Tag Archive | "cpu"

New Core M variants signal maturing 14nm process

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Intel are introducing new Core M SoC variants. All have higher base clockrates on the CPU and GPU which indicates that the quality emerging from the Core M production process is increasing. That means yields for the low-end Core M models are increasing and that ultimately, prices can start to trend down. The new SKUs are: Core M-5Y10c, Core M-5Y31, Core M-5Y51 and the Core M-5Y71.

See a list of Core M PC’s in our database here.

Core M die

All new models have the same 4.5W base TDP but, for consumers, the performance of a Core M under normal conditions is going to depend on internal thermal ‘headroom.’ In fact the TDP figure is largely useless now due to burst TDP and configurations that can increase or increase the TDP.

  • Core M 5Y10c  800 MHz-2 GHz , GPU: HD 5300 300 / 800 MHz, 4.5 Watt TDP
  • Core M 5Y31  900 MHz -2.4 GHz, GPU:HD 5300 300 / 850 MHz,4.5 Watt TDP
  • Core M 5Y51  1.1 / 2.6 GHz, GPU: HD 5300 300 / 900 MHz, 4.5 Watt TDP
  • Core M 5Y71 1.2/ 2.9 GHz, GPU: HD 5300 300 / 900 MHz, 4.5 Watt TDP

Core M is available in a number of PCs already (we keep a list of Core M mobile PCs here) and inital feedback is that it’s not quite as good in these products as we saw in demonstrations at IDF in September. The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro offers class leading thickness and weight for a 2-in-1 but performance sits somewhere between Atom and the performance seen in Ultrabooks. Some products are including eMMC storage too.

The 14nm ‘y-series’ Broadwell SoC is a big help to PC designers that want to offer think designs at light weight and we see it evolving into Celeron and Pentium branded designs for fanless low-cost laptops and Chromebooks during 2015.

Source: CPU World via Liliputing

Why an Efficient Ultrabook is Better Than a Big Battery

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Thanks to the exploding world of mobile, the computer industry has seen a refreshed interest in high efficiency components. Though Intel has always made a wide range of processors, until lately the company’s low-power products were sometimes seen as second-class citizens of the CPU world. Sure, they used less power, but this was often achieve this with lower clock speeds, fewer features, and sometimes the disabling of cores in the case of multi-core processors. With the Ultrabook initiative Intel has renewed emphasis on efficient processors that are not just on equal footing as the rest of their offerings, but rather showcase the extent of Intel’s processor prowess. The latest Ivy Bridge Core U-series processors found in Ultrabooks are more than just low-power — they are highly efficient processors capable of a high dynamic range of computing tasks. By packing the latest and greatest processor technology into a package that also has practical limits on how much power it can draw and how much heat it can produce, these CPUs present an alternative to using a standard CPU and simply slapping in a big battery; But which is better?

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More Ultrabook Processors Revealed. Get ready for confusion!

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If you thought that tracking processors, clockrates and TDP figures was hard last year, just wait until later this year when ‘programmable TDP’ CPUs hit Ultrabooks. It looks like we’ll have to make a change to our product database to accommodate this new idea in multi-use CPUs.

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Galaxy Nexus Now in Product Database, CPU Details Revealed — UK Availability on the 17th?

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The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was announced last month by Google and Samsung as the first phone to run the latest version of Android, 4.0 AKA Ice Cream Sandwich.

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While we knew of the large (4.65″) high resolution (1280×720) Super AMOLED display, the 5MP camera, NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, and most of the other details, Samsung stayed oddly quite about any information regarding the CPU and GPU, giving us nothing more than “1.2GHz dual-core CPU”.

Thanks to the Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo, the beans have been spilled on the Galaxy Nexus’ CPU. The 1.2GHz dual-core CPU is indeed the Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 platform which also includes the PowerVR SGX540 GPU. TI claims that the PowerVR SGX540 has up to 2x better performance than the previous SGX530 GPU. OMAP 4460 also has support for 1080p encoding (capture) and decoding (playback) at 30 FPS. Samsung’s last Nexus phone, the Nexus S [review], didn’t even record 720p video. This time around, Samsung is taking full advantage of the platform’s capabilities.

You can see full official specifications at the Samsung Galaxy Nexus tracking page in our mobile device database.

Samsung UK has confirmed Galaxy Nexus availability for November 17th, but it seems that retailers aren’t so sure about that. Amazon UK has moved the shipping date for the Galaxy Nexus from the 17th of November back to December 2nd. Amazon UK currently lists the 16GB Samsung Galaxy Nexus unlocked for £519.99, which converts to a pricey $837 USD.

