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Intel Officials Allegedly Say that Apple Could Move to ARM Soon

A recent report from Axios claims that Apple is "widely expected" to move their Mac lineup to custom ARM chips in the next few years. The publication cites a Bloomberg report claiming that Apple plans to merge their software stack and app ecosystem across all platforms, though that could theoretically be achieved with ARM ISA emulation on existing x86 processors. However, Axios also said "Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year." Thanks to AppleInsider for the tip.

If anything, the Bloomberg timeline suggests that Intel might actually have more Mac business in 2020 than some had been expecting. The key question is not the timeline but just how smoothly Apple is able to make the shift. For developers, it will likely mean an awkward period of time supporting new and classic Macs as well as new and old-style Mac apps. History lesson: Apple has already made several big shifts in the 25-year history of the Mac, moving from Motorola chips to PowerPC processors and then to Intel. It's also moved from the classic Macintosh operating system to the Unix-based Mac OS X.

Posted by alphaatlas February 22, 2019 9:58 AM (CST)

Intel's MESO Transistor Project Could See Results in Two to Five Years

Late last year, Intel announced that they were working on a new type of transistor that could offer a massive performance leap over current CMOS chips. "MESO" transistors, as they call them, could operate at voltages as low as 100mV, but at the time, Intel said the technology was at least a decade away from commercialization. Today, in an interview with VentureBeat, an Intel researcher said he is "excited about spin-off results MESO is likely to produce within the next two to five years." AI accelerators are supposedly less complicated an more fault tolerant that traditional chip designs, and MESO's characteristics are "coincidentally' well suited to neural network architectures, meaning they could hit the market sooner rather than later.

Khosrowshahi: CPUs, which are the most commonplace when you're building silicon, are oddly enough the hardest thing to build. But in AI, it's a simpler architecture. AI has regular patterns, it's mostly compute and interconnect, and memories. Also, neural networks are very tolerant to inhomogeneities in the substrate itself. So I feel this type of technology will be adopted sooner than expected in the AI space. By 2025, it's going to be biggest thing... Young: If we can get these improvements in power-performance - MESO will be a 10 to 30 times better power-performance or energy-delay product - but let's say we only get a 2X improvement. That gives us, for a given power into the device, a 2X performance benefit, so it's a huge leg up on the competition. That's what drives this. Not only is this good for my company but it's an opportunity for the industry. The research is open, because we have so much heavy lifting to do with these materials. But if this is a thing that we as an industry can get a hold of, this could be a game changer for the semiconductor industry. It will take it through this curve that has been flattening. We may accelerate again. And that would be really neat.

Posted by alphaatlas February 21, 2019 11:01 AM (CST)

Intel Wants to Take You on a Graphics Odyssey

Intel's discrete GPU is still years away, but they're already trying to get the graphics community involved. Chipzilla previously made calls for graphics experts to join their team, but yesterday, Intel Graphics launched a more consumer-centric campaign. Functionally, Intel Graphics' "Odyssey" appears to be a mailing list for gaming-related promotions and giveaways right now, but TechRadar mentions that Intel will send out "invites to company-sponsored events" via the newsletter sometime in the future. As spammy as this effort may or may not seem, we've noted that Intel has totally revamped their public-facing image over the past year, and I prefer this effort to reach out to the community over the company's previous policies of keeping development close to their chest.

The Odyssey is built around a passionate community, focused on improving graphics and visual computing for everyone, from gamers to content creators. And we want voices like yours to help guide us. We're committed to listening to the community, and in return you will get closer to the inner workings of visual technology development than ever before. You'll hear the latest reports first and you'll have access to some amazing offers and exclusive giveaways. The Odyssey is about how we'll work together to build the visual computing solutions you really want. You also have the opportunity to receive the Intel Gaming Access newsletter which gives gamers a VIP pass to killer deals and freebies, preferred beta access, the latest gaming news, and more.

Posted by alphaatlas February 21, 2019 9:19 AM (CST)

Intel Confirms that FinFET MRAM is Production Ready

Late last year, EE Times published a report claiming that Intel was already shipping MRAM products to undisclosed customers. At the time, Intel only confirmed that their MRAM was "production ready" and didn't elaborate any further. But now, the news outlet says that Intel presented a paper on their embedded MRAM at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference. The fast, non-volatile 7Mb memory arrays reportedly achieve "10-year retention at 200C" and have "demonstrated write endurance of more than 1E06 cycles and read disturb error rate of more than 1E12 cycles." While EE Times calls the 22FFL process the MRAM arrays are built on a "22nm" process, semantics in the world of semiconductors are fuzzy, and Wikichip believes that 22FFL actually has more in common with Intel's 14nm processes. "Analysts" still believe that Intel is shipping products with MRAM, but the chip company hasn't elaborated on any of them yet.

