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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660

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The successor to the Snapdragon 653 is finally here and it’s called the Snapdragon 660. Qualcomm made the switch to the 14nm manufacturing node with the Snapdragon 820, which started rolling out at the beginning of 2016. The company also made the 14nm node accessible to the mid-range segment with the Snapdragon 625, the successor to the Snapdragon 617. The 14 FinFET node allowed for vastly increased efficiency, with the SD625 consuming 35% less energy when compared to the 28nm SD617.

As a result, the Snapdragon 625 turned out to be extremely popular, powering everything from the $150 Redmi Note 4 to the $500 BlackBerry KEYone. Looking ahead to the latter half of 2017, Qualcomm has rolled out key updates to the Snapdragon 600 series with two new chipsets — the Snapdragon 630 and the Snapdragon 660.

The Snapdragon 630 is the direct successor to the Snapdragon 625, offering 30% faster cores, support for Bluetooth 5, a faster LTE modem, USB 3.1 with USB-C, a new ISP, and Quick Charge 4.0. The Snapdragon 660 is the more interesting of the two, as it is the successor to the Snapdragon 653. The Snapdragon 660 is designed to bring flagship-class performance to the mid-range segment, with Qualcomm rolling out a slew of updates.

The chipset features custom Kryo cores — a first for this segment, a new Adreno 512 GPU, Snapdragon X12 LTE modem with download speeds of 600Mbps and 3x carrier aggregation, Wi-Fi ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO, a Spectra 160 image signal processor, Bluetooth 5, Quick Charge 4.0, and USB 3.1. Qualcomm is touting a 20% increase in performance when compared to the SD653 from the new Kryo 260 cores, and a 30% uptick for the GPU.

There’s no information on the underlying ARM core the Kryo 260 is based on, but it’s likely Qualcomm is using a semi-custom design, much like what it did with the Kryo 280 on the Snapdragon 835. The core configuration is split into two sectors — performance and efficiency, with the former featuring four 2.2GHz cores and the latter four 1.8GHz cores.

The Spectra 160 is particularly interesting, as it enables a lot of camera experiences that have thus far been limited to flagship chipsets. The ISP supports hybrid autofocus, dual rear camera setups (up to 16MP for each imaging sensor), dual photodiode autofocus, smooth optical zoom, and EIS for video.

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CORSAIR Announces Partnership Between iCUE and GIGABYTE

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CORSAIR today announced a new iCUE partnership with GIGABYTE, making it the latest motherboard manufacturer to support CORSAIR iCUE lighting control software. This collaboration enables compatible CORSAIR products to seamlessly support native lighting synchronization within the GIGABYTE Control Center (GCC) and iCUE.

CORSAIR iCUE software, which allows users to monitor and customise performance and coordinate lighting effects across their settings, will support lighting customisation on compatible GIGABYTE motherboards. This will help create a more immersive and flexible lighting experience than was previously possible, enabling users to open up new possibilities for how their systems look.

Support for GIGABYTE motherboards using CORSAIR iCUE software and GIGABYTE Control Center will begin in June 2024. Along with this new partnership with GIGABYTE, CORSAIR iCUE also supports ASUS, MSI, Philips Hue, Nanoleaf and Govee to enable its customers to create a stunning light show with their gaming setup.

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Nvidia Unveils Rubin: Successor to Blackwell Architecture Arriving in 2026

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At the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, revealed the name of their next-generation chip architecture during his keynote on Sunday evening. “Rubin,” named after famed astronomer Vera Rubin, will succeed the current “Blackwell” line of GPUs and CPUs. Scheduled for launch in the first half of 2026, this announcement underscores Nvidia’s commitment to releasing new chip architectures annually. With a hint of playful apprehension, Huang joked to the audience right before unveiling the Rubin line, “This is the first time anyone will see this, and I’m not sure if it’s a good idea or not.”

“All of these chips are in full development, 100% of them, and the rhythm is one year, at the limits of technology, all 100% architecturally compatible,” said Huang, “and all of the richness of software on top of it.”

Nvidia’s Rubin reveal follows closely behind their official announcement of the Blackwell architecture at the GTC conference just three months ago. Research firm Jefferies & Co. suggests the Rubin chips will incorporate the next-generation memory standard, HBM4, replacing the current top-of-the-line HBM3e. This applies to both the GPU family (designated R100 GPUs) and a central processing unit (CPU) codenamed Vera.

Jefferies analysts predict Rubin chips will be manufactured by TSMC using their cutting-edge 3-nanometer process, with production slated for late 2025. The design utilizes a “4x reticle design” compared to Blackwell’s 3.3x, meaning it occupies more space on a silicon wafer during the chip creation process. Additionally, Huang hinted at a future “Blackwell Ultra” GPU alongside a confirmation of a “Rubin Ultra” architecture arriving in 2027.

