. Soon it will be in the $1,000 range, which makes it plausible for use as a cancer fighting tool.”

James introduced Eric, an Intel employee who for over 20 years has been fighting cancer. Eric came up and told his story about having his genomic data sequenced and taking that data to his doctors. About a month after they had the data they had a meeting with all his doctors including the East Coast doctors on Skype. Eric said by having his genomic data, the doctors figured out that over the 20 year period of time, 90 percent of those drugs they had given for his cancer treatment could not work for him. The doctors created a new set of drugs specifically typed for his genome, and in less than 90 days, he was completely cancer free and has remained cancer free. Understandably, Eric received resounding round of applause from the audience.

Britain fights the US over MIPS

British Imagination Technologies‘ plan to offer $60 million for the operating business of MIPS Technologies faces competition.

MIPS has received a higher bid from a rival firm, mobile chip designer CEVA, which has made a $75 million bid.

MIPS said that it is now talking to CEVA because, at the moment, it is offering a better deal.

Imagination has not given up yet, although it says that it is monitoring the situation and will provide a further update in due course. Imagination announced its intention to buy MIPS earlier in November, which would mean that it would have something to help it take on fellow British company ARM.

MIPS technology is in Blu-ray players, digital televisions and video games consoles such as thePlayStation 2.

However, it is in the long term that MIPS will prove more valuable. The technology is under the bonnet of the home grown range of chips being made by the Chinese government. These are nearly at the point of matching Intel chips on the desktop and the smart money says they will take over China in the long term. When that happens, MIPS will be incredibly valuable. 

MIPS sells itself to Imagination Technologies

MIPS has agreed to be bought by a British graphics chip design firm Imagination Technologies and will sell 498 of its 580 patents to Allied Security Trust, which bills itself as an “advisor to companies wishing to avoid the onus of patent suits”.

Imagination is famous for its designs which are broadly used throughout the chip industry, including by Intel in its “Clover Trail” chip, ARM and in Apple gear.

But before the sale was concluded it seems that MIPS had sold its patents to a consortium formed by AST.

MIPS architecture will continue to be supported, and will be protected by MIPS patents.

Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie said that MIPS architecture is widely respected, and is complementary to Imagination’s existing CPU capabilities.

Imagination will continue to support and expand the MIPS architecture with the combined effort aiming to create a new industry-leading force in CPU development and licensing.

MIPS will retain the remaining 82 patent properties that are directly relevant and key to the MIPS architecture, and will also be granted a royalty-free, perpetual license under all of the patent properties sold to Bridge Crossing which is what Allied Security will be calling itself.

The sale of MIPS had been rumoured for a while. 

Intel and MIPS struggle with Ice Cream Sandwich

Intel and MIPS are flat out trying to get the next version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 4.0, to run on their processors.

Android 4.0, also called Ice Cream Sandwich, works rather well on smartphones which use ARM processors and next month will be seen in the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

The Nexus will use Samsung and Texas Instruments‘ dual-core OMAP4460 chip, but according to Computer World Chipzilla and MIPS are flat out trying to get their processors ready to work with Android 4.0.

Intel has announced that it has got the the OS working on Intel’s x86 mobile processors for tablets and smartphones. The first smartphone based on an Intel chip will reach the market in the first half of next year, Intel has said.

This was made easier for it by the fact that its chums in Google had included OS optimisation for x86, so Intel architecture-based devices can support it.

This was an interesting move by Google. When it included the optimisation feature, Intel was not that interested in Android and was working on MeeGo. Then it suddenly spurned MeeGo like a rabid dog in favour of Android.

Moving to Ice Cream Sandwich will help its chums HP, which had to release its Slate 2 with an old version of Android so that it could run Chipzilla hardware.

Intel is hoping that MIPS technology will be the “game changer” in the mobile market. MIPS is the third processor architecture challenging ARM in the tablet and smartphone space and it already supports Android 3.0, and is the company porting Android 4.0 for tablets.

A MIPS spokeswoman said that Android 4.0 for MIPS will be out soon. Part of the reason that Intel and MIPS have been a bit slower was because the availability of tablets with MIPS processors for Android 4.0 depends on when Google open sources the OS.

Once Samsung’s smartphone ships, Google could open source Android 4.0 code and make it possible to port the OS to other chips and devices.

“If ICS is open sourced in November … based on past experience, we would expect that the code will be demonstrated on MIPS a couple of weeks following the open source, and production-ready within 90 days,” the spokeswoman said. 

China Godson chip to take great leap forward

A scientist at the Beijing Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) has described the future of its Godson microprocessor.

According to the report, in EE Times, Wei-wu Hu outlined a series of chips in the Godson family including a server processor.

The report says that there will be several more microprocessors built on a 65 nanometre process to be released this year, and the ICT intends to migrate the process straight to 28 nanometres in the next generation.

Godson’s high end part – based on MIPS technology – has eight cores, a clock speed of up to 1GHz and eats up 40 watts, said EE Times. It is being built by ST Microelectronics and is 300 square millimetres. The chip is called the 464V and includes 200 instructions to emulate X86 CPUs.

Large Chinese manufacturer Dawning will use a 16 core Godson 3C to create a system capable of delivering petaflops.