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AMD Confirms CDNA2 Instinct MI200 GPU Will Feature at Least Two Dies in MCM Design

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

Today we've got the first genuine piece of information that confirms AMD's MCM approach to CDNA2, the next-gen compute architecture meant for ML/HPC/Exascale computing. This comes courtesy of a Linux kernel update, where AMD engineers annotated the latest Linux kernel patch with some considerations specific for their upcoming Aldebaran, CDNA2-based compute cards. Namely, the engineers clarify the existence of a "Die0" and a "Die1", where power data fetching should be allocated to Die0 of the accelerator card - and that the power limit shouldn't be set on the secondary die.

This confirms that Aldebaran will be made of at least two CDNA2 compute dies, and as (almost) always in computing, one seems to be tasked with general administration of both compute dies. It is unclear as of yet whether the HBM2 memory controller will be allocated to the primary die, or if there will be an external I/O die (much like in Zen) that AMD can leverage for off-chip communication. AMD's approach to CDNA2 will eventually find its way (in an updated form) for AMD's consumer-geared next-generation graphics architecture with RDNA3.

AI-Designed Microchips Now Outperform Human-Designed Ones

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

A recent Google study led by Mirhoseini et al. and published in Nature details how AI can be leveraged to improve upon semiconductor design practices currently employed - and which are the result of more than 60 years of engineering and physics studies. The paper describes a trained machine-learning 'agent' that can successfully place macro blocks, one by one, into a chip layout. This agent has a brain-inspired architecture known as a deep neural network, and is trained using a paradigm called reinforcement learning - where positive changes to a design are committed to memory as possible solutions, while negative changes are discarded, effectively allowing the neural network to build a decision-tree of sorts that's optimized every step of the way.

The AI isn't applied to every stage of microchip design as of yet, but that will surely change in years to come. For now, the AI is only being employed in the chip floorplanning stage of microchip production, which is actually one of the more painstaking ones. Essentially, microchip designers have to place macro blocks on their semiconductor designs - pre-made arrangements of transistors whose placement relative to one another and to the rest of the chips' components are of seminal importance for performance and efficiency targets. Remember that electric signals have to traverse different chip components to achieve a working semiconductor, and the way these are arranged in the floorplanning stage can have tremendous impact on performance characteristics of a given chip. Image A, below, showcases the tidy design a human engineer would favor - while image B showcases the apparently chaotic nature of the AI's planning.

Elon Musk Demoes "PS5-level Performance" of the AMD-powered Model S In-Dash Game Console

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

The latest Tesla Model S comes with an infotainment system with serious gaming capabilities. EV manufacturers have turned their attention to making the infotainment systems of their vehicles a lot more capable, as they look to give car owners something to do whilst their vehicle fast-charges—a concept pioneered by the Honda e.

The new Model S infotainment system is a proper x86 PC powered by AMD Ryzen and custom AMD Radeon graphics. The GPU in particular, is based on the new "Navi 23" silicon powered by RDNA2 technology, and Elon Musk claims that the console offers performance rivaling a PlayStation 5 (which also uses an RDNA2-based graphics processor). The gaming-capable infotainment system is part of the $130,000 Plaid variant on the Model S. Its main touchscreen pivots into landscape mode. Meanwhile, images of a Tesla-branded game controller not unlike the one a PS5 comes with, surfaced on Reddit. It's unconfirmed if one of these comes included with the car, but it would make sense for a console-like controller to be the input device for games on this infotainment system, as a tablet-like touch interface would be sub-optimal with the fixed location of the screen.
The recording of the Model S Plaid launch event follows.

From Software's Elden Ring Releasing January 21st 2022; Official Gameplay Reveal Trailer Released

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

If you're a fan of From Software's games - and that requires that you have slight masochistic tendencies and enjoy evocative world building more than most - there are good news for you. From Software has confirmed that the game will be released come January 21st 2022 in all major platforms - including the all-dominating PC sphere. The game's worldbuilding has been crafted by both From Software's veteran Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame), and will feature an open-world game with horse riding and the usual From Software design philosophy. Check out the game's trailer after the break, and as always: prepare to die.

