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Embedded Android — A VIA Technologies Strategic Direction in addition to its earlier joint CPU venture with the Shanghai government

– Nov 12, 2012 – July 11, 2014: Can VIA Technologies save the mobile computing future of the x86 (x64) legacy platform? for preliminary reading on this blog
– October 8, 2014: Coming very soon from Centaur Technology: A Leap Ahead in Chip Design as a very small glimpse into the next generation by the Centaur Technology
– October 13, 2014: Centaur Technology: Do the same job that an Intel processor can do, but doing it less expensively, with a much smaller group and Glenn Henry in charge as another as a very small glimpse …
June 3, 2015VIA pushing for profitability in 2015 by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies [威盛電子] president Chen Wen-Chi [陳文琦 the spouse of Cher Wang Chairwoman and CEO of HTC] has maintained that the company will not be delisted from the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE) and will have a good chance of turning profitable in 2015. [http://technews.tw/2015/06/02/via-technologies-condition/: “this year the operation has turned the corner, there is the opportunity to turn profit, but not sure]

Chen said during a shareholders meeting on June 2 that VIA’s revenue performance became stable in 2014, while losses have also started narrowing. With its embedded platform and digital signage businesses starting to contribute profits, VIA is expecting an optimistic result for 2015.

As for the recent market rumor about Intel considering acquiring its subsidiary GenieNetworks[a CDMA licensing business having 2 clients by the end of 2014], Chen declined to comment.

December 29, 2014: Ownership of the Centaur Technology has been transfered to VIA CPU PLATFORM, INC. established on December 17, 2013 (⇒威盛電子:代子公司VIA USA Inc.公告進行美國子公司Centaur Technology Inc.股權之投資架構調整) and whose president is Timothy Chen (陳主望), Cher Wang’s nephew

December 25, 2014VIA to return to profitability in 2015, says company president by DIGITIMES

… As for the China government’s recently announced strategy to fully support and nurture local semiconductor players, Chen believes it could bring a strong challenge to the Taiwan and worldwide semiconductor industries, but VIA has been forming partnerships with China’s players and will only see limited impact from the policies.

November 21, 2014VIA stock demoted in TSE; expects strong performance in 4Q14 by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies has recently been demoted to become a full-cash delivery stock by the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE) because its stock’s net asset value dropped below NT$5 (US$0.16) in the third quarter. Commenting on the incident, special [technical] assistant to the president [also Head of Sales and Marketing since 1996 according to LinkedIn and VP Business Development and Strategy, VIA Technologies, HTC according to World Economic Forum 2015], Timothy Chen pointed out that the company had losses in the third quarter because its embedded solution orders were delayed and it had non-recurring engineering (NRE) expenses.

Although VIA’s CPU business continues to suffer from losses, the company’s invested Wondermedia [in 2014 focused on ARM-based tablet and STB processor development], VIA Labs [having USB 3.0 chips already for the 2014 market] and GenieNetworks as well as the joint venture with the government of Shanghai, China still contribute income.

Chen noted that VIA has not yet given up the x86 CPU market and its licensing agreement with Intel is valid until 2018. Although VIA did not achieve much performance in the PC market, the company is seeing stable orders for embedded applications such as digital signage.

The company’s joint venture with the Shanghai government is currently developing x86-based processors and 3D graphics chips and should help the company return to the PC market in the second half of 2015. The joint venture has R&D centers in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan, China and has about 600 employees currently.

February 19, 2014VIA reportedly moving x86 CPU resources to new joint venture in China by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies is rumored to have started shifting its x86 CPU technologies and related personnel to its newly formed IC design joint venture with a China government-owned investment firm, according to market watchers

The joint venture was announced in early 2014 with VIA owning a 20% stake in the company.

Because VIA’s x86 CPU business is licensed by Intel, moving related resources to a new joint venture is expected to attract Intel’s attention. However, the chip giant may not be able to do much because Intel reached an agreement with the US’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in 2010 to not interfere with competition in the CPU and chipset markets, and extend its licensing of PCI Express to VIA by at least another six years. Intel is also unlikely to wish to offend the China investment firm, which has support from the China government, the market watchers analyzed.

VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. > Introduction:

VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. [磐聚网] was established in April 2013 with a total registered capital of USD$250M. As a joint venture between Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. [SAIL] who is affiliated to Shanghai SASAC and VIA Technologies, Inc., VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. has about 1000 employees and locates its headquarter at Zhangjiang of Shanghai with branches in Beijing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Taiwan, California and Texas of America.

With the forefront technologies and know-how in the design of CPU, GPU and chipsets, VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. is well known to provide high security, high performance, low power dissipation, and low cost SoC solutions.

As a fabless SoC factory, VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. adopts advanced 40nm and 28nm semiconductor processes. VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd.’s main products include CPU and chipsets for desktop PC and laptop and ARM Cortex series SoC with its state of the art Elite series GPU and Video Engine IPs. VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. aims at becoming the leading SoC solution supplier for smart TV, smart phone and enterprise

January 17, 2013: VIA forms IC joint venture with Shanghai Alliance Investment by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies has announced that it has set up an IC design house jointly with Shanghai Alliance Investment Company targeting the growing chip market in China.

The joint venture will be capitalized at US$250 million with Shanghai Alliance Investment contributing 80.1% of total capital, while VIA makes up the remaining 19.9%. An initial investment of US$100 million is slated for completion by the end of March 2013, VIA said.

VIA posted revenues of NT$3.36 billion (US$115.47 million) for 2012, decreasing 20.8% from a year earlier.

September 2014: Research and development of Lenovo M6000/S6000 desktops with ZX-A C4350AL [VIA Nano X2 announced on January 4, 2011] CPU have been completed
November 2014: Mass production of Great Wall desktops using ZX-A C3450AL total solution have been achieved

– Targeting a range of Desktop products ZX-A processors and V11PH solution extend the reach into multitasking and performance-oriented segments and offer end users an optimal, power-efficient computing experience
ZX-A processors are built using the latest 40nm fabrication process. ZX-A processors’ package size is 21mm x 21mm and the die size is only 11mm x 6mm. The launched processor name is C4350AL (the Clock Speed is 1.6G+).
– ZX-A processors are x86 architecture CPUs, support 32-bit/64-bit and the extended instruction sets. ZX-A are the first truly optimized, low power dual-core processors delivering industry leading performance-per-watt and improved multi-tasking ability, without consuming more power. ZX-A processors leverage a multi-core architecture to offer up to twice the performance in multi-thread optimized applications, while staying within the same signature low-power envelope.
– Featuring two out-of-order x86 cores, ZX-A processors come with native 64-bit software support, VT CPU virtualization technology, and PadLock hardware security features.

– Targeting a range of Mobile Notebook products ZX-A processors and VX11H solution extend the reach into multitasking and performance-oriented segments and offer end users an optimal, power-efficient computing experience
– ZX-A processors are built using the latest 40nm fabrication process. ZX-A processors’ package size is 21mm x 21mm and the die size is only 11mm x 6mm. The launched processor name is C4350AL (the Clock Speed is 1.6G+).
– ZX-A processors are x86 architecture CPUs, support 32-bit/64-bit and the extended instruction sets. ZX-A are the first truly optimized, low power dual-core processors delivering industry leading performance-per-watt and improved multi-tasking ability, without consuming more power. ZX-A processors leverage a multi-core architecture to offer up to twice the performance in multi-thread optimized applications, while staying within the same signature low-power envelope.
– Featuring two out-of-order x86 cores, ZX-A processors come with native 64-bit software support, VT CPU virtualization technology, and PadLock hardware security features.

ZX-C series processor is a new generation of quad-core processors, they are designed for high-performance computing
– ZX-C processors are built using the latest 28nm fabrication process. ZX-C processors’ package size is 21mm x 21mm and pin to pin match with ZX-A.
– There are 4 CPU cores integrated on the single chip packaging. Delivering industry leading performance per watt and improved multi-tasking ability, without consuming more power. ZX-C processors leverage a multi-core architecture to offer up to quad the performance in multi-thread optimized applications, while staying within the same signature low-power envelope.
– Featuring four out-of-order x86 cores, ZX-C processors come with native 64-bit software support, VT CPU virtualization technology, and hardware security features.
VX11PH Chipset offering a world-class HD multimedia platform for media-intensive applications

Already visible in July through benchmarks the next stepping of the legacy Isiah line: CentaurHauls Family 6 Model 15 Stepping 14 ⇒ VIA Technology Inc. VT3456 6628AMB, VIA QuadCore @ 2.00 GHz 2 processors, 8 cores

So the once influential VIA Technologies is desparately trying to regain its stance by capitalising on the technological fruits of the smartphone revolution which has already ended by Qualcomm’s alignment with latest developments in China via downsizing, Allwinner and Microsoft collaboration.

There are two lines of strategic actions for VIA which have become public as such recently:

1. May 20, 2015VIA Smart ETK For Embedded Android 

The VIA Smart ETK for Android provides an application programming interface (API) that simplifies Android system development on VIA Embedded ARM platforms by enabling the Android application to access I/O and manageability services provided by the system hardware that are not supported in the Android framework. These APIs help safeguard against system crashes and provide the ability to schedule auto power on and off, as well as periodic system reboots to ensure maximum performance.

The VIA Smart ETK for Android is also bundled with Smart ETK Demo, which is easy to install and has a user-friendly GUI for demonstrating the functions of VIA Embedded ARM platforms. Both the VIA Smart ETK and Smart ETK Demo are easy-to-use tools that help to shorten development time and speed up time to market. Key features include the following:

This provides an API which allows the user to set a timer to ensure proper operation and help the applications/system to recover from a dead circle or breakdown. When it is set, the system will automatically reboot if no “feeding dog” signal is received.
System Power Off / Reboot:
This provides APIs that allow the user to use an Android application to schedule when the system should power off as well as set periodic reboots to ensure maximum performance is maintained.
RTC Wake-Up:
This provides an auto power on feature by setting the Remote Time Clock (RTC) auto wake-up timer. The RTC supports three auto wake-up modes:
  • Wake-up on a specified hour and minute every day
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every week
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every month

Legacy I/O Support:
The VIA Smart ETK enables legacy I/O support such as RS-232, by opening up GPIO, I2C, and CAN bus ports to the application.

February 26, 2015: VIA SMART ETK for Android post on VIA News by Richard Brown VP of International Marketing

We’ve seen a tremendous amount of interest in the VIA SMART ETK at Embedded World this week, particularly for embedded Android system design applications.

As its name implies, the VIA SMART ETK is an embedded tool kit that we offer as part of our software engineering services in order to facilitate the development of embedded systems and devices on based on our ARM and x86 platforms.

The VIA SMART ETK for Android is available with the VIA VAB-600, VIA VAB-820, and VIA VAB-1000 boards, as well as the VIA ALTA DS, VIA ALTA DS 2, VIA ARTiGO A900, and VIA Viega systems. It provides an application programming interface (API) that simplifies Android system development by enabling the Android application to access I/O and manageability services provided by the system hardware that are not supported in the Android framework. These APIs help safeguard against system crashes and provide the ability to schedule auto power on and off, as well as periodic system reboots to ensure maximum performance.

One of the key features we have enabled in the VIA SMART ETK for Android is support for legacy I/O such as RS-232 by opening up the GPIO, I2C, and CAN bus ports to the application. Others include Watchdog, System Power Off/Reboot, and RTC Wake-Up. To learn more, please visit the ARM Software Engineering Services page on our website and download our white paper “Cracking the Embedded Android Code” [January 26, 2015].

We are committed to the continued long-term development of the VIA SMART ETK for Android and regularly issue new releases of it for the boards and systems listed above. Watch this space for news of the latest updates.

2. [February 5, 2015Android-Based Digital Signage SolutionsSignage Solution Pack for Android as the first of software solution packs optimized to meet the requirements of specific vertical market segments

The Signage Starter Solution Pack for Android has been designed to accelerate the development of digital signage solutions using the VIA ALTA DS and VIA ALTA DS 2 [Oct 15, 2014 ⇒ the Solution Pack already came with ⇒Android Signage Goes Dual Screen with VIA ALTA DS 2] systems. It includes a number of APIs that help safeguard against system crashes provide the ability to schedule auto power on and off as well as periodic system reboots to ensure maximum performance, unique to Android OS for digital signage applications. Key features include:

Watch Dog:
Provides an API which allows the user to set a timer to ensure proper operation and help applications/system to recover from a dead circle or breakdown. When it is set, the system will automatically reboot if no “feeding dog” signal is received.
System Power Off / Reboot:
Provides APIs which allow the user to use an Android application to schedule when the system should power off as well as set periodical reboots to ensure maximum performance is maintained.
RTC Wake-Up:
Provides an auto power on feature by setting Remote Time Clock (RTC) auto wake-up timer. The RTC supports three auto wake-up modes:
  • Wake-up on a specified hour and minute every day
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every week
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every month

Customer ID:
Provides a unique ID which matches the software to a particular VIA ALTA DS system helping to protect the customer’s application or to identify a particular system.

July 9, 2015: Embedded Android Survey – The Results Are In! by Michael Fox of VIA Technologies


The growing popularity of visual applications for displaying increasingly rich data sets is clearly a key driver behind the rising momentum of Android among embedded developers. Industrial Automation (28%), Infotainment (20%), and Digital Signage (12%) were the top three applications in the survey, closely followed by HMI (11%) and Medical (11%).


The ability to add a touch interface (26%) was listed by respondents as the main benefit of adopting Android, with reduced time to market (25%) and customizability (19%) coming in second and third respectively. Native multimedia support (14%) in the O/S and the robust Android app ecosystem (12%) were also seen as important.

As a mobile O/S, Android does offer some critical challenges for developers to overcome when implementing it for embedded applications, including its lack of I/O support for peripherals (23%), the need to maintain different versions of it, and ensuring security (17%). Building up internal Android development expertise (21%) and finding the right development tools (19%) are other key issues embedded developers face in adopting the O/S.

We’d like to thank everyone who responded to the survey for the invaluable feedback they provided. We have already begun analyzing the results in order to determine how we can improve the platforms and services we offer for Embedded Android, and will be updating you on our progress.

Download the full results here.

As the enhancement of the technology portfolio there is the new
Apr 8, 2015: HD Video Monitoring Starter Kit

The VIA HD Video Monitoring Starter Kit is a turnkey solution aimed at accelerating the development of wireless multi-node video monitoring systems for the rapidly growing home and commercial markets.The starter kit includes:

VIA ALTA DS 2 System

ALTA_DS_2_ProductAt the heart of the starter kit is the ultra-compact fanless VIA ALTA DS 2 system. Powered by a 1.0GHz dual core VIA Elite E1000 Cortex-A9 SoC with a high-performance 2D/3D graphics and video engine that supports Open GL ES 3.0 hardware acceleration and simultaneous multiple Full HD video playback. The VIA ALTA DS 2 includes SATA and Micro SD Card support, allowing recorded footage to be stored locally for playback at a later time or offloaded to the cloud.

Customized Android BSP & Smart ETK

Included with the ALTA DS 2 system is an Android BSP (Board Support Package) customized for video monitoring applications which includes the following enhancements:

  • Storage – performance improvement
  • Hardware enabled decoding
  • RTSP & WVTP parse performance improvement
  • Hardware acceleration for on screen preview playback

To enable customers to shorten their development time and speed time to market for their specific application needs, the starter kit also includes the VIA Smart ETK (Embedded Tool Kit), which provides a set of APIs for applications to access I/O and manageability services provided by the system hardware.

VIA Video Management Software (VMS)

VIA VMS application framework provides basic functionality including HD playback support, hardware accelerated decoding for live streaming and local/network backup support.Video Streaming & Recording Performance

Live Stream: (Channels/Resolution/Bitrate) Playback Frame Rate/Stream Recording Performance
1ch 1080p @ 8Mbps 30fps 1Ch 1080p @8Mbps
4ch 720p @ 4Mbps 30fps 4Ch 1080p @8Mbps

Live Playback Layouts


Wireless IP Cameras

The starter kit includes 4 validated IP cameras featuring OmniVision’s OV9712 CameraChip™ sensor, developed with their proprietary OmniPixel3-HS™ high sensitivity pixel technology to provide excellent scene reproduction in both extremely high and low-light environments, and their OV788 video signal processor for video compression, 720p HD video streaming, and AES-256 encryption over any Wi-Fi network, the system offers ‘instant-on’ crisp HD video and streaming capabilities in an extremely power-efficient, battery operated package.

Which is related to the
April 8, 2015: OmniVision and VIA Announce Partnership to Develop Battery-Powered Wireless HD Video Monitoring Solution news release as well

Customizable Android™ Based Reference Design to Accelerate Time to Market, Optimize Home and Small Business Monitoring Systems

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 6, 2015 — OmniVision Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, and VIA Technologies, Inc., a leader in embedded IoT and M2M platform innovation, today announced a partnership to develop a battery-powered high definition (HD) video monitoring solution that enables OEMs to dramatically reduce time-to-market for wireless multi-node monitoring systems in homes and small businesses.

“This partnership between OmniVision and VIA Technologies exemplifies both companies’ desire to meet the rapidly growing demand for turnkey solutions that can give OEMs the ability to quickly and cost-effectively bring innovative smart devices to market,” said Paul Gallagher, senior director of marketing at OmniVision. “By offering ‘instant-on’ crisp HD video and streaming capabilities in an extremely power-efficient, battery operated package, OmniVision’s OV9712 and OV788 video signal processor together provide excellent capabilities for the advanced solution now under development.”

“By combining OmniVision’s industry-leading imaging technologies with VIA’s advanced video processing technologies and embedded Android system design capabilities, we have produced a highly competitive turnkey solution,” said Epan Wu, head of VIA Embedded. “We look forward to collaborating with OmniVision and driving the development of new and innovative technologies for the rapidly growing market for home and commercial monitoring systems.”

Utilizing the OV9712 CameraChip™ sensor developed with OmniVision’s proprietary OmniPixel3-HS™ high sensitivity pixel technology, the solution will be designed to achieve excellent scene reproduction in both extremely high- and low-light environments. The OV9712 will operate in conjunction with OmniVision’s ultra-low power OV788 video signal processor. That processor will provide video compression, 720p HD video streaming, and AES-256 encryption over any Wi-Fi network, thus allowing users to quickly stream high quality video content using the video monitoring solution.

About OmniVision

OmniVision Technologies (NASDAQ: OVTI) is a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions. Its award-winning CMOS imaging technology enables superior image quality in many of today’s consumer and commercial applications, including mobile phones, notebooks, tablets and webcams, digital still and video cameras, security and surveillance, entertainment devices, automotive and medical imaging systems. Find out more at: www.ovt.com


Cortex-A53 is used alone in higher and higher-end devices as the result of increased competition between MediaTek and Qualcomm

Cortex A53 vs A7 performance

We’ve learned a lot during the last one a half years about the superiority of the Cortex-A53 cores for the mass produced SoCs. Some major points about that you see on the right:

My prediction back in Dec 23, 2013 was that The Cortex-A53 as the Cortex-A7 replacement core is succeeding as a sweet-spot IP for various 64-bit high-volume market SoCs to be delivered from H2 CY14 on. Such a prediction is a reality now as no less than 291 smartphones are listed as of today in PDAdb.net, which are using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916 quad-core SoC based on Cortex-A53. The first such device, the Lenovo A805e Dual SIM TD-LTE was released in July, 2014.

Meanwhile Qualcomm’s downstream rival, MediaTek is moving up fast with its offerings as well. There are 8 devices based on quadcore MT6732M since Dec’14, 27 devices which based on quad-core MT6732 since Nov’14, and even 6 devices based on octa-core MT6753 since Jan’15. Note however that there are 3 such products from the Chinese brand Meizu, and one each from another local brands, Elephone and Cherry Mobile. Only the ZTE model is from a 1st tier global vendor yet.

My prediction was also proven by the fact that interest in that post was the highest on this blog as soon as the respective new SoCs, and commercial devices based on them arrived:

Cortex A53 vs A7 success on my blog and reasons for that -- 22-June-2015

Now even higher end, octa-core smartphones based on Cortex-A53 alone are coming to the market from 1st tier device vendors

June 1, 2015: Asus ZenFone Selfie (ZD551KL)
(launched on the ASUS Zensation Press Event at Computex 2015)

from the product site:

ZenFone Selfie features the industry’s first octa-core, 64-bit processor — Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615. With its superb performance and superior power-efficiency you’ll shoot sharp photographs at stupefying speed, record and edit Full HD (1080p) video with minimal battery draw, and enjoy using the integrated 4G/LTE to share everything you do at incredible speeds of up to 150Mbit/s!

expected price in India: ₹12,999 ($205)
(Re: “coming in an incredible price” said in the launch video about the earlier ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) which has the same price, but a 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z3560 processor, only 5 MP secondary camera etc.)

from the ASUS Presents Zensation at Computex 2015 press release:

ZenFone Selfie is a unique smartphone designed to capture the best possible selfies, quickly and simply. Featuring front and rear 13MP PixelMaster cameras with dual-color, dual LED Real Tone flash, ZenFone Selfie captures beautiful, natural-looking selfies in gloriously high resolution. The rear camera features a large f/2.0 aperture lens and laser auto-focus technology to ensure near-instant focusing for clear, sharp pictures — even in low-light conditions where traditional cameras struggle.
ZenFone Selfie includes the brilliant ZenUI Beautification mode for live digital cosmetics. A few taps is all that’s needed to soften facial features, slim cheeks, and enhance skin tone to add vibrancy, and all in real time — injecting instant verve into any composition. ZenFone Selfie also has Selfie Panorama mode, which exploits ZenFone Selfie’s f/2.2-aperture front lens and 88-degree field of view to capture panoramic selfies of up to 140 degrees. With Selfie Panorama mode enabled, selfies become a party with all friends included — plus the ability to capture panoramic scenery for stunning backdrops.
ZenFone Selfie has a large 5.5-inch screen that fits in a body that’s a similar size to that of most 5-inch smartphones, for a maximized viewing experience in a compact body that fits comfortably in the hand. It has a high-resolution 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS display with a wide 178-degree viewing angle and staggering 403ppi pixel density that renders every image in eye-delighting detail. ASUS TruVivid technology brings color to life in brilliant clarity, making selfies and other photos look their best. Tough Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 covers the display to help protect against scratches and drops.
ZenFone Selfie features the industry’s first octa-core, 64-bit processor for the perfect balance of multimedia performance and battery efficiency — the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615. This extraordinarily powerful chip equips ZenFone Selfie to provide the very best multimedia and entertainment experiences, carefully balancing high performance with superior power-efficiency.

June 19, 2015 by SamMobile: Samsung’s first smartphones with front-facing LED flash, Galaxy J5 and Galaxy J7, now official

Samsung has announced its first smartphones with a front-facing LED flash; the Galaxy J5 and the Galaxy J7. Specifications of these devices were previously leaked through TENAA, and their UI was revealed through Samsung’s own manuals. Now, they have been officially announced in China, where they would be available starting this week, but there’s no clarity about their international launch.
All the mid-range and high-end smartphones from the company released recently have started featuring high-resolution front-facing cameras, and the same is the case with the Galaxy J7 and the Galaxy J5. To complement their 5-megapixel wide-engle front-facing cameras, they are equipped with a front-facing single-LED flash. Other features include a 13-megapixel primary camera with an aperture of f/1.9, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, dual-SIM card slot, and LTE connectivity. Both these smartphones run Android 5.1 Lollipop with a new UI that is similar to that of the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge.

The Galaxy J7 is equipped with a 5.5-inch HD display, a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor, a 3,000 mAh battery, and is priced at  1,798 CNY (~ $289). The Galaxy J5 features a slightly smaller 5-inch HD display, a 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, a 2,600 mAh battery, and is priced at 1,398 CNY (~ $225). Both of them will be available in China in three colors; gold, white, and black.

The Galaxy J5 and J7 are targeted at the youth and compete with devices like the HTC Desire EYE, Sony Xperia C4, and the Asus ZenFone Selfie, all of which have high-resolution front-facing cameras with an LED flash.

May 6, 2015: Sony launches next generation “selfie smartphone” – Xperia™ C4 and Xperia C4 Dual

The selfie phenomenon is about to kick up a notch with the introduction of Xperia™ C4 and Xperia C4 Dual – Sony’s next generation PROselfie smartphones, featuring a best in class 5MP front camera, a Full HD display and superior performance.

“Following the success of Xperia C3, we are proud to introduce Sony’s evolved PROselfie smartphone,” said Tony McNulty, Vice-President, Value Category Business Management at Sony Mobile Communications. “Xperia C4 caters to consumers that want a smartphone that not only takes great photos, but also packs a punch. Benefiting from Sony’s camera expertise, the 5MP front-facing camera with wide-angle lens lets you capture perfect selfies, while its quality display and performance features provide an all-round advanced smartphone experience.”
We all like a high-profile selfie – so go ahead and get snapping:
You can now stage the perfect selfie, getting everything – and everyone – in shot, thanks to the powerful 5MP front camera with 25mm wide-angle lens. Sony’s Exmor RTM for mobile sensor, soft LED flash and HDR features means the pictures will always be stunning, even in those ‘hard to perfect’ low light conditions. Superior auto automatically optimises settings to give you the best possible picture and SteadyShot™ technology compensates for any camera shake.
With 13MP, autofocus and HDR packed in there is no compromise on the rear camera, which delivers great shots for those rare moments you’re not in the picture.
You will also be able to get even more fun out of your smartphone with a suite of creative camera apps such as Style portrait with styles including ‘vampire’ and ‘mystery’ to add a unique edge to your selfie. Moreover, apps such as AR maskgive your selfie a twist by letting you place a different face over your own face or others’ faces while you snap a selfie.
Experience your entertainment in Full HD
Now you can enjoy every picture and every video in detail with Xperia C4’s 5.5” Full HD display. Watching movies on your smartphone is more enjoyable thanks to Sony’s TV technology – such as Mobile BRAVIA® Engine 2 and super vivid-mode – which offers amazing clarity and colour brightness. Enjoy viewing from any angle with IPS technology.
Great video deserves great audio to match, so Xperia C4 features Sony’s audio expertise to deliver crisp and clear audio quality. With or without headphones, you can sit back and enjoy your favourite entertainment in all its glory.
The design of Xperia C4 has also been crafted with precise detail and care to ensure every aspect amplifies the sharp and vivid display. A minimal frame around the scratch-resistant screen enhances both the viewing experience and the smartphone design, while its lightweight build feels comfortable in the hand. Xperia C4 comes in a choice of white, black and a vibrant mint.
Superior performance, with a power-packed battery that just keeps going
Whether you’re running multiple apps, checking Facebook, snapping selfies or listening to the best music – you can do it all at lighting speed thanks to Xperia C4’s impressive Octa-core processor. Powered by an efficient 64-bit Octa-core processor [Mediatek MT6752], Xperia C4 makes it easier than ever to multitask and switch between your favourite apps, without affecting performance. Ultra-fast connectivity with 4G capabilities means it’s quicker than ever to download your favourite audio or video content and surf the web without lag.
The large battery (2,600mAh) provides over eight hours of video viewing time, meaning that the entire first season of Breaking Bad can be binged uninterrupted, while Battery STAMINA Mode 5.0 ensures you have complete control over how your battery is used.
Xperia C4 is compatible with more than 195 Sony NFC-enabled devices including SmartBand Talk (SWR30) and Stereo Bluetooth® Headset (SBH60). You can also customise the smartphone with the protective desk-stand SCR38 Cover or with a full range of original Made for Xperia covers.
Xperia C4 will be available in Single SIM and Dual SIM in select markets from the beginning of June 2015.
For the full product specifications, please visit: http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/phones/xperia-c4/specifications/

price in India: ₹25,499 ($400) and ₹25,899 ($408) for the Dual-SIM version

June 1, 2015: The stakes have been raised even higher by a higher-end octa-core SoC from MediaTek with 2GHz cores which is also 30% more energy efficient because of the first time use of 28HPC+ technology of TSMC
MediaTek Expands its Flagship MediaTek Helio™ Processor Family with the P Series, Offering Premium Performance for Super Slim Designs

P-series the first to use TSMC’s 28nm HPC+ process, which reduces processor power consumption

MediaTek, a leader in power-efficient, System-on-Chip (SoC) mobile device technology solutions, today announces the launch of the MediaTek Helio™ P10, a high-performance, high-value SoC focused on the growing demand for slim form-factor smart phones that provide premium, flagship features. The Helio P10 showcases a 2 GHz, True Octa-core 64-bit Cortex-A53 CPU and a 700MHz, Dual-core 64-bit Mali-T860 GPU. The Helio P10 will be available Q3 2015 and is expected to be in consumer products in late 2015.

