from the IME+LTE=♥ dept.
Announced earlier this week, HP's Spectre Folio convertible notebook already looks remarkable due to its leather exterior. As it appears, the system is as impressive inside as it is on the outside, as it incorporates a custom Intel's Amber Lake-Y multi-chip-module that features an LTE modem.
According to a report from PC World, the internal design of the Spectre Folio PC convertible notebook was co-developed by HP and Intel engineers under Intel's Innovation Excellence Program, which is aimed at enabling PC makers to bring state-of-the-art designs to the market. The product uses a tiny, jointly-designed motherboard that measures only 12,000 mm2 and is based around a unique multi-chip module that carries Intel's Amber Lake-Y SoC, a PCH (platform controller hub), and Intel's Intel XMM 7560 LTE Advanced Pro Cat16/Cat 13 modem.
[...] Intel is not new to selling complete platforms comprised of a CPU, a chipset, and a communication module. Back in 2000s the company made a fortune selling its Centrino-branded sets containing the aforementioned elements. By selling multiple chips at once, Intel naturally increases its revenue, whereas system vendors ensure compatibility. Therefore, platform-level integration is a win-win for all parties. With that said, this is the first time we've seen Intel put a CPU, a PCH, and a cellular modem onto one multi-chip-module in this fashion. So this may be the start of a trend for the company.
Related: Apple Could Switch From Qualcomm to Intel and MediaTek for Modems
Intel Announces Development of 5G Modems (Due in 2019)
AMD Creates Quad-Core Zen SoC for Chinese Console Maker
ARM Aims to Match Intel 15-Watt Laptop CPU Performance
Apple is considering completely switching away from Qualcomm components, such as modems, in future iterations of the iPhone. Intel modems have already been used in some iPhones, and MediaTek is also under consideration:
Apple Inc has designed iPhones and iPads that would drop chips supplied by Qualcomm Inc, according to two people familiar with the matter. The change would affect iPhones released in the fall of 2018, but Apple could still change course before then, these people said. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.
The dispute stems from a change in supply arrangements under which Qualcomm has stopped providing some software for Apple to test its chips in its iPhone designs, one of the people told Reuters.
The two companies are locked in a multinational legal dispute over the Qualcomm's licensing terms to Apple.
Qualcomm told Reuters it is providing fully tested chips to Apple for iPhones. "We are committed to supporting Apple's new devices consistent with our support of all others in the industry," Qualcomm said in a statement.
Apple and other companies are suing Qualcomm over licensing fees. Apple has had similar hardware-level disputes with Samsung in the past. Apple designs its own ARM chips but has to have them manufactured by Samsung or TSMC.
Intel last week announced that its first commercial 5G modem, the XMM 8060, is now under development and will ship in a couple of years. As part of the announcement, the company reiterated its plans to offer a top-to-bottom XMM 8000 family of 5G modems for various applications, including smartphones, PCs, buildings and vehicles. In addition, the company announced its XMM 7660 Cat-19 LTE modem that supports download speeds of up to 1.6 Gbps, which will be available in 2019.
At present, Intel's 5G Mobile Trial Platform is used to test 5G technologies in different locations around the world. For example, one of such devices installed aboard the Tallink Silja Europa cruise ship is used to enable Internet connectivity to passengers while in port in Tallinn, Estonia, (where another 5G MTP is installed) and the nearby area. Meanwhile, Intel's 5G Modem for client applications is evolving as well. Intel said that devices powered by the silicon can now make calls over the 28 GHz band. The 5G MTP will be used for its purposes for a while and will even gain new capabilities over time, but the company is working on a family of commercial modems that will be used for mass applications sometimes in 2019 and onwards. The Intel XMM 8000-series multi-mode modems will operate in both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave global spectrum bands, combining support for existing and next-gen radios. Intel does detail the whole lineup two years before the launch but indicates that it will be able to address smartphones, PCs, vehicles, and fixed wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE).
Previously: ITU Defines "5G" as up to 20 Gbps, 2018 Olympics Demo Planned
5G Gets a Shot in the Arm From the FCC
3GPP Sets 2018 as Freeze Date for 5G Air Interfaces
5G Draft Technical Requirements Announced
AMD has cornered the x86 console market with its handy semi-custom mix of processors and graphics. While we slowly await the next generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony, today AMD and Zhongshan Subor announced that a custom chip has been made for a new gaming PC and an upcoming console for the Chinese market.
The announcement states that a custom chip has been created for Subor that is based on four Zen cores running at 3.0 GHz and 24 compute units of Vega running at 1.3 GHz. The chip is supported by 8GB of GDDR5 memory, which the press release states is also embedded onto the chip, however it is likely to actually be on the package instead. Compare this to the specifications of AMD's current SoC designs, such as the Ryzen 5 2400G, which has four Zen cores and 11 Vega CUs. Or Intel's multi-chip design featuring four Intel cores and an AMD-based 24 compute unit GPU paired with 4GB of HBM2 memory. There is also AMD's Vega Mobile chip, which is expected to be in the 24-32 compute unit range, however this is also paired with 4GB of HBM2.
Today's roadmap now publicly discloses the codenames of the next two generations of CPU cores following the A76 – Deimos and Hercules. Both future cores are based on the new A76 micro-architecture and will introduce respective evolutionary refinements and incremental updates for the Austin cores.