According to Intel's ISSCC paper, each 0.0486-um2 transistor to one magnetic tunnel junction (1T1MTJ) MRAM bit cell is 216 x 225 nm2, with two polysilicon word lines. The tunnel-magneto-resistance ratio of the MTJs is 180% at 25C, with a target device-critical dimension between 60 nm and 80 nm. Wei said that the eMRAM design is also tolerant of wide variations in supply voltage. The design achieves a 4-ns read sensing time at 0.9 V but is also capable of 8-ns read sensing time at 0.8 V, she said... In a separate ISSCC paper presented Tuesday, Intel also described the development of resistive RAM (ReRAM) as a low-cost option for embedded non-volatile memory for SoCs used in IoT and automotive. The embedded ReRAM technology - also implemented in a 22-nm FinFET process - demonstrate what the company says is the smallest and highest-density ReRAM subarray and material innovations to allow low-voltage switching without impact to transistor reliability.

Posted by alphaatlas February 20, 2019 11:36 AM (CST)

Intel Acquires Indian Startup for GPU Talent

The Times of India reports that Intel Corporation acquired the Indian chip design startup Ineda Systems in an "all cash deal sealed last week" for an undisclosed amount. While Ineda seemingly specializes in low-power IoT hardware and autonomous driving technology, chipzilla is said to be more interested in the startup's GPU making talent. On their IoT page, Ineda does advertise several technologies that Intel's rapidly growing graphics division might be interested in, such as I/O Virtualization, a "secure and highly efficient inter-processor communication infrastructure using CPU Link services," and architectural designs that can "improving the power consumption by an order of magnitude" when compared to traditional IoT processors.

Ineda Systems founder Dasaradha Gude confirmed the development, but refused to divulge any details. When TOI reached out to Intel, officials confirmed the deal but they too declined to disclose transaction details. "Intel acquired engineering resources from Ineda Systems, a silicon and platform services provider based in Hyderabad. This transaction provides Intel with an experienced SOC (system on chip) team to help build a world-class discrete GPU business," an Intel spokesperson told TOI.

Posted by alphaatlas February 18, 2019 12:45 PM (CST)

"Forgettable, Repetitive": Early Reviews Aren't Kind on Anthem

Game journalists who are knee-deep in Anthem ahead of Friday’s official release have been giving out early impressions over the weekend, but unfortunately for BioWare, much of the reception seems negative. PC Gamer called the story "forgettable" and gameplay "repetitive," the latter of which has been echoed by other reviewers: Giant Bomb claims there is at least one portion of the campaign that forces players to "spend hours completing in-game challenges" before they can progress. There is also a "Quickplay" bug that lets brand-new players skip straight to the final boss fight.

Unlike Dragon Age and Mass Effect, which both have clever twists on familiar genres and establish emotional stakes early in the story, Anthem doesn't create that same sense of purpose or understanding. So even though I'm trying to immerse myself in this world by reading all the bits of lore and conversing with every character I can, the whole thing feels superfluous. And while Anthem's combat is a lot of fun in the moment-to-moment action, the actual mission objectives are boring and repetitive.

Posted by Megalith February 17, 2019 6:20 PM (CST)

Metro Exodus Is Now Being Review Bombed on Metacritic

On the off chance Deep Silver hasn’t regretted making Metro Exodus an Epic Games Store exclusive yet, gamers have now taken to popular review-aggregate Metacritic to voice their displeasure by review bombing the post-apocalyptic title. The exclusivity was certainly a hasty decision, as physical copies of the game still feature the Steam logo, just hidden under a sticker.

The Metacritic review-bombing is the latest episode in a long saga of animosity between Steam users and "Exodus" developer 4A Games. 4A Games did initially solicit pre-orders for the game on Steam, and abruptly stopped its sales late-January. Those who had pre-ordered would continue to receive the game and its updates. 4A muddied the waters further by responding to initial criticism from Steam users by threatening to desert the PC platform as a whole, inviting more bile from some really angry gamers.

Posted by Megalith February 17, 2019 3:10 PM (CST)

Playing Chicken: Kentucky Fried Intel Core i9-9900KFC Processor Listed

Someone at Intel must be a fan of greasy, artery-clogging fried chicken: a chip called the Core i9-9900KFC has been listed on system-diagnostics app AIDA64. The "K" and "F" would point toward a processor that can be overclocked but lacking integrated graphics. It isn’t clear what the "C" stands for (no, not Colonel Sanders), but AnandTech believes it could involve eDRAM.