The P10 is the first chip in the new Helio P family, a series which aims to integrate into a high-value chipset, premium features such as high-performance modem technology; the world’s first TrueBright ISP engine for ultra-sensitive RWWB; and, MiraVision™ 2.0, for top-tier display experiences. The features available in the P series include several of MediaTek’s premier technologies, such as WorldMode LTE Cat-6, supporting 2×20 carrier aggregation with 300/50Mbps data speed; MediaTek’s advanced task scheduling algorithm, CorePilot®, which optimizes the P10’s heterogeneous computing architecture by sending workloads to the most suitable computing device – CPU, GPU, or both; and, MediaTek’s Visual Processing Application – Non-contact Heart Rate Monitoring, which uses only a smartphone’s video camera to take a heart rate reading and is as accurate as pulse oximeters/portable ECG monitoring devices.
“The P series will provide OEM smartphone makers with greater design flexibility to meet consumer demands for slim form-factors, which provide dynamic multimedia experiences,” said Jeffrey Ju, Senior Vice President of MediaTek. “The P10 enables state-of-the-art mobile computing and multimedia features all while balancing performance and battery life.”
The Helio P10 is the first product to use TSMC’s 28nm HPC+ process, which allows for reduced processor power consumption. With the help of the latest 28HPC+ process and numerous architecture and circuit design optimizations, the Helio P10 can save up to 30% more power (depending of usage scenarios), compared to existing smartphone SoCs manufactured using the 28 HPC process.
 “We are pleased to see MediaTek’s achievement in producing the world’s leading 28HPC+ smartphone chip,” said Dr. BJ Woo, Vice President, Business Development, TSMC. “As an enhanced version of TSMC’s 28HPC process, 28HPC+ promises 15% better speed at fixed power or 50% leakage reduction at the same speed over 28HPC. Through our competitive 28HPC+ technology and process-design collaboration with MediaTek, we believe MediaTek will deliver a series of products which benefit smartphone users across the world.”
As with the entire line of Helio SoCs, the P10 is packed with premium multimedia features. With a concentration on advanced display technologies, premium camera features, and HiFi audio, the P10 delivers leading functionality around the features most used on today’s mobile phones:
  • 21MP premium camera with the world’s first TrueBright ISP engine:
    • Enables ultra-sensitive RWWB sensor to capture twice as much light as traditional RGB sensors in order to retain true color and detail, even in low light. The RWWB sensor also enhances the color resolution, even when compared with RGBW sensors.
    • Other features include a new de-noise/de-mosaic HW, PDAF, video iHDR, dual main camera, less than 200ms shot-to shot delay, and video face beautify.
  • Hi-fidelity, hi-clarity audio achieves 110dB SNR & -95dB THD
  • Full HD display at 60FPS with MediaTek’s suite of MiraVision 2.0 display technologies:
    • UltraDimming – Dimmer background lighting for more comfortable reading, even in low-light situations.
    • BluLight Defender – A built-in blue light filter that saves more power than conventional software applications.
    • Adaptive Picture Quality – Ensures the best picture quality when using different applications. True-to-life colors when in camera preview; vibrant colors when watching videos.
The MediaTek Helio P10 will be released in Q3 2015 and is expected to be available in consumer products in late 2015.

Note that Helio P1 is a significant step in MediaTek’s strategy already outlined in the following posts of mine:
– March 4, 2014MediaTek is repositioning itself with the new MT6732 and MT6752 SoCs for the “super-mid market” just being born, plus new wearable technologies for wPANs and IoT are added for the new premium MT6595 SoC
– March 10, 2015MediaTek’s next 10 years’ strategy for devices, wearables and IoT

AMD’s Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) and Graphics Core Next (GCN) is coming to notebooks

Why AMDers are excited about “Kaveri” [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 15, 2014]

Hear from the team behind “Kaveri” why they are excited about it and how it will affect the pc market.http://www.amd.com/nextgenapu

The GCN architecture that is behind Xbox One and Sony PS4 (among others) and the HSA (quite probably available as well in Xbox One and PS4) are coming now to notebook APUs.
OR how much could AMD reap the benefits (first time) of ATI acquisition in 2006?
OR how much the 28nm SHP (Super High Performance) process from Global Foundries will help AMD to compete?
OR will the next-gen Steamroller microarchitecture be sufficient to compete?

How “Kaveri” is Going to Change the World of Compute Capabilities [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 16, 2014]

AMD’s John Byrne, Chief Sales Officer sat down with us “Kaveri” Tech Day in Las Vegas to discuss why he is excited about “Kaveri” and the effect is it going to have on the computer market. Learn more: http://www.amd.com/nextgenapu

If it can game, imagine what else it can do. [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 6, 2014]

See what else the AMD APU can do at amd.com/ifitcangame AMD APUs are found in everything from the leading game consoles to PCs. AMD has brought it all together to bring you incredible, new experiences. Our AMD A-Series APUs combine the performance of multicore processors and the power of AMD RadeonTM graphics technology on a single chip for a whole new level of immersion and interactivity with your PC. Whether gaming, watching videos or multitasking on your PC, we give you the performance you need to fit your life.

The Four Technologies that make up AMD’s Kaveri APU [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 14, 2014]

AMD’s Joe Macri, Corporate VP, Product CTO of Global Business Units sat down with us Kaveri Tech Day in Las Vegas to highlight the four technologies that make up Kaveri.

In AMD Kaveri Review: A8-7600 and A10-7850K Tested [AnandTech, Jan 14, 2014] it was touted as:

The first major component launch of 2014 falls at the feet of AMD and the next iteration of its APU platform, Kaveri. Kaveri has been the aim for AMD for several years, it’s actually the whole reason the company bought ATI back in 2006. As a result many different prongs of AMD’s platform come together: HSA, hUMA, offloading compute, unifying GPU architectures, developing a software ecosystem around HSA and a scalable architecture. This is, on paper at least, a strong indicator of where the PC processor market is heading in the mainstream segment.

My insert: AMD Kaveri APU Tech Day at CES [on Jan 5, 2014] [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 14, 2014]

End of my insert

Final Words
As with all previous AMD APU launches, we’re going to have to break this one down into three parts: CPU, the promise of HSA and GPU.
In a vacuum where all that’s available are other AMD parts, Kaveri and its Steamroller cores actually look pretty good. At identical frequencies there’s a healthy increase in IPC, and AMD has worked very hard to move its Bulldozer family down to a substantially lower TDP. While Trinity/Richland were happy shipping at 100W, Kaveri is clearly optimized for a much more modern TDP. Performance gains at lower TDPs (45/65W) are significant. In nearly all of our GPU tests, a 45W Kaveri ends up delivering very similar gaming performance to a 100W Richland. The mainstream desktop market has clearly moved to smaller form factors and it’s very important that AMD move there as well. Kaveri does just that.
In the broader sense however, Kaveri doesn’t really change the CPU story for AMD. Steamroller comes with a good increase in IPC, but without a corresponding increase in frequency AMD fails to move the single threaded CPU performance needle. To make matters worse, Intel’s dual-core Haswell parts are priced very aggressively and actually match Kaveri’s CPU clocks. With a substantial advantage in IPC and shipping at similar frequencies, a dual-core Core i3 Haswell will deliver much better CPU performance than even the fastest Kaveri at a lower price.
The reality is quite clear by now: AMD isn’t going to solve its CPU performance issues with anything from the Bulldozer family. What we need is a replacement architecture, one that I suspect we’ll get after Excavator concludes the line in 2015.
In the past AMD has argued that for the majority of users, the CPU performance it delivers today is good enough. While true, it’s a dangerous argument to make (one that eventually ends up with you recommending an iPad or Nexus 7). I have to applaud AMD’s PR this time around as no one tried to make the argument that CPU performance was somehow irrelevant. Although we tend to keep PR critique off of AnandTech, the fact of the matter is that for every previous APU launch AMD tried its best to convince the press that the problem wasn’t with its CPU performance but rather with how we benchmark. With Kaveri, the arguments more or less stopped. AMD has accepted its CPU performance is what it is and seems content to ride this one out. It’s a tough position to be in, but it’s really the only course of action until Bulldozer goes away.
It’s a shame that the CPU story is what it is, because Kaveri finally delivers on the promise of the ATI acquisition from 2006. AMD has finally put forth a truly integrated APU/SoC, treating both CPU and GPU as first class citizens and allowing developers to harness both processors, cooperatively, to work on solving difficult problems and enabling new experiences. In tests where both the CPU and GPU are used, Kaveri looks great as this is exactly the promise of HSA. The clock starts now. It’ll still be a matter of years before we see widespread adoption of heterogeneous programming and software, but we finally have the necessary hardware and priced at below $200.


Until then, outside of specific applications and GPU compute workloads, the killer app for Kaveri remains gaming. Here the story really isn’t very different than it was with Trinity and Richland. With Haswell Intel went soft on (socketed) desktop graphics, and Kaveri continues to prey on that weakness. If you are building an entry level desktop PC where gaming is a focus, there really isn’t a better option. I do wonder how AMD will address memory bandwidth requirements going forward. A dual-channel DDR3 memory interface works surprisingly well for Kaveri. We still see 10 – 30% GPU performance increases over Richland despite not having any increase in memory bandwidth. It’s clear that AMD will have to look at something more exotic going forward though.

My insert: Kaveri Tech Day: Thief running on a 7850K APU with Dual Graphics [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 14, 2014]

Learn more at http://www.amd.com/nextgenapu At Kaveri Tech Day in Las Vegas we showed off a ton of awesome demos including the upcoming Eidos Montreal title Thief. Check it out running on dual graphics!

End of my insert

For casual gaming, AMD is hitting the nail square on the head in its quest for 1080p gaming at 30 frames per second, albeit generally at lower quality settings. There are still a few titles that are starting to stretch the legs of a decent APU (Company of Heroes is practically brutal), but it all comes down to perspective. Let me introduce you to my Granddad. He’s an ex-aerospace engineer, and likes fiddling with stuff. He got onboard the ‘build-your-own’ PC train in about 2002 and stopped there – show him a processor more than a Pentium 4 and he’ll shrug it off as something new-fangled. My grandfather has one amazing geeky quality that shines through though – he has played and completed every Tomb Raider game on the PC he can get his hands on.
It all came to a head this holiday season when he was playing the latest Tomb Raider game. He was running the game on a Pentium D with an NVIDIA 7200GT graphics card. His reactions are not the sharpest, and he did not seem to mind running at sub-5 FPS at a 640×480 resolution. I can imagine many of our readers recoiling at the thought of playing a modern game at 480p with 5 FPS. In the true spirit of the season, I sent him a HD 6750, an identical model to the one in the review today. Despite some issues he had finding drivers (his Google-fu needs a refresher), he loves his new card and can now play reasonably well at 1280×1024 on his old monitor.
The point I am making with this heart-warming/wrenching family story is that the Kaveri APU is probably the ideal fit for what he needs. Strap him up with an A8-7600 and away he goes. It will be faster than anything he has used before, it will play his games as well as that new HD 6750, and when my grandmother wants to surf the web or edit some older images, she will not have to wait around for them to happen. It should all come in with a budget they would like as well.

The Importance of AMD’s TrueAudio Technology in Thief [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 10, 2014]

Eidos Montreal joined us onsite at CES to demo their upcoming game title Thief. Hear from Jean-Normand Bucci, Technical Art Director, Square Enix on the importance of audio in games and how AMD’s TrueAudio is making a difference.

Johan Andersson explains how Mantle [API] will leverage AMD’s new “Kaveri” APU [AMD YouTube channel, Dec 3, 2013]

At APU13 DICE/EA’s Technical Director Johan Andersson explains how Mantle is bringing the level of performance experienced on next generation consoles to AMD powered PCs. With the extra performance on Frostbite, there’s bound to be things never seen before in gaming!

In AMD Surrounds 2014 International CES Visitors with Breakthrough Visual and Audio Experiences [press release, Jan 6, 2014] it was touted as:

“Kaveri” – AMD’s most powerful APUs ever, the AMD A10 7850K and 7700K (codenamed “Kaveri”), are now shipping and will be on shelves in desktops early next week, with pre-orders starting today from select system builders. “Kaveri” is the world’s first APU to include Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features, the immersive sound of AMD TrueAudio Technology and the performance gaming experiences of Mantle API. “Kaveri”-based notebooks will be available in the first half of this year.

“Surround House 2: Monsters in the Orchestra”

Bringing AMD’s Surround Computing vision to life in an overwhelming and unique way, “Surround House 2: Monsters in the Orchestra” engages show-goers in an instrumental performance by a collection of misfit monsters performing in a 360-degree domed theater. This immersive experience uses many of AMD’s current and developing technologies including gesture control optimized by HSA features on the new “Kaveri” APU, next-generation AMD FirePro™ graphics driving 14 million pixels across six projectors, and 32.4 channels of audio processed with AMD TrueAudio technology and presented with Discrete Digital Multipoint Audio.

Building of AMD Surround House 2: Monsters in the Orchestra at CES 2014 [AMD YouTube channel, Jan 6, 2014]

Time lapse video of the construction of AMD Surround House 2: Monsters in the Orchestra dome as part of AMD’s booth at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Oxide Games AMD Mantle Presentation and Demo [AMD YouTube channel, Dec 17, 2013]

At APU13 Oxide Games showed off the first live demo of AMD’s Mantle API. Watch their full presentation and see the results for yourself. Learn more: http://bit.ly/AMD_Mantle

Now it is said by them that AMD Revolutionizes Compute and UltraHD Entertainment with 2014 AMD A-Series Accelerated Processors [press release, Jan 14, 2014]

Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features enable groundbreaking compute performance and define next-gen application acceleration
SUNNYVALE, Calif. —1/14/2014

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today launched the 2014 AMD A-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), the most advanced and developer friendly performance APUs from AMD to date. The AMD A-Series APUs with AMD Radeon™ R7 graphics, codenamed “Kaveri”, are designed with industry-changing new features that deliver superior compute and heart-pounding gaming performance.

New and improved features of the AMD A-Series APUs include: 

  • Up to 12 Compute Cores (4 CPU and 8 GPU) unlocking full APU potential1
  • Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features, a new intelligent computing architecture that enables the CPU and GPU to work in harmony by seamlessly streamlining right tasks to the most suitable processing element, resulting in performance and efficiency for both consumers and developers; 
  • Award-winning Graphics Core Next (GCN) Architecture with powerful AMD Radeon™ R7 Series graphics for performance that commands respect and with support for DirectX 11.22
  • AMD’s acclaimed Mantle, an API that simplifies game optimizations for programmers and developers to raise gaming performance to unprecedented levels when unlocked3
  • AMD TrueAudio Technology, 32-channel surround audio delivering the best in audio realism and immersion4
  • Support for UltraHD (4K) resolutions and new video post processing enhancements that will make 1080p videos look even better when upscaled on UltraHD-enabled monitor or TV5;  
  • FM2+ socket compatibility for a unifying infrastructure that works with APUs and CPUs.

“AMD maintains our technology leadership with the 2014 AMD A-Series APUs, a revolutionary next generation APU that marks a new era of computing,” said Bernd Lienhard, corporate vice president and general manager, Client Business Unit, AMD. “With world-class graphics and compute technology on a single chip, the AMD A-Series APU is an effective and efficient solution for our customers and enable industry-leading computing experiences.”

The A10-7850K and A10-7700K APUs will be bundled with EA’s Battlefield 4, to bring a first-in-class APU gaming experience6.

Product Specifications

AMD A10-7850K with Radeon™ R7 Graphics
AMD A10-7700K with Radeon™ R7 Graphics
AMD A8-7600 with Radeon™ R7 Graphics
$173 USD 
$152 USD 
$119 USD 
Compute Cores
CPU Cores 
GPU Cores1
Max Turbo Core 
Default CPU Frequency 
GPU Frequency 
L2 Cache 

The AMD A-Series APU processor-in-a-box (PIBs) for the AMD A10-7850K and AMD A10-7700K, which started shipping in Q4 2013, are available starting today. The AMD A8-7600 will be shipping in Q1 2014. Additionally, the AMD Radeon™ R9 2400 Gamer Series memory is tested and certified for AMD A10 APUs, unleashing their full potential with AMD Memory Profile technology (AMP) offering speeds up to 2400MHz. For more information, please visit the Radeon Memory product page.  

The AMD A-Series APUs are also available today in PCs from our partner system builders. For more information, please visit our product information page.

Supporting Resources

  1. AMD defines a “Radeon Core” as one Shader/Shader Array. The term “GPU Core” is an evolution of the term “Radeon Core”. “GPU Core” is defined as having 4 SIMDS each comprising of 64 Shaders/Shader Arrays. For example, 512 “Radeon Cores” equals 8 “GPU Cores“ (8 GPU Cores x 4 SIMDs x 16 Shader Arrays = 512 Radeon Cores). Visit www.amd.com/computecores for more information.
  2. The GCN Architecture and its associated features (AMD Enduro™, AMD ZeroCore Power technology, DDM Audio, and 28nm production) are exclusive to the AMD Radeon™ HD 7700M, HD 7800M and HD 7900M Series Graphics and select AMD A-Series APUs. Not all technologies are supported in all system configurations—check with your system manufacturer for specific model capabilities.
  3. Mantle application support is required.
  4. AMD TrueAudio technology is offered by select AMD Radeon™ R9 and R7 200 Series GPUs and select AMD A-Series APUs and is designed to improve acoustic realism.  Requires enabled game or application.  Not all audio equipment supports all audio effects; additional audio equipment may be required for some audio effects. Not all products feature all technologies—check with your component or system manufacturer for specific capabilities.
  5. Requires 4K display and content. Supported resolution varies by GPU model and board design; confirm specifications with manufacturer before purchase.
  6. Battlefield 4 is valued at MSRP $59.99 USD. Bundle offered while supplies last. For more information, please visit: www.amd.com/battlefield4offer.
  7. SEP [suggested e-tail pricing] as of January 14, 2014.

See also:
AMD Kaveri Review: A8-7600 and A10-7850K Tested [AnandTech, Jan 14, 2014]
Surround House 2: Monsters in the Orchestra [AMD ‘Innovations We Pioneer’, Jan 8, 2014]
AMD Announces New Unified SDK, Tools and Accelerated Libraries for Heterogeneous Computing Developers [press release, Nov 11, 2013]

APU13 serves as launch platform for new developer tools and sheds light on upcoming third generation APU, “Kaveri”

… AMD also announced today at APU13 details about “Kaveri,” the third generation performance APU from AMD, during a keynote delivered by Dr. Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager, Global Business Units, AMD.

“Kaveri” is the first APU with HSA features, AMD TrueAudio technology and AMD’s Mantle API combining to bring the next level of graphics, compute and efficiency to desktops (FM2+), notebooks, embedded APUs and servers.  FM2+ shipments to customers are slated to begin in late 2013 with initial availability in customer desktop offerings scheduled for Jan. 14, 2014. Further details will be announced at CES 2014. …

AMD Unveils Innovative New APUs and SoCs that Give Consumers a More Exciting and Immersive Experience [press release, Jan 7, 2013]

… AMD also introduced the new APU codenamed “Richland” which is currently shipping to OEMs and delivers visual performance increases ranging from more than 20 percent to up to 40 percent over the previous generation of AMD A-Series APUs1. “Richland” is expected to come bundled with new software for consumers such as gesture- and facial-recognition to dramatically expand and enhance consumers’ user experiences. The follow-on to “Richland” will be the 28nm APU codenamed “Kaveri” with revolutionary heterogeneous system architecture (HSA) features which is expected to begin shipping to customers in the second half of 2013. …

The Cortex-A53 as the Cortex-A7 replacement core is succeeding as a sweet-spot IP for various 64-bit high-volume market SoCs to be delivered from H2 CY14 on

… not suprisingly as it is built on the same micro-architecture. Even Intel will manufacture Cortex-A53 based SoCs for Altera (Stratix 10 FPGA SoCs) in 2015 on its leading edge Tri-Gate (FinFET) 14nm process.

With MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 21, 2013] MediaTek will follow up with a 4G LTE MT6595 version in January, and with a 64-bit version based on Cortex-A53 instead of Cortex-A7 in H2 CY14. In this way it will be able to compete head-on with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 in the most lucrative high-volume market.

imageAccording to 大陸4G啟動 聯發科快攻 [Commercial Times, Dec 10, 2013]: “MediaTek MT6590’s first 4G modem chip is expected to begin shipping next month, in addition to 4G systems integration single chip (SoC) MT6595 has appeared earlier this month in the customer’s specification sheet, and 8-core as the main design, not difficult to see MediaTek ambition to expand high-end market.

MediaTek delivering 4G LTE chips for verification, say paper [DIGITIMES, Dec 18, 2013]

MediaTek reportedly has delivered its first 4G LTE chip, the MT6590, to potential clients for verification. The chips are expected to begin generating revenues for the IC design house in the first quarter of 2014, according to a Chinese-language Liberty Times report. The MT6590 supports five modes and 10 frequency bands.

The news echoes earlier remarks by MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-chiang stating the company plans to launch 4G chips at year-end 2013 with end-market devices powered by the 4G chips to be available in the first quarter of 2014, the paper added.

Citing data from JPMorgan Chase, the paper said shipments of MediaTek’s first 8-core chip, the MT6592, are higher than expected and shipment momentum is likely to continue into the first quarter of 2014.

The latest news: Chipset vendors to showcase 64-bit smartphone solutions at CES 2014 [DIGITIMES, Dec 23, 2013]

Chipset players including Qualcomm, Nvidia, Marvell Technology and Broadcom all are expected to showcase 64-bit processors for smartphone applications at the upcoming CES 2014 trade show, a move which will add pressure on Taiwan-based MediaTek in its efforts to expand market share with its newly released 8-core CPUs, according to industry sources.

Qualcomm has already unveiled a 64-bit-chip, the Snapdragon 410, and is expected to begin sampling in the first half of 2014, according to the company.

Nvidia, which is familiar with 64-bit computing architectures, is expected to start volume production of 64-bit chips for smartphones in the first half of 2014 at the earliest, said industry sources.

Marvell and Broadcom are also expected to highlight their 64-bit chips at CES 2014, kicking off competition in the 64-bit chipset segment, note the sources.

Meanwhile, the vendors, as well as China-based chipset suppliers Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics, will also exert efforts to take market share from MediaTek in the entry-level to mid-range chipset segment in 2014, commented the sources.

From: 64-bit smartphones to be ushered in 2014, say sources [DIGITIMES, Dec 11, 2013]

… Qualcomm has also claimed that the Snapdragon 410 will support all major operating systems, including Android, Windows Phone and Firefox OS and that Qualcomm Reference Design versions of the processor will be available to enable rapid development time and reduce OEM R&D, designed to provide a comprehensive mobile device platform. However, the observers noted that the Snapdragon 410 chips are aiming at the mid-range LTE smartphone segment, particularly the sub-CNY1,000 (US$165) sector in China. The launch of the mid-range 64-bit Snapdragon chips also aims to widen its lead against Taiwan-based rival MediaTek in the China market, the sources added. Qualcomm said the Snapdragon 410 processor is expected to be in commercial devices in the second half of 2014. …

Samsung Electronics is also believed to be working on its own 64-bit CPUs in house and expected to launch 64-bit capable flagship models in the first half of 2014 at the earliest, said the observers.

The 64-bit versions of CPUs from MediaTek, Broadcom and Nvidia are likely to come in late 2014 or in 2015, added the sources.

Google is expected to accelerate the upgrading of its Android platform, providing an environment for software developers to work on related 64-bit applications, commented the sources.

Taiwan IC suppliers developing chips for MediaTek smartphone solutions [DIGITIMES, Dec 18, 2013]

MediaTek’s growing shipments of smartphone solutions, which are expected to top 200 million units in 2013 and 300 million units in 2014, have encouraged Taiwan-based suppliers of LCD driver ICs, power management ICs, ambient light sensors, gyroscopes, touchscreen controller ICs and MEMS microphones to develop chips that can be incorporated into these smartphone solutions, according to industry sources.

MediaTek has been focusing its R&D efforts on developments of 4- and 8-core and 4G CPUs as well as wireless chips in order to maintain its competitiveness, while relying on other IC vendors to complete its smartphone solution platforms, the sources noted.

With MediaTek’s smartphone solution shipments expected to reach 30 million units a month in 2014, any suppliers which can deliver IC parts for MediaTek’s smartphone platforms will see their revenues and profits grow substantially in 2014, the sources said.

Qualcomm Technologies Introduces Snapdragon 410 Chipset with Integrated 4G LTE World Mode for High-Volume Smartphones [press release, Dec 9, 2013]

4G LTE, 64-Bit Processing Expands Qualcomm Technologies’ Global Product Offerings and Reference Design Program

SAN DIEGO – December 09, 2013 – Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has introduced the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 chipset with integrated 4G LTE World Mode. The delivery of faster connections is important to the growth and adoption of smartphones in emerging regions, and Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets are poised to address the needs of consumers as 4G LTE begins to ramp in China.

The new Snapdragon 410 chipsets are manufactured using 28nm process technology. They feature processors that are 64-bit capable along with superior graphics performance with the Adreno 306 GPU, 1080p video playback and up to a 13 Megapixel camera. Snapdragon 410 chipsets integrate 4G LTE and 3G cellular connectivity for all major modes and frequency bands across the globe and include support for Dual and Triple SIM. Together with Qualcomm RF360 Front End Solution, Snapdragon 410 chipsets will have multiband and multimode support. Snapdragon 410 chipsets also feature Qualcomm Technologies’ Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and NFC functionality, and support all major navigation constellations: GPS, GLONASS, and China’s new BeiDou, which helps deliver enhanced accuracy and speed of Location data to Snapdragon-enabled handsets.

The chipset also supports all major operating systems, including the Android, Windows Phone and Firefox operating systems. Qualcomm Reference Design versions of the processor will be available to enable rapid development time and reduce OEM R&D, designed to provide a comprehensive mobile device platform. The Snapdragon 410 processor is anticipated to begin sampling in the first half of 2014 and expected to be in commercial devices in the second half of 2014.

Qualcomm Technologies also announced for the first time the intention to make 4G LTE available across all of the Snapdragon product tiers. The Snapdragon 410 processor gives the 400 product tier several 4G LTE options for high-volume mobile devices, as the third LTE-enabled solution in the product tier. By offering 4G LTE variants to its entry level smartphone lineup, Qualcomm Technologies ensures that emerging regions are equipped for this transition while also having every major 2G and 3G technology available to them. Qualcomm Technologies offers OEMs and operators differentiation through a rich feature set upon which to build innovative high-volume smartphones for budget-conscious consumers.

“We are excited to bring 4G LTE to highly affordable smartphones at a sub $150 ( ̴ 1,000 RMB) price point with the introduction of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor,” said Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Qualcomm Technologies, China. “The Snapdragon 410 chipset will also be the first of many 64-bit capable processors as Qualcomm Technologies helps lead the transition of the mobile ecosystem to 64-bit processing.”

Qualcomm Technologies will release the Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) version of the Snapdragon 410 processor with support for Qualcomm RF360™ Front End Solution. The QRD program offers Qualcomm Technologies’ leading technical innovation, easy customization options, the QRD Global Enablement Solution which features regional software packages, modem configurations, testing and acceptance readiness for regional operator requirements, and access to a broad ecosystem of hardware component vendors and software application developers. Under the QRD program, customers can rapidly deliver differentiated smartphones to value-conscious consumers. There have been more than 350 public QRD-based product launches to date in collaboration with more than 40 OEMs in 18 countries.

Note that just 18 days before that there was the news that Qualcomm Technologies Announces Next Generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 “Ultra HD” Processor [press release, Nov 20, 2013]

Mobile Technology Leader Announces its Highest Performance Processor Designed to Deliver the Highest Quality Mobile Video, Camera and Graphics to Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Tier
NEW YORK – November 20, 2013 – Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., introduced the next generation mobile processor of the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 tier, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, which is designed to deliver the highest-quality mobile video, imaging and graphics experiences at Ultra HD (4K) resolution, both on device and via Ultra HD TVs. Featuring the new Adreno 420 GPU, with up to 40 percent more graphics processing power than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 805 processor is the first mobile processor to offer system-level Ultra HD support, 4K video capture and playback and enhanced dual camera Image Signal Processors (ISPs), for superior performance, multitasking, power efficiency and mobile user experiences.
The Snapdragon 805 processor is Qualcomm Technologies’ newest and highest performing Snapdragon processor to date, featuring:
– Blazing fast apps and web browsing and outstanding performance: Krait 450 quad-core CPU, the first mobile CPU to run at speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core, plus superior memory bandwidth support of up to 25.6 GB/second that is designed to provide unprecedented multimedia and web browsing performance.
– Smooth, sharp user interface and games support Ultra HD resolution: The mobile industry’s first end-to-end Ultra HD solution with on-device display concurrent with output to HDTV; features Qualcomm Technologies’ new Adreno 420 GPU, which introduces support for hardware tessellation and geometry shaders, for advanced 4K rendering, with even more realistic scenes and objects, visually stunning user interface, graphics and mobile gaming experiences at lower power.
– Fast, seamless connected mobile experiences: Custom, efficient integration with either the Qualcomm® Gobi™ MDM9x25 or the Gobi MDM9x35 modem, powering superior seamless connected mobile experiences. The Gobi MDM9x25 chipset announced in February 2013 has seen significant adoption as the first embedded, mobile computing solution to support LTE carrier aggregation and LTE Category 4 with superior peak data rates of up to 150Mbps. Additionally, Qualcomm’s most advanced Wi-Fi for mobile, 2-stream dual-band Qualcomm® VIVE™ 802.11ac, enables wireless 4K video streaming and other media-intensive applications. With a low-power PCIe interface to the QCA6174, tablets and high-end smartphones can take advantage of faster mobile Wi-Fi performance (over 600 Mbps), extended operating range and concurrent Bluetooth connections, with minimal impact on battery life.
– Ability to stream more video content at higher quality using less power: Support for Hollywood Quality Video (HQV) for video post processing, first to introduce hardware 4K HEVC (H.265) decode for mobile for extremely low-power HD video playback.
– Sharper, higher resolution photos in low light and advanced post-processing features: First Gpixel/s throughput camera support in a mobile processor designed for a significant increase in camera speed and imaging quality. Sensor processing with gyro integration enables image stabilization for sharper, crisper photos. Qualcomm Technologies is the first to announce a mobile processor with advanced, low-power, integrated sensor processing, enabled by its custom DSP, designed to deliver a wide range of sensor-enabled mobile experiences.
“Using a smartphone or tablet powered by Snapdragon 805 processor is like having an UltraHD home theater in your pocket, with 4K video, imaging and graphics, all built for mobile,” said Murthy Renduchintala, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and co-president, QCT. “We’re delivering the mobile industry’s first truly end-to-end Ultra HD solution, and coupled with our industry leading Gobi LTE modems and RF transceivers, streaming and watching content at 4K resolution will finally be possible.”
The Snapdragon 805 processor is sampling now and expected to be available in commercial devices by the first half of 2014.

