Processor

Qualcomm answers Apple M7 with Snapdragon 820’s co-chip

Qualcomm answers Apple M7 with Snapdragon 820’s co-chip

Qualcomm has detailed its coprocessor for the Snapdragon 820, a supercharged equivalent of Apple's M7 for low-power motion tracking, media playback, and photography. Dubbed the Hexagon 680 DSP, the new addition to the Snapdragon 820 is more than just Qualcomm's response to chips like the M7, which Apple uses to offset continuous data gathering from the main processor. Instead, it's being positioned as a helping-hand for the CPU that could have broad implications on performance and power.

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Intel is finally catching up on mobile

Intel is finally catching up on mobile

This week was Intel usual time to shine at the annual IDF and, unsurprisingly, it revealed a great many things. It even had a Tango smartphone (with a NERF gun!) to show off. Now, if you've been watching the mobile industry for quite some time now, you'd know that "Intel" and "smartphone" don't usually go in the same sentence. Of course, the RealSense Tango smartphone is primarily a developer's toy, but this still makes us ask the big questions. Has Intel finally caught up with its rivals in the mobile space? Or will it be forever trailing behind?

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The need-to-know on Qualcomm Snapdragon 820’s Adreno 530 graphics

The need-to-know on Qualcomm Snapdragon 820’s Adreno 530 graphics

Qualcomm has taken the wraps off of its latest Adreno graphics architecture, the potent GPU to be found in its next-gen Snapdragon 820. The Qualcomm Adreno 5xx series will include GPUs like the 530, intended for the Snapdragon 820, and more affordable versions like the 510, which will be headed for the upcoming Snapdragon 610/618. Rather than throwing numbers at the wall, however Qualcomm says that this time around it started with some key user experiences and worked backwards; I sat down with the company's chip execs at SIGGRAPH 2015 this week to find out more.

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Skylake could be Intel’s best chip generation yet

Skylake could be Intel’s best chip generation yet

We've speculated before that Microsoft might be delaying a Surface Pro 4 tablet on two grounds. First is due to the appearance of a new Core i7 Surface Pro 3 configuration that seats somewhere in between the older Core i5 and Core i7 models. But the second reason, and probably the basis of the first, is that Microsoft could be trying to sync with Intel's rhythm, waiting for the chip maker to fully launch the next gen Skylake before making a move. Based on some leaked slides, that might be a smart decision after all.

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The big deal about IBM’s tiny chips

The big deal about IBM’s tiny chips

IBM is making a big deal of celebrating a tiny achievement, successfully producing a 7nm chip that could mean huge efficiency improvements in phones, laptops and more. Squeezing more than 20 billion transistors into a chip the size of a fingernail took figuring out new manufacturing processes and chewed through part of a $3bn investment IBM earmarked back in 2014, but it's shaping up to be worth every cent. Big Blue predicts a power/performance increase of more than 50-percent from the smaller processors.

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Qualcomm shows off Snapdragon’s hybrid auto focus chops

Qualcomm shows off Snapdragon’s hybrid auto focus chops

After receiving a good bashing over a particular processor, perhaps Qualcomm saw it fit to spread some good vibes around. And by good vibes, we mean trying to sell the other features that its mobile chips are good at. And since mobile photography is one of the newest fads and also the trickiest, it pays to show how your product can help make the almost impossible possible and make a great shot without having to take out your DSLR, or even take it out of the house.

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iOS 9 allows app developers to require devices with 64-bit CPUs

iOS 9 allows app developers to require devices with 64-bit CPUs

It's been revealed that with iOS 9, Apple has given developers the choice of limiting their app to run on iPhones and iPads with 64-bit CPUs. While iOS 9 itself is capable of running on a large number of Apple's older devices, developers now have the ability of specifying that previous generations of hardware cannot run their apps. The reason is not to be mean or make owners of said devices angry, but rather to ensure devices will be compatible with the app being offered, and that they don't run the software poorly.

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AMD’s new Carrizo APU aims to improve battery life in modern laptops

AMD’s new Carrizo APU aims to improve battery life in modern laptops

At the Computex 2015 event in Taiwan, AMD just announced its 6th generation A-Series APU chip, dubbed "Carrizo." The new processor is a key part of AMD's new effort to move away from being featured in budget-line PCs and notebooks, and instead gain interest from mainstream notebooks and two-in-one form factors. To do this, Carrizo's main feature will be an extended battery life, in addition to improved gaming and graphics performances.

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MediaTek introduces Helio P10 octa-core processing chip

MediaTek introduces Helio P10 octa-core processing chip

MediaTek, one of the leading processor manufacturers for mobile device chipsets, is expanding its newest generation processor family, Helio, by introducing the P series chips. The P10 is a slim, 8 core processor. What this means for mobile device manufacturers, is that they have a the new chip to work with for handsets that aren't going to get an expensive 10 core processor, let alone an extreme performance 20 core processor like last month's MediaTek announcement, the Helio X20. Whereas, the X20 has flagship written all over it, the P10 looks like it will be for future mid to upper range handsets.

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Intel acquires Altera in $17bn IoT gadget play

Intel acquires Altera in $17bn IoT gadget play

Computer processor maker Intel acquires fellow chip-maker Altera in effort to combine technologies and lead the market through the future. Suggesting that this combination "harnesses the power of Moore's Law to accelerate Altera's existing businesses," Intel has announced that they'll acquire the company for $16.7 billion in an all-cash transaction. This combination will allow the companies to "make the next generation of solutions not just better," said Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, "but able to do more." This is the dawn of something greater and far more customizable than past products with either company on their own.

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MediaTek chip leapfrogs Samsung and Apple (in core count, anyway)

MediaTek chip leapfrogs Samsung and Apple (in core count, anyway)

How many cores does your smartphone have? If it's anything less than ten - and it's almost certain to be - then MediaTek has just eclipsed it, its new Helio X20 mobile processor packing a whopping ten cores. The company calls it Tri-Cluster architecture, and is promising the usual mantra of simultaneous power and efficiency. Still, before we discount the chip as just another case of "more is better" thinking, there could well be something to MediaTek's approach.

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Apple Watch S1 SoC teardown shows custom processor

Apple Watch S1 SoC teardown shows custom processor

The beloved iFixit has already torn the Apple Watch apart, but those teardowns are meant to gauge repairability, not get gritty with the details on specs. While we might glean a thing or two from them, the overall aim is to let us know how much of a pain in the wallet it’s going to be when we bust our tech up. After that teardown, we’re now getting a better look at what makes the Apple Watch actually tick, and guess what — it really is pretty groundbreaking.

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