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Category Archives: processors

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Everything You Need To Know

Hubert Nguyen December 7, 2017

Like clockwork, Qualcomm has announced its Snapdragon 845 system on chip (SoC) and high-end Snapdragon platform which will power numerous high-end smartphones and possibly always-connected laptops throughout 2018.

As always, a major architecture change brings new performance, efficiency, and features. After a very comprehensive briefing at the Snapdragon Summit 2017, here is our overview of Snapdragon 845, split into different areas of interest: Camera, Performance, Battery life, Connectivity, Immersion, AI, and Security.

Camera

Let’s start with the best understood, most desirable feature for many users: the camera. With Snapdragon 845, camera performance will reach new levels, both in terms of raw capabilities, but also in image quality.

First, the camera will be capable of capturing 4K Ultra HD Premium HDR video. This is a mouthful, but it is similar to the feature-set used in Hollywood movies (1 Billion colors + HDR). Obviously, this is not exactly Cinema-quality, but in general, this is a huge improvement in video recording (16.7M colors, no HDR). Today’s best devices can “play” this kind of content, but Snapdragon 845 phones will be able to create that content.

“A HUGE IMPROVEMENT IN VIDEO RECORDING”

If you are unaware, Ultra HD Premium is not a technical standard, but rather a marketing umbrella that federates different TV makers around a certain quality level for 4K, HDR and color rendering. You will hear a lot about “Color Volume”. That is a 3D representation of the colors that devices can record (camera) and reproduce (display). The color volume can be visualized by using color gamut (reproducible colors) and luminance data (how bright tings are). The image below shows the larger color volume of Snapdragon 845 (Rec. 2020) vs, Snapdragon 835 (Rec. 709). This is leading-edge stuff.

Secondly, the camera ISP (Image Signal Processor) and overall subsystem are so fast that it is now possible to capture 720p video at 480 FPS. This will allow video creators to capture amazing slow-motion videos without having buffering limitations often encountered with this kind of extreme situations. For example, Sony has an extreme 960 FPS slow-motion recording, but only for a very short time. And yes, you can capture 1080p at 240FPS and 4K UHD HDR at 60FPS.

Still photos also benefit from the same resources allocated to image processing. Snapdragon 845 can process 16 Megapixel photos at a rate of 60 FPS (talk about bursting!). You might think of this as a video, but photos are treated differently because they are meant to be seen and saved as individual frames, while videos are an animated stream.

Performance

Snapdragon’s performance is due to various high-performance computing units, some with a distinct purpose such as the ISP (Image Signal Processor) or the GPU (graphics unit) and others with a slightly more general role such as the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) and of course the CPU cluster.

Snapdragon 845 is manufactured using Samsung’s second-generation 10nm process, which is an optimization of last year’s introductory 10nm semiconductor node. There are very small improvements in performance and efficiency derived from this.

Kryo 385 CPU

The CPU cluster is divided into two groups of four cores: four high-performance cores (ARM A75 derivatives, 2.8GHz max) to process workloads as fast as possible. There are also four other low-power cores (ARM A55 derivatives, 1.8 GHz max) to handle less intensive tasks with the best possible power-efficiency. You can read our article about ARM’s big-LITTLE architecture to understand more about heterogeneous CPU core clusters.

“DOUBLE-DIGITS CPU PERFORMANCE INCREASE: WORTHY OF ATTENTION”

Qualcomm did some custom work on the CPU cores and therefore named it Kryo 385. Qualcomm often tunes a specific core design or can build CPU cores from the ground up if necessary. This time, Qualcomm has done some custom work on the A75 and A55 designs from ARM but did not rebuild the cores from the ground up.

For Snapdragon 845, the engineers have added a 2MB L3 cache along with a 3MB “System Cache.” The main difference is that the L3 cache is only accessible to the CPU cluster, while the System Cache is accessible to other computing units as well (GPU, DSP, etc…). In both cases, the caches can drastically reduce the latency of getting information (from RAM) along with memory bus traffic.

With all of this, Qualcomm is expecting a ~25% CPU performance boost from last year’s Snapdragon 835 chip (see image above for details). I have to say, double-digits CPU performance increase: that is worthy of attention.

Adreno 630 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

As its name implies, this is the unit responsible for 3D gaming and VR performance. A GPU can also be used for artificial intelligence and other non-graphics workloads, but it’s fair to say that 3D graphics is the main purpose here.

At the moment, Qualcomm has not revealed the inner-workings of the GPU, so we don’t know exactly how many GPU cores there are, texture units, etc.… however a 30% graphics performance improvement should come out of this new design.

Additionally, Qualcomm also claims a 30% power-efficiency increase, which means that Snapdragon 845 can perform the same rendering while using 30% less energy as its predecessor. That is a rather large increase in both efficiency and speed.

Snapdragon 845 can support 2K per eyes in VR applications to improve one of VR’s pain point: the blockiness of the in-headset graphics. Incidentally, Qualcomm has also developed a Foveated rendering framework to help developers boost performance. I’m not 100% clear on what engines are supported, but the principle is sound can significantly accelerate pixel-level rendering. I previously explained how Foveated rendering works on Desktop PC, and this is the same principle, but in one sentence, Foveated rendering consists in reducing the detail away from your gaze point.