The original value proposition was presented in the brief Brian Jeff highlights the ARM® Cortex™-A53 processor [ARMflix YouTube channel, Oct 30, 2012] video as follows

Brian Jeff highlights the ARM® Cortex™-A53 processor, ARM’s most efficient application processor ever, delivering today’s mainstream smartphone experience in a quarter of the power in the respective process nodes.

The Top 5 Things to Know about Cortex-A53 [Brian Jeff on ‘ARM Connected Community’, Oct 28, 2013]

The Cortex-A53 was introduced to the market in October 2012, delivering the ARMv8 instruction set and significantly increased performance in a highly efficient power and area footprint. It is available for licensing now, and will be deployed in silicon in early 2014 by multiple ARM partners. There are a few key aspects of the Cortex-A53 that developers, OEMs, and SoC designers should know:

1. ARM low power / high efficiency heritage

The ARM9 is the most licensed processor in ARM’s history with over 250 licenses sold. It identified a very important power/cost sweet spot.The Cortex-A5 (launched in 2009) was designed to fit in the CPU same power and area footprint,

image    ARM926-based feature phone (Nokia E60).

while delivering significantly higher performance and power-efficiency, and bring it to modern ARMv7 feature set – software compatibility with the high end of the processor roadmap (then Cortex-A9)


The Cortex-A53 is built around a simple pipeline, 8 stages long with in-order execution like the Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A5 processors that preceded it. An instruction traversing a simple pipeline requires fewer registers and switches less logic to fetch, decode, issue, execute, and write back the results than a more complex pipeline microarchitecture. Simpler pipelines are smaller and lower power. The high efficiency Cortex-A CPU product line, consisting of Cortex-A5, Cortex-A7, and Cortex-A53, takes a design approach prioritizing efficiency first, then seeking as much performance as possible at the maximum efficiency. The added performance in each successive generation in this series comes from advances in the memory system, increasing dual-issue capability, expanded internal busses, and improved branch prediction.

2. ARM v8-A Architecture

The Cortex-A53 is fully compliant with the ARMv8-A architecture, which is the latest ARM architecture and introduces support for 64b operation while maintaining 100% backward compatibility with the broadly deployed ARMv7 architecture. The processor can switch between AArch32 and AArch64 modes of operation to allow 32bit apps and 64bit apps to run together on top of a 64bit operating system. This dual execution state support allows maximum flexibility for developers and SoC designers in managing the rollout of 64bit support in different markets. ARMv8-A brings additional features (more registers, new instructions) that bring increased performance and Cortex-A53 is able to take advantage of these.

3. Higher performance than Cortex-A9: smaller and more efficient too

The Cortex-A9 features an out-of-order pipeline, dual issue capability, and a longer pipeline than Cortex-A53 that enables 15% higher frequency operation. However the Cortex-A53 achieves higher single thread performance by pushing a simpler design farther – some of the key factors enabling the performance of the Cortex-A53 include the integrated low latency level 2 cache, the larger 512 entry main TLB, and the complex branch predictor. The Cortex-A9 has set the bar for the high end of the smartphone market through 2012 – by matching and exceeding that level of performance in a smaller footprint and power budget, the Cortex-A53 delivers performance to entry level devices that was previously enjoyed by high-end flagship mobile devicesin a lower power budget and at lower cost. The graph below compares the single thread performance of the high efficiency Cortex-A processors with the Cortex-A9. At the same frequency, Cortex-A53 delivers more than 20% higher instruction throughput than the Cortex-A9 for representative workloads.


4. Supports big.LITTLE with Cortex-A57

The Cortex-A53 is architecturally identical to the higher performance Cortex-A57 processor, and can be integrated with it in a big.LITTLE processor subsystem. big.LITTLE enables peak performance and extreme efficiency by distributing work to the right-sized processor for the task at hand.

It is described in more detail here – Ten Things to Know About big.LITTLE


The diagram above shows Cortex-A53 combined with Cortex-A57 and a Mali-T628Graphics processor in an example system. The CCI-400 cache coherent interconnect allows the 2 CPU clusters to be combined in a seamless way that allows software to manage the task allocation in a highly transparent way, as described in <link – software>. The big.LITTLE system enables peak performance at low average power.

Cortex-A53 in ideal for use in a standalone use scenario, delivering excellent performance at very low power and area enabling new features to be supported in the low cost smartphone segments  Our new LITTLE processor packs a performance punch.

Read more about that in a somewhat humorous blog on Cortex-A53 from the product launch – ARM Cortex-A53 — Who You callin’ LITTLE?

5. Extensive feature set for broad application support

The Cortex-A53 includes a feature set that allows it to be configured and optimized through physical implementation tailored to mobile SoCs and to  scalable enterprise systems

Mobile Features

Enterprise Features

  • AMBA 4 ACE Coherent bus
  • big.LITTLE processing (2 CPU Clusters) with CCI-400 interconnect
  • AMBA5 CHI Coherent bus

Scalable to 4 or more coherent CPU clustersfor low-cost servers or networking infrastructure devices.

  • 16-core systems with  CCN-504 or 32-core systems with CCN-508 – all on a single silicon die.

Small area, low power design

Optimized for <150mW envelope

Small area, low power design.

Likely still optimized for 150 mW. However, higher performance implementations can be used

ECC, parity available, but configurable if not needed

ECC and parity protection required for enterprise applications

See also:

ARM Cortex-A53 — Who You callin’ LITTLE? [Brian Jeff on ‘ARM Connected Community’, Oct 30, 2013]

I may only weigh in at just over half a square millimeter on die, but I can handle a heavy workload and I pack quite a processing punch, and frankly I’m tired of the lack of respect I get as a “LITTLE” processor. I am the CortexTM-A53 processor from ARM, some of you may have previously known me by my code name “Apollo”. Despite being three times as efficient as my big brother, the Cortex-A57, and delivering more performance than today’s current heavyweight champ the Cortex-A9, I am often overlooked.

Processor designers and consumers alike look to the big core, the top end MHz figure, and the number of big processors in the system when they evaluate devices like premium smartphones and tablets. What they don’t realize is that I’m the one running during most of the time the mobile applications cluster is awake, and I’m the one that will enable improvements in battery life even as delivered peak performance increases dramatically. It is high time that the LITTLE processor gets the respect and appreciation that is due.

I’m speaking not just for myself here, but for my close cousin the Cortex-A7. We’re built from the same DNA, so to speak, sharing the same 8-stage pipeline and in-order structure. We both consume about the same level of power on our respective production process nodes, and although I bring added performance and support 64-bit, we are both quite alike. We are 100% code compatible for 32-bit code after all. And yet we don’t get the respect we deserve. It is an injustice, really.

In high-end mobile devices, my cousin the Cortex-A7 is always telling me how everyone wants to hear about how fast the Cortex-A15 is in the system, how many Cortex-A15 CPUs are in the system, and how many MaliTM GPU cores are built into the SoC. They don’t even notice if there are four Cortex-A7 cores in the design capable of delivering plenty of performance — more performance than a lot of smartphones in the market today.  They just expect battery life to improve without giving any credit to the LITTLE processor that makes it possible.

Well they will soon see… big.LITTLE processors are coming into the market next year, nearly sampling already, and the capability of the LITTLE processor will be in full view, let me tell you.

Oh, and another thing — in the enterprise space, what they call “big Iron” — there is almost no recognition of the worth of small processors there. Sure, new designs are considering LITTLE processors in many-core topologies with ARM’s CoreLinkTM Cache Coherent Network (CCN) interconnect, but look at the products that are deployed today — they are mostly based on big cores, the bigger the better. Nowhere is this more evident than in the server space, where IT managers brag about how big their server racks are. Just wait and see. New server processors are being developed based on ARM, where even my big brother the Cortex-A57 is about an order of magnitude smaller and lower power than the incumbent processors. I’m in a different weight class altogether, but I can hang with the big boys on total performance. Purpose-built servers using lots of Cortex-A53 cores can deliver even more aggregate performance in a given power and thermal envelope. But are we LITTLE cores getting much attention in servers today? No. Well just watch and see. In 2015 when the first Cortex-A50 series 64-bit processors are built for lower power servers, you won’t be able to help but notice that LITTLE processors can get key jobs done in a lot less energy.

So I may be the same size relative to my Cortex-A57 big brother as the Cortex-A7 is to the Cortex-A15, but OEMs and consumers better not underestimate me. I’ve been going through intensive work these past 2 years to build up my muscles in the places that count: my SIMD performance is way up thanks to the improved NEONTM architectural support in ARMv8 and a much wider NEON datapath. I can dual-issue almost anything. My memory system is also juiced up, as is my branch predictor capability. That’s how I can pack a bigger punch than Cortex-A9 at around a quarter the power in our respective process nodes.

That’s all I’m saying, man. You gotta respect the LITTLE processor.


AnandTech Live with ARM’s Peter Greenhalgh [anandshimpi YouTube channel, Dec 20, 2013]

A live chat with ARM Fellow and Lead Architect on Cortex A53, Peter Greenhalgh

From the earlier: Answered by the Experts: ARM’s Cortex A53 Lead Architect, Peter Greenhalgh [AnandTech, Dec 17, 2013]

Cortex-A53 has been designed to be able to easily replace Cortex-A7. For example, Cortex-A7 supports the same bus-interface standards (and widths) as Cortex-A7 which allows a partner who has already built a Cortex-A7 platform to rapidly convert to Cortex-A53.

A Cortex-A53 cluster only supports up to 4-cores. If more than 4-cores are required in a platform then multiple clusters can be implemented and coherently connected using an interconnect such as CCI-400. The reason for not scaling to 8-cores per cluster is that the L2 micro-architecture would need to either compromise energy-efficiency in the 1-4 core range to achieve performance in the 4-8 core range, or compromise performance in the 4-8 core range to maximise energy-efficiency in the 1-4 core range.

We expect to see a range of platform configurations using Cortex-A53. A 4+4 Cortex-A53 platform configuration is fully supported and a logical progression from a 4+4 Cortex-A7 platform.

We’re pretty happy with the 8-stage (integer) Cortex-A53 pipeline and it has served us well across the Cortex-A53, Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A5 family. So far it’s scaled nicely from 65nm to 16nm and frequencies approaching 2GHz so there’s no reason to think this won’t hold true in the future.

Cortex-A53 has the same pipeline length as Cortex-A7 so I would expect to see similar frequencies when implemented on the same process geometry. Within the same pipeline length the design team focussed on increasing dual-issue, in-order performance as far as we possibly could. This involved symmetric dual-issue of most of the instruction set, more forwarding paths in the datapaths, reduced issue latency, larger & more associative TLB, vastly increased conditional and indirect branch prediction resources and expanded instruction and data prefetching. The result of all these changes is an increase in SPECInt-2000 performance from 0.35-SPEC/Mhz on Cortex-A7 to 0.50-SPEC/Mhz on Cortex-A53. This should provide a noticeable performance uplift on the next generation of smartphones using Cortex-A53.

Due to the power-efficiency of Cortex-A53 on a 28nm platform, all 4 cores can comfortably be executing at 1.4GHz in less than 750mW which is easily sustainable in a current smartphone platform even while the GPU is in operation.

The performance per watt (energy efficiency) of Cortex-A53 is very similar to Cortex-A7. Certainly within the variation you would expect with different implementations. Largely this is down to learning from Cortex-A7 which was applied to Cortex-A53 both in performance and power.

Intel to make ARM Processors, firstly 64bit 14nm ARM Cortex-A53 ARMv8 for Altera [Charbax YouTube channel, Oct 31, 2013]

Nathan Brookwood is an Analyst and Research Fellow at Insight 64, he is the source for the Forbes article http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeanbaptiste/2013/10/29/exclusive-intel-opens-fabs-to-arm-chips/ The new Intel CEO has changed Intel’s policy, now deciding that it’s actually OK to manufacture ARM Processors in their Fab. Possibly now Intel is also going to make ARM Processors for Apple, Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD or someone else, possibly also even for themselves, possibly releasing a whole range of Intel ARM Processors to launch if Intel cares to have some reach into Smartphones, Tablets, ARM Laptops, Smart TVs, ARM Desktops, ARM Servers, I think Intel doesn’t need to not contribute to each of those ARM categories themselves too and by fabricating for Chip Makers, it depends what the new Intel CEO finds to be the thing to do for them.

Altera Announces Quad-Core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 for Stratix 10 SoCs [press release, Oct 29, 2013]

Manufactured on Intel’s 14 nm Tri-Gate Process, Altera Stratix® 10 SoCs Will Deliver Industry’s Most Versatile Heterogeneous Computing Platform


Santa Clara, Calif., ARM TechCon, October 29, 2013Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) today announced that its Stratix 10 SoC devices, manufactured on Intel’s 14 nm Tri-Gate process, will incorporate a high-performance, quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex™-A53 processor system, complementing the device’s floating-point digital signal processing (DSP) blocks and high-performance FPGA fabric. Coupled with Altera’s advanced system-level design tools, including OpenCL, this versatile heterogeneous computing platform will offer exceptional adaptability, performance, power efficiency and design productivity for a broad range of applications, including data center computing acceleration, radar systems and communications infrastructure.

From: Intel fabs Altera’s Stratix 10 FPGA with four ARM A53 cores [SemiAccurate, Nov 5, 2013]: Altera representatives at Techcon said that the beast would tape out in Q4/2014 or about a year from now.

From: Pigs Fly. Altera Goes with ARM on Intel 14nm [SemiWiki.com, Oct 29, 2013]:

I asked Altera about the schedule for all of this. Currently they have over 100 customers using the beta release of their software to model their applications in the Stratix 10. They have taped out a test-chip that is currently in the Intel fab. In the first half of next year they will have a broader release of the software to everyone. They will tape out the actual designs late in 2014 and have volume production starting in early 2015.

Why did they pick this processor? It has the highest power efficiency of any 64-bit processor. Plus it is backwards compatible with previous Altera families which used (32-bit) ARM Cortex-A9. The A53 has a 32-bit mode that is completely binary compatible with the A9. As I reported last week from the Linley conference, ARM is on a roll into communications infrastructure, enterprise and datacenter so there is a huge overlap between the target markets for the A53 and the target markets for the Stratix 10 SoCs.

The ARM Cortex-A53 processor, the first 64-bit processor used on a SoC FPGA, is an ideal fit for use in Stratix 10 SoCs due to its performance, power efficiency, data throughput and advanced features. The Cortex-A53 is among the most power efficient of ARM’s application-class processors, and when delivered on the 14 nm Tri-Gate process will achieve more than six times more data throughput compared to today’s highest performing SoC FPGAs. The Cortex-A53 also delivers important features, such as virtualization support, 256TB memory reach and error correction code (ECC) on L1 and L2 caches. Furthermore, the Cortex-A53 core can run in 32-bit mode, which will run Cortex-A9 operating systems and code unmodified, allowing a smooth upgrade path from Altera’s 28 nm and 20 nm SoC FPGAs.

“ARM is pleased to see Altera adopting the lowest power 64-bit architecture as an ideal complement to DSP and FPGA processing elements to create a cutting-edge heterogeneous computing platform,” said Tom Cronk, executive vice president and general manager, Processor Division, ARM. “The Cortex-A53 processor delivers industry-leading power efficiency and outstanding performance levels, and it is supported by the ARM ecosystem and its innovative software community.”

Leveraging Intel’s 14 nm Tri-Gate process and an enhanced high-performance architecture, Altera Stratix 10 SoCs will have a programmable-logic performance level of more than 1GHz; two times the core performance of current high-end 28 nm FPGAs.

“High-end networking and communications infrastructure are rapidly migrating toward heterogeneous computing architectures to achieve maximum system performance and power efficiency,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group, a leading embedded research firm. “What Altera is doing with its Stratix 10 SoC, both in terms of silicon convergence and high-level design tool support, puts the company at the forefront of delivering heterogeneous computing platforms and positions them well to capitalize on myriad opportunities.”

By standardizing on ARM processors across its three-generation SoC portfolio, Altera will offer software compatibility and a common ARM ecosystem of tools and operating system support. Embedded developers will be able to accelerate debug cycles with Altera’s SoC Embedded Design Suite (EDS) featuring the ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5™) Altera® Edition toolkit, the industry’s only FPGA-adaptive debug tool, as well as use Altera’s software development kit (SDK) for OpenCL to create heterogeneous implementations using the OpenCL high-level design language.

“With Stratix 10 SoCs, designers will have a versatile and powerful heterogeneous compute platform enabling them to innovate and get to market faster,” said Danny Biran, senior vice president, corporate strategy and marketing at Altera. “This will be very exciting for customers as converged silicon continues to be the best solution for complex, high-performance applications.”

About Altera

Altera® programmable solutions enable designers of electronic systems to rapidly and cost effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets. Altera offers FPGAs, SoCs, CPLDs, ASICs and complementary technologies, such as power management, to provide high-value solutions to customers worldwide. Follow Altera viaFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and RSS, andsubscribe to product update emails and newsletters.  altera.com

My Altera will use Intel Custom Foundry’s 14 nm Tri-Gate (FinFET) process services to produce its new high-end SoC FPGA with 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 IP [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 1, 2013] post was already answering in detail the following questions that arised from the above announcement:

  1. Why FPGAs? Why more FPGAs?
  2. Why SoC FPGAs?
  3. Why ARM with FPGA on the Intel Tri-Gate (FinFET) process, and why now?
  4. OpenCL for FPGAs
  5. Altera SoC FPGAs

ARM Cortex-A12 CPU cores and Mali-T622 GPU cores with Process Optimization Packs (POPs), plus Mali-V500 video block for mid-range mobile devices of the end of 2014

in order to cover (very competitively) the hole existing in ARM-based SoCs so far:

Arm unveiled the Cortex A12 processor during a news conference at Computex in Taipei on June 3, 2013.

AnandTech’s judgement about the Cortex-A12 announcement:

… The Cortex A9 is too slow to compete with the likes of Intel’s Atom and Qualcomm’s Krait 200/300 based SoCs. The Cortex A15 on the other hand outperforms both of those solutions, but at considerably higher power and die area requirements. … The Cortex A15 island in Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa occupies 5x the die area as the A7 island, and consumes nearly 6x the power. In exchange for 5x the area and 6x the performance, the Cortex A15 offers under 4x the performance. It’s not exactly an area or power efficient solution, but a great option for anyone looking to push the performance envelope. Today, ARM is addressing that hole with the Cortex A12. …
Asked at a Taipei news conference about the future of Intel’s x86 architecture, rival Arm said it still sees life in the platform.

AnandTech’s judgement about Mali-T622 and Mali-V500 announcements:

… The Mali-T622 is a 2-core implementation of the 2nd generation Mali-T600 GPU architecture that we first learned about with the 8-core T628. Each shader core features two ALUs, an LSU and a texture unit. … On the video front, the Mali-V500 video encode/decode block is a multi-core engine used for all video acceleration. The V500 allegedly supports up to 100Mbps High Profile H.264, although details are scarce on more specifics. ARM claims support for up to 120 fps 4K video decode with an 8-core V500 implementation. Mali-V500 also features a protected video path, necessary for gaining content owner support for high-bitrate/high-resolution video decode. The V500 also supports ARM’s Frame Buffer Compression (AFBC), a lossless compression algorithm that can supposedly reduce memory bandwidth traffic by up to 50%. There’s presently no frame buffer compression in Mali GPUs today, but ARM expects to eventually roll AFBC out to Mali GPUs as well.

Announcement information from ARM:

POP IP for the Cortex-A12 processor core 
– The only implementation solution that is co-developed along with the processor itself
– The processor RTL and the POP implementation feed off each other and are thoroughly co-optimized
– Lower the risk to end customers and those designers starting from scratch with a new processor core
– Save months of effort optimizing the implementation
POP IP for Mali-T622 GPU core 
– Eliminates the iterative guess work required to find the most optimal implementation
– Enables best-in-class PPA and frames per second metrics coupled with highly flexible implementation
More information: POP IP for the Cortex-A12 Processor: Enabling the Next Billion Smartphones [June 3, 2013]

New ground-up design for mid-range mobile
– OoO, Dual-Issue, 11 stage dynamic length pipeline
– Tightly integrated, high-performance NEON and FPU units
Perfectly balanced design for best efficiency
– Highly optimized L1 and L2 memory sub-system
– Ideal for current and upcoming mobile workloads
Flexible interface options to adapt for use-case
– 128-bit AMBA ACE – System coherency with CPUs or GPUs
– Accelerator Coherency Port (ACP) – I/O coherency with DMA
– Peripheral Port – For low-latency peripherals elmiminating DDR traffic congestion
More information: Cortex-A12: Diversification in the Mobile Market – Serving the Mid-Range [June 3, 2013]

Smallest GPU Compute solution in the market
– Renderscript Compute and OpenCL 1.1 Full Profile
50% energy-efficiency improvements over Mali-T600 series
Richest user experience with OpenGL ES 3.0
More information: Mali-T622 – Bringing Full Profile GPU Compute to mid-range devices [June 3, 2013]

1080p60 HD encode/decode
Optimized for lowest cost and power
– AFBC gives 50% lower memory bandwidth
TrustZone secure video path
– Premium content protection
More information: A new branch for the Mali family tree: Mali Video, featuring the Mali-V500  [June 3, 2013]

ARM Targets 580 Million Mid-Range Mobile Devices with New Suite of IP [press release, June 3, 2013]

News Highlights:

  • Faster time to market and less design risk with suite of IP including: 
    ARM Cortex-A12 processor, Mali-T622 GPU, Mali-V500 video solution and POP IP technology;
  • 580 million mid-range smartphones and tablets are forecast to be sold in 2015
  • Cortex-A12 processor delivers 40 percent more performance than Cortex-A9 and brings premium features such as virtualization to the mid-range mobile device market; efficiency profile also makes it ideal for DTV and home networking;
  • Cortex-A12 processor brings optimum performance and maximum efficiency of big.LITTLE processing to mid-range smartphones and tablets;
  • Mali-T622 GPU offers an efficient and qualified OpenGL ES 3.0 solution and smallest Full Profile GPU Compute solution, putting even greater compute power into the hands of more mobile users;
  • Mali-V500 video IP solution reduces system bandwidth and power, while enabling the protection of premium video content with TrustZone support.

The essence is that the first Cortex-A12 based SoCs are expected by mid-2014
– for mid-range devices (smartphones and tablets) in the $200 … $350 price range by late 2014 to early 2015  
– with Cortex-A7/A15 architectural compatibity, thus in big.LITTLE configurations with either core, supporting 40-bit addressing (up to 1 TB) and virtualization
– plus providing the highest efficiency in pairing with Cortex-A7 core
– as the follow-up with +40% performance to the current SoCs for mid-range devices based on Cortex-A9 SoCs

The SoC ramp-up of about one year or so is compared to not less than two years ramp-up for Cortex-A9 based SoCs. This is the result of significant progress with Process Optimization Pack technology of ARM which was first time developed along with the processor and GPU cores themselves. It is available now for TSMC 28HPM process technology for lead partners. Six of them are already starting their SoC design. Moreover it will also be available at GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28-SLP HKMG process technology in Q4 2013. So it is also first time as such complete sourcing from two foundries will be available for SoC vendors so early on. GLOBALFOUNDRIES is even going to achieve up to 70 percent higher performance in comparison to a Cortex-A9 processor core using 40nm process technology. Competition between those 2 foundries will understandably be very strong as the 2015 mid-range smartphone and tablet market is expected to be not less than 580 million units.

In comparison the Cortex-A9 core was announced in October 2007 and released in 2008
now contributes to approximately one-third of all smartphone shipments worldwide
real development opportunities began in H2 2009 with possibility to go even against Intel Atom (source: Computex 2009 – Warren East Presentation [ARM Holdings, June 1, 2009]):
with improving Cortex-A9 performance on 45nm process achieved through:
– 56% improvement from processor and physical IP optimisations
– 44% improvement from other techniques
The first SoC products based on 45nm technology came in 2011, namely:
NXP PNX 847x/8x/9x set-top box SoCs sampling in January 2010. However a month later the business related to these products was sold to Trident Microsystems (see the PNX8490/PNX8491 datasheet of February 2010) and as Trident had experienced continuing operating losses it filed for bankruptcy in January 2012. Its set-top box SoC business had been taken over by Entropic Communications, Inc. in April 2012. Although only the PNX8475 is currently offered by Entropic the original Cortex-A9 related SoC know-how is flourishing quite well there (see also: 1, 2, 3 and 4).
Samsung Orion application processor, later renamed into Samsung Exynos 4210 then further into Exynos 4 Dual, announced in September 2010 for sampling in Q4 2010 and mass production in H1 2011. It first came out with the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone announced in February 2011 for May 2011 delivery. Other Samsung smartphone and tablet products then followed.
Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 and OMAP 4440 (later renamed OMAP 4460) application processors announced in February 2009 for sampling in H2 2009 and expected production by the second half of 2010, but actually debuted a year later in February 2010 with sampling available and expected production in H2 2010. The first product based on OMAP 4430 was the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet announced in September 2010 for early 2011 availability but becoming available in June 2011 only. Smartphone products from Motorola (a lot, also a few tablets) and LG (a few) followed that, as well as a number of tablet products from Archos and most notably the Kindle Fire from Amazon, and the Nook from Barnes & Noble.

