Items tagged with x86

A newly discovered security vulnerability in modern Intel X86 processors has been revealed that affects the processor's speculative execution technology – like Spectre and Meltdown – and can be used to access sensitive information, including encryption related data. Over the last day or two, patches have quietly rolled out for some operation systems, but Red Hat just revealed all of the underlying details. The vulnerability, which is being called "Lazy FPU Save/Restore," was assigned a moderate rating and an ID of CVE-2018-3665 in the company's solutions database. As its name suggests, the exploit leverages the processor's FPU's (Floating Point Unit) "lazy state restore" feature... Read more...
Each new "Redstone" release of Windows 10 is notable for a handful of reasons, but Redstone 3 could include one of the most ambitious features yet: x86 on ARM64 emulation. What that ultimately means is that ARM-based devices running Windows 10 Mobile, such as the Lumia 950 XL, could see an immediate boost of supported applications. x86 emulation could prove extremely important for ARM-based Windows devices, as it would allow users to run the same applications they're used to running on their x86 desktops and notebooks. If the emulation works well, it could dramatically bolster the number of apps Microsoft's mobile platforms could run, essentially giving it the best of both worlds -- especially... Read more...
A challenge some software developers must face is having to support more than one architecture - be it x86, ARM, or something else. Wouldn't it be great, then, if one processor could support more than one of them at once, potentially allowing developers to target just one base architecture? China's Loongson seems to agree, offering its 3A2000 and 3B2000 processors as proof. While this design might make you think that these chips are targeted at mobile devices, they're actually designed for desktops and workstations, as well as things like network routers. The 3B2000 could be used in dual or quad CPU servers. Loongson apparently really means business here. To add x86 and ARM support, Loongson... Read more...
Microsoft’s Surface 2 Windows RT tablet was unceremoniously put to death earlier this year. The demise of the Surface 2 wasn’t a shock to industry watchers; various OEMs provided more compelling tablet solutions running x86 processors that were able to access the vast Windows software library (the Windows RT-based, ARM-powered Surface 2 was shutout from traditional Windows applications).Microsoft Surface 2 According to a new report from Winbeta, Microsoft won’t make that same mistake again when it launches a new tablet to slot under the Surface Pro 3 (or the inevitable Surface Pro 4). The fanless tablet is said to feature an x86 processor; either an Intel Atom or Intel Core M is said to be in... Read more...
For the past few years, Intel has promised that its various low-power Atom-based processors would usher in a wave of low-cost Android and Windows mobile products that could compete with ARM-based solutions from its major competitors. And for years, we've seen no more than a trickle of hardware, often with limited availability and/or questionable pricing. Now, that's finally beginning to change. Intel's Bay Trail and Merrifield SoCs are starting to show up in attractive, full-featured, sub-$200 devices, and we've got one of them on the test bench today, the Acer Iconia Tab 8, along with a competing tablet from Dell that we've shown you previously, the new for 2014 Dell Venue 8... Android... Read more...
For the past few years, Intel has promised that its various low-power Atom-based processors would usher in a wave of low-cost Android and Windows mobile products that could compete with ARM-based solutions from its major competitors. And for years, we've seen no more than a trickle of hardware, often with limited availability and/or questionable pricing. Now, that's finally beginning to change. Intel's Bay Trail and Merrifield SoCs are starting to show up in attractive, full-featured, sub-$200 devices, and we've got one of them on the test bench today, the Acer Iconia Tab 8, along with a competing tablet from Dell, that we've shown you previously, the new for 2014 Venue 8. Acer Iconia... Read more...
Buried in the details of Microsoft's technical preview for Windows 10 (look for our own discussion in short order), is a bit of a footnote concerning the operating system's requirements. I say footnote because this news -- that Windows 10 will have exactly the same requirements as Windows 8.1, which had the same requirements as Windows 8, which stuck to Windows 7, which was the same as Windows Vista -- is something we take for granted these days. As the years roll by, I can't help wondering what we're actually giving up in exchange for holding the minimum system spec at a single-core 1GHz, 32-bit chip with just 1GB of RAM. Back when Windows Vista was in development, those specifications made... Read more...