“THESE ARE CUTTING EDGE RENDERING TECHNIQUES”

To accelerate rendering, Qualcomm has added “multiview rendering,” a very effective technique that can reduce geometric (per-vertex) operations by nearly 50% in VR apps. The principle is simple: to achieve stereo rendering, the same scene is being rendered TWICE from slightly different points of views (LEFT+RIGHT eyes). Multiview rendering allows some computation to be shared between the LEFT/RIGHT frames because they are extremely similar (although not identical). There are other applications of similar multi-projection techniques, and they have proven to be highly efficient.

The graphics and extended reality framework of Snapdragon 845 allow it to support 6 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) and SLAM (Simultaneous Location And Mapping). SLAM is used to sense where you are in the room and track your motion in space by looking at your position relative to the environment. This is the foundational technology for 6 Degrees of Freedom without wires. Although some of this was available before, it is now fully baked into the Snapdragon platform and will be available to more OEMs.

The compound optimizations offer a very high potential for boosting VR (and AR) performance. These are cutting edge rendering techniques previously available only on desktop computers, or in a small number of engines. Qualcomm could democratize this further by supporting them in the Snapdragon Platform.

Hexagon 685 DSP

The DSP (Digital Signal Processor) is a specialized computing unit that can perform vector math on large quantities of data with extreme power-efficiency. It can be used for a vast array of things such as, but not limited to 2D image processing/effects, depth sensing for face-recognition, artificial intelligence inference and more.

People often think of the GPU when it comes to massive math workloads, and it is not a bad reflex. However, the DSP and the GPU are complementary tools that serve different situations. It is impossible to generalize completely, but DSPs are often more appropriate to use when you need to quickly process relatively small quantities of data. GPUs can be great at churning super-massive quantities of data, but they also require more setup and have more overhead. In reality, it’s not DSP vs. GPU — both can be extremely useful depending on the app.

Hexagon 685 is 3X faster than last year’s Hexagon 682. Without a doubt, Qualcomm must have increased the number of math units but hasn’t yet revealed the implementation details. This kind of performance increase matches the arrival of Google’s Neural API for Android 8.1+.

Battery Life

With battery life being the #1 concern for users, Power optimizations are always at the top of the list for mobile chip engineers. There are several ways to increase the power efficiency, and without a major manufacturing node change, it had to come from the architectural and software efforts.

The software can be optimized to offload work (when possible) to the most efficient sub-systems we discussed previously.

The addition of multiple cache layers reduces RAM access by as much as 75%, thus helping save power as well. The hardware has multiple clock domains and voltage domains, which means that the chip has several power islands that can use the most optimum amount of power at any given time. This leads to continuous savings if the tuning is done properly.

Snapdragon 835 was 50% more power-efficient as Snapdragon 821. A large chunk of this was due to the manufacturing node change. This time, the delta is not as large, but Eliane Fiolet checked power draw tests comparing Snapdragon 845, 835 and 660 and for the exact same task (4K video playback, 30FPS) Snapdragon 835 uses ~8% more power while Snapdragon 660 draws ~15% more power as Snapdragon 845. Not bad at all!

Earbuds battery savings

This time, Bluetooth (BT) will have the ability to broadcast to multiple devices at once under the Qualcomm TrueWireless name. You may not know, but BT wireless earbuds are currently set up to have one of them as the “master” that will orchestrate the communication with the phone, and with the other earbud. The master essentially does 2X more work as the other earbud, causing an imbalance in power consumption between the pair. That situation can be fixed by having the phone talk to both at the same time.

Connectivity

Cellular

Last year’s world-class X16 LTE modem is replaced by a more advanced X20 model that can reach 1200 Mbps in theoretical peak speed (vs. 1000 before). That is of course if your wireless carrier supports it locally.

Even without an advanced network, Qualcomm uses MIMO (multiple inputs multiple output) techniques with up to four antennas that lead to large performance increases due to sheer parallelism on existing networks.

WiFi

Qualcomm has added support for 60 GHz WiFi AD (802.11ad) which is a 4.6 Gbps short range WiFi connection ideal for large data transfer from within your network. Today many people still use wired Ethernet which is considered to be faster and more reliable. However, this technology could, in theory, replace wires within a 30-feet range. Keep in mind that the range is typically a distance without any physical obstacles that could disturb the signal.

Immersion

Extended Reality tasks such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are two of the most challenging tasks that the GPU can handle. In both cases, there are other units at play. Typically, the GPU would render the 3D scene or 3D overlay.

At the same time, the Hexagon 685 DSP could treat signals coming from the real world such as the room’s environment while the Spectra 280 ISP processes incoming data from the cameras, maybe to spot AR beacons. Qualcomm’s real technique for peak performance and power efficiency is to offload work to the best-suited, most power-efficient, unit – sometimes at the same time. If you think of it, game console programming is sometimes exactly like that. It’s about maximizing your hardware utilization.

Artificial Intelligence (A.I)

As of late, several silicon vendors have announced their flavor of “Neural Processors” with various marketing claims. However, the same OEMs have been dodgy when asked for details about the specs and capabilities of said neural computing units. To Qualcomm’s point, “neural processors” for mobile are almost always “DSP” units being re-marketed.

“A WIDE ARRAY OF AI TOOLS”

As we have seen earlier, the Qualcomm Hexagon 685 DSP is the 3rd generation that has been used in an AI context. The 300% performance increase from last year’s model shows that Qualcomm’s customers are taking AI very seriously and demanding more horsepower for that kind of workload.