ARM is representing and projecting the evolution of the market since then as follows:image
More information about that was provided in:
Cortex-A12: Diversification in the Mobile Market – Serving the Mid-Range [ARM Smart Connected Devices blog, June 3, 2013]

Mobile devices have become indispensable in North America, Europe, and much of Asia, and are becoming the primary compute platforms for people in emerging markets. We are entering a new era of computing, the post-PC era. ARM® technology has been at the heart of the mobile revolution for over twenty years and continues to be the bedrock of all innovation and change in this space.
Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are connecting billions of people. In 2013, we are expecting:
– Over 1 billion smartphones forecasted to ship*
– Smartphones for <$50 and Tablets >$800
– Tablets out-ship notebook PCs
What becomes clear when looking at mobile devices is that we are seeing segmentation into multiple markets, which is an opportunity for growth for ARM partners:
– Premium devices: Price range > $400
– Mid-range devices: Price range between > $200 and < $350
– Entry-level devices: Price range up to $150image
Source: Mixture of ARM and Gartner Estimates
Premium smartphones and tablets receive a great deal of attention, but it is the entry-level and mid-range markets are expected to grow the fastest over the next years. ARM delivered the Cortex®-A7 processorin the fourth quarter of 2011, and it is now shipping in large volumes in low-cost, quad-core devices. It will be followed by the Cortex-A53 processor, which is soon to be released to lead partners. Both are high-efficiency processors, that are efficient by simple in-order eight stage pipelines which are highly efficient and tuned to deliver very good performance for their size. In the mid-range mobile device market, the industry had tremendous success with devices based on the higher-performance Cortex-A9 processor, which uses a partially out-of-order, nine stage pipeline to achieve high performance tuned to the power constraints of smartphones. The Cortex-A9 processor was released in 2008 and now contributes to approximately one-third of all smartphone shipments worldwide.
The market segmentation is driving the diversification in mobile and resulting in many different requirements needed to achieve the highest performance and lowest power within a sustained thermal envelope. These requirements make it mandatory to provide the functionality previously available only in premium devices, but within the power budgets of mid-range devices. Looking at how to serve those markets, it is clear that one size does not fit all anymore.
Today ARM is introducing the Cortex-A12 processor, the highest performance mid-range CPU that is specifically designed for the next-generation mid-range mobile market. The Cortex-A12 processor brings its own mix of high performance and energy efficiency to 2014 SoC designs: more performance than the Cortex-A9 processor with the same mobile-tuned power efficiency. The Cortex-A12 processor is designed to deliver the best mobile experience:
– Highest performance at lowest power consumption and cost
– Highest efficiency within mid-range thermal envelopes, i.e. achieve highest performance at uncompromised area
– Premium feature set in mid-range mobile
The Cortex-A12 processor is the successor to the Cortex-A9 processor and increases single-thread performance by 40 percent, while matching the best-in-class energy efficiency. Measured in 28nm, the Cortex-A12 processor is about 30 percent smaller in area compared to the Cortex-A9 processor in 40nm technology using the same configuration. Additionally, the Cortex-A12 processor brings today’s premium smartphone features into the mid-range, allowing new use cases and great mobile experiences. Some key added features include:
big.LITTLE™ processing enables the extension of the dynamic range of the Cortex-A12 processor with the addition of the Cortex-A7 processor
Virtualization and TrustZone® security support enabling new use cases like BYOD (bring your own device)
– 1TB addressable memory, providing close to no boundaries on memory space
The Cortex-A12 processor extends the performance capability in mid-range devices without sacrificing energy efficiency when combined with the Cortex-A7 processor as a big.LITTLE CPU subsystem. big.LITTLE processing provides a highly efficient, high-performance processing solution that can scale to many different use cases. The first iterations of big.LITTLE processing featured the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors for high-end solutions. Now, the Cortex-A12 processor is bringing big.LITTLE processing to increase the dynamic range of the mid-range by enabling SoC designers to push the Cortex-A12 processor further while using the Cortex-A7 processor to reduce power well below levels of the Cortex-A9 Processor. This results in an ideal combination of compute resource for efficient workload distribution, running lightweight tasks on the Cortex-A7 processor and high-performance tasks on the Cortex-A12 processor. Early results show up to 2x increased efficiency.
Even though it is designed for mid-range smartphone and tablet devices, the Cortex-A12 processor leads with an excellent efficiency profile, making it an ideal fit for other use cases like home networking, residential gateway and auto infotainment systems.
ARM has also designed the Cortex-A12 processor to work efficiently with a complimentary family of high performance, low power ARM CoreLink™ System IP components:
The system diagram shown above illustrates the system IP components that will typically support the Cortex-A12 processor in a mobile SoC. To deliver effortless 1080p30 graphics with 1080p encode/decode the system also features a Mali™-T622 GPU supporting OpenGL/ES 3.0 and a Mali-V500 video accelerator.
The CoreLink CCI-400 cache coherent interconnect provides an IO coherent channel with Mali and opens up a number of exciting possibilities for offload and acceleration of tasks. When combined with a Cortex-A7 processor (not shown) on the ACE port, CCI-400 also allows big.LITTLE operation with full L2 cache coherency between the Cortex-A12 and Cortex-A7 processors. Efficient voltage scaling and power management is enabled with the CoreLink ADB-400 enabling efficient DVFS control of the Cortex-A12 processor.
CoreLink MMU-500 provides a hardware accelerated, common memory view for all SoC components and minimizes software overhead for virtual machines to get on with other system management functions. In this system, the Cortex-A12 processor also enjoys a secure, optimized path to memory to further enhance its market-leading performance with the aid of CoreLink TZC-400 TrustZone address space controller and DMC solution. All interconnect components and the ARM DMC guarantee bandwidth and latency requirements by utilizing in-built dynamic QoS mechanisms.
ARM POP™ IP supports the physical implementation of the Cortex-A12 processor and Mali GPU to enable best power, performance, and area so critical to success in the highly competitive mid-range SoC market. ARM CoreSight™ debug and trace on-chip hardware, coupled with the ARM DS-5™ software development toolchain, enable the debug of random, time-related software bugs, and the non-intrusive analysis of critical areas of software. The ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5TM) toolchain also makes use of performance counters embedded in the processor, graphics processor and interconnect to enable system-wide optimization.
The ARM Cortex-A12 processor is the highest-performance, mid-range CPU. It is specifically designed for the mid-range mobile market, and is broadly supported by a range of other ARM technology IP including ARM system IP, POP IP and development tools to enable ARM Powered® solutions that contribute to the very best user experience in terms of responsiveness and battery life. At the same time, it allows ARM partners to accelerate time to market for mid-range SoCs, while freeing development time to add their own differentiation. The Cortex-A12 is a highly tuned processor that will bring the performance of high-end mobile devices into mid-range smartphone and tablets, as well as into other great market opportunities we haven’t even considered.
* Source: Bank of America
Related Blogs:

ARM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Optimize Next-Generation ARM Mobile Processors for 28nm-SLP Process Technology [press release, June 3, 2013]

New ARM POP technology provides core-hardening acceleration for Cortex-A12 and Cortex-A7 processors
Milpitas, Calif. and Cambridge, UK, June 3, 2013 – In conjunction with the launch of the ARM®  Cortex®-A12 processor, ARM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced new power, performance and cost-optimized POP™ technology offerings for the ARM Cortex-A12 and Cortex-A7 processors for GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm-SLP High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology. The Cortex-A12 processor was introduced by ARM today as part of a suite of IP targeting the rapidly growing market for mid-range mobile devices.
The companies will combine ARM’s next-generation mobile processor and POP IP with GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm-SLP HKMG process solution, enabling a new level of system performance and power efficiency with the optimum economics necessary to serve the mid-range mobile device market.   The new initiative builds on the existing robust ARM Artisan® physical IP platform and POP IP for the Cortex-A9 processor already available on GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm-SLP, signifying another milestone in the multi-year collaboration between ARM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
Central to this increase in functionality for mid-range mobile devices is the new ARM Cortex-A12 processor. The Cortex-A12 processor provides a 40 percent performance uplift and direct upgrade path from the incredibly successful Cortex-A9 processor, while matching the energy efficiency of its predecessor. The Cortex-A12 processor provides best-in-class efficiency as a standalone solution, but additionally supports the innovative big.LITTLE™ processing technology with the Cortex-A7 processor, bringing this energy-efficient technology to the mid-range.  GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm-SLP process technology and associated ARM POP IP for the Cortex-A12 processor enables up to 70 percent higher performance (measured single-thread performance) and up to 2x better power efficiency in comparison to a Cortex-A9 processor using 40nm process technology. Designers can achieve even higher performance by trading off for lower power efficiency, depending on their application needs. Click here for more information on the Cortex-A12 processor.
The newest POP technology enables customers to accelerate core-hardening of Cortex-A12 and Cortex-A7 processors on GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm-SLP HKMG process. POP IP for Cortex processors has successfully enabled ARM-based SoCs with more than 30 different licenses since being introduced over three years ago. POP IP is composed of three elements necessary to achieve an optimized ARM processor implementation: core-specific tuned Artisan physical IP logic libraries and memory instances, comprehensive benchmarking reports, and implementation knowledge that detail the methodology used to achieve the result, to enable the end customer to achieve the same implementation quickly and at low risk.
“With 580 million mid-range smartphones and tablets forecast to be sold in 2015[i], consumers are increasingly looking for the right combination of performance, low power and cost effectiveness,” said Dr. Dipesh Patel, executive vice president and general manager, Physical IP Division at ARM. “With the Cortex-A12 processor and suite of IP announced today, ARM is delivering an optimized system solution leveraging the most innovative technologies available for this market. The POP IP solution on GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm-SLP helps designers balance the performance, power and cost tradeoffs to achieve their targets for this growing market.”
GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm-SLP technology is ideally suited for the next generation of smart mobile devices, enabling designs with faster processing speeds, smaller feature sizes, lower standby power and longer battery life. The technology is based on GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ “Gate First” approach to High-K Metal Gate (HKMG), which has been in volume production for more than two years. The technology offers a combination of performance, power efficiency and cost that is ideally suited for the mid-range mobile market.
“GLOBALFOUNDRIES is committed to a deep relationship with ARM to enable best-in-class solutions for our mutual customers. Our collaboration on the ARM Cortex-A12 processor implementation is a direct result of this focus and collaboration,” said Mike Noonen, executive vice president of Marketing, Sales, Design and Quality at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ next-generation 14nm-XM FinFET technology is expected to bring another dimension of enhanced power, performance and area for ARM mobile processors. A Cortex-A9 processor implemented on 14nm-XM technology, using 9-track libraries, is projected to enable a greater than 60 percent increase in frequency at constant power, or a decrease of more than 60 percent in power consumption at constant performance, when compared to implementation on 28nm-SLP technology using 12-track libraries. Similar results are expected for Cortex-A12 processor implementations. Click here for more details on GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 14nm-XM FinFet technology.
For further discussions about GLOBALFOUNDRIES process technologies or ARM IP offerings please visit the companies’ respective exhibits at the Design Automation Conference (DAC), June 3-5, 2013 in Austin, Texas. ARM is located in booth 931, and GLOBALFOUNDRIES can be found at booth 1314.

Qualcomm’s SoC business future is questioned first time

Among the hits for simple ‘Qualcomm’ search between April 25 and 30 you will first time find headlines such as:

  • Qualcomm And The Demise Of The Commodity Processor >>>
  • Qualcomm’s profit hurt by competition from China >>>
  • Qualcomm’s earnings outlook points to rising competition from smaller rivals >>>

While such headlines are in minority by far and had been market balanced by Qualcomm’s media wide Snapdragon 800 communication (“Snapdragon 800 to enter mass production in late May”) we are witnessing first time that Qualcomm’s SoC future had been questioned for very first time. So it is worth to examine this abrupt change in a little more detail than the articles behind those worries:

First of all China: Entry-level dual core IPS WVGA (480×800) smartphones $65+ now, quad-core $70+ in June [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 29, 2013] behind of which there is a very said turn of events from Qualcomm’s point of view that:

Qualcomm recently quoted its quad-core solutions at less than US$10, slightly cheaper than MediaTek’s offerings, the sources indicated. Meanwhile, Spreadtrum has lowered its quad-core processor prices to similar levels. Both firms are trying to gain market share through aggressive pricing, the sources said.

That is Qualcomm has no other way against its market dominant entry-level rival MediaTek as start an outright price competition. In fact it is an even bigger problem as its hastily reworked new SoC product line setup:
was meant to be a very broad offensive move as it was noted in Qualcomm moving ahead of Allwinner et al. in CPU and GPU while trying to catch up with Allwinner in Ultra HD [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 12 -Feb 27, 2013]

Even more, in China: Entry-level dual core IPS WVGA (480×800) smartphones $65+ now, quad-core $70+ in June [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 29, 2013] we already had the following slide from yet another Chinese rival Spreadtrum:

So while Qualcomm is trying to undercut MediaTek prices in the quad-core entry-level SoC segment its another rival had been pushed to do the same, and now Qualcomm has another very potent rival, already much better established in the entry-level segment than Qualcomm, even outside China as was shown by Temporary Nokia setback in India [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 28, 2013]. Should Qualcomm drop its quad-core entry level price further? Hardly, as those $10 SoC prices are at the very bottom from the point of view of deterring additional entry-level quad-core rivals like Allwinner to enter that segment at large.

The competition between these three parties in terms of the entry level functionality looks like as follows (availability data is suggesting Q3 2013 entry level smartphone devices with extremely high volume production from Tier 1 international vendors down to a large number of white-box Chinese vendors):







MSM8225Q, MSM8625Q



Q3 2013 volume

Q1 2013 sample

Q2 2013 sample



CDMA multimode / UMTS modem options


Integrated App processor

Quad Cortex-A7

Quad Cortex-A5

Quad Cortex-A7


1.x GHz

1.4 GHz

1.x GHz


ARM Mali 400

Adreno 203

ARM Mali-400MP2 likely

Block diagrams of the MT6572 entry level SoC from MediaTek, the quad-core MT6582 will differ from that only in the number of cores:

From: Mediatek “Wu Song” [MT6572] uphill [product], against the Spreadtrum “Tiger” [SC8825] / 联发科武松上山,展讯猛虎迎战 [52RD, March 8, 2013]


from 28-nanometer dual-core MT6572 WCDMA version is first to debut / 28纳米双核MT6572临近 WCDMA版本率先登场 [MTK手机网/MTK Mobile Phone Network, March 23, 2013] based on which a brief English report was the Mediatek MT6572 Chipset Details [Quazmo, April 6, 2013]

Meanwhile the first MT6572-based products are already launched:
MTK6572 mobile phone, Sunspan [天迈] D18/D28X first appearance [China Unlocked Phone Review, April 26, 2013] which is the rough English translation (therefore I made some manual edits to it) of MTK6572手机来了 天迈D18/D28X率先亮相 [MTK手机网/MTK Mobile Phone Network, April 26, 2013] article

MediaTek MT6572 dual-core processor was adopted some time ago by the majority of mobile solution providers. Informed sources said MT6572 began mass production, in addition to the dual-core MT6572, quad-core chip MT6582 coming soon. There is no quad-core version of the specific information of MT6582 chip, but to guess from the naming of the quad-core chip may be rumors it is MT6572 quad core version .

Description of MT6572

MediaTek MTK/MT6572 is a low-power highly integrated single-chip phone processor. The chip is based on Cortex-A7 architecture, using the 28-nanometer process. a single core’s clocked at 1.xGHz, it also has built-in Mali-400MP graphics processor, support for TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and EDGE 2.75G network, integrated 4-in-1 wireless chip. In addition to that it has been listed dual-core and quad-core chip versions. The MT6572 product line also has speed and price advantages. It is learned that old Spreadtrum customers, including WingTech (闻泰) etc. will be launching MTK6572 products, but the end product equipped with MT6572 chip will be officially listed in May.



T-Smart Sunspan Communication, operating in the field of TD for many years and in good cooperation with China Mobile and other operators, signed a 600,000 full year supply agreement with D.Phone [who claims to be China’s largest retailer of mobile phones and accessories, with over 1300 stores, more than 800 of which are directly owned stores, see its TMall store for current offerings]. In this year’s upcoming new machine, Sunspan D28X/D26X and D18/D96X, several new machines will be using MTK6572 program, the listing of these models has been formed, will soon be listed.

Sunspan D28X/D26X

The two Sunspan D28X/D26X machines have the same appearance. Body size is 132 * 68 * 10.5 mm, which is equipped with MTK6572 dual-core processor, clock frequency is 1GHz, the screen size is 4.5 inches with 5MP camera, and running Android 4.2 version of the system. Another standard capacity of 1600 mAh battery, built-in commonly used sensor. The D28X/D26X both support different network standards, the D28X will provide the China Mobile’s customized one, i.e. can support the TD-SCDMA network, while the D26X has the Unicom [W-CDMA] version.



In addition to the Sunspan D28X/D26X, there are also new D18/D96X machines which to be powered by the MTK6572 dual-core processor. The D18/D96X models also differ in supported networks. D18 is the China Mobile version and D96X is the Unicom version. In addition to that the D18 will run Android 4.2 system, equipped with a 2MP camera, while the the D96X using system version 4.1, the camera pixel is higher, 3MP. D18/D96X body style is more upright, while the color is much richer, the machine size is 126 * 64 * 10.9 mm.

Hardware parameters of both are also consistent: with a 4-inch screen, the battery capacity of 1500 mAh, supports common sensors.

MT6572 is primarily intended for [so called] one thousand yuan [~$150] mobile terminal products, so the MTK6572 phone sells are worth of the wait, as several new machines with lower to Sunspan hardware specifications, maybe the same, will have a friendly price. After May a large number of MTK6572 dual-core processor models will become available, the choice available to users will be more and more, and we look forward to the MT6572′s performance.

And those first Sunspan products were produced by the largest cellphone ODM in mainland China, WingTech [闻泰] Communications:
From the feature to quickly switch your Smartphone / 从功能机到智能机的快速切换 [Jiaxing Daily, March 22, 2013] as traslated by Bing and Google, with manual edits:

Decoding the “top ten 2012 to take a new road to industrialization enterprises”: WingTech Communications Review

“Sales of only 640 million yuan [$104M] in the first half of last year, while in the second half, sales more than doubled over the first half, jumped to 1.2 billion yuan [$195M]. In January to February period of this year, sales have exceeded 600 million yuan [$97M], an increase of 140%.” At the time of describing the achievement WingTech Communications Vice Chairman Xiao Xuebing [肖学兵] conceals his excitement inside: benefit from timely adjustment, increased research and development, decisiveness in the transformation and upgrading.

… From the first half of 2012 Xiao Xuebing introduced in Wingtech a timely transformation and upgrading, increased investment in the development of 3G smart phones in order to gradually force new products onto the market in the second half of the year, and quickly switch from the feature phone market to the most popular smart phone market.

… WingTech has large scale, low-cost advantage, which thanks to ODM orders from Huawei [华为], Haier [海尔], Sunspan [天迈], TCL and other domestic brands, as well as a powerful combination with carriers and falling smartphone prices lead to rapid sales growth and rapid adoption in the market. Now WingTech is still mass recruiting the staff, nevertheless it is expected that the whole production would exceed 3 million units in March, again hitting an all-time record.

Even in the worst economic situation of the winter of 2008 the 1000 people strong R&D team of WingTech Communications, under the leadership of CEO Zhang Xuezheng [张学政], still advocated a “while others are ‘dormant’ we need to have ‘winter’ “ approach – a gathering of its hundreds of elite “retreats” hundred days focus research and development. This spirit of innovation remains to this day – still coming down.

“After the 4-inch dual-core smartphones, we will soon launch 5-inch and 6-inch quad-core smart phones, as well as 7-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch PAD tablets, for which WingTech will use its own core technology, building more ordinary people affordable smart electronic products.” said Xiao Xuebing “The new products apply a lot of new technologies from the latest R&D. In the upcoming smartphones we’ve designed in a dual microphone, one for sound recording and the other for filtering the background noise. In the dual camera space, as distinct from the existing front camera, the light rear camera consists in fact two cameras, so as to achieve a 3D effect shooting.”

Outside of research and innovation, during the manufacturing process, WingTech is also vigorously promoting technological innovation, introducing more robots and constantly increasing automation. Automation can not only rapidly increase productivity, but also can help with the stability of product quality. “Product testing was done by manual inspection in the past, only one at a time, and now with automated tools, we can have a simultaneous inspection, measuring eight mobile phones at once” – young workers of the company are saying.

Meanwhile, thanks to the technology innovation, there are cost savings to the WingTech. “Circuit boards used to have a border. Now with a free border process, as long as the increase in the tray, the circuit board does not require a border.” For businesses less materials, for society reduced energy consumption and reduced waste generation.

“Last year we had less than 2000 people working for us, of which 500 were short-term employed, but at full horsepower we may take up to 3000 employees.” Xiao Xuebing told reporters that: “In March this year, the unit sales of cell phones would reach 3 million units and sales volume will reach 500 million yuan [$81M]. WingTech Communications’ annual target for the year 2013 is to exceed unit sales of 40 million and the value of production to be over 4 billion yuan [$649M], up to 6 billion yuan [$973M].”

Automation was indeed a primary direction when moving to the smartphone production, as evidenced by Wingtech Chooses LitePoint IQ2010 to Calibrate and Test Smartphones [LitePoint press release, Feb 5, 2013]

/PRNewswire/ — LitePoint( http://www.litepoint.com )(R) announced today that Wingtech Electronics Tech( http://www.wingtech.com/EngLish ), one of China’s leading providers of mobile phone design and manufacturing services, has chosen LitePoint’s IQ2010 for production calibration and verification of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality in its new line of smartphones.
With the surge in the use of high-end smartphones and the increasing complexity of technology built into these devices, Wi-Fi testing is expected—and often mandated by the cellular service provider. Being at the forefront of smartphone design and development, Wingtech recognized the need for a fast, accurate and cost-effective production test solution. YeHua, Director of Research and Development at Wingtech, said, “We looked into a variety of solutions to test our products and chose the IQ2010 because of the system’s overall performance, as well as the confidence we have in LitePoint as a total solution provider. The IQ2010 addresses our need for a high-quality, turn-key test solution, so it was the obvious choice for us.”
Manufacturing cost-effective mobile devices requires a comprehensive wireless test solution that provides complete functional verification while maximizing unit throughput—the deployment of which typically occurs under intense time-to-market pressure. “Cost considerations in setting up a production line, coupled with demanding quality assurance requirements, mandate high-speed wireless test without sacrificing test coverage,” said Gary Wang, general manager of LitePoint, China. “The IQ2010 is well suited for the growing China smartphone market and designed to meet rigorous production test requirements while optimizing the total cost of ownership.”
LitePoint’s IQ2010 solution is available today.
About Wingtech
Wingtech ( http://www.wingtech.com/EngLish ) is a new technology enterprise group in the China wireless network communication market that provides mobile phone design services, manufacturing services and value-added services based on wireless terminal series. Wingtech is mainly dedicated to product customization, research and development, production and sales of wireless terminals. It also focuses on providing solutions using new business models with vertical integration of cell phone design and manufacturing of integrated terminal, brand, mobile Internet solutions for the Internet of things.
About LitePoint
LitePoint( http://www.litepoint.com ), a wholly owned subsidiary of Teradyne, Inc.(http://www.teradyne.com ) (TER), is based in Sunnyvale, California. The company designs, develops and supports advanced wireless test solutions( http://www.litepoint.com/Solutions.html ) for developers of wireless devices and consumer electronics, contract manufacturers and wireless integrated circuit designers. LitePoint solutions( http://www.litepoint.com/Solutions.html ) have enabled optimization and verification of the operation of more than one billion wireless devices worldwide. LitePoint products( http://www.litepoint.com/Products.html ) are used in development and high-volume manufacturing, providing its customers with improved ROI, time-to-market, manufacturing yields, and product quality. For more, go to www.litepoint.com.

Previously WingTech was supported by the state and party to becomer the largest feature phone maker in China, as evidenced by: Party Secretary and Chief Executive of Huangpu District in Shanghai Zhou Wei Inspected Industrialized Base for Wingtech Cell Phones [WingTech press release]

On June 18, 2009, accompanied by … <a long list of people> … Zhou Wei, deputy party secretary and chief executive of Huangpu District paid a visit to the industrialized base for Wingtech cell phones.
Zhou Wei and his companions toured the showroom, test room and production lines of Wenxun and Wendi. After that, the leaders and Zhang Xuezheng, the CSO of Wingtech Group, held a symposium, where Mr. Zhang reported in details the company’s history and achievements since its establishment, and current situations.
Zhou Wei, deputy party secretary and chief executive of Huangpu District, said that it was not easy for Wingtech to be developed into the largest cell phone maker in China within less than two years. As a leading enterprise in the communication industry, Wingtech has made its great contributions in terms of fiscal revenue, personnel introduction, protection of intellectual property rights and technological innovation. He also added that the District Government of Huangpu should pay closer attentions on caring about and supporting high-tech groups like Wingtech so as to support its sustainable development.
With regards to patent application and protection, leaders from the Science Committee of Huangpu District expressed that more supports would be provided to enterprise like Wingtech in protecting the intellectual property rights, and the smooth transfer should be ensured in executing the policies of the state, municipality and the district and the enterprise, so as to promote Wingtech to make new progresses in technological innovation and application and protection of intellectual property rights.
With respect to finance and taxes, the leader from the Finance Bureau of Huangpu said special funds invested in Wingtech would increase and preferential tax policies supporting Wingtech and other high-tech enterprises be implemented so as to reduce their burdens and enhance their strength for development.
For the issue of personnel indraught, the leaders concerned expressed that Shanghai may need a large number of highly qualified personnel in the field of communication to satisfy the economic development, whereas Wingtech, as a leading enterprise in the sector, can serve as a cradle to attract and foster the communication personnel. In order to support enterprises like Wingtech to attract and retain personnel, the government of Huangpu District will further study and discuss such matters as household registration policies, individual income tax and education of children so as to figure out a practical preference scheme as soon as possible. In addition, as Wingtech Group develops rapidly, its office space becomes over crowded due to the suddenly increased number of personnel. Leaders from Huangpu said they would solve this issue as soon as possible.
During the meeting, Zhou Wei, the deputy secretary and chief executive of Huangpu District, presented on behalf of Huangpu District Government a gift—Hangguang Porcelain to Wingtech Group. The gift indicates that Wingtech Group could develop stably, maintain its foundation permanently and make innovations and breakthroughs continuously so as to be the model enterprise in the communication industry in both China and the world.



More information of the above kind is in the Wingtech Group honored with “outstanding performance prize of China mobile phone industry 2010 [press release, Dec 21, 2010]

The still old company profile About Wingtech [闻泰] Group [集团] [LinkedIn, originally created on July 23, 2009], the corrections in square brackets are from the WingTech profile page in Chinese (http://www.wingtech.com/Chinese/Company-Content-ID-8.html) in the hope that it contains later information

As a high-tech company, Wingtech Group mainly provides clients with the integrated cell phones program design, production, and wireless terminal-based value-added service, and is committed to the customized service, R&D, production, sales, after-sales service of wireless terminal products.

Founded in 2006, Wingtech Group consists of Shanghai R&D Center, Shenzhen Operation Center, and Jiaxing Production Center. Currently, Wingtech has a team of nearly 2000 [4000] employees. Its products cover PHS, GSM(GPRS), CDMA(1X), EDGE, TD-SCDMA[, EVDO] and all handheld device series ranging from 2G to 4G, with an annual turnover of hundreds of millions of US dollars.

Since its foundation, Wingtech has always persisted in the independent technical innovation, and make a lot of efforts in development and application of new technology of wireless communication. So far, Wingtech has owned nearly one thousand technical patents, a number of the world leading technologies, and is increasing 500 patents every year. Meanwhile, Wingtech has been in possession of perfect sales networks and under total process control systems (ISO9001:2000, ISO14001, QC080000).

Wingtech puts focus on local strengths while eyeing the world. Due to strong innovation, reliable quality, and high cost performance, Wingtech products have been very popular with customers at home and abroad. Currently, Wingtech products have been exported to over 30 countries, and over 50 [80] million consumers around the world are enjoying happy wireless mobile experience through Wingtech products and services.

Website: http://www.wingtech.com

Industry: Telecommunications

Type: Privately Held

Company Size: 1001-5000 employees

The latest external to China (actually for India) Overview [Callbar, July 15, 2011]

Callbar is a world leading mobile phone brand owned by WINGTECH GROUP LIMITED. Registered in HK with operation center in Shenzhen, manufacture base in Jiaxing and R&D center in Shanghai & Xi’an, we directly or indirectly employ over 4,000 people in China and other countries worldwide. Since establishment in 2006, we’ve evolved into a leading ODM supplier serving customers including MOTOROLA, LG, Philips and HUAWEI. In last 2 years we successfully extended our business into Wireless Terminal Internet Service and international distribution with our own brand WING. Our annual turnover reached USD 600million in 2009. Consumers around the world are enjoying Callbar mobile phones which features innovation, quality and cost effectiveness.

Better Quality, Better Price.

And the latest external to China milestone descriptions (actually for India):
History [Callbar, July 15, 2011]

2006 Y
In 2006,Wingtech Telecom was registered in Hong Kong and marched into cell phone PCBA industrial.
2007 Y
In May 2007, Zhejiang Communication Industry (Jiaxing) Base and Wingtech Cell Phone Industrialization Base started to be built.
In May 2007, Wingtech Telecom cooperated with SpreadTrum in the field of 3G industry in order to promote the development of 3G industry
In November 2007, Wingtech Telecom joined TD-SCDMA industry alliance, focusing on development and application of TD technique.
In December 2007, Wingtech Telecom sold 20 million sets of cell phones in total, which made Wingtech to be NO.1 of iSuppli.
2008 Y
In April 2008, Wingtech Telecom ranked the top one in the Chinese IDH industry.
In April 2008, Wingtech and Indian famous cell phone company-FRIWO cooperated to establish a mobile terminal product showroom in New Delhi, which is a totally new mode of cooperation between China and India.
In November 2008, Wingtech held the “Wireless Communication New Tech Summit”.
In November 2008, Zhejiang Communication Industry (Jiaxing) Base and the Wingtech Cell Phone Industrialization Base were put into production.
2009 Y
In March 2009, Wingtech and China Telecommunication Technology Labs entered into the cooperative agreement to establish the strategic cooperative relationship.
In May 2009, Xi’an R&D centre established, which further enhances Wingtech telecom R&D capability.
2011 Y
Wingtech launches its Callbar brand strategy all over the world so as to make more people to be serviced by Wingtech.

