Samsung Galaxy S4 eight-core chip production delay reported

Only a handful of new Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phones could boast eight-core power when it goes on sale this month. And the UK's phones will be among a reported 70 per cent of the first S4s to be quad-core instead.

It was revealed this week that the S4 will be quad-core in the UK and not eight-core as anticipated. Korean source ETNews reports Samsung simply hasn't been able to make enough Exynos chips to fill the millions of S4 phones it's expecting to sell.

According to ETNews' unconfirmed sources, Samsung has enough of its new Exynos 5 Octa chips for just 30 per cent of phones in the first batch to go on sale, thanks to purported hitches in the production process.

The other 70 per cent are set to be powered by Qualcomm-built quad-core chips. The quad-core version contains a Snapdragon 600 CPU, still a muscular processor... but four ain't eight by anybody's maths, and it certainly isn't the promised next generation smart phone Samsung promised.

The eight-core Exynos processor contains a Cortex-A7 with four cores clocked at 1.2GHz, drawing less power for everyday tasks. Then when things get hectic with intensive tasks such as fast-paced 3D gaming or videos, the S4 rolls up its sleeves and seamlessly switches to a second Cortex-A15 chip with four cores clocked at a faster speed.

The S4 goes on sale on 26 April. What isn't clear is how Samsung will highlight whether each S4 is quad-core or octo-core, or indeed whether there'll be any demarcation at all. But for the moment it appears to be academic, as Samsung hasn't revealed when -- or, whisper it, if -- the UK will get all eight cores. If these reports are correct, it could be a while before we see an eight-core S4, if at all.

[Source: CNET]

NVIDIA CEO Unveils Upcoming Tegra Chips, Dubbed Logan and Parker

NVIDIA on Tuesday unveiled its Tegra roadmap all the way through 2015, with the next two after Tegra 4 codenamed Logan and Parker. For now, it seems the company’s reference to Stark, which we saw all the way back in 2011, is nowhere to be found.

The company’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang spoke at NVIDIA’s GPU developers conference, and shared a bit of info on what we can expect from this generation and beyond. Logan will apparently incorporate NVIDIA’s Kepler GPU, and also include CUDA. Parker, on the other hand, will usher in the company’s Project Denver, and will include full 64-bit capabilities and a Maxwell GPU.

“In five years, we’ll increase Tegra by 100 times,” Huang said. “Moore’s law would suggest an eightfold increase.”

With the PC market struggling, NVIDIA is attempting to gain ground in the mobile space; the company has pushed tablets hard in particular. NVIDIA most recently unveiled its Tegra 4 andTegra 4i chips, but is facing stiff competition from Qualcomm, which supplies chips for some of today’s biggest smartphones.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Smaller A5 Chip From Tweaked Apple TV Contains Only One CPU Core, Revamped Analog Circuitry

For the past few days, we've been following the story of the smaller A5 chip found inside of the recently tweaked Apple TV, seeking to understand what changes Apple has made in order to shrink the chip to roughly half the size of the previous A5 chip. 

Yesterday, experts at Chipworks determined that the new A5 was still being manufactured by Samsung using the same 32-nanometer process used for the previous version, indicating that Apple had undertaken significant design changes for the chip. 

Chipworks now has a full image of the A5 die, revealing that this smaller A5 chip contains only a single-core ARM CPU. Apple has listed the Apple TV as having a single-core A5 since the third-generation model launched last year, but the previous design involved a dual-core chip with one core disabled, while the new design contains just the one active core. The new A5 does still contain the same dual-core GPU found in the previous version of the chip.

Chipworks' Dick James tells us, however, that there must be more to the story in order to achieve a nearly 50% size reduction, but the firm has yet to determine exactly what other changes are contributing to the smaller die size. 

A separate observation of interest involves the analog circuitry included on the chip. This new A5 chip appears to take advantage of optimized analog components such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, yielding a mixed signal chip that seems to be a rather significant technical achievement at the 32-nanometer process node.

My guess is that the analog sections have been re-designed, always a work in progress when we get this small, since analog circuitry does not shrink anywhere near as predictably as digital. And as Jim said earlier, we think this is now in a mixed-signal version of the 32-nm process that allows extra passive components such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, that is much more suited to analog stuff.

It is still unclear exactly why Apple has elected to redesign the A5 for the Apple TV, as it has been assumed that the company's "hobby" does not generate enough shipment volume to warrant such an investment in and of itself. As a result, it is possible that Apple has plans to use this chip in other products, although the single-core nature of the CPU design will likely limit the range of devices for which it would be suitable.