However, Qualcomm’s AI effort doesn’t rely on a single unit. The DSP is surely the central nexus, but the embedded Adreno GPU supports FP16 numbers, and the CPU has been optimized to support 8-bit operations that are commonly used in AI. With these changes, developers have a wide array of AI tools at their disposal to optimize different types of workload.

Security

Maybe the most obscure but important aspect of Snapdragon chips is security. First, it is important to know that security is not equal for all chips and that standards can be pretty loose (if there are any outside of payment). Not so long ago, some phones stored the fingerprint sensor data in the public area of the phone’s storage!

Previous generations of Qualcomm Snapdragon chips as a trusted execution zone which was secure. However, with the recent apparition of hacks for that kind of trusted environment, Snapdragon 845 has a new “Secure Processing Unit” which is more isolated from the rest of the SoC’s sub-system.

It is an island that has its memory, CPU and power gates. It can also generate random numbers internally (this is the base of all encryption) and its cryptographic engine. Services that need a very high level of security will go through this unit. Things like biometric data, for example, should transit through this unit to be processed so that only some kind of digital key (or Hash) is accessible by apps and services. A 3rd party should never see the biometric data.

Biometric data is not like a password. You cannot change your biometric data, and once stolen, you can never take it back, so it’s best to protect it as much as possible.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Everything You Need To Know , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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What is the Snapdragon Platform?

Hubert Nguyen March 22, 2017

Recently, Qualcomm has published a blog post titled “Moving beyond processors to platforms” in which the company outlines changes to the Snapdragon brand with an emphasis on no longer communicating about Snapdragon as a “processor,” but as a “platform.” Since we are going to hear about this often, I wanted to have a reference page on Ubergizmo.

Not “just” a processor: true

To Qualcomm’s point, it is true that referring Snapdragon as just a processor is an injustice to the overall work and care that go into Snapdragon chips. Looking at the overall diagram, it is clear that “processor” often refers to what is a minority part of the chip: CPUs, and sometimes GPU.

There are many more sub-units such as ISP (Image Signal Processor), Integrated Modem, DSP (digital signal processor), dedicated low-power standby processor that rarely get mentioned. Mainly because they are difficult to compare in benchmarks.

As a chip, Snapdragon is a “system-on-a-chip” (or SoC), which is the equivalent of a whole computer + communications, on a single chip. This chip is then supported by additional elements on the motherboard.

There are also technologies that are external to the Snapdragon chip die: the RF front end that is critical to worldwide radio compatibility, the high-quality Qualcomm Audio DAC, cutting-edge WiFi support and a closed security apparatus that increase the safety of your data.

Learn morewhat is a SoC or System On a Chip?
OpinionAre benchmarks important? What do they mean?

The platform is what OEMs pay for

The Snapdragon Platform encompasses everything of what Qualcomm provides in the context of Snapdragon: the chips, reference designs, software, and services. A Qualcomm client can get up and running with extreme use, and that is causing a small revolution in new markets.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon brand was originally introduced for smartphones, but it has since made its way to Routers, Cars, IP cameras, VR, Drones and even Laptops. It makes sense that the company wants to align the brand with this new reality.

The Snapdragon platform adds enormous value to the industry. Nearly every OEM we talked to said that in the end, it is simply “easier” or “more convenient” to work with Qualcomm than with alternatives. The whole Snapdragon package is what they are paying Billions for.

That statement is validation enough for the platform, and that is why Snapdragon 82x got nearly all the high-end handset designs in 2016 – even with serious competition from Apple (iPhone+iPad only), Huawei (HiSilicon) and Samsung (Exynos).

Whether this new branding will take hold, I do not know. Over the years, Snapdragon has become a formidable brand for… processors. It is true that the public does not fully appreciate everything that goes around the main chip. It will be a long process to change user perception and awareness.

What is the Snapdragon Platform? , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Snapdragon 835 Benchmarks Show Galaxy S8 Potential

Hubert Nguyen March 22, 2017

Snapdragon 835 MDP (Developer Device)

The 2017 smartphone season has started with the LG G6, but high-specs fans have taken notice that the G6 uses Snapdragon 821 (July 2016) and not a Snapdragon 835 chip, the latest 8xx design from Qualcomm. As the Samsung Galaxy S8 is set to be the first Snapdragon 835, we did not know for sure what was the actual performance of that new chip – until today.

We had an opportunity to spend a couple of hours at the Qualcomm HQ in San Diego with a Snapdragon 835 development device. Normally used by developers to access the full array of features of the Snapdragon Platform (chip+software+services), such a device is also suitable for benchmarking and should be a very good proxy for performance.

The Numbers

Some of you really cannot wait, so here are some raw numbers obtained after running the same test at least twice (and averaging):

Antutu v6.2.7 179,178
Geekbench 4 single 2,038
Geekbench 4 multi 6,386
GFXBench Car Chase Off (FPS) 25
GFXBench Manh 3.1 Off (FPS) 43
GFXBench Manh 3.0 Off (FPS) 64
GFXBench T-Rex Off (FPS) 118
3DM Slingshot 3.1 3,492
PCMark Work Performance 8,110
Kraken 1.1 (ms) 2,295
Octane 2.0 14,216

There are many benchmarks out there, but since we are looking at the chip in this article, we can zoom into the results for Geekbench and GFXBench which are synthetic CPU and GPU tests.