While the latest external to China (actually for India) Structure [Callbar, July 15, 2011], with geographical inserts added as required

Shanghai R&D centre
Shanghai R&D Center has a team of over one thousand R&D staff members, with R&D achievement covering the whole series of mobile terminal products of GSM, CDMA, EDGE, TD-SCDMA, EVDO etc, ranging from 2G to 3G. So far, the R&D Center has owned nearly one thousand national patents.
With strong R&D strength and firm technical foundation, the R&D Center has been rewarded many titles by Shanghai Government.Meanwhile, Wingtech joins the TD-SCDMA industrial alliance to actively conduct the R&D and application of TD products so as to speed up the Chinese industrialization.
Jiaxing production centre
In addition to the cell phone design service, Wingtech can provide customers with the high-efficiency and high-quality production service.Wingtech invested $70 million in building a cell phone industrial base of over 140 000 square meters in Jiaxing,in which Wingtech produces mobile phones of first class for world famous brands.
Wingtech Cell Phone Industrial Base has given an impetus to the development of the local communications industry.  And with this impetus, a world-class cell phone industrial cluster with an output of more than 30,000,000 sets, and an annual turnover of RMB 10 billion formed around this Cell Phone Industrial Base.
More information: Jiaxing [Wikipedia article]
Shenzhen operation centre
To better serve market and customers, Wingtech Telecom establishes the Operation Center in Shenzhen which is responsible for the procurement, sales and technical support. And with the help of its reliable supply chain system, professional marketing team, the world-class ERP and logistics guarantee system, Shenzhen Operation Centre provides first class service to our local and worldwide customers.
At present, over 70 million consumers around the world are enjoying happy wireless mobile experience through Wingtech products and services.
Xi’an R&D Centre
Founded in 2009, Xi’an R&D Centre is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wingtech Group. It is mainly engaged in R&D and application of wireless communication new technology for providing 2G-4G GSM, CDMA and TD-SCDMA full system mobile terminal devices.
Xi’an Wingtech enjoys an internationally top grade R&D team and powerful R&D capacity. Among the over 100 R&D engineers, above 60% of them are doctoral degree holders and master degree holders. As for quality control, Xi’an Wingtech has introduced whole process quality control system (ISO9001:200, ISO14001, QC080000), and performs Six Sigma Management following quality control standards of internationally top grade enterprises for developing and providing stable and reliable products to customers.
Xi’an is on the far left of this map, Jiaxing and Shanghai are on the far right
More information: Xi’an [Wikipedia article]

Note that in Xi’an another cellphone industrial cluster has been created, as evidenced by World’s biggest wireless semiconductor producer establishes branch in N.W China city [Xinhua, Dec 23, 2011] news article

Qualcomm, the world’s largest wireless semiconductor company, has announced it will set up a branch in Xi’an, capital of northwest Shaanxi province, according to the management committee of the city’s high-tech area on Friday.
In the past years, the U.S.-based global leader in 3G and next generation wireless telecommunication technologies has established cooperative relationships with Chinese counterparts such as Huawei, ZTE, Yulong Coolpad and Wingtech.
Qualcomm’s branch in Xi’an is a strategic option and also a good beginning, said Zhao Hongzhuan, director of the Xi’an high-tech area management committee, adding that the area will provide “big support and quality service” to Qualcomm, and said he hopes the company will expand its investment in Xi’an.
China has already become one of the fastest growing markets for Qualcomm, said Wang Xiang, president of Qualcomm greater China. “Qualcomm decided to set up its branch in Xi’an because of the city’s complete industrial chain, strong technical strengths and rich talent,” Wang said.
Qualcomm entered the Chinese market in the late 1990s and already has branches in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Note as well that Wingtech’s engagement with Spreadtrum goes much older:
Spreadtrum and WingTech Enter Strategic Partnership [joint press release, April 24, 2008]

JIAXING, China, April 24 /Xinhua-PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPRD), one of China’s leading wireless baseband chipset providers, today announced during the “International Handset Supply Chain Summit 2008” that Spreadtrum and WingTech Group have entered into a strategic partnership aimed at leveraging their respective leading edge chip and handset design technologies. This two-day summit, sponsored by Jiaxing Communication Industry Association and organized by WingTech Communication Science and Technology Co. Ltd., promotes the theme of “Developing hand in hand for mutual benefits in the future.”
The announced Spreadtrum-WingTech partnership is expected to benefit both companies and their customers as it is intended to capitalize on Spreadtrum’s technology expertise in developing chipsets and WingTech’s strengths in handset design for the industry. With the establishment of this new strategic partnership, WingTech will deploy Spreadtrum’s SC6600W chip in its handsets. The SC6600W is a single chip quad-band GSM/GPRS multimedia baseband intended for WingTech handsets targeted at feature rich entry-level phones that include features such as MP3 playback, stereo output, voice recording, and Bluetooth interface for wireless data transmissions. Like Spreadtrum’s other highly integrated basebands, the SC6600W features an integrated multimedia processor and built-in power management circuits on a single chip, which should reduce production costs, while enabling customers such as WingTech to develop new, differentiated products within a quick time-to-market threshold.
Referring to this strategic partnership, president of WingTech Group, Zhang Xueying said, “WingTech and Spreadtrum have a long history of close and steady partnership. Spreadtrum’s advanced technologies and products are one of the important factors that account for WingTech’s rapid growth. By entering this partnership, we believe we will be in the best possible position to win additional market share through use of the customized SC6600W chip, since it may greatly reduce the time-to-market and overall cost while improving core competitiveness of our products. This announcement further strengthens the strategic alliance between our two companies, but also starts a new mode of business collaboration in the industry to push the differentiation of the terminal products. WingTech will commit itself to unite all the segments in the industry to develop hand in hand for mutual benefits in the future.”
Dr. Ping Wu, President and CEO of Spreadtrum, expressed, “By establishing this strategic partnership, we hope to expand and deepen the cooperation with WingTech in technology, marketing and other aspects to further expand our markets and accelerate our respective technology innovation. We believe that closer cooperation between the handset design solution provider and chip designer will be in everyone’s interest to further improve the features and diversity of future handset products. We look forward to a sustained, close partnership with WingTech and to driving a new round of development in China’s communication industry.”
About Spreadtrum:
Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPRD; “Spreadtrum”) is a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops, and markets baseband processor solutions for the mobile wireless communications market. Spreadtrum combines its semiconductor design expertise with its software development capabilities to deliver highly-integrated baseband processors with multimedia functionality and power management. Spreadtrum has developed its solutions based on an open development platform, enabling its customers to develop customized wireless products that are feature-rich and meet their cost and time-to-market requirements.
For more information, please check: http://www.spreadtrum.com
About WingTech:
WingTech group was founded in Hong Kong at the end of 2005 and ever since then, it has been devoting to R&D, manufacturing and marketing of mobile terminals. The main business scope includes complete design solution for mobile phones and value-added services based on mobile terminals. With technological strength and excellent products, after only two years from its establishment, WingTech has risen to be one of the top Chinese mobile companies

Meanwhile WingTech has well established itself in India:
– originally as a feature phone ODM for a number of leading local brands in India, as evidenced by: Wingtech Group [microsite on Importers.com, May 31, 2010]:

Company already designing mobiles for Lava, Karbon, Spice, Intex, Videocon, Micromax, G-five. Now plannig to launch their own brand”WING”. Looking for importers.

– in addition indeed introducing its first own brand, WING in 2010, as evidenced by the History page of a separate http://www.wingtele.com/ site
– then by the already referenced Callbar brand a year later, as evidenced by another separate site http://www.callbar.in
– then becoming available under the Wingtech brand itself, evidenced by Wingtech Mobile Phones in India [Sulekha.com] microsite

Background: MediaTek: Ready For Prime Time [stock analysis report from Maybank, April 25, 2013]

With smartphones hitting the mainstream market, the replacement cycle for feature phones seems to be accelerating and tablet adoption in the emerging markets (in particular China) is gathering momentum. Against this backdrop, we think MTK may have to raise its target unit shipments of 400-450m smartphones and 100m tablets for 2013.

Best positioned to benefit from new secular trend. MTK is stepping up efforts to diversify its product portfolio to capture the proliferation of smart devices. It will have all its application processors (APs) on 28nm node this year, with designs based on the latest Cortex-A7 and/or Cortex-A15. By mid-year, it will introduce several low-cost models (MT6572/6582/6589M) to consolidate its position in the white-box market and enhance its cost structure. Also, MTK will foray into tablet markets (MT8389/8135 [big.Little design]), a new addressable market. By 4Q13, it will sample its high-end 4G/LTE/LTE-TDSCDMA modem chipset. Importantly, the ongoing consolidation of the AP industry and recent hiring of high-profile executives from Qualcomm could spur MTK to become a major force in the global smart device industry.

We note that MTK’s shipments include the white-box market, which is not captured by third-party research firms such as IDC. As such, analysing the change in MTK’s handset types may offer a clue to the dynamics of the handset industry, especially in the global emerging markets. We estimate MTK may ship close to 90m smartphones in 1H13 and its full-year target of 200m units (400-450m for global emerging markets) thus seems too conservative to us. An official upgrade in shipment per se and industry revisions should be expected. We currently forecast MTK to ship 235-240m smartphones in 2013. Back in November last year, our industry forecast of 500-550m unit shipments sounded aggressive, but now, it might look realistic given the speed of the replacement cycle and the popularity of smartphones in the global emerging countries.

Best positioned to benefit from new secular trend. MTK is stepping up efforts to diversify its product portfolio to capture the proliferation of smart devices. It will have all its APs on 28nm node this year, with designs based on the latest CortexA7 and/or Cortex-A15. In this section, we provide an update on MTK’s new products and compare them to some of the solutions offered by its peers. Figures 7-8 illustrate the timeline of product introduction and specifications.



  1. MT6572 enters mass production in 2Q13 with the first shipment expected between late-May and June. MT6572 (dual-core, Cortex A7) is designed to replace MT6515 (single-core, Cortex A9) with significant cost savings and battery life enhancement. The die size of MT6572 is significantly smaller (than MT6515) and this AP comes with an integrated WiFi chipset – the first for MTK. Coupled with 28nm node and requiring only four layers of PCB board, we believe MT6572 offers significant cost savings for handset OEMs. MT6572 will also be a significant volume runner for MTK as it comes with various connectivity such as MT6572E (for 2.75G), MT6572T (TD-SCDMA) and MT6572W (WCDMA). The W-version targets smartphones with ASP of CNY1,000 (USD160) while the E-and-T-versions will go well-below CNY1,000 (USD100-125), and both should be well-received by the white-box market. We believe MT6572T can hold its own against Spreadtrum’s latest SC8825 (dual-core Cortex A5, TD-SCDMA on 40nm node and without integrated WiFi).
  2. The MT6582 has features similar to those of the MT6572 but the former comes with Quad-core, Cortex A7 engines as opposed to the latter’s dualcore engine. Like the MT6572, MT6582 targets the white-box market for better system performance. We expect volume shipments to commence in 3Q13. We believe the MT6582W will compete well with Qualcomm’s MSM8225Q, the low-end Quad-core Cortex A5 AP which only supports WCDMA networks.
  3. MT6589M is a cost-down version of the currently leading quad-core MT6589, which began shipment in March and has found favour among OEM customers (60-70 clients) in China. MT6589M shares most of the features and design architecture of MT6589. But it comes with HD and 8MP camera compared with full HD and 13MP camera for the latter. In addition, we estimate MTK could achieve 15-20% cost savings on MT6589M by tweaking some foundry and back-end processes. As such, MT6589M offers a lower cost solution for handset OEMs who do not wish to equip their smartphones with similar high-end features as MT6589. With a lower ASP, MTK could narrow the price gap between MT6589M and Qualcomm’s MSM8225Q by 10-15% and yet offer better features. We estimate the price gap between MT6589 and MSM8225Q currently is at least 30-40%. That being said, we note that MSM8225Q is a quad-core using Cortex A5 and 40nm node, and does not support TD-SCDMA network.

Software defined server without Microsoft: HP Moonshot

Updates as of Dec 6, 2013 (8 months after the original post):


Martin Fink, CTO and Director of HP Labs, Hewlett-Packard Company [Oct 29, 2013]:

This Cloud, Social, Big Data and Mobile we are referring to as this “New Style of IT” [when talking about the slide shown above]

Through the Telescope: 3 Minutes on HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, July 24, 2013]

Steven Hagler (Senior Director, HP Americas Moonshot) provides insight on Moonshot, why it’s right for the market, and what it means for your business. http://hp.com/go/moonshot

HP Offers Exclusive Peek Inside Impending Moonshot Servers [Enterprise Tech, Nov 26, 2013]: “The company is getting ready to launch a bunch of new server nodes for Moonshot in a few weeks”.
– So far, the most simple and understandable info is serviced in Visual Configuration Moonshot diagram set: http://www.goldeneggs.fi/documents/GE-HP-MOONSHOT-A.pdf  This site includes also full visualisation for all x86 rack, desktop and blade servers.

From HP Launches Investment Solutions to Ease Organizations’ Transitions to “New Style of IT” [press release, Dec 6, 2013]

The HP accelerated migration program for cloud—helps …

The HP Pre-Provisioning Solution—lets …

New investment solutions for HP Moonshot servers and HP Converged Systems—provide customers and channel partners with quick access to the latest HP products through a simple, scalable and predictable monthly payment that aligns technology and financial requirements to business needs.   

Access the world’s first software defined server [HP offering, Nov 27, 2013]
With predictable and scalable monthly payments

HP Moonshot Financing
Cloud, Mobility, Security and Big Data require a different level of technology efficiency and scalability. Traditional systems may no longer be able to handle the increasing internet workloads with optimal performance. Having and investment strategy that gives you access to newer technology such as HP Moonshot allows you to meet the requirements for the New Style of IT.
A simple and flexible payment structure can help you access the latest technology on your terms.
Why leverage a predictable monthly payment?
• Provides financial flexibility to scale up your business
• May help mitigate the financial risk of your IT transformation
Enables IT refresh cycles to keep up with latest technology
• May help improve your cash flow
• Offers predictable monthly payments which can help you stay within budget
How does it work?
• Talk to your HP Sales Rep about acquiring HP Moonshot using a predictable monthly payment
Expand your capacity easily with a simple add-on payment
• Add spare capacity needed for even greater agility
• Set your payment terms based on your business needs
• After an agreed term, you’ll be able to refresh your technology

From The HP Moonshot team provides answers to your questions about the datacenter of the future [The HP Blog Hub, as of Aug 29, 2013]


A: The idea is simple—use energy-efficient CPU’s attuned to a particular application to achieve radical power, space and cost savings. Stated another way; creating software defined servers for specific applications that run at scale.


A: The most innovative characteristic of HP Moonshot is the architecture. Everything that is a common resource in a traditional server has been converged into the chassis. The power, cooling, management, fabric, switches and uplinks are all shared across 45 hot-pluggable cartridges in a 4.3U chassis.


A: Software defined servers achieve optimal useful work per watt by specializing for a given workload: matching a software application with available technology that can provide the most optimal performance. For example, the firstMoonshot server is tuned for the web front end LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack. In the most extreme case of a future FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) cartridge, the hardware truly reflects the exact algorithm required.


A: The HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis has been built for future SOC designs that will require a range of network capabilities including cartridge to cartridge interconnect. Additionally, different workloads will have a range of storage needs. 

There are four separate and independent fabrics that support a range of current and future capabilities; 8 lanes of Ethernet; storage fabric (6Gb SATA) that enable shared storage amongst cartridges or storage expansion to a single cartridge; a dedicated iLO management network to manage all the servers as one; a cluster fabric with point to point connectivity and low latency interconnect between servers.


Martin Fink, CTO and Director of HP Labs, Hewlett-Packard Company [Oct 29, 2013]:

We’ve actually announced three ARM-based cartridges. These are available in our Discovery Labs now, and they’ll be shipping next year with new processor technology. [When talking about the slide shown above.]

Calxeda Midway in HP Moonshot [Janet Bartleson YouTube channel, Oct 28, 2013]

HP’s Paul Santeler encourages you to test Calxeda’s Midway-based Moonshot server cartridges in the HP Discovery Labs. http://www.hp.com/go/moonshot http://www.calxeda.com

Details about the latest and future Calxeda SoCs see in the closing part of this Dec 7 update

@SC13: HP Moonshot ProLiant m800 Server Cartridge with Texas Instruments [Janet Bartleson YouTube channel, Nov 26, 2013]

@SC13, Texas Instruments’ Arnon Friedmann shows the HP ProLiant m800 Server Cartridge with 4 66K2H12 Keystone II SoCs each with 4 ARM Cortex A15 cores and 8 C66x DSP cores–alltogether providing 500 gigaflops of DSP performance and 8Gigabytes of data on the server cartridge. It’s lower power, lower cost than traditional servers.

Details about the latest Texas Instruments DSP+ARM SoCs see after the Calxeda section in the closing part of this Dec 7 update

The New Style of IT & HP Moonshot: Keynote by HP’s Martin Fink at ARM TechCon ’13 [ARMflix YouTube channel, recorded on Oct 29, published on Nov 11, 2013]

Keynote Presentation: The New Style of IT Speaker: Martin Fink, CTO and Director of HP Labs, Hewlett-Packard Company It’s an exciting time to be in technology. The IT industry is at a major inflection point driven by four generation-defining trends: the cloud, social, Big Data, and mobile. These trends are forever changing how consumers and businesses communicate, collaborate, and access information. And to accommodate these changes, enterprises, governments and fast growing companies desperately need a “New Style of IT.” Shaping the future of IT starts with a radically different approach to how we think about compute — for example, in servers, HP has a game-changing new category that requires 80% less space, uses 89% less energy, costs 77% less–and is 97% less complex. There’s never been a better time to be part of the ecosystem and usher in the next-generation of innovation.

From Big Data and the future of computing – A conversation with John Sontag [HP Enterprise 20/20 Blog, October 28, 2013]

20/20 Team: Where is HP today in terms of helping everyone become a data scientist?
John Sontag: For that to happen we need a set of tools that allow us to be data scientists in more than the ad hoc way I just described. These tools should let us operate productively and repeatably, using vocabulary that we can share – so that each of us doesn’t have to learn the same lessons over and over again. Currently at HP, we’re building a software tool set that is helping people find value in the data they’re already surrounded by. We have HAVEn for data management, which includes the Vertica data store, and Autonomy for analysis. For enterprise security we have ArcSight and ThreatCentral. We have our work around StoreOnce to compress things, and Express Query to allow us to consume data in huge volumes. Then we have hardware initiatives like Moonshot, which is bringing different kinds of accelerators to bear so we can actually change how fast – and how effectively – we can chew on data.
20/20 Team: And how is HP Labs helping shape where we are going?
John Sontag: One thing we’re doing on the software front is creating new ways to interrogate data in real time through an interface that doesn’t require you to be a computer scientist.  We’re also looking at how we present the answers you get in a way that brings attention to the things you most need to be aware of. And then we’re thinking about how to let people who don’t have massive compute resources at their disposal also become data scientists.
20/20 Team: What’s the answer to that?
John Sontag: For that, we need to rethink the nature of the computer itself. If Moonshot is helping us make computers smaller and less energy-hungry, then our work on memristors will allow us to collapse the old processor/memory/storage hierarchy, and put processing right next to the data. Next, our work on photonics will help collapse the communication fabric and bring these very large scales into closer proximity. That lets us combine systems in new and interesting ways. And then we’re thinking about how to package these re-imagined computers into boxes of different sizes that match the needs of everyone from the individual to the massive, multinational entity. On top of all that, we need to reduce costs – if we tried to process all the data that we’re predicting we’ll want to at today’s prices, we’d collapse the world economy – and we need to think about how we secure and manage that data, and how we deliver algorithms that let us transform it fast enough so that you, your colleagues, and partners across the world can conduct experiments on this data literally as fast as we can think them up.
About John Sontag:
John Sontag is vice president and director of systems research at HP Labs. The systems research organization is responsible for research in memristor, photonics, physical and system architectures, storing data at high volume, velocity and variety, and operating systems. Together with HP business units and partners, the team reaches from basic research to advanced development of key technologies.
With more than 30 years of experience at HP in systems and operating system design and research, Sontag has had a variety of leadership roles in the development of HP-UX on PA-RISC and IPF, including 64-bit systems, support for multiple input/output systems, multi-system availability and Symmetric Multi-Processing scaling for OLTP and web servers.
Sontag received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Meet the Innovators [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, May 23, 2013]

Meet those behind the innovative technology that is HP Project Moonshot http://www.hp.com/go/moonshot

From Meet the innovators behind the design and development of Project Moonshot [The HP Blog Hub, June 6, 2013]

This video introduces you to key HP team members who were part of the team that brings you the innovative technology that fundamentally changes how hyperscale servers are built and operated such as:
• Chandrakant Patel – HP Senior Fellow and HP Labs Chief Engineer
• Paul Santeler  – Senior Vice President and General Manager of the HyperScale Business Unit
• Kelly Pracht – Moonshot Hardware Platform Manager, HyperScale Business Unit
• Dwight Barron – HP Fellow, Chief Technologist, HyperScale Business Unit

From Six IT technologies to watch [HP Enterprise 20/20 Blog, Sept 5, 2013]

1. Software-defined everything
Over the last couple of years we have heard a lot about software defined networks (SDN) and more recently, software defined data center (SDDC). There are fundamentally two ways to implement a cloud. Either you take the approach of the major public cloud providers, combining low-cost skinless servers with commodity storage, linked through cheap networking. You establish racks and racks of them. It’s probably the cheapest solution, but you have to implement all the management and optimization yourself. You can use software tools to do so, but you will have to develop the policies, the workflows and the automation.
Alternatively you can use what is becoming known as “converged infrastructure,” a term originally coined by HP, but now used by all our competitors. Servers, storage and networking are integrated in a single rack, or a series of interconnected ones, and the management and orchestration software included in the offering, provides an optimal use of the environment. You get increased flexibility and are able to respond faster to requests and opportunities.
We all know that different workloads require different characteristics. Infrastructures are typically implemented using general purpose configurations that have been optimized to address a very large variety of workloads. So, they do an average job for each. What if we could change the configuration automatically whenever the workload changes to ensure optimal usage of the infrastructure for each workload? This is precisely the concept of software defined environments. Configurations are no longer stored in the hardware, but adapted as and when required. Obviously this requires more advanced software that is capable of reconfiguring the resources.
A software-defined data center is described as a data center where the infrastructure is virtualized and also delivered as a service. Control of the data center is automated by software – meaning hardware configuration is maintained through intelligent software systems. Three core components comprise the SDDC, server virtualization, network virtualization and storage virtualization. It remains to be said that some workloads still require physical systems (often referred to as bare metal), hence the importance of projects such as OpenStack’s Ironic which could be defined as a hypervisor for physical environments.

2. Specialized servers

As I mentioned, all workloads are not equal, but run on the same, general purpose servers (typically x86). What if we create servers that are optimized for specific workloads? In particular, when developing cloud environments delivering multi-tenant SaaS services, one could well envisage the use of servers specialized for a specific task, for example video manipulation, dynamic web service management. Developing efficient, low energy specialized servers that can be configured through software is what HP’s Project Moonshot is all about. Today, although still in its infancy, there is much more to come. Imagine about 45 server/storage cartridges linked through three fabrics (for networking, storage and high speed cartridge to cartridge interconnections), sharing common elements such as network controllers, management functions and power management. If you then build the cartridges using low energy servers, you reduce energy consumption by nearly 90%. If you build SaaS type environments, using multi-tenant application modules, do you still need virtualization? This simplifies the environment, reduces the cost of running it and optimizes the use of server technology for every workload.

Particularly for environments that constantly run certain types of workloads, such as analyzing social or sensor data, the use of specialized servers can make the difference. This is definitely an evolution to watch.

3. Photonics

Let’s now complement those specialized servers with photonic based connections enabling flat, hyper-efficient networks boosting bandwidth, and we have an environment that is optimized to deliver the complex tasks of analyzing and acting upon signals provided by the environment in its largest sense.

But technology is going even further. I talked about the three fabrics, over time; why not use photonics to improve the speed of the fabrics themselves, increasing the overall compute speed. We are not there yet, but early experiments with photonic backplanes for blade systems have shown overall compute speed increased up to a factor seven. That should be the second step.

The third step takes things further. The specialized servers I talked about are typically system on a chip (SoC) servers, in other words, complete computers on a single chip. Why not use photonics to link those chips with their outside world? On-chip lasers have been developed in prototypes, so we are not that far out. We could even bring things one step further and use photonics within the chip itself, but that is still a little further out. I can’t tell you the increase in compute power that such evolutions will provide you, but I would expect it to be huge.

4. Storage
Storage is at a crossroads. On the one hand, hard disk drives (HDD) have improved drastically over the last 20 years, both in reading speed and in density. I still remember the 20MB hard disk drive, weighing 125Kg of the early 80’s. When I compare that with the 3TB drive I bought a couple months ago for my home PC, I can easily depict this evolution. But then the SSD (solid state disk) has appeared. Where a HDD read will take you 4 ms, the SDD read is down at 0.05 ms.

Using nanotechnologies, HP Labs did develop prototypes of the Memristor, a new approach to data storage, faster than Flash memory and consumes way less energy. Such a device could store up to 1 petabit of information per square centimeter and could replace both memory and storage, speeding up access to data and allowing order of magnitude increase in the amount of data stored. Since HP has been busy preparing production of these devices. First production units should be available towards the end of 2013 or early in 2014. It will transform our storage approaches completely.

Details about the latest and future Calxeda SoCs:

Calxeda EnergyCore ECX-2000 family – ARM TechCon ’13 [ARMflix YouTube channel, recorded on Oct 30, 2013]

Calxeda tells us about their new EnergyCore ECX-2000 product line based on ARM Cortex-A15. http://www.calxeda.com/ecx-2000-family/

From ECX-2000 Product Brief [October, 2013]

The Calxeda EnergyCore ECX-2000 Series is a family of SoC (Server-on-Chip) products that delivers the power efficiency of ARM® processors, and the OpenStack, Linux, and virtualization software needed for modern cloud infrastructures. Using the ARM Cortex A15 quad-core processor, the ECX-2000 delivers roughly twice the performance, three times the memory bandwidth, and four times the memory capacity of the ground-breaking ECX-1000. It is extremely scalable due to the integrated Fleet Fabric Switch, while the embedded Fleet Engine simultaneously provides out-of-band control and intelligence for autonomic operation.

In addition to enhanced performance, the ECX-2000 provides hardware virtualization support via KVM and Xen hypervisors. Coupled with certified support for Ubuntu 13.10 and the Havana Openstack release, this marks the first time an ARM SoC is ready for Cloud computing. The Fleet Fabric enables the highest network and interconnect bandwidth in the MicroServer space, making this an ideal platform for streaming media and network-intensive applications.

The net result of the EnergyCore SoC architecture is a dramatic reduction in power and space requirements, allowing rapidly growing data centers to quickly realize operating and capital cost savings.


Scalability you can grow into. An integrated EnergyCore Fabric Switch within every SoC provides up to five 10 Gigabit lanes for connecting thousands of ECX-2000 server nodes into clusters capable of handling distributed applications at extreme scale. Completely topology agnostic, each SoC can be deployed to work in a variety of mesh, grid, or tree network structures, providing opportunities to find the right balance of network throughput and fault resiliency for any given workload.

Fleet Fabric Switch
• Integrated 80Gb (8×8) crossbar switch with through-traffic support
• Five (5) 10Gb external channels, three (3) 10Gb internal channels
• Configurable topology capable of connecting up to 4096 nodes
• Dynamic Link Speed Control from 1Gb to 10Gb to minimize power and maximize performance
• Network Proxy Support maintains network presence even with node powered off
• In-order flow delivery
• MAC learning provider support for virtualization

ARM Servers and Xen — Hypervisor Support at Hyperscale – Larry Wikelius, [Co-Founder of] Calxeda [TheLinuxFoundation YouTube channel, Oct 1, 2013]

[Xen User Summit 2013] The emergence of power optimized hyperscale servers is leading to a revolution in Data Center design. The intersection of this revolution with the growth of Cloud Computing, Big Data and Scale Out Storage solutions is resulting in innovation at rate and pace in the Server Industry that has not been seen for years. One particular example of this innovation is the deployment of ARM based servers in the Data Center and the impact these servers have on Power, Density and Scale. In this presentation we will look at the role that Xen is playing in the Revolution of ARM based server design and deployment and the impact on applications, systems management and provisioning.

Calxeda Launches Midway ARM Server Chips, Extends Roadmap [EnterpriseTech, Oct 28, 2013]

ARM server chip supplier Calxeda is just about to ship its second generation of EnergyCore processors for hyperscale systems and most of its competitors are still working on their first products. Calxeda is also tweaking its roadmap to add a new chip to its lineup, which will bridge between the current 32-bit ARM chips and its future 64-bit processors.
There is going to be a lot of talk about server-class ARM processors this week, particularly with ARM Holdings hosting its TechCon conference in Santa Clara.
A month ago, EnterpriseTech told you about the “Midway” chip that Calxeda had in the works and as well as its roadmap to get beefier 64-bit cores and extend its Fleet Services fabric to allow for more than 100,000 nodes to be linked together.
The details were a little thin on the Midway chip, but we now know that it will be commercialized as the ECX-2000, and that Calxeda is sending out samples to server makers right now. The plan is to have the ECX-2000 generally available by the end of the year, and that is why company is ready to talk about some feeds and speeds. Karl Freund, vice president of marketing at Calxeda, walked EnterpriseTech through the details.