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AMD Unveils New Ryzen, EPYC, and Instinct Processors at COMPUTEX 2024

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Reporting from Taipei, Taiwan: Today at the COMPUTEX 2024 opening keynote, AMD detailed new leadership CPU, NPU and GPU architectures powering end-to-end AI infrastructure from the data centre to PCs. AMD unveiled an expanded AMD Instinct accelerator roadmap, introducing an annual cadence of leadership AI accelerators including the new AMD Instinct MI325X accelerator with industry-leading memory capacity planned to be available in Q4 2024. AMD also previewed 5th Gen AMD EPYC server processors, on track to launch in 2H 2024, with leadership performance and efficiency. AMD announced the AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series, the third generation of AMD AI-enabled mobile processors, and AMD Ryzen 9000 Series processors for laptop and desktop PCs, respectively.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for AMD as the rapid and accelerating adoption of AI is driving increased demand for our high-performance computing platforms,” said Dr. Lisa Su, chair and CEO. “At COMPUTEX, we were proud to be joined by Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, Asus and other strategic partners to launch our next-generation Ryzen desktop and notebook processors, preview the leadership performance of our next-generation EPYC processors, and announce a new annual cadence for AMD Instinct AI accelerators.”

“We are in the midst of a massive AI platform shift, with the promise to transform how we live and work. That’s why our deep partnership with AMD, which has spanned multiple computing platforms, from the PC to custom silicon for Xbox, and now to AI, is so important to us,” said Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft. “We are excited to partner with AMD to deliver these new Ryzen AI-powered Copilot+ PCs. We are very committed to our collaboration with AMD and we’ll continue to push AI progress forward together across the cloud and edge to bring new value to our joint customers.”

AMD detailed its expanded multi-generational accelerator roadmap, showing how it plans to deliver performance and memory leadership on an annual cadence for generative AI. The expanded roadmap includes the AMD Instinct MI325X accelerators, with planned availability in Q4 2024, delivering industry-leading memory capacity with 288GB of ultra-fast HBM3E memory that extends AMD generative AI performance leadership. The next-generation AMD CDNA 4 architecture, expected in 2025, will power the AMD Instinct MI350 Series and is expected to drive up to 35x better AI inference performance compared to the AMD Instinct MI300 Series with AMD CDNA 3. Continuing performance and feature improvements, the CDNA “Next” architecture will power MI400 series accelerators planned for 2026.

Previewed today at COMPUTEX, 5th Gen AMD EPYC processors (codenamed “Turin”) will leverage the “Zen 5” core and continue the leadership performance and efficiency of the AMD EPYC processor family. 5th Gen AMD EPYC processors are targeted for availability in 2H of 2024. At the keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted how AMD Instinct MI300X accelerators deliver leading price/performance on GPT-4 inference for Microsoft Azure workloads.

Dr. Su was joined by executives from Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, and Asus to unveil new PC experiences powered by 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series processors and AMD Ryzen 9000 Series desktop processors. AMD detailed its next-generation “Zen 5” CPU core, built from the ground up for leadership performance and energy efficiency spanning from supercomputers and the cloud to PCs. AMD also unveiled the AMD XDNA 2 NPU core architecture that delivers 50 TOPs of AI processing performance and up to 2x projected power efficiency for generative AI workloads compared to the prior generation. The AMD XDNA 2 architecture-based NPU is the industry’s first and only NPU supporting advanced Block FP16 data type6, delivering increased accuracy compared to lower precision data types used by competitive NPUs without sacrificing performance.

Together, “Zen 5,” AMD XDNA 2 and AMD RDNA 3.5 graphics enable next-gen AI experiences in laptops powered by AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series processors. On stage at COMPUTEX, ecosystem partners showcased how they are working with AMD to unlock new AI experiences for PCs. Microsoft highlighted its longstanding partnership with AMD and announced that the AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series processors exceed Microsoft’s Copilot+ PC requirements. HP unveiled new Copilot+ PCs powered by AMD, including the HP Pavilion Aero, and demonstrated image generator Stable Diffusion XL Turbo running locally on an HP laptop powered by a Ryzen AI 300 Series processor.

Lenovo revealed upcoming consumer and commercial laptops powered by Ryzen AI 300 Series processors and highlighted how it is leveraging Ryzen AI to enable new Lenovo AI software. Asus showcased a broad portfolio of AI PCs for business users, consumers, content creators and gamers powered by Ryzen AI 300 Series processors. AMD also unveiled the AMD Ryzen 9000 Series desktop processors based on the “Zen 5” architecture, delivering leadership performance in gaming, productivity and content creation. AMD Ryzen 9 9950X processors are the world’s fastest consumer desktop processors.

Separately, AMD also announced the AMD Radeon PRO W7900 Dual Slot workstation graphics card, optimized to deliver scalable AI performance for platforms supporting multiple GPUs. AMD also unveiled AMD ROCm 6.1 for AMD Radeon GPUs, designed to make AI development and deployment with AMD Radeon desktop GPUs more compatible, accessible and scalable. AMD showcased how its AI and adaptive computing technology is powering the next wave of AI innovation at the edge. Only AMD combines all the IP required for whole-edge AI application acceleration.

The new AMD Versal AI Edge Series Gen 2 brings together FPGA programmable logic for real-time pre-processing, next-gen AI Engines powered by XDNA technology for efficient AI inference, and embedded CPUs for post-processing to deliver the highest-performing single-chip adaptive solution for edge AI. AMD Versal AI Edge Gen 2 devices are available now for early access with over 30 key partners currently in development

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