Let’s start with GeekBench 4.0. As you can see in the graph above, the multi-thread (multi-core) test shows Snapdragon 835 dominating everyone else. That is because Qualcomm is now completely using all 8 cores (4+4 in a big.LITTLE formation). Previously Qualcomm was using 4 cores (2+2) and was disadvantaged in this kind of synthetic test.

In the real world, it is extremely unlikely that an app would use that many cores. If you are curious, I encourage you to read my Are More Cores, Better? article.

In single-thread (single-core) performance, the Snapdragon 835 is clearly the fastest processor on Android. However, Apple still leads in single core performance by an impressive margin.

The graphics performance of Snapdragon 835 is astonishing. Within the Android platform, Snapdragon 835 creates a significant discontinuity that puts it into its own class. That is particularly true for graphics tests that use the OpenGL 3.1 API. Snapdragon 835 is also faster than Apple’s A10 present in the iPhone 7.

This is important for 3D games, but even more so for Virtual Reality (VR) apps that use every last bit of performance to reach extremely high framerates.

Conclusion: Fast!

Synthetic performance only shows a very small portion of a system’s total power. Most tests only stress a couple of major units such as CPU and GPU, mainly because they are well understood, and there are clear interfaces (APIs) to access them.

However, a system like Snapdragon 835 has other powerful units such as the ISP (image signal processor), DSP (digital signal processor) and other vector processors that are not as obvious to test but contribute in a major way in the real world.

Finally, there are also extremely low-power compute units which don’t help with peak performance but are critical for long battery life.

Without surprise, Snapdragon 835 is the de-facto best SoC (system on chip) available for Android handsets and tablet. Now we are curious to see how Samsung’s Exynos will compete against it. Looking industry-wide, Apple remains an extremely potent competitor who will up the ante in September when the next-gen Apple AXX processor is due.

The Snapdragon 835 developer hardware should be a good representation of what to expect when the Galaxy S8 is revealed in its full glory.

 

Snapdragon 835 Benchmarks Show Galaxy S8 Potential , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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AMD Ryzen Price And Release Date Finally Confirmed

Adnan Farooqui February 22, 2017

AMD has been working on its Ryzen family of desktop processors for a very long time. We’ve heard a lot of reports about this family over the past few months and the company today officially launched it. The AMD Ryzen price and release date has finally been confirmed today by the company. The hard launch of its new processors is going to take place next month. AMD Ryzen is said to perform Intel’s high-end processors while being cheaper by as much as 54 percent.

AMD says that its new family of processors provides a 52 percent increase in instructions per cycle over the previous generation and that brings it at par with the performance offered by Intel’s premium chips.

The company is going to sell multiple models in the Ryzen family but it’s going to start shipping the high-end Ryzen 7 first. This particular processor has eight cores and 16 threads with prices starting at $329.

The top end model is the 3.6 GHz Ryzen 7 1800X which can be stretched to 4.0 GHz with Turbo and costs $499. The performance is said to comparable to Intel’s Core i7-6900K which costs $1,050. AMD’s benchmarks show that its processor ties with the 6900K on singlethreaded benchmarks and even beats it on multithreaded performance.

AMD’s new processors can be pre-ordered starting today via more than 180 retailers with shipments starting March 2nd. The company hasn’t confirmed as yet when it’s going to start shipping the mid-range Ryzen 5 and entry-level Ryzen 3 series this year.

AMD Ryzen Price And Release Date Finally Confirmed , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Ubergizmo’s Best of CES 2017

Eliane Fiolet January 7, 2017

Out of the tens of thousands of new products, applications and services introduced at CES, here are the ones who caught our eyes. Although CES 2017 is incredibly diverse, many of the products represented here show strong underlying trends that are of interest to us:

  1. Televisions keep evolving very rapidly, with display and processor becoming separated.
  2. The PC industry experiences important growth & Innovation, especially in the gaming segment
  3. WiFi Mesh networks are the most significant progress in a long time and will impact Smart Homes and IoT.
  4. Cars are being fundamentally re-thought.

Without further delay, here are the products we think you should know about, Ubergizmo’s Best of CES 2017 (in no particular order):

LG Signature W-Series OLED Televisions

lg-signature-w-tv-ces2017As LG continues to push hard with its OLED TV strategy, it latest LG Signature W-Series televisions have dominated the show in terms of industrial design. In line with the trend of ever thinner and lighter displays, LG has separated the brains of the TV from the display itself, making the 65” model so thin and light that it can be hung only with magnets. The W-Series can be as large as 77” and supports Dolby Atmos. Read more about the LG Signature W-Series OLED TVs

Samsung QLED Series Television

samsung-q-led-tv-2017Samsung is betting its TV lineup on LCD Technology with the most advanced Quantum-Dot technology demonstrated at CES 2017. Called QLED, this display technology uses a new generation of Quantum Dots, which are tiny nanotech elements that are embedded in displays. Quantum Dots can help control the light spectrum and make LCD color filters exponentially better. Good enough to compete with OLED in quality at a more affordable price. That said, both technologies fundamentally have strengths in different places. Samsung also has some TV designs that are very thin and connected to a “Box” with all the connectors via a nearly invisible fiber-optic cable. More about Samsung’s QLED TVs.

