DirectX 12 logo
Games Industry

Microsoft announced DirectX 12 at Game Developers Conference 2014, a newer version of its famous and widely utilized DirectX gaming API. Along with the support for PCs, Laptops and Windows Phone devices, Microsoft also boasted individual Xbox One DirectX 12 support, claiming that the new API will provide much-needed strength to the latest next-gen console.

Microsoft-DirectX-12-GDC-2014

DirectX 12 Comes with Titles Resources Feature – Gives More Control to Developers and Allows Further Optimization

In this situation where Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console has to bear swelled amount of blame everyday, the company’s new advanced API support for the console appears kind of a reinforcement. The new enhancements and improved hardware utilization that Microsoft promises DirectX 12 will offer seems quite an addition to the new API.

Software aside, DirectX 12 may seem like an aide for the Xbox One by tweaking hardware utilization mechanism but it is apparently quite clear that it will not directly put a great influence on the hardware and increase its overall aptitudes. Though the better software optimization will provide increased efficiency and will make the development process easy. Middleware SDKs like Graphine Software’s Granite SDK will correctly profit from upcoming DirectX 12.

Granite SDK is actually a graphical landscape generator. It is a set of software development tools that has been developed by middleware software company known as Graphine Software. Granite assists video game developers in creating HD in-game textures while preserving concentrated compression. Such SDKs will outwardly produce good results if utilized in PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game development.

Speaking to Gamingbolt, CEO of Graphine Software Aljosha Demeulemeester explained what new improvements could Microsoft’s API offer. After explaining how company’s Granite SDK performs with DirectX 11.2+, Demeulemeester shed light on how developers can benefit from improved capabilities of DirectX 12. He said:

“DX12 continues to build on DX11.1+ and as such, also includes the Tiled Resources feature. DX12 is however closer to the metal and gives more control to the developer.

This allows us to further optimize our tiling back end (for DX12) that takes care of loading texture tiles into video memory. Also, we get more access to how data is stored in video memory, which is very important for us. Specifically for our tiling back end, we expect a performance increase compared to DX11.1+ but we don’t have any hard numbers on this yet.”

It is still in debate that whether DirectX 12 will truly prove to be a win for Xbox One or if it will not be more of a little assistance. The upcoming gaming API will release next year but it has already unhinged the table. What do you think about DirectX 12? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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virtium
Hardware

With more and more manufacturers joining the DDR4 race, embedded and industry module suppliers Virtium have also entered the competition. The new memory modules are claimed to deliver up to 40% of power savings and twice the bandwidth over the previous DDR3 modules. Virtium offers the modules as solutions for server blades, networking and telecom applications.

DDR4-ULP

The new DDR4 modules possess transfer speeds of up to 1866 MHz and a power consumption of 1.2V.

Virtium intends the DDR4 VLP RIMM modules to be used for space constrained embedded fields, such as blade servers. “Because of our sole focus on the industrial embedded market and that our customers are now doing a majority of their design work around DDR4, Virtium will fully support future proprietary  FBGA and Intel-based chipset systems with a comprehensive DDR4 roadmap of memory module form factors.” said Phan Hoang, Vice president of research and development.

The new modules are offered in the low profile ULP RDIMM and have capacities ranging from 4GB to 16GB. The form factor is DIMM, coupled with registers which allow for lesser loads on the memory controller. ECC is also in place allowing for checking in any type of internal data corruption. They are available in both x8 and x4 configurations as well, with standard operating temperatures from 0 degrees to 85 degree centigrade. Extended temperatures have ranges from -40 to 95 C. They come with a warranty of 5 years.

intel_receitas_processadores_OMeuiDevice
Hardware

Only six months after their release, Intel has started making deliveries of updated models of the Atom Z3000 series. The Atom Z3000 series are processors designed to be used in tablets, which use the Bay-Trail-T platform. The Bay Trail-T is a variant of the Intel Atom family, powered by the company’s Silvermont micro-architecture, for even lower power consumption and competes with SoCs releases by manufacturers including Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia.

intel_atom_valleyview_baytrail_4

Updates to include cheaper versions of Android, support for 64-bit OS and 4GB of main memory.