If every letter has a special meaning for a feature in a product, and a product portfolio offers a mix and match of those features, then eventually a combination of letters will end up with a secondary meaning. Today we’re seeing the beginning of the Kentucky Fried version of Intel: in the latest changelog to AIDA64, a well-known utility for system identification and testing, the company behind the software has added in the hooks and details for the Core i9-9900KFC.

Posted by Megalith February 17, 2019 9:45 AM (CST)

Radeon VII Video Card Review

It took us a bit longer to get it done this time around, but as always, a full review with nothing but real gameplay data for you to base your opinions on. AMD Radeon VII Video Card Review.
Posted by Kyle February 14, 2019 4:32 PM (CST)

Unreal Engine 4.22 Preview Adds Support for DirectX Raytracing

Thanks to Fortnite, as well as the many other PC and console titles developed on the platform, Unreal Engine is one of these most widely used game engines on Earth. Epic Games just released a preview build of the engine, and among numerous other features and fixes, this one includes support for real time ray tracing and path tracing. While the feature isn't technically tied to Nvidia RTX, Turing cards are the only ones with driver support for DirectX raytracing at the moment, meaning that developers do need an RTX 2000 series GPU to test out Unreal's raytracing. Additionally, Epic added support for the Oculus Quest and Microsoft Hololens Remote Streaming, though its not clear if using VR and raytracing together is possible yet. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

-Implemented a low level layer on top of UE DirectX 12 that provides support for DXR and allows creating and using ray tracing shaders (ray generation shaders, hit shaders, etc) to add ray tracing effects... Added high-level ray tracing features: -Rect area lights -Soft shadows -Reflections -Reflected shadows -Ambient occlusion -RTGI (real time global illumination) -Translucency -Clearcoat -IBL -Sky -Texture LOD -Denoiser (Shadows, Reflections, AO) -Path Tracert

Posted by alphaatlas February 14, 2019 12:35 PM (CST)

AdoredTV Reviews the Radeon VII

AdoredTV just posted their review of the Radeon VII. In terms of performance, AdoredTV's results line up with other reviews that went up earlier, generally besting the liquid cooled Vega 64 and achieving parity with the GTX 1080 TI and RTX 2080, depending on the title and settings. But what really seemed to stick out to the Scottish reviewer was noise: even inside his personal PC, the reference Radeon VII was far noiser than the MSI 1080 TI and liquid-cooled Vega 64. Check out the review below.
Fortunately, it seems that AMD fixed the Wattman issues Gamers Nexus and Der8auer ran into earlier, as the the tool's auto undervolt feature brought noise levels down to reasonable levels with 2 clicks while lowering power consumption by about 40W. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 14, 2019 10:43 AM (CST)

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.2 Driver Has Been Released

The latest AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.2 driver has been released and it adds support for the AMD Radeon VII, Far Cry New Dawn, Metro Exodus, Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, and Crackdown 3. AMD Radeon RX 590 owners should experience a 5% performance uplift in Crackdown 3 when using this newer driver. Fixed issues include: Using the Alt+Tab shortcut out of a fullscreen application or game may be slow or take longer than expected when using a display connected by DisplayPort. Apply and Discard buttons may not appear in some areas of Radeon Overlay under the Radeon WattMan overclocking tab. Radeon WattMan may fail to apply memory clock changes on AMD Radeon VII. AMD Radeon VII may intermittently experience a system hang when attempting to perform a timeout detection and recovery on Windows7 system configurations. Radeon WattMan may display the incorrect max fan/temperature values for AMD Radeon VII. Radeon WattMan may experience issues with changed values failing to save or load when multiple changes are applied at once. AMD Radeon VII may experience intermittent system stability issues on some X399 motherboards. Player Unknown's Battlegrounds may intermittently experience an application crash when changing post-processing settings. Radeon Settings may experience an application hang when loading the performance histogram in a game profile through game manager. Update Notifications may sometimes incorrectly list the currently installed driver as an available upgrade. Apex Legends may intermittently experience line corruption on AMD Radeon VII.

Known Issues: Battlefield V players may experience character outlines stuck on screen after being revived when the game is set to using DirectX12 API. Mouse lag or system slowdown is observed for extended periods of time with two or more displays connected and one display switched off. FRTC may disappear from the Radeon Settings Global Graphics options on some system configurations when upgrading Radeon Software. Radeon WattMan clock gauges may sometimes not change or appear incorrect when custom settings have been set on AMD Radeon VII. Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed. Fan speeds may remain elevated for longer periods than expected when using Tuning Control Auto Overclock in Radeon WattMan on AMD Radeon VII. A workaround is switching fan control to manual mode.

Posted by cageymaru February 14, 2019 7:36 AM (CST)