Sony Bravia A1E OLED TV

sony-bravia-a1e-oled-ces2017Sony Bravia TVs have been an inspiration for many years, and the Bravia A1E is Sony’s first OLED TV, which comes with a twist: the sound is emitted directly by the glass surface of the TV, and there’s no visible speakers or sound bar required. This allows the Bravia A1E to have a pure and monolithic look. Although this kind of sound technology has existed on a small scale before, it is the first time that it is introduced on such a large television.

Xiaomi Mi TV 4

xiaomi-mi-tv-4Xiaomi has arguably pioneered the idea of separating the TV “brains” from the display. It has already shipped TV with such a feature, and current customers can upgrade to the newer, better processor and interface, by simply buying a new module. At CES 2017, the Xiaomi Mi TV 4 was announced. It is a modular TV as well, and it is designed to look frameless. As Usual, Xiaomi’s main advantage the is extraordinary quality/price ratio, but the full pricing details have yet to be announced. From the official “ballpark” pricing, it looks like the company will deliver once again.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

lenovo-x1-carbon-2017The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is no stranger to winning awards. The original X1 Series model promoted toughness in a small package, but over the years the X1 Carbon has continued to get smaller and faster, challenging the idea of what a 14” laptop could be. The 2017 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon pushes the envelope and is visibly smaller than last years model. Once we run it through its paces with benchmarks, it should rank among the most powerful PC when it comes to performance/weight.

ASUS Pro B9440 14-inch Laptop

asuspro-notebookThe ASUS Pro B9440 14” laptop is a good challenger for the Lenovo X1 Carbon. It is the first time that the X1 is challenged in the 14” premium laptop space. This laptop also does it with a new design twist as the keyboard can be slightly elevated for a more comfortable typing. At 2.3 Lbs, it is 0.2Lbs lighter than the X1 Carbon. Although it is an interesting alternative, it doesn’t look like it was designed to resist spills and we’ll have to see how heavy travel will affect it. It’s not easy to compete in the ultra-light 14” space, but we’re glad to see some heat there.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor

qualcomm-snapdraogn-830-presentation-ny_06Ahead of Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm is formally introducing its Snapdragon 835 high-end processor. It is the chip that will likely power a majority of the most powerful Android and Windows phones in 2017. The Snapdragon 820 had enjoyed a near-monopoly in this market segment, and so far, the Snapdragon 835 has no declared challenger.

Vuzix M3000 Smart Glasses

vuzix-m3000-1The Vuzix M3000 are Augmented Reality (AR) Glasses, that are also capable of limited Virtual Reality (VR) basic tasks. Aimed at Enterprise customers, the Vuzix M3000 glasses can unleash workers productivity by freeing the operator’s hands, and by having him or her connected with colleagues in the back office via a live video feed. The M3000 design is one of the most low-profile professional AR systems. At the moment, AR is not consumer-ready, but it is already saving a lot of money for companies that know how to use it well. The Vuzix M3000 Smart Glasses can accelerate this further.

Razer Project Valerie

razer-project-valerie_001Razer is known for being nearly fanatical when it comes to finding solutions to tough problems. It is notorious that having multiple monitors improves the user experience. Unfortunately, portable monitors have never caught on because they simply induce too much hassle for quality that is often questionable. Razer’s Project Valerie is a tri-monitor laptop, with two monitors being equipped with a motorized unfolding mechanism. At the moment, this is a concept, and if the product ever comes out, it would be quite heavy, but ultimately it might spark an arms race that could lead to more multi-monitor laptops.

HP Sprout Pro G2

hp-sprout-pro-g2_2017_02With 3D printing and CAD software being accessible more than ever, computers like the HP Sprout G2 make a lot of sense. The integrated 3D scanner takes a lot of guessing out of the equation, and its new high-resolution projector creates a secondary interactive display. It is one of the big improvements over the original HP Sprout. The scanning demo we looked at showed a resolution that is high enough to challenge most 3D Printers and makes the workflow easy and agreeable.

Dell Canvas 27

dell-canvas-27_ces17_01The Dell Canvas 27 is a computer geared towards creative users who use digitizer pens. The Canvas 27’s normal position is nearly horizontal which allow for natural drawing and writing. It can be connected to an external monitor to extend the display surface and have secondary information visible without ever switching apps. It also has a knob that can be used directly on the touch surface to apply fine-tuning tweaks.

HP Omen X35 Curved Gaming monitor

omen-x-35-curved-display-live001The HP Omen X35 Gaming monitor is a massive gaming monitor that should make gamers drool. It was designed with the current gaming monitor trends in mind, with a strong central arm which is connected to a very stable stand. It has 7mm edges and uses a soft 1800R display curvature optimized for single-user comfort. The response time of 3ms and the refresh rate of 100Hz coupled with an NVIDIA G-Sync compatibility should cover the technicals well.

IdeaCentre AIO Y910 Gaming PC

lenovo-ideacentre-aio-y910All-in-One PCs are rising in popularity, thanks to their sleek and space-conscious designs. However, they are often thought of being the weak PCs used to check emails or watch movies on. This is no longer true. The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO Y910 Gaming PC brings the power of gaming PCs into a compact and aggressively design package, which has some upgradability capabilities. It’s an excellent AIO without performance compromises.