Most phones in the US aren’t bought off-contract, so when it comes to typical US pricing, Android Central has shown what appears to be a leaked Costco inventory screen which prices the Samsung Galaxy Nexus at $289. The phone is expected to be available across both AT&T and Verizon in HSPA+ and LTE flavors, respectively.

MSI Windpad U120W. Video Overview, Cedar Trail N2600 Test.

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The MSI Windpad 120W is the Cedar Trail version of the Windpad U110W – an AMD Fusion device.  We reported on the 120W in June where it showed at IFA with a Cedar Trail 1.86Ghz CPU. We saw it at IDF a few weeks ago and it had a low-power platform inside. We had the chance to give it a few tests.

The Windpad 120W shown at IDF used the Intel Atom N2600 with 32nm CedarView-M with dual-core, 2-threads per core (contrary to specs) and 1.6Ghz clockrate. The PowerVR SGX545 graphics operates at 400Mhz and forms part of the GMA graphics unit. The TDP is 3.5W and it is coupled with a communications chip (NM10) that uses 1.5W.

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We only had time to do some CPU and battery tests but in Cinebench R10 we get a good idea of the CPU performance. A multi-core result of 1507 matches Atom N550 and very closely.

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The 120W comes with 2GB of RAM

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And after a good 10-15 minutes of testing, we saw over 4hrs left on the battery (97%) which is an indicator of working time. Given the low TDP of the Cedar Trail platform we expect it to idle down well to add a few hours to that.

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One thing we still haven’t worked out is the screen resolution although the 110W has 1280×800. If that’s the case, this could make the perfect entry-level Windows 8 tablet.

MSI WIndpad U120W–Cedar Trail Tablet

Still outstanding from Cedar Trail tests are definitive 3D graphics performance tests. We’ve seen an indication that the N2800 with the graphics clocked at 650Mhz will be twice as good as the graphics on the Pine Trail generation but remember, the N2600 graphics are clocked lower. Don’t expect anything ground-breaking here.

Quanta Snapdragon-powered Honeycomb Tablet Turns Up at Computex [video]

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Tweaktown shared a video of a new Honeycomb tablet that stands out form the crowd because it’s running a Qualcomm snapdragon processor. It’s made by Quanta, one of the world’s biggest contract PC manufacturers. It’s only a prototype but the first look video shows it has some good capability.

It uses the MSM860 processor which is dual-core and a competitor to the Tegra 2 which all major Honeycomb tablets have used so far. Qualcomm has no intention of selling the device but is looking for a manufacturer to bring it to market. The tablet looks to be nicely put together and the Company has a good pedigree of creating quality stuff given that they manufacture the iPod Touch and iPhone for Apple.

Here’s hoping they find someone to release it with:

Nvidia Kal-El Video Demo Gives Glimpses of Next-gen Tablet Performance and What 4 CPU Cores and 12 GPU Cores Can Do

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nvidia kal-elNvidia’s Tegra and Tegra 2 hardware has been quite popular over the last year, bringing powerful CPU and GPU performance to tablets and smartphones in a standardized package. Today, Nvidia is showing off the next version of Tegra, codenamed Kal-El, which will power tomorrow’s tablets and smartphones.

Kal-El is the next iteration of Nvidia’s mobile CPU/GPU series and features the world’s first mobile quad-core CPU, and a whopping dodeca-core GPU (that’s 12, folks!). Nvidia is expecting five times the performance of Tegra 2 out of Kal-El!

They say that seeing is believing:

This impressive video demo shows some intense dynamic lighting and real-time physics. Both lighting and animations are traditionally pre-rendered onto scenes in mobile games and cannot be interacted with in real-time. Nvidia says that Kal-El’s four CPU cores and twelve GPU cores make dynamic lighting and real-time physics animations practical for the first time on mobile devices.

In the demo you’ll watch as the demonstrator disables two of the four CPU cores to simulate how the game would run on a dual-core CPU. The results aren’t very pretty as the cores max-out and the framerate drops to at least half of what it was. Returning to four cores shows each core running around 70% and the game playing very smoothly. What’s great is that Nvidia expects the production CPU to be 25-30% faster than the hardware being used for this demonstration!

The game will be available on the Android Marketplace (likely through the Tegra Zone application) once it’s complete.

Nvidia has been sending out Kal-El samples to production customers since February and expect Kal-El devices to begin production this August.