Specification: The Atom Z3000 Series

Model Cores x frequency GPU Frequency Memory Memory Support
Atom Z3735D 4 x 1.33 to 1.83 GHz 311-688 MHz 2 GB DDR3L-RS 1 333 MHz
Atom Z3735E 4 x 1.33 to 1.83 GHz 311-688 MHz 1 GB DDR3L-RS 1 333 MHz
Atom Z3745 4 x 1.33 to 1.86 GHz 311-778 MHz 4 GB LPDDR3 1066 MHz
Atom Z3745D 4 x 1.33 to 1.83 GHz 313-792 MHz 2 GB DDR3L-RS 1 333 MHz
Atom Z3775 4 x 1.46 to 2.39 GHz 311-778 MHz 4 GB LPDDR3 1066 MHz
Atom Z3775D 4 x 1.50 to 2.41 GHz 313-792 MHz 2 GB DDR3L-RS 1 333 MHz
Atom Z3795 4 x 1.60 to 2.39 GHz 311-778 MHz 4 GB LPDDR3 1066 MHz
ADATA logo
Hardware

ADATA has joined the list of manufacturers who have officially announced their DDR4 products. Other manufacturers are Micron Storage and lesser known SMART Modular. Like Micron, the product is to be aimed at the Haswell-EP, the server version of the enthusiast Haswell E. The product faces the same clock speed limitations as Micron’s does with a clock speed of 2133 MHz.

ADATATable

DDR4 modules offered in sizes of 4, 8 and 16 GB with frequency of 2133 MHz.

As seen from the table above, the memories are being offered in densities of 4, 8 and 16 GB, with a power consumption of 1.2 Volts. The company claims that its low power consumption models and high frequencies make the memory modules suitable for server, storage and networking applications. However it has to be noted that the modules offered have more or less the same specifications as the other modules released by its competitors in the industry. ADATA also announced that it is closely working with Intel towards developing memory that supports next generation server platforms, especially the Haswell-EP Xeon E5-2600 v3. It should be noted here that Micron also announced of its close partnership with Intel over DDR4 support. So we can be sure that whatever the manufacturer, the Haswell-EP will have a variety of supporting memory modules.

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Hardware

Chip maker Qualcomm, whose products are used in some of the world’s top smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, has announced two 64-bit additions to its line of SoCs manufactured. The Snapdragon 810 and 808 both feature ARM’s A57 and A53 cores. The 810 has a 4 big + 4 Little configuration while the 808 has a 2 big + 2 Little configuration. Qualcomm explained the shift to the new configuration as a reaction to the changing demands of the market in the demand of the 64-bit models supported by ARM cores; a change possibly started by Apple’s release in the iPhone 5S.

Snapdragon 810_slides for press_689_2

The Snapdragon 810 to feature a slew of new features including LPDR4 memory, rendering of 4K video at 30 fps and 1080p at 120 fps.

In addition to the adding of the A57 for high power tasks and the A53 for lower level ones, the 810 also has the modem integrated directly within the SoC die. In terms of connectivity, the Cat 6/7 on both the chips, has the capability for 20 Mhz exaggeration capability to achieve 300 Mhz down link speeds. In terms of GPU, in the 810 the GPU has been upgraded to the Adreno 430, which should bring significantly improved performance and lower power consumption when compared to the 805. It also shows Qualcomm’s focus to the 4K display and an increase in 3D graphics capability. The 810 supports two 4K displays at 30 fps, while the 808 has support capability for 2560/4Mp primaries.

TSMC-logo
Hardware

Taiwan Semi-Conductor Manufacturing Company, TSMC, is expected to launch its 16nm FinFET manufacturing process plus at the end of 2014. This will add two more advanced processes to its portfolio. Its competitors, Intel and Samsung already produce the 14nm nodes, and this move will likely put TSMC in a better position to compete with them. 

tsmc2

16nm FinFet plus an addition to the 16nm FinFet introduced last year by TSMC.