Samsung Odyssey 17” Gaming Laptop

samsung_notebook_odyssey_12You know that PC gaming is hot when Samsung is getting into that market. Presented at CES 2017, the Samsung Odyssey gaming laptops come in 15” and 17” sizes, but we found the 17” to be of particular interest. It boasts higher specs like 64GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD over PCIe and a 1TB HDD. We know that the 15.6” Model has a GeForce 10-Series GPU, but Samsung has yet to announce the 17” GPU, but we suspect that the laptops will be VR-capable. Cherry on the cake: both the SSD and RAM are user-upgradable, which is not completely surprising, given that Samsung makes those excellent components, and could get a second sale from this.

LeEco Smart Bikes Series

LeEco Smart Road Bike

LeEco Smart Road Bike

LeEco has introduced a new series of Smart Bikes with the Smart Road Bike and the Smart Mountain Bike. Both have the same carbon fiber frame, but the mountain bike version has bigger and sturdier wheels. Besides the nice-looking design, bikes are “Smart” because the come with a small on-board computer which runs on LeEco’s BikeOS, which is a variant of Android 6. Powered by a Snapdragon 410 processor and backed by a 6000 mAh battery, the computer can provide directions, ride logging and of course mundane things such as music playback.

LG Hub Robot

lg-hub-robot-2017The LG Hub Robot is an extremely cute voice-driven assistant that uses Amazon’s Alexa functionality. It can serve the same purposes as the Amazon Echo but has a few improvements of its own. It is better integrated with LG and other appliances, and it has much friendlier anthropomorphic design with a display that shows emotion (robot’s eyes), also other information such as images of what’s in your fridge and more. The LG Hub Robot also has smaller cousins that can be installed throughout the home to be effectively additional microphones that extend Alexa’s reach.

Norton Core Secure Router

nortoncoregreyandgoldwithports2016 has been a record year for computer hacks of all kinds, with novelties such as massive cyber-attacks launched from hacked Internet appliances such as Internet Cameras. Securing one’s home network has become a concern that’s shared by more and more people, and Norton is now applying is experience in security to a “secure” home router called Norton Core. The main attributes that make it secure are that 1/ itself updates to get the latest security improvements 2/ it will actively inspect network packets for malware 3/ it will isolate smart home devices that could get hacked. Incidentally, it looks terrific.

SevenHugs Smart Remote

sevenhugs-smartremoteSevenHugs’ Smart Remote is a new take on an old idea: the universal remote. Smart Remote takes a new approach and extends the real of universal remotes to smart objects at the same time. Not only the remote can control typical appliances like TVs and audio devices, but it can also control smart lights and other connected objects. Finally, it does so in different ways, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Infrared to cover all the bases.

PowerVision PowerRay Fishing Drone

powerray_droneFlying drones are everywhere at CES 2017, but underwater drones are a rarity, and the PowerRay Fishing Drone from PowerVision is in a league of its own. Designed for underwater exploration, the PowerRay has a fish finder which could render all these “secret fishing spots” a thing of the past. Its internal sonar should be able to detect fish with accuracy and transmit location and 4K images/video back over Wi-Fi.

FLIR Duo and Duo Pro Thermal Camera for Drones

flir-duo-right-sideDrones are fun, but they can also help with tasks such as roof maintenance checks and other things that would otherwise require a ladder. Thanks to FLIR and its FLIR One Duo thermal camera for drones, you will now be able to do more things, including detecting heat leaks, find animals in vegetation or the dark. Thermal cameras are no longer for professionals only, and FLIR has proven that it can make this valuable resource available to the masses.

Airthings Wave Air Quality Detector

airthings-waveAirthings is one of the numerous offerings in Air Quality detectors. Their design makes it easy to see the current status of air quality, and the companion app can provide more details if needed. Their claim to fame is that the Airthings Wave air quality detector can spot Radon, a nasty, naturally occurring gas, that the U.S Government says may be responsible for 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year.

 

Misfit Vapor Smartwatch

misfit-vaporMisfit, which is typically known for their various smart bands, has now entered the Smartwatch category with a very promising product, the Misfit Vapor Smartwatch. Soon to be retailed for an affordable $200, the Misfit Vapor features an attractive design with a circular navigation along (by touching the bezel) with a touch screen. Inside, it is powered by a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, which contributes to explaining the overall responsiveness.

Cybedroid Leenby Robot

leenby-robotWe tumbled upon the Leenby Robot by Cybedroid at the entrance of CES’ Digital Experience event, where it was rolling around, interacting with people going by. Leenby is mostly designed to be used in hospitality situation where it could help customers get basic information in airports, banks, etc… the Leenby creators also told us that the robot could eventually be smart enough to accompany hospital patients and make sure they get back to their room. The robot is completely autonomous and doesn’t need a cloud connection to work. It can also learn about its surroundings to move around autonomously. The learning can subsequently be copied to additional robots.

Toyota Concept AI Prototype

toyota-conept-ai-2017Created in Toyota’s California Research Center, the Toyota Concept AI has been built to demonstrate a user interface called Yui. Based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the interface uses the car’s surfaces to display information, whether it is the current drive mode, greetings or messages meant for other drivers outside the car (usually, safety messages). Inside the car, communications with the interface happen via sounds and touch, but also with images and light. Overall, the idea is to spark a closer “relationship” between human and machine. Note how AI is written 愛i, which means “love” in Japanese.