Update: (Bluetooth Downgraded Too?) WiFi-Only Samsung Galaxy Tab Has Older CPU, Slower GPU

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galaxy tab wifi

You’d think that creating a WiFi-only of one of the most popular 7” tablets would be as easy as not installing the components that make cellular communication possible, but it looks like Samsung may have made some more significant changes to their WiFi-only Galaxy Tab which appears to be using an older CPU and a slower GPU.

Perhaps as cost-saving measure, the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab is using a “1GHz A8 Cortex processor” according to the official product page”, while the 3G equipped version of the Galaxy Tab is using a “C110, 1GHz, Cortex A8 Hummingbird” processor.

Both devices are using 1GHz A8 CPUs, but the 3G equipped version of the Galaxy Tab uses the PowerVR SGX 540 GPU while the WiFi only version is using the previous generation.

Folks over at the XDAdevelopers Forum have confirmed that the WiFi-only tab is using the PowerVR SGX 530 GPU instead of the SGX540. The PowerVR SGX 530 GPU corresponds to an OMAP 3630 CPU as seen in the Archos 70 tablet.

We haven’t had out hands on the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab to find out how this change impacts performance, but here’s a tidbit from a user on the XDA forum:

  • “I need only wifi so I bought wifi version. However I found the performance is not good. I see noticeable lag when pulling down the notification bar. I go and check out 3G version. It’s lot better.”

Let’s also not forget that Samsung is planning on bumping the Galaxy Tab’s CPU to 1.2GHz (in addition to some other specs) when they release the 4G version on Verizon, so it seems that this single product is actually turning out to be three different products.

We’ve reached out to Samsung for an official comment and will update when we hear from the company.

Thanks to the tipster slim_thumb who sent this in!

Update: Looks like the GPU isn’t the only thing that Samsung has downgraded for the WiFi-only version. According to the official product page, the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab is using Bluetooth 2.1 instead of 3.0 as on the 3G equipped version. This could be a clerical error on the site, a software restriction, or truly downgraded Bluetooth module. We’re still waiting to hear back from Samsung.

Cedar Trail Summary, Architecture, Features.

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Technical sessions at Intel’s IDF in Beijing have all finished now so it’s time to go through some of the presentation material, the press releases and interview information from various sources to put together a summary of what Intel are planning with Cedar Trail in the netbook market. some details are still misssing but at this stage we can put together a fairly complete picture.

Intel’s netbook strategy comprises two platforms. The first, and the one that appears on most netbooks, is the Pinetrail platform. That is due for an update later this year and the new platform will be known as Cedar Trail, the one we’re discussing here.

The second platform is a more specialist, low end [performance] platform that grew out of the Menlow ultra mobile PC platform. Oaktrail, which uses the Z6xx Lincroft cpu is shipping now and offers a lower TDP with refined graphics and enhanced power-saving features. Oaktrail is for embedded, tablet and thin, light and rugged netbook solutions. Information on Oaktrail can be found here.

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Netbook market predictions.

While excitement in the netbook sector has cooled off somewhat and most commentators agree that some parts of the market are seeing competition from tablets, the sales numbers remain significant.

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Note that this is the total addressable market. AMD Fusion, ARM and VIA-based devices will be competing for this market too. For Intel to compete it needs to address the top, bottom and specialist segments of the market.

Ultra Mobile Video Editing Part 4 – Lenovo S205 / AMD Brazos Video Editing Test

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You may recall that I lost a number of days work last week. Test results, screen caps and a whole bunch of text went out the window when I did a factory re-install on the device I was both testing and writing the article on. That will teach me!

The article was Part 4 of the Ultra Mobile Video Editing series and was a detailed look at two Brazos-optimised video editing applications on the Lenovo S205 AMD E-350 device. The results were, in general, quite impressive with both Cyberlink Power Director 9 and Corel VideStudio X4 showing use of the platforms features. In some cases, hardware video decoding and effects rendering was significantly speeded up through use of AMD Brazos features. In some cases, the results weren’t so good. It all depended on the type of output file.

After I lost my work on the reivew I wrote an overview of AMD APP enhancements amd i’ve just updated that with input from AMD and Cyberlink. The key thing to know with the C and E-Series APUs is this – AMDs video encoding acceleration subsystem (which used to be called Avivo) which is used by many of the AMD enhanced video editors and converters, is not implemented on the E-350 (or its drivers.) It’s likely to be because it’s actually slower than the CPU but the end result is that there are limits to the enhancements that can be made.You can’t expect General Purpose GPU (GP-GPU) enhancements.

cyberlink pipeline

The diagram above shows the Cyberlink PowerDirector Brazos acceleration process. Note that the encode stage is 100% CPU bound. Actually this Cyberlink diagram is slightly wrong because there are some encode enhancements implemented in specific effects code that has been written to use Open CL/APP by Cyberlink.

