Microsoft’s Windows 8 (both Windows RT and Windows 8 for x86-64) is due to hit the market around November of this year and it has already caused a ton of controversy. But there is one that did not get a ton of press when it was announced that highlights a few issues with Windows that many are not anticipating. Around the first of July it was announced that HP would not be making an ARM based tablet for the next OS and we also know that Acer will probably not as well.
AMD goes back to its past as it looks to the future… sounds like a good headline right? But it is not merely a headline, but a reality in that AMD has done what we predicted they would do back in November 2011 when we talked about the direction that AMD was moving in. AMD is putting together an R&D consortium like they had when they were developing the Opteron and a few other products. At the time the think tank involved companies like Motorola, Texas Instrument, IBM, and even Samsung. Now the players are different, but the goal is the same.
If you were looking for any additional confirmation that AMD is reorganizing for a major rally then the announcement that they are canceling CPUs before they are launched might be of interest for you. It appears that AMD will be outright cancelling their Krishna and Wichita 28nm CPUs. The stated reason, Global Foundries will not be ready with 28nm in time.
AMD has faced some rough time recently. After their ATi purchase back in 2006 AMD has had one poor leader after another. Under Hector Ruiz we ended up with the ill-fated $5.4 Billion buyout of ATi. This was a purchase that caused AMD to not have a profitable quarter for almost 5 years. In fact if AMD had not gotten a settlement from Intel in late 2010 they would still be operating in the red. Hector Ruiz was also responsible for the shedding of AMD’s foundries. This split created Global Foundries and forced AMD as a CPU and GPU manufacturer into a Fabless state. They now have to pay to have their processors made by another company.
With all the news about the major ARM players like Samsung, nVidia, Texas Instruments etc. It is nice to finally hear the news about one of the largest, yet least talked about. At one time if you bought a cell phone (this was before the Smart Phone age) you had Qualcomm under the hood (and in many cases AMD as well). However, lately all we hear about is Hummingbird and Tegra (with an occasional mention of Snapdragon). That is until yesterday.
Qualcomm has announced that they are prepping to launch a new series of 28nm processors which they claim are 50% faster than “other ARM based offerings in the mobile CPU market”. This is very healthy boast to say the least. Right now all of this is in the pre-production stages so we do not have any phones or designs to tell you about, but we do have a little bit of information about the processor itself.
The new proc will be dubbed the S4 MSM 8960 and will hit the market as a dual core offering with a quad core to follow. Instead of an on/off switch for power the CPU is going to be built with something like a dial. This will allow for dynamic power steps to be sent to the processor. I have not heard of this being done quite this way so it should be interesting to see how it works out.
Inside the 8960 you will have a new GPU, this is the Adreno 225 which is a unified shader design (think AMD/ATi) and will support DX9.x and possibly shader model 3. Now we wonder what kind of radio they are going to build into this as that has been one of Qualcomm’s strengths (the Cellular and Wireless Radio built into the SoC) and something that Samsung and nVidia have been trying to get done as well. We know that nVidia has been buying up wireless technology patents with the hopes integrating their own radios into their Tegra SoC, but have not announced anything on that just yet.
For now it would seem that Qualcomm has taken a step out front in the performance arena. We do think that their GPU offering is probably not up to the same standard as nVidia’s Tegra, but then again many people looking to buy a phone do not need it to play graphics heavy games… I mean really, how much GPU does Angry Birds or words with friends use?
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