The Midway chip is fabricated in the same 40 nanometer process as the existing “High Bank” ECX-1000 chip that Calxeda first put into the field in November 2011 in the experimental “Redstone” hyperscale servers from Hewlett-Packard. That 32-bit chip, based on the ARM Cortex-A9 core, was subsequently adopted in systems from Penguin Computing, Boston, and a number of other hyperscale datacenter operators who did proofs of concept with the chips. The ECX-1000 has four cores and was somewhat limited in its performance and was definitely limited in its main memory, which topped out at 4 GB across the four-core processor. But the ECX-2000 addresses these issues.
The ECX-2000 is based on ARM Holding’s Cortex-A15 core and has the 40-bit physical memory extensions, which allows for up to 16 GB of memory to be physically attached to each socket. With the 40-bit physical addressing added with the Cortex-A15, the memory controller can, in theory, address up to 1 TB of main memory; this is called Large Physical Address Extension (LPAE) in the ARM lingo, and it maps the 32-bit physical addressing on the core to a 40-bit virtual address space. Each core on the ECX-2000 has 32 KB of L1 instruction cache and 32 KB of L1 data cache, and ARM licensees are allowed to scale the L2 cache as they see fit. The ECX-2000 has 4 MB of L2 cache shared across the four cores on the die. These are exactly the same L1 and L2 cache sizes as used in the prior ECX-1000 chips.
The Cortex-A15 design was created to scale to 2.5 GHz, but as you crank up the clocks on any chip, the amount of energy consumed and heat radiated grows progressively larger as clock speeds go up. At a certain point, it just doesn’t make sense to push clock speeds. Moreover, every drop in clock speed gives a proportionately larger increase in thermal efficiency, and this is why, says Freund, Calxeda is making its implementation of the Cortex-A15 top out at 1.8 GHz. The company will offer lower-speed parts running at 1.1 GHz and 1.4 GHz for customers that need an even better thermal profile or a cheaper part where low cost is more important than raw performance or thermals.
What Calxeda and its server and storage array customers are focused on is the fact that the Midway chip running at 1.8 GHz has twice the integer, floating point, and Java performance of a 1.1 GHz High Bank chip. That is possible, in part, because the new chip has four times the main memory and three times the memory bandwidth as the old chip in addition to a 64 percent boost in clock speed. Calxeda is not yet done benchmarking systems using the chips to get a measure of their thermal efficiency, but is saying that there is as much as a 33 percent boost in performance per watt comparing old to new ECX chips.
The new ECX-2000 chip has a dual-core Cortex-A7 chip on the die that is used as a controller for the system BIOS as well as a baseboard management controller and a power management controller for the servers that use them. These Fleet Engines, as Calxeda calls them, eliminate yet another set of components, and therefore their cost, in the system. These engines also control the topology of the Fleet Services fabric, which can be set up in 2D torus, mesh, butterfly tree, and fat tree network configurations.
The Fleet Services fabric has 80 Gb/sec of aggregate bandwidth and offers multiple 10 Gb/sec Ethernet links coming off the die to interconnect server nodes on a single card, multiple cards in an enclosure, multiple enclosures in a rack, and multiple racks in a data center. The Ethernet links are also used to allow users to get to applications running on the machines.
Freund says that the ECX-2000 chip is aimed at distributed, stateless server workloads, such as web server front ends, caching servers, and content distribution. It is also suitable for analytics workloads like Hadoop and distributed NoSQL data stores like Cassandra, all of which tend to run on Linux. Both Red Hat and Canonical are cooking up commercial-grade Linuxes for the Calxeda chips, and SUSE Linux is probably not going to be far behind. The new chips are also expected to see action in scale-out storage systems such as OpenStack Swift object storage or the more elaborate Gluster and Ceph clustered file systems. The OpenStack cloud controller embedded in the just-announced Ubuntu Server 13.10 is also certified to run on the Midway chip.
Hewlett-Packard has confirmed that it is creating a quad-node server cartridge for its “Moonshot” hyperscale servers, which should ship to customers sometime in the first or second quarter of 2014. (It all depends on how long HP takes to certify the system board.) Penguin Computing, Foxconn, Aaeon, and Boston are expected to get beta systems out the door this year using the Midway chip and will have them in production in the first half of next year. Yes, that’s pretty vague, but that is the server business, and vagueness is to be expected in such a young market as the ARM server market is.
Looking ahead, Calxeda is adding a new processor to its roadmap, code-named “Sarita.” Here’s what the latest system-on-chip roadmap looks like now:


The future “Lago” chip is the first 64-bit chip that will come out of Calxeda, and it is based on the Cortex-A57 design from ARM Holdings –one of several ARMv8 designs, in fact. (The existing Calxeda chips are based on the ARMv7 architecture.)
Both Sarita and Lago will be implemented in TSMC’s 28 nanometer processes, and that shrink from the current 40 nanometer to 28 nanometer processes is going to allow for a lot more cores and other features to be added to the die and also likely a decent jump in clock speed, too. Freund is not saying at the moment which way it will go.
But what Freund will confirm is that Sarita will be pin-compatible with the existing Midway chip, meaning that server makers who adopt Midway will have a processor bump they can offer in a relatively easy fashion. It will also be based on the Cortex-A57 cores from ARM Holdings, and will sport four cores on a die that deliver about a 50 percent performance increase compared to the Midway chips.
The Lago chips, we now know, will scale to eight cores on a die and deliver about twice the performance of the Midway chips. Both Lago and Sarita are on the same schedule, in fact, and they are expected to tape out this quarter. Calxeda expects to start sampling them to customers in the second quarter of 2014, with production quantities being available at the end of 2014.
Not Just Compute, But Networking, Too
As important as the processing is to a system, the Fleet Services fabric interconnect is perhaps the key differentiator in its design. The current iteration of that interconnect, which is a distributed Layer 2 switch fabric that is spread across each chip in a cluster, can scale across 4,096 nodes without requiring top-of-rack and aggregation switches.


Both of the Lago and Sarita chips will be using the Fleet Services 2.0 intehttp://www.ti.com/product/66ak2h12rconnect that is now being launched with Midway. This iteration of the interconnect has all kinds of tweaks and nips and tucks but no scalability enhancements beyond the 4,096 nodes in the original fabric.
Freund says that the Fleet Services 3.0 fabric, which allows the distributed switch architecture to scale above 100,000 nodes in a flat network, will probably now come with the “Ratamosa” chips in 2015. It was originally – and loosely – scheduled for Lago next year. The circuits that do the fabric interconnect is not substantially different, says Freund, but the scalability is enabled through software. It could be that customers are not going to need such scalability as rapidly as Calxeda originally thought.
The “Navarro” kicker to the Ratamosa chip is presumably based on the ARMv9 architecture, and Calxeda is not saying anything about when we might see that and what properties it might have. All that it has said thus far is that it is aimed at the “enterprise server era.”

Details about the latest Texas Instruments DSP+ARM SoCs:

A Better Way to Cloud [MultiVuOnlineVideo YouTube channel, Nov 13, 2012]

To most technologists, cloud computing is about applications, servers, storage and connectivity. To Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN) it means much more. Today, TI is unveiling a BETTER way to cloud with six new multicore System-on-Chips (SoCs). Based on its award winning KeyStone architecture, TI’s SoCs are designed to revitalize cloud computing, inject new verve and excitement into pivotal infrastructure systems and, despite their feature rich specifications and superior performance, actually reduce energy consumption. To view Multimedia News Release, go to http://www.multivu.com/mnr/54044-texas-instruments-keystone-multicore-socs-revitalize-cloud-applications

Infinite Scalability in Multicore Processors [Texas Instruments YouTube channel, Aug 27, 2012]

Over the years, our industry has preached how different types of end equipments and applications are best served by distinctive multicore architectures tailored to each. There are even those applications, such as high performance computing, which can be addressed by more than one type of multicore architecture. Yet most multicore devices today tend to be suited for a specific approach or a particular set of markets. This keynote address, from the 2012 Multicore Developer’s Conferece, touches upon why the market needs an “infinitely scalable” multicore architecture which is both scalable and flexible enough to support disparate markets and the varied ways in which certain applications are addressed. The speaker presents examples of how a single multicore architecture can be scalable enough to address the needs of various high performance markets, including cloud RAN, networking, imaging and high performance computing. Ramesh Kumar manages the worldwide business for TI’s multicore growth markets organization. The organization develops multicore processors and software that are targeted for the communication infrastructure space, including multimedia and networking infrastructure equipment, as well as end equipment that requires multicore processors like public safety, medical imaging, high performance computing and test and measurement. Ramesh is a graduate of Northeastern University, where he obtained an executive MBA, and Purdue University where he received a master of science in electrical engineering.

From Imagine the impact…TI’s KeyStone SoC + HP Moonshot [TI’s Multicore Mix Blog, April 19, 2013]

TI’s participation in HP’s Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem is the first step towards arming HP’s customers with optimized server systems that are ideally suited for workloads such as oil and gas exploration, Cloud Radio Access Networks (C-RAN), voice over LTE and video transcoding. This collaboration between TI and HP is a bold step forward, enabling flexible, optimized servers to bring differentiated technologies, such as TI’s DSPs, to a broader set of application providers. TI’s KeyStone II-based SoCs, which integrate fixed- and floating- point DSP cores with multiple ARM® Cortex™A-15 MPCore processors, packet and security processing, and high speed interconnect, give customers the performance, scalability and programmability needed to build software-defined servers. HP’s Moonshot system integrates storage, networking and compute cards with a flexible interconnect, allowing customers to choose the optimized ratio enabling the industry’s first software-defined server platform. Bringing TI’s KeyStone II-based SoCs into HP’s Moonshot system opens up several tantalizing possibilities for the future. Let’s look at a few examples:
Think about the number of voice conversations happening over mobile devices every day. These conversations are independent of each other, and each will need transcoding from one voice format to another as voice travels from one mobile device, through the network infrastructure and to the other mobile device. The sheer number of such conversations demand that the servers used for voice transcoding be optimized for this function. Voice is just one example. Now think about video and music, and you can imagine the vast amount of processing required. Using TI’s KeyStone II-based SoCs with DSP technology provides optimized server architecture for these applications because our SoCs are specifically tuned for signal processing workloads.
Another example can be with C-RAN. We have seen a huge push for mobile operators to move most of the mobile radio processing to the data center. There are several approaches to achieve this goal, and each has pros and cons associated with them. But one thing is certain – each approach has to do wireless symbol processing to achieve optimum 3G or 4G communications with smart mobile devices. TI’s KeyStone II-based SoCs are leading the wireless communication infrastructure market and combine key accelerators such as BCP (Bit Rate Co-Processor), VCP (Viturbi Co-Processor) and others to enable 3G/4G standards compliant for wireless processing. These key accelerators offload standard-based wireless processing from the ARM and/or DSP cores, freeing the cores for value-added processing. The combination of ARM/DSP with these accelerators provides an optimum SoC for 3G/4G wireless processing. By combining TI’s KeyStone II-based SoC with HP’s Moonshot system, operators and network equipment providers can now build customized servers for C-RAN to achieve higher performance systems at lower cost and ultimately provide better experiences to their customers.

A better way to cloud: TI’s new KeyStone multicore SoCs [embeddednewstv YouTube channel, published on Jan 12,2013 (YouTube: Oct 21, 2013)]

Brian Glinsman, vice president of multicore processors at Texas Instruments, discusses TI’s new KeyStone multicore SoCs for cloud infrastructure applications. TI announced six new SoCs, based on their 28-nm KeyStone architecture, featuring the Industry’s first implementation of quad ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore processors and TMS320C66x DSPs for purpose built servers, networking, high performance computing, gaming and media processing applications.

Texas Instruments Offers System on a Chip for HPC Applications [RichReport YouTube channel, Nov 20, 2012]

In this video from SC12, Arnon Friedmann from Texas Instruments describes the company’s new multicore System-on-Chips (SoCs). Based on its award winning KeyStone architecture, TI’s SoCs are designed to revitalize cloud computing, inject new verve and excitement into pivotal infrastructure systems and, despite their feature rich specifications and superior performance, actually reduce energy consumption. “Using multicore DSPs in a cloud environment enables significant performance and operational advantages with accelerated compute intensive cloud applications,” said Rob Sherrard, VP of Service Delivery, Nimbix. “When selecting DSP technology for our accelerated cloud compute environment, TI’s KeyStone multicore SoCs were the obvious choice. TI’s multicore software enables easy integration for a variety of high performance cloud workloads like video, imaging, analytics and computing and we look forward to working with TI to help bring significant OPEX savings to high performance compute users.”

A better way to cloud: TI’s new KeyStone multicore SoCs revitalize cloud applications, enabling new capabilities and a quantum leap in performance at significantly reduced power consumption

    • Industry’s first implementation of quad ARM® Cortex™-A15 MPCore™ processors in infrastructure-class embedded SoC offers developers exceptional capacity & performance at significantly reduced power for networking, high performance computing and more
    • Unmatched combination of Cortex-A15 processors, C66x DSPs, packet processing, security processing and Ethernet switching, transforms the real-time cloud into an optimized high performance, power efficient processing platform
    • Scalable KeyStone architecture now features 20+ software compatible devices, enabling customers to more easily design integrated, power and cost-efficient products for high-performance markets from a range of devices

ELECTRONICA – MUNICH (Nov.13, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — To most technologists, cloud computing is about applications, servers, storage and connectivity. To Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN) it means much more. Today, TI is unveiling a BETTER way to cloud with six new multicore System-on-Chips (SoCs). Based on its award winning KeyStone architecture, TI’s SoCs are designed to revitalize cloud computing, inject new verve and excitement into pivotal infrastructure systems and, despite their feature rich specifications and superior performance, actually reduce energy consumption.

To TI, a BETTER way to cloud means:

    • Safer communities thanks to enhanced weather modeling;
    • Higher returns from time sensitive financial analysis;
    • Improved productivity and safety in energy exploration;
    • Faster commuting on safer highways in safer cars;
    • Exceptional video on any screen, anywhere, any time;
    • More productive and environmentally friendly factories; and
    • An overall reduction in energy consumption for a greener planet.
    TI’s new KeyStone multicore SoCs are enabling this – and much more. These 28-nm devices integrate TI’s fixed-and floating-point TMS320C66x digital signal processor (DSP) generation cores – yielding the best performance per watt ratio in the DSP industry – with multiple ARM® Cortex™-A15 MPCore™ processors – delivering unprecedented processing capability combined with low power consumption – facilitating the development of a wide-range of infrastructure applications that can enable more efficient cloud experiences. The unique combination of Cortex-A15 processors and C66x DSPcores, with built-in packet processing and Ethernet switching, is designed to efficiently offload and enhance the cloud’s first generation general purpose servers; servers that struggle with big data applications like high performance computing and video processing.
    “Using multicore DSPs in a cloud environment enables significant performance and operational advantages with accelerated compute intensive cloud applications,” said Rob Sherrard, VP of Service Delivery, Nimbix. “When selecting DSP technology for our accelerated cloud compute environment, TI’s KeyStone multicore SoCs were the obvious choice. TI’s multicore software enables easy integration for a variety of high performance cloud workloads like video, imaging, analytics and computing and we look forward to working with TI to help bring significant OPEX savings to high performance compute users.”
    TI’s six new high-performance SoCs include the 66AK2E02, 66AK2E05, 66AK2H06, 66AK2H12, AM5K2E02 and AM5K2E04, all based on the KeyStone multicore architecture. With KeyStone’s low latency high bandwidth multicore shared memory controller (MSMC), these new SoCs yield 50 percent higher memory throughput when compared to other RISC-based SoCs. Together, these processing elements, with the integration of security processing, networking and switching, reduce system cost and power consumption, allowing developers to support the development of more cost-efficient, green applications and workloads, including high performance computing, video delivery and media and image processing. With the matchless combination TI has integrated into its newest multicore SoCs, developers of media and image processing applications will also create highly dense media solutions.


    “Visionary and innovative are two words that come to mind when working with TI’s KeyStone devices,” said Joe Ye, CEO, CyWee. “Our goal is to offer solutions that merge the digital and physical worlds, and with TI’s new SoCs we are one step closer to making this a reality by pushing state-of-the-art video to virtualized server environments. Our collaboration with TI should enable developers to deliver richer multimedia experiences in a variety of cloud-based markets, including cloud gaming, virtual office, video conferencing and remote education.”
    Simplified development with complete tools and support
    TI continues to ease development with its scalable KeyStone architecture, comprehensive software platform and low-cost tools. In the past two years, TI has developed over 20 software compatible multicore devices, including variations of DSP-based solutions, ARM-based solutions and hybrid solutions with both DSP and ARM-based processing, all based on two generations of the KeyStone architecture. With compatible platforms across TI’s multicore DSPs and SoCs, customers can more easily design integrated, power and cost-efficient products for high-performance markets from a range of devices, starting at just $30 and operating at a clock rate of 850MHz all the way to 15GHz of total processing power.
    TI is also making it easier for developers to quickly get started with its KeyStone multicore solutions by offering easy-to-use, evaluation modules (EVMs) for less than $1K, reducing developers’ programming burdens and speeding development time with a robust ecosystem of multicore tools and software.
    In addition, TI’s Design Network features a worldwide community of respected and well established companies offering products and services that support TI multicore solutions. Companies offering supporting solutions to TI’s newest KeyStone-based multicore SoCs include 3L Ltd., 6WIND, Advantech, Aricent, Azcom Technology, Canonical, CriticalBlue Enea, Ittiam Systems, Mentor Graphics, mimoOn, MontaVista Software, Nash Technologies, PolyCore Software and Wind River.
    Availability and pricing
    TI’s 66AK2Hx SoCs are currently available for sampling, with broader device availability in 1Q13 and EVM availability in 2Q13. AM5K2Ex and 66AK2Ex samples and EVMs will be available in the second half of 2013. Pricing for these devices will start at $49 for 1 KU.

    66AK2H14 (ACTIVE) Multicore DSP+ARM KeyStone II System-on-Chip (SoC) [TI.com, Nov 10, 2013]
    The same as below for 66AK2H12 SoC with addition of:

    More Literature:

    From that the below excerpt is essential to understand the added value above 66AK2H12 SoC:


    Figure 1. TI’s KeyStone™ 66AK2H14 SoC

    The 66AK2H14 SoC shown in Figure 1, with the raw computing power of eight C66x processors and quad ARM Cortex-A15s at over 1GHz performance, enables applications such as very large fast fourier transforms (FFT) in radar and multiple camera image analytics where a 10Gbit/s networking connection is needed. There are, and have been, several sophisticated technologies that have offered the bandwidth and additional features to fill this role. Some such as Serial RapidIO® and Infiniband have been successful in application domains that Gigabit Ethernet could not address, and continue to make sense, but 10Gbit/s Ethernet will challenge their existence.

    66AK2H12 (ACTIVE) Multicore DSP+ARM KeyStone II System-on-Chip (SoC) [TI.com, created on Nov 8, 2012]

    Datasheet manual [351 pages]:

    More Literature:


    The 66AK2Hx platform is TI’s first to combine the quad ARM® Cortex™-A15 MPCore™ processors with up to eight TMS320C66x high-performance DSPs using the KeyStone II architecture. Unlike previous ARM Cortex-A15 devices that were designed for consumer products, the 66AK2Hx platform provides up to 5.6 GHz of ARM and 11.2 GHz of DSP processing coupled with security and packet processing and Ethernet switching, all at lower power than multi-chip solutions making it optimal for embedded infrastructure applications like cloud computing, media processing, high-performance computing, transcoding, security, gaming, analytics and virtual desktop. Using TI’s heterogeneous programming runtime software and tools, customers can easily develop differentiated products with 66AK2Hx SoCs.


    Taking Multicore to the Next Level: KeyStone II Architecture [Texas Instruments YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2012]

    TI’s scalable KeyStone II multicore architecture includes support for both TMS320C66x DSP cores and multiple cache coherent quad ARM Cortex™-A15 clusters, for a mixture of up to 32 DSP and RISC cores. With significant updates to its award-winning KeyStone architecture, TI is now paving the way for a new era of high performance 28-nm devices that meld signal processing, networking, security and control functionality, with KeyStone II. Ideal for applications that demand superior performance and low power, devices based on the KeyStone architecture are optimized for high performance markets including communications infrastructure, mission critical, test and automation, medical imaging and high performance and cloud computing. For more information, please visit http://www.ti.com/multicore.

    Introducing the EVMK2H [Texas Instruments YouTube channel, Nov 15, 2013]

    Introducing the EVMK2H evaluation module, the cost-efficient development tool from Texas Instruments that enables developers to quickly get started working on designs for the 66AK2H06, 66AK2H12, and 66AK2H14 multicore DSP + ARM devices based on the KeyStone architecture.

    Kick start development of high performance compute systems with TI’s new KeyStone™ SoC and evaluation module [TI press release, Nov 14, 2013]

    Combination of DSP + ARM® cores and high-speed peripherals offer developers an optimal compute solution at low power consumption

    DALLAS, Nov. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Further easing the development of processing-intensive applications, Texas Instruments (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN) is unveiling a new system-on-chip (SoC), the 66AK2H14, and evaluation module (EVM) for its KeyStoneTM-based 66AK2Hx family of SoCs. With the new 66AK2H14 device, developers designing high-performance compute systems now have access to a 10Gbps Ethernet switch-on-chip. The inclusion of the 10GigE switch, along with the other high-speed, on-chip interfaces, saves overall board space, reduces chip count and ultimately lowers system cost and power. The EVM enables developers to evaluate and benchmark faster and easier. The 66AK2H14 SoC provides industry-leading computational DSP performance at 307 GMACS/153 GFLOPS and 19600 DMIPS of ARM performance, making it ideal for a wide variety of applications such as video surveillance, radar processing, medical imaging, machine vision and geological exploration.

    “Customers today require increased performance to process compute-intensive workloads using less energy in a smaller footprint,” said Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager, Hyperscale Business, HP. “As a partner in HP’s Moonshot ecosystem dedicated to the rapid development of new Moonshot servers, we believe TI’s KeyStone design will provide new capabilities across multiple disciplines to accelerate the pace of telecommunication innovations and geological exploration.”

    Meet TI’s new 10Gbps Ethernet DSP + ARM SoC
    TI’s newest silicon variant, the 66AK2H14, is the latest addition to its high-performance 66AK2Hx SoC family which integrates multiple ARM Cortex™-A15 MPCore™ processors and TI’s fixed- and floating-point TMS320C66x digital signal processor (DSP) generation cores. The 66AK2H14 offers developers exceptional capacity and performance (up to 9.6 GHz of cumulative DSP processing) at industry-leading size, weight, and power. In addition, the new SoC features a wide array of unique high-speed interfaces, including PCIe, RapidIO, Hyperlink, 1Gbps and 10Gbps Ethernet, achieving total I/O throughput of up to 154Gbps. These interfaces are all distinct and not multiplexed, allowing designers tremendous flexibility with uncompromising performance in their designs.
    Ease development and debugging with TI’s tools and software
    TI helps simplify the design process by offering developers highly optimized software for embedded HPC systems along with development and debugging tools for the EVMK2H – all for under $1,000. The EVMK2H features a single 66AK2H14 SoC, a status LCD, two 1Gbps Ethernet RJ-45 interfaces and on-board emulation. An optional EVM breakout card (available separately) also provides two 10Gbps Ethernet optical interfaces for 20Gbps backplane connectivity and optional wire rate switching in high density systems.
    The EVMK2H is bundled with TI’s Multicore Software Development Kit (MCSDK), enabling faster development with production ready foundational software. The MCSDK eases development and reduces time to market by providing highly-optimized bundles of foundational, platform-specific drivers, optimized libraries and demos.
    Complementary analog products to increase system performance
    TI offers a wide range of power management and analog signal chain components to increase the system performance of 66AK2H14 SoC-based designs. For example, the TPS53xx integrated FET DC/DC converters provide the highest level of power conversion efficiency even at light loads, while the LM10011 VID converter with dynamic voltage control helps reduce system power consumption. The CDCM6208 low-jitter clock generator also eliminates the need for external buffers, jitter cleaners and level translators.
    Availability and pricing
    TI’s EVMK2H is available now through TI distribution partners or TI.com for $995. In addition to TI’s Linux distribution provided in the MCSDK, Wind River® Linux is available now for the 66AK2Hxx family of SoCs. Green Hills® INTEGRITY® RTOS and Wind River VxWorks® RTOS support will each be available before the end of the year. Pricing for the 66AK2H14 SoC will start at $330 for 1 KU. The 10Gbps Ethernet breakout card will be available from Mistral.

    Ask the Expert: How can developers accelerate scientific computing with TI’s multicore DSPs? [Texas Instruments YouTube channel, Feb 7, 2012]

    Dr. Arnon Friedmann is the business manager for TI’s high performance computing products in the multicore and media infrastructure business. In this video, he explains how TI’s multicore DSPs are well suited for computing applications in oil and gas exploration, financial modeling and molecular dynamics, where ultra- high performance, low power and easy programmability are critical requirements.

    Ask the Expert: Arnon Friedmann [Texas Instruments YouTube channel, Sept 6, 2012]

    How are TI’s latest multicore devices a fit for video surveillance and smart analytic camera applications? Dr. Arnon Friedmann, PhD, is a business manager for multicore processors at Texas Instruments. In this role, he is responsible for growing TI’s business in high performance computing, mission critical, test and measurement and imaging markets. Prior to his current role, Dr. Friedmann served as the marketing director for TI’s wireless base station infrastructure group, where he was responsible for all marketing and design activities. Throughout his 14 years of experience in digital communications research and development, Dr. Friedmann has accumulated patents in the areas of disk drive systems, ADSL modems and 3G/4G wireless communications. He holds a PhD in electrical engineering and bachelor of science in engineering physics, both from the University of California, San Diego.

    End of Updates as of Dec 6, 2013

    The original post (8 months ago):

    HP Moonshot: Designed for the Data Center, Built for the Planet [HP press kit, April 8, 2013]

    On April 8, 2013, HP unveiled the world’s first commercially available HP Moonshot system, delivering compelling new infrastructure economics by using up to 89 percent less energy, 80 percent less space and costing 77 percent less, compared to traditional servers. Today’s mega data centers are nearing a breaking point where further growth is restricted due to the current economics of traditional infrastructure. HP Moonshot servers are a first step organizations can take to address these constraints.

    For more details on the disruptive potential of HP Moonshot, visit TheDisruption.com

    Introducing HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos April 11, 2013]

    See how HP is defining disruption with the introduction of HP Moonshot.

    HP’s Cutting Edge Data Center Innovation [Ramón Baez, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of HP, HP Next [launched on April 2], April 10, 2013]

    This is an exciting time to be in the IT industry right now. For those of you who have been around for a while — as I have — there have been dramatic shifts that have changed how businesses operate.
    From the early days of the mainframes, to the explosion of the Internet and now social networks, every so often very important game-changing innovation comes along. We’re in the midst of another sea change in technology.
    Inside HP IT, we are testing the company’s Moonshot servers. With these servers running the same chips found in smart phones and tablets, they are using incredibly less power, require considerably less cooling and have a smaller footprint.

    We currently are running some of our intensive hp.com applications on Moonshot and are seeing very encouraging results. Over half a billion people will visit hp.com this year, and the new Moonshot technology will run at a fraction of the space, power and cost – basically we expect to run HP.com off of the same amount of energy needed for a dozen 60-watt light bulbs.

    This technology will revolutionize data centers.
    Within HP IT, we are fortunate in that over the past several years we have built a solid data center foundation to run our company. Like many companies, we were a victim of IT sprawl — with more than 85 data centers in 29 countries. We decided to make a change and took on a total network redesign, cutting our principle worldwide data centers down to six and housing all of them in the United States.
    With the addition of four new EcoPODs to our infrastructure and these new Moonshot servers, we are in the perfect position to build out our private cloud and provide our businesses with the speed and quality of innovation they need.
    Moonshot is just the beginning.The product roadmap for Moonshot is extremely promising and I am excited to see what we can do with it within HP IT, and what benefits our customers will see.

    What Calxeda is saying about HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013] which is best to start with for its simple and efficient message, as well as what Intel targeting ARM based microservers: the Calxeda case [‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog, Dec 14, 2012] already contained on this blog earlier:

    Calxeda discusses HP’s Project Moonshot and the cost, space, and efficiency innovations being enabled through the Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem. http://hp.com/go/moonshot

    Then we can turn to the Moonshot product launch by HP 2 days ago:

    Note that the first three videos following here were released 3 days later, so don’t be surpised by YouTube dates, in fact the same 3 videos (as well as the “Introducing HP Moonshot” embedded above) were delivered on April 8 live webcast, see the first 18 minutes of that, and then follow according HP’s flow of the presentation if you like. I would certainly recommend my own presentation compiled here.

    HP president and CEO Meg Whitman on the emergence of a new style of IT [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 11, 2013]

    HP president and CEO Meg Whitman outlines the four megatrends causing strain on current infrastructure and how HP Project Moonshot servers are built to withstand data center challenges.

    EVP and GM of HP’s Enterprise Group Dave Donatelli discusses HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 11, 2013]

    EVP and GM of HP’s Enterprise Group Dave Donatelli details how HP Moonshot redefines the server market.

    Tour the Houston Discovery Lab — where the next generation of innovation is created [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 11, 2013]

    SVP and GM of HP’s Industry Standard Servers and Software Mark Potter and VP and GM of HP’s Hyperscale Business Unit Paul Santeler tour HP’s Discovery Lab in Houston, Texas. HP’s Discovery Lab allows customers to test, tune and port their applications on HP Moonshot servers in-person and remotely.

    A new era of accelerated innovation [HP Moonshot minisite, April 8, 2013]

    Cloud, Mobility, Security, and Big Data are transforming what the business expects from IT resulting in a “New Style of IT.” The result of alternative thinking from a proven industry leader, HP Moonshot is the world’s first software defined server that will accelerate innovation while delivering breakthrough efficiency and scale.