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Corel Video Studio X4 (above) and Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 (bottom) video editing panes.

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Click to enlarge. These are the hardware acceleration features in Video Studio (left) and PowerDirector.

Ultra Mobile Video Editing Test Results.

The parameters I’ve set for the project are shown below and you can read about why these parameters have been set here.

  • PC and software to cost less than 600 Euros
  • PC to be less than 1.5KG with 12” screen or less.
  • Total camera + PC solution to weigh less than 2KG and cost less than 1000 Euro
  • Source video should be 720p
  • Video sent to YouTube should be 480p minimum
  • Editing solution must include watermarking, overlays, crossfades, and multiple audio tracks.

Testing results. (Summarised from paper notes taken during testing.)

Source file: H.264 720p 8mbps 25fps. Output file H.264 720p 5mbps.  All possible acceleration turned on. System power settings set to ‘always on’ (full power.)

1 – Corel VideoStudio X4 managed to do this test in 3.7x real time which, for such a heavy processing job, is impressive. PowerDirector 9 took significantly longer.

2 – In this test, the video decoding accelerations and memory transfer accelerations implemented tend to have little effect as the processing is very CPU intensive. Hardware video decoding and memory optimisations start to have a more significant effect where output files are smaller and use a less complex codec. 720p H.264 input and MPEG-2 DVD file output is a good example. Resutls were the same with and without accelerations enabled. Using the AMD System Monitor (V0.91) very little GPU activity was seen.

3 – Using Corel VideoStudio, the E-350 CPU was 1.5x faster than the C-50 and 2X faster than an N450 CPU on this specific video encoding test.

4 – For this project (480p minimum output size requirement) there wasn’t an output profile on either software suite that supported the required 852×480 output resolution. 852×480 is a favorable resolution for enabling HQ/480p  experience on YouTube.

5 – By adding DivX Pro to the Lenovo S205 I was able to create the required output in an AVI container. I was not successful in getting MP3 audio into the container but I’m confident this is possible. Divx Pro is a 19 Euro license. Divx Pro is a similar implementation of MPEG4 to H.264 (MPEG 4 Part 10) The rendering speed was approx 2.2X real time. This was the best result I achieved in all the tests I did and one that proves the AMD E-350 is capable of producing fast results for my specific video editing and upload requirements. Based on this test it appears that Divx Pro is more tunable (for both resolutions and encoding speed) than the H.264 codecs used in these editing suites.

6 – I was able to output a 720×576 file with 16:9 aspect ratio (correct when re=sized to 852×480) using Power Director 9. The rendering speed was an impressive 1.8x real time. This option as sub-optimal as some resolution is lost when the rendered file is squashed into a 720-wide frame.

Other notes:

  • The YouTube processes on both Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 and Corel Videostudio X4 don’t support an HQ profile. On Cyberlink, the profiles outpur WMV files which took much longer then H.264 files to output. (Aprox 5.5x real time)
  • VideoStudio took a very long time to start from fresh boot. Over 60 seconds. PowerDirector 9 is about 25 seconds to start up in the same scenario.
  • Both video editing suites were fluid in their editing processes.
  • Power Director has some effects that are implemented in OpenCL for a significant acceleration advantage.

NotebookItalia also did tests (translation) with Corel VideoStudio and got similar results with Corel VideoStudio . We worked together on cross-checking our articles before posting.

Summary

Editing 720p content with these two software packages is quite acceptable for small, in-field projects. Rendering profiles need to be chosen carefully though to get the best out of the system. For my requirements – a 720p H.264 file input and a 480p file output for optimal YouTube uploading I found that a combination of Corel VideoStudio and Divx Pro worked best. Hardware and memory acceleration works in this process and with an 8mbps H.264 720p file input and 480p 30fps file output with ‘fastest’ Divx encoding settings and a 2Mbps bitrate. Rendering rate was 2-2.5x real time depending on audio codex setup. (Using high-power ‘always on’ battery settings on the system.) The images below show most of the configuration settings used.

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With most of the process being CPU-load though, one wonders what a dual-core N570 CPU would achieve with the same test. I will be looking to get that result added to this report as soon as possible.

Let us all know about your mobile video editing experiences in the comments/discussion below.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series where I will be testing a standard laptop CPU and chipset, possibly an Intel Sandy Bridge system.