In September last year, TSMC released the 16nm FinFet designs. These additions were expected to provide methodologies for boosting power and area in 16nm. This included low voltage operation analysis and high resistance layer routing optimization. According to the original road map released by TSMC, the 16nm FinFet was expected to enter production by the end of this year. According to CEO Andy Liu in January, the 16nm FinFet plus has 15% better performance than its predecessor.

The 16nm FinFet plus is expected to enter production in early 2015. According to digitimes, this may help TSMC win A9 processor orders from Apple. According to JP Morgan Securities, some mobile fabless computer may directly adopt the 16nm and migrate from the 20nm, since it gives an additional die shrink.

xbox360logo
Games

Since I might or might not have access to Premium Trackers, I usually know (or do not know) when any game gets pirated and leaks early. However, sometimes a game tends to take me by surprise. This is one such case. Titanfall, ladies and gentlemen, has just been leaked. However, it is more or less utterly useless to you.  That is, unless you want to get banned, blocked, etc. Or you want to download it and be ready for the launch of Titanfall’s servers and run the risk of getting banned.

titanfall

Titanfall Xbox 360 Version Gets Leaked – Servers not even online yet, Download to get banned.

As you may realize by now this leak is utterly useless. I am not really sure why people would risk their jobs, not to mention piss off the legal response team for a seemingly meaningless end. Because not only is Titanfall a completely server side game, the servers themselves aren’t even up yet and the only thing you will get by running the game is a ban. Of course, the problem once again is that some people have allegedly received their  genuine Xbox 360 copies ahead of schedule, which would mean if those innocent folks plug in the game, zap.

Intel-Logo
Hardware

At the Intel Developer forum taking place currently in China, the company announced the successor to the Bay Trail SoC. Bay Trail is currently found on Intel’s high performance tablets and entry level computing devices. Braswell will feature a 14 nm architecture. This will be similar to its cousin, the next generation Broadwell and an update from the 22 nm architecture currently used in Bay Trail.

intel-braswell-tablet-mobile-cpu-processor-chip-620x354

New chip to be available for Windows, Linux, Chrome and Android. Support for Chromebook announced as well.

At the developer forum in China, Intel PC chief Kirk Skaugen told Intel employees about Intel’s hopes to help Google grow its Chromebook and Chromebox business as well. Chromebook, as we know is a growing sector of the notebook market. The notebooks run Google’s Chrome OS and are generally cheaper than $ 400. Intel also claimed that the chip will now boost the notebook designs of Chromebook to 20 in 2014 from four previous year. The move might  also be aimed at attracting more manufactures to manufacture the Chromebook. We can also expect better power efficiency and a significant power boost from Braswell as well. This is due to the shrinkage in its architecture. It will therefore be able to power budget laptops and desktops much effectively. The chip will also make use of the Intel Iris. The SoC design, Intel claims will reduce the overall size of the final product as well as the number of supporting chips required.

Intel-Logo
Hardware

Micron Storage has announced it’s plans to ramp up the production of DDR4 memory modules. This move comes up in anticipation of the pending launch of the Intel Xeon E5-2600 “Haswell-EP” server processors. The Xeon E5-2600 is expected to be launched in the second quarter of this year. Micron claims that these new modules boast a performance enhancement of 35% over the previous DDR3.

ddr4

New 4 GB DDR4 modules to have a capability of 2133 MT/s.

The new 4GB DDR4 modules scheduled for production will have a capability of 2133 megatransfers per second. Compared with the previous generation, the DDR4 has a higher productivity, reliability and lower power consumption. Specifications provide a jump in productivity from 1.6 to 3.2 giga transactions per second with a supply voltage of 1.2 Volts. Micron is also sampling faster 2400 MT/s modules for follow up products in 2015.

“Our JEDEC-compliant portfolio showcases the performance and power benefits that DDR4 products can provide for our customers,” said Robert Feurle, Micron’s vice president of marketing and program management. Pointing towards Micron’s collaboration with Intel, he said, “As a result of Micron’s close engagement with our key enabling partners, we are well positioned to bring this exciting new technology to market.”