PK Vitality K’Track Glucose Monitor

ktrack-web-2_03The PK Vitality K’Track Glucose Monitor can check for sugar levels without making the user bleed. This feat is possible thanks to the use of micro-needles that are only 0.5mm long. PK Vitality says that this is not deep enough to draw blood, but enough to access interstitial fluid which also contain information about the body’s glucose levels. All of this is neatly packaged in a wearable device and functions at the touch of a button.

BMW i Inside Future Concept with the HoloActive Touch

bmw-i-insideAt CES 2017, BMW has built a car sculpture that serves as a demonstration platform for the BMW I Inside Future Concept which shows BMW’s revolutionary ideas about how cars’ interiors and interaction will change in the coming years. BMW shows how the cockpit will change depending on the drive mode (autonomous or not) and demonstrates how user interactions with the car can leverage voice, hand hovering, and touch. Even the audio aspect is innovative, with each passenger of the car having their audio island, thanks to mini speakers embedded in the seats.

ODG R9 Augmented Reality Glasses

odg-r9-smartglassesThe ODG R9 Glasses are Augmented Reality Glasses with a relatively large (for AR) field of view of 50-degrees. The AR display has a resolution of 1080p, and there’s a 13 Megapixel 4K front camera. The ODG R9 can receive additional modules such as low-light vision or 3D scanning. The most important benefit of the ODG R9 is the excellent image quality it displays, which is definitely in the upper range of what’s available for AR. It is also powerful, thanks to the Snapdragon 835 chip that Qualcomm just announced at CES 2017. Finally, it is compact and more affordable than Microsoft’s Hololens (~$1700).

Ubergizmo’s Best of CES 2017 , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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1Gbps Downloads In Next Snapdragon 800 Series Processors

Hubert Nguyen October 19, 2016

snapdragon-800-next-1gbps-x16Qualcomm has made it official that its next-gen Snapdragon 800 Series of SoC (probably the Snapdragon 830) would integrate the Qualcomm X16 LTE Modem which is capable of reaching theoretical speeds close to 1 Gbps.

Obviously, these numbers would be reached under the best possible conditions, and it would take time before most carriers in the world could even deploy it. However, networks have been evolved much more quickly in the LTE era than they did during the 3G one.

The more important point of this isn’t so much the “top speed” that could be achieved, but rather the predicted increase of the average speed that is representative of consumers’ experience in the real world. Additionally, being able to burst, transmit quickly and shut down the radio is also something that typically pushes down the amount energy required to transmit a given quantity of data.

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The good news is that more than half of the carriers in the world have the necessary infrastructure to deploy this solution in some ways. Most of the developed world carriers can, but globally, about 64% are at that stage.

Qualcomm has not made further comments on “which” 800-Series chip it will be, but looking back at historical patterns, Snapdragon 830 is probably sampling now and being used for development by partners. The first batch of phones could be announced as early as CES 2017, and certainly at MWC 2017 – two major shows that Ubergizmo covers in depth.

1Gbps Downloads In Next Snapdragon 800 Series Processors , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Intel Gets Low-Power Vision Technology From Movidius Acquisition

Hubert Nguyen September 6, 2016

movidius_fathom_02Intel is acquiring Movidius, a chip-maker known for the Myriad series of SoC specialized in vision and deep learning inference workload at low power. Intel’s main stated reason for buying Movidius is to strengthen its Intel Realsense technology which relies on enhanced webcams (color+depth) to let computers know what their surrounding is like.

For Movidius, the acquisition comes relatively quickly since the company has been in existence only a few years, with its first chip the Myriad 1 being released on February 21, 2014, as part of the Google Tango launch. At that time, Remi Remi El-Ouazzane, the CEO of Movidius, had already told me that the end game was “to give human-like vision to your handset.”

movidius_fathom_04The Myriad 2 SoC was announced in July 2014 to bring even higher performance per Watt and accelerate the most common use cases by hardwiring some operations, while Myriad-1 only used programmable units. The additional hardware increases speed and reduces power usage by streamlining computations with dedicated computation units. Movidius says that Myriad 2 has an aggregate computation power of 2 Teraflops.

On April 2016, Movidius capitalizes on the rise of Deep Learning AI and computer vision by adding neural-net inference to the list of what its chip can do very well, and announces the Movidius Phantom, a USB computer based on the Myriad 2 chip. With it, “dumb” drones could become “smart” with the ability to recognize objects they see – all of this under a 1 Watt power budget.

Movidius chips’ advantages over Intel’s CPUs and NVIDIA/AMD GPUs is their low-power nature. On one hand, it is parallelized enough that a standard CPU cannot reach its power efficiency. On the other hand, it is much better than GPUs at branch execution, so GPUs have a hard time competing within the same power budget.

This built-in advantage designed into Myriad from the get go pays off today with Intel recognizing that it is better off buying Movidius to gain expertise and save time. The deep learning and computer vision train has left the station and Intel wants to be ahead in the race amid extremely stiff competition. This may prove to be a critical acquisition.