    Watch the unveiling [link to HP Moonshot – The Disruption [HP Event registration page at ‘thedisruption.com’]image

    On the right is the Moonshot System with the very first Moonshot servers (“microservers/server appliances” as called by the industry) based on Intel® Atom S1200 processors and for supporting web-hosting workloads (see also on right part  of the image below). Currently there is also a storage cartridge (on the left of the below image) and a multinode for highly dense computing solutions (see in the hands of presenter on the image below). Many more are to come later on.


    imageWith up to a 180 servers inside the box (45 now) it was necessary to integrate network switching. There are two sockets (see left) for the network switch so you can configure for redundancy. The downlink module which talks to the cartridges is on left of the below image. This module is paired with an uplink module (see on the middle of the below image as taken out, and then shown with the uplink module on the right) that is in the back of the server. There will be more options available.image

    More information:
    Enterprise Information Library for Moonshot
    HP Moonshot System [Technical white paper from HP, April 5, 2013] from which I will include here the following excerpts for more information:

    HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis

    The HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis is a 4.3U form factor and slides out of the rack on a set of rails like a file cabinet drawer. It supports 45 HP ProLiant Moonshot Servers and an HP Moonshot-45G Switch Module that are serviceable from the top.
    It is a modern architecture engineered for the new style of IT that can support server cartridges, server and storage cartridges, storage only cartridges and a range of x86, ARM or accelerator based processor technologies.
    As an initial offering, the HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis is fully populated 45 HP ProLiant Moonshot Servers and one HP Moonshot-45G Switch Module and a second HP Moonshot-45G Switch Module can be purchased as an option. Future offerings will include quad server cartridges and will result in up to 180 servers per chassis. The 4.3U form factor allows for 10 chassis per rack, which with the quad server cartridge amounts to 1800 servers in a single rack.
    The Moonshot 1500 Chassis simplifies management with four iLO processors that share management responsibility for the 45 servers, power, cooling, and switches.

    Highly flexible fabric

    Built into the HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis architecture are four separate and independent fabrics that support a range of current and future capabilities:
    • Network fabric
    • Storage fabric
    • Management fabric
    • Integrated cluster fabric
    Network fabric
    The Network fabric provides the primary external communication path for the HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis.
    For communication within the chassis, the network switch has four communication channels to each of the 45 servers. Each channel supports a 1-GbE or 10-GbE interface. Each HP Moonshot-45G Switch Module supports 6 channels of 10GbE interface to the HP Moonshot-6SFP network uplink modules located in the rear of the chassis.
    Storage fabric
    The Storage fabric provides dedicated SAS lanes between server and storage cartridges. We utilize HP Smart Storage firmware found in the ProLiant family of servers to enable multiple core to spindle ratios for specific solutions. A hard drive can be shared among multiple server cartridges to enable low cost boot, logging, or attached to a node to provide storage expansion.
    The current HP Moonshot System configuration targets light scale-out applications. To provide the best operating environment for these applications, it includes HP ProLiant Moonshot Servers with a hard disk drive (HDD) as part of the server architecture. Shared storage is not an advantage for these environments. Future releases of the servers thattarget different solutions will take advantage of the storage fabric.
    Management fabric
    We utilize the Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) standard in the HP ProLiant family of servers to provide the innovative management features in the HP Moonshot System. To handle the range of extreme low energy processors we provide a device neutral approach to management, which can be easily consumed by data center operators to deploy at scale.
    The Management fabric enables management of the HP Moonshot System components as one platform with a dedicated iLO network. Benefits of the management fabric include:
    • The iLO Chassis Manager aggregates data to a common set of management interfaces.
    • The HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis has a single Ethernet port gateway that is the single point of access for the Moonshot Chassis manager.
    • Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) and Serial Console for each server
    • True out-of-band firmware update services
    • SL-APM Rack Management spans rack or multiple racks
    Integrated Cluster fabric
    The Integrated Cluster fabric provides a high-speed interface among future server cartridge technologies that will benefit from high bandwidth node-to-node communication. North, south, east, and west lanes are provided between individual server cartridges.
    The current HP ProLiant Moonshot Servertargets light scale-out applications. These applications do not benefit from the node-to-node communications, so the Integrated Cluster fabric is not utilized. Future releases of the cartridges that target different workloads that require low latency interconnects will take advantage of the Integrated Cluster fabric.

    HP ProLiant Moonshot Server

    HP will bring a growing library of cartridges, utilizing cutting-edge technology from industry leading partners. Each server will target specific solutions that support emerging Web, Cloud, and Massive-Scale Environments, as well as Analytics and Telecommunications. We are continuing server development for other applications, including Big Data, High-Performance Computing, Gaming, Financial Services, Genomics, Facial Recognition, Video Analysis, and more.
    Figure 4. Cartridges target specific solutions


    The first server cartridge now available is HP ProLiant Moonshot Server, which includes the Intel® Atom Processor S1260. This is a low power processor that is right-sized for the light workloads. It has dedicated memory and storage, with discrete resources. This server design is idealfor light scale-out applications. Light scale-out applications require relatively little processing but moderately high I/O and include environments that perform the following functions:
    • Dedicated web hosting
    • Simple content delivery
    The HP ProLiant Moonshot Server can hot plug in the HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis. If service is necessary, it can be removed without affecting the other servers in the chassis. Table 1 defines the HP ProLiant Moonshot Server specifications.
    Table 1. HP ProLiant Moonshot Server specifications

    One Intel® Atom Processor S1260
    8 GB DDR3 ECC 1333 MHz
    Integrated dual-port 1Gb Ethernet NIC
    500 GB or 1 TB HDD or SSD, non-hot-plug, small form factor
    Operating systems
    Canonical Ubuntu 12.04
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4
    SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2

    imageWith that HP CEO Seeks Turnaround Unveiling ‘Moonshot’ Super-Server: Tech [Bloomberg, April, 2013] as well as HP Moonshot: Say Goodbye to the Vanilla Server [Forbes, April 8, 2013]. HP however is much more eyeing the ARM based Moonshot servers which are expected to come later, because of the trends reflected on the left (source: HP). The software defined server concept is very general. image

    There are a number of quite different server cartridges expected to come, all specialised by server software installed on it. Typical specialised servers, for example, are the ones on which CyWee from Taiwan is working on with Texas Instruments’ new KeyStone II architecture featuring both ARM Cortex-A15 CPU cores and TI’s own C66x DSP cores for a mixture of up to 32 DSP and RISC cores in TI’s new 66AK2Hx family of SoCs, first of which is the TMS320TCI6636 implemented in 28nm foundry technology. Based on that CyWee will deliver multimedia Moonshot server cartridges for cloud gaming, virtual office, video conferencing and remote education (see even the first Keystone announcement). This CyWee involvement in HP Moonshot effort is part of HP’s Pathfinder Partner Program which Texas Instruments also joined recently to exploit a larger opportunity as:

    TI’s 66AK2Hx family and its integrated c66x multicore DSPs are applicable for workloads ranging from high performance computing, media processing, video conferencing, off-line image processing & analytics, video recorders (DVR/NVR), gaming, virtual desktop infrastructure and medical imaging.

    But Intel was able to win the central piece of the Moonshot System launch (originally initiated by HP as the “Moonshot Project” in November 2011 for disruption in terms of power and TCO for servers, actually with a Calxeda board used for research and development with other partners), at least as it was productized just two days ago:
    Raejeanne Skillern from Intel – HP Moonshot 2013 – theCUBE [siliconangle YouTube channel]

    Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Director of Marketing for Cloud Computing, at HP Moonshot 2013 with John Furrier and Dave Vellante

    However ARM was not left out either just relegated in the beginning to highly advanced and/or specialised server roles with its SoC partners, and coming later in the year:

    • Applied Micro with networking and connectivity background having now the X-Gene ARM 64-bit Server on a Chip platform as well which features 8 ARM 64-bit high-performance cores developed from scratch according to an architecture license (i.e. not ARM’s own Cortex-A50 series core), clocked at up to 2.4GHz and also has 4 smaller cores for network and storage offloads (see AppliedMicro on the X-Gene ARM Server Platform and HP Moonshot [SiliconANGLE blog [April 9, 2013]). Sample reference boards to key customers were shipped in March (see Applied Micro’s cloud chip is an ARM-based, switch-killing machine [GigaOM, April 3, 2013]). In the latest X-Gene Arrives in Silicon [Open Compute Summit Winter 2013 presentation, Jan 16, 2013] video you can have the most recent strategic details (upto 2014 with FinFET implementation of a “Software defined X-Gene based data center components”, should be assumed that at 16nm). Here I will include a more product-oriented AppliedMicro Shows ARM 64-bit X-Gene Server on a Chip Hardware and Software [Charbax YouTube channel, Nov 3, 2012] overview video:
      Vinay Ravuri, Vice President and General Manager, Server Products at AppliedMicro gives an update on the 64bit ARM X-Gene Server Platform. At ARM Techcon 2012, AppliedMicro, ARM and several open-source software providers gave updates on their support of the ARM 64-bit X-Gene Server on a Chip Platform.

      More information: A 2013 Resolution for the Data Center [Applied Micro on Smart Connected Devices blog from ARM, Feb 4, 2013] about “plans from Oracle, Red Hat, Citrix and Cloudera to support this revolutionary architecture … Dell’s “Iron” server concept with X-Gene … an X-Gene based ARM server managed by the Dell DCS Software suite …” etc.

    • Texas Instruments with digital signal processing (DSP) background, as it was already presented above. 
    • Calxeda with integration of storage fabric and Internet switching background, with details coming later, etc.:

    This is what is empasized by Lakshmi Mandyam from ARM – HP Moonshot 2013 – theCUBE [siliconangle YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    Lakshmi Mandyam, Director of Server Systems and Ecosystems, ARM, at HP Moonshot 2013, with John Furrier and Dave Vellante

    She is also mentioning in the talk the achievements which could put ARM and its SoC partners into a role which Intel now has with its general Atom S1200 based server cartridge product fitting into the Moonshot system. Perspective information on that is already available on my ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog here:
    The state of big.LITTLE processing [April 7, 2013]
    The future of mobile gaming at GDC 2013 and elsewhere [April 6, 2013]
    TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process to be further optimised with Imagination’s PowerVR Series6 GPUs and Cadence design infrastructure [April 8, 2013]
    With 28nm non-exclusive in 2013 TSMC tested first tape-out of an ARM Cortex™-A57 processor on 16nm FinFET process technology [April 3, 2013]

    The absence of Microsoft is even more interesting as AMD is also on this Moonshot bandwagon: Suresh Gopalakrishnan from AMD – HP Moonshot 2013 – theCUBE [siliconangle YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    Suresh Gopalakrishnan, Vice President and General Manager, Server Business, AMD, at HP Moonshot 2013, with John Furrier and Dave Vellante

    already showing a Moonshot fitting server cartridge with AMD’s four next-generation SoCs (while Intel’s already productized cartridge is not yet at an SoC level). We know from CES 2013 that AMD Unveils Innovative New APUs and SoCs that Give Consumers a More Exciting and Immersive Experience [press release, Jan 7, 2013] with the:

    Temash” … elite low-power mobility processor for Windows 8 tablets and hybrids … to be the highest-performance SoC for tablets in the market, with 100 percent more graphics processing performance2 than its predecessor (codenamed “Hondo.”)
    Kabini” [SoC which] targets ultrathin notebooks with exceptional battery life and offers impressive levels of performance in both dual- and quad-core options. “Kabini” is expected to deliver an increase of more than 50 percent in performance3 over the previous generation of AMD essential computing APUs (codenamed “Brazos 2.0.”)
    Both APUs are scheduled to ship in the first half of 2013

    so AMD is really close to a server SoC to be delivered soon as well.

    The “more information” sections which follow her are:

    1. The Announcement
    2. Software Partners
    3. Hardware Partners

    1. The Announcement

    HP Moonshot [MultiVuOnlineVideo YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    HP today unveiled the world’s first commercially available HP Moonshot system, delivering compelling new infrastructure economics by using up to 89 percent less energy, 80 percent less space and costing 77 percent less, compared to traditional servers. Today’s mega data centers are nearing a breaking point where further growth is restricted due to the current economics of traditional infrastructure. HP Moonshot servers are a first step organizations can take to address these constraints.

    HP Launches New Class of Server for Social, Mobile, Cloud and Big Data [press release, April 8, 2013]

    Software defined servers designed for the data center and built for the planet
    … Built from HP’s industry-leading server intellectual property (IP) and 10 years of extensive research from HP Labs, the company’s central research arm, HP Moonshot delivers a significant improvement in energy, space, cost and simplicity. …
    The HP Moonshot system consists of the HP Moonshot 1500 enclosure and application-optimized HP ProLiant Moonshot servers. These servers will offer processors from multiple HP partners, each targeting a specific workload.
    With support for up to 1,800 servers per rack, HP Moonshot servers occupy one-eighth of the space required by traditional servers. This offers a compelling solution to the problem of physical data center space.(3) Each chassis shares traditional components including the fabric, HP Integrated Lights-Out (iLo) management, power supply and cooling fans. These shared components reduce complexity as well as add to the reduction in energy use and space.  
    The first HP ProLiant Moonshot server is available with the Intel® Atom S1200 processor and supports web-hosting workloads. HP Moonshot 1500, a 4.3u server enclosure, is fully equipped with 45 Intel-based servers, one network switch and supporting components.
    HP also announced a comprehensive roadmap of workload-optimized HP ProLiant Moonshot servers incorporating processors from a broad ecosystem of HP partners including AMD, AppliedMicro, Calxeda, Intel and Texas Instruments Incorporated.

    Scheduled to be released in the second half of 2013, the new HP ProLiant Moonshot servers will support emerging web, cloud and massive scale environments, as well as analytics and telecommunications. Future servers will be delivered for big data, high-performance computing, gaming, financial services, genomics, facial recognition, video analysis and other applications.

    The HP Moonshot system is immediately available in the United States and Canada and will be available in Europe, Asia and Latin America beginning next month.
    Pricing begins at $61,875 for the enclosure, 45 HP ProLiant Moonshot servers and an integrated switch.(4)
    (4) Estimated U.S. street prices. Actual prices may vary.

    More information:
    HP Moonshot System [Family data sheet, April 8, 2013]
    HP Moonshot – The Disruption [HP Event registration page at ‘thedisruption.com’ with embedded video gallery, press kit and more, originally created on April 12, 2010, obviously updated for the April 8, 2013 event]

    Moonshot 101 [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    Paul Santeler, Vice President & GM of Hyperscale Business Unit at HP, discusses how HP Project Moonshot creates the new style of IT.http://hp.com/go/moonshot

    Alert for Microsoft:

    [4:42] We defined the industry standard server market [reference to HP’s Compaq heritage] and we’ve been the leader for years. With Moonshot we bring to find the market and taking it to the next level. [4:53]

    People Behind HP Moonshot [HP YouTube channel, April 10, 2013]

    HP Moonshot is a groundbreaking new class of server that requires less energy, less space and less cost. Built from HP’s industry-leading server IP and 10 years of research from HP Labs, HP Moonshot is an example of the best of HP working together. In the video: Gerald Kleyn, Director of Platform Research and Development, Hyperscale Business Unit, Industry Standard Servers; Scott Herbel, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Hyperscale Business Unit, Industry Standard Servers; Ron Mann, Director of Engineering, Industry Standard Servers; Kelly Pracht, Hardware Platform Manager R&D, Hyperscale Business Unit, Industry Standard Servers; Mike Sabotta, Distinguished Technologist, Hyperscale Business Unit, Industry Standard Servers; Dwight Barron, HP Fellow, Chief Technologist, Hyperscale Business Unit, Industry Standard Servers. For more information, visit http://www.hpnext.com.

    HP Moonshot System Tour [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    Kelly Pracht, Moonshot Hardware Platform Program Manager, HP, takes you on a private tour of the HP Moonshot System and introduces the foundational HW components of HP Project Moonshot. This video guides you around the entire system highlighting the cartridges and switches.http://hp.com/go/moonshot

    HP Moonshot System is Hot Pluggable [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    “Show me around the HP Moonshot System!” Vicki Doehring, Moonshot Hardware Engineer, HP, shows us just how simple and intuitive it is to remove components in the HP Moonshot System. This video explains how HP’s hot pluggable technology works with the HP Moonshot System.http://hp.com/go/moonshot

    Alert for Microsoft: how and when will you have a system like this with all the bells and whistles as presented above, as well as the rich ecosystem of hardware and software partners given below 

    HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    A key element of HP Moonshot, the HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem brings together industry leading sofware and hardware partners to accelerate the development of workload optimized applications. http://hp.com/go/moonshot

    Software partners:

    What Linaro is saying about HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    Linaro discusses HP’s Project Moonshot and the cost, space, and efficiency innovations being enabled through the Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem. http://hp.com/go/moonshot

    Alert for Microsoft:

    [0:11] In HP approach Linaro is about forming an enterprise group. What they were hoping for, what’s happened is to get a bunch of companies who are interested in taking the ARM architecture into the server space. [0:26]

    Canonical joins Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) and commits Ubuntu Hyperscale Availability for ARM V8 in 2013 [press release, Nov 1, 2012]

      • Canonical continues its leadership of commercial deployment for ARM-based servers through membership of Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG)
      • Ubuntu, the only commercially supported OS for ARM v7 today, commits to support ARM v8 server next year
      • Ubuntu extends its position as the natural choice for hyperscale  server computing with long term support

    … “Canonical has been supporting our work optimising and consolidating the Linux kernel since our founding in June 2010”, said George Grey, CEO of Linaro. “We’re very happy to welcome them as a member of the Linaro Enterprise Group, building on our relationship to help accelerate development of the ARM server software ecosystem.” …

    … “Calxeda has been thrilled with Canonical’s leadership in developing the ARM ecosystem”,  said Karl Freund, VP marketing at Calxeda. “These guys get it. They are driving hard and fast, already delivering enterprise-class code and support for Calxeda’s 32-bit product today to our mutual clients.  Working together in LEG will enable us to continue to build on the momentum we have already created.” …

    What Canonical is saying about HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    HP Moonshot and Ubuntu work together [Ubuntu partner site, April 9, 2013]

    … Ubuntu, as the lead operating system platform for x86 and ARM-based HP Moonshot Systems, featured extensively at the launch of the program in April 2013. …
    Ubuntu Server is the only OS fully operational today across HP Moonshot x86 and ARM servers, launched in April 2013.
    Ubuntu is recognised as the leader in scale out and Hyperscale. Together, Canonical and HP are delivering massive reductions in data-center energy, space and costs. …

    Canonical has been working with HP for the past two years
    on HP Moonshot
    , and with Ubuntu, customers can achieve higher performance with greater manageability across both x86 and ARM chip sets” Paul Santeler, VP & GM, Hyperscale Business Unit, HP

    Ubuntu & HP’s project Moonshot [Canonical blog, Nov 2, 2011]

    Today HP announced Project Moonshot  – a programme to accelerate the use of low power processors in the data centre.
    The three elements of the announcement are the launch of Redstone – a development platform that harnesses low-power processors (both ARM & x86),  the opening of the HP Discovery lab in Houston and the Pathfinder partnership programme.
    Canonical is delighted to be involved in all three elements of HP’s Moonshot programme to reduce both power and complexity in data centres.
    imageThe HP Redstone platform unveiled in Palo Alto showcases HP’s thinking around highly federated environments and Calxeda’s EnergyCore ARM processors. The Calxeda system on chip (SoC) design is powered by Calxeda’s own ARM based processor and combines mobile phone like power consumption with the attributes required to run a tangible proportion of hyperscale data centre workloads.
    The promise of server grade SoC’s running at less than 5W and achieving per rack density of 2800+ nodes is impressive, but what about the software stacks that are used to run the web and analyse big data – when will they be ready for this new architecture?
    Ubuntu Server is increasingly the operating system of choice for web, big data and cloud infrastructure workloads. Films like Avatar are rendered on Ubuntu, Hadoop is run on it and companies like Rackspace and HP are using Ubuntu Server as the foundation of their public cloud offerings.
    The good news is that Canonical has been working with ARM and Calxeda for several years now and we released the first version of Ubuntu Server ported for ARM Cortex A9 class  processors last month.
    The Ubuntu 11.10 release (download) is an functioning port and over the next six months and we will be working hard to benchmark and optimize Ubuntu Server and the workloads that our users prioritize on ARM.  This work, by us and by upstream open source projects is going to be accelerated by today’s announcement and access to hardware in the HP Discovery lab.
    As HP stated today, this is beginning of a journey to re-inventing a power efficient and less complex data center. We look forward to working with HP and Calxeda on that journey.

    The biggest enterprise alert for Microsoft because of what was discussed in Will Microsoft Stand Out In the Big Data Fray? [Redmondmag.com, March 22, 2013]: What NuoDB is saying about HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 9, 2013] especially as it is a brand new offering, see NuoDB Announces General Availability of Industry’s First & Only Cloud Data Management System at Live-Streamed Event [press release, Jan 15, 2013] now available in archive at this link: http://go.nuodb.com/cdms-2013-register-e.html

    Barry Morris, founder and CEO of NuoDB discusses HP’s Project Moonshot and the database innovations delivered by the combined offering

    Extreme density on HP’s Project Moonshot [NuoDB Techblog, April 9, 2013]

    A few months ago HP came to us with something very cool. It’s called Project Moonshot, and it’s a new way of thinking about how you design infrastructure. Essentially, it’s a composable system that gives you serious flexibility and density.

    A single Moonshot System is 4.3u tall and holds 45 independent servers connected to each other via 1-Gig Ethernet. There’s a 10-Gig Ethernet interface to the system as a whole, and management interfaces for the system and each individual server. The long-term design is to have servers that provide specific capabilities (compute, storage, memory, etc.) and can scale to up to 180 nodes in a single 4.3u chassis.
    The initial system, announced this week, comes with a single server configuration: an Intel Atom S1260 processor, 8 Gigabytes of memory and either a 200GB SSD or a 500GB HDD. On its own, that’s not a powerful server, but when you put 45 of these into a 4.3 rack-unit space you get something in aggregate that has a lot of capacity while still drawing very little power (see below). The challenge, then, is how to really take advantage of this collection of servers.

    NuoDB on Project Moonshot: Density and Efficiency

    We’ve shown how NuoDB can scale a single database to large transaction rates. For this new system, however, we decided to try a different approach. Rather than make a single database scale to large volume we decided to see how many individual, smaller databases we could support at the same time. Essentially, could we take a fully-configured HP Project Moonshot System and turn it into a high-density, low-power, easy to manage hosting appliance.

    To put this in context, think about a web site that hosts blogs. Typically, each blog is going to have a single database supporting it (just like this blog you’re reading). The problem is that while a few blogs will be active all the time, most of them see relatively light traffic. This is known as a long-tail pattern. Still, because the blogs always need to be available, so too the backing databases always need to be running.

    This leads to a design trade-off. Do you map the blogs to a single database (breaking isolation and making management harder) or somehow try to juggle multiple database instances (which is hard to automate, expensive in resource-usage and makes migration difficult)? And what happens when a blog suddenly takes off in popularity? In other words, how do you make it easy to manage the databases and make resource-utilization as efficient as possible so you don’t over-spend on hardware?

    As I’ve discussed on this blog NuoDB is a multi-tenant system that manages individual databases dynamically and efficiently. That should mean that we’re a perfect fit for this very cool (pun intended) new system from HP.

    The Design

    After some initial profiling on a single server, we came up with a goal: support 7,200 active databases. You can read all about how we did the math, but essentially this was a balance between available CPU, Memory, Disk and bandwidth. In this case a “database” is a single Transaction Engine and Storage Manager pair, running on one of the 45 available servers.

    When we need to start a database, we pick the server that’s least-utilized. We choose this based on local monitoring at each server that is rolled up through the management tier to the Connection Brokers. It’s simple to do given all that NuoDB already provides, and because we know what each server supports it lets us calculate a single capacity percentage.
    It gets better. Because a NuoDB database is made of an agile collection of processes, it’s very inexpensive to start or stop a database. So, in addition to monitoring for server capacity we also watch what’s going on inside each database, and if we think it’s been idle long enough that something else could use the associated resources more effectively we shut it down. In other words, if a database isn’t doing anything active we stop it to make room for other databases.
    When an SQL client needs to access that database, we simply re-start it where there are available resources. We call this mechanism hibernating and waking a database. This on-demand resource management means that while there are some number of databases actively running, we can really support a much larger in total (remember, we’re talking about applications that exhibit a long-tail access pattern). With this capability, our original goal of 7,200 active databases translates into 72,000 total supported databases. On a single 4.3u System.
    The final piece we added is what we call database bursting. If a single database gets really popular it will start to take up too many resources on a single server. If you provision another server, separate from the Moonshot System, then we’ll temporarily “burst” a high-activity database to that new host until activity dies down. It’s automatic, quick and gives you on-demand capacity support when something gets suddenly hot.
    The Tests
    I’m not going to repeat too much here about how we drove our tests. That’s already covered in the discussion on how we’re trying to design a new kind of benchmark focused on density and efficiency. You should go check that out … it’s pretty neat. Suffice it say, the really critical thing to us in all of this was that we were demonstrating something that solves a real-world problem under real-world load.
    You should also go read about how we setup and ran on a Moonshot System. The bottom-line is that the system worked just like you’d expect, and gave us the kinds of management and monitoring features to go beyond basic load testing.
    The Results
    We were really lucky to be given access to a full Moonshot System. It gave us a chance to test out our ideas, and we actually were able to do better than our target. You can see this in the view from our management interface running against a real system under our benchmark load. You can see there that when we hit 7200 active databases we were only at about 70% utilization, so there was a lot more room to grow. Huge thanks to HP for giving us time on a real Moonshot System to see all those idea work!

    Something that’s easy to lose track of in all this discussion is the question of power. Part of the value proposition from Project Moonshot is in energy efficiency, and we saw that in spades. Under load a single server only draws 18 Watts, and the system infrastructure is closer to 250 Watts. Taken together, that’s a seriously dense system that is using very little energy for each database.

    Bottom Line
    We were psyched to have the chance to test on a Moonshot System. It gave us the chance to prove out ideas around automation and efficiency that we’ll be folding into NuoDB over the next few releases. It also gave us the perfect platform to put our architecture through its paces and validate a lot about the flexibility of our core architecture.
    We’re also seriously impressed by what we experienced from Project Moonshot itself. We were able to create something self-contained and easy to manage that solves a real-world problem. Couple that with the fact that a Moonshot System draws so little power, the Total Cost of Ownership is impressively low.  That’s probably the last point to make about all this: the combination of our two technologies gave us something where we could talk concretely about capacity and TCO, something that’s usually hard to do in such clear terms.
    In case it’s not obvious, we’re excited. We’ve already been posting this week about some ideas that came out of this work, and we’ll keep posting as the week goes on. Look for the moonshot tag and please follow-up with comments if you’re curious about anything specific and would like to hear more!

    Project Moonshot by the Numbers [NuoDB Techblog, April 9, 2013]

    To really understand the value from HP Project Moonshot you need to think beyond the list price of one system and focus instead on the Total Cost of Ownership. Figuring out the TCO for a server running arbitrary software is often a hard (and thankless?) task, so one of the things we’ve tried to do is not just demonstrate great technology but something that naturally lets you think about TCO in a simple way. We think the final metrics are pretty simple, but to get there requires a little math.

    Executive Summary

    If you’re a CIO, and just want to know the bottom line, then we’ll ruin the suspense and cut to the chase. It will cost you about $70,500 up-front, $1,800 in your first year’s electricity bills and take 8.3 rack-units to support the web-front end and database back-end for 72,000 blogs under real-world load.