[Source: MacRumors]


Latest Apple TV reveals smaller A5 chip, adds to rumors of split with Samsung

Quiet, mid-cycle component upgrades are a thing with Apple, and they're sometimes worth watching out for. The iPad 2 got a chip update last year, for example, which significantly extended its battery life by using a 32nm A5 SoC instead of a 45nm one. Well, much as expected, a very similar processor update has just come to the Apple TV. MacRumors popped open the latest version, known as "AppleTV3,2", and found good evidence of a further die shrink: the central block of silicon is just 6 mm x 6 mm, which is even smaller than the 8 mm x 8 mm chip in the newest iPad 2. This inevitably leads to speculation that Apple has shifted to a 28nm fabrication process, possibly snubbing Samsung's 32nm foundries, but we'd need a proper silicon-level analysis to be certain. In the meantime, though, we'd guess that this update may not be worth hunting down to the degree that the new iPad 2 was -- the level of shrinkage here doesn't seem enough to have a huge impact on power draw, and in any case that's less of an issue for a device that's fed from the wall.

[Source: Engadget]

New Retina MacBook Pro Processor Bumps Offer Minor 3-5% Performance Improvements

Following last week's introduction of new processors for the Retina MacBook Pro lineup, Primate Labs has analyzed benchmarks coming in from the new machines through the company's popular Geekbench 2 software. 

Unsurprisingly, the benchmarks reveal a roughly 3-5% increase in Geekbench scores for each of the processor bumps. For the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro lineup, Apple bumped each of the three available processors by 100 MHz, accounting for the minor benchmark improvements. 


One thing to note is that the new mid-range Retina MacBook Pro has the same speed processor as the old high-end Retina MacBook Pro. However, the new mid-range model is slightly slower than the old high-end model. While this seems surprising at first, the difference is easily explained by comparing the two processors: the old high-end processor has more cache than the new mid-range processor.

For the 13-inch lineup, the 100 MHz speed bumps were limited to machines based on the high-end stock configuration starting at 256 GB of storage, with those machines also seeing a 3-5% improvement in Geekbench scores. 

Aside from the processor improvements for the Retina MacBook Pro lineup, Apple also reduced pricing on the 13-inch models by $200-$300, increased RAM on the high-end 15-inch stock configuration, and reduced pricing on storage options.

[Source: MacRumors]

Picture of Alleged iPhone 5S Motherboard Leaks, Shows Off A7 Processor

A photo of what is allegedly the iPhone 5S’ motherboard has been let loose, showing off what appears to be an A7 processor. According to iOSDoc, who acquired the photo from a trusted source, the alleged motherboard is quite similar to that of the iPhone 5, indicating an incremental upgrade is inbound, similar to iPhone 4/4S territory.

Further speculation explores what we’ve already heard and, in the Apple world, these expectations aren’t outside the realm of possibility. Apple’s upcoming device will reportedly come with a quad-core chip clocked at 1.2GHz, along with Jony Ive’s repainted iOS 7 and a “highly improved Siri.”

Additionally, the next iPhone will come with PowerVR quad-core SGX554MP4 GPU that’s featured in the iPad 4, meaning folks will see an improved gaming experience. Other supposed enhancements include 2GB of RAM and, the holy grail of iOS user’s dreams: widgets in iOS 7.

None of this is substantiated and sounds more like hope than actual fact. Still, plenty of what’s being suggested sound like logical upgrades, though the rumors about what we’ll see in iOS 7 are certainly interesting, especially with Scott Forstall out of the picture.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

iPhone 5 Benchmarks Appear in Geekbench Showing a Dual Core, 1GHz A6 CPU

The results show an iPhone5,2 device running iOS 6 with a Dual-Core 1.02GHz ARMv7 processor and 1GB of RAM.

The total Geekbench 2 score comes in at 1601. Poole notes that the average score for the iPhone 4S is 629 and the average score for the iPad 3 is 766. A comparison chart of previous iOS devices can be viewed at Geekbench. The numbers seem to validate Apple's claim that the A6 processor is twice as fast as the A5 and any previous iOS device. This one score also places the iPhone 5 ahead of the average scores of all Android phones on Geekbench. The full Geekbench results further breakdown processor, memory and bandwidth performance.

[Source: MacRumors - Read more here]