MSI G Series logo
Hardware Industry

MSI has released cheaper motherboards for the Mini ITX and Micro ATX based on the budget B85 Intell Haswell chipset. The new boards intend to provide a complete gaming experience to users running on a budget. The new boards feature Audio Boost, USB Audio Power, Killer LAN and a new hardware design for increased performance.

New boards include a variety of features including Military Class 4 components, OC Genie 4, BIOS 4 and Command Center

Starting from Audio USB, the board eliminates the problem of audio output being affected by high power consumption of high-end USBs. The MSI USB Audi Power continues to deliver 5V to USB ports on the motherboard separately, thereby improving USB and audio performance. This results in stable power and better audio signals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hardware Industry

Intel has announced improvements to its SD card size computer called the Edison. The Edison is targeted at wearable devices. The computer was announced in January this year and has the Intel Quark x86 CPU, with a clock speed of 400 MHz.

intel-edison-wearables

More sensors added to the chip. Upgrades are likely to expand chip usability.

The original Edison computer had limited sensing capabilities and could only be used on small, wearable devices such as watches and health monitoring. Intel has now added a sensor hub to the new edition. This will enable users to add sensors for location, environment and light, said Mike Bell vice president and general manager of New Devices group at Intel. Intel hopes the redesigned Edison will be used in the design and development of wearable products. Bell said he envisioned the Edison to be used in wearable devices such as a US football hat where the chip would be capable of doing real time analysis related to the impact of a hit.

This is the reason why Intel did not focus on size when adding improvements to the Edison. The improvements will make the rectangular circuit board 1 millimeter larger on each side. This is due to the addition of a circuit block with connectors to which additional sensors will be attached. “Smaller may not be better,” Bell sais, emphasizing upon the need to increase size in order to improve the capabilities of the computer. “You can connect [any sensor] to this”, he said.

Intel-Logo
Hardware

Altera is one of the largest (if not the largest) FPGA and SoC maker out there right now. Their partnership with Intel has a good history and their build quality is usually remarkable. Interestingly, Altera’s FPGA are always about one generation ahead of desktop processors as Intel Fab’s give priority to silicon request from Altera. Intel has just deepened their relationship further with Altera’s 10th Generation FPGA based on the 14nm Tri Gate node with HMCs.

Altera Stratix 10 HMC SoC

Altera 10th Generation Stratix FPGA and Socs with 14nm FinFET  and HMC

Basically Altera’s SoCs and FPGAs are divided into two main lineups. The Arria 10 lineup is the low to mid-range of Altera’s products and is outsourced to TSIntel Altera 14nm FinFET Board HMC

Now the new relationship will usher in a new range of products will be a “System in a Package” form factor. Which basically means an SoC with a board. But interestingly these boards feature an HMC or a Hybrid Memory Cube which is one of the next-big-things in the Memory Industry.  Altera’s work with Intel will enable the development of multi-die devices that efficiently integrates monolithic 14 nm Stratix 10 FPGAs and SoCs with other advanced components, which may include DRAM, SRAM, ASICs, processors and analog components, in a single package. The integration will be enabled through the use of high-performance heterogeneous multi-die interconnect technology. . The devices will address the performance, memory bandwidth and thermal challenges impacting high-end applications in the communications, high-performance computing, broadcast and military segments.

NVIDIA Logo
Hardware

[Editorial] Skynet has been a very prevalent icon in tech-culture for the past decade. The fear of Machines rising against humanity and robotic overlords are all frequently visited territories. Interestingly, one would expect that the expected result of all the Technophobic media might have been to deter us away from A.I. work; but the actual effect seems to be the opposite. Scientists have become more or less obsessed with achieving a thinking, rationalizing, and sentient Intelligence; simulated or otherwise. Skynet of legend, I remember, was a Neural-Net based Artificial Intelligence. It worked on the concept of “Machine Learning”. It so happens that Nvidia showcased what appears to be the first fully Scalable Deep Neural Network based (Primitive) Intelligence System. A System that can deploy “Machine Learning” and actually learn just like a human.