MSI Pledges to Solve Graphics Card Shortages Single-Handedly... Thanks to the GeForce GT 730?

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

This just goes to show exactly how starved the market is for graphics cards - that the puny GeForce GT 730, from seven years ago, is being relaunched by a graphics card company. MSI might be oddballing the market here, since we haven't seen any other brand offering this particular graphics card. Of course, this won't solve the gaming graphics card shortage - this is a product that's meant for users that don't have a GPU output on their CPU and need to have a discrete solution.

The GT730 may have been revived partly due to its usage of DDR3 VRAM instead of the now ubiquitous GDDR6 - the pricing pf which is bound to increase, as we've seen with current ridiculous levels of demand. The GT 730 packs 384 CUDA cores and features a 902 MHz boost clock and 2 GB of DDR3 memory operating at 1,600 MHz across a 64-bit memory interface. The GT 730 sips only 23 W of power, meaning that it doesn't need any power delivery outside that of the PCIe port - and aiding in the card's passive cooling. The fact that this is a Kepler card - and the fact that NVIDIA has announced end of support for Kepler cards with the release of the GeForce R470 drivers - should actually have no impact on its preferred usage on today's technology landscape.

Backblaze Launches Chia Plot Storage Service with Active Farming

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

Remember Backblaze - the hosting company that releases regular reports on HDD and SSD reliability deployed on their data servers? Well, the company seems to have found an unexplored market niche between pent up demand for HDD storage and the consumer channel's inability to provide enough hardware for would-be Chia farmers and general consumers who just want to back up their family photos. Unlike some cloud storage providers, who have updated their terms of service so as to exclude usage of their infrastructure to either plot/farm Chia, Backblaze now offers a monthly subscription which, for $5 a month, allows users to store up to 1 TB of plots, while also enabling them to be farmed.

Users will still have to plot their "lottery tickets" on their local computer (and/or acquire them through a number of services which have started offering the ability to download ready-made plots), and then upload them to Backblaze's servers for farming. The Chia Calculator places winnings from 1 TB of plots at around $6.43 per month (considering the current Chia price and overall network space - that does amount to quite meager winnings of $1.43 per month, and doesn't take into account Chia network's space growth, which currently stands at ~20 EiB. Users wanting to make use of this service will have a 100 TB limit on uploaded plots.

AMD Shares New Details on Their 3D V-Cache Tech for Zen 3+

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

AMD via its official YouTube has shared a video that goes into slightly more detail on their usage of V-Cache on the upcoming Zen 3+ CPUs. Firstly demoed to the public on AMD's Computex 2021 event, the 3D V-Cache leverages TSMC's SoIC stacking technology, which enables silicon developments along the Z axis, instead of the more usual footprint increase along the X axis. The added 3D V-Cache, which was shown in Computex as being deployed in a prototype Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core CPU, adds 64 MB of L3 cache to each CCX (the up-to-eight-cores core complex on AMD's latest Zen design), basically tripling the amount of L3 cache available for the CPU. This, in turn, was shown to increase FPS in games quite substantially (somewhere around 15%), as games in particular are sensitive to this type of CPU resources.

The added information explains that there is no usage of microbumps - instead, there is a perfect alignment between the bottom layer (with the CCX) and the top layer (the L3 cache) which enables the bonding process to occur naturally via the TSVs (Through Silicon Vias) already present in the silicon, in a zero-gap manner, between both halves of the CPU-cache sandwich. To enable this, AMD flipped the CCX upside down (the core complex now faces the bottom of the chip, instead of the top), shaved 95% of the silicon on top of the upside-down core complexes, and then attaches the 3D V-Cache chips on top of this formation. This also has the added bonus of decreasing the distance between the L3 cache and the CCX (the distance between both in the Z axis is around 1,000 times smaller than if the L3 cache was deployed in the classical X axis), which decreases power consumption, temperatures, and latency, allowing for further increases to system performance. Look after the break for the full video.