Today, at ARM TechCon, AMD is kicking off the conference by launching its new embedded ARM platform (codenamed Hierofalcon) and its associated ARM Cortex-A57 chip, codenamed Seattle. This new solution is debuting inside the first ARM-based network function virtualization platform, and is meant as a proof-of-concept demonstration that shows AMD can build enterprise networking hardware around an ARM platform and that the chip can handle data migration from an x86 platform. Network Function Virtualization? What's That? To understand the play AMD is making here, it helps to delve just a little into the world of big iron industrial networking. In the past, network flow control has been dominated by... Read more...
For the past few years, as Intel has struggled to gain market share for its Android-x86 project, it's been hampered by software compatibility issues and associated performance degradation. Now, some of that burden is being lifted off the company's products -- the popular and widespread Unity 3D engine has announced that upcoming versions will include native x86 support. That's important for a host of reasons. Currently, Intel has a host of emulation and translation efforts that ensure nearly seamless compatibility with Android applications. The compatibility layer isn't perfect, however, and games are historically some of the hardest content to emulate. Most titles depend on split-second timing... Read more...
Ever since NVIDIA unveiled its 64-bit Project Denver CPU at CES last year, there's been discussion over what the core might be and what kind of performance it would offer. Visibly, the chip is huge -- more than 2x the size of the Cortex-A15 that powers the 32-bit version of Tegra K1. Now we know a bit more about the core, and it's like nothing we expected. It is, however, somewhat similar to the designs we've seen in the past from the vanished CPU manufacturer Transmeta. Project Denver, Transmeta, and 64-bit ARM Project Denver's 64-bit flavor. When it designed Project Denver, NVIDIA chose to step away from the out-of-order execution engine that typifies all modern high-end ARM and x86 processors.... Read more...
Earlier this week we covered a deal between Intel and Rockchip that will combine Intel's Atom with Rockchip's graphics IP and considerable share of the Chinese market. I'm returning to the topic because there are some interesting big-picture facets to this move that we didn't cover with the initial announcement. Over the long term, this partnership could transform Intel's entire mobile division -- or cause it no end of headaches in the future. First, in order to partner with Rockchip, Intel must have definitionally granted the company some form of x86 license. This wouldn't necessarily be a license to design its own x86 processors (in fact, it almost certainly isn't), but the only way for Rockchip... Read more...
Ever since AMD announced it would build an ARM processor, there've been questions about how the company would balance its x86 and ARM obligations and product lines. Today, the company gave a major update to how it sees the future of these products. This year, AMD will debut its first Cortex-A57 based server (codenamed Seattle). In 2015, AMD will launch a 20nm SoC family around the new Puma+ core and a second-gen Cortex-A57 chip -- and those two CPUs will be drop-in compatible with each other (codenamed Project Skybridge). In 2016, AMD will follow up with its own custom ARM architecture implementation. One of the major changes coming next year is that both the ARM and x86 chips will apparently... Read more...
Update: Sharp-eyed reader Justin Jaynes has pointed out that the Llano lawsuit against AMD has been filed by lawyers  hoping to convince investors to jump onboard, not by AMD itself. We've updated the story accordingly. There's two pieces of news on the AMD front as the company prepares to announce earnings this week, but neither are particularly happy. First, there's a persistent rumor from the GPU side of the equation that the 2011-era Macbook Pro's with AMD's discrete graphics are beginning to fail in higher-than-expected numbers with reports of graphics corruption and other intermittent issues. The relevant forum thread claims that the problem pops up when the laptops are under heavy... Read more...
The story around AMD's upcoming Kaveri continues to evolve, but it's increasingly clear that the chip won't be available for retail purchase this year. If you recall, AMD initially promised that Kaveri would be available during 2013 and even published roadmaps earlier in May that show the chip shipping in the beginning of the fourth quarter. This was always surprising, but AMD adamantly stuck to the published roadmap and the Q4 2013 availability. Or at least, they did. What the company is saying now, in the wake of a rather confused DigiTimes story (more on that in a moment) is that while Kaveri will ship to customers (read: OEMs) in late 2013, it won't actually hit shelves until 2014. Whether... Read more...