SKYNET Powered by NvidiaDisclaimer: I am about 90% sure that I am joking about Skynet.

Deep Neural Network Intelligence demonstrates Unsupervised Machine Learning at Nvidia’s GTC

I think a basic introduction on how Neural Nets work and function is in order. Of course the actual way a neural net works is low level code, so I can only provide a very simplified explanation. Neural Networks were thought of first as a way to perfectly simulate the Human and Animal nervous system where a neuron fires for any object ‘recognized’. The reasoning went so that if we could replicate the trigger process with virtual ‘neurons’ we should be able to achieve ‘true’ machine learning and eventually even Artificial Intelligence. Now thing is, Nvidia isn’t exactly the first company to achieve a working Deep Neural Network (with collaboration from Stanford University). The first DNN was created by Google. Thats right, the one company that is powerful and ambitious enough to pioneer something like true A.I. capabilities.

57283_Tegra4ichipshot
Hardware

With the announce of the release of the Wiko Wax and the LG G2 Mini in March, Nvidia had started to make moves towards entering the smartphone processor market. Both the phones are powered by the Tegra 4i, Nvidia’s smartphone variant of the Tegra 4 range. So it was seen as a change of course for the company as  Jen-Hsun Huang announced that Nvidia plans to aim only towards the higher end devices where graphics and performance plays an important role.

nvidia_tegra4i_2

Nvidia Tegra ‘i’ LTE SoC’s Future in Jeopardy – Probably Discontinued.

It should be kept in mind that the mainstream SoC market is already very overcrowded, with major competitors including Qualcomm and Apple possessing 70% of the market share. A highly demanding market, with stringent requirements, the chips have to be designed to specific specification in order to gain any sort of penetration. If the chip is over designed, with a high price tag, there are no sales. Same is true for under designed chips, lacking performance capabilities.

With the Tegra 4i, featuring an integrated LTE baseband and a quadcore, Cortex A9 2.3 GHz CPU, Nvidia had hoped to significantly make a dent in the value smartphone market and become a potential, strong competitor to Qualcomm. “We are going to get design wins in tablets in very important companies, super-phones in important companies, and we’re going to continue to. I believe that the mainstream smartphone market is saturated and it’s not worthwhile to pursue.” Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia’s CEO said.

Intel Haswell
Hardware

Ok we have just received an update on the Haswell Refresh front. The new update gives solid foundation to the shaky road map of the Haswell Refresh and X99 Chipset “Wellsburg” we already knew about. The leak also contains more concrete information about the launch date of Intel’s new “Devil’s Canyon” line of processors. This is going to be a very comprehensive post with previous leaks combined.

Intel Broadwell and Haswell Refresh Platform

Intel’s Updated Roadmap for Haswell Refresh Leaked – Coming May 11th with Devil’s Canyon following in June

I am going to break tradition this time and start with the actual leak. So obviously the first thing is that the launch date for the Haswell Refresh has been more or less confirmed. It is going to be the 11th of May (2014 obviously) folks. Which is about 6 weeks away. Also the Devil’s Canyon processors will be released soon after and a very educated guess would place them at Computex 2014 sometime in June this year. Haswell-E with the LGA 2011-3 socket is going to followup in September. And 14nm Broadwell will either enter very late this year or not at all, in which case it would come in Q1 of 2015. Also Intel has confirmed problems with the 450nm wafer transition however it maintains that it is still on track.

Now some preliminaries (can I even call this that anymore?). Lets begin with X99.  Basically X99 will support the LGA 2011-3 Socket. It will support overclocking for both the ‘X’ and ‘K’ variants and has 4 Memory Channels. It will support CPU (Ratios and BCLK) and GPU overclocking and will have all the usual features such as Intel Rapid Storage and RST Smart Response Tech (and Rapid Recover too). It will have 14 USB ports and 10 Sata ports. Interestingly it will also feature Intel’s Integrated Clock Support.

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