AMD C-50 (Ontario) – CPU Performance Round-Up

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By now we’re fully aware that the Fusion platform comprising AMD Ontario/Zacate CPU and Radeon 6250 can turn in some impressive 3D performance. With HD video decoding on board too it’s a double-punch to Intel platforms with the Atom CPU but with the high-end E-series requiring power that most mobile computers can’t deliver it’s only the C-series (C-30 single-core and C-50 dual core) that we’re concerned with here and in day-to-day usage mobile computing usage, where the CPU is all-important, we need to find out how it’s going to compare with dual-core Atom CPUs

I have a personal interest in getting as much CPU power as possible in my netbook but all I want to do here is highlight some reports that are coming in via the C-50-based Toshiba NB550D. Overall, it looks like the high-end Atom N550 is still the best performing mobile CPU. Here are the test results we’ve seen so far.

Passmark, a company that collects 3rd-party reports via its own software now has a few reports in from the C-50. The first benchmark was received just a few days ago so be aware that there are only 2 data points so far. The C-50 is clocking in with an average CPU mark of 480. It’s a better score than the older N470 (score:355) but the Atom N550 is averaging a score of 559 – 16% more.

Eprice have had reports of the NB550d before but on the 25th Jan a new report was posted that included PCMark05 scores. Unfortunately the device used is an engineering test sample with a single-core C-30 APU inside so bear that in mind. The report does links to a Cinebench mark of 1271 for the C-50 CPU, however. For the Atom N550 CPU i’ve found cinebench scores of 1504 and 1461 and 1444 – An average 15% more.

Netbooknews are currently testing an NB550D and has delivered a full suite of test results and a video.

NB550DCM

It’s an interesting Crystal Mark score. The total is about the same as I’ve seen on two Atom N550 based devices but the CPU score is down, especial for the ALU tests. Below is a result I took from an Acer D255. (Atom N550.) I saw similar results on a Samsung N350.

D255 ALU result

Overall then, were seeing the C-50 CPU score lower than the Atom N550 .

It’s not the complete picture of course (Graphics and video decoding on the C-50 APU is in another performance bracket altogether!) but for those wanting to number-crunch on a netbook, these results should help you decide.

With my requirements firmly in the ‘office’ space with a view to some low-end video editing, I’d choose the dual-core Atom-based devices. What about you?

Multi-core superphones could Benefit From Honeycomb.

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I don’t know if you’ve seen the pdfs yet but the whitepapers published by Nvidia last week are worth spending an hour going through if you’re interested in ultra mobile and low power computing.

The two pdfs focus on the benefits of high performance graphics and multiple cores in mobile computing. While I’m yet to be convinced that I need 1080p decoding and gaming graphics on my mobile computer, I do see that improved user interfaces and acceleration of some elements of the web page and web application process is beneficial. After reading the reports I’ve also come away with positive thoughts about multicore computing as a way to save battery life. The theory is simple – high clockrates need higher voltages and more power in exponentially rising amounts and so running two cores at a lower clock to complete the same task can result in power savings.

In podcast 63 at Meetmobility, Al Sutton of Funky Android, an Android consulting company, highlighted why he thought Honeycomb would appear on phones. His theory is based on the fact that Honeycomb is the first version of Android to be built with multicore platforms in mind and the supephones will therefore benefit. The Dalvik environment that applications run in is multicore-aware and will attempt to use multiple cores to speed up (and lower the power cost) of jobs that run in it. That feature alone could help every application running on Android without any programming changes in the application. With smartphones heading in the multicore direction, Honeycomb brings advantages and unless there’s a new multicore aware version in the 2.x branch, Honeycomb could be the way to go for multicore smartphones.

So why don’t silicon experts Intel use multiple cores in their Moorestown platform? The platform runs up to 1.8Ghz I understand so wouldn’t it be better to run 2 cores at, say, 1Ghz? Cost of silicon, size and complexity are probably in the equation and there’s probably a marketing advantage in using a higher clockrate but you would think that if this theory of more cores x lower clock=less power is true, Intel would be doing it too considering how badly they want to get into smartphones. Perhaps it is because much of the software out there isn’t truly multi-threading enabled and the advantages are limited. Where a program runs on multiple cores at a lower clockrate but only utilises one it means that the operation takes longer to run and the system can’t get into an idle state as quickly and the power used is way higher. Just leaving a wifi and screen on for a small extra time will negate any potential advantage.

It’s complex stuff but my feeling right now is that multiple cores are going to bring advantages. We’ll see, in time, if the Honeycomb-for-superphones theory is correct and we’ll see if Intel goes that route for Moorestown and Medfield too.