    Cost of a Single Database
    Recall that we set the goal at 72,000 databases within a single system. At launch the list price for a fully-configured Moonshot System is around $60,000, so we start out at 83 cents per-database. In practice were seeing much higher capacity in our tests, but let’s start with this conservative number.
    Now consider the power used by the system. From what we’ve measured through the iLO interfaces a single server draws no more than 18 Watts at peak load (measured against CPU and IO activity). The System itself (fans, switches etc.) draws around 250 Watts in our tests. That means that under full load each database is drawing about .015 Watts.
    NuoDB is a commercial software offering, which means that you pay up-front to deploy the software (and get support as part of that fee). For anyone who wants to run a Moonshot System in production as a super-dense NuoDB appliance we’ll offer you a flat-rate license.
    Put together, we can say that the cost per database-watt is 1.22 cents. That’s on a 4.3 rack-unit system. Awesome.
    Quantify the Supported Load
    As we discussed in our post on benchmarking, we’re trying to test under real-world load. As a simple starting-point we chose a profile based on WordPress because it’s fairly ubiquitous and has somewhat serious transactional requirements. In our benchmarking discussion we explain that a typical application action (post, read, comment) does around 20 SQL operations.
    Given 72,000 databases most of these are fairly inactive, so on average we’ll say that each database gets about 250 hits a day (generous by most reports I’ve seen). That’s 18,000,000 hits a day or 208 hits per-second. 4,166 SQL statements a second isn’t much for a single database, but it’s pretty significant given that we’re spreading it across many databases some of which might have to be “woken” on-demand.
    HP was generous enough not only to give us time on a Moonshot System but also access to some co-located servers for driving our load tests. In this case, 16 lower-powered ARM-based Calxeda systems that all went through the same 1-Gig ethernet connection to our Moonshot System. These came from HP’s Discovery Lab; check out our post about working with the Moonshot System for more details.
    From these load-drivers we able to run our benchmark application with up to 16 threads per server, simulating 128 simultaneous clients. In this case a typical “client” would be a web server trying to respond to a web client request. We averaged around 320 hits per-second, well above the target of 208. From what we could observe, we expect that given more capable network and client drivers we would be able to get 3 or 4 times that rate easily.
    Tangible Cost
    We have the cost of the Moonshot System itself. We also know that it can support expected load from a fairly small collection of low-end servers. In our own labs we use systems that cost around $10,000, fit in 3 rack-units and would be able to drive at least the same kind of load we’re citing here. Add a single switch at around $500 and you have a full system ready to serve blogs. That’s $70,500 total in 8.3 rack units, still under $1 per database.
    I don’t know what power costs you have in your data center, but I’ve seen numbers ranging from 2.5 to 25 cents per Kilowatt-Hour. In our tests, where we saw .015 Watts per-database, if you assume an average rate of 13.75 cents per KwH that comes out to .00020625 cents per-hour per-database in energy costs. In one year, with no down-time, that would cost you $1,276.77 in total electricity fees.
    Just as an aside, according to the New York Times, Facebook uses around 60,000,000 Watts a year!
    One of the great things about a Moonshot System is that the 45 servers are already being switched inside the chassis. This means that you don’t need to buy switches & cabling, and you don’t need to allocate all the associated space in your racks. For our systems administrator that alone would make him very happy.
    Intangible Cost
    What I haven’t been talking about in all of this are the intangible costs. This is where figuring out TCO becomes harder.
    For instance, one of the value-propositions here is that the Moonshot System is a self-contained, automated component. That means that systems administrators are freed up from the tasks of figuring out how to allocate and monitor databases, and how to size the data-center for growth. Database developers can focus more easily on their target applications. CIOs can spend less time staring at spreadsheets … or, at least, can allocate more time to spreadsheets on different topics.
    Providing a single number in terms of capacity makes it easy to figure out what you need in your datacenter. When a single server within a Moonshot System fails you can simply replace it, and in the meantime you know that the system will still run smoothly just with slightly lower capacity. From a provisioning point of view, all you need to figure out is where your ceiling is and how much stand-by capacity you need to have at the ready.
    NuoDB by its nature is dynamic, even when you’re doing upgrades. This means that you can roll through a running Moonshot System applying patches or new versions with no down-time. I don’t know how you calculate the value in saved cost here, but you probably do!
    Comparisons and Planned Optimizations
    It’s hard to do an “apples-to-apples” comparison against other database software here. Mostly, this is because other databases aren’t designed to be dynamic enough to support hibernation, bursting and capacity-based automated balancing. So, you can’t really get the same levels of density, and a lot of the “intangible” cost benefits would go away.
    Still, to be fair, we tried running MySQL on the same system and under the same benchmarks. We could indeed run 7200 instances, although that was already hitting the upper-bounds of memory/swap. In order to get the same density you would need 10 Moonshot Systems, or you would need larger-powered expensive servers. Either way, the power, density, automation and efficiency savings go out the window, and obviously there’s no support for bursting to more capable systems on-demand.
    Unsurprisingly, the response time was faster on-average (about half the time) from MySQL instances. I say “unsurprisingly” for two reasons. First, we tried to use schema/queries directly from WordPress to be fair in our comparison, and these are doing things that are still known to be less-optimized in NuoDB. They’re also in the path of what we’re currently optimizing and expect to be much faster in the near-term.
    The second is that NuoDB clients were originally designed assuming longer-running connections (or pooled connections) to databases that always run with security & encryption enabled. We ran all of our tests in our default modes to be fair. That means we’re spending more time on each action setting up & tearing down a connection. We’ve already been working on optimizations here that would shrink the gap pretty substantially.
    In the end, however, our response time is still on the order of a few hundred milliseconds worst-case, and is less important than the overall density and efficiency metrics that we proved out. We think the value in terms of ease of use, density, flexibility on load spikes and low-cost speaks for itself. This setup is inexpensive by comparison to deploying multiple servers and supports what we believe is real-world load. Just wait until the next generation of HP Project Moonshot servers roll out and we can start scaling out individual databases at the same time!

    More information:
    Benchmarking Density & Efficiency [NuoDB Techblog, April 9, 2013]
    Database Hibernation and Bursting [NuoDB Techblog, April 8, 2013]
    An Enterprise Management UI for Project Moonshot [NuoDB Techblog, April 9, 2013]Regarding the cloud based version of NuoDB see:
    NuoDB Partners with Amazon [press release, March 26, 2013]
    NuoDB Extends Database Leadership in Scalability & Performance on a Private Cloud [press release, March 14, 2013] “… the industry’s first and only patented, elastically scalable Cloud Data Management System (CDMS), announced performance of 1.84 million transactions per second (TPS) running on 32 machines. … With NuoDB Starlings release 1.0.1, available as of March 1, 2013, the company has made advancements in performance and scalability and customers can now experience 26% improvement in TPS per machine.
    Google Compute Engine: interview with NuoDB [GoogleDevelopers YouTube channel, March 21, 2013]

    Meet engineers from NuoDB: an elastically scalable SQL database built for the cloud. We will learn about their approach to distributed SQL databases and get a live demo. We’ll cover the steps they took to get NuoDB running on Google Compute Engine, talk about how they evaluate infrastructure (both physical hardware and cloud), and reveal the results of their evaluation of Compute Engine performance.

    Actually Calxeda was best to explain the preeminence of software over the SoC itself:
    Karl Freund from Calxeda – HP Moonshot 2013 – theCUBE [siliconangle YouTube channel, April 8, 2013], see also HP Moonshot: It’s a lot closer than it looks! [Calxeda’s ‘ARM Servers, Now!’ blog, April 8, 2013]

    Karl Freund, VP of Marketing, Calxeda, at HP Moonshot 2013 with John Furrier and Dave Vellante.

    as well as ending with Calxeda’s very practical, gradual approach to ARM based served market with things like:

    [16.03] Our 2nd generation platform called Midway, which will be out later this year [in the 2nd half of the year], that’s probably the target for Big Data. Our current product is great for web serving, it’s great for media serving, it’s great for storage. It doesn’t have enough memory for Big Data … in a large. So we’ll getting that 2nd generation product out, and that should be a really good Big Data platform. Why? Because it’s low power, it’s low cost, but it’s also got a lot of I/O. Big Data is all that moving a lot of data around. And if you do that more cost effectively you save a lot of money. [16:38]

    mentioning also that their strategy is using standard ARM cores like the Cortex-A57 for their H1 2014 product, and focus on things like the fabric and the management, which actually allows them to work with a streamlined staff of around 150 people.

    Detailed background about Calxeda in a concise form:
    Redefining Datacenter Efficiency: An Overview of Calxeda’s architecture and early performance measurements [Karl Freund, Nov 12, 2012] from where the core info is:

      • Founded in 2008   
      • $103M Funding       
      • 1st Product Announced with HP,  Nov  2011   
      • Initial Shipments in Q2 2012   
      • Volume production in Q4 2012


    image* The power consumed under normal operating conditions
    under full application load (ie, 100% CPU utilization)

    imageA small Calxeda Cluster: a Simple Example
    • Start with four ServerNodes
    • Consumes only 20W total power   
    • Connected via distributed fabric switches   
    • Connect up to 4 SATA drives per node   
    • Then scale this to thousands of ServerNodes

    EnergyCard: a Quad-Node Reference Design

      • Four-node reference platform from Calxeda
      • Available as product and/or design
      • Plugs into OEM system board with passive fabric, no additional switch HW
        EnergyCard delivers 80Gb Bandwidth to the system board. (8 x 10Gb links)



    It is also important to have a look at what were the Open Source Software Packages for Initial Calxeda Shipments [Calxeda’s ‘ARM Servers, Now!’ blog, May 24, 2012]

    We are often asked what open-source software packages are available for initial shipments of Calxeda-based servers.

    Here’s the current list (changing frequently).  Let us know what else you need!


    Then Perspectives From Linaro Connect [Calxeda’s ‘ARM Servers, Now!’ blog, March 20, 2013] sheds more light on the recent software alliances which make Calxeda to deliver:

    – From Larry Wikelius,   Co-Founder and VP Ecosystems,  Calxeda:

    The most recent Linaro Connect (Linaro Connect Asia 2013 – LCA), held in Hong Kong the first week of March, really put a spotlight on the incredible momentum around ARM based technology and products moving into the Data Center.  Yes – you read that correctly – the DATA CENTER!

    When Linaro was originally launched almost three years ago the focus was exclusively on the mobile and client market – where ARM has and continues to be dominant.  However, as Calxeda has demonstrated, the opportunity for the ARM architecture goes well beyond devices that you carry in your pocket.  Calxeda was a key driver in the formation of the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG), which was publicly launched at the previous LinaroConnect event in Copenhagen in early November, 2012.

    LEG has been an exciting development for Linaro and now has 13 member companies that include server vendors such as Calxeda, Linux distribution companies Red Hat and Canonical, OEM representation from HP and even Hyperscale Data Center end user Facebook.  There were many sessions throughout the week that focused on Server specific topics such as UEFI, ACPI, Virtualization, Hyperscale Testing with LAVA and Distributed Storage.  Calxeda was very active throughout the week with the team participating directly in a number of roadmap definition sessions, presenting on Server RAS and providing guidance in key areas such as application optimization and compiler focus for Servers.

    Linaro Connect is proving to be a tremendous catalyst for the the growing eco-system around the ARM software community as a whole and the server segment in particular.  A great example of this was the keynote presentation given jointly by Mark Heath and Lars Kurth from Citrix on Tuesday morning.  Mark is the VP of XenServer at Citirix and Lars is well know in the OpenSource community for his work with Xen.  The most exciting announcement coming out of Mark’s presentation is that Citrix will be joining Linaro as a member of LEG.  Citrix will be certainly prove to be another valuable member of the Linaro team and during the week attendees were able to appreciate how serious Citrix is about supporting ARM servers.  The Xen team has not only added full support for ARM V7 systems in the Xen 4.3 release but they have accomplished some very impressive optimizations for the ARM platform.  The Xen team has leveraged Device Tree for optimal device discovery.  Combined with a number of other code optimizations they showed a dramatically smaller code base for the ARM platform.  We at Calxeda are thrilled to welcome Citrix into LEG!

    As an indication of the draw that the Linaro Connect conference is already having on the broader industry the Open Compute Project (OCP) held their first International Event co-incident with LCA at the same venue.  The synergy between Linaro and OCP is significant with the emphasis on both organizations around Open Source development (one software and one hardware) along with the dramatically changing design points for today’s Hyperscale Data Center.  In fact the keynote at LCA on Wednesday morning really put a spotlight on how significant this is likely to be.  Jason Taylor, Director of Capacity Engineering and Analysis at Facebook, presented on Facebook’s approach to ARM based servers.   Facebook’s consumption of Data Center equipment is quite stunning – Jason quoted from Facebook’s 10-Q filed in October 2012 which stated that “The first nine months of 2012 … $1.0 billion for capital expenditures” related to data center equipment and infrastructure.  Clearly with this level of investment Facebook is extremely motivated to optimize where possible.  Jason focused on the strategic opportunity for ARM based severs in a disaggregated Data Center of the future to provide lower cost computing capabilities with much greater flexibility.

    Calxeda has been very active in building the Server Eco-System for ARM based servers.  This week in Hong Kong really underscored how important that investment has become – not just for Calxeda but for the industry as a whole. Our commitment to Open Source software development in general and Linaro in particular has resulted in a thriving Linux Infrastructure for ARM servers that allows Calxeda to leverage and focus on key differentiation for our end users.  The Open Compute Project, which we are an active member in and have contributed to key projects such as the Knockout Storage design as well as the Open Slot Specification, demonstrates how the combination of an Open Source approach for both Software and Hardware can compliment each other and can drive Data Center innovation.  We are early in this journey but it is very exciting!

    Calxeda will continue to invest aggressively in forums and industry groups such as these to drive the ARM based server market.  We look forward to continue to work with the incredibly innovative partners that are members in these groups and we are confident that more will join this exciting revolution.  If you are interested in more information on these events and activities please reach out to us directly at info@calxeda.com.

    The next Linaro Connnect is scheduled for early July in Dublin. We expect more exciting events and topics there and hope to see you there!

    They are also referring on their blog to Mobile, cloud computing spur tripling of micro server shipments this year [IHS iSuppli press release, Feb 6, 2013] which showing the general market situation well into the future as:

    Driven by booming demand for new data center services for mobile platforms and cloud computing, shipments of micro servers are expected to more than triple this year, according to an IHS iSuppli Compute Platforms Topical Report from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).
    Shipments this year of micro servers are forecast to reach 291,000 units, up 230 percent from 88,000 units in 2012. Shipments of micro servers commenced in 2011 with just 19,000 units. However, shipments by the end of 2016 will rise to some 1.2 million units, as shown in the attached figure.


    The penetration of micro servers compared to total server shipments amounted to a negligible 0.2 percent in 2011. But by 2016, the machines will claim a penetration rate of more than 10 percent—a stunning fiftyfold jump.
    Micro servers are general-purpose computers, housing single or multiple low-power microprocessors and usually consuming less than 45 watts in a single motherboard. The machines employ shared infrastructure such as power, cooling and cabling with other similar devices, allowing for an extremely dense configuration when micro servers are cascaded together.
    “Micro servers provide a solution to the challenge of increasing data-center usage driven by mobile platforms,” said Peter Lin, senior analyst for compute platforms at IHS. “With cloud computing and data centers in high demand in order to serve more smartphones, tablets and mobile PCs online, specific aspects of server design are becoming increasingly important, including maintenance, expandability, energy efficiency and low cost. Such factors are among the advantages delivered by micro servers compared to higher-end machines like mainframes, supercomputers and enterprise servers—all of which emphasize performance and reliability instead.”
    Server Salad Days
    Micro servers are not the only type of server that will experience rapid expansion in 2013 and the years to come. Other high-growth segments of the server market are cloud servers, blade servers and virtualization servers.
    The distinction of fastest-growing server segment, however, belongs solely to micro servers.
    The compound annual growth rate for micro servers from 2011 to 2016 stands at a remarkable 130 percent—higher than that of the entire server market by a factor of 26. Shipments will rise by double- and even triple-digit percentages for each year during the period.
    Key Players Stand to Benefit
    Given the dazzling outlook for micro servers, makers with strong product portfolios of the machines will be well-positioned during the next five years—as will their component suppliers and contract manufacturers.
    A slew of hardware providers are in line to reap benefits, including microprocessor vendors like Intel, ARM and AMD; server original equipment manufacturers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard; and server original development manufacturers including Taiwanese firms Quanta Computer and Wistron.
    Among software providers, the list of potential beneficiaries from the micro server boom extends to Microsoft, Red Hat, Citrix and Oracle. For the group of application or service providers that offer micro servers to the public, entities like Amazon, eBay, Google and Yahoo are foremost.
    The most aggressive bid for the micro server space comes from Intel and ARM.
    Intel first unveiled the micro server concept and reference design in 2009, ostensibly to block rival ARM from entering the field.
    ARM, the leader for many years in the mobile world with smartphone and tablet chips because of the low-power design of its central processing units, has been just as eager to enter the server arena—dominated by x86 chip architecture from the likes of Intel and a third chip player, AMD. ARM faces an uphill battle, as the majority of server software is written for x86 architecture. Shifting from x86 to ARM will also be difficult for legacy products.
    ARM, however, is gaining greater support from software and OS vendors, which could potentially put pressure on Intel in the coming years.
    Read More > Micro Servers: When Small is the Next Big Thing

    Then there are a number of Intel competitive posts on Calxeda’s ‘ARM Servers, Now!’ blog:
    What is a “Server-Class” SOC? [Dec 12, 2012]
    Comparing Calxeda ECX1000 to Intel’s new S1200 Centerton chip [Dec 11, 2012]
    which you can also find in my Intel targeting ARM based microservers: the Calxeda case [‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog, Dec 14, 2012] with significantly wider additional information upto binary translation from x86 to ARM with Linux

    See also:
    ARM Powered Servers: 2013 is off to a great start & it is only March! [Smart Connected Devices blog of ARM, March 6, 2013]
    Moonshot – a shot in the ARM for the 21st century data center [Smart Connected Devices blog of ARM, April 9, 2013]
    Are you running out of data center space? It may be time for a new server architecture: HP Moonshot [Hyperscale Computing Blog of HP, April 8, 2013]
    HP Moonshot: the HP Labs team that did some of the groundbreaking research [Innovation @ HP Labs blog of HP, April 9, 2013]
    HP Moonshot: An Accelerator for Hyperscale Workloads [Moor Insights White Paper, April 8, 2013]
    Comparing Pattern Mining on a Billion Records with HP Vertica and Hadoop [HP Vertica blog, April 9, 2013] by team of HP Labs researchers show how the Vertica Analytics Platform can be used to find patterns from a billion records in a couple of minutes, about 9x faster than Hadoop.
    PCs and cloud clients are not parts of Hewlett-Packard’s strategy anymore [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 11, 2011 – Jan 17, 2012] see the Autonomy IDOL related content there
    ENCO Systems Selects HP Autonomy for Audio and Video Processing [HP Autonomy press release, April 8, 2013]

    HP Autonomy today announced that ENCO Systems, a global provider of radio automation and live television audio solutions, has selected Autonomy’s Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) to upgrade ENCO’s latest-generation enCaption product.

    ENCO Systems provides live automated captioning solutions to the broadcast industry, leveraging technology to deliver closed captioning by taking live audio data and turning it into text. ENCO Systems is capitalizing on IDOL’s unique ability to understand meaning, concepts and patterns within massive volumes of spoken and visual content to deliver more accurate speech analytics as part of enCaption3.

    “Many television stations count on ENCO to provide real-time closed captioning so that all of their viewers get news and information as it happens, regardless of their auditory limitations,” said Ken Frommert, director, Marketing, ENCO Systems. “Autonomy IDOL helps us provide industry-leading automated closed captioning for a fraction of the cost of traditional services.”
    enCaption3 is the only fully automated speech recognition-based closed captioning system for live television that does not require speaker training. It gives broadcasters the ability to caption their programming, including breaking news and weather, any time, day or night, since it is always on and always available. enCaption3 provides captioning in near real time-with only a 3 to 6 second delay-in nearly 30 languages.
    “Television networks are under increasing pressure to provide real-time closed captioning services-they face fines if they don’t, and their growing and diverse viewers demand it,” said Rohit de Souza, general manager, Power, HP Autonomy. “This is another example of a technology company integrating Autonomy IDOL to create a stronger, faster and more accurate product offering, and demonstrates yet another powerful way in which IDOL can be applied to help organizations succeed in the human information era.”

    Using Big Data to change the game in the Energy industry [Enterprise Services Blog of HP, Oct 24, 2012]

    … Tools like HP’s Autonomy that analyzes the unstructured data found in call recordings, survey responses, chat logs, e-mails, social media posts and more. Autonomy’s Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) technology uses sophisticated pattern-matching techniques and probabilistic modeling to interpret information in much the same way that humans do. …

    Stouffer Egan turns the tables on computers in keynote address at HP Discover [Enterprise Services Blog of HP, June 8, 2012]

    For decades now, the human mind has adjusted itself to computers by providing and retrieving structured data in two-dimensional worksheets with constraints on format, data types, list of values, etc. But, this is not the way the human mind has been architected to work. Our minds have the uncanny ability to capture the essence of what is being conveyed in a facial expression in a photograph, the tone of voice or inflection in an audio and the body language in a video. At the HP Discover conference, Autonomy VP for United States, Stouffer Egan showed the audience how software can begin to do what the human mind has being doing since the dawn of time. In a demonstration where Iron Man came live out of a two-dimensional photograph, Egan turned the tables on computers. It is about time computers started thinking like us rather than us forcing us to think like them.
    Egan states that the “I” in IT is where the change is happening. We have a newfound wealth of data through various channels including video, social, click stream, audio, etc. However, data unprocessed without any analysis is just that — raw data. For enterprises to realize business value from this unstructured data, we need tools that can process it across multiple media. Imagine software that recognizes the picture in a photograph and searches for a video matching the person in the picture. The cover page of a newspaper showing a basketball star doing a slam dunk suddenly turns live pulling up the video of this superstar’s winning shot in last night’s game. …

    2. Software Partners

    HP Moonshot is setting the roadmap for next generation data centers by changing the model for density, power, cost and innovation. Ubuntu has been designed to meet the needs of Hyperscale customers and, combined with its management tools, is ideally suited be the operating system platform for HP Moonshot. Canonical has been working with HP since the beginning of the Moonshot Project, and Ubuntu is the only OS integrated and fully operational across the complete Moonshot System covering x86 and ARM chip technologies.
    What Canonical is saying about HP Moonshot
    As mobile workstyles become the norm, the scalability needs of today’s applications and devices are increasingly challenging what traditional infrastructures can support. With HP’s Moonshot System, customers will be able to rapidly deploy, scale, and manage any workload with dramatically lower space and energy constraints. The HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem is a prime opportunity for Citrix to help accelerate the development of innovative solutions that will benefit our enterprise cloud, virtualization and mobility customers.
    We’re committed to helping enterprises achieve the most from their Big Data initiatives. Our partnership with HP enables joint customers to keep and query their data at scale so they can ask bigger questions and get bigger answers. By using HP’s Moonshot System, our customers can benefit from the improved resource utilization of next generation data center solutions that are workload optimized for specific applications.
    imageToday’s interactive applications are accessed 24×365 by millions of web and mobile users, and the volume and velocity of data they generate is growing at an unprecedented rate. Traditional technologies are hard pressed to keep up with the scalability and performance demands of these new applications. Couchbase NoSQL database technology combined with HP’s Moonshot System is a powerful offering for customers who want to easily develop interactive web and mobile applications and run them reliably at scale. image
    Our partnership with HP facilitates CyWee’s goal of offering solutions that merge the digital and physical worlds. With TI’s new SoCs, we are one step closer to making this a reality by pushing state-of-the-art video to specialized server environments. Together, CyWee and HP will deliver richer multimedia experiences in a variety of cloud-based markets, including cloud gaming, virtual office, video conferencing and remote education.
    HP’s new Moonshot System will enable organizations to increase the energy efficiency of their data centers while reducing costs. Our Cassandra-based database platform provides the massive scalability and multi-datacenter capabilities that are a perfect complement to this initiative, and we are excited to be working with HP to bring this solution to a wide range of customers.
    Big data comes in a wide range for formats and types and is a result of the connected everything world we live in. Through Project Moonshot, HP has enabled a new class of infrastructure to run more efficient workloads, like Apache Hadoop, and meet the market demand of more performance for less.
    The unprecedented volume and variety of data introduces unique challenges to organizations today… By combining the HP Moonshot system with Autonomy IDOL’s unique ability to understand concepts in information, organizations can dramatically reduce the cost, space, and energy requirements for their big data initiatives, and at the same time gain insights that grow revenue, reduce risk, and increase their overall Return on Information.
    Big Data is not just for Big Companies – or Big Servers – anymore – it’s affecting all sectors of the market. At HP Vertica we’re very excited about the work we’ve been doing with the Moonshot team on innovative configurations and types of analytic appliances which will allow us to bring the benefits of real-time Big Data analytics to new segments of the market. The combination of the HP Vertica Analytics Platform and Moonshot is going to be a game-changer for many.
    HP worked closely with Linaro to establish the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG). This will help accelerate the development of the software ecosystem around ARM Powered servers. HP’s Moonshot System is a great platform for innovation – encouraging a wide range of silicon vendors to offer competing ‘plug-and-play’ server solutions, which will give end users maximum choice for all their different workloads.
    What Linaro is saying about HP Moonshot[HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]
    Organizations are looking for ways to rapidly deploy, scale, and manage their infrastructure, with an architecture that is optimized for today’s application workloads. HP Moonshot System is an energy efficient, space saving, workload-optimized solution to meet these needs, and HP has partnered with MapR Technologies, a Hadoop technology leader, to accelerate innovation and deployment of Big Data solutions.
    NuoDB and HP are shattering the scalability and density barriers of a traditional database server. NuoDB on the HP Moonshot System delivers unparalleled database density, where customers can now run their applications across thousands of databases on a single box, significantly reducing the total cost across hardware, software, and power consumption. The flexible architecture of HP Moonshot coupled with NuoDB’s hyper-pluggable database design and its innovative “database hibernation” technology makes it possible to bring this unprecedented hardware and software combination to market.
    What NuoDB is saying about HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 9, 2013]
    As the leading solution provider for the hosting market, Parallels is excited to be collaborating in the HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem. The HP Moonshot System in concert with Parallels Plesk Panel and Parallels Containers provides a flexible and efficient solution for cloud computing and hosting.
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux on HP’s converged infrastructure means predictability, consistency and stability. Companies around the globe rely on these attributes when deploying applications every day, and our value proposition is just as important in the Hyperscale segment. When customers require a standard operating environment based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, I believe they will look to the HP Moonshot System as a strong platform for high-density Hyperscale implementations.
    What Red Hat is saying about HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]
    HP Project Moonshot’s promise of extreme low-energy servers is a game changer, and SUSE is pleased to partner with HP to bring this new innovation to market. For more than twenty years, SUSE has adapted its enterprise-grade Linux operating system to achieve ever-increasing performance needs that succeed both today and tomorrow in areas such as Big Data and cloud computing.
    What SUSE is saying about HP Moonshot [HewlettPackardVideos YouTube channel, April 8, 2013]

    3. Hardware Partners

    AMD is excited to continue our deep collaboration with HP to bring extreme low-energy, ultra dense, specialized server solutions to the market. Both companies share a passion to bring innovative workload optimized solutions to the market, enabling customers to scale-out to new levels within existing energy and space constraints. The new low-power x86 AMD Opteron™ APU is optimized in the HP Moonshot System to dramatically lower TCO in quickly emerging media oriented workloads.
    What AMD is saying about HP Moonshot

    It is exciting to see HP take the lead in innovating low-energy servers for the cloud. Applied Micro’s ARM 64-bit X-Gene Server on a Chip will enable performance levels seen in today’s deployments while offering higher densities, greatly improved I/O, and substantial reductions in the total cost of ownership. Together, we will unleash innovation unlike anything we’ve seen in the server market for decades.

    What Applied Micro is saying about HP Moonshot

    In the current economic and power realities, today’s server infrastructure cannot meet the needs of the next billion data users, or the evolving needs of currently supported users. Customers need innovative SoC solutions which deliver more integration and optimization than has historically been required by traditional enterprise workloads. HP’s Moonshot System is a departure from the one size fits all approach of traditional enterprise and embraces a range of ARM partner solutions that address different performance, workloads and cost points.
    What ARM is saying HP Moonshot
    Calxeda and HP’s new Moonshot System are a powerful combination, and sets a new standard for ultra-efficient web and application serving. Fulfilling a journey started together in November 2011, Project Moonshot creates the foundation for the new age of application-specific computing.
    What Calxeda is saying about HP Moonshot
    HP Moonshot System is a game changer for delivering optimized server solutions. It beautifully balances the need for mixing different processor solutions optimized for different workloads under a standard hardware and software framework. Cavium’s Project Thunder will provide a family of 64-bit ARM v8 processors with dense and scalable sever class performance at extremely attractive power and cost metrics. We are doing this by blending performance and power efficient compute, high performance memory and networking into a single, highly integrated SoC.
    What Cavium is saying about HP Moonshot
    Intel is proud to deliver the only server class, 64-bit SoC technology that powers the first and only production shipping HP ProLiant Moonshot Server today. 64-bit Intel Atom processor S1200 family features extreme low power combined with required datacenter class capabilities for lightweight web scale workloads, such as low end dedicated hosting and static web serving. In collaboration with HP, we have a strong roadmap of additional server solutions shipping later this year, including Intel’s 2nd generation 64-bit SoC, “Avoton” based on leading 22nm manufacturing technology, that will deliver best in class energy efficiency and density for HP Moonshot System.
    What Intel is saying about HP Moonshot
    image What Marvell is saying about HP Moonshot
    HP Moonshot System’s high density packaging coupled with integrated network capability provides the perfect platform to enable HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem partners to deliver cutting edge technology to the hyper-scale market. SRC Computers is excited to bring its history of delivering paradigm shifting high-performance, low-power, reconfigurable processors to HP Project Moonshot’s vision of optimizing hardware for maximum application performance at lowest TCO.
    What SRC Computers is saying about HP Moonshot
    The scalability and high performance at low power offered through HP’s Moonshot System gives customers an unmatched ability to adapt their solutions to the ever-changing and demanding market needs in the high performance computing, cloud computing and communications infrastructure markets. The strong collaboration efforts between HP and TI through the HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem ensure that customers understand and get the most benefit from the processors at a system-level.
    What TI is saying about HP Moonshot