SiFive Receives $2 Billion Takeover Offer from Intel

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

SiFive, one of the hottest new semiconductor start-ups specializing in performance RISC-V processors, has received an offer for acquisition from Intel, for USD $2 billion, according to a Bloomberg report, citing sources close to the deal. SiFive was last valued at $500 million in 2020, when it was raising funds. SiFive is potentially benefiting from NVIDIA's ongoing acquisition of Arm, as the company has the ingredients to whip up high-performance processors based on the open-standard RISC-V machine architecture. Both SiFive and Intel declined to comment on the Bloomberg story.

Control is Now Free to Purchase on Epic Games Store

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

Every now and then, the Epic Games store gets a major discount on popular games. If you have been following the free game deals on the store, you may have seen that sometimes even the AAA-class of games get a free offer and you can purchase them without spending a dime. Today is one of those days where Epic Games store is offering the Control game for free. The offer expires on June 17th, when it again becomes paid offer. If you haven't heard of Control, you can read the the game information below. You can check out the deal here.
After a secretive agency in New York is invaded by an otherworldly threat, you become the new Director struggling to regain Control.
From developer Remedy Entertainment, this supernatural 3rd person action-adventure will challenge you to master the combination of supernatural abilities, modifiable loadouts and reactive environments while fighting through a deep and unpredictable world.
Control is Jesse Faden's story and her personal search for answers as she grows into the role of the Director. The world of Control has its own story, as do the allies Jesse meets along the way. Jesse works with other Bureau agents and discovers strange experiments and secrets.

GoDeal24 Presents Summer Sale: Save Up To 60% on Discount Genuine Software

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

GoDeal24, an international merchant of discount genuine software, presents the Summer 2021 Sale. Save up to 60% more on already discounted genuine software, so you can put together a new gaming PC build by spending more on hardware, since you're saving big on software. Get Windows 10 Pro for as little as $8.34. The most popular productivity suite, Office 2019 Professional Plus, can be had for just $28.98. Combine the two for just $36.76, and save even more. Also check out other great deals on various Windows 10 and Office editions, and their combos. GoDeal24 accepts PayPal, so your purchase is secure.

Please use the coupon code SGO45 at check-out on the following items, to avail the prices you see here.
Buy Windows 10 Pro at $8.34 | Buy Windows 10 Home at $8.97 | Buy Windows 10 Pro 2-PC at $13.67 | Buy Windows 10 Home 2-PC at $14.93 | Buy Windows Server 2019 Standard at $17.66 | Buy Windows Server 2019 Essentials at $26.48 | Buy Windows Server 2019 Datacenter at $25.36

Please use the code SGO60 on the following items.
Buy Office 2019 Professional Plus at $28.98 | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2019 Professional Plus at $36.76 | Buy Windows 10 Home + Office 2019 Professional at $36.84 | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus at $22.31 | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2016 Professional Plus at $26.05 | Buy Windows 10 Home + Office 2016 Professional at $26.32 | Buy Office 2019 Home and Student at $31.48 | Buy Project Professional 2019 at $23.32 | Buy Visio Professional 2019 at $20.39

(PR) COLORFUL Launches the First GPU History Museum

Fri, 11 Jun 2021

Colorful Technology Company Limited, a professional manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards, all-in-one gaming and multimedia solutions, and high-performance storage, announces the launch of the GPU History Museum in partnership with NVIDIA. COLORFUL has recently relocated to Shenzhen New Generation Industrial Park. With that, COLORFUL is proud to announce the launch of the first GPU History Museum in China. The museum will showcase the beginnings of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), to the development and evolution of graphics cards up to the present generation.
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