Just yesterday, we addressed the dubious claim that Intel's Clover Trail+ low power mobile processors had somehow seized a massive lead over ARM's products and we noted some of the suspicious discrepancies in the popular AnTuTu benchmark. It turns out that the situation is far shadier than we initially thought. The latest benchmark version isn't just tilted to favor Intel -- it seems to flat-out cheat to accomplish it. Anandtech forum user Exophase went digging into the benchmark source code to determine why the latest version showed such one-sided gains in favor of x86 processors. AnTuTu is basically nBench, a mid-1990s benchmark that was compiled by the now-defunct Byte magazine. The new 3.3... Read more...
Intel announced a set of new enterprise products today aimed at furthering its strengths in the TOP500 supercomputing market. As of today, the Chinese Tiahne-2 supercomputer (aka Milky Way 2) is now the fastest supercomputer on the planet at roughly ~54PFLOPs. That's double the speed of the old leader, the AMD/Nvidia powered Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The new system draws significantly more power than the Titan, (17.8MW vs. 8.2MW) but overall power efficiency is fairly similar. The Titan's GFLOP/W ratio is 2.143, while the new Tianhe hits 1.935. Intel is putting its own major push behind heterogeneous computing with the Tianhe-2. Each node contains two Ivy Bridge sockets and three... Read more...
Although AMD said in January that it was diving in strong with Windows 8 and was not interested in making chips for Android devices, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD Lisa Su told PCWorld that the company may shift some of its focus to building chips for Google’s two operating systems and is in fact working with developers on Android apps for AMD processors. "We are very committed to Windows 8; we think it's a great operating system, but we also see a market for Android and Chrome developing as well," she said. Kabini-based AMD A6-Series APU It’s not hard to imagine why AMD would consider making chips for Android and Chrome OS devices. For one... Read more...
Rumor has it--er, has had it--that the Xbox 720 “Durango”, which is potentially slated to debut in May, would have AMD silicon inside. A Bloomberg report further points to that rumor as being highly likely. Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg says that the Xbox 720 will run on an AMD “Jaguar” SoC, which means that the Xbox will shift from IBM’s Power PC technology to an x86 architecture. That’s great news for game developers, who previously had to deal with creating games for the PC and then retooling them for consoles. (Sony’s PlayStation 4 will also have an AMD Jaguar SoC inside.) Now, they can easily port games from the PC to next-gen consoles. Unfortunately,... Read more...
When the Xbox 360 and PS3 first debuted, one of the major differences between them was how easy it was to access the underlying hardware. Kaz Hirai, then President of Sony Computer Entertainment, confirmed that the PS3 was far more difficult to program -- and that this was intentional. "We don't provide the 'easy to program for' console that (developers) want, because 'easy to program for' means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is, what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?" In other words: "We made developers miserable because it suited our long-term strategy." With the PS4, Sony has decided to go in the... Read more...
When Microsoft announced that it would build an entirely separate version of Windows for ARM processors in 2011, it galvanized the entire computing industry. For decades, Windows and x86 had been synonymous terms, so this move to support alternative architectures was seen as a fundamental change in how Microsoft would approach future product development and software compatibility. Fast forward to the present day, and the future prospects for Windows RT are dimming fast. Samsung -- already having decided not to bring its Ativ RT tablet to the US due to low sales -- has now given notice that it won't sell the device in Germany, either. Windows RT sales have generally been lower than expected; Microsoft's... Read more...
Fitch, the debt rating agency, evidently wasn't pleased with what it heard during AMD's last conference call. The agency has cut AMD's debt rating from a B to a CCC-. That's the last step above default, and it echoes the agency's skepticism over whether or not AMD can continue as a going concern. The agency writes: The ratings reflect Fitch's expectations that negative free cash flow (FCF) in 2013 will drive cash below AMD's target level and potentially approach the company's minimum operating level. Beyond the near-term, Fitch believes a strong end market recovery and adoption of AMD's new products will be required to preserve cash during the company's multi-year transformation... Fitch believes... Read more...
Nearly two years ago, Facebook launched the Open Compute Project. The initiative was intended to rethink all aspects of data server design, including cooling, racks, and server configuration. The coalition has gathered steam and support from a number of companies; AMD announced its own Open 3.0 Platform at today's OCP Summit. AMD's hardware is designed to meet the OCP's Open Rack standard and to be much more configurable than typical servers. To understand the significance of that, you need to understand that servers are typically fairly specialized. If you buy your servers from Dell, you buy Dell's management tools and interface capabilities. Buy from HP, you buy into HP's ecosystem. Windows... Read more...
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