The A76 being a 2018 product – and we should be hearing more on the first commercial devices on 7nm towards the end of the year and coming months, Deimos is its 2019 successor aiming at more wide-spread 7nm adoption. Hercules is said to be the next iteration of the microarchitecture for 2020 products and the first 5nm implementations. This is as far as Arm is willing to project in the future for today's disclosure, as the Sophia team is working on the next big microarchitecture push, which I suspect will be the successor to Hercules in 2021.
Part of today's announcement is Arm's reiteration of the performance and power goals of the A76 against competing platforms from Intel. The measurement metric today was the performance of a SPECint2006 Speed run under Linux while complied under GCC7. The power metrics represent the whole SoC "TDP", meaning CPU, interconnect and memory controllers – essentially the active platform power much in a similar way we've been representing smartphone mobile power in recent mobile deep-dive articles.
Here a Cortex A76 based system running at up to 3GHz is said to match the single-thread performance of an Intel Core i5-7300U running at its maximum 3.5GHz turbo operating speed, all while doing it within a TDP of less than 5W, versus "15W" for the Intel system. I'm not too happy with the power presentation done here by Arm as we kind of have an apples-and-oranges comparison; the Arm estimates here are meant to represent actual power consumption under the single-threaded SPEC workload while the Intel figures are the official TDP figures of the SKU – which obviously don't directly apply to this scenario.
Also at TechCrunch.
Related: ARM Based Laptop DIY Kit Ready to Hit the Shops
First ARM Snapdragon-Based Windows 10 S Systems Announced
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Snapdragon 1000 ARM SoC Could Compete With Low-Power Intel Chips in Laptops
2019 is shaping up to be a big year for 5G, and Intel — one of tech's biggest mobile players — has finally announced its plans for the next-generation network in the form of its new XMM 8160 5G modem. The XMM 8160 modem is set to be released to manufacturers sometime in the second half of 2019, with the first devices using the chip coming in early 2020.
Intel has big ambitions for the XMM 8160 5G. It envisions using it across phones, PCs, and broadband hubs, with peak speeds of up to 6 gigabits per second. The modem will support both the standalone and non-standalone specs for the 5G NR (New Radio) standard, as well as legacy support for 4G, 3G, and 2G networks all in one chipset. Additionally, Intel says that the modem will support both millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum as well as lower-band parts of the spectrum.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem will be available to device makers that want to introduce 5G support in 2019.
Intel has teased* plans to return to the discrete graphics market in 2020. Now, some of those plans have leaked. Intel's Xe branded GPUs will apparently use an architecture capable of scaling to "any number" of GPUs that are connected by a multi-chip module (MCM). The "e" in Xe is meant to represent the number of GPU dies, with one of the first products being called X2/X2:
Developers won't need to worry about optimizing their code for multi-GPU, the OneAPI will take care of all that. This will also allow the company to beat the foundry's usual lithographic limit of dies that is currently in the range of ~800mm2. Why have one 800mm2 die when you can have two 600mm2 dies (the lower the size of the die, the higher the yield) or four 400mm2 ones? Armed with One API and the Xe macroarchitecture Intel plans to ramp all the way up to Octa GPUs by 2024. From this roadmap, it seems like the first Xe class of GPUs will be X2.
The tentative timeline for the first X2 class of GPUs was also revealed: June 31st, 2020. This will be followed by the X4 class sometime in 2021. It looks like Intel plans to add two more cores [dies] every year so we should have the X8 class by 2024. Assuming Intel has the scaling solution down pat, it should actually be very easy to scale these up. The only concern here would be the packaging yield – which Intel should be more than capable of handling and binning should take care of any wastage issues quite easily. Neither NVIDIA nor AMD have yet gone down the MCM path and if Intel can truly deliver on this design then the sky's the limit.
AMD has made extensive use of MCMs in its Zen CPUs, but will reportedly not use an MCM-based design for its upcoming Navi GPUs. Nvidia has published research into MCM GPUs but has yet to introduce products using such a design.
Intel will use an MCM for its upcoming 48-core "Cascade Lake" Xeon CPUs. They are also planning on using "chiplets" in other CPUs and mixing big and small CPU cores and/or cores made on different process nodes.
*Previously: Intel Planning a Return to the Discrete GPU Market, Nvidia CEO Responds
Intel Discrete GPU Planned to be Released in 2020
Intel Announces "Sunny Cove", Gen11 Graphics, Discrete Graphics Brand Name, 3D Packaging, and More
Today Intel has announced they've entered a partnership with MediaTek with the goal of "development, certification and support of 5G modem solutions" for next generation PC platforms. The announcement comes 5 months after the announcement that Intel is selling off its own modem and[sic] division to Apple for $1B.
The partnership with MediaTek clears up Intel's plans for the future of connectivity on PC platforms, and how the company is planning to go forward with supporting cellular connectivity in the next generations of devices.
"5G is poised to unleash a new level of computing and connectivity that will transform the way we interact with the world. This partnership with MediaTek brings together industry leaders with deep engineering, system integration and connectivity expertise to deliver 5G experiences on the next generation of the world's best PCs."
-- Gregory Bryant, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing
[...] The first products of the partnership are said to be targeting availability in early 2021.
2021: Did you buy the 5G spy motherboard or just a chip with a management engine?
Related: Big Changes Planned by Microsoft - Windows 10 on ARM, Laptops to Behave More Like Phones
Intel Integrates LTE Modem Into Custom Multi-Chip Module for New HP Laptop
Intel and Qualcomm Announce 5G Modem Modules for M.2 Slots