Intel Gets Low-Power Vision Technology From Movidius Acquisition , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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AMD A-Series Processor Gen7 Launched

Hubert Nguyen June 1, 2016

amd-cpu-gen7-bristolAt Computex 2016, AMD has just launched its latest A-Series PC processors with integrated graphics. Known under the codename “Bristol Ridge”, the new line of products has been designed with a TDP (thermal design point) of 15W and tuned to deliver a much higher performance than previous generations (there’s a 35W version too). In fact, AMD has been pointing out that it made a 56% CPU performance improvement since 2014 when its “Kaveri” design came out.

As usual, AMD A-Series processors are finely tuned to handle tasks such as video encode and decode. This is no different this time. With H.264 and HEVC supported in hardware up to 4K, AMD can provide excellent video playback, along with an efficient energy usage.

The tip of the spear for this new A-Series is the AMD A12 processor. AMD positions it directly against Intel’s Core i5 series (i5-6200U used by AMD for comparisons) and claims that the A12 performs significantly better, with 31% higher performance in games. While independent benchmarks aren’t available yet, it’s fair to assume that DX12 will work quite well for AMD in those comparisons.

Just below the A12, the AMD A9 was designed to compete with Intel’s Core i3 series (i3-6100U used for performance comparisons). When comparing against its previous generation products (A8), this new AMD A9 has 52% better CPU performance, and 36% faster graphics, according to AMD.

All in all, AMD continues with a known strategy: use performance/watt as a metric (especially in graphics-related applications), along with an aggressive pricing, against Intel’s Core i3/i5 lineup. So far, AMD has announced one design win: its Gen7 APUs will be used in the HP ENVY x360, which is positioned as a premium laptop.

AMD A-Series Processor Gen7 Launched , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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ARM Mali G71 Graphics Processor Revealed

Hubert Nguyen May 30, 2016

arm-mali-g71-gpu-bifrostAt Computex 2016, The ARM Mali line of graphics processors (GPU) is getting a new addition in the high-end. With the Mali G71, ARM introduced a new premium GPU design that can is scalable enough to power handset to laptops In 2011, ~50M chips featured a Mali GPU. This number rose to ~750M units in 2015. Interestingly, 75% of them are used in televisions, 50% in tablets and 40% in smartphones. In the handset market, Qualcomm, Apple also hold significant shares of the market with their designs.

Mali G71, first to feature ARM’s Bifrost architecture

Literally at the core of this update, there’s a new architecture called Bifrost. The two details that ARM has been presenting so far reside in the energy efficiency in relation to the performance (+20% perf/Watt and +40% performance per square millimeter*) and the internal data communications between CPU and GPU cores (+20% bandwidth*). On top of this, support for the Vulkan API further increases the potential performance. *compared to Mali T880

The performance of GPU cores is increased by having more efficient internal local data storage instead of mainly using register files. ARM also thinks that compilers will have an easier time optimizing for this particular configuration. There are also features such as Index-driven vertex shading, which I suppose avoid redundant calculations, and Wire light pipeline, which ARM has yet to describe in detail.

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Laptop-level performance and optimized for VR

We will have to wait for late 2016 or early 2017 to perform independent benchmarks, but ARM is confident that the Mali G71 can go head to head with an entry-level PC laptop GPU (such as the GeForce 940M, using GFXBench 4.0), at a much lower power level. The Mali G71 is scheduled to feature up to 32 shader cores (GPU cores).

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ARM’s data also show that Mali G71 was designed for better VR performance: it supports screen refresh rates up to 120Hz and claims a 4ms graphics pipeline latency, although we need more details on this claim before commenting further. The big picture is that 20ms of overall latency (controler+app+graphics+display) is considered to be very good today. 120Hz is about 8ms, so we will see if VR mobile apps can effectively run with a much lower latency with Mali G71.

Additionally, G71 supports 4K screens and 4X multi-sample anti-aliasing, which is a way to smooth out visible pixels to avoid a “pixelated” look.

ARM Mali G71 Graphics Processor Revealed , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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ARM Cortex A73 CPU Core To Power 2017 Mobiles

Hubert Nguyen May 30, 2016

arm-cortex-a73-cpuAlongside its Mali G71 GPU design, ARM is also introducing the ARM Cortex A73, a new CPU core design to be used for premium SoC designs in 2017. At the core of this new design is the continuous drive to obtain higher performance per Watt, and a higher absolute peak performance.

With frequencies reaching 2.8GHz, ARM claims that it can add ~30% higher performance*, and sustain that performance better, given the same thermal constraints. That’s because the Cortex A73 has a 30% better power efficiency* (performance per watt) as well. ARM’s customers should build the A73 using a 10nm semiconductor process which yields a tiny 0.65 square millimeter per core. (* compared to a Cortex A72 in 16nm.)

arm-cortex-a73-cpu-sustained

Sustained performance has been a design goal for the Cortex A73. ARM says that there is now virtually no difference between sustained performance and peak performance. Typically, performance can reach a peak, but when the chip gets hot, it needs to be reduced to sustain the activity without overheating.  In the past, a core design such as the Cortex A57 could see a difference of ~20% between the two. A72 reduced that a little but A73 nearly eliminates it.

Cortex 73 based designs will most likely also feature the ARM Mali G71 GPU with which it will share some high-speed memory buffers to increase performance during data exchanges between the two.

ARM Cortex A73 CPU Core To Power 2